A Star Chart In Snapshots
a life of memories through an astrological lens
Lacey’s sun is in Gemini, meaning that she is clever, curious, and has a quick wit. A Gemini Sun makes someone highly energetic, but this energy can be scattered or even come off as flaky at times. Her Gemini Sun is in the second house, giving her a strong interest in maintaining an eclectic personal style.
A family trip to Mexico, the summer before seventh grade, open air markets filled with beaded bracelets and glitter covered seashells. In my pocket, a wallet bulging with pesos, exchanged at the airport counter from my carefully counted out allowance. “Remember,” my father saying, “that’s all your money for the whole trip, so budget wisely.” I’ve already spent nearly half of it on a woven poncho, unable to resist the bright jewel tones.
I’ll wear it on the first day of school, telling everyone how I charmed the woman who sold it to me with the conversational Spanish we all learned in the sixth grade. And I’ll bring beaded bracelets for all my friends, souvenirs from my travels abroad. I picture myself handing them out, having already tied the biggest one on my own wrist, a trend setter in conch shells and glass beads the color of ocean waves.
A person’s ascendant sign reflects their social style, how they present themselves to other people, and the types of first impressions they tend to make. Lacey’s ascendant is in Aries, which is associated with independence and blunt directness. This ascendant sign can cause Lacey to be impatient or impulsive, but this also gives her strength of will and self-direction.
An eighth grade group project, slimy tadpoles and plastic aquariums full of murky water. The smell of frog food pellets, balanced out on a metal spoon, splashing brown stains onto our lab notebooks as we crowd around to sketch the new buds of legs and bulging eyes. Kelsey G., refusing to take her turn to clean out the filter, gagging theatrically.
Confrontation, words forbidden in the classroom, stern words from a teacher. Two girls sent to speak with the dean, pouting recriminations and phone calls home. The next morning, I arrive early, determined to clean the filter myself, peering down at the little tadpole with a promise that I won’t let a prissy bully keep him stuck in filth. I name him Squeak.
Lacey’s moon sign, which will determine her sense of self and her personality when she is alone or feels safe to be fully herself, is in Capricorn. A moon in Capricorn means that the emotional self takes a back seat to priorities such as responsibility and rational thought. Lacey’s Capricorn Moon is in the tenth house, leading Lacey to seek security through success and personal responsibility.
Ninth grade, the first year of high school, wider hallways and bigger buildings, locker combinations to memorize and too many new faces to remember. In the spring, a special class, girls divided from the boys and shuffled into darkened auditoriums to watch videos about bodies, about change and desire, about eighties haircuts and cheesy jokes.
After school, I skip the bus and walk to the drugstore, its automatic doors welcoming me into the chill blast of air conditioning after a sweaty walk. I find what I’m looking for in the “feminine hygiene” aisle, carefully examine every plastic package and cardboard box, read the warnings and compare the ingredients. I pay cash, stuffing my purchase into my backpack. At home, I slip one individually wrapped tampon and one pad into each zippered pocket of my purse. When it happens, I’ll be ready.
Mercury connects to a person’s communication methods, both internally and externally, ruling over the way they connect with others and how they learn and process information. Lacey’s Mercury is, like her sun sign, in Gemini, making her intellectual, quick thinking, and unique. She likes to learn new things and can sometimes be distractible or unfocused. With a Mercury Gemini in her third house, Lacey is analytical and interested in understanding herself.
The sophomore album of my life: tenth grade, enough familiar faces to make it feel like home. Behind the auditorium, a storage room of props and costumes, handed down over decades through the under funded theater program. Greek columns with chipping paint, revealing chicken wire and styrofoam underneath. Cracked leather jackets, satin shoes with rhinestones set in yellowing hot glue, one stuffed dragon with a smell no one can place.
I drape ivy leaves over a cardboard brick wall, rip sheets into strips and knot them into toga-like formations, take a dull exacto knife to an old tire. At the thrift store, we look for size seven boots, a green table lamp, and an old fashioned bicycle. We spend two hours, ignore multiple missed calls from the director, and return with three lamps, no bicycle, and a garishly embroidered bathrobe.
The planet of Venus rules over love, affection, and attraction. Lacey’s Venus is in Gemini, giving her a romantic style that is multifaceted, dynamic, and can easily become bored. A Gemini Venus may cause a person to prefer witty flirtation over deep, committed relationships, and can make it difficult to be honest about strong feelings. Lacey’s Gemini Venus is in her third house, meaning that her “love language” is connected to sharing her knowledge and things she is familiar with.
Junior year, a discovery, something fluttering behind my sternum and down to my thighs. Distractions for wandering eyes, daydreams and imagined kisses. A senior boy with blue eyes and greased back hair, a beat up green car, and a voice like gravel. Excuses to hang out in the parking lot after school, hoping to catch a glimpse of him sliding into the driver’s seat, adult and aloof.
A girl, living a life I didn’t yet know was possible, buzzed hair and ink stained jeans, whistling through her braces and swinging a backpack on just one shoulder. Stolen glances across the English classroom, poems read aloud, doodling on my own denim. More boys, guitar players in skinny jeans, pot smokers in ratty beanies, names inscribed and crossed out across my adolescent heart.
