conquered the moon.

The relationship between space and the supernatural is a very human thing. To look beyond, gaze into the black, to try and understand what lies beyond our lithosphere. And it’s in my blood, really. My grandfather was a fanatic when it came to the fields of science and space, which he intertwined into his life as a chemistry teacher in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Wonderment entered his life when he witnessed the passing of Halley’s Comet, which only visits Earth once every 75 years. My dad was born a few months after the Apollo 11 mission and so was bizarrely, but very aptly named ‘Chandraharan’, meaning the man who, “Conquered the Moon.” Like I said, grandad was a fanatic. Don’t get me wrong, space and it’s endless expansion is an impossibly divine and marvellous entity, but that’s what I feel it is, just space. Relatively empty in its meaning to me.

The need to observe, dissect and ultimately conquer the unexplored is necessary for the evolution of the species, we can’t risk standing still for fear of being dragged back into the food chain with the rest of the animals. And exploring space in today’s age is much like our predecessors sailing the oceans in the quest for pastures new. We venture into what are almost certainly perilous and hostile environments, but the thrill of discovery is all that our brains can see.

Still, not a major excitement to me. Maybe I don’t appreciate it enough as I should. I’m not usually a cynic when it comes to abstract and mystery, but constellations and solar flares whilst interesting, have little bearing on my life. I didn’t think they could or would bring any ingenuity to me on an everyday basis. Or so I thought.

The introduction of one of my best friends into my space brought me to a bridge that connected the cosmos and human personality for the first time. The first thing she ever messaged me was my own astro chart, which delivered to me a comprehensive analysis of my various personality traits and vices, and immediately, I was cautious. How can my very being be instantly assigned to me by a random website chosen by someone I had only met the other day? If this wasn’t a red flag to a hippy, absurd and anti-science idealogy, then I don’t what was. Maybe this newly-injected idea of our fixed presence in space yet fluctuating bond with it’s vast contents is a reminder that we’re all not as individual as we like to think we are, hence why many of us are quick to rubbish its legitimacy at the first opportunity. Horoscopes seem to have mapped a finite range of attributes, characteristics and emotional capabilities that exist within us, and even if you don’t believe what a horoscope may say about you personally, it’ll most likely ring true for someone else.

“Of course it’ll ring true, horoscopes are very generic so it’s relatable to anyone,” I hear you cry, and I would agree on the face of it. But it’s not what is literally said that is of interest, it’s the superstitious reliance and what it represents which to me is quite insightful. The how and why people seek comfort in the stars.

I have always been a huge believer in self-reflection and constant improvement, and a great thing that reading your horoscope achieves is you immediately question what’s been said about you, because you feel like it’s a probing of the most personal kind. Most people are ready to brush off the generic statements regarding a horoscope, but no one likes hearing that they’re a jealous person amongst rationality, lazy and unenthused by nature or that they have tendencies to be duplicitous. It’s one thing realising that everyone is largely similar – it’s another thing finding that you specifically are the one that’s flawed.

The first people who delved into the Zodiac, the Babylonians, Greeks and Romans who regarded it as a celestial-based science, were captivated and used this to bring a sense of order out of apparent chaos. It got me thinking that in today’s world, not perfect but I’d say far from chaotic in the traditional sense, maybe we need the circle of animals not to point us in the direction of our immediate environment, but rather into us as individuals. In times where we feel like we lack knowledge and understanding, we almost instinctively look to the supernatural, hoping that omniscient deities and invisible bundles of energy can provide us with resolution and purpose. Daily predictions of your week based on your star sign, although wildly inaccurate, provide some attempt at alignment or equilibrium to the future. If your upcoming week is looking like a disaster, you might surround yourself with positivity and acts of good karma to try and avert it. Or you might just capitulate and resign yourself into the metaphorical car crash you could be heading into. And if your week is looking like a success, you might come out with exuberance, full of optimism and humility. That being said, I feel like reading a horoscope that says that there’s going to be an effect soon in your life and then relying on it actually occurring, is an irritating and ultimately disappointing kind of hope, that which reinforces a sense of control that none of us can possibly expect to realistically have. It’s that classic trait of attempting to explain the unexplainable with a story. In the same way parables have been passed down the millennia that gives us the reward of heaven or a better place for striving to be morally righteous people in our lives, we have tried to explain how we are and how we feel by creating a set of personality traits and current insights within the parameters of the position of stars and heavenly bodies.

The inward reflections that horoscopes provide is a welcome microscope that I feel I could definitely use myself from time to time. Being able to adjust myself accordingly to what me being a Leo brings out in me both positively and negatively, means I can react and adapt in the pursuit of balance. I am really not a fan of people that justify their inability to react in a situation in the best way by saying, “Oh sorry that I’m [insert any character trait] that’s just how I am.” Being self aware and displaying dismissiveness, to me, shows an unwillingness to even consider the possibility of adapting for the benefit of other, let alone improving yourself for the better. Instead of using set characteristics to separate and segregate ourselves in rigid boxes, they should help fuel our understanding of each other to reach common ground in how to effectively interact and communicate more easily. If I know you have a tendency to be short-tempered, I’ll make an effort not to trigger it by being patient, and if I have a tendency to be a wildly optimistic (which I do), I hope you’ll kindly bring me back down to Earth when necessary.

In a time where identity politics that has left its roots and radical tribe mentality seem to be dominating and dividing once united communities more than ever, I like to think that a quick reflection of yourself, courtesy of the stars, may bring you closer together not just with yourself, but everyone else who is going through the motions too. There are always differences that separate people, each animal of the Zodiac is unique in it’s own right, but ultimately, we are all part of the same circle, and a recognition of this is ultimately the key to mass progress and collective co-existence.

On this theme, here’s one that I picked today from Cafe Astrology:

“This is a period for reconnecting to your roots, building your inner well, and taking charge of your family life. You’re taking more pride in your personal life. Aim to work hard at finding peace with those closest to you and with yourself during this cycle. Security and stability are prioritized goals. Today’s energies are fabulous for a general spirit of cooperation. Interactions are mutually beneficial and supportive. It’s easy to connect with people who share similar interests or ideas. Seeing both sides of the story and giving others the benefit of the doubt are at the heart of this.”

I’m aware that such application in our own personal lives, is just raw optimism, possibly delusion. I may very well not have the capabilities to be among, or even get close to the stars in terms of both my individual and collective future successes. I’m content with the possibility of that reality panning out. But by constantly improving, self-reflecting and maybe keeping mind of my Zodiac, I’m sure that by aiming for the stars, I will at least be able to land on and conquer the moon, as my bizarrely, yet aptly chosen name optimistically suggests.

One thought on “conquered the moon.

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