What I Meant When I Said You’re Being Such An Aries Moon

Lately, my friends and I have gotten into the habit of calling out each other’s chart placements when we do or say just about anything. Acting needy? Your Scorpio Moon is showing. Rushing to the gig earlier than you need to? Such a Cap Rising.

I can see how this gets annoying, especially to bystanders who don’t get the reference. And even among friends who are into astro, it starts to feel like a reductive application at best. At worst — and this is a complaint I hear a lot — it turns astrology into something very trivializing, something that evades an authentic response to how we behave and who we are. It’s disappointing when people tell me this is how astrology makes them feel, since I see it a practice with the potential to help us hear and respond to each other in really substantive ways. So I want to help decode what we mean when we call out each other’s placements like this. Even if we’re usually tongue-in-cheek about it, I think that we’re still trying to use astrology in a way that can help forgive us our faults and suggest new approaches to the ways we might struggle to move about the world.

The issue we run into a lot with astrology is that it’s terribly serious. It’s a legitimate challenge to bring levity to the intimate experience of a reading, and almost any horoscope you read reflects this sense of gravity. If you haven’t already, find some dank astrology memes to balance this out. But even memes, which are necessarily irreverent and overgeneralizing, are subject to bizarre comment threads arguing over their accuracy. (This is so annoying. If you do this, please stop.) I think these memes come from a desire to take astrology more casually, to make it all more accessible and fun to fuck around with. Astrology doesn’t always have to guide us through the week’s energetic field or respond to our spiritual crises, at least not always in direct or obvious ways. Sometimes it can lend a language to the minutiae, the small stuff. And sometimes reinterpreting the small stuff helps us grapple with the big stuff.


I think that when we mark behaviors or qualities with chart placements, we offer each other alternative ways of thinking about who we are and what we’re going through. We suggest that something isn’t isolated, but part of a pattern or assemblage. And most importantly, we suggest that there are other ways to interpret what’s going on that are more complex but also more forgiving. Let’s say a friend mentions feeling down on himself because lately, he keeps forgetting about plans he’s made. When I say “that’s very Sag Moon,” I’m not deflecting the issue. Encoded in that remark is this: Sure, you’re kind of a flake, but that’s bound up with how open you are to possibility — you should work on remembering plans, but working on that might involve better understanding what else about you that habit is connected to. When we bring up the chart, we remind each other of the richness of our own personalities, and that we might even share some of that richness with others. The thing is, it’s not always appropriate to say all that, and to take a casual conversation to the level of counseling somebody on personal growth. It’s not always a good time or place to process. I think when we call each other out on acting like our signs, without even realizing it fully, we make light gestures toward heavier ideas that we can meditate on another time.

At its most practical, astrology is a symbolic language. (Very Virgo Rising of me, I know.) It’s a way of making sense of things anchored in archetypal themes, but with the agency to interpret symbols and themes in the ways that help us and each other. It’s also all ultimately very silly, which doesn’t make it illegitimate. There should be space for astrology to be casual and irreverent and playful, to not always be so heavy. There should be opportunities for us to laugh at ourselves, and to laugh at the woo. There’s usually something deeper going on, something we can hold onto and unpack at a better time. Or something we knew about ourselves, but is worth looking at from a fresh perspective.

I realize it can get tiresome, and it’s admittedly tempting to meet somebody new and try to make sense of them through stars and symbols. More than anything, it just starts to sound corny after awhile. Not everything calls for an astrological analysis, and just about nothing has a straightforward astrological answer. But in small doses, it’s cool when we can see ourselves in our charts. It’s cool when we can keep reinterpreting what different symbols mean to us, and maybe even find some fulfillment through that self-reflection.


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