Eclipsed by Ecliptic

Thurs., April 9th — ☉ ♈, ☽ ♏, ☿ ♓, ♀ ♊, ♂ & ♄ ♒, ♃ & ♇ ♑, ♆♓

It’s hard being an astrologer, but it’s even harder being an astrologer during a quarantine.

In-person chart readings shift to over-the-phone or -email chart readings; person-to-person workshops and cafe meet-and-greets take place via Zoom (if they even take place at all, which, let’s be honest, they don’t); and people now talk about the signs via Instagram memes. In short, the traditional means of networking and connecting with others have become obsolete. And while it’s definitely an advancement our society can be proud of, technology is currently the only way we can preserve the bond of human connection.

This human connection is so crucial to an astrologer like myself. We planetary prophets do much more than track the movements of celestial bodies. Astrologers aim to improve human relationships via our knowledge of the signs and planets. I mean, the whole reason we write horoscopes is to help each sign feel better equipped for their day, month, or year(s) ahead; but we do so on a personal level. So, what’s worse than losing the face-to-face connection due to this global pandemic, is that we have no way of changing this. (Unless, of course, someone finds a cure to the Coronavirus!)

With these somewhat gloomy thoughts lingering in my head, I tried to return to typical routine as an astrologer, quarantine notwithstanding. After spending nearly half of the day alone in my apartment, watching 12 Corazones (an astrology dating game show on Telemundo), I decided it was time to stare at various celebrity birth charts. Though I quickly lost interest. Most of the charts (Paul Rudd, David Harbour, Jaimie Lynn Spears) had the same or similar placements as the Aries. 

I slumped onto my small sofa, feeling forlorn and in need of a distraction. Luckily, distraction came in the form of work. 

I had a phone call meeting with the creative team at Ecliptic, the zine I work at. (I’m the Creative Director, head horoscopist, and sometime transit writer. But I only get paid for writing horoscopes. Go figure.) 

As befitting of Ecliptic, the meeting was a shitshow.

Ecliptic’s EIC, Sarah (Taurus Sun Aries Moon) couldn’t figure out how to get everyone on the phone via the Discord app, and her 6-year-old kept barging in on the conversation asking if she could play. Then, Ecliptic’s social media marketer, Tara (a Leo), couldn’t speak because her phone’s microphone wasn’t working, so she kept writing angry texts in the chat; and our horary writer, Taylor (a Libra), couldn’t hear Sarah’s end of the conversation, so I spent the first half hour of the meeting relaying to him everything Sarah said. The rest of the staff — Vivian, Tswana, Jacob, and Kat just sat on the phone saying nothing sans sporadic murmurs of assent.

Finally, after all the chaos had dwindled, and everyone but Sarah and I had hung up, it was time to get down to business. 

“I’m sorry I’ve been out of the loop lately,” Sarah said after recovering from a fit of laughter (I spent five minutes telling a reluctant, disbelieving Taylor he had Sarah’s permission to hang up). “We lost Zamir… and John’s depressed, he got furloughed. And we’re both stuck at home with Dylan– no honey, that wasn’t an invitation to play,” Sarah whispered to her daughter before shooing her away. “I love that kid with all my heart, but all she wants to do is make crafts. She’s restless. John’s restless. I’m restless.”

“Everybody is,” I said, trying to console her. “This quarantine is not something any of us have ever experienced. It’s scary, you know?”

 “Hell yeah, I know,” Sarah said. “Uranus-in-Taurus is revolutionizing commerce– I had to barter with my neighbor for goods yesterday! I traded her some of my hen’s eggs for six rolls of toilet paper! We had to make the trade as though it was some type of drug deal, too. She dropped the toilet paper off on my porch, and I put the eggs in her mailbox, it was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I used to live in France!”

I laughed, despite the unfortunate truth underscored by Sarah’s situation.  

“The world is changing and it’s terrifying,” she continued. 

“Not to mention lonely,” I muttered, gazing around my empty apartment. 

“Yes! Even if they don’t want to admit it, everyone is lonely. Honestly, how can you not be lonely during a quarantine? We spend 24 hours a day isolated from the world, and when we do go out, we have to stay as far away from people as we can.”

“Well, if we’re talking about loneliness, maybe we can write something about staying connected during Venus in Gemini…?” I offered.

“I want more than a Venus puff piece,” Sarah spat. “What about Saturn in Aquarius? Last time Saturn was in Aquarius, we had the Madrid Conference, and before that, the Civil Rights Act and before that, the Great Depression! And don’t even get me started on Pluto-in-Capricorn, a.k.a. the harbinger of economic and geographic decimation…”

I rolled my eyes. This was just another one of Sarah’s Aries Moon diatribes. 

When she and I started Ecliptic a few years ago, I naïvely mistook her diatribes for enthusiastic insurgency. She and I were going to revolutionize the way astrology was presented to people! Or so I thought. I have long since learned that Sarah is just a highly excitable person who doesn’t actively do anything to revolutionize anything. She just complains and argues. A lot. This, paired with Ecliptic’s low success-and-readership rate, has left a bitter taste in my mouth. And though I wasn’t in the mood for a one-sided tirade on this week’s planetary transits, Sarah is still my boss, which means I still have to feign like I’m not tired of her or Ecliptic.

“It’s our job as astrology journalists to write stories that matter,” Sarah continued, sounding only slightly riled. “That’s how we keep astrology alive, that’s how we remind people that we’re connected!” 

“By writing about events that happened 90 years ago?” I scoffed.

“No! By changing the conversation. No one wants to read about stuff that happened in 1932, and that’s the problem. Apart from your horoscopes, Ecliptic doesn’t have anything new to offer anyone. That has to change. We need to determine what’s next for Ecliptic, and I’m putting that responsibility on you.” 

“Wait–” I sputtered, as panic replaced my disinterest. “What responsibility? Why me?” 

“You’re in charge of the creative side of Ecliptic! You’ve got to come up with a creative way to get people interested in Ecliptic.”

“Yeah, but Sarah, I’m– I just–” I stopped and grimaced. I was going to say “I just got out of a relationship, and I’m trying to piece my life back together and move on from this stupid publication and into the big leagues at Planetarium, because this zine is going nowhere.” But I couldn’t tell Sarah any of this, especially not the bit about my breakup with the Aries. Plus, Sarah absolutely hates Planetarium; she thinks it’s a puff piece publication and that anyone who works there –or wants to work there– is a sellout. So I had to stretch the truth a bit. (A lot.)

“The truth is, Sarah, I’m in no place to come up with new ideas. I’m overworked as it is,” I lied, thinking back to all the nothing I’ve accomplished all week.

“Join the club,” Sarah said. “I’m in an ongoing email fight with our publisher who is convinced that an astrology zine is a nonessential business. We need something big, and I need you to dream it up, Camille. Otherwise, we won’t have jobs.”

A sick feeling filled my stomach. 

Here I was thinking I had only to get over a breakup and survive a global pandemic. Now I have to re-brand a publication that is one flop away from folding? Great.

*please note, COSMIC CHRONICLES is a fictional series; Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this series are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.  

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