May 2023: Horoscopes For Moderns
It was UK astrologer Dennis Elwell who wrote that there was a special rung in hell reserved for astrologers who wrote Sun sign screed.
HAVE YOU EVER AWOKEN at 3:18 AM and asked yourself: Why Sun signs?
Goddess knows I have, usually towards the end of the month when it’s time for me to compile this feature.
Who to blame? Linda Goodman?
I used to—until I discovered UK astrologer Kim Farnell’s wonderful book (and it really is deserving of that adjective) Flirting With the Zodiac (a book about the history of Sun sign astrology that I highlight in next week’s post that lists ten spectacular astrology books you need in your library as of yesterday.)
Farnell explains that Sun sign astrology is not, as we’re often led to believe, a contemporary phenomenon. In a way, it’s been around as long as astrology, which is to say forever.
For example, she notes: An extract of the Dead Sea Scrolls refers to someone being born under the sign of Taurus.
“…and his thighs are long and slender, and the toes of his feet are slender and long. He is from the second column. He has a spirit with six parts in the house of light and three parts in the house of darkness. This is the sign which he is born: the period of Taurus. He will be poor. This is his animal: a bull.”
So obviously, Mark Zuckerberg, the richest Tauri on the planet—and with squat legs like stumps—wasn’t born back in the third century BCE.
Farnell’s book winds its way through ancient history to modern times and soft lands in the Sun Sign Hall of Fame, with awardees like Sydney Omarr and Shelley von Strunkel. With an entire chapter devoted to the queen herself, Linda Goodman.
When I was on tour for my first book, I remember being challenged during a talk show TV appearance by the grand inquisitor himself, James Randi, who asked me how it was possible that the human race could be categorized into twelve different types.
I borrowed a line from my friend, astrologer Jonathan Canier, who explained that the Zodiac signs are like tribes. I extrapolated by suggesting that as Earthlings, we each possess a particular solar ‘affiliation’ related to the ‘mood’ of the Earth when we were born.
The play of light is everything when it comes to Sun signs.
Your view of the world while on a walk is very different if you’re out and about during the early morning, mid-afternoon, or late night. Similar vibes, on a larger scale, if you’re born in December and not July. Different views and orientations towards what Grant Lewi called the ‘biosphere.’
But this could send us down a more complex rabbit hole, so I will move on and discuss one of the great minds of the Renaissance, Marcilio Ficino’s reflections on light from his book De Sole (The Book of the Sun). Ficino regards the Sun as the closest physical representation we have to God and regards the Sun’s light as a reflection of divine energy.
“Nothing resembles goodness and purity as much as light. It is above everything in the physical world. It radiates easily and widely in an instant. It gently penetrates everything without causing harm. It is warm, nourishing, life giving, cherishing, and activating. While it can exist within everything it neither harms or mixes with anything.
In a similar way goodness stands above everything in this universe, is widely spread, caressing and is attractive to everything. It forces nothing and emanates love which is its constant companion, towards which everything is drawn. It penetrates to the heart of everything without mixing with anything.
Just as goodness cannot be measured and has an ineffable quality, so is light.”
Ficino considered the Sun to be the fundamental “human” planet. We can see this, he wrote, in man’s beauty, the subtlety of his humors, his clarity of spirit, and his insights and imagination.
So, you can see why the quality of light you were born ‘under’ has far-reaching implications.
But back to Earth with the notion and feat of ‘writing’ Sun sign horoscopes. At this point in my long career, I have mixed feelings about the art. It was UK astrologer Dennis Elwell who wrote that there was a special rung in hell reserved for astrologers who wrote Sun sign screed.
That’s a bit harsh, but when I first read that, I took it as his acknowledgment that an astrologer, at a certain point in her career, becomes exhausted with the recurrent 12-point exercise.
I know there have been times in my crafting of the scopes that by the time I hit Capricorn—the tenth of the twelve signs—I’m like: “Fuck—how soon is the cocktail hour?” (I never drink before 5 PM). And I promise you that my exasperation has never affected my transmissions for Aquarius and Pisces.
With that said, here are your May Sun sign horoscopes. (It’s presently 5:23 on Vashon, and there’s a bottle of Bombay Saphire waiting to be cracked upstairs. Cheers. [Oh, damn—I’m out of limes.]).