Montgomery College - Germantown Student Newspaper



    How I Guessed My Friend’s Zodiac on the First Try

    Written By Emmy Miralieva

    Cassie was a young blond woman from out of state with a perpetual smile – at least, that’s what I saw from her Instagram photos. We’d only met virtually; I first saw her face in a seminar that celebrated young writers’ thought-provoking pieces. As a person, she was an eccentric, yet passionate and amusing writer with strange and wondrous fictional stories. We didn’t chat often, probably a consequence of being a generation who depended on the Internet for consistent communication; when we did, though, we discussed random subjects such as grammatical differences and fictional characters.

    One day, the subject was astrology. 

    No one believed in it because it was never scientifically proven, and there was no way you could divine someone’s personality and future using celestial bodies that orbited us from billions of miles away. The last time I told a group of people I believed in astrology and the zodiacs, one person smiled and said, “I don’t believe in that shit.”

    The crassly-expressed opinion had lowered my mood for the rest of the day. I understood people’s reasons for dismissing astrology all too well, so I had only presented my interest as a hobby. I wasn’t trying to convert anyone into this mystical belief system. Still, I never stopped feeling offended when some random person trashed a subject I loved to engage with, as if they insulted me instead.

    Fortunately, Cassie was generally a pleasant and open-minded person to discuss anything with, so when I hesitantly confessed my adoration for the fantastical and mystical practice, she presented me with a fun challenge involving what I thought her sign was. “Give it a guess.”

    “Oh. Um. Let me think,” I searched my brain for a way to answer correctly, “God, I don’t know, I have no info to go off of.” I sat there, feeling uncertain and insecure. I’d never met her in person before, so I couldn’t apply the theories of elements and modalities to her personality. 

    Come to think of it, psychologists had noticed phenomena like the Barnum effect – the tendency to apply generic fortunes in horoscopes to ourselves – and our tendency to behave like our own zodiac descriptions, so it was all smoke and mirrors at the end of the day to every sane person. If I had guessed her sign based on her personality, what if her sign only seemed accurate because she wanted to model her behavior off of it?

    “Ok. I’ll give you three quick facts,” she said, “I don’t know if they apply though, I don’t know much about my sign. One, I tend to have passionate, intense emotions that pass quickly. Two, I’m creative and don’t use logic very much. Three, I have a lot of social anxiety but have lots of good friends I care deeply about.”

    I gave her suggestion a thought. She didn’t know anything about her sign, so she wouldn’t be compelled to live up to it and bring bias to the answer. If I could somehow prove that celestial objects and natural elements had an equal effect as genetics on a person’s personality from the moment they were born, maybe I could shake the minds of the logical and faithless. Those who believed that life could be explained by science alone and not be touched by miracles and magic may still keep their principles, but may sit confused reading this text from their homes. Alternatively, maybe science could see the mysterious yet powerful impact planets truly had on people’s personal lives besides providing resources and structure to the solar system.

    “Okay. Lemme think,” I finally accepted, “This is all just a guess, but I assign people based on personality.”

    The process of eliminating the wrong elements was easy enough. Fire, earth, air, and water. 

    “Not an air sign. They’re too cool in temperament.” Despite having the level-headed analysis and logical cognition that I could only dream of having, I knew they were true “airheads” in the field of emotion and sentiment.

    Cassie put a crying-in-laughter emoji on my first text, the first sign of approval. She smiled, amused and intrigued behind her phone screen.

    “That leaves me with earth, fire, and water. But even earth signs aren’t too emotional, necessarily. But I believe they’re logical.” 

    I looked from the screen to my hands. The statement wasn’t completely true. As a Virgo, I was a neurotic and sentimental individual, whose normal day could be ruined by tragedy or twisted stories without any hope of shrugging them off. But as an earth sign, I benefited from practical and reasonable decision-making instead of focusing on my emotional expression; even now, my methodical approach of using the process of elimination to filter out unlikely signs displayed a mind with logical tendencies.

