I had to look up the spelling of Sagittarius. Was it two Gs and one T or two Ts and one G? I have never had to type out my astrology sign before. The information is something that I know despite never truly seeking it out. Zodiac symbols and the arcane knowledge of astrology have seeped into our culture like some sort of pervasive fog. I know what my astrology sign is but I don't have a clue as to what it means.
In fact, I don't really know what astrology is in general. I understand that the time I was born has something to do with the position of the sun in relation to the constellations. I think. And that auspicious timing has bestowed upon me, from some unknown fount, a set of characteristics that may influence my life. Maybe?
I don't believe in this stuff. I never have. But as someone who is a practitioner of religion, I am used to doubters and non-believers asking me questions. So here are my questions to those who are astrologically inclined.
Sagittarius fast facts
Before I get to the asking, let me quickly grab the "official" information about Sagittarius from a reputable site. The first result on Google? Check. Astrology Zodiac Signs. Perfect.
Now quoting from Astrology Zodiac Signs (with commentary):
Element: Fire (as opposed to?)
Quality: Mutable (sure)
Color: Blue (Purple)
Day: Thursday (What?)
Ruler: Jupiter (Earth?)
Greatest Overall Compatibility: Gemini, Aries (My wife is also a Sagittarius)
Lucky Numbers: 3, 7, 9, 12, 21 (no 23? damn)
Date range: November 22 - December 21 (hey that's correct)
They don't seem off to a great start.
Strengths: Generous, idealistic, great sense of humor (Facts)
Weaknesses: Promises more than can deliver, very impatient, will say anything no matter how undiplomatic (ehhh, yeah that's pretty accurate)
Sagittarius likes: Freedom, travel, philosophy, being outdoors (true)
Sagittarius dislikes: Clingy people, being constrained, off-the-wall theories, details (Fairly accurate)
Okay, now this seems more on point. That is interesting. Though, there are only so many different kinds of personality types out there. I will admit, the personality traits seem pretty spot on.
How do the stars affect anyone's personality?
If I want to give astrologers the benefit of the doubt and say that, yeah, these personality traits seem pretty legit. In fact, I'll go one further, I will say that they are 100% mint and spot on. How does that happen? What cosmic force is bestowing such gifts based on the position of the sun? It is "the universe" or something else? Why is the cosmic division of personality and labor dependent on a twelve part astrological calendar?
And if I were to counter and say maybe this is just an example of the existence of a god or gods, why does that often rankle astrologists?
What's up with all of the fluff?
I know that each Zodiac sign comes with a set of qualities and personality traits that loosely defines those born into them. But where did all of this other stuff come from? Do most astrologists buy into the lucky number gimmick? What about the day of the week?
I could get behind the idea that some people embody a set of tropes and that those tropes can be found in greater clusters within certain months of the year based on birthdays. That is simple statistics. But why is my color blue?
Are Zodiac signs retroactive or prophetic?
I can take my symbol, Sagittarius, and look back on my life, my personality and cherry-pick the things that overlap nicely and conveniently throw out the rest. Religions and other schools of thought do this exercise all the time. In fact, it is quite effective in a lot of cases.
I also see that Zodiac signs are used a lot as a sort of fortune cookie. There are blogs and weekly strips that tell everyone how their symbol is going to affect their week and their long term future. So is astrology simply reading your birth sign and the current alignment of the stars or is it something more? It is a system of prophecy or a backwards looking system designed to pick out patterns from a chaotic world?
Admit it, it's about sex, isn't it?
Lastly, the more I look at astrology blurbs and blogs and articles the more I see that everyone seems very focused on sex. Great sex tips for you and your Ares partner. The signs are favorable, they say you're going to get laid this week. What to do since Mercury is in retrograde? That means it is time to find your husband.
I get it, sex sells. But is that all that this is, a clever way to sell sex?
Fortune cookies are gross. They're tasteless and have the consistency of cardboard yet people happily stuff them into their mouth after, a usually, great meal. Why? Because of a strip of paper in them that tells them their future or gives them advice. They eat something unappetizing for the promise of fun and secret knowledge. Is that astrology?
I am a Sagittarius
That is a descriptor that I will carry with me for the rest of my life because of the date of my birth. I can't change it because these divisions have become a part of the fabric of our society. People ask each other what their signs are and they come blurting out as easily as what their name is. There is a whole business built around the idea of astrology. It is weird, but does it really mean anything?
To some people it does and that is enough. At least for most things. Me, I don't really get it but I don't have to get something for it to be real or to make sense to some people.
If anyone wants to answer my questions, I will gladly read the responses with an open mind.
I guess that's the freedom-loving philosopher in me.