Mercury Retrograde Isn’t The Only Retrograde You Should Worry About

What looks and sounds like Mercury retrograde, but brings more drama and promises to solely wreak havoc in your closest relationships? Venus retrograde! That’s right, Venus, the planet of love, affection, harmony and values, stations retrograde on December 19 and will task us with sorting through unaddressed issues in our partnerships. This particular Venus retrograde happens to take place in serious-as-all-hell Capricorn, and the retrograde period lasts until January 29, 2022. During this retrograde cycle, Venus will make an intense contact with Pluto, a planet that represents destruction, death, the taboo, transformation, and rebirth. If it sounds intense af, that’s because there really isn’t an easy way to sugarcoat this celestial meetup–it will pack a punch.

It’s important to remember that retrograde periods really aren’t meant to instill fear or ruin our holiday season with a text from an ex, they offer us a chance to work through past issues, realign, and move forward with a more sustainable approach. Venus will meet with Pluto on December 25 (happy holidays, right?) and again on March 1. When these two planets align, themes of jealousy, manipulation, power struggles, and obsession bubble to the surface. Still stalking your ex with your finsta account? It’s time to quit it. Let’s take a look at how Venus retrograde will affect your zodiac sign.

Aries

Andy Cohen puts fingers in ears

Are you tired of feeling like others are meddling in your relationship? Venus retrograde is activating a part of your chart that asks you to think deeper about how you are perceived by others and how you want to be perceived. You may feel pressure from people who are constantly offering their, ahem, “insight” and “advice” about your relationship. It’s time to break free of any people-pleasing patterns and release the need for approval from others.

Taurus 

Kim Kardashian saying let go and let god

Learning from one another is one of the greatest gifts of partnership. Your Venus retrograde is more of a mental journey. Have you been standing a little too firmly in your beliefs and resisting other’s perspectives? You may find that it’s time to release the need to control conversations and let go of your dogmatic nature. Or perhaps it’s your partner who needs to be right all the time. Allowing for some humility and an open mind to learn from one another will make for a more solid foundation. 

Gemini

Gretchen Wieners you let it out honey

You like to keep it light and let most of your painful issues marinate under the rug. This Venus retrograde, if you’ve been avoiding intimacy and letting someone in, it’s time to make an uncomfortable change. Sharing your past trauma within a trusted partner where you feel safe is necessary for your growth. It can’t all be about Real Housewives of Beverley Hills this or Selling Sunset that. The more you avoid plunging into the depths of your psyche and past, the more it will harm your closest relationships.

Cancer

There’s no way around it—shit’s hitting the fan and your exes are knocking at your proverbial door, sliding into your literal DMs. This Venus retrograde lights up the area of your chart that represents committed partnerships. People from your past may resurface for a final showdown or “closure” conversation. If you’re in a healthy and steady relationship, this could also be a period where your partner may be experiencing a challenging situation and need a little more of your time and support.

Leo

How has your work been affecting your romantic connections? This Venus retrograde reminds you to consider your values when it comes to work/life balance. If you’ve been focusing too much on work and neglecting quality time with your partner or romantic interest, you’re overdue for a reset. It’s time to consider how you spend your time and how that affects your closest relationships. It’s not all about you, Leo!

Virgo

Reese Witherspoon asks, am I your woman?

Calling all situationships! If you’ve found yourself really connecting with someone but are craving some labels, this could be the time when you can’t keep it to yourself any more. It’s time to establish are we or aren’t we? How does this connection serve you and how does it harm you? This is a time where lovers from the past may also show up to make this emotionally heightened time that much more messy.

Libra

Cher Horowitz thinking hard in class with pink fluffy pen

Are you ready for the next step? You may be considering moving in with your partner or bringing them home for the holidays to meet some family. This Venus retrograde will have you contemplating the pros and cons of these decisions. Is this someone with long-term potential or are they just another tryst passing on by? Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the tough questions before agreeing to take any next steps. It’s likely there are some issues to be sorted through first.

Scorpio

Communication, or the lack of communication, takes center stage for you this Venus retrograde. What are you not saying that you deserve to speak up about? How does the way you communicate affect your partner? Communication styles vary, and it’s important to consider how you and your partner’s styles differ. Finding a healthy medium and confronting how certain words or tones actually hurt our feelings are all important conversations to have in a healthy partnership.

Sagittarius

Our values make up who we are, and you are one zodiac sign that wears them on your sleeve. This Venus retrograde asks you to take a closer look at your values and compare them to either your partner, or someone you’re dating or hoping to date in the future. What qualities really matter to you in partnership? What can you let go and what are your dealbreakers? If you’ve been avoiding an awkward conversation about something that really matters to you, it’s time to bring it up. No more Miss Cool Girl.

Capricorn

This is your cosmic reset—it’s time to move forward in a new capacity. This Venus retrograde is happening in your sign, tasking you with shedding layers of yourself from the past that no longer serve you. How do you want to live? What are your priorities? How do you want others to see you? How do you want to spend your time? This season is all about reconnecting with yourself. You are the priority right now in all of your relationships. Make sure you’re standing up for your needs.

