I was recently struck by a statement made by astrologer Samuel F. Reynolds in his “To Unlock Astrology”, a draft of a manifesto for a new Humanist astrology.
Although astrology has been a global project, it’s not been a project free of power plays and assertions. For starters, the names we use for the planets and Zodiac signs and constellations are the ones dubbed by Romans, the seminal conquerors of Mediterranean world that nurtured most of the astrology that we use. The names of Greek gods that constellated astrology’s pantheon before the Romans had been conquered and transformed, just as it was true of the Sumerian, Egyptian, and Babylonian gods and star clusters before them. There’s no getting around the fact that astrology’s history is as much an act of freewheeling intercultural exchange as it is of conquest and power.
This is absolutely true, so I wondered what astrology would actually look like if it had been created in our own times. Like, a time when Buzzfeed is a thing, and when it is understood what it means that something “is a thing”. Get ready to cringe. You may not even be able to even. YOLO, so let’s go.
The Millennial Planets
At the center of any online profile is the profile pic. This invitation to depict ourselves has led to the rise of the selfie. This portrait doesn’t tell you everything, but it can also tell you a fair amount. Without your picture, your social media profile isn’t complete, and tends to change through the seasons. In the same way, the Sun is that which everything revolves around, and our experiences online revolve around the accounts sporting our selfies. It is our online self.
The Moon – Emoji
If the Sun is a selfie, then the Moon is surely the reactions to the selfie, the likes, the comments, the shares. Just as the Moon reflects the light which originally came from the Sun, so does a community reflect on a new post or picture which originally came from someone else. And what better way to show how you feel than with an emoji? 😉 But it’s also the real person behind the selfie, the person who is choosing what to keep private and away from the spotlight and scrutiny of social media. It is our offline self.
Mercury – App
This one was tricky, I also liked Smartphone, Text, Stream, WiFi. Hashtag and Feed. But ultimately, Mercury’s variable nature seems to match the unlimited variety of what apps can do. Mercury is the messenger, a medium, which is exactly what an app is, a middleman between you and the internet, or you and your phone’s hardware. And when App goes retrograde, apps get glitches and crash.
Venus – Bae
Bae is a millennial acronym for “Before Anyone Else”, a lazy way of saying “babe” and Danish for “poop”. Venus is not just significant for our relationships, but for all the things we desire, in terms of our values, aesthetic, political and otherwise. Venus is all the things which are sacred to us, thus all the things that are sacred to us are bae. God is that word annoying though. Bae.
Mars – Bro
A bro is a juiced up belligerent white “alpha male” douchebag. Maybe #notallbros, but #alldicksaretotallybros. Mars is the planet of boldness, courage, violence and treachery, and Bro seems to be the closest analogue. I also considered Grrrl, but since Venus and Mars are kind of a pair, I liked how Bae complements Bro. Plus, only a Bro wants another man to come at them.
Jupiter – Winning
Winning is a millennial exclamation which expresses joy at success in various life endeavors, so it is a decidedly Jupiterian expression. Despite its origins in a troubling yet eminently quotable and entertaining interview with a drug-addled Charlie Sheen, it dovetailed with the internet’s use of the term WIN and FAIL, as well as its epic variants, EPIC WIN and EPIC FAIL.
Saturn – Adulting
Adulting is what you do when you take care of adult responsibilities, like paying bills, understanding how insurance works and generally moving on from the artificially extended adolescence of your 20’s. While this must induce involuntary facepalms among the older generations, I can’t think of a millennial concept that captures the essence and shades of Saturn so succinctly. The term “adulting” acknowledges the difficulty of upholding responsibilities while honoring the maturity that discipline affords. Might as well be called Saturning. Jupiter and Saturn are kind of a pair as the greater benefic and malefic, so I liked how their names are both verbs.
