Excerpt of the second draft of the first chapter of my forthcoming book!
This party was boring. Okay. Most parties are boring, but tonight I just wasn’t in the mood to accept boredom. I looked around for a solution and noticed a man and woman sitting on a white leather couch. They looked bored too. This was going to work.
I sat down with a smile and, without introducing myself in the least, said, “I believe in astrology.”
I love doing stuff like this, I admit. I just love watching people try to deal with the unexpected. This was really unexpected. And these two people were searching for the right kind of smiles to put on in response to my rather outlandish one-liner. Well, she was. To be honest, he was leaning away from me and sort of glaring down his nose at me like I was trying to “steal his girl.”
Which I wasn’t.
She broke the silence, “So, you’re into astrology?”
“Yeah,” I said. “I think it’s real.”
The guy started looking around the room, as if looking for something that could come to his rescue. For her part, her eyebrows went up and she opened her eyes wide. “Like, you mean you think it’s totally true?”
I sort of nodded, because really – as I will explain to you – the answer is not a perfect “yes.” So I just nodded slightly. “What about you?”
“Well, I think it’s interesting..” She answered.
“…But not real?” I asked.
“Well no, I think it’s sort of made up. But it’s interesting and maybe it’s helpful to some people…” she explained.
At this point, the guy actually got up and walked off. I thought that was rather ridiculous of him on so many levels, but actually when he left the conversation took off. Negative energy, he had.
“That’s probably because,” I said shifting slightly closer on the couch, hoping the white leather wouldn’t make fart noises while I did so, “you never really encountered astrology before.”
“What do you mean?”
“When I say ‘Astrology’,” I answered, “you think of… what? Where do you find astrology?”
“Well like on FaceBook some of my friends have their daily horoscopes and stuff. Or like in the newspaper or whatever, it tells you your horoscope. You know!” She was actually smiling honestly now. That’s good because if this conversation didn’t work out I was just going to ditch the party and go back to my room.
“That’s not astrology.” I said flatly.
She expected me to say more, but I didn’t I just waited. Eventually she asked, “Well then what is it?”
“It’s as close to being astrology as that lady’s opinion about how to cure AIDS is close to medicine.” I said, pointing at some random person in the room (who was actually looking at us, which makes it more fun, by the way). “Who is your favorite band?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I guess The Beatles.”
“Oh that’s great, I love The Beatles too.” I said. “Remember when The Backstreet Boys were trying to make themselves out to be some modern equivalent of The Beatles?”
“Yeah!” She laughed with perfect sarcasm.
“Exactly. The Backstreet Boys are actually a lot closer to being The Beatles than that fluffy nonsense you can read in a “daily horoscope” is to being actual astrology.”
She was shocked. At least that was what her face looked like. You could tell she was really interested in getting more info on this idea. In fact at some point during the conversation, I didn’t exactly notice when, two or three other people had gravitated towards us and started eavesdropping.
I explained to her (to them, really) that astrology is a complex and ancient science involving dozens of factors interplaying with one another in trillions of combinations.
And then I said, “Mass Media – which really is the root cause of destroying so many genuine and authentic things in the world – destroyed astrology.” Then, to give it a bit of a dramatic flair I said, “Mass media murdered astrology.”
Of course, I had to reply to “How?”
I explained that the importance of astrology to people a few hundred years ago inspired pioneering newspaper editors to capitalize on the interest by attempting to give astrological guidance to their readers.
But to do so is literally impossible.
To do a real astrological reading for someone you must first create a map of the heavens at the time the person was born. Astrologers call this a “birth chart.” This map is what the astrologer “reads” to give you accurate information about yourself and the events in your life. It is literally impossible to create this map unless you know a person’s date of birth, time of birth, and place of birth!
How could a newspaper even start to do this? You can’t collect that kind of information from your subscribers and readers, and you certainly can’t print a separate horoscope for each individual who reads your paper!
So they did what any good mass media entrepreneur should do – dumb it down.
The most important thing in astrology, the focal point of the entire “map” that is a birth chart, is the “Ascendant” – which is the point in the zodiac which rises over the eastern horizon when you are being born. To know the ascendant you need to know the time and place of your birth, not just the day. Well, mass media says, “That’s too bad. We can’t know these things from our readers so let’s just chuck it in the can.”
And so they did.
The next most important thing in astrology is the Moon.
But this whole mass media explosion happened in Europe, where the calendar is not based on the Moon, but on the Sun. (Honestly though, our current western calendar is such a mess that you almost can’t tell what it is based on anymore). So this means that everyone knows what day they were born on, but almost no one knows the lunar day of their birth. This means that if you wrote a newspaper column telling people “their horoscopes” according to their Moon sign, you would be a little bit closer to real astrology, but almost no one would read it – because they wouldn’t have a clue which “sign” pertained to them.
So, “chuck it.” They chucked the Moon too.
This leaves us with the 2nd runner up, the third more important astrological factor, The Sun.
Bingo! This works. If you know what day you were born, you can look it up in an ultra simple table and know “your sign.” And once you know your sign you can have FaceBook tell you your future!
Hoorah for astrology, now everyone can easily read about their horoscope for free!
Too bad everything they are reading is complete bunk because it is only related to one out of dozens of crucial astrological factors – and even that one factor is not the most important, not even the second most important factor in astrology. Aaaaand even after all that they are treating the signs of the Sun as if they were monolithic things that are the same all the way through – when the fact of the matter is that there are at least nine majorly different areas within each sign!
By this time we weren’t even on the couch anymore. We were standing around a table full of snacks. We had 5 other people hanging around us too. And I could tell they were about to chime in with some interesting stuff.
Man, this worked out well. It was really turning into a party worth being at!
– Vic DiCara