Aquarius

What are some limiting beliefs and self-destructive behaviors that have been sabotaging your love life? (Yes, getting drunk and texting your ex counts.) This Venus retrograde is here to ask you to hold yourself accountable. Well, well, well, if it isn’t the consequences of your own actions. What can you release in order to let go of patterns that only cause pain over and over again? It’s time to plunge into your subconscious and do the hard work that you’ve been avoiding. Your partner and/or future relationships will be grateful for this increased self-awareness. 

Pisces

You have a large network of people who love you, like, a lot. Venus retrograde focuses on the area of your chart that holds friendships and networking. You may find that you meet a future lover through a friend, or perhaps you’ve been friendzoning someone with quality potential for fear of how effortless that relationship could be. Reinvest in your friendships and ask yourself if you’re feeling aligned within those relationships, as well.

Images: Gary Radler Photography / Stocksy.com; Giphy (12)

Here’s Which Unnecessary Pumpkin Thing You Need Based On Your Zodiac Sign

At the risk of sounding like a jaded, overly-nostalgic millennial, I’d like to share this hot take with you: fall was better when the only pumpkin-themed things we lost our shit over were Pillsbury’s Ready to Bake sugar cookies with a jack-o-lantern design. In the last few years, we’ve gone from being a society that spent a little too much money on the occasional Pumpkin Spice Latte to a full-fledged cult that will go primal over anything that is even vaguely marketed as fall-adjacent. If you’ve recently started to feel suffocated by the volume of pumpkin things available for purchase at every retail store in the country, I’m going to do you a favor and narrow it down for you. Here’s which completely unnecessarily pumpkin flavored (or scented) thing you should purchase, based on your zodiac sign. 

Aries: Pumpkin Spice Scented Build-A-Bear

As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries is both aggressive and childish, which means you’re always the first friend to suggest pickleback shots for the table at a nice sit-down dinner. This insane pumpkin spice scented (yes, scented) Build-A-Bear is right up your alley, because there’s truly nothing quite as on-brand for you as buying a scented plush toy and insisting that it’s innovative.

Taurus: An Absurdly Sized Vat of Pumpkin Body Wash

Picture this: you’re walking down the extremely cursed beauty aisle of TJ Maxx (I say this because I saw Rae Dunn nail wraps there last week), when you set your sights on a 32 ounce bottle of pumpkin scented body wash. Your roommate politely suggests that you’ll never use it all up before the end of November, and you literally sprout bull horns from the corners of your forehead. By the time you get to the cash register, your conscience is whispering, “maybe this is a stupid purchase,” but ultimately, your stubborn Taurus sun wins again. 

Gemini: Pumpkin Spice Vodka

There is no delicate way to say this, so I do apologize, but Gemini… you are balls to the wall unhinged. Only you could let a trip to the liquor store for a semi-nice bottle of wine to pair with dinner go so far left that you end up walking out with a bottle of pumpkin Pinnacle under your arm instead. 

Cancer: Pumpkin Face Mask 

Oh, you sensitive, crabby little homebody. As the CEO of bailing on plans, there’s no better way for you to enjoy an autumnal scent than to slather a gooey pumpkin face mask all over your head while you watch Hocus Pocus for the 90th time this month. 

Leo: Pumpkin Spice Deodorant

They sell pumpkin spice deodorant? Who the hell would buy that? Oh, right. A Leo, otherwise known as the only sign with enough self-confidence to invite a stranger to sniff their pits when asked, “Wow! What smells like pumpkin?!” 

Virgo: Pumpkin Spice Dish Soap

Check in on your Virgo friends. In pursuit of a fall-themed impulse purchase that would make them feel joy, they ended up going the sensible route once again and getting pumpkin dish soap at Williams Sonoma, the second most adult store left standing in the mall, besides the place that sells geriatric sneakers. 

Libra: Pumpkin Spice Latte Nail Polish Set

Nothing screams “I’m a Libra!” quite like a manicure that not only matches a seasonal aesthetic, but also requires approximately zero firm decisions to be made. No one can tell me that this trend of painting every nail a different color was not created by an indecisive Libra who just slapped the four most fall colors on their nails and successfully angled it as an intentional look. 

Scorpio: Pumpkin Flavored Condoms That Don’t Even Exist

 

Remember when the internet thought that

What the pumpkin spice condom can tell us about strategies for effective debunkings: http://t.co/iDnJN92qs4 pic.twitter.com/mqv0BDRAec

— Emergent (@EmergentDotInfo) February 20, 2015

pumpkin flavored condoms were a thing? ‘Twas a cursed, yet unsurprising, day in history. An intense Scorpio would totally tell people they have pumpkin flavored condoms like, six whole years after that whole debacle, because they love to have weird inside jokes with themselves while the rest of us try to figure out even a shred of information about who they really are. 

