What happened when I took my horoscope's advice for a week
A broken foot led me to rediscover lost talents and find doppelgangers.
I'd been nursing a broken foot for about two months (I had a run-in with an elliptical machine – spread the word, light exercise is bad for your health!), and I was feeling disconnected. My world had become tiny, limited to a few rooms in my apartment.
I happened to come across Israeli writer Marallyn Ben Moshe's weekly horoscope. I realized something: I read my horoscope from time to time, but I always immediately forgot about it afterward and went about my day. What if I changed that? It would be, at the very least and very most, something to do. I decided to follow Tarot.com's daily horoscope (I'm a Scorpio) and actually take its advice for a week. Here's what happened.
Day 1: Wednesday
You are content to explore your feelings in the privacy of your own space today. Your emotional security is a top priority now and you might not be satisfied until you feel completely safe and sound in your environment. Thankfully, you can journey nearly anywhere you desire within the wilds of your imagination. Just don't forget to demonstrate your colorful creativity while your muse is close at hand. Harriet Tubman said, "Every great dream begins with a dreamer."
Fantastic, I thought as I read. I'd be staying in anyway, as usual. Let's see, colorful creativity ... I used to love painting, but I hadn't made a painting since college. After reading my horoscope, I had a sudden urge to make something grandiose, a masterpiece. Which was absurd, because I'd never made a masterpiece. Okay. No masterpieces. But I can make a digital painting.
I use a lot of photos from Israel's Hula Valley in my articles because the place is ridiculously gorgeous, and I suspected the valley would make for good inspiration. What do you think?
Day 2: Thursday
Speak from your heart today while the planets maximize the positive influence of your words. Even if you have felt unforgiving in the past, it's time now to reassess the situation. Relationship issues are best tackled with a sensitive and supportive approach, but behind the serious talk is your desire to bask in the glory of love. Be extra sweet to someone you cherish and the positive repercussions will ripple back to you quickly.
As I pondered my plan of action, my roommates had a different discussion: how to get Mike to feel better. My roommate, Mike, had been down in the dumps lately, meaning he spent most of his waking hours napping.
"Wait, this is perfect!" I exclaimed far too enthusiastically for the situation. "We can solve both of our problems! Mike needs to feel better, and I need to make someone feel better!"
"I don't know," muttered Mike.
"Please! I don't actually have to make you feel better, I just have to try. For my job. Please?" Altruism wasn't my strong suit that day.
After a long discussion in which Mike made it clear that he didn't want to go anywhere or do anything, he let me get all British about it and make him a cup of tea. That may seem like a small thing, but having a broken foot made it a complicated journey in its own right, and there was much falling-over-related merry to be had. In the end, it was not the tea but the schadenfreude that got Mike to smile.
Day 3: Friday
You're hoping to propel your life in a new direction today. You may choose to focus your feelings on a single person or one particular situation as you obsess about a specific goal. Unfortunately, everything seems to unfold too slowly for your taste. It's critical to modify your expectations and let success arrive at its own natural rate, even if it seems delayed. Make use of the extra time on your hands to attend to more details and improve the weak link in your chain before moving into the unknown future.
It's true, my plans unfold too slowly for my taste. At the rate my foot's healing, I won't rule the world for at least another couple weeks.
Attend to details. I considered just editing this very article I'm writing. Then I thought about editing the "South Park" script I wrote, but there isn't a single joke in there appropriate enough for this article, so ...
I looked down at my hands as I was typing and noticed the faded mehndi I'd painted on myself last Sunday. The henna marks looked like ancient ruins, half-covered in centuries of sand. But unlike most ancient ruins, these could be revived. They were details that could be attended to.
Day 4: Saturday
You may feel stuck as you attempt to separate your personal situation from the frustration and pain of the world. The important lesson buried here is simple: life doesn't always need to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You possess the incredible power to move boundaries. Even if you keep up with the news and passionately discuss current events with anyone who will listen, you still can receive great emotional pleasure from your one-on-one interactions. Think globally; enjoy locally.
The horoscope was totally calling me out. I tend to combine my own story with that of the world. I pondered this with my friend, Katie, in Prospect Park.
"Maybe the story of the world and the story of my life is the same story!" I exclaimed. I was pretty into exclaiming that week. "Current events are just stories we're in the middle of!"
But the horoscope was right: current events weren't really happening that day at the park. What really happened was that I sat on the sunny grass with a friend, and we exchanged ideas, minds reaching toward each other, sharing the same thought, for a moment.
