the cabal

Honest Horoscope: Thanksgiving Day, 2016

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

This morning, moons Phobos and Deimos were seen slinking away from Mars after a 4.5 billion-year sham romance that they claim was never intended to be serious. According social media, your life is a whirlwind of love and sex and flirtation, but today, as you sit around the dining room table with your newly-married father, your younger sister and her doting fiance, your aunt and uncle who never stop holding hands, and your cousin Devin who is single but pledged to a 9-month service project in Uganda, you will realize that your life is nothing but a sad empty shell. The real you is the lonely, almost-thirty-year-old single mother wiping mascara trails from her cheeks in the bathroom mirror. The real you can’t keep a man longer than a month for anything other than casual sex because she scares them all away with desperate talk of marriage. The real you just hurled a stream of candied yams and stuffing into the toilet because she is dying. You are pretty when you cry (in a delectably tragic way), but resist the urge to update your Tinder photo; this will only attract more men who would “prefer not to label the relationship.”

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Your mother planet is in retrograde and on the eve of another Venusian new year, so you may feel a “lack of emotional satisfaction,” according to Always the perfect student of etiquette and the queen of entertaining guests, Thanksgiving is your time to shine. Don’t hold back. You will never forgive yourself if a single detail is misplaced—if the dessert spoon and cake fork are not perfectly parallel beneath every place card, if the wine is not poured in the kitchen and served after salad, if the sherry glasses are not removed after brie and figs. Don’t expect gratitude or even acknowledgement of your efforts. You will receive none. Dinner will be an appalling experience, and your toil will be mocked by the ineptitude of your guests. Your ex-husband will bring a bottle of Yellow Tail. The couple you invited from tennis club will bring their adopted grandson without warning or description of his mental illness. He will interrupt several conversations with grotesque moaning and then knock a glass of cabernet onto your new Persian dining rug. Also, your ex-husband will be there.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

Today, as usual, Mercury’s sun side is 800 degrees fahrenheit but can’t find a way to articulate itself. Meanwhile, astronomers discover six more “areas of permanent shadow” in the polar region. Don’t frustrate yourself with lofty goals. Take a deep breath and reflect on all of the work you’ve accomplished in recent months. Maybe then you will realize all you’ve done is sit in a lot of coffee shops with an empty Word document and nothing to say, post a bunch of Tweets with the #amwriting hashtag, and drain your negligible reserve of talent making technical whitepapers for software companies. While you smother your self-doubt in a pillow of mashed potatoes and pumpkin bread this afternoon, your grandmother will ask you, again, perhaps for the hundredth time, what you do. Don’t tell her you’re a writer. Tell her a joke, since that’s what you are.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

Earth’s moon crossed into Scorpio last night, stirring a profound maternal yearning in the hearts of most Cancers. Today, on this presumed holiday of thankfulness and grace, you will be bullied. It’s okay to “mother” and “baby” yourself in response, or even to behave like a pregnant woman, with theatrical displays of emotion and a simmering hatred for those around you who don’t share the same burden. Defend your honor when your so-called loved ones mock your magical nihilist gamer YouTube channel, which they certainly will. Tell them your videos mean something, which is to say, they mean nothing. When your cousin Derek (who is the quarterback at Longberry High) atomizes your solar plexus with a rocket spiral during the annual touch football game because you are literally gazing at your shoes, call him a “dumb jock stain” at the top of your lungs, in front of the whole family.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

As the sun is sometimes too hot or too difficult to behold, so will your brilliance blaze this holiday. Be confident. Today is a good day to tell everyone you’re gay—the whole family gathered at one table, a little loose. Wait until dessert is finished. At least then people can enjoy most of their evening before picturing you in the act of anal sex. Your father-in-law will choke on a caramelized pecan for an awkward length of time until he becomes the new focal point of the room. Just kidding. Your family will evaporate into thin air, having been a construct of your anxiety the entire time. You will be free. Just kidding, but that would be nice. It’s a bad day to tell everyone you’re gay—especially your wife and children. Enjoy your ham, and stop being gay.

Virgo  (August 23 – September 22)

Mercury will soon enter Sagittarius, which means you may find it difficult to communicate and sympathize with others. A loved one will depend on your affection as you travel north, which is fine so long as it remains an ancillary task. Pack your laptop this year. Set your phone to vibrate, but don’t turn it off. You never know when you will have an opportunity to build your reputation. You will face a choice between spending time with said loved one and finishing a project for work. Since the latter offers measurable return on investment and the former only promises diversion, your choice should be easy. Does the world gain from a new season of Gilmore Girls, or from that horrible concoction of Chex Mix, chocolate, and sugar that has arrived in a blue Tupperware bowl, or from the friction of two socked feet rubbing together? No. It does not. Retire to the guest room. Your loved one will feel unwanted, but this is a reflection of her own instability. At 9 p.m., when you are still working in the guest room, she will text a former lover, but maybe that was inevitable.