Sagittarius: Pumpkin Toaster Pop

Sagittarians are always on the go, which means it’s next to impossible to see a snack labeled as individually packaged and go on with their lives. Pumpkin pie toaster pastries are exactly the kind of thing you’ll buy on a whim during a Target blackout, only to shove in your purse and never eat because you’ll realize that actually sounds disgusting as soon as you come to. Have fun picking those sticky crumbs out of the corner of your bag in three months when the packaging inevitably rips. 

Capricorn: Pumpkin Spice Hummus

Capricorns love to act like they’re so organized and disciplined, as if they’re absolved from all of the questionable things they do because they wrote them down in a planner first. Just because you’ve decided that you’re not like the other girls blowing paychecks on pumpkin stuff at Trader Joe’s that they’ll throw away as soon as they taste it doesn’t mean that the pumpkin spice hummus you impulsively tossed into your cart is actually a “healthy” purchase.

Aquarius: An Apple Cinnamon Candle in a Pumpkin Jar

Aquarians will turn anything into a conspiracy theory, even something as cut and dry as America’s obsession with pumpkin flavored things. If anyone catches one of these weirdos burning an apple-scented candle that comes in a jar shaped like a pumpkin, do yourself a favor and don’t ask them about it. Unless, of course, you want to spend 15 minutes hearing some ridiculous tale about why the government’s trying to control us via pumpkin spice fumes, and the only way to stay woke is to enjoy fall through less-popular, but obviously superior, apple scented things, instead. 

Pisces: Pumpkin Spice Eyeshadow Palette

Is your Pisces friend 30 minutes late to the cider tasting your friend group has planned at a nearby apple orchard? I’ll bet you $10 it’s because they’re at home watching YouTube tutorials, trying to create the perfect autumnal makeup look with a Too Faced Pumpkin Spice Palette in the name of their own “art.” 

Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.

Image: Sonya Khegay / stocksy.com; Amazon; Instacart; Walmart; Target (2); Drizly; Nativecos; QVC; Build-a-Bear; @emergentdotinfo / Twitter

Which ‘Squid Game’ Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign?

Netflix has done it again with its latest hit, Squid Game, which is trending on the streaming platform and also all over the internet. It’s like, you make plans for one weekend and suddenly you can’t keep up with the discourse on Twitter, Instagram, and in your own group chats. Life is so hard when you’re trying to stay culturally relevant. 

I decided to combine two things people can’t stop talking about, Squid Game and astrology, to bring you a breakdown of which character each zodiac sign would be. Full disclosure, I am only six episodes in, so these characterizations could be completely wrong by the last episode. And for that, I don’t apologize—there’s only so much fictional death I can take in one sitting. Another full disclosure, this will contain spoilers.

Aries: Jang Deok-su

Aries are known for their temper, and IDK anyone who needs anger management classes more than this guy over here. The guy is assertive, perhaps to a fault, and is definitely the leader of his little group—even if he rules mostly by brute force and intimidation. An Aries through and through, if you ask me.

Taurus: The Salesman

Patient and analytical, the salesman has some sneaky Taurus traits. He doesn’t flinch when slapping all the participants right in the face, and is totally unflappable. Taureans don’t like to be pushed, and I would not push this guy. And just like the bulls of the zodiac, the game presented by the salesman is the definition of all-or-nothing.

Gemini: Byeong-gi

A little obvious, yes, but also the most fitting. Spoiler alert, the doctor is completely two-faced, and sorry Gemini, but so are you. Geminis are extroverted and clever, similar to how the doctor is able to sweet-talk his way into the group of gangster types. And just like the doctor, Geminis’ downfall is that they’re nosy, just like how the doctor wouldn’t give up trying to find out the next game. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why he’d want to know… just saying, you know what they say about curiosity…

Cancer: Ali Abdul

Cancers are known for being one of the more loyal zodiac signs, and Ali is nothing if not loyal. I mean, he literally saves Seong Gi-hun in the first episode. He didn’t have to do that! He didn’t even know the guy! Too pure for this world. Pour one out for a true ride-or-die.

Leo: Seong Gi-hun

Leos have perpetual main character syndrome, and our man Seong Gi-hun is the main character, so there you go. He doesn’t have the biggest personality, but still, others are drawn to him, perhaps because of the warmth he shows towards his other players—like when he tries to learn all their names and actually get to know them. I mean, the gangster team wasn’t doing that.

Virgo: Cho Sang-woo

Virgos are anal and analytical, just like our good old friendly neighborhood embezzler over here. Always a man with a plan, Cho Sang-woo is the one everyone, even Seong Gi-hun, turns to to try to get them out of any given game alive.

Libra: Hwang In-ho

I realize this is a bit of a hot take, especially since I am a Libra, but if you think about it, it tracks. Libras are known for upholding fairness and equality, and I mean, that’s this guy’s entire gig. Plus, the dark side to Libras (in addition to being indecisive, which this guy is not), is that they can be manipulative, either wittingly or unwittingly. And it doesn’t get more manipulative than having hundreds of people drugged and taken to a mysterious location to play a series of games to the death! 

