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Home: The Toast

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Many believe that our fates are written in the stars, in a book on a very high shelf, far, far out of arm’s reach. By squinting at this book from very far away, people have long thought, you can get a general idea about your destiny.

For centuries, twelve signs have ruled the Zodiac, and those twelve signs vary depending on whether you live in the East or the West. But these are not the only twelve in existence — they’re merely the twelve most known. Remember Ophiuchus, for example, the thirteenth sign? No one does. He’d be lucky to get arrested in this town.

The additional eight signs of the Zodiac listed below do not, by any means, complete the Zodiac. That is impossible, silly earthbound fools. The Zodiac is always shifting, changing, reinventing itself, usually to get over a recent breakup with science or the cosmos.

As anyone who has ever looked up into the night sky surely knows, astrological signs are invaluable in helping us understand ourselves. They might be understood as archetypes, as metaphors, as stories, or as characters in a Saturday morning cartoon show, but the one thing that unites them is that they are totally real.

stapler

Eustace, The Stapler

Not so long ago, staplers used to be extremely expensive. Businesses that could not afford to buy staplers would instead hire someone who already owned a stapler and had a letter of recommendation. This “Stapler” was responsible for collating all the documents in a business or home at any given time.

And then, one day, the president of Swingline decided to forgo encrusting diamonds in their staplers, changing the collating game forever. Everyone could be a collationist, if they so wished; they only needed to look within themselves. That said, I really like a few gems on my stapler.

Staplers are good at keeping it together. They understand that organization is an art and efficiency is a strength, but they don’t get weird about it. Instead, they recognize these things as opportunities.

It most be noted that the constellation and star sign of Eustace the Stapler is not named after a Stapler named Eustace, but rather the astrologer Helen Eustace, who connected dots on a star map while she waited two hours to renew her notary license. Congratulations, Helen.

August 23 – September 22

rubberball

The Rubber Ball

In just about any cluster of stars, you can connect enough dots to make a circle. It is scarcely even a parlor trick, a child could do it, and I’m sure eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

The Rubber Ball is present over every sky, every day, in every land, regardless of the Earth’s position. Rubber Balls are resilient and speedy, and they know when it’s time to bounce. If they are a bit common, they still seem scarce in this world.

January 3 – January 2

scorpio

Scorpio Ultra Plus

Scorpios are typically characterized as sultry, come-hither types, because apparently we look at a chitinous insect in the sky and think “That would be fun between the sheets.” But the Scorpio sign is much more complicated than some kind of poisonous insect fetish. Scorpio is almost two separate signs — let’s call them Scorpio and Scorpio Ultra Plus.

Scorpio is ruled by two planets, Pluto and Mars. But as we all secretly suspected, Pluto isn’t really a planet, it’s just a giant ice ball that hangs out around planets and bums cigarettes and pretends to know what real planets are talking about. Mars is doing all the heavy lifting on this astrological sign.

And yet the very presence of Ice Ball Pluto changes everything about Scorpio, just like a pair of sunglasses on a baby — or in this case, a scorpion. When Pluto is in alignment with Scorpio, Scorpio goes from dumpy desert insect to Arachnid of Intrigue. And when Pluto is not in alignment with our desert crawler? The Scorpio stumbles around comically, like a clown with his shoelaces tied together. He is a mere Scorpio, no longer Scorpio Ultra Plus.

Why make this distinction? How does this change anything? Those are statements that only a foolish person would ask. We should all ask ourselves, “Who are the Plutos in our lives?” Let’s think about that for a minute.

Excuse me, I think there’s something in my eye.

I’ll be right back.

October 25 – October 26

towson

Towson, Maryland

Driving through Maryland along I-95, you see a lot of exits for Towson. “What’s the deal?” you wonder to yourself. “Why does everyone need to get to Towson? Do they have really great milkshakes or something?”

They do. But that is not the reason there are so many exit signs for Towson, Maryland. It is not that everyone needs to get to Towson. It is that the boundaries of towns extend past Maryland, past our atmosphere, and into the stars. Just take Exit 5, keep going, and you will soon find yourself driving through the cosmos, where there are no milkshakes because there is no oxygen. You will not die — the stars will protect you — but you are definitely not coming back to earth any time soon. Pack a lunch.

I have to emphasize that this is a very, very long journey. We’re not talking about just a casual twenty minutes and oops-I’m-in-outer space. No. You have to drive through all of Towson, which almost no one in recorded history has done. Except, tragically, Helen Eustace, astrologer and public notary, who attempted to drive through