    All in all, air and earth didn’t value high levels of emotion in their interests or situational approaches, so those were definitely out of the question.

    “Passionate and intense emotions… social anxiety,” I repeated, “Fire signs are known for being emotional and self-confident. Water sign, I’ll go for that. Now for the modalities. How about…”

    Fixed signs were the stabilizers of every project and team. They were balanced, strict, overconfident, and stubborn. No, as a person whose emotions were intense but fleeting, she couldn’t be a fixed sign.

    “How about… my choices are Cancer and Pisces,” Having settled on an element, I finally confirmed the first half of my answer.

    “You’re on the right track!”

    My brows raised and my golden-brown eyes widened with them. I blinked. 

    I was right?

    “Lemme think,” I proceeded, a train of thought speeding towards my next station; its inertia wouldn’t let it stop to consider what event happened as it sped by, “You had the concept of a slug that eats human hair… keratin deficiency.”

    “Yes, L.O.L.”

    “I’m guessing that’s original. You’re always coming up with story ideas. Original ones.” Who was more original than a cardinal sign? “Something a Cancer would do.”

    “Our dorm shower is super gross, so I wished some worm would fix the problem.”

    It wasn’t a ground-breaking idea she’d dedicate an entire novel to, merely a short creative writing piece. Cardinal signs took immense satisfaction in introducing new ideas that would shake people’s expectations and open their minds, it didn’t matter if their projects were completed. Her mind generated all sorts of new stories and perspectives, while a mutable sign preferred to read and write ones that were more mainstream in comparison.

    She was a water sign, which she confirmed. But I frowned. She could still be a Pisces, an imaginative personality who loved to escape into dreams. I didn’t want to be wrong. I hated being wrong, as though my life depended on my winning every challenge I was presented with. But finally, I let loose a trapped breath and told myself that there was a chance I might be mistaken, that this Schrodinger’s Cat could be dead while I claimed it was alive… 

    And that’s okay.

    “Pisces may be able to talk to many people,” I reasoned because mutable signs were diplomatic types, “which could aid in lots of friends. They also love to learn.” That was true since Cassie loved to learn about niche fields like grammar and bookbinding.

    “You know what, I’ll look at the profiles,” I tapped on my astrology site, secured in Google Chrome’s Bookmarks section, “My trump card.”

    The Cancer, affectionately known as the Crab, was “motherly, nurturing, and compassionate.” The Pisces, affectionately known as the Two Fish, was gifted with “psychic receptivity and scarily accurate intuition”, sometimes deluded by “dreamy confusion.”

    Cassie didn’t strike me as someone interested in intuition or the subconscious, nor did she strike me as a lover of escapist fantasy.

    I have a lot of social anxiety, but have lots of good friends I care deeply about.

    Cancer was surrounded by friends and family. Cassie had a lot of good friends, and she seemed to always have room for more.

    I looked up at the ceiling, resting my eyes on the screen for a brief moment. I decided that I could be wrong, and if that was reality, then I shouldn’t quarrel with that fact.

    “Know what? I’ll take a shot in the dark,” I finally announced, “You’re a Cancer.”

    A couple of seconds later, she gave me my result. “Yes! Correct!”

    A smile slowly grew across my face, a happy and very pronounced line. “This is my ultimate talent.”

    “For real!

    “Being able to discern what someone’s character is using an inventory of personalities. Kinda scary, eh?” I sent her three faces, all crying with joy, “If astrology is truly real, I could divine a fraction of your fate.”

    “That’s hilarious.”

    “And amazing.”

    “I don’t believe in astrology myself, but it’s super cool that you can read people that well.”

    After the end of our conversation, I walked away with two insights: one, I had an excellent ability to assess people’s behavioral and emotional characteristics; and two, the celestial bodies – in all their infinitely mysterious and existentially beautiful glory – could influence human fate.

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    How I Guessed My Friend’s Zodiac on the First Try