Scorpio: Hwang Jun-ho

Not going to lie, it was tough to choose a Scorpio between Hwang Jun-ho and Han Mi-nyeo, because the lady is a total Stage 5 clinger and vengeful when it comes to relationships (although whether or not she’s successful at vengeance remains to be seen). But, ultimately, Hwang Jun-ho is just as secretive (I mean, the guy is literally secretly infiltrating the game) and persistent, not to mention, as far as enacting revenge goes, he is the one really going to the extremes here and risking it all.

Sagittarius: Kang Sae-byeok

Kang Sae-byeok, like a Sag, seems cold and unemotional at first, because she sticks to herself (also a Sag trait) and doesn’t want to get involved with the whole mushy feelings aspect of the group. Cosmo says Sagittarius prefer to think rather than feel, which I mean, hits the nail on the head for our pickpocket girl.

Capricorn: Ji-yeong

Capricorns are the mature, responsible friend, which I’ve got to assume is Ji-yeong to an extent after growing up without parents (because she… uhh… murdered her dad, but still). Ji-yeong, like Capricorns, took a while to warm up to people and kind of seemed like a bitch at first when she went off on that one guy about praying, but by the end, she proved to be quite sensitive. I won’t spoil it, but if you’ve seen that episode, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I say she’s sensitive.

Aquarius: Oh Il-nam

Aquarius are kind of loners who are a little detached, and the old guy was a bit of a loner, even if it wasn’t by design. He’s upfront, like Aquarians—in the marbles scene, when he knows he’s being played, he says it. Aquarius are known for being innovative, which Oh Il-nam definitely is, particularly when it comes to tug-of-war. And like Libras, they care about justness and fairness, like when Il-nam stood up on the bunk beds during the nighttime massacre to beg everyone to stop fucking killing each other. (That last statement may not age well per the spoiler I accidentally read, but I stand by it for now.)

Pisces: Han Mi-nyeo

I mean, is there a more Pisces Pisces to ever Pisces on this show? Talk about emotional and impulsive. I feel like this woman is pretty much always screaming for one reason or another, so there you go. Not to mention, she was completely idealistic about her little tryst with Jang Deok-su. Lady, of course this guy is going to ditch you the second he gets a chance! Anyone could have seen that coming.

Images: YOUNGKYU PARK (7); Courtesy of Netflix (6)

How Your Zodiac Sign Will Handle The Coming Apocalypse

The end of the world—it’s coming faster than you think. Or about exactly as fast as you think, depending on how much you pay attention to the news. Whether it be via asteroid, zombie attack, nuclear fallout, delta plus, or climate change (some of these things are more likely than others), each sign of the zodiac is uniquely suited to battling the elements for survival. Except one. One is going to die. But at least now you know. 

Aries: Survival By World Domination

The year is 2035. The earth is a scorched desert, and the remaining humans have split off into vicious tribes. The world has gone Mad Max, and you’re that guy with the cage on his face. Aries will survive by using their leadership skills and ruthless ways to become the leader of a roving hoard of thieves and grifters. Just make sure to keep an eye out for Charlize Theron. 

Taurus: Build A Bunker

Outside may be a toxic wasteland, but inside your bunker you have everything you need to survive for a long, long time. Your hoarding ways have prepared you for this. And unlike those idiots in Bird Box, when you close your door to the outside world, you are not opening back up again, no matter how desperate the person on the other side sounds. Good thing you enjoy your own company, because you might end up the literal last person on Earth. 

Gemini: Hitch A Ride To Space

Geminis are blessed with the gift of gab, and when shit goes down, you will use it to talk your way onto some billionaire’s spaceship. Preferably Rihanna’s. You’ll use your knowledge of a little bit of everything to convince someone, somewhere, that you deserve to be on the flight to Mars. If only your exes had been so lucky… 

Cancer: Take To The Seas

Given the rising sea levels, Cancers have no choice but to go full Waterworld. You made your way to the disappearing coastline and took to the seas, Jack Sparrowing your own vessel around the ocean that used to be the Florida panhandle. 

Leo: Becoming A Cold, Hard Killer

The world has ended and you, my friend, have fully snapped. Good. You’re a sharpshooter. You’re a master of martial arts. You have an eyepatch now, and nobody fucks with you. Your reputation precedes you across the land and other survivors know to stay away. Far, far away.  

Virgo: Be A Survivalist

Virgos are always prepared, meaning you’ve probably researched every potential doomsday scenario and have a rough plan already. You will tap into your deep well of knowledge from years of watching Survivor, binging Bear Grylls, and that time your boyfriend made you watch The Revenant, and learn how to survive in the wild while others perish. And people say reality TV isn’t worth anything. 

Libra: Does Not Survive

Libra…honey…you’re not gonna make it. I hate to say it, but it’s true. Between your indecisiveness, klutziness, and general good nature, you are just not suited to the dog-eat-dog world of The End Times. Best case scenario, you use your penchant for making friends to find someone who will take you under their wing. Then just like, stay indoors. Seriously.  

