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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.