In early 2017, I became completely fixated on the movements of Jupiter. The planet was hurtling towards my sign, Libra, which, in astrology terms, meant that I would feel the influence of the “luckiest” planet in the sky for as long as it remained in that position (a year). And I really did feel lucky that year. I made friends and lovers easily. I met the person I am now engaged to. Every day I woke up curious and excited, the bright, expansive presence of Jupiter floating right above me like a 61.42bn km² talisman. Thank you Jupiter, I remember thinking to myself. You are my favourite planet in space.
My astrology obsession may have reached new levels that year, but it’s always been there. The instant I was born, at 6.36am, my mum wrote down the time so that I’d have an accurate birth chart (an insight into my character based on the alignment of the planets at my time of birth). Growing up, my grandma often read our tarot, the cards spread out on her soft, flowery bed, a vehicle for an unspoken closeness. And I had my own private relationship with astrology, too. Potential relationships would be vetted via star signs (I date Sagittariuses, not Capricorns). Life choices would be explained by the planets (no one goes out during Cancer season). And my conception of myself became hugely shaped by my own astrological makeup (a double Libra: charming when necessary, persuasive, more than a little flaky). In later years, I’d find myself scanning horoscope websites and checking astrology apps such as Co-Star and The Pattern daily.
But at times, my obsession gave rise to confusion rather than clarity. There’s a misconception, I think, that those who are into astrology believe in it like an evidence-based science (smug detractors love to roll their eyes at the notion of stars “predicting the future”). But that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of astrology’s purpose for many. Like praying, or any spiritual ritual, astrology is more about gaining a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. It prompts you to check in on yourself: what’s going on with me and why am I feeling this way? But if astrology isn’t serving that purpose, and is instead clouding your view, it can feel a bit like engaging in an unhelpful crutch, or avoiding the real issue in favour of an external, uncontrollable explanation. And, at times, that’s how I started to feel.
I’d shuffle and reshuffle my tarot cards, anxiously hoping for a different answer, or panic when I saw one of the more negative cards (“failure”, “cruelty”, “ruin”). I noticed the ways my go-to astrology apps began to negatively affect my thinking: if you open one first thing in the morning that says “you will find yourself at the centre of a betrayal today”, you’re probably going to feel a little suspicious of people.
Moreover, I began to feel restricted by old ideas of myself. Yes, I am a Libra, but I am lots of other things too. I can be decisive when I need to be (Libras are stereotypically indecisive), and now that I’m past my 20s, I don’t feel the urge to “people please” so much (another classic Libra trait). Where astrology was once an omnipresent and all-encompassing lens for me, I began to view it as a lens I could dip in and out of, like a telescope. It could be useful and fun, yes, but it didn’t need to dominate my entire life. And while I will always love and “use” astrology – it’s in my blood! – I had to give up its unhealthier, more compulsive manifestations in my life. Co-Star and The Pattern were deleted from my phone. I stopped checking and rechecking horoscope websites. I read my tarot every few months, as opposed to every day.
Perhaps astrology also has less of a grip on me now that I feel steadier. During major breakups or life changes, astrology became my everything. It’s been this way for my friends, too. I know people who have racked up hefty bills speaking to astrologers for hours during periods of romantic instability. Or people who’ve repeatedly read the horoscopes of their exes as a way to “find out” what they were up to. I’ve been guilty of this sort of thing too, particularly during times when I’ve felt helpless or untethered (my obsession with Jupiter followed the dissolution of a long-term relationship, for example). These days, however, I’m a lot calmer and more content. I’m not panicking about the future because I am enjoying the present. If I were religious, this wouldn’t be an era of daily prayer, either.
There will most definitely be times in my life when I, once again, feel lost and off balance. There will be times when I panic about the future, or question my choices, or wonder why certain things happened in the way they did and for what. And maybe I will lean on astrology again during those times. Maybe I will look up into the sky and wonder what the moon is doing right now, or whether I’m experiencing a significant astrological shift, or what the tarot cards are saying about where everything is going. Maybe astrology will once again take centre stage, as it has done in the past.
Or maybe I prefer to use different tools in my toolbox now. Life unfurls in ways we’d never expect, or even possibly predict. Right now, I’d like to keep it that way.
Daisy Jones is a writer and author of All the Things She Said