Scorpio: Become A Mole Person

Scorpios love nothing more than going deep emotionally, so it stands to reason that when things gets messy they would also go deep literally. When shit hits the fan on the surface, Scorpio will go underground like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, returning to the surface only to kick ass and steal pizza. Doesn’t sound so bad. 

Sagittarius: Go Out Partying

Living on a toxic dump planet with filthy air, boiling seas, and no happy hour? Yeah, no. That’s not your vibe. Rather than deal with all this “new world order” shit, Sagittarius will go down with the ship. Preferably with a bottle of tequila in both hands screaming something like, “come and get me, you zombie bitches!” It’ll be epic.  

Capricorn: Farm The Land

Looks like those hours you’ve put in cultivating your plant family were worth more than a few good Insta stories, because you’re going to survive by making like the ancestors and tilling the soil! Glamorous? Not really. The most viable way of survival once the mutants cut off the power grid and lay claim to the Northeast? Absolutely. 

Aquarius: Find The Cure

Aquarians love to think big picture, and there is no bigger picture during the apocalypse than the continued survival of the human race. When The End Times arrive, you’ll be the one who figures out how humanity can survive, whether it be by developing the cure for COVID-34 or by realizing the aliens can’t listen to country music. Thanks in advance! 

Pisces: Become A High Priestess

In light of The Great Fire Cloud Of 2037, you have joined millions of your fellow humans in becoming a devotee of the Church Of The Fire Queen, where you have become a High Priestess. You are fully thriving.

Images: VISUALSPECTRUM / Stocksy.com; Giphy (12)

The United States Is A Cancer And We Need To Talk About Its Astrological Chart

Dear America,

I know it’s unbecoming to discuss someone’s flaws for their birthday, but you are a Cancer and it really needs to be addressed. Does anyone know the precise time America was born? I’m really going to need to know its moon and rising sign to see how f*cked we are.

I tried to find out myself, but your actual birth date is contested (apparently the Declaration of Independence was written on July 2nd, approved by Congress July 4th, and the thing wasn’t actually signed until August 2nd?!) so I’m just going to have to assume you’re Cancer on Cancer on Cancer on Cancer with a little bit of Leo. The Leo part does track considering the Kardashians and your belief you’re the dominant world power despite *gestures at literally everything*.

The Cancer does explain why everyone you comprise is so sensitive, emotional, and batsh*t when it comes to change—unless it’s changing electoral boundaries to sway the vote one way or another. But I guess that’s a way of maintaining the status quo, now that I think about it?? And white is the color most associated with Cancer—omg. And, after all, gerrymandering has been a long tradition in this country, and we all know how much Cancers love their antiquated traditions. Change is scary—unless it’s changing the channel to something toothless like current-era Simpsons!

You’re such a Cancer, America, it’s also hard to take you seriously! For real, you’re a caricature of yourself and it’s kind of nuts. We all know Cancers are crabby homebodies, but the rest of the world makes fun of you for how little your population travels. And don’t get me started on the monolingual monstrosity that is everyone you stand for. Only 20% of the United States is bilingual, compared to 56% of Europeans. And our accents suck….soOoOo….

Not only do you process all information emotionally, you react intensely to everything. Seriously, e v e r y t h i n g. Remember your last president who went off the rails because someone said his hands were small? Isn’t the president a reflection of the country? Didn’t an insurrection happen on January 6th because that president’s supporters didn’t get their way? Isn’t Congress just pretending none of that happened? 

I’m getting emotional whiplash over here—good thing you have some Leo in you to roll your eyes at your Cancerous parts and move on, America! It takes a real Leo rising to make your own birthday a national holiday. Especially one traditionally celebrated with an all-night party featuring fireworks. 

Sure, you may wear your heart on your sleeves, U.S., but don’t have a meltdown if anyone leaves your party early. However, it is your party, America—you can cry if you want to. And everyone knows you probably will want to, you messy, emotional bitch. Just try not to be your vindictive self and post unflattering guest photos on Insta. 

My hope for your 245th birthday is that you stop being a moody crybaby. But if the past 244 years are any inclination, we’re not going to have to wait for a retrograde to see you revert to your old ways. Anyway, happy birthday, America—you’re a handful, but I haven’t left yet. Probably because I only know one language. 

Love,

Your Antsy Astrologer with Stockholm Syndrome

Images: Daniel Monteiro / Unsplash

Stop Blaming Your Relationship Problems On Astrology

“Why do all you girls put your sign in your dating profile?” I was on a date (yes, success!) and we veered into the category of “other people on the apps.” I made fun of all the pictures of dudes with fish, and the number of men seeking “ethically” non-monogamous relationships. My date wanted to know why the women he saw on the apps cared so much about his astrological sign. He thinks it’s full B.S., even less meaningful than a Meyers-Briggs or Enneagram delineation. 

Ok, Does Anyone *Really* Date Based On Astrology?

