Believing and Being

How seriously should we take our zodiac signs?

Night view from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, CA

Gemini, the twins, Castor and Pollux. They were twins and half-brothers at the same time — twins because they were born from the same place at the same time, half-brothers because one had a mortal father and the other had Zeus (who was disguised as a swan when he seduced their mother, furthering the notion that Greek mythology makes perfect sense). What pinned them to the stars was the bond between the two, which drove the immortal Pollux, upon Castor’s death, to ask Zeus to grant Castor immortality for the two of them to share. So now there they are, immortalized in the night sky. During their lives they were supposedly patrons of travelers, athletes, and prime supporters of humankind. They were known to be helpful, especially to those that trusted them.

So, what has this story amounted to, exactly? Let’s start with some fast facts:

- The twin thing is a big deal

- Gemini is the third zodiac sign

- It is an Air sign, which comes from a lot of Greek, Roman, and even Hindu beliefs, but essentially means (from a personality standpoint) that Gemini’s freely express emotions and are “communicative, idealistic and mental.” (According to

The beauty of Gemini is that the idea of twins is used to define so much of what the sign represents. Some say it represents a connection between people, some say it represents two-sidedness.

I’m a Gemini, and I personally like the interpretation that Geminis have two sides to them — but not in the “she’s a bitch behind your back and only nice to your face” kind of way. I think of it more like this: Everyone has certain “modes” that they switch into while navigating the world, not just Geminis. I like to think that Geminis, more so than other signs (supposedly) have two relatively distinct modus operandi.

Before I delve any further, I need to acknowledge the elephant in the room. This is all only really applicable if we operate under the assumption that people are somehow influenced by the position of celestial objects during the time of their birth. Do I believe this? I feel like I need to go a little deeper to answer that.

I was a Biology major. That means I spent four years of my life studying the random molecular collisions that miraculously gave rise to life as we know it. Everything from the way we regulate our body temperature to the origins of the universe is the result of particles moving around, randomly, and crashing into each other. The energy that goes into them, their resulting velocity, their collision counterparts — everything is crucial, but also, like I said before, random.

During my years of scientific study, I also had to take two not-exactly-my-favorite college-level physics classes. I’m not great with physics, but there are a few things that came from these classes that I think proves useful in this particular argument I’m throwing forward. In physics, we talk about the concept of a gravitational pull. For most people, the word “gravity” provokes an image of people on a planet or space mass, like earth. What you learn in physics is that anything with mass exhibits a gravitational pull towards anything else with mass. The strength of this pull is determined by the mass of the objects and how far away they are from each other. This is why the earth can pull us down, it’s HUGE and right underneath us. And yes, this also means that we are perpetually pulling the earth towards us, even though we’re comparably tiny.

So, if any two masses can perform this sort of gravitational pull on nearby objects, even in the tiniest respect, who am I to say that planets — which are HUGE masses — arranged in a certain way, have absolutely no effect on the circumstances of my birth? This same thought process applies to things like precious stones as well — they have a certain composition and mass about them; who says they’re not having an effect on the molecular movement in your wrist or near your collarbones?

We can work with this same logic from the body outwards. Horoscopes, from my experience, deal largely with personality traits. Personality is essentially the result of your brain chemistry and — to a certain extent — the nature of the physical components of your mind. This means that planets and huge celestial objects could have the tiniest effect on the way your brain is forming while you’re in the womb, and the way chemical components assemble in your mind. I’m not talking about anything astronomical (pun intended), but maybe something minute. From this perspective, Indian birth charts that require you to record your location of birth seem more accurate. They take into account where on the earth you were born, and thus pinpoints your location in reference to the celestial objects even more precisely.

I personally have no trouble pinning down astrology as a sort of science. My mom actually often says that constructing a birth chart is a science, and reading it is an art, which brings me to the next, almost contradictory, point in my argument: maybe there’s a little magic involved.

I also majored in English while in college, which means I love the written word. I love stories, I love improbable things coming true, and hints of magic in the world. Part of me is completely satisfied in accepting astrology as a sort of hocus-pocus witchcraft that has no clear explanation. It’s intriguing to think that people can collect information about you and predict great truths and life-changing events in your past, present, and future. It’s so important to have a little magic in the world, at least it makes life a little less dull.

I guess the way I “believe” in astrology follows a certain Gemini-esque duality in itself. Same goes for the two majors I pursued in college, the countries I call home, my professional interests, my temperament, and my friendships, amongst other things.

There’s a lot out there, depending on what you believe in, or rather, who you want to listen to. I personally don’t know who I want to listen to, but I do like listening.

It’s kind of juicy isn’t it?

The uncertain certainty and the cosmic mystery.

The elusive stars, countless lightyears away.

The perpetually spinning, massive planets.

The possibility of finding a dollar tomorrow morning.




Trying to make sense of the world, one word at a time

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Apeksha Atal

Apeksha Atal

Trying to make sense of the world, one word at a time

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