Blame Your Planet: A Wicked Astrological Tour Through the Darkside of the Zodiac, by Stella Hyde
Weiser Books, 978-1-57863-598-6, 400 pp., 2016
When this book says darkside, it means darkside and the satire is strong in this one. In all of my years of studying and reading astrology — including writing a tarot-based astrology column for a Gothic magazine — I have never had a book amuse, embarrass, and impress me as much as Blame Your Planet. This is the book that told me all the ways I suck. But, then it told me why all of my friends and family suck as well. And then it turned around and told me the ways that I’m awesome because I’m a horrible person, as well as why all of my friends and family are awesome because they are horrible people. Does that make sense?
To do astrology well, it is important to see not only the good and the mechanics, but the flaws. Flaws are what make a person who they are (as well as their good qualities). Author Stella Hyde points out the astrological flaws present in, not only our sun signs, but other various star and planetary positions which are prominent in the natal chart. Hyde uses humour to explain the basics of the more complex positions of the natal chart, providing a look into our dark side — like picking up a rock and looking at the nasty underside. The horrid face we wear (rising sign) and our “inner psycho” (lunar placement) among others, are touched upon to bring us insight on why we really do the horrible things we do when our conscious takes a slight vacation.
Astrology uses symbolism to illustrate the potential of the human soul. The soul reaches this potential via life experiences as well as the blueprint known as the birth chart. And when factoring in that every human (even if it is troubling to think about) has the potential for salvation or slaughter, it is important to take a look at how the human soul has a potential for darkness, even to those extremes written in a satirical manner.
As I moved deeper into the book, reading the personalities and “bitch ratings” of each sign, I found myself pausing to hit my skull to my desk before cackling like a hyena as I flipped through the pages to learn more. Anyone who reads this book should be prepared to have your natal chart readily available (or know where to get one done quickly), because you will want to have it on hand as you soak it all in.
Hyde divides each zodiac sign into sections and they go as such: “Annoying Habits” which explains how each sign would horribly, ideally behave in terms of punctuality; their toothpaste tubes; and temper gauges. Be prepared for moments of “I don’t do that!” or “I would if I could.” This is followed by “Personality,” with the small sections of “Bitch Rating” and “Collective Noun,” which is an advice guide on what to do if you find yourself in a room full of people born under one sign. Then comes “Blame Your Planet” which gives an astrological, as well as astronomical, lesson on a sign’s ruling heavenly body — in other words, it describes the myth and science of why your planet makes you awful at times, relating your darkside with said planet’s horrid atmosphere. Next is “Bad Moon Rising” — the lunar sign. “Born Under a Bad Sign” — the rising sign. “Don’t You Love Me, Baby?” — the Venus sign, “Are You Looking at Me?” — the Mars sign, and “Whose Got Your Number,” which describes how a sign relates to its opposite, such as Aries and Libra or Leo and Aquarius. After that deep dive into the dark parts of your chart, it goes on to explain how a sign is in relation to sex, relationships, work, crimes and misdemeanors (it is darkside after all), home, playtime, and infamous others of a sign.
Hyde, in her satirical, sarcastic way, also managed to educate me and I found that particularly enjoyable. An example would be in the section “Whose Got Your Number” where she explains Libra in its relation to its polar opposite sign Aries:
Your polar opposite sign is Aries: the zodiac’s incoherent, inconsiderate, mad axe person… What would a mellowed-out slacker like you want with a short-fused loose cannon like your average Arien? How do you have this — shall we say — understanding? Well, like good cop and bad cop, or arch villain and fixer, you need each other to make the Darkside work for you.1
I’m a Mercury in Virgo, and I could only imagine what darkside astrology would have to say about the zodiac’s most notorious hypochondriac-know-it-all-perfectionist being placed with the planet of thought, communication, information, and logic. We’re talking endless I-told-you-so nagging moments of epic proportions and infinite worrying. Are you cringing and hoping no one you know has that placement? I thought so. Imagine how my family feels.
All in all, Blame Your Planet was a very humbling, amusing and thought-provoking read as Hyde’s approach really made me sit, think, and grab my other astrology books to compare and contrast.
- p. 217 [↩]