Day 5: Sunday
Although you might not know how to utilize the information you possess, at least there aren't any questions about the validity of your logic today. Mental Mercury's flowing trine to powerful Pluto turns your mind into a steel trap and there's no escaping from the truth. Be as practical in your approach as you can; having all the facts in order minimizes your chances of jumping to the wrong conclusion. Nevertheless, your natural intensity is amplified and could scare others away now. Lower your voice and moderate your message for the greatest impact.
I told my roommate, Jason, about my story theory from yesterday.
"I don't think people like to think about that," he said. "I don't want to think about it. It makes the world seem like shades of gray."
"But it has colors!" I insisted. "All the different details are what make the stories interesting." Jason just shook his head. The horoscope, evidently, had a point.
So I rewrote Saturday's entry. I sandpapered the edges, taking out sentences like this one:
"Right now, I’m telling you a story about the time I went to the park with my friend and told him a story about stories. And right now, it’s you and me. You and me, in this article, and I’m reaching across servers and distance and time to tell you a story because I want you to know I'm here."
Way too dramatic, right? To lighten the mood, I present to you ... sand kittens! And a zookeeper who wears a peacock feather in his hat!
Day 6: Monday
Making your presence known in the outer world today is more important than focusing on the inner dimensions of life. It's not that your metaphysical journey is any less important; it's just that reality is offering you a chance to engage in a meaningful encounter that should not be ignored now. But don't waste your energy worrying about the wrong things. Just get busy and take care of the business at hand, even if it's the business of your heart.
Okay. Time to give stories and theories a rest. Real world, prepare to be my oyster. Or my Amazon delivery, which is both more applicable to my life and less slimy.
I wondered what meaningful encounters other people were having, so I asked on Reddit. The first, and only, response: "Picked up my guitar. She's always there for me."
There was something so beautiful, and yet so sad about that answer because it implied that someone else conspicuously wasn't there for Reddit's lonely guitar guy. Weird, I thought the whole point of being a guitar guy was avoiding lonliness. I guess that world's complicated.
I decided to jam with him in spirit. I climbed onto the fire escape and played my harmonica to the neighborhood like a bluesy Rapunzel, not yet having realized that "Bluesy Rapunzel" would make a great name for an all-girls blues band, or that "All Girls Blues Band" would be a great memoir.
Day 7: Tuesday
Your reaction to changes at work may be darker and more intense than anyone prefers, but it's not your responsibility to make others comfortable by hiding your needs. Vulnerable Venus squares ruthless Pluto today, requiring you to face feelings that are buried in the depths of your subconscious. Express your emotions, but do it kindly and without blame. Magically, you are an inspiration when you remain true to your inner experience.
Oh dear. I had to complain to my coworkers, then write about it for work. It was a trap.
At a Skype work meeting (I work from home), we considered writing about how Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are related. Apparently, Israel-based genealogy company MyHeritage found that they were both descended from British royals: John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and his mistress, Katherine Swynford. Gaunt and Swynford were lovers for years before they got married. Apparently, another British noble made sure that none of their descendants would ever claim the British throne (though he said nothing about the American presidency).
My coworkers dropped the idea, but I had an incredibly important question. And the horoscope bade me speak up.
"Ermagerd, d'ya think Clinton and Trump look like John and Katherine??!!" I asked.
As it turned out, John of Gaunt looked nothing like Trump. Gaunt was far too ... well, gaunt. But a Google search for Katherine brought me something pretty interesting:
Hillary Clinton as a high school student in 1965 and an engraving labeled "Katherine Swynford." (Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images and Wikipedia)
Uncanny, right? That face shape, those eyes ... Even their shoulders somehow look the same.
But alas. Some kindly folk on Reddit informed me that the Swynford's engraving was mislabeled ... That's actually Philippa of Hainaut, a 14th-century English queen. Which, upon reflection, is even more mysterious. Why does Clinton look like Hainaut? Does she just have a regal face? Or a time machine? And if she has a time machine, why doesn't she just play the stock market and get rich? I truly live in a world of mysteries.
Reading over my entries, I realized that, even though my broken foot was affecting me, it wasn't putting my life on hold. This week, I reconnected with painting, cheered up a friend, ruminated over a theory about storytelling, played my harmonica on the fire escape and discovered Hillary Clinton's 14th-century doppelganger. I felt a bit like James Bond each morning, waiting for my next assignment, each mystical daily order a prophecy that I knew would come true because I would make it come true.
Perhaps this period of stillness doesn't have to feel like waiting room. Maybe being away from the buzz of life was an invitation to listen to the soft music underneath. Or something like that. Wanna see more sand kittens?
Ilana E. Strauss is a Microsoft Word ninja living in Brooklyn. She’s a staff writer at From the Grapevine, who has also written for The Atlantic, Reader’s Digest, GOOD Magazine and the Washington Post.
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