black witch: more than your sun sign

February 4, 2011

I’ve mentioned in my earlier wordpress column Baby, the Stars Shine Bright! that I’m a bit of an astrologer – as in, I study astrology, its functions, astronomy and the background of why things are the way they are. (Also, I would like to plug the free Android app Google Sky Map for all your astronomy needs!) Now, I love astrology, even if I can be a bit derpy sometimes in remembering the signs in perfect order after learning pretty much all else about them.

An astrologer pet peeve of mine – my deco’d soapbox, so to speak – are horoscopes and people who judge everything on sun signs (the sign you’re asked when someone goes, “What’s your sign?”), otherwise known as pop-astrology. Goodness, is it stupid to hear someone go “I’m an Aries! I’m fiery and a natural leader!” because often it means: “I’m a complete jerk and you all have to deal with it because this flimsy fact I read on Twitter gives me complete and total license!” Also, the very same people who may ask me for my sign and decide they know all about me jump at the very mention of divination and witchcraft or better yet, their eyes glaze over when I talk about actual astrology.

“Alright, astrology isn’t a cake walk, I get it,” you may say. “Seems easy to me tho.” Don’t it? Well, in learning astrology kinda seriously (or seriously enough to go beyond spitting some “I’m an Aries” nonsense) here’s what you need at least some of a grasp of: astronomy, mythology, psychology, sociology, a healthy bulls**t radar, skepticism and a little history wouldn’t kill you either. There’s a reason Cancer is considered a crab, a turtle and even a cat and why it is seen as a water sign and cardinal. Also, there’s a reason every person invested truly in astrology rolls their eyes and lament providing an explanation every time Ophiuchus gets mentioned. (Such as my last Ask Black Witch, complete with links.) In addition, it is perfectly healthy to wonder if people are acting within their signs because that’s what they’re told or if their sign actually describes, not define, them. The recent Ophichus flare-up should cue you in when you hear someone go “I’m not a Cancer anymore? Am I still sensitive and emotional?” (Yes, dimwit, you are. It’s called a “personality”; astrology is usually reflective, not determinate.) These people should help you out and I would tell you how to really mess with them but that’s probably not very nice of me.

Compatibility, work, whatever, can’t be told by one planet which demonstrates only one thing and one thing only. It can’t tell me how you are with your family, money or future. There are whole planets and houses (fractions of the sky and pie slices on a natal chart) spelling all that out. And that’s even if you resemble your sun sign, some people don’t because of something else that’s going on in their natal chart.

This takes me to horoscopes. I personally can’t stand horoscopes because A) people eat it up like candy and then relay said nonsense to me B) It’s so broad and incorrect how could you take such a thing correctly or seriously? Makes me wonder.

Alright, lemme try something. I’m a sun in Cancer so lemme try my horoscope from three places and we’ll sum them up, yeah? On this day of January 29, 2011, here’s my horoscope:

Astrology.com: Coworkers need your help today — even if you’re miles from the office. It’s one of those times when you can make a huge difference just by checking in. They are sure to think you’re a mind reader!

Horoscope.com: Information received through dreams and visions could trigger sudden psychic revelations of solutions to problems you may have been mulling over for weeks. What you realize is likely to clear up any difficulties and pave the way for success. The emotional release could have you feeling like a heavy weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Obey your impulses, and get to it.

MSN Astrology: (They asked me for my birthdate) Daily Planetary Overview:
The Moon in Sagittarius conjuncts Venus this evening, bringing a happy, optimistic feeling to relationships. If you’ve given up hope of ever meeting anyone or have doubts about a current relationship, now is the time to get back into the swing of things. This planetary combo is perfect for partying!

Your Horoscope – Today, Jan. 29, 2011
Fundraising activities of a group with which you’re affiliated are generally going very well, but today you’re likely to find that things seem to be stalled. Checks may not come in the mail, important people don’t return your phone calls, someone doesn’t show up to do the job at hand. This situation is frustrating, but it probably won’t last past today. By tomorrow you should all be your busy selves again. Hang in there!

Lookin for sites that have horoscopes was actually harder than I thought. I haven’t checked my horoscope since God/dess knows when so when I started, it was very much a moment of, “Alright! Find my horoscope! Easy as pie!…Uh, where do people read their horoscopes?” I thought of some pretty good basics such as MSN horoscope and astrology.com. After asking friends, thinking for a bit and then using Google, I found Horoscope.com. All the sites I went to basically were girly with big letters, vibrant layouts, filled with cute and adorableness. It’s like they’re practically hardball pitching to girls…ick. Almost made me feel bad for guys who read at those spots because it kinda insinuates that only girls concern themselves with the stars, very ditzy girls at that. It’s very hard to take these sites seriously. I know I don’t but I’m sure there are plenty out there who do.

How did these readings fair? None were the same exactly. Astrology.com looked at me from a worker’s perspective (concern only my “workplace life” not my life as a whole), Horoscope.com pitched at the “intuitive Cancer” perspective, MSN Astrology attempted to be personal but still refer to my work life and some of my social life. Were they right? Not incredibly:

Astrology.com: Did I check in? Nah, I slept in and the sky hasn’t fallen yet. Who am I? Mama Bear? Ah, no. I don’t care if folks think I am a mind reader or not, if people want my help, they know how and where to hit me up. This reading plays on the fact that Cancerians are suppose to be very familial with those that they work with, are social with, live with and interact with. Not always true for every Cancer. I do like to help people but there’s no “S” on my chest anywhere.

