Horoscopes: Well Played Stars

As someone who receives daily emails with their horoscope, you may think I aim to indoctrinate you into the teaching of the stars. However, while Mercury has been in retrograde recently – for those horoscope virgins out there, I just want to stress that this is bad news – things seem to have been going swimmingly, no? Let’s quickly evaluate what’s happened since Mercury crossed into retrograde on 17th February. Just the minor issue of the coronavirus pandemic taking over the world, damaging the economy, closing schools and causing mass panic. But, of course, it must be a coincidence.

Astrology dates back to 1st century BC, with the earliest Zodiac found in Egypt. However, for whatever reason, it seems that now more than ever, people are turning to horoscopes to help them when at a crossroads. Or, perhaps, to deliver them with an explanation for why things went a certain way. But can we really trust horoscopes, or are they just a rather handy and reliable scapegoat for unfortunate situations?

When confronted with this conundrum, I decided to do a little self-reflection. Let’s throwback to 2nd March, for example. My horoscope email arrived, conveying a rather bleak outlook. I was confronted with the fact that ‘it might be hard to get to the root of a matter today, Gemini’. Gasp.

Reading this ominous statement at 9 in the morning with an overwhelmingly large and constantly growing to-do list, a knot formed in my stomach. Unsure as to where ‘the root of the matter’ was, I was nevertheless deflated. Despite this, I bravely read on.

The next line of my horoscope seemed more helpful, offering advice: ‘instead of getting stressed about it, take a long nap sometime this afternoon. Water your plants and read a book’. Brilliant. That’s absolutely right, no reason to stress. I shifted aside my work and thus any incoming deadlines looming in the not-so-distant future, in favour of a leisurely, non-uni-related book. As for the plant, you can’t water something you don’t have.

Nearing the end, the final lines of my horoscope revealed: ‘dealing with people on their own terms may prove extremely difficult. The other party might not be acting from a point of assuredness. Deal with them later.’ I re-evaluated my to-do list. I put aside the pressing need to email my striking lecturers. These replies would have to wait, because who am I to try and deal with people who aren’t acting from ‘a point of assuredness’? Perhaps this ‘assuredness’ stems from the strike itself. Another spooky coincidence?

Fast forward the clock to a long afternoon nap, leisurely reading and escaping into ‘some sort of fantasyland that takes you away from your daily life’ – as the final line of the horoscope would have it. I felt refreshed and renewed – and extremely well-rested.

I returned to the to-do list. Not one thing was crossed off. This was not a problem; however, I bet all Geminis had a tough day. Of course, not all Geminis were fortunate enough to take a long nap (a perk only students seem to be privy to) and to water said plants – assuming, of course, that unlike me, they own some.

Later that evening, one short conversation with my flatmates revealed that they had had slightly more productive days than me. Despite being awake for less than 12 hours, they seemed to have gone to the gym, written their whole dissertation, cooked a five-star meal, found a life-partner, discovered a cure for cancer and solved world peace. But, of course, they’re not Geminis.

Reflecting on this one day led to an inundation of new realisations. Horoscopes are fickle. They’re unreliable, untruthful, and procrastination-inducing lies which don’t serve any purpose. From being a firm believer in the stars, I had turned 180 degrees to complete and utter doubt. It was like flipping a switch, or taking off a mask, or having a personality transplant. It was that moment when it dawned on me: I am a Gemini, after all.

Well played, stars.

Emma Prentice