You might have missed the announcement a couple of days ago, but Patheos recently launched an Astrology page over on the Spirituality Channel. The launch of the Astrology Page here is well timed personally because it’s a subject that’s been on my mind a lot the last few months.
This summer I got into a little tangle (and not the good kind) with a friend and when it was time to put the whole incident to bed (and not in a fun way) she dismissed the whole thing by saying “sorry, I just got caught up in Mercury Retrograde.” Personally, I wasn’t looking for an excuse. I’m cranky without coffee in the morning, I’m irrational when my football team loses, there are all kinds of reasons for dumb misunderstandings; people get upset about stuff. It’s never the end of the world, you kiss and make up (figuratively, though better when it’s literal) and move on.
The excuse of Mercury Retrograde stuck with me for much of the summer, because I heard it dozens of times over the course of my June and July rambles. Did you forget something? Mercury Retrograde. Suddenly irritable? Mercury Retrograde. Have a bad day at work? Mercury Retrograde. It was like a bad mantra, and it was hard to escape from. Every time I heard the excuse “Mercury Retrograde” the person using it expected me to laugh about it with them and chalk it up as a legitimate excuse. This was hard for me to do because I had no idea what “Mercury Retrograde” meant, and even if I did understand its meaning, it wouldn’t matter because I don’t believe in astrology.
There, I said it. I don’t believe in astrology. I know I’m not the only Pagan to feel that way, but I still feel kind of guilty (dirty?) saying it. To a lot of Pagans, a near universal belief in astrology in our community is accepted as fact. To this day lots of Pagan 101 type books make reference to astrology and imply that learning to cast an astrological chart is some sort of requisite Pagan skill. Having me cast an astrological chart would be like asking me to write a column on why the world is only 6000 years old, I wouldn’t believe the chart and I wouldn’t believe my own column.