Cosmic blueprints

My neighborhood Starbucks has a thing for horoscopes.  The baristas rip out the daily horoscope section of the Chicago Sun-Times and place it on the counter where drinks are fetched.  It’s a fun thing to read while waiting for my overpriced pumpkin spice latte (non-fat milk, no whip).  I never take the message too seriously, but sometimes those little blurbs seem to fit with what’s happening in my life.

Here’s what Astrologer Georgia Nicols writes today:

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)
Fasten your seatbelts because your daily pace will accelerate in the next six weeks. You’ll be busy with short trips, running errands and talking to everyone. Many of you will be reading and writing more than usual as well. Get out and get the buzz from everyone!

The key parts that resonate for me: “your daily pace will accelerate in the next six weeks” and “you will be reading and writing more than usual.”  Both are true.  My pace and has begun to pick up with the introduction of the yoga teacher training, coupled with mounting work responsibilities and deadlines.  The training has also inspired a lot of new reading and writing — including the birth of this blog.

As I connect these life dots, however, I pause.  Am I making this message apply to my life?  Or does some cosmic truth exist in the blurb by Georgia Nicols, a woman who’s never met me?  Why couldn’t this same message apply to my Pisces or Capricorn friends, too?  Can this horoscope 100-percent apply to each and every Leo out there?

The rational part of me — and this part of me still tends to dominate — shakes its head.  Georgia doesn’t know me as a unique individual.  Grab the pumpkin spice latte, Erica, and move on.

An ancient practice in which I do have more faith: astrology.  Most people confuse horoscopes and astrology as being the same thing.  Not so.  The horoscopes you see at the grocery checkout and in the back of women’s magazines as a very superficial study of astrology, and often inaccurate — albeit entertaining.

Astrology, on the other hand, is a 9,000-year-old science that focuses on the individual via a unique birth chart. This is based on the date, exact time and exact location of your birth.  For each person, there is a cosmic connection to the sun, moon, planets and stars that triggers specific pre-determinations.  Astrologers are able to determine specific traits and inclinations — and in the case of Vedic astrology even make predictions — based on your chart.

In other words, I’m more than just a “Leo.”

Although I don’t profess to be an expert on astrology, I did grow up with it.  From a young age, it was common to see astrological charts and books littered around my dad’s basement library and reading area.  One day, as a young teen, I was snooping around this area and stumbled upon my birth chart.  It was a large binder with astrological symbols on the cover – and my name on it.  This was a book about ME!  What would it say?  Would it unlock my future?  Would it tell me everything I need to know about my life?  Including when I’d marry, how many kids I’d have and when I’d die?  After making sure that my dad wasn’t around, I sat down and opened up this tome of Erica.  But I couldn’t get past the third or fourth page.  I didn’t want to know about me.  Not this way.  I was scared to have the cosmic blueprint of whatever resided inside this book affect my future, my choices, my free will.  So I closed it, put it back and walked away.

Twenty years later, I walked into the office of a Vedic astrologer in New Delhi – ignoring the fear that forced me to close that “tome of Erica” as a teen.  And wow, this woman nailed me.  She even told me with complete confidence, based on the chart in front of her, how many kids I’d have, or wouldn’t have.  (I’ll save the story of this mystical encounter for another time, perhaps after seeing if some of these Vedic predictions are realized.)

I’m not sure if my decision to see a Vedic astrologer was “good” or “bad” — or perhaps written into my life blueprint somewhere.  But the intense experience did reaffirm my appreciation for astrology as something more than New Age mumbo jumbo.  Way more.

Horoscopes, on the other hand — I find them entertaining, but nothing more.  With respect to Georgia Nicols’ horoscope for Leos today, I’m going to take an unscientific poll among friends to see how her message resonates with them, without telling them it was written specifically for Leos …

Update:  I brought the horoscope blurb to a bar tonight and asked a few people, “Without knowing which zodiac sign this is meant for, does this apply to your life?”  All four people — none of whom are Leos — found a phrase or component of the message that worked into their current life experience.  Just as expected.  What I didn’t expect was one of my friends asking if I was considering taking up a career as a horoscope writer.  Oh, please.

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