Horoscope.com: I am intuitive, yes, buuuuut these people make it sound like my life is an episode out of Medium. I had a few weird dreams but I think they had more to do with the fact I was watching music videos late at night while eating nearly a bucket of cookie dough ice cream (my favorite) and being completely distracted by my computer so I guess I wound up taking my busy mind to bed with me. What did it make me realize? Stop eating a near quart of cookie dough ice cream at near 6 AM in the morning and dear God does modern day music videos suck. But that wasn’t a psychic revelation, it’s a revelation I always had and usually ignore when I feel like it. Nothing groundbreaking here, just some bedhead and a tummyache.

MSN Astrology: How nice of them to take down my birthdate and use that…I think. If they’re going to talk about how the current astrological forecast is going to affect me, they should keep in mind my actual natal chart. I’m not going to simply go out and party because of a momentary positive placement between two planets. A placement between moon and any planet is not going to last long so why should I care about this one? Plus, relationships? Um, I have a Venus in Gemini but what about my Cancerian Mercury in retrograde and the fact I like quiet when I want quiet and loud when I want noise? The planets are always moving, I’m not going to concern myself with this one.

I’m not doing any fundraising stuff, either. Unless Afro-Punk is doing something I don’t know about, this is a stretch. So far, everything is its normal self, including any waiting period I am going through right now but part of that stems from my laziness.

Staying on the same track of Cancer being maternal, emotional, feminine and perhaps needing a cake to keep sane, these sites are generalizations of Cancer. See, I am a Cancer in three planets (Sun, Mercury, Mars) but I’m not exactly motherly always – I’m quite a prickly shoulder to lean on sometimes. I am pretty emotional and intuitive but I have heard of this awesome counter balance called “Logic”. Cancer is a work zodiac (a zodiac that is affiliated with business and money) but these readings never really hit home for me or what I’m currently dealing with. The only way to connect with these horoscopes is if I were working with others, taking a closer look at my dreams (and if I were a total noob with dream interpreting, wind up making a mountain out of a mole hill) for the key to the problems that I supposedly have and reach quick success thereafter, and to look for all the current discrepancies in my life. In other words, I’d have to play along, even if I have to use some make believe.

A good horoscope reading looks at the natal chart and the current astrological weather but that’s a really hard job to do because it’s so personal and horoscopes have to satisfy crowds, not individuals. That means you need a version of astrology that’s really dumbed down and easy for mass consumption. What comes out of it? Pop astrology and people running around thinking they know the zodiac when really they know a very infinitesimal amount and barely any of it truly applicable.

For example, a good horoscope reading would make mention that my Jupiter is returning (I’m a Jupiter in Aries, 8th house) and that this is probably a good year to start things because the current Jupiter is in not only a cardinal sign but the start of the zodiac itself, which works positively with the expansiveness of Jupiter, not to mention it is a natal return for me. A good horoscope would include my houses, keep my retrogrades in mind, remember the placements of my birth chart and how it all applies to the placements, houses and retrogrades of now. The only way to get that really is with either a really good computer program, have a personal astrologer on speed dial at all times or eyeball what the astro-weather of today will hold for me – which is what I do when the feeling moves me and I decide to amble over to alabe.

What about other folks who follow horoscopes religiously? Don’t take them so seriously – or better yet, don’t read them at all. These horoscopes can’t truly help you with your life because it’s not geared specifically for you, your problems, your life or even your temporary situations. Life is going to be life, these astrologers are just throwing out ideas but there’s no promise any of these ideas are going to help you, that’s why horoscopes are regarded as entertainment only in some publications. If you feel the need to look to the stars for answers, just learn astrology for yourself and know that just because you know your Mars sign finally doesn’t mean life will be any easier to control. It’s good to have guidance but live life for itself.

As some of have attended or are aware of, I had an impromptu Black Witch Ustream chat last Friday. It was really fun but it also was not recorded so I am very sorry for those who missed out. I still plan to have two official yearly Ustream chats for the column, one for Halloween and the Black Witch anniversary, but I think these random Ustream chats are certainly fun! I can’t promise I’ll be recording each and every one, only when the mood strikes me, but I can promise you that they will be random and unpredictable in timing. I’ll advertise on Twitter, the Black Witch Fan Page and on the Black Pagans group at Afro-Punk at least twenty minutes to a half hour before broadcast time. Be there or be square.

What was happenin on the Black Witch wordpress that you missed? An Ask Black Witch installment where I answered a question of “Do you have to believe in a God or Goddess to be a Witch or Wiccan” along with a dream the inquirer had and my answer to the general question about the “13th zodiac” Ophiuchus. Check ’em.

Gotta question? Fan mail? Hate mail? Thank you notes or whatever? You know where to hit me up: email (thisblackwitch@hotmail.com), twitter (@thisblackwitch), Black Witch Facebook Fan Page (I’m still thinkin of what to do once it hits 100. Perhaps a divination giveaway a la Samhain Pickers? Maybe so), you can comment here or submit a question to the Ask Black Witch submission form.

Hey! Maybe y’all would like to use QR readers to submit instead! Practically a staple in Lolita magazines such as the Gothic and Lolita Bible, QR codes are amazing ways to utilize your phone as a information sponge. Just scan with your camera and follow the link!


(Ask Black Witch Submmission Form)

Don’t think your phone can get the code? It doesn’t need to be a smartphone, download a QR reader for your phone right here. I love QR codes so expect to see more of them.