by Ian Svenonius
first published in Arthur No. 10 (May 2004)
Once, Man looked on the natural world for his metaphors and archetypes… your people were dubbed ‘the ram’ for that animal’s stubborn ferocity. Today the Ram is nearly extinct, an abstraction to the modern techno-child. People are alienated from “nature”; most couldn’t tell you what a ram was, let alone its characteristics. Because astrology, like all other things, must change with the times, you are now Aries—“The Ram”—but named after the pick-up truck by Dodge, hailed by its adherents as “Ram Tough.” This means your astrological qualities now include:
1) Whopping big four-way disc brakes for much better stopping power
2) A frame with hydroformed parts for less vibration
3) A more friendly interior, with more storage space and facilities for child seats and extra passengers
4) Four new grilles, one for each body style, the most muscular going with the Sport model
5) Another 40 horsepower in the base V6 as a result of the swap from the 318-based 3.9 liter to the much more modern 4.7-based 3.7 liter engine. Congratulations!
“The Bull.” You’ve ruled the roost for a while now, epitomizing toughness, rutting pompously about and snorting at those who defy you. Unfortunately, due to newly perfected cloning techniques, you’ve been rendered redundant—there is no need for the bull anymore. Your sperm is irrelevant; they’ve got Elsa’s uber-bovine DNA in the lab. Soon, there will be no Taurus astrological column, because there will be no bull. You will be a picture on the Sierra Club’s wall, toasted by donors at environmentalist fund raisers, your name accompanied by tremulous piano plonking. As everyone relates their stories, praising your noble character, only I will have the guts to say you were an asshole.
They say that twins often dress the same, act the same and even can use telepathy to communicate with each other. Can you please use that special power to tell what’s-his-face to shut the hell up?
As a Cancer, you have a deeply poetic sense which is integrated with a mild form of Tourette’s: You always say something brilliant, yet offensive in public. This leaves a tangled web of wounds and shaken pride in your wake. You are usually oblivious to the carnage, focusing instead on the tiniest problem of your own. This works out fine though, as you surround yourself with masochists who await your next acrid pronouncement with barely disguised glee. Your tiny problems are enshrined by these followers and tended in a garden as their own. These maladies never need disappear, therefore, but can be revisited during assigned “periods of nostalgia.”
Hey Leo! The Army has got great benefits and college opportunities. You just have to kill some people. Yes, you could get college money by killing people other ways; being a “hit-man” or murdering the rich, but these options would be against the law and, have you considered the logistics? Trying to figure out a dead man’s bank card number? When you join the Army, all killing you do is legal AND counts toward college credits. ARMY: “It sure beats trying to figure out some dead guy’s PIN number.”
The time you spend on the toilet is legendary. Here is a ballad written around this epic rite: “The time you spend on the toilet seat is certainly no mean feat if you had a bed in there I’d think it’s where you sleep. When I pass the door I hear the moans and innutterable sounds of a soul left hanging before god as his best work drowns.”
If Libra were a car, it would be a classy little number, not vulgar but with an engine that meant business. If Libra were a film, it would be foreign, but with a sense of humor—not inscrutable. If Libra were a food, it would be a pasta primavera or something else elegant but suitable for a cafe and with a touch of freshness. Unfortunately, Libra is a person and they are absolutely insufferable.
Some of your subjects seem to suddenly realize they are without what you might call “complete autonomy.” They realize their actions have been guided as from enormous strings from on high, and that you hold the strings. Only, there are no strings. Just a series of mnemonic symbols and repetition-induced brain control as learned via an operative from the CIA. Soothe their fears. Tell them that they’re on a “secret operation,” that brainwashing is just “another kind of cleaning.” People wash their hands—don’t they?
The great Sagittarian martyrs, Jimi, Jim and Janis, all died from wretched excess. They are admired for their art, but imitated for their bachannalian imbibements; every night young acolytes strive to ingest as much as they did, in deferent homage. The poseurs! They think it’s a matter of choice. They don’t understand that it’s a kind of a curse to be Saggittarius, “the patron saint of consumerism.” It gets tiresome embodying the culture’s endless pursuit of youth, sensation and desire, living as the market’s role model. There can be no rest for you though, this is your destiny. Show these tourists how to “super size” their order!
You are toughest, when it comes down to it. Your resolve always trumps everyone else’s fancy plans. When things get tough, remember the Capricorn Stalin against the Nazis; he could not be defeated! The Capricorn Mao against the imperialist running dogs—“sometimes a retreat can ultimately be an advance”! These are the examples of dogged resistance in the face of almost absolute negative odds you must recall when things seem hopeless. Just don’t think about the Capricorn Nixon, who got set up by his own party with “Watergate.” Ouch! Or Howard Hughes who flopped with that “Spruce Goose” and then became a weird recluse and CIA asset. Wotta loser. Or Bautista…his whole army beaten by twelve guys in the jungle. Don’t think about those Capricorns though; focus on the winners!
You are a spoiled sultan splayed out in the sun, eating “dolmas” or grape leaves. You’ve handpicked the eunuchs and the harem and you’re ready to ravage the latter but you, being “Aquarius,” want to be evenhanded. You will spread your sensual generosity evenly among your sexual slaves without regard to their gender or lack thereof. Bravo! Eunuchs need love too.
You are the fish. Few people realize that we are living through the “fish holocaust” right now. That, because of people’s faddish proclivity for sushi and fish in general, combined with the terrifying efficiency of modern fishing trawlers, your kind don’t stand a sporting chance anymore in the wild. To combat your complete eradication in fact, you must enlist the help of the sleeping Leviathan which lies nesting on the floor of the Atlantic. This thing is a monstrous creature, it’s exact size can’t be speculated, but it is quite beyond imagination. The KGB and the NSA are aware of its existence but no one dare speak its name, because a slight tumult on its part would send tidal waves crashing absolute ruin onto “civilization.” Your mission must be to awaken the beast and destroy mankind. The problem is simple logistics. As it is, fish are stratified by level; this is not unlike humanity with their class system, but with fish it is quite literal. Different fish at different levels rarely communicate with one another or even see each other. The lowest fish, the ancient sturgeon and prehistoric glowing fish must be your messenger. The problem is: they don’t understand the gravity of the situation, being so far away, near the bottom and removed from the slaughter of their brethren. Therefore, you must show them this astrology column! Subscribe them to ARTHUR. I will be your messenger!
Ian Svenonius is vocalist for Weird War, whose latest album is If You Can’t Beat Em, Bite Em.