By: Julia Tayloe ’21 (she/her)
Taurus sun, Pisces moon, Scorpio rising
Typically, when I introduce myself, I include the fact that I’m a Taurus. This choice gets me a wide variety of reactions, but the most common is a polite, “that’s nice,” before we get to the productive part of our conversation. The basic premise of astrology, that the position of the stars and planets when you were born influences your personality, emotions, and relationships, is where most people check out of my rambling. It seems unscientific and superstitious. When I ask people about their chart, I feel like they imagine me looking into a crystal ball and spitting out whatever I think they want to hear. I understand the hesitation; in order to put weight into the stars and the ways they impact our lives, you have to be willing to suspend disbelief. But astrology is real or, at the very least, as real as we make it.
Astrology is one of the ways I tackle the questions about who I am and why I am this way. Taurus, my sun sign, is an Earth sign, which makes me grounded, laid back, and stubborn. I try to work on my stubbornness, and astrology helps me unpack why I’m so resistant to change. It’s easier to let go of my fantasy world where I never have to compromise when I have the support of other Tauruses who are working through the same thing.
I have a folder of memes saved on my Instagram about my chart, and sending targeted posts to my friends about their signs is one of my favorite ways to waste time. It’s always a challenge for me to take a step back when I’m in a disagreement with someone who needs some space to reflect instead of just shouting about their thoughts like I do. Looking at their chart, especially their Water placements, helps me to be patient and approach the situation more gently. Instead of treating others how I want to be treated as a Taurus, astrology enables me to treat others how they want to be treated. Astrology doesn’t govern me and my choices; it’s a tool that informs and helps me take stock before making my own decisions. Not everyone shares my belief that astrology is literal and makes people the way they are (but seriously, how else could we explain why, and I say this with love, every Virgo has a stick up their butt, and every Aquarius is like that). Whether or not the stars have the power to influence people, I make astrology real every day when it informs my actions or I use it to understand myself and others.
Every once in a while, I get a horoscope that changes my life. My Autostraddle November queer horoscope inspired me to write this article. It told me to check in to my deep reservoir of faith and to work on letting it flow out of me by sharing it. I’ve been, like most of us, feeling a little bit of despair recently. As a Taurus, expressing my emotions doesn’t come very naturally to me, so this hit home. Horoscopes can be pretty general; I think that makes them feel less special to some people. Personally, I don’t feel that way, and even though a Saggitarius could relate to my horoscope, it doesn’t mean I get less out of the message targeted at me. The more the merrier! After a long exhale, I felt like I had a new perspective to move forward with. Feeling so deeply understood in my flaws and strengths took a little bit of weight off my shoulders.
I’m not suggesting that everyone should become as obsessed with astrology as I am or identify with their sign as much as I do. However, I do think people are often too quick to write it off. Letting go of the idea that the only useful knowledge is scientific, academic, or Western European is freeing! Just because every element of your sun sign doesn’t reflect your whole self or that parts of other signs will fit you doesn’t mean you can’t learn a little about yourself from your chart. Even disagreeing with an element of your placements is an opportunity to understand yourself better.
Astrology gives us all a chance to reflect on ourselves and our relationships, and, at least for me, has been a great way to examine patterns I fall into and make a more informed choice about if what I’m defaulting to is really how I want to be. There are tons of other perks to learning about astrology: who doesn’t love reading about themselves or how other people perceive them? So, look up your astrological chart, or don’t. I can only make you do what I want you to if you’re a Libra.
Julia Tayloe ’21 (she/her) is a History major and Film and Media Studies minor from Arlington, VA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.