It might seem like nobody is actually dating based on their zodiac sign and it’s all for the memes—Teen Vogue ran an article saying astrology doesn’t matter—and yet, next down on the Google search, was a piece from the same outlet on who one should date based on astrological signs. Still need more proof to know you’re not the only one filtering out Scorpios? Bumble says their star sign filter is their most used qualifier. MTV says one third of the young people (Gen Z) use astrology to determine their compatibility with a date.  

I took to the internet to ask who believes the fault is in our stars when it comes to love. I got a wide range of responses. Maud Waterman, a Los Angeles based filmmaker, instead of bread baking or TikTok content creation, used her free time during the pandemic to study astrology. She says, “I’m definitely a believer! If you had asked about a year and a half ago I would have been a skeptic, but I did an unfathomable amount of studying (yeah, I’ve got textbooks) over quarantine and I now use astrology in my daily life.” I heard from several astrologers who operate in person, on the internet, or even on TV. I heard from an aura photographer (which I guess is a thing), crystal specialists, and psychics. What color is your aura, do you think? I hope mine’s purple.

I heard from skeptics who think, like my date, that it’s all a bunch of hocus pocus, and people like Michelle Davies—a life coach and editor of The Best Ever Guide to Life—who used to believe in astrology until it started negatively affecting her relationship. She says, “It’s because I was looking at our relationship dynamics through the lens of astrology, disregarding that certain things can be worked at through free will and effort.” Now she can think of astrology as a suggestion, but not a mandate. 

I won’t name names, but some people have been dumped for their obsession with astrology, and there are people who swear by it anyway and would rather die (or stay single) than date an Aries. I interviewed two experts for further information on the psychology behind astrology and how it relates to the psychology of love: Clarissa Silva, Behavioral Scientist/Relationship Coach, who can be called a skeptic; and Maria Shaw, psychic astrologer and reality star, who has done readings on the eighth season of 90 Day Fiancé. 

Ask The Experts

Even if you’re the most diehard horoscope checker, Silva says, “Astrological signs are labels, not dating deal breakers.” She adds, “Determining actual compatibility is far more complex.” I agree that it makes sense that one little piece of the personality puzzle is not enough to seal your fate, even if they are a Scorpio. 

Shaw agrees. She says that, even if a reading shows that two people are not meant to be together, she would never tell someone what to do in their relationship. She also believes that you can’t simply look at someone’s sun sign to know compatibility. You need to do their full “star chart,” which entails using accurate info about the time, place, and day you were born. This gives a full picture of one’s past lives, present personality, and future path. 

But What If You’re Dating A Skeptic… Or A Sagittarius?

Can you still use astrology to inform your decisions about the relationship if the other person thinks it’s woo-woo nonsense? Shaw says, “Use the astrology as a tool for yourself. Don’t push your opinions to get them to believe.” That said, you can still arm yourself with all the information, should you so choose: “Knowledge is power,” she says. If you simply can’t go on a second date without the full astrological picture, Shaw advises, “Get their birth information, find out about them, and decide if you want to go forward on this. You want to know where this thing is gonna lead.”  She does emphasize getting consent from the person before charting their stars, but says it’s okay to use the information to inform yourself on whether or not you want to stay in a relationship—much like any other information you might find out in your routine pre-date social media stalking.

Silva, on the other hand, warns that this kind of judgment “can result in meaningless or erroneous predictions on compatibility.” She elaborates, “Astrology provides a layer of the complexity of personality but can’t make predictions on compatibility and long term happiness.” She says you can use astrology “as an entertainment source or a source of providing hope or direction for those that seek out this as guidance,” but that astrology is quite literally fake news: “a pseudoscience because it hasn’t passed the rigor of scientific inquiry to qualify as evidence-based.” Believers are going to say that something as intuitive as astrology cannot be studied by science, but many skeptics are going to insist on peer-reviewed evidence before committing to a life led by the stars. 

Shaw has patience with the idea of skeptics. She says people who are getting wrong information are either not looking at the full picture or are getting information from a suboptimal source. Some websites copy info from other sources or from looking at only the sun sign instead of the sun, rising, and moon signs, not to mention the planetary alignment at the time of your birth. Still, when I summed this up on my next date with the skeptic, his eyes rolled so hard they got stuck that way and he had to go to the doctor (not fact). 

Does Astrology Matter?

So, here’s why people use star charts to guide them in their relationships: either they truly believe in it, or they find it fun. None of us knows what we’re doing, so any guidance that gives us the answers we seek is going to be welcome. Just like I really shouldn’t be dating Slytherins anymore, someone might take a personality profile of a Taurus and use it as a reason to say, “Thank you, next.” Conversely, maybe a Ravenclaw with a Hufflepuff rising like myself can read an Aquarius’ profile and swoon, while knowing his sign won’t guarantee he isn’t a dick whistle. 

