Written in the stars?

Written in the stars?

Today is my birthday.  If our destiny is written in the stars mine was sealed fifty odd years ago when the Sun, Mercury and Venus were in Gemini, the Moon was in Taurus and Libra was ascendant.

That makes me a Gemini.  It means that I have truck loads of brilliant ideas but am prone to changing horses midstream; I’m not all that good at finishing things.  It also makes me charming, generous, witty, logical, adaptable, talented, friendly, open-minded and playful.  Or, to look at it another way, unreliable, superficial, fickle, deceptive, flighty, whiny, self-absorbed and gossipy.

Of course, anyone with half a brain knows there’s nothing in it.  There’s no empirical evidence.  It’s completely irrational.  And yet who hasn’t, from time to time, turned to the heavenly bodies in the hope of finding out life is about to take a turn for the better?  As Margaret Atwood once said – on Start the Week, I think – why not take all the help you can get?

At the moment things are in full swing for Geminians, astrologically speaking.  According to Jonathan Cainer:

Mercury and Venus are gliding across the dance floor of the zodiac, whispering playfully as they twist and twirl. Using the power of imaginary amplification, let us listen in on their discussion. Why yes! It’s working. The two are discussing you – and they seem to be saying some highly complimentary things. Apparently, you have talents that you are not yet making full use of – and you have admirers whose interests you have hardly even registered.

Fasten your seatbelts!  Who knows what might happen if I finally make full use of those underdeveloped talents?  Maybe I’ll plant enough carrots to make eight bunches instead of growing eight individual carrots next time (novice gardener, I thought carrots grew in bunches).  Maybe I’ll publish a novel or – wait for it – my forthcoming poetry collection will storm the bestseller lists (apologies for shameless plug but while I’m at it, it’s called This is your Life and is due out in October or November).

Seriously, life is pretty good right now so I haven’t felt the need of any celestial help.  That’s how it goes.  Needless to say, when I did need it, when I actually consulted an astrologer (what can I say, things were desperate) there was no Venus and Mercury gliding around dance floors it was all Saturn’s in your eighth house, drone, you probably feel like you’re wading through a swamp.

Ah, Saturn – the old man of the universe, heavy and melancholy with his love of order, tradition, rules and regulations, intent on keeping us knee-deep in the swamp until we’ve learned whatever lesson he’s trying to teach us.

Don’t ask me what my particular lesson was.  What I mainly remember is a profound disappointment that the astrologer could have been a solicitor’s clerk in his flannel trousers and scuffed slip-on shoes.  His flat smelled of last night’s pizza.  But what on earth was I expecting?  Elizabethan astrologer and alchemist John Dee in his study, stroking his white beard and poring over charts plotted on tobacco yellow paper; a fire blazing in the grate, a celestial globe and copper astrolabe, a scorch mark on his oak desk from the time he conjured up the devil?

Not quite but really, if you’re going to go in for this stuff you might as well have all the accessories.  While I can’t actually embrace the belief that our psyches and behaviour are governed by the movement of the planets I’ve often thought it must be a tremendous consolation to have the conviction of a faith or superstition. But it’s the images, words and ideas that constellate around astrology I’m drawn to – medieval charts and celestial maps; gods, archetypes and magic.

Clearly, none of this is going to stand up to the scrutiny of scientific investigation but then I find bald facts rather boring.  And while I might be momentarily intrigued by what it means for Venus to be conjunct Uranus, I’m not sufficiently interested to take it any further.  No, I’m happy for the appeal of astrology to exist in a nebulous, liminal place, a place inhabited by mercurial things you can’t pin down.  Which, curiously, is said to be a typical characteristic of a Gemini.


~ by Lorna Thorpe on June 17, 2011.

3 Responses to “Written in the stars?”

  1. Lorna, your blog is beautifully written and illustrated (I’d have expected nothing less). I’m an Aquarian, which means we can be friends, as our star signs are, apparently, compatible. The relief!! We Aquarians are arty, crafty, loyal, stubborn, curious and open-minded. I can’t find any information on our vegetable growing abilities but the wonderful and multi-talented Aquarian poet Jackie Wills has an allotment….and I can vouch for the excellence of her spinach. Looking forward to your next book and hope you’ll do some readings in Sussex so we can enjoy your always delicious performance.

  2. Phew! As to readings, I’m hoping to have a Brighton launch of the new book so will keep you posted, or watch this space etc

  3. Lorna, it’s so good to see you blogging and sharing your voice with the world.

    What I love about these ideas – planets, celestical maps, images on tarot cards – is the incredible metaphorical power, the symbology, how just turning these ideas over in our minds can enable all sorts of other feelings and memories and understandings to emerge.

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