Star-Crossed

Lately some have complained that I (via posts like this,this, and this) have been entirely too obnoxious to New Agers.

To which I say: Hey, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the supernova.

But that’s really more of an astronomy joke. Which, as you see, are impossible to make funny. Unlike astrology jokes, which even Dick Cheney could make hilarious.

As an example of just how easy it is to make Top Notch Comedy Jokes about astrology, here are some choice yuks from a faux-horoscope I was once asked to write for a magazine:

If you were born today: It’s incredible that you can already read. Stop drooling on this magazine.

Libra: You’re an exceptionally balanced person. Maybe a little too balanced. Why don’t you loosen up once in awhile? It’s like hanging out with a Supreme Court judge. Health-wise, you have psoriasis. In love, try a Pisces. At least you both have scales.

Pisces: You really must do something about your smell. And your scaly skin condition. And the fact that you breathe through flaps on the side of your face. And stop making that weird kissy-face all the time. You’re freaking people out.

Cancer: Tough on the outside, white and tender on the inside—you’re pure delight, once you’ve been pried out of your shell. You’re bowlegged, short-tempered, and forever complaining. But you can be fun in a pinch. When it comes to love, you prefer spineless bottom feeders. But more often than not, this means you only end up with your heart cracked in two.

Scorpio: Born with Venus in your main house, Mars in your secondary house, and Uranus right back there where it belongs, you’re a vicious little twerp who enjoys causing other people pain. You have long gnarly arms, forearms like Popeye, beady eyes, and enjoy scuttling around in the desert. When it comes to matters of the heart, you have a way of feigning indifference—and then, when threatened, of rearing up and attacking with, well, Uranus. And you wonder why nobody ever calls.

See? I did a whole horoscope of jokes like that! Can you believe all the humor? Me, neither. It’s still a complete mystery to me why the editor who asked me to write this piece never published it. Or called me back. Or answered any of my emails. Or ever came back to lunch that time I waited for him at his office. Just super-busy, I guess.

Anyway, for the record, I’ve got no particular beef with New Agers. I hardly could; I used to be a New Ager. I spend decades doing yoga and transcendental meditation and all of it.

True fact: For my 19th birthday, my mother bought me (for $300!) a full reading of my astral charts. I thought it was going to be a joke—that my poor mom had been taken in by some New Age flim-flammer. But the woman who prepared and read my charts (whom I later learned was also a major Jung scholar) actually and truly earned her money. She had these astronomy maps all laid out, and all these colored charts she’d made and everything. It was way impressive.

So was she, actually. She and I ended up having quite the little thing. You know how it is: a middle-aged Jung scholar who’s made a secondary discipline of astrology; a 19-year-old boy who works at a Wrigley’s gum factory. She reads his charts. He reads the magazines in her bathroom while he’s sneaking a hit or two off a joint. She smells the weed, and through the bathroom door forthrightly demands that he not bogart it all. The stars align. They almost start making out and everything, but then don’t because it’s so weird because she’s friends with his mother. So instead they hang out on the porch of her snazzy Pacific Heights apartment in San Francisco, and talk about their lives. She says something that ends up sticking with him for the rest of his life, which is, “Life is a long time.”

Me, anti-New Age? Hardly. When I say that some of the best people I’ve ever known were New Age devotees, I’m not just blowing smoke into an air vent in someone’s bathroom. I mean it.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    You want to know why I didn't post what I'd written for Sagittarius? Cuz it's this:

    "Sagittarius: Born with Jupiter rising in your house, and Mars setting in your house, and nobody having any idea what time they're supposed to set the alarm clock for, you are heavily influenced by the current price of hay. You have a strong, quick laugh, in which you throw back your head and show lots of teeth. You are strong, tall, and capable of twitching amazingly selective patches of your skin. You adore parades. You're a fun date–an exceedingly thrilling one, actually—as long as the person you're dating keeps a shovel in their living room."

    See? So I did the right thing.

  • textjunkie

    Love it, particularly the 19 year old with a thing for Jungian scholars. ;)

    But c'mon, where's Capricorn? You should be able to go to town on that one…

  • textjunkie

    ::pout::

  • onemansbeliefs

    John: I've got about 15 people jumping up and down chanting "LEO, LEO, LEO." Okay, it's just me, but I am doing it in different places if that helps…

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Okay, see, I'm not resisting showing you this stuff because I'm being coy. I'm not showing them to you because they're so EXTREMELY STUPID.

