I am a Pisces.
This probably means nothing to most people, people who think astrology is make-believe. That the zodiac doesn’t exist. That the stars cannot predict your life.
But I am a believer. I read my daily horoscope like it’s a biblical passage, a magical message that will guide me toward my best life. I attribute my love of the beach and nature to being a water sign. I find that I care about people way more than they care about me, a common trait among Pisceans. I’m emotional, artistic, and I go with the flow. I’m a daydreamer.
I’m not the only member of my generation who seems to have become devoted to astrology. I find it’s nearly impossible to scroll through Tumblr or Twitter without seeing a zodiac-related post. My friends and I pore through the astrology items on Refinery29 and Astrology Zone at the beginning of each month, preparing ourselves for what may lie ahead in our social or professional lives.
I think, in part, our obsession is driven by the need to believe. We want to embrace something bigger than ourselves but find organized religion constraining. Growing up, I went through the required Roman Catholic sacraments and attended religious education classes and mass on a fairly regular basis, but nothing ever clicked for me. I began to view the particular religion in which I was raised as having values that contradicted those in which I personally believe. Sitting in a house of worship that didn’t support my right to my body, or the rights of others to love whomever they choose, started to feel hypocritical. At first I worried that there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t trying hard enough to “love God.” Eventually, I got it: Faith doesn’t have to be directly entwined with an organized religion. So now I treat astrology as my faith.
The other root of my fascination with astrology is a desire for control. I throw my need to believe and my intense fear of the future into the way constellations are organized so that I can predict what will happen to me. There is a safety in this, in something guiding me through what I should do with my life. I want the stars to tell me I’m going to get a good grade on an important paper or have my writing published. On some level, I don’t believe I can do these things on my own, so I ask the zodiac for help. When I succeed, I believe it’s because my horoscope said I would.
This inexplicable trust is freeing in a way that, I imagine, is similar to trusting organized religion. Religious prayer, for example, is often described as “offering up your burden to God” or “asking for His help.” But I prefer astrology’s specificity. It’s based on your birthday, on the alignment of planets at the particular moment you personally came into being, not on ancient texts that apply to everyone. It isn’t intertwined with heated political issues. It’s guidance rather than instruction.
My belief in horoscopes doesn’t just direct how I go through life, but how I view my relationships, too. I want to be loved. I want to find a fiery connection with someone new or for someone from my past to shockingly re-enter my life. I want to be cautious with my heart, but I also hate being alone. If my horoscope tells me that romance is on its way, I mark the recommended dates in my iCalendar and fully believe that when Mercury goes into retrograde, I will find a boyfriend.
I keep dating Virgos because they’re said to pair well with Pisces. Even if we aren’t compatible, I make excuses to keep it working. He only talks to me on the weekends, completely disregarding me during the week? Not a bad guy, just a Virgo! My friends don’t like him? They just don’t understand the signs! He doesn’t relate to my obsessive creativity and compulsive sensitivity? He just doesn’t understand Pisces! I still believe all of this, even though no potential love interest of mine has ever followed the zodiac. I always think the next Virgo will be different, but they never are.
I used to blame my tendency to cry every day on being an emotional water sign, but then I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I still sometimes ignore texts from friends if my horoscope tells me I need to “take time for myself,” and I avoid certain social situations if the stars tell me I should — while also recognizing that doing so is part of my tendency to try to hide from my life.
These facts haven’t deterred me from astrology, but, rather, have caused me to place even more faith in it. I do see the problem with blaming my fears and problems on something beyond my control. But isn’t that what we all do — albeit in different ways? Although my horoscope isn’t always accurate and has caused me to make some ridiculous relationship choices, it has also helped to energize and motivate me. When the stars have suggested that professional success is on the horizon for me, I have felt encouraged to apply for writing positions. When Mars enters Pisces, which Astrology Zone suggested could mean that I would have a “wildly social month,” I buzzed with the anticipation of spending time with my friends rather than staying in. My horoscope has often provided the extra push I need to test my limits and challenge my boundaries.
I know astrology isn’t a Magic 8-Ball. I'm OK with its inability to predict exactly what will happen to me, and even with the times it lets me down. But ultimately, I’ve found comfort in the stars. Astrology encourages and motivates me to live a better version of my life. I'm inspired by the positivity and endless optimism of the zodiac. For me, believing in a world in which something good might happen on any given day is necessary escapism, an outlet for release from the unknown. I feel inspired by the idea that I could meet the love of my life at a New Year’s party, that I could do something creatively fulfilling that will give me a career boost, that December 19 might be a good day for me, that I should spend more quality time with my friends this month.
It may not make sense to others, but as I wander blindly into my future, I’m comforted to know I have the stars to light my path.
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