Libra  (September 23 – October 22)

Venus’ retrograde will have a different effect on Libra than Taurus—one of disorientation. They do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Bangkok, where you will be stranded for 48 hours thanks to a botched layover from Sidney. Good can come of this situation, but won’t. After a pixelated Skype call with your family, you will make a serious dent in the hotel mini bar and then decide to go out. The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is good. The “flavored cigarette” you buy from the street vendor on Surawong Road is bad. A stroll through Patpong and a dip into the go-go bar called Badabing is a critical error. The morning of Black Friday, you will awaken with one less kidney in a bathtub full of crimson ice. There is no escape.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

Pluto’s seventh house is a time of paranoia. After a year of dating and some serious talk of engagement, you decide to bring your girlfriend home. She will never be ready to meet the wolves who raised you, but still it must be done. A surprise awaits. Your stepfather will immediately recognize your mate, but refuse to explain why. After enough eggnog and brandy to upend a mule, he will make several crude comments about loose women and stare directly at her. “Some girls got it written all over,” he will say. At midnight, you will hear crying in the bathroom. Don’t intervene unless you want to learn a dark and horrible detail that sends your relationship spiraling into melodramatic destruction. In the morning, while you’re waiting for a deer to emerge from the treeline along the back 40 of the family farm, you will see your stepfather emerge instead, dumb and bald and wearing a an orange jumpsuit, crystal clear in your cross hairs.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Jupiter’s 350-year storm rages on inside of its nebulous red zone, expanding now to the size of four Earths. The idea of spending Thanksgiving alone, just you and your boy, may at first be a point of pride. But the question of what exactly constitutes a family will loom large over the five-dollar rotisserie chicken you bought from Food Lion, and over your son’s plastic plate of peas and his peanut butter sandwich (he doesn’t like meat). He will make funny faces, and you will look at him and smile, but then you will think of his father, whom you still love. You will almost cry when you try to vocalize the words, “Happy Thanksgiving.” Turn on the television to fill the quiet room with voices. Think about your college years, when you traveled abroad to Istanbul and swam in the Aegean Sea and met a young British man riding on a camel.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

Now at phase angle zero, Saturn’s rings are bright and pronounced, which is an effect created by billions of shadows bouncing against the ice chunks and dust encircling the planet. No matter what is written in this horoscope, you will fact-check it and prove it wrong—not because you are smart, but because you have a smartphone and like everyone to think you are smart. You will effuse trivial facts like a Pez dispenser all evening, mistakenly believing that you are the life of the party. In reality, people will think you are strange and socially inept, that you possibly suffer from a mild spectrum disorder which inhibits your ability to read nonverbal cues. These people will include your whole family—even the cat. Speaking of the cat, did you know thousands of cats were superstitiously burned during the Spanish Inquisition, which lead to an increased rat population, which helped exacerbate the Black Death? Maybe keep this fact to yourself.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

Today, Uranus enters the twelfth house of the ecliptic plane, imputing a strong need for agency and freedom. Meanwhile, your anus will shrink to the diameter of pencil lead, tightening with rage and revulsion because your wife has forced you to tell the story of your romance to her cousins, parents, and grandparents. You may feel a sudden urge to vomit. The truth is, you met in a singles group at church, and there really isn’t much to say about it. Say stuff anyway. Say that you loved her hair (her hair was average), and that you’d never seen anyone so beautiful (you’d seen hundreds of prettier girls and still do), and that you were nervous to ask her out (you were nervous because you felt out of place), and that you accidentally knocked on the wrong apartment door when you picked her up (that part is true), and that her ignorance of sushi was endearing (she chewed with her mouth open, which you hate, and declined the mint afterward, which meant her breath stank, which you also hate). If you tell this story, you will feel very disgusting afterward, but if you do not tell it, you will have a bad overall Thanksgiving, and your wife will probably withhold sex.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

Neptune is blue, and so are you. There’s something about sitting alone at the Chili’s bar powering through your second Long Island Iced Tea that really sings the body electric — really sings depression. Nothing like watching the Kansas City Chiefs massacre the Broncos on seven different flatscreen TVs and being the only man present to celebrate. Tomorrow, your outfit is supposed to start a construction gig for the new strip mall, but you will be laid off instead. Saturday, your ex is supposed to arrange a meeting and let you spend 20 minutes with your boy in the McDonald’s Play Place, but she will cancel again. Your father’s Alzheimer’s will get worse. Your mother will die. Your ex will die. Your boy. Yourself. Everything and everyone will die, eventually. Tonight, it will feel like they already have.

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