Site icon Maria Alexander

I’m Quitting Astrology. The Reasons Might Surprise You.

I started studying the art in 1995.

I had met an astrologer born the same day and year as myself, but just a few hours later. Curious to see if we had a connection, she asked for my birth time. I gave it to her with the caveat that I didn’t want to know anything. “It’s against my religion,” I told her. “Besides, according to astrology, I’m a Virgo. And I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous.” In truth, the only thing I had ever consulted was the Farmer’s Almanac.

She thanked me for the information and asked the same of my husband, who gave her his information with a large dollop of skepticism. The next time I saw her, she said, “I promise not to tell you anything, but… You’re a Leo. You were born a half hour before the cusp. And wow, are you a royal Leo!”

I would later learn she was referring to my 10th House Leo Sun/Mercury conjunction with the fixed star Regulus, a royal star that confers great dignity and honors.

It wasn’t until I was having marital problems that my curiosity was piqued. I’d become closer friends with the astrologer. One evening, as I poured out my heart to her about said problems, she started talking about my husband as if he were a long-time friend. She knew things about him that she couldn’t possibly know as she had spent so little time with him. I asked her how she knew all these things. She replied, “Because I have his birth chart, my dear.”

I decided then and there: to hell with whatever Jesus-reasons I had harbored in the past. I needed to have this tool STAT. It might save my marriage AND my sanity. That was when one of the most fascinating journeys of my life began. I discovered a lighthouse in the darkness of human nature, a powerful tool to not only understand myself and the people around me, but to peer into the mists of the future with spectacular results.

The marriage failed. But my sanity and life flourished.

A few years later, I began to cast charts professionally. However, that took away from my writing time, so it was short-lived. Besides, people only came to me when they were in trouble. And 99% of the time, they knew exactly what their problem was. I had almost nothing to tell them that they didn’t know except, “This too shall pass.” They didn’t need me to tell them that. All I could tell them was when it would pass. Approximately, anyway. Life’s experiences linger with us. We process them and move on. Nothing simply disappears.

But I’ve seen things. Amazing things. If I lost touch with a friend, I would check his or her chart. I cannot tell you how many times I saw a troublesome or jubilant transit that triggered a phone call. Sure enough, I even had the details right as to what was happening. I predicted great successes for friends. I predicted a friend would win a Tony award against all odds. I sometimes had trouble reading for lovers, however, because I was too close to their charts. For example, I saw in one boyfriend’s chart the day he would be getting married. He did get married that day — just not to me. For myself, I could see when I’d get good news about publishing, a fun gathering, or an opportunity. I could brace myself for bad news that I saw a mile off, reminding myself that I’d weather it with plenty of rest and chocolate.

You can be as skeptical as you like — and I would prefer that you were.

It annoys me beyond words to see this half-assed shit that passes for astrology spread around the Internet by people who don’t know their Moon from Uranus. They tell their friends to fret about Eris transits (are you fucking kidding me?) and blather at length about how the Moon is in Aquarius and Mars is crossing their ascendants and OMFG my hair is on fire. They are amateurs. They have no idea what they are talking about. The bullshit they spew tarnishes the people with real talent, knowledge and skill. No one should listen to most of what they see or read online about astrology. It’s garbage. So, please, be skeptical — for this reason and many more.

For me, a good astrological reading is like a weather forecast. It helps me prepare for the bad times and anticipate celebrating the good, giving me something to look forward to.

The problem is that lately all I can see is the bad.

When the good transits come along, nothing happens. Nothing. It’s like a bright blue sky on a chilly morning. The sun shines but without warmth. The only time something happens is during a typical “challenging” transit. It’s like only half of my spiritual spark plugs are firing.

And that is just fucked up.

Two particularly troubling transits are headed my way just before Christmas of this year, continuing through January. They are potentially devastating, perhaps to my physical person. For whatever reason, I anticipate the worst. My peace of mind has fled. I have nightmares about these damned transits. I’ve never experienced this before. Ever.

Even worse, I realize now that I am forever living in the future, never the present. If I’m not wracked with worry about a future event, I’m constantly looking to tomorrow for relief from today’s unbearable moments. And there have been a great many such moments this last year.

“Perhaps a wiser eye would be able to read tomorrow in tonight’s stars, but where is the fun in that? It is better not to know. Better to be alive in the Here and the Now–in this bright, laughing moment–and let the Hours to come take care of themselves.”

 Clive Barker — Facebook, August 11, 2013

It’s really no way to live. How can I make the best of the moment when I am constantly trying to escape to a later one that promises to be better? And then, more often than not, it isn’t.

Better people than I have mastered this problem. They are more resilient, more able to be present. They can look ahead and remain unflappable. I, however, can’t.

“If astrology is as accurate as you say,” you might be thinking, “how can you possibly give up your superpower?”

For me, the true superpower is the ability to decrease my daily anxiety. I’ve stepped away from the ephemeris for almost a month now, and I can say with certainty that it’s easier to live with uncertainty than certainty. I can now devote my full energy to my writing, to the laughter that Clive describes. To craft each moment so that it sings. Finding peace of mind is a superpower, one that will go a long way towards improving my health.

And somewhere along the way I’ll rediscover the joy of surprise.

(Curious about what happened? Read “The Reasons Might Surprise You: A Follow Up”)