It’s written in the stars…or is it?

According to Elle magazine, today is my day.  The moon is ‘making a beautiful auspicious aspect with Jupiter’ so I should ‘go big or go home.’ Unfortunately my contract specifies that I should be at my desk until 5.30 pm so even if I was tempted to ‘go small’ I’m obliged to stay where I am. The Daily Mail tells me that I should stop complaining and settle into my ‘new paradigm’.  Fine. ‘Daily Horoscope’ tell me to defend my weird ideas. Which is probably explains  this blog. I’m not a big believer in horoscopes – mostly because I don’t understand them, but I still read them, often trying to join up the dots – “dropped my toast on the cat this morning – that must be what they mean by coming to a sticky end” etc. But I’m happy to dismiss them as mostly vague and incoherent. (Although Take a Break magazines are always spookily accurate. Today I’ve been warned to stay sober on New Year’s Eve in case of melancholy, and if I can, skip the celebrations altogether – cheery!)

But ‘the stars’ have a wider impact than just on our day to day life choices. Most people have a sense of destiny, of fate, and of wider forces having an impact on the shape our lives take, whether it’s a spooky coincidence that brings you together with your future husband or a lucky break that gives you a head start on a job interview. I can pin point a number of moments when life has seemed to intervene to push me in a direction that I didn’t expect. But are we trapped in the rushing rapids of the river of life? Or do we have an oar in our boat so that we can try to paddle up-stream, or take a tributary in a different direction?

Jepp in Katherine Marsh’s amazing debut book JEPP, WHO DEFIED THE STARS seemed destined to be a side show, a freak, an object of entertainment. He was a dwarf in a society which didn’t really understand that you shouldn’t judge a man by his height, or indeed a book by its cover (although I’m sure they would have been very impressed by ours). Nevertheless Jepp proves everyone wrong to find love, education and a mastery of the stars under the great astronomer Tycho Brahe. So the question we should ask ourselves is “was Jepp’s ending already written in the stars? Or did he carve out his own destiny?”

I’m a go-getting modern girl with ambitions to win an Olympic medal, the Great British Bake Off and a major literary award for children’s fiction, in no particular order. I’m not going to let a fear of fate dictate in which direction I aim my sights. When I’m old and thinking back over life I’d like to feel proud of my achievements rather than giving them away to the silent hand of fate. Sometimes life wallops you over the head, and drags you unconscious into a path that you had no idea was possible or even existed. Sometimes it leaves you in the middle of a forest with no obvious way out. I’m packing my telescope, matches and kagool and I’m going to take on this life adventure in the style of Marco Polo. Free will over fate, and damn those stars! Although I might just lay off the sherry come January 31st. Just in case.

What do you think? Are our courses dictated by fate, or are we the captains of our own ships?

One response to “It’s written in the stars…or is it?

  1. Beccs, another blindingly good post! I only wish my replies were as eloquent as yours. Still I try.
    I am also not a great believer in planatery influences. How the gravitational push and pull of celestial bodies billions of miles above our heads can direct human day to day life I don’t buy into. But if it makes a good novel come to life, great stuff.
    I prefer to think that a large part of anybodys life is random. And we are all living life as it happens. But it is nonetheless-somehow a strange sequence of events that make a crazy kind of sense. Maybe it can be called fate, And maybe to a lesser and greater extent we can control our futures. Planning and preparing is sometimes a spectacular success, but sadly can often go wrong. Sometimes leading to dissapointment and heartbreak. leaving you dejected and depresssed. But as the cliche states as one door closes another springs open.
    One time in my early twenties I was skint (northern for having no money) I couldn’t afford to go to the pub with my mates. So I did some voluntary work at a local church. Painting the raiings. I started at one end, green was the shade. The railing was long and stretched away right around the church. At the other end was a pretty girl painting away, and I admit I was smitten. Naturally the gap between us got narrower and eventually we painted ourselves closer and closer. I never thought for a second she would ever fancy me. But fate, or the stars or lady luck shone down on me and I plucked up the nerve to ask her out (faint heart never won fair maden). A few years later we were married. So was it my being short of the lolly for a couple of pints or did Venus the planet of love give me and my wife a push together.
    Stan Mills

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