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I followed my horoscope for a week – here's what happened


A lot of people say that our choices are written in the stars. Supposedly we have no control over our destiny and personalities simply because of the alignment of the planets at our birth.

I’ve always been a bit sceptical about the stars dictating what my life is supposed to be, but I’ve always been a proud Gemini, defending my personality traits against my star sign to the death: ‘Fundamentally dynamic, quick-witted, eclectic and curious. Fascinated by everything, your childlike energy is often scattered in a million directions.’ This 100% describes me!

There’s something comforting about the knowledge that there might be a greater power that is guiding me throughout my life, beyond my own decision and capabilities. Yet I had never put my faith to the test. So after writing a novel titled What Planet Can I Blame This On?, all about following astrology to the extreme, I decided to follow my horoscope for one week to find out just how accurate it is.

I started on a Monday in April and used the popular astrology app Co-Star.

At the beginning of the month I was told I was going to have to ‘decide between growing a thick skin and getting pierced by the cruelty of the world’. Already, this was becoming quite a dramatic minefield to cross, triggering my latent thoughts that potentially astrology was a bit far-fetched.

However, in the days that followed, my dad ended up in hospital with complications from major surgery, the water tank burst in my family home – leading me to bail out water from the ceiling at 2am, weirdly like the main character in What Planet Can I Blame This On? – and I was prematurely sent back to my flat in London alone during lockdown. I realised that maybe my horoscope had a point. It was not going to be an easy month for me.

Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t delay following my horoscope with all the drama going on, but a change was needed to keep me grounded somehow and my first daily horoscope summed that up perfectly:

‘Today there is a little person in your head saying that it’s self-centred to be spontaneous. It’s not. Take it slow. Try not to punish other people for your dissatisfaction.’

You could say I was experiencing dissatisfaction in my life – the stress was coming from all angles – but after taking ten minutes to properly digest my horoscope, I realised that maybe everything that was going on had led me to need a spontaneous change.

And surely I was in the right place for that change. I was back in my flat for the first time since 2020, completely autonomous – but I was scared to make plans, because every time I made a plan something went wrong, be it a burst water tank or my dad’s cancer diagnosis.

My dad’s operation had certainly triggered a sense of mortality in me, so it was good to be reminded that putting myself first and being spontaneous wasn’t self-centred. It also helped with the unexpected frustrations that led me to occasionally snap at my friends, family and colleagues unnecessarily.

I wrote my horoscope for that day on a post-it and placed it next to my computer screen to remind me to take a breath whenever I felt low.


Tuesday’s horoscope was much more straight-forward:

‘Don’t sabotage yourself by jumping from one project to the next’

As a multi-hyphenate with many side hustles, I am constantly moving from project to project. I had woken up that morning determined to up the ante on some of my projects which I had neglected due to my family situation, thinking that it would be the perfect distraction. But upon reading my horoscope I decided to let sleeping dogs lie, as maybe it wasn’t the right time to throw myself into another project when I was still dealing with hospital appointments and insurance madness, in a pandemic!

The rest of the week’s horoscopes were vague and harder to follow: ‘Come back to the present’ and ‘Understand the motives that define your unconscious drives’, and doubts about how helpful or realistic this could be began creeping in. But on Friday I was reminded that sometimes being honest with other’s and not putting on a brave face is a good way to go.

‘Make sure you’re not doing that thing where you reveal yourself as an open book, and then tell yourself that it’s your job to keep people entertained. Vulnerability is the first measure of friendship.’

That day I got home from work to find that I had completely forgotten to pay my bills and the electrics were out. The nearest paypoint was closed so I had to walk two miles to the next one, all whilst missing a Zoom date I had scheduled.

I called the guy I was seeing instead and was honest about the situation and just broke down about all the stressful things that had been going on. We had a great chat and whilst it wasn’t the typical romantic and entertaining date we had planned, it felt like we had taken a step in our relationship by being honest with one another. And after all, the first step in a new relationship is to develop a friendship.

On Saturday, my horoscope instructed me to ‘get shit done’, but also gave me some very welcome advice: ‘sleep can help you’. As a big fan of naps, this was my favourite horoscope of the week.

I threw myself into editing a project I had promised my agent and then treated myself to a rewarding nap. Not only did I meet my deadline, I also felt very refreshed after a long week. Win-win!

However, on Sunday my horoscope alerted me to the fact that ‘today you’re worried about the future’. It wasn’t far off. I’d woken up with a big headache, and couldn’t stop thinking that I hadn’t done enough in my life so far. It’s a stupid but regularly occurring thought I have, that tends to trigger a bout of burnout as I throw myself into multiple projects in the hopes it will improve my life somehow.

Reading my horoscope reminded me that I’m only twenty-five, and I don’t need to rush into things. Particularly not at that moment.

Whenever I read a horoscope, I hear my dad’s cynical voice reminding me that there are many different horoscopes published daily, so how do I know that this is ‘the’ accurate one?

But I’m not sure if there is such a thing as an accurate horoscope. If you take a horoscope as guidance rather than law it can make you more aware of your choices and stop you from rushing into things without thought. It’s a bit of a Sliding Doors plot twist, what could have happened if… If I had followed another horoscope, or not followed a horoscope at all?

You could say that following my horoscope simply gave me instructions for how to do things that I hadn’t otherwise planned. If I hadn’t have read my horoscope that week, would I have started more projects or delayed my date to make it more ‘romantic’ than a stressed-out phone call? Would I have continued to snap at my friends due to stress, and lie about how I was feeling to avoid appearing vulnerable?

I don’t think I’ll be checking my horoscope every day from now on. I suspect I would quickly fall into a horoscope hole and end up fuelling my anxiety, rather than depending on my own instincts. But when I need a little guidance, or just a breather from making a decision for myself during a stressful time, then maybe I’ll turn back to Co-Star. It was certainly comforting having a completely neutral and indisputably immense force like the stars to refer to during a particularly hard week.

What Planet Can I Blame This On? By Ellie Pilcher is published June 3rd (Hodder Studio, £8.99).



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