As for me, I’m an astrology agnostic. I can’t know whether or not my tendency to multitask and chat is due to my being a Gemini or some other mix of nature and nurture. But isn’t it fun to dream? As we ended our call, Shaw said that, according to the planets, “We’re coming into a romantic period. We’re going to see people getting back to being romantic and wooing people. People want to fall in love and be in love.” Aw.

A skeptic might say that we’re getting into a romantic period because we’ve been locked in our houses in our sweatpants all winter. But either way, isn’t it nice to imagine that, as the plague recedes, there are people out there, maybe a soul mate or, as Shaw put it, “a past life connection,” ready to “walk your path?” Whether it is written in the stars or not, as we head into a potentially disease-free summer, full of starry nights and warm breezes, I wish you love, or, at least, some fun with a handsome Pisces. 

Image: Lucas Ottone / Stocksy.com

Buying Things Is Self-Care: Weekly Horoscopes April 19-23

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Excellent news, everyone: it is officially Taurus season. This is a time of sitting back, maxing, relaxing all cool, and maybe even shooting some b-ball outside of the school. If you feel like it. No pressure, though. Self-care. Taurus season is all about enjoying the finer things in life and getting grounded for what lies ahead. Basically, if “treat yo’self” was a month, it’d be Taurus season. Let’s just hope your credit card can handle all the swiping.

Aries

This Taurus season is all about establishing your sense of security, Aries. While all the other signs are proceeding to checkout with reckless abandon, now is a great time to come down from your season and build your nest egg. Watching your savings account grow can be just as satisfying as a new Sephora purchase. Okay maybe not, but still…

Taurus

Welcome to your birthday month, Taurus! I know we don’t need to tell you to live it up. This month, the rest of the world finally gets on your luxe level. Your season is supercharging all of your most important relationships, and you can’t help but spoil your crew with glam group dinners, weekend getaways, and the best new organic wine from Napa that they just have to try, dahlings. No wonder you’re everyone’s favorite.

Gemini

This Taurus season, your airy sign is getting some much-needed grounding. Thinking before you speak is not usually your strong suit (no offense), but with Taurus’ earthy bull energy pulling you back down to Earth, you might find yourself a little more contemplative—and quieter—than usual. Just be sure to give your friends a heads up that you’ll be going into serial killer mode for a month so they don’t get concerned.

Cancer

Beware of friend drama this Taurus season, as the bull’s influence pushes you to stand your ground, sometimes to your own detriment. Taurus’ telltale stubbornness jumps out in some of your interpersonal relationships this month, but don’t worry. The New Moon on May 13th should resolve any lingering drama. If not, that’s just one less friend you have to worry about…

Leo

Taurus season has you going from “look at me” to “look around me,” and I mean that in the best way possible. Put your people skills to good use this month by actually connecting with your community. Set aside some time to volunteer at your local farmer’s market, make calls for a candidate for local office, or just spend a little extra time getting to know the people around you. Strangers today can be Instagram followers tomorrow!

Virgo

This month, hardworking Taurus puts you in the best possible headspace to reassess your career goals and make a levelheaded decision. Chances are things have changed for you in the past year (understatement of the century), but have your goals shifted as well? It’s never too late to quit your job and become a reality TV star. Someone’s gonna have to be the new Kardashians.

Libra

Bust out the (sustainably sourced) palo santo, Libra! This month, you’re using Taurus’ grounding influence to finally develop that meditation practice you keep saying you’ll start. Just a couple minutes a day can make a huge difference, and luckily Taurus is the sign of hard work and perseverance. Because sitting silently in a chair for a few minutes a day actually does count as “hard work and perseverance” in the year 2021. No judgment.

Scorpio

How deep is your love, Scorpio? Sensual Taurus is pushing you to go deeper with a romantic partner this month, and you can take that sentence as sexually as you want. Now is the time to test if your relationship can go the distance. And by “go the distance” we do of course mean “handle a three-day 50 Shades-style sex marathon.”

Sagittarius

Love is in the air, Sagittarius! Now is the perfect time to let go of the baggage of the past and dive headfirst into a new relationship. Goodbye, Whats-His-Name! Farewell, Do-Not-Call! We are not bringing our pre-pandemic Ls into our post-pandemic lifestyle. It’s just not happening. Begone, demon!

Capricorn

You’re craving the crew more than ever this Taurus season, so why not do what you do best and meticulously plan an iconic group outing for you and the girlies? It can be as elaborate or as chill as you want; all you really need are the besties and a couple bottles of that wine that doesn’t make you hungover. And La Croix for the pregnant friend who has to drive your asses home later. (Sorry, Ashley.)

Aquarius

This month, let your inner artiste run free, as Taurus season helps you connect even more with your creative side. This is not the month for judging yourself or holding back. Let your creative juices run free. Take up the ukulele. Throw paint at the walls. Basically become Mia’s mom in The Princess Diaries.

Pisces

Fire up the DIY Pinterest boards and get ready to develop an un-ironic crush on the Property Brothers. This month is all about nesting for you, Pisces, and it goes way beyond spring cleaning. Take some time to fully reimagine your space. If Chip and Joanna Gaines have taught us anything, it’s that a little paint (and a budget of $100k) can go a long way.

