Navigating by the Stars: Letting Co – Star Run My Life for a Week
This summer was unendingly long and yet gone within a blink of the eye. The days blurred into each other like inky words on a damp sheet of paper: the individual lost within the blue-black smudge. More frequently than I’d like to admit, I woke without any concept of what day it was. The only thing that alerted me to the passage of time was a new notification from Co – Star, a popular astrology app. Its most well-documented feature is the daily messages it sends, which range from wholesome to surreal to sometimes kind of rude.
Although I don’t closely follow astrology, I appreciate the suspense that Co – Star messages add to my mornings. The recent lack of meaning in my everyday life made me wonder what would happen if I took these messages seriously for a week.
Sometimes these messages are a Rorschach test—it matters more how I interpret them than what they represent. All I see are blots of ink.
“You are finally ready to start developing that full potential your personality has been waiting for.”
I wake up to pouring rain. What a relief. Since moving back to Charlottesville, the weather has been unbearably hot and humid. It’s nice to finally get a break. Overall, today is pretty uneventful, but in the satisfying way that generates peace of mind. I only have two classes, so most of the day is spent getting ahead on readings. For once I can actually focus.
Outside, the clouds Marie Kondo all of the moisture from their lives. Inside, I reread the notification to understand what it means. I don’t get anywhere. Sometimes these messages are a Rorschach test—it matters more how I interpret them than what they represent. All I see are blots of ink.
“Focus on action.”
Today’s message is short and unambiguous. Seems easy enough. The weather is still gloomy, but not like yesterday, where the torrential downpour gave it character. The air is underwhelmingly heavy. I wake up really tired, and despite how much caffeine I consume, the drowsiness persists. So much for action. I struggle through my classes, don’t get much done, and find myself searching for some alone time to decompress. It’s as if my body saw the message and decided to rebel. Or maybe this is why I was told to focus—Co – Star knew I would struggle. I don’t know if the algorithm deserves that much credit.
“Be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to your friends.”
I’m up earlier than usual and feel great. Like the clichéd pep-in-your-step type of great. This doesn’t last. I almost immediately shatter the full length mirror in my room while trying to adjust the blinds. Seven years of bad luck and a whole lot of glass to clean up.
After picking up the biggest shards and Googling what to do when you break a mirror, I throw salt over my shoulder and the broken glass in the trash can. According to the Romans, broken mirrors are bad luck because the reflection represents your soul. By shattering a mirror, you shatter yourself for the next seven years, until your soul regenerates. What a time to fracture myself, in the same week that I’m scouring an app for understanding. Elements of different spiritual beliefs swirl together. Edges blur.
Because I can’t afford any more bad luck, and I have extra time to kill, I take one of Google’s recommendations to heart and head to the UVA cemetery. Apparently, if you touch a piece of the mirror to a tombstone, it gets rid of the curse. Sweat collects in my mask as I briskly walk with a towel-wrapped shard in my bag.
The cemetery is overrun by the luscious green of late summer. I wander into the overgrown grass and select a tombstone that feels right. Or something. I look around to make sure no one is there, because I feel self-conscious of what I’m about to do. Alone, but not really, I pull the fragment from my bag and push it against the stone.
I count to thirty.
I feel the same.
With the curse lifted, I meander back home, contemplating if the trip was worthwhile. I realize I don’t recall the name on the tombstone I picked. After all this, I still have to tell my roommate I broke her mirror. Today’s notification, which I see when I get home, helps. It reminds me to not be so hard on myself. As predicted, my roommate is not at all upset about the mirror.
The drive is dark, shrouded in trees, but when we get to the water, everything opens up. The moon is full enough that we can see without help from our devices. Sitting by the lake, we talk for hours. There are so many shooting stars—the type that flash across the sky so vividly that you wonder, for a moment, if they might be UFOs.
“Let yourself change your mind about people.”
Another normal day. Class, homework, the usual. But Thursday night is spectacular.
I visit some friends I haven’t seen in a while and it feels so good to laugh with them. When I get home, my roommate spontaneously suggests we go stargazing at a local park. The drive is dark, shrouded in trees, but when we get to the water, everything opens up. The moon is full enough that we can see without help from our devices. Sitting by the lake, we talk for hours. There are so many shooting stars—the type that flash across the sky so vividly that you wonder, for a moment, if they might be UFOs.
I don’t know if I change my mind about anyone on Thursday, but I get to know some people much better than I had before. Watching the very stars that are directing my life for the week, they twinkle at me. Or maybe it’s a wink.
“Your body is an instrument that measures how you live.”
Fridays always feel special, even when they are mundane. My body is really tight when I get up, so I start the day with yoga, followed by dance workouts with my roommate (highly recommend). According to my body, then, I’m living pretty well. The rest of the day I feel good. Is Co – Star improving or am I?
“If you want to feel true happiness, you need to feel connected with yourself and those you love.”
Today will be spent hanging out with a friend who I dearly miss. I like the idea that connection to ourselves is connection to others. I am most like myself when I spend time with the people I love. True happiness is a lot to aim for, but I am fortunate to have these people in my life .
As I write this, my roommates are baking cheesecake and someone is on their way to visit me. Surely that’s close enough.
I wish I had a definitive statement to make about Co – Star, but I don’t. It worked well as a journaling tool, giving me something to compare my day to. A new way to reflect. But I don’t really know if it added spiritual value or not. I don’t think it matters, though, if Co – Star or astrology or Roman superstitions are real. Legitimacy does not determine usefulness. In a time of so much uncertainty, we all want something to depend on, some form of regularity. Co – Star provides that. Whatever follows is up to us.