I Don’t Believe In Horoscopes – Here’s Why I Keep Reading Them Anyway

I'm doing magic with post-its and an exercise shirt tied around my head!

You know when I read a lot of horoscopes? When my relationships are going terribly.

Really, whenever I feel like I am about to break-up with someone – I am borderline incapable of breaking up with people because it would be a testament to my inability to ‘make it work’ (Tim Gun lives inside my hair and repeats his catchphrase in a way that’s downright incessant) – I really just want to sit around and read horoscopes. All the horoscopes, everywhere.

It’s great. God, horoscopes give you a feeling of order in the universe. When something difficult that I do not have the ability to correct is going on, I don’t want to say it’s because of a lot of issues, some of which relate to me, some of which I have nothing to do with, and therefore cannot alter. No. What I want to do is say it is because mercury is in retrograde.

Here is how the dictionary defines Mercury: the smallest planet and the nearest to the sun. Here is how I think of mercury: a tiny angry planet with a weird face that is sad, and sort of pinched, that periodically says things like “let’s go fuck up Jen’s life” as though it was a cartoon character, but the angriest cartoon character. A cartoon character role model for sociopath children and internet commenters. This strikes me as 100% accurate in a way that, if you showed me a picture of Mercury without an angry personified face, I would tell you that you had doctored the photos.

Though only when I am going through stressful periods. In non-stressed out periods I am usually not an insane conspiracy theorist.

What’s nice about horoscopes during this period is that they gives you a sort of time limit on suffering. In the same way, you can keep exercising when you tell yourself it’s only for, say, 10 miles, not “an unlimited unforseeable amount of miles.” Mercury will be in retrograde for three weeks. You can wait out three weeks.

Eventually things do get better, but, of course, it has nothing to do with mercury being in or out of retrograde. Things get better because things get better, or they get worse because things get worse. That’s the nature of the universe. Some proofs of omniscience are inevitable.

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    • Amanda Chatel

      Oh. My. Fucking. God. You look just like Little Edie.

      • Lauren


        If you are going for a Little Edie look, please take a pass on the 473289 cats. Cat feces is not a good look on anyone, even someone who wears safety pinned fabric as skirts.

    • Fabel

      I’ve found that my iGoogle page gives really specific, disturbing horoscopes sometimes? It gets them from dailyhoroscopes.com, but when I click to that site, the horoscope there is different (& less specific) than the one on my page. Creepy?

      • Jennifer Wright

        It’s me. I e-mail them to you. NBD.

    • Sean

      I keep waiting for mine to say something definite and specific, like:

      “Today you will die alone. Alone and in a hole.”

      But it never does.

      • Jennifer Wright

        It should say that! Then you could avoid holes and be like “whew, really dodged that bullet.”

    • Meghan Keane


    • Sabrina

      I read the shit out of horoscopes when my relationships are in the tank!

    • Elizabeth

      I like to read them at the end of the month so I can force the happenings in my life into the horoscope and run around screaming, “OH MY GOD, IT’S REAL!” Then I read the upcoming month to feel all excited about how great my month will be. Within 28 days I will forget the content of the previous horoscope, so the cycle can repeat.

    • Amy

      Oh Jennifer, I love this article. From the very first sentence it was like you were talking to ME (you must have the horoscope-writer’s gift).

      It’s actually made me realise a pattern I had never noticed before – some people drink when they’re in denial about a shitty relationship, some people start working too much, I start religiously reading my Daily Love Horoscope and desparately convincing myself that it applies EXACTLY to my situation. But I use it as a crutch for my denial because those horoscopes really are plucky and I usually convince myself that things really are going to get better soon. They usually don’t. But I feel better in the meantime and that’s actually worth something.