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Seeing Stars

Why I Can't Resist Reading My Horoscope

Every month I wait patiently (well, sometimes not so patiently) for Astrology Zone's Susan Miller to reveal what's in store for me. And I eat up every word of her monthly predictions as if they are completely true. Because they totally are.

I'm a recently converted Susan Miller reader, introduced to her addictive forecasts in early 2009 by my yoga-teaching roommate Meagan, who, besides being a dear friend and fellow writer, taught me about many new age-y things like neti pots, Stevia, kirtan chanting and tarot cards, in addition to religiously reading horoscopes.

At the start of 2009, Meagan warned me that, according to our chart, we Pisceans were about to have an incredibly difficult year. While I was skeptical about these readings — I mean, what could this Susan lady really know about my life? — I couldn't deny that 2009 was already starting out rather poorly: Just before the year began, I'd broken up with my long-time college boyfriend, and, as I dealt with the aftermath of that situation, I'd cleverly rebounded to an emotionally unavailable guy in my grad school program. (Smart!)

As the 365 days of our astrologically challenging year passed, Susan basically became our third roommate — text messages reading “Did you read what Susan said?” were not uncommon at the beginning of each month, and we'd cite her wisdom in the face of both triumphs and tribulations.

While every year has its ups and downs, 2009 was unlike any other. Though some of its downs were self-inflicted, some were not. My maternal grandma and my uncle, who had been battling cancer, both passed away. I lost my steady teaching job.

But! Susan said that 2010 would be a drastic departure from the ire of its preceding year. She was right, and, oddly, some of 2009's pitfalls paved the way: No longer teaching, I landed my dream job as Glo's Relationships Editor. I also established a too-good-to-be-true relationship with an amazing guy, whom I met while attending a party with Mr. Emotionally Unavailable.

Unlike fellow Fish and hardcore horoscope devotee Meagan, Mr. Amazing Guy Boyfriend is skeptical when it comes to horoscopes. As a math-and-science engineer genius, he thinks they're, well, total crap. (But, in true 2010 spirit, he says so lovingly, humoring me as I read him his daily horoscope from one of my three astrology iPhone apps — and listening patiently as I relay our zodiac-compatibility love matches, from both of our signs' perspectives.)

However, his doubt isn't completely unfounded. After all, the beauty (or, for him, the frustration) of following horoscopes, or using tarot cards or doing palm readings, is that the predictions are often so vague you can apply them to nearly any situation.

I asked holistic doctor, astrologist and author of Elemental Love Styles, Dr. Craig Martin, why then, without concrete answers, are these predictions so irresistible? “Horoscopes are not only fun and wildly uncanny, they open up a window to the possibility that we are noticed, understood and cared for,” he explained. There was comfort in knowing that the stars could be behind 2009's constant slew of bad news, that my girl Suze was looking out for me.

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And it's that very vagueness, of which my darling boyfriend is suspicious, which keeps me coming back for more. Mystical predictions can ambiguously reinforce what we already know, but, in some cases, are too afraid to admit. For instance, I knew that my "relationship" with Emotionally Unavailable Guy was anything but, yet I just couldn't walk away. In fact, it took a tarot card reading Meagan performed at our apartment one night to finally prompt me to break things off. For some reason, it was easier to rely on those cards to tell me what to do, than it was to trust my instincts.

Luckily, my reaction was only partially insane. “We love horoscopes because they speak to our sense of mystery and the unknown,” Dr. Craig says. “In some way they help us feel that we are guided by unseen forces — and that those forces are protecting us from the bad things and steering us toward the good.” In short, a premonition can nudge us in the right direction.

Horoscopes can also help harness that power of positive thinking and manifestation made popular by the book The Secret: If you believe good things will happen, your positive state of mind then influences your actions and — voila! — you end up make those good things happen for yourself.

Not all horoscopes are positive, but when they are, the prediction can become a light at the of the tunnel. Perhaps in trusting that 2010 would be great, I was able to believe in myself — not only that I deserved a break after the previous year (as Susan said I did), but that a drastic change was possible.

Horoscopes plant ideas — then, it's up to us to act upon them. Today, mine says: “You are very energetic and self-willed during this time period.” And you know what? Upon reading that very sentence, I'm kind of starting to feel a little determination take root. Sure, it's vague. Sure, I have no idea where I will channel said determination … but I'm excited to find out where it might take me.


  • From Aquarius (shown here) to Pisces, there's something to learn about every sign, on any given day.

Seeing Stars
Why I Can't Resist Reading My Horoscope
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