Images: Artyom Kim / Unsplash; Giphy (12)

Maybe Try Therapy: Weekend Horoscopes April 16-18

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Welp, here we are again, praying that the universe is kind this weekend and that Aries—that tricky, fickle bitch—doesn’t cause unnecessary drama, fights, or #feelings just because it doesn’t have any zodiac friends. Like, don’t take it out on us, Aries. Maybe it’s time you gave therapy a try.

Anyway, maybe this is the weekend that things go super right and everyone is in a great mood? We can hope.

Aries

It’s probably best you aren’t around people the first half of the weekend, Aries, since you’re likely to blow up and say mean, hurtful things without really meaning them. Luckily, by Saturday evening the fog will have lifted and you’ll be sorta nice again. Use Sunday to rearrange sh*t in your house so you can feel like you paid someone a bunch of money for interior design work. It’ll be fun.

Taurus

Your brain won’t STFU or turn off this weekend Taurus, and although that’s usually really f*cking annoying, you should use it to your own benefit. If you’ve been trying to impress your boss, tackle that work project you’ve been putting off. If you hate work and are looking for your big break, this weekend is the time to write your memoir or pursue becoming some kind of influencer. Idk if it’ll work (probs not), but the stars are telling you to believe in yourself, so go for it.

Gemini

You’re dying to be the life of the party, so head out somewhere you can socially distance on Saturday and surround yourself (from six feet away) with people who will soak up your awesomeness. Sunday is all about adult sh*t, though, so stick close to home and go through your spending from the last week. You may find that you’ve gone a little off the rails with takeout this month, so maybe it’s time to research meal planning and easy recipes.

Cancer

Chill tf out, Cancer. You may have some trouble powering down on Friday night, but if you can’t sleep, maybe you can do something productive, like a puzzle, or the dishes that have been there since Tuesday. Saturday will be much more relaxed, so plan on sticking close to home and wearing a lot of stretchy loungewear.

Leo

You’re dying to be social this weekend, Leo, so make plans with some friends after work on Friday and find a restaurant or bar where you can tip well, support local, and get maybe a little bit tipsy. Nurse your hangover on Saturday with some much needed r&r in the form of Netflix murder mysteries, then head to bed early because the universe wants to fill your head with some weird dreams.

Virgo

Work sucks, Virgo, and you’re kind of fighting the urge to let a string of inappropriate no-no words fly at your boss on Friday. Calm down, leave, and use the weekend to recharge, update that resume, and try to get your head around the whole situation. The moon is like, “talk to a friend,” so take that advice and call up some of your favs for a “what would you do” chat.

Libra

Consider the stars your excuse for getting off the couch this weekend, Libra. Plan a long hike (maybe, like, with wine at the end as a reward) so you can be one with nature on Saturday, and make a conscious effort to keep your phone/computer/screens off and away for at least the day. You may have to deal with some work stuff on Sunday, but it won’t be anything you can’t handle after a margarita or two.

Scorpio

If something has been bothering you, get to the bottom of it this weekend, Scorpio. Maybe you’ve wanted to tackle a few subjects with your S.O., like vacuuming duties or how often he’s been doing Zoom happy hours. Just keep it light, and you should be able to weed through some bullsh*t. Sunday is for funsies, so make time to go out and grab a glass or wine with a friend.

Sagittarius

You’ll need some deep breathing in order to not be the next subject of a murder doc this weekend, Sagittarius. Your S.O. is going to get on your last f*cking nerve, so instead of screaming through it, just get out of the house for the day. Plan a dinner out with your partner on Sunday once you’ve both had some time to breathe and be apart. Maybe some weird makeup sex thrown in for good measure? Idk, you do you.

Capricorn

Ignore work drama, Capricorn, even if a parking lot fist fight between those two toxic bros in accounting is A+ entertainment heading into the weekend. Saturday the moon is all about highlighting your partnerships, so whether you’re in a committed relationship, need time with your bestie, or want to schedule a mommy date, set a few hours aside to be with someone whose company you enjoy.

Aquarius

Sexy times are in store this weekend, Aquarius. If you’re in a relationship, schedule a date night with your S.O. either at your fav restaurant or at home with pizza, sweats, and a movie you can text through. Then, plan a long, fun romp in bed. You deserve it. If you’re single, now is absolutely the time to meet up with your Tinder crush. Keep it casual, like a few beers at a brewery, a walk in the park, or a nacho-eating contest. It could lead to big sh*t.

Pisces

You may feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster this weekend, Pisces. Instead of blowing up at your friends and fam, use your creative, moody energy to do hot girl sh*t around the house, like painting a wall, refurbishing that old dresser, or just perusing home improvement boards on Pinterest. Even if your project doesn’t end up like your vision, at least you’ll have kept from having dumb arguments with people you actually like.

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Images: Brian Wangenheim / Unsplash; Giphy (12)