All About Us

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with a much-adored friend in Texas. She asked when my birthday was, so I naturally did the same. “So are you a Capricorn or are you right on the cusp?” I asked.

“Actually, I follow Vedic astrology,” she said. I quickly looked it up. Though the signs are the same, the dates are a bit different, and considered by many in the Eastern world to be more accurate. I quickly looked up my own birthday. Conclusion: still a Leo, and still with a Pisces moon, though my rising sign, instead of Cancer, switched to Gemini.

I’ve been interested in and drawn to astrology since my early teenage years. At different points in my life, I’ve both embraced my fascination and shunned it, keenly aware of the improbability of being able to reduce all our various personalities and temperaments of the human race into a handful of categories. An agnostic that never misses reading her horoscope? Now, that’s just silly.

Then again, is there really that much variety when it comes to the human experience? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from social psychology, after all, it’s that we’re all much more alike than we think. And if there’s one thing that my daughter has taught me, it’s that we are certainly born with innate personality traits, a belief I tried hard to logic out of myself before I had her.

As I get older, I get more tolerant, even to “woo-woo” things that before would have me rolling my eyes to shield my discomfort. The universe is big and I am very small. Who knows what unseen forces are at work? “None” is one possible answer, as is “several” or “a whole lot.”

Astrology is ultimately about understanding ourselves. And the goal of understanding ourselves, I believe, is ultimately to forgive ourselves. It’s to see ourselves as the gods might, imperfect and vulnerable, yes, but also totally adorable and fascinating in our clumsiness and our moments of redemption.

I’m a Leo, and possess a lot of “typical” Leo traits. I both like and seek out attention and connection with others; I’m a natural performer. I secretly (alright, it’s not that big of a secret) think of myself as royalty and am surprised and hurt when not treated as such, which is a lot. I’m an extrovert: when I spend too much time by myself, I go dark like a computer that’s been left idle for too long. I’m generous and open and tend to accept responsibility for both good and bad things, whether I’m actually responsible for those things or not. I hate the cold.

I wear my heart on my sleeve as plainly as any puppy; whatever I’m thinking or feeling will pretty much always be apparent, as saying something that’s simply not the truth is nearly impossible for me (much to my dismay…I can’t help feeling I’d be much more successful if I could learn to be a good liar). And even at my age, I’m quite gullible…at least at this point I realize it, though, and actively choose to take the risk of being ripped off sometimes as an alternative to always thinking the worst of people.

My daughter, and incidentally my partner, are both Sagittarians under Western astrology — they actually have the same birthday! Neither of them, however, displays any of the characteristics of Sagittarians, who are known for being happy-go-lucky extroverted adventurous types.

First, they are both very clearly introverts. They are both naturally and somewhat intensely private, with clearly big feelings that get carried around underneath at all times. They smile when they have a reason to smile, and seem to have a natural distrust of others; whereas I like pretty much everyone immediately — at least until they do something to make me really, really not like them — they take their time to evaluate and then warm up to others. They’re not afraid to cut off those who show themselves to be undeserving of their attention. They are noble and loyal. They might enjoy playing and goofing around for a bit, but their natural “resting” state is aloof and serious. While they’re both wonderful people, gregarious free spirits they are not.

When my friend told me about Vedic astrology, I immediately looked up their birthday and was unsurprised by what I found: Scorpios. Of course! Both of them are Scorpios through and through. It fell on me like a revelation, and also made it necessary for me to do some adjusting of my assumptions.

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When listening to an astrology podcast this morning (about Leos…I’m kind of on a kick right now!), someone joked that Scorpios were all born with switchblades in their hands. There were a lot of these types of jokes, the assumption being that we’re natural enemies, or at least find each other to be off-putting. Sagittarians and Leos, on the other hand, are supposed to be natural BBFs. While I love both my daughter and my partner deeply, I’ve never had that particular kind of chemistry with either of them.

I’ll admit, I’ve always felt very wary of Scorpios, noticing plainly the degree to which their characteristics naturally clash with my own…oil and water, anyone? And it’s true, they kind of do. My aversion applies to actual scorpions as well: the first year I lived with my now ex-husband, he insisted on getting a pet scorpion. I was in love so ultimately let him convince me, but when he dumped it from the carrying box into the fishbowl, I cried in fear and disgust.

But we Leos are nothing if not expansive, right? There’s room for everyone. And besides — I loved them well before this “revelation,” and that love is permanently imprinted. They might be Scorpios, but they’re my Scorpios.

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There’s a new show about Wednesday Addams that’s come out on Netflix. I’ve often joked over the years that my daughter has a lot in common with Wednesday Addams. In addition to her somewhat flat affect — if I smile like an idiot all the time, she stares into people’s souls — even now, she has a deep fascination with the occult and begs me to describe, in detail, every horror movie I’ve ever seen (I do not). She’s already informed me that she thinks she’ll be “dark” as a teenager, and I’m basically mentally preparing myself to have Winnona Ryder’s Lydia from Beetlejuice as a daughter (I’m going to try hard to be cool like the ghosts instead of deeply annoying like her parents, and hey — I’ve always wanted to try painting a room black!).

And then a few weeks ago, I saw a drawing of Wednesday and her best friend and roommate on the show, a cheery, sunny, werewolf (the artist is @shaynedesu on Instagram, and is well worth a follow!). Immediately I recognized us: me and my kid. It could very well be me and my partner as well.

Astrology might very well be bullshit…it’s a possibility I’ll always leave open, as there are so many different ways to see the world. But oh, what an interesting lens through which to see things for a bit!

If you need me, I’ll be over here snuggling with my sweet scorpions.

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9 thoughts on “All About Us

  1. I’m as agnostic as you, Sarah. I also, though, agree that astrology (and tarot and runes and the rest) is “an interesting lens through which to see things for a bit.” I don’t want to seem effusively complimentary, but how did a young soul like you come to be so wise?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that astrology is fascinating, not only for personal possibilities of various descriptions of signs, planets positions and aspects etc, but also to the mundane astrology that describes major changes in history having astrological correlations such as Pluto with the chart of the U.S. I used to be into astrology in earlier years of my life….in the last fifteen years or so I just hold the information as possibilities rather than carved in stone. And Sarah, I think you may be an old soul instead of a young one πŸ™‚ I have enjoyed your writing in Mexico Daily and your emails. I’m also an expat writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You know I’m a fan. I like your writing and the topic is humorous, if nothing else. I’m going to ask my wife to read it.
    I’m a Virgo and was married to a Leo…… once upon a time. let’s go round as much better, much healthier.
    You right in the first person, which is generally a No-No, but I find it very forthcoming and giving.
    Yes, I see a lot of commonalities with you and everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

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