While looking over my schedule for the rest of the month, as always I took a few moments to consult my favorite astrology website to see if there were any upcoming cosmic transits I needed to know about that might have a significant impact on the days ahead. Things started off pretty promising, astrologically speaking.

Mercury Conjunct Mercury – You will be in fine form to complete all your professional tasks, studies and communications. Your mind is always alert and ideas come to you naturally.

Not too shabby! I love this month already!

Jupiter Sextile Sun – You will be on top form, really healthy, in good spirits. You will be full of go, your professional affairs will pose no difficulty. All your problems will be solved with alarming ease. Your good mood, your optimism, your good-heartedness will bring you the protection of influential people.
Heck yeah!

Venus Conjunct Uranus – You are craving excitement or you are surprised by someone on a romantic level. Pleasant surprises, a breath of fresh air. You are craving emotional excitement, stimulation and something new and alive. Your social inhibitions are loosened and you may be tempted to have a wild flirtation or to act in a rather carefree way in a relationship.

Yowza! Sounds like some pretty saucy adventures ahead! (Ha! Conjunct Uranus.)

Uranus Opposition Mercury – This is a long-term transit that can last some months. Even a tiny thing can annoy and upset you during this time. You may be in a bad mood and your personal circle may have problems putting up with you. You can expect unsettling or unnerving conversations. There can be a re-occurrence of problems that were already settled, or so you thought. It’s crisis time.

Well this is going abruptly south.

Be careful and cautious while operating machinery and while walking, running and getting from point A to B.

Oh no! That sounds menacing.

Avoid signing anything important as it may not be in your best interests. Equipment failure (sudden) may have to be dealt with. Circulation of the blood may be affected as well. Beware unreliable people.

Enough! I HATE THIS STUPID, SCARY MONTH!!!!

These were real excerpts from my horoscope, but I’ll admit I’m pulling your leg just a bit. Before today it’s probably been years since I’ve consulted a horoscope, and personally I tend to think astrology is generally about as useful as the contradictory, confusing and anxiety-provoking nonsense above. (A notable exception is Lagniappe’s own Dr. Zodiac, who consistently produces an uncannily precise forecasts each week. Who else could have so accurately predicted my eventful year of muffin addiction, being beaten by an angry biker, and getting tazered after rushing the field at the Senior Bowl?)

I wasn’t always such a skeptic, and those who’ve picked up on my enthusiasm for modern science might be surprised to learn I once fancied myself something of an expert in astrology. (If you’re not familiar with what the general scientific community says about astrology I’ll give you a hint; it involves lots of eye rolls.) I found it kind of fascinating.

I guess my interest really sparked during my early 20s, when my best friend and I had a strange encounter with a guy in our karate class. He was a fellow student at USA and had always seemed very quiet and shy. Although we’d all been studying karate together for well over a year, I don’t believe we’d ever spoken. One day he abruptly approached us after class, dark eyes blazing intensely, and began reciting what he knew about us from our “signs,” which he had apparently guessed after observing our personalities.

“I’d recognize a Libra woman anywhere,” he said to me in a husky and mysterious tone, thickened by his Spanish accent. “Stunningly beautiful, fair-minded, sharp as a tack, elegant, graceful, exquisitely feminine, seductive, and utterly charming. Men find you completely irresistible and fall at your feet wherever you go.”

And that’s when I first suspected maybe there was something to astrology after all. (Ha!) For the most part it was just a fun diversion for me but for a while, I probably spent more time than I care to admit studying weird charts and astrologizing all my friends.

Although I still sympathize with the yearning to find some magic “key” to understanding ourselves and the world around us, these days I tend to be skeptical of anything or anyone that attempts to explain the mysteries of life in a way that can’t survive the scrutiny of the scientific method.

For those who hold firm to your faith in astrology, because it just feels right to you or maybe just because you already have that giant tattoo of the Gemini twins on your ass, take heart. Science has recently suggested that our time of birth might have at least a little something to do with our personalities after all.

A recent study from the University of Hungary revealed that people born in the spring and summer were more likely to be excessively positive, people born in the summer were more likely to have rapid, frequent mood swings, people born in the autumn were less likely to have depressive temperaments, and people born in the winter were less likely to have irritable temperaments.

Another study shows that certain mental illnesses seem to affect people born around the same time of year. For example, schizophrenics are most often born in January through March and those with dyslexia are most often born in the summer. Several other studies suggest that certain personality traits seem to correlate to birth months or seasons; for example, one study links women born during February, March and April to increased novelty-seeking behavior.

So far it’s nothing too terribly impressive and it certainly doesn’t come close to supporting astrology, but it’s interesting to consider. Still, I’ll hold off on that scales of justice tattoo for now. We Libras are cautious that way.