How I met my inner Professor Trelawney
This was not the plan. I was supposed to end up as Tonks. Lead an interesting life as a shapeshifter, marry a werewolf and find my purpose and fulfillment in the fact that I can change my hair colour at will. But it seems you don’t get to pick your calling (just like you don’t get to pick your family or who you fall in love with). The wand chooses the wizard and all that.
So. Trelawney, it is. [Quick sidenote because footnotes are annoying: If you’re one of those peculiar people who hasn’t read Harry Potter, I’m talking about how my plan to lead a vaguely cool and semi-normal life was — over the last couple of years — rudely interrupted by my journey into astrology.]
It started out as a guilty pleasure — reading Susan Miller’s monthly horoscopes after a friend had introduced me to it saying “You know I don’t believe in this stuff, but this woman is freakishly accurate at times.” Or something to that effect. It turned out, she was. Not all the time (that’s simply not possible unless you’re actually looking into someone’s natal chart) but often enough for me to sit up and go ‘how could she possibly know that.’ And keep reading more. But unlike most others who read Susan Miller and were happy enough knowing how their month was going to turn out, I found myself compelled to dig deeper: What are conjunctions, oppositions, trines and sextiles? What does Pluto square Uranus actually mean? How come eclipses have such a profound impact on the personal narrative of our lives? What are houses in an astrological chart? What is a rising sign, a moon sign, a stellium? Why are moon phases associated with the menstrual cycle from ancient times? Why is the transit of Jupiter through the signs such a cause for celebration? What are the north and south nodes of the moon and why are they called karmic points etc. etc.
And finally, if astrology is the study of energies and archetypes, what might a closer look at my own natal chart reveal?
And then of course, one link led to another and now it’s been more than two years since I disappeared into this supremely delightful rabbit hole. In this time, I devoured books and articles on astrology with all the urgency of an unprepared student the night before her exams. I spent late nights on forums about Pluto transits, stalked favourite astrologers with a gift for mundane astrology (the prediction of world events), studied the charts of kind, voluntary guinea pigs apart from my own, and delved into the most fascinating subject of relationship astrology or how energies interact with each other to produce the results they do in relationships — to develop any latent seer gifts just bubbling up to find expression.
It’s been a bizarre, wildly fulfilling journey. Which is all wonderful except here’s the rub: New Agers as a group have a reputation for being a touch, you know, loola. And while I’ve always owned up to my loola-ness, I don’t quite identify with this specific brand of loola. These are the guys who say stuff like ‘We live in a friendly universe’ in that shrill voice and keep sending you light, love and good vibes instead of real birthday presents. Again, I’m entirely in alignment with the power of positivity and the fact that God (or the universe) has my back and all that, but this distinct personality that’s been built around what we now identify as a New Ager, just makes me so…uncomfortable.
“I am not a Trelawney or a Luna Lovegood!’ I tell God.
“It’s too late now, Sybill.” God says.
“How am I supposed to tell my friends and family? I was fairly normal two years ago and now I can’t relate to anyone without becoming immediately and acutely aware of all their dominant energies. It’s uncomfortable and intrusive and I did not sign up for this!”
God is silent as he famously is, at times like this, leaving me to figure out my own crap.
I do. I admit — after long conversations with the bathroom mirror — that I’m not the same person I was two years ago. I’m older and battier. And hopefully, wiser. And astrology has had everything to do with it. I can’t seem to look at any situation without searching for the larger patterns at play. Personal deadlines and bucket lists mean absolutely nothing because I don’t relate to time as a linear concept anymore but as cycles of change — pretty much like the movie, Arrival. Sometimes it feels exactly like being in a time-travel movie, making big present day decisions that affect the future but they are in fact, based on future potential as revealed by the planets. How cool is that? Yes, I know what you’re thinking: I’ll wait and see how the future goes for you. And that’s alright. It’s not like certainty is a given once you subscribe to this new belief system anyway. But it does help if you, like me, are prone to crippling bouts of anxiety and by extension, depression. If you’re the kind of person who can handle a stressful situation better when you understand the whats, whys and what-nows of it all, then this can be a lifesaver.
But the biggest gift that astrology has given me is a higher level of empathy. I read somewhere that there is always that moment when you’re looking at a person’s natal chart, when your eyes get drawn to one or two specific points and you go — “how do you live with that?” It’s true. But for the person living with it, it’s like being born blind. They’re aware of it but it’s just how it’s always been. And now you, having seen that, find yourself making allowances for these cracks, holes and contradictions in another person because astrology or not, there are people who do the same for you. You go out of your way to compliment and affirm and build up the girl who comes with strong natal configurations that do not allow her to see her own worth and value. You are more patient and understanding of the person you would otherwise want to slap for refusing to get out of a toxic relationship or letting others constantly step over her boundaries, because you can see that three of her progressed planets are in Pisces, the sign of martyrdom and self-undoing among other things, and you know you have to slowly get her to channel the positive charge of Pisces energy which is intuition, compassion that is not at the expense of oneself, emotional healing and release. And you can’t get through to her by trying to get her to ‘see the facts’ at this time, because that’s the energy of Virgo — the opposite sign of Pisces.
I could go on forever but I think my newfound battiness is best shared in small doses. If you’ve read this far and aren’t completely weirded out, tell me. Because this is a coming-out of sorts. I’ve spent the last two years treating astrology like some kind of dirty mistress that I couldn’t be seen with in public but I’m done now. My inner Trelawney will not be silenced. This is my big love. And this post is my grand 80s romance gesture. I’m basically Richard Gere popping out of the limo to claim my Pretty Woman and crossing fingers for this remake to do just as well.