    Anyway, here they are. I hope you still respect me in the morning:

    Capricorn: A horny old goat, you've always been too into labels. Raised by a nanny, you tend to chew too long on your problems. A fighter by nature, you're always butting your head up against authority, until finally you're forced to simply ram your way through whatever situation you've gotten yourself into. Sure, you always manage to escape by the hair on your chinny-chin-chin, but sooner or later you'll realize that if you go trolling for trouble, you'll always find it.

    Leo: Could you be any more of a blubbering crybaby? You tremble at everything, and are nothing but a hindrance to your friends Dorothy, Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodsman. In love, go for the Tin Woodsman–who, if he were any gayer, would be … well, you. And do something about that hay fever, or head cold, or whatever it is you've got. It's gross, and half the time makes you impossible to understand. And for fun, just once, spray on Toto. You'll be glad you did. We all will.

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Ah John, this Sagittarius feels so left out. Guess I’ll just to refer to my Ouija Board to see what the day holds. Oh calm down! I’m just kidding!

    Besides, I already consulted my tea leaves at breakfast.

  • Casey

    As a Sagittarius- I must say that several of those points were exceptionally right on the money….. scary.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thank you, text. But … did you not see what I pasted above, in response to Anita’s request that I do Sagittarius? I’m thinking you must not have, or you wouldn’t want to see what I originally wrote for Capricorn. If I showed it to you, you’d only … wish I hadn’t. It’s just too stupid.

  • onemansbeliefs

    “They almost start making out and everything, but then don’t because it’s so weird because she’s friends with his mother.”

    Because there are no details, this is what played out in my mind….

    Jung Lady: “We can’t do this.”

    Young Man: “Why not?”

    Jung Lady: “Because, I’m a friend of your mother.”

    Young Man: “Who? Oh, But what about living in the moment?”

    Jung Lady: “Living is a lifetime and long is a lifetime of living.”

    Young Man: “Huh?”

    Jung Lady: “Life is a long time.”

    Young Man: “Well, okay.”

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Ha! Thanks, you guys. I do like this little piece–it just felt good to write, for some reason—but, alas, the title I felt it needed is one that isn’t bringing it many readers. So I appreciate you guys letting me know you’ve enjoyed it, or whatever. Thanks.

    Text: Okay, after dinner here (wife just got home), I’ll go fetch that old document, and share with you whatever I wrote about Capricorn. But … well, for instance, the word “horny,” as I recall, makes a visit. But … you asked for it.

    Oneman: Nice! Funny! But soooooo not even close. (Which, of course: how could you possibly guess it right?) But, no. And her comment about life being long stayed with me all these years because of the context in which she said it. She was talking about how issues that any person needs to work out take a very long time–and that, luckily for anyone seeking what amounts to wisdom, life for most people lasts a long time. The idea was that, if you pay attention, life itself, being so long, can clean you up.

  • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com Chuck Anziulewicz

    THINGS THAT USED TO BE FUN FOR ME TO BELIEVE IN:

    1: MIDDLE EARTH: Not only did I read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, but I I got all sorts of posters and illustrated calendars and encyclopedias. Wouldn't it have been really cool if Tolkien had an authentic copy of The Red Book of Westmarch hidden away in a vault somewhere? Middle Earth was so richly, wonderfully created that you just wanted to believe that it was true.

    2: THE I CHING: I got into this in high school, after reading about it in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The whole notion the the Yin/Yang forces in the within us and around us guide the coins to fall as they do when casting a hexagram seemed infinitely more plausible than divining the positions of constellations (not to mention planets that weren't even discovered until after the 18th century!). And I can still cast your hexagram if you want me to!

    3: UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS: Remember that poster in David Duchovny's office in The X-Files, the one with the alleged photo of a flying saucer and the caption, "I WANT TO BELIEVE" ? That's how I used to feel. I wanted to believe in alien visitation. But no, it's all a bunch of nonsense.

  • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com Chuck Anziulewicz

    But I really ought to mention, John, that I am a TEXTBOOK EXAMPLE of a Gemini! [;o)

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Casey, I too flinched (or should I say selectively twitched?) at the resemblances.

    Thank you John for including we twitching, tall, and toothy Sags.

  • http://theskinhorse.wordpress.com theskinhorse

    Got any Taurus in there?

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    John: "Anyway, for the record, I’ve got no particular beef with New Agers. I hardly could; I used to be a New Ager."

    Isnt that sorta like 'I used to be Christian." ….? **ducks**

    Anyhoo. A while back (cant recall which post) the querry came up of what is wrong with being non-Christian. It didnt get explored that I saw.

    Along that same line I am also wondering; Does god need non-Christians?

    Would be an interesting, topic, yes?

    Peace.


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