Lacey’s Mars sign is in Pisces and in the eleventh house. Mars, often associated with war, relates to how a person takes action and how they direct their energies when pursuing their goals. A Pisces Mars in the eleventh house is a powerful combination, leading Lacey to a dreamy, intuitive, and cerebral style of action. She will focus her energy on friendships and social connections, drawing close to her community by sharing her hopes and dreams.
Summer camp, sun-faded bracelets and tie-dyed shirts, smiles captured on disposable cameras. After seven years as a camper, a triumphant return as a counselor, finally at the head of the table in a forest green shirt and a jingling lanyard. Early mornings, up at dawn to scoop gluey eggs and lead familiar cheers; and hot afternoons spent hauling coolers of melting popsicles.
On midnight before the final day, four counselors sneak away together, giddy with the rush of forbidden fun. We climb a tree to a hidden platform built of rickety boards, its location a secret passed down from previous generations of teens too old to be campers but too young to leave this place behind. Through the pine needles, the lake glitters in the moonlight. “I love you guys. I always will.”
Jupiter is the planet associated with idealism and personal philosophy. Lacey’s Jupiter is in Taurus, grounding her goals and perspective on life in a search for stability, valuing caution. A Taurus Jupiter in the second house leads Lacey to seek this stability through money and material possessions.
Gel pen signatures in glossy yearbooks, prom nights in first-time heels, graduation tassels dangling from rear view windows. That sense within me of a seed about to sprout, aching for new soil to test out its fast growing roots. Colorful college brochures, meticulously typewritten applications, envelopes opened with breathless anticipation.
A dorm room, cinderblock walls covered in slick white paint. Tape won’t stick, blue tack slides right off. Blank walls don’t look right, plain paint isn’t good enough. An afternoon spent with neon colored sidewalk chalk, smearing across the rough surface, inspirational quotes in block letters surrounded by geometric designs. That night, I sleep under a chalked-on declaration: SUCCESS IS A HABIT.
Also a social planet, Saturn tells us about how we set boundaries, what we fear, and how we understand our own limits. Lacey’s Saturn is in Capricorn and in the ninth house, meaning that she may struggle with a sense of personal responsibility and her own ambition, especially when applied to power and wealth.
My first resume, two tidy columns listing everything I’ve ever done, bullet points and perfectly formatted lines on a crisp white page. Interviews in a brand new skirt, the tang of anxiety just behind my tongue, fluorescent office lighting overhead as I take a deep breath and find answers to every question.
Finally, a signature on a contract, initials at the bottom of every page, cursive symbols I use to mark my claim, to declare: this is mine. A first paycheck, the thrill of it, grinning at the bank teller as I give the same signature, a triumphant flourish in ballpoint pen, loopy and scrawling and loud. This is mine. This is mine. This is mine.
Lacey’s Uranus is in Sagittarius, giving her a sense of rebellion and restlessness that she shares with the rest of her generation, since Uranus stays in the same sign for around seven years. Lacey, like others born in the same decade, will reject and question social expectations around philosophy, politics, and other cultural ideas.
Sunday afternoon, the basement classroom of a community center just off the highway, dull pencils and dusty chalkboards and linoleum floors. Someone much older than me runs through a powerpoint presentation on the rights of protestors, reviews the tactics and cautions when on the streets. Pamphlets with bullet points on how to speak with police, phone numbers for legal aid organizations.
My first time out, I bring a sign, but don’t remember to attach it to anything. Surrounded by a sea of posterboards firmly secured to yardsticks and garden pipes, I hold my sign up instead, my arms stretched high above my head, growing sore as I march alongside so many others, like minded and angry, passionate and heartful, as we fight for a better world.
A Neptune in Capricorn gives Lacey a strong focus on ambition and achievement, driving her to pursue success and take full personal responsibility for the outcomes of her life. Situated in the tenth house, this sign also provides Lacey with a clear vision for her ‘ideal’ life, which can lead to disappointment and frustration when this idealism clashes with the limitations of reality.
Real estate listings, sleek modern porticos and open concept kitchens, mortgages so high they seem like jokes. Late nights spent draped over secondhand sofas drinking cheap red wine, comparing dreams, spinning up tales of a future spent in comfort and community, luxury and love.
Instead, a small apartment, blinds that bend and a sink that leaks, highway noise a rush of sound all night. Thrifted designer labels with no walk-in closet to call home, IKEA trips for a coffee table to cover in aspirational catalogues, an early twenties life of pressboard and Goodwill and rent checks. In the mornings, with a full fridge and eggs frying on the stove, it feels like enough.
The only Scorpio in Lacey’s chart is Pluto, in her seventh house. This outlier of a sign makes Lacey especially serious and passionate, and intensifies the traits she gains from her other planetary signs. She will use these traits to transform herself and her life, pursuing relationships and accomplishments that transcend the expectations of others.
A scorpion on the tile floor, dangerous and graceful. Memories of a father’s admonishments, warnings about the venom, demonstrations for killing such a creature. I grab a heavy boot, wielding it like a weapon, ready to crush before I myself am crushed. Then, I see two raised claws, a being standing its ground, claiming its right to life just as I have, resisting that which would seek to obliterate me.
I put the scorpion in a glass cup instead, hold it up to my face and see the segments of its body, each with its own function, all knitted together into one life, self contained and distinct. I carry it outside under the desert sun, tip it gently onto the hot, dry earth. It skitters away, eight legs all carrying it forward, sure of its destination, a creature that knows who she is.