Don’t worry, this is not advance warning of an impending interplanetary collision. Well, not that I know of, anyway. And if such an event were on the cards, I really don’t think you’d be hearing it first from me. Apart from its gravity (no pun intended) and the attendant unlikelihood of my beating Reuters to the punch, I just don’t seem to be the first to know about things. In fact, I seem to be very far off the first to know. When there is news, either familial or international, I am quite a way down the list. I could be last for all I know. Actually, if I were the last to know, I would probably be the last to know that. I don’t know. But then, of course, I wouldn’t.
Anyway, all I’m saying is, don’t worry. Not about this at least.
No, what I wanted to say about the stars is that, the other day, one of my children told me that there is a new sign of the zodiac. Or a recently rediscovered one. I don’t know. But then, of course, I wouldn’t. You, however, probably already know this. (If you don’t, I would certainly worry about that as it means you are even further down the list than me.) This new sign is called Ophiuchus, apparently. Now I don’t know exactly how it is supposed to be pronounced. For schoolboy fnarr fnarr-ness, it’s not quite up there with the old Carry On pronunciation of Uranus but, if it were my star sign, I would be a bit bothered if one of its plausible pronunciations made it sound like I was invoking irreversible bad luck or imminent death.
Having said that, my star sign is actually Cancer and this, over the years, has slightly niggled me in my more fatalistic moods. I was told once that was also ‘on the cusp’ of Leo. So, in those rare moments when I perused a red top’s horoscope section and found Cancer’s reading less than rosy, I would go with Leo instead. I suppose it’s a bit like applying for an Irish passport after Brexit (which I am doing – God bless you Grandad and Nana Ryan). In life, it’s always good to have options or, at least, a bit of wriggle room.
Now, I seem to remember that signs of the zodiac used to end on one day and the following one would start the day after. Reading one version of the new heavenly order, however, my birthday appears to land me on the last day of Gemini and the first day of Cancer. So now, I actually have two star signs! Depending on whether or not you believe in an ultimately benign universe, that could be incredibly lucky or cosmically disastrous. Maybe it just allows me to flit between daily readings with increased justification. Either way, although I still feel I am a Cancer, I suppose having two star signs makes me the ultimate Gemini. I don’t know. But then, of course, I wouldn’t.
It is unsettling though, isn’t it? A bit like finding out you were muddled up at birth. Which, in a way, I suppose I was. If that were the case in real life, I would resort to a DNA test to work out to which family I actually belonged. So I did just that. Well, no, of course I didn’t. What I actually did was Google star signs’ characteristics to see which one I liked best.
Wow! There are innumerable numerological, astrological, necromantical and additional alternatively supernatural sites with which to chart your destiny, life path and journey from the here and now into the there and thereafter. One could spend a substantial proportion of whatever time one has left poring over all of these. One could even go down the Chinese horoscope wormhole, when one realised that 2021 is the Year of the Ox, which is one’s Chinese Zodiac animal. One decided not to.
Landing on the first site that offered horoscopical insight in the form of pleasingly précised profiles, I checked Cancer.
‘Deeply intuitive and sentimental…’
Like it so far.
‘Emotional and sensitive…’
It knows me so well.
‘Lack of patience…mood swings later in life…selfishness, self-pity…manipulation…’
Mm. I turned to Gemini.
‘Expressive and quick-witted, sociable, communicative and ready for fun.’
Now that’s me down to a T, isn’t it?
‘Extremely curious, with a constant feeling that there is not enough time to experience everything they want to see.’
Ain’t that the truth? ‘Time’s wingéd chariot’ and all that.
‘Excellent artists, especially writers…versatile, inquisitive, fun loving…inspiring, and never boring.’
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner.
Let’s be clear, I have never placed much store in astromancy. I am very much less in Mystic Meg’s corner and very much more in tune with Edmund from King Lear. He, you will remember, described the whole business as ‘An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star.’ I am not sure if he had it in for goats or thought Capricorns were the worst offenders but, I mean, given all this universal upheaval, are Capricorns even still Capricorns? I don’t know. But then, of course, I wouldn’t.
Thinking about it all, if I am going to nail my cosmic colours to the mystic mast, I would rather be a Gemini than a Cancer. Though that does make me feel a bit disloyal to my birth star sign. Actually, I suppose a compromise might be that whilst I recognise that my original assignment was Cancer, I now identify as Gemini. I am not sure if that’s okay. Mind you, being in two minds about it is possibly the final proof that I really am a Gemini. I don’t know. But then, of course, I wouldn’t.
Well, not yet anyway.