I’ve always approached the zodiac with a skepticism that I reserve for psychics and the lottery. But at the same time, I’m very quick to read my horoscope whenever it’s offered (Glamour magazine, The Washington Post, The Village Voice…). Sure, I scoff over it if it doesn’t fit me and my life at all, but I keep reading it. I guess it’s kind of like avoiding walking under a ladder even though you swear you aren’t at all superstitious.
Anyway–I’m a Taurus. Grounded. Stubborn. Loyal. Bull-headed. Does this fit me? Yes. But I’m sure it also fits lots of people born in other months. I probably have other aspects of my personality that someone could say were perfect for a Capricorn or Leo or some other sign. But even as I write this, I have to admit I’m attracted to the idea that objects in outer space affect our behavior.
I’ve never known very much about astrology, but a super cool English teacher of mine did my birth chart in high school. I found out that the sign you’re born under is only one of the signs that affects your personality, and all the planets pull you in different directions. And the time and place of your birth makes a big difference. It was revelatory. Basically it told me that all those newspaper and magazine horoscopes are bunk. Kind of like Chinese fortune cookies, they regularly rotate through the topics of love and money, and advise fairly safe behavior (save your money, look before you leap). That doesn’t mean horoscopes aren’t fun, but I wouldn’t do what they tell me–just like I wouldn’t bet my life savings on the lucky numbers I found inside a cookie.
I also found out from my chart that I was very much a Taurus, despite being born on the “cusp” of Gemini. She told me I had a strong “sensual” side, which was a little embarrassing to hear from my English teacher, but she also told me I’d be happiest in the service of others as a social worker or teacher. I guess I could argue that writers serve the public, too.
What sign is Lydia McKenzie in my book Posed for Murder? I see her as a fiery Sagittarius, really. Someone like my son, so her birthday must be coming up soon. She has some of my traits (stubbornness, intelligence, naivety, viewing the world in a slightly odd way), and some traits I wouldn’t mind having (braveness, adventuresome, always well-dressed). And she is someone who reads the horoscopes, even when she intends to do the complete opposite of what they advise.
So—what’s your sign?