Uranus – Occupy
Adulting will only get you so far if the powers that be are entrenched enough. Uranus represents the liberation from business as usual, where individuals break away from their station in life and stir some shit up. If civil disobedience could be distilled to a word for the millennial generation, it would be #occupy. Occupy Wall Street may not have been the most perfectly organized protest, but it did spread worldwide, and felt like the start of something bigger. I believe we will look back on 2011 as a seminal moment for the millennial generation, the year of Occupy and Rebecca Black’s Friday.
Neptune – Oculus
Where Uranus elevates reason over custom, Neptune elevates fantasy and idealism over reason. The most widely used drug of millennials is not pot or alcohol, it’s gaming. Games aren’t just played anymore, they’re experienced. You’re immersed in an alternate reality. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset which looks to take gaming and other media to a whole new level. Uranus and Neptune are kind of a transcendental pair, and Oculus has a nice complementarity to Occupy.
Pluto – Darknet
While Neptune elevates idealism over reason, Pluto transcends both, defying faith and reason, reflecting the best and worst extreme elements in all of us. Darknet is the true underground world of the Internet, which can only be accessed with special browsers designed to make the user untraceable. While it allows journalists, whistleblowers and other political dissidents to escape government surveillance, it does the same for hitmen, weapons dealers, drug dealers, pedophiles, etc. Plus, Darknet sounds cool and scary.
Sect – Line
In the millennial age, the distinctions between diurnal and nocturnal planets are probably better understood as online and offline. The Sun and Moon represent the spirit and body, and our online identities are our thoughts and spirit actualized, and while our offline identities are who we are as a primal sentient meatsack. Emoji, Bae and Bro are offline planets, while Selfie, Winning and Adulting are online planets. Online planets in an an online chart, and offline planets in an offline chart are in line. Online planets in an offline chart or offline planets in an online chart are out of line. Occupy seems to be more online, and Oculus seems to be more offline. Darknet doesn’t seem to care, and Mercury is quantum.
The Millennial Signs of the Zodiac
Aries – The Startupper
The image of the Startupper is a competitive white male SF import working on his new tech start up that will eventually start making some money any day now seriously I promise. Somewhat oblivious to their own privilege, they think men’s rights are under attack and that Gamergate is about ethics in journalism. They say they don’t rely on anyone else for their success because they made it completely on their own, which is why you have to donate to their crowdsourcing campaign, share the link, and not complain about how little they pay their employees and interns. Bro is on point here, Selfie is on fleek. Bae is not terribly comfortable here and Adulting hates being in Startupper.
Taurus – The Basic Bitch
The image of a Basic Bitch is a bland upper-middle class white girl wearing Ugg boots with the fur and a Northface jacket, sipping on a PSL from Sbucks who can’t even right now. Ostensibly nice, she’s just into a lot of basic ass stuff, like Gilmore Girls or some shit. Bae is on point here, Emoji is on fleek. This is definitely not Bro‘s territory. In the video below, it says she’s a Pisces which has some sympathies toward Taurus via Venus, but otherwise I think my assignment here works.
Gemini – The Phubber
Like Gemini the Twins, the Phubber is a two-headed man, with one head in his phone and the other head is talking to you. Although in reality he just has one head which ignores you. I could have gone with the Olsen Twins, but how many more times are they going to show up on this blog before people become suspicious? Not many more times. For those of you don’t sprechen the same lingidy, phubbing is when you snub someone with your phone. Hence, phubbing. One who phubs. A phubber. App is on point here, Winning gets a bit distracted.
Cancer – The “Introvert”
The image of the “Introvert” is a girl at her computer posting the result of her Buzzfeed quiz affirming that she is in fact an introvert. She posts cryptic status updates about feeling bad which totally aren’t to solicit compliments or concerned comments. She also sends “thoughts and prayers” and “love and light” in response to preventable tragedies. She might also post about how grateful she is for everyone and everything, and she also posts those mouth-watering recipe videos. This might be why “Introverts” get along with Basic Bitches. Emoji is on point here, Winning is on fleek. Adulting is not particularly comfortable here, and Bro can’t stand it.
Leo – The Instagrammer
The image of the Instagrammer is a person wielding a selfie stick. As a reaction against the “Introvert”, the Instagrammer is a natural self-promoter and seemingly lacks the shame and self-respect to take pictures calculated to generate the most activity on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or wherever. But if we’re being honest, the best way to break the internet is a full-on belfie. Naturally, Selfie is on point here, Adulting thinks it’s all a bit vain.
Virgo – The Vegan
Like the wheat-bearing virgin of old, the image of the Vegan is a white woman with dreads holding some gluten-free soy bread from Whole Foods under her arm. She has never taken a man’s sausage into her mouth and she has never received a cream pie from a man, because she doesn’t eat meat or dairy and would only support female-run businesses, you gutter-minded doofus. App is on point and on fleek here. It’s hard for Winning and Bae to flourish here. After all, it’s hard to have fun or have a romantic evening if you’re counting calories and giving your unsolicited opinions on others’ food choices and coming up with new allergies when restaurants try to accommodate your dietary needs.
Libra – The SJW
The image of the SJW is a well-meaning white man doing his good deed for the week by using the appropriate trending hashtag in response to the weekly scheduled outrage. Depending on your perspective, the SJW is just too PC or just straight up woke. In either case, they stand in opposition to the Startupper who, again, depending on your perspective, is either able to effectively focus on themselves and their own pursuits or effectively ignore who they stand on to do it. Bae is on point here, Adulting is on fleek here, but it is not good territory for Selfie and Bro.
Scorpio – The Bad Bitch
The image of the Bad Bitch is a woman of color indignantly snapping a finger across her face saying “Oh no you didn’t”. As a reaction against the milquetoastness of the SJW, the Bad Bitch dispenses with the niceties. She is the opposite of the Basic Bitch: a woman who is woke AF, strong, independent, knows and owns her own mind and body, and sees through the materialism, privilege and well, fakeness, of the Basic Bitch. While often accused of being rude, she usually wasn’t ever afforded the same courtesy expected of her. While Bro is at home in Startupper and Bad Bitch, the two signs themselves do not witness each other. In Bad Bitch, Bro is more like Grrrl. Bae and Emoji don’t quite know how to deal with all this momentous sass. Get in formation.
Sagittarius – The Backpacker
The image of the Backpacker is a guy walking up a hill, more backpack than man. He has traveled to other countries, blogged about it, and come back insufferable. In oppositon to the Phubber who is too distracted to have a real conversation with you, the Backpacker will NOT leave you alone until you have converted to his religion of backpacking across third world countries. Y’know, travel is amazing and can give you a new perspective and everything but sweet Jesus. Okay, we get it, you can’t stand US store-bought hummus after having had the authentic artisanal experience of some old lady in Egypt eating chickpeas and shitting them out onto your plate. How many more travel blogs does the world need? Winning thrives here, App isn’t used to the long form.
Capricorn – The Yupster
The image of the Yupster is a yuppie in a tailored suit with fussed-over facial hair and tats. The Yupster plays the corporate game of success while still retaining their indie cred through their taste in music (obscure, written and sung by Hobbits straight from the Shire), craft brews (PBR, ironically) and hairstyles (Kim Jong Un-ish). If you put in a coffee order at Starbucks that was purposely designed to troll the barista, the Yupster behind you will out-pretentiously-order you, driving the barista to insanity and death. Opposite to the Introvert, their online presence is carefully managed to maximize their professional status and hipster trendiness, and they actually log onto LinkedIn between job searches. It’s hard to know where the professional ends and the personal begins. All you have to go on are their dead goat eyes. At least they’ll probably be more successful than the Startuppers.
Aquarius – The Data Bearer
Like the Water Bearer of old, the image of the Data Bearer is a man wearing thick hipster frames pouring out a messenger bag full of 0’s and 1’s. If the Instagrammers are the stars of the internet, the Data Bearers are the architects. In a world where nerds are finally cool, Aquarius finally fits in. They are network administrators, moderators, editors. They are cool and rational, martialing statistics and data to crush their enemies on a fine point about the most obscure minutia of a fictional work. Using their gifts of cold dispassionate logic to make the harder choices for the good of society, they are hacking the code of Pokemon Go to collect rare virtual animals.
Pisces – The SBNR
The image of the SBNR is a bearded barefoot guy with a manbun annoying you with a guitar. The SBNR is Spiritual But Not Religious. Big on spirituality and short on blind orthodoxy, but also big on self-satisfaction and short on internal logic. You just can’t put a label on their belief of the interconnectedness of all things and how we’re just like, all one, bro, even though it’s called monism. It would be so narrow-minded to categorize their use of psychedelics to shamanically encounter the transcendent, even though it’s called entheogenism. You can’t put them in a box about their detachment from material possessions, even though it’s called selective materialism and insincere hypocrisy. It’s like the SBNR knows words, but despises the sentences others have formed with them, writing their own sentences without realizing they’re doing it, while at the same time denying that the purpose of words is to make sentences. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with not liking other people’s writing, but you don’t get to have the gift of faith without the rigor of understanding it AND be smug. And like the ancient image of Pisces, they smell like fish.
The Millennial Elements
Interestingly, the millennial generation is actually very familiar with the astrological characteristics of the elements of fire, air, earth and water. And we owe it all to J.K. Rowling.
The Gryffindor penchant for courage is very characteristic of the fire signs. The Startupper, Instagrammer and Backpacker are all courageous in their own way, from forging their own path, promoting themselves and exploring new horizons. I mean, hell, the symbol of Gryffindor is a lion, the symbol of Leo. Why would she have done this? Maybe because ROWLING IS A LEO HERSELF IRL. She even gave Harry Potter her own birthday, making him a Leo too. So, the whole series is about how Gryffindors (Leos) are awesome. Typical fucking Leo. Sorry, Instagrammer.
Air – Ravenclaw
Ravenclaw has a reputation for intelligence, and that is a quality most associated with the air signs. The Phubber, The SJW and The Data Bearer are primarily concerned with communication, the weighing of ideas and the distribution of knowledge. Rowling chose the eagle as the symbol of Ravenclaw. Why? Because it flies. IN THE AIR. AIR SIGNS. It’s almost like…she knew what she was doing…Although you’d think Hermione would have ended up in Ravenclaw given how she is constantly saving Harry and Ron from their own stupidity.
Slytherin’s characteristic ambition and power is well reflected in the emotional depths of the water signs, especially Scorpio. The “Introvert”, Bad Bitch and SBNR are concerned with one’s inner world, dark truths and transcendent truths. The snake of Slytherin is even the symbol for the second decan of Scorpio. And Draco’s son was even named Scorpius because of course he was, a detail we unfortunately had to learn in the Deathly Hallows epilogue. Tsk.
Earth – Hufflepuff
Poor Hufflepuff. Rowling probably chose the badger because it lives in and is close to the ground, the earth. And if we’re being perfectly honest, the common thread between the Hufflepuff signs of the Basic Bitch, the Vegan and the Yupster is that they are all materialistic in their own way, of the earth. Rowling charitably bestowed the virtues of patience and dedication on Hufflepuff, but we all know what they really are. Basic AF.
The Millennial Modalities
When Selfie passes through the proactive signs of Startupper, “Introvert”, SJW and Yupster, the Earth has reached its solstices and equinoxes, and a new season has begun. Similarly, these signs take the initiative, by themselves, their roots, with others and with institutions. They begin things. In our time, that’s someone who is not just active, but proactive, because putting ‘pro’ on the front of ‘active’ just makes it more ‘active’, because ‘active’ isn’t active enough.
Succedent – Straight
When Selfie passes through the straight signs of the Basic Bitch, the Instagrammer, the Bad Bitch and the Data Bearer, the Earth is in the middle of the long stretch of a given season. The straight signs reflect this stasis of the seasons, being stubborn, persevering and enduring. A few different meanings of the word straight could apply here in different ways.
Mutable – Trans
When Selfie passes through the trans signs of Phubber, Vegan, Backpacker and SBNR, the Earth is in between seasons. These transitional states would probably understood by millennials through the term “trans”. Phubber is between conversations, Vegan is between food fads, Backpacker is between places and SBNR is between beliefs. The strengths of the trans signs are their ability to adapt to change.
The Millennial Houses
The houses used to have fun and intriguing names in the Hellenistic era. We moved away from that, but I thought it would be fun to give them a millennial update.
1st House – The Profile
The sign of the Profile and its ruler is basically the About section of your social media profile. The Profile describes your appearance and general impetus and vitality for life, because the Profile is where Selfie makes its first appearance.
2nd House – The Gate of Money I Don’t Have
3rd House – Wegottas of the Moon
4th House – The Fam Place
5th House – Netflix and Chill
Eventually it leads to Netflix and Children, and when it does…avoid Caillou…at all costs.
6th House – Just the Worst
7th House – The Conscious (Un)Coupling Place
8th House – The Debth Place
Debt and death. Same thing? Debt is killing me.
9th House – Safe Space
Traditionally the 9th rules higher education. Colleges should be a safe space to learn and live…but not from encountering views contrary to your own. Perhaps especially stupid ones.
10th House – The Real World
11th House – Squad Goals
12th House – House of Haters
The 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses are the angular houses, for which I propose the term turnt. The 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th should be solid, and the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th are flaky houses. These have vaguely similar connotations of the modalities Proactive, Straight and Trans.
The Millennial Aspects
Conjunction – Dog
Now, stay with me on this one. A conjunction is when two planets come together. They aren’t looking at each other, they’re looking from the same vantage point. What word is there for two people looking at something together? It turns out there is a very specific one: dogging. Dogging is when people gather together in a public place to watch two other people have sex in a car. It’s called dogging because it comes from the time a bloke walking his dog at night might have happened to catch his neighbors having sex through a window. So when two planets come together looking at the same thing, they dog. Venus and Mars dog. Much better than “conjuncts” methinks.
The signs that sextile each other are 60 degrees apart, and share the same online/offline qualities. They’re buddies. You only have to take a quick glance to see them. So the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw signs of Startupper, Phubber, Instagrammer, SJW, Backpacker and Data Bearer are all online peeps. The Slytherin/Hufflepuff signs of the Basic Bitch, “Introvert”, Vegan, Bad Bitch, Yupster and SBNR are all offline peeps. They only have to peep over at the one next to them to see each other. Peep.
Square – Side Eye
The signs that square each other are 90 degrees apart, and share the same modality, but differ in element. They tend to be competitors and work at cross-purposes. Accordingly, to perform a snarky side-eye, you need to actually look as far over as you can from where you are without turning your head (90 degrees), and you’d only do this to someone who is being extremely annoying. Or to witness an iconic nip-slip in progress.
Trine – Check Out
The signs that trine each other share common elements but differ by modality. This is a very easy, stable connection between signs. Someone who’s 120 degrees relative to your vision is very easy to look at. It’s a prime checking-out angle. They don’t necessarily see you checking them out, and third parties also can’t obviously tell what you’re doing, in contrast to side-eyeing or peeping. While it’s hard for people to avoid doing unconsciously, it takes a special kind of idiot and culture to involuntary blurt out dumb pickup lines and compliments which always turn into insults and threats when they are inevitably rejected and resisted.
The signs opposite each other are 180 degrees apart. They share everything except the same element. Throwing shade is next-level side eye, when you publicly trash talk your opponent, and you glare right at them. It’s adversarial, but sometimes throwing shade can turn into eye-fucking.
Well, that’s just about all I can think of. Millennials might suck in a lot of ways, but you’re all stuck with us, and we’re all stuck with each other. One day we’ll figure it all out. I look forward to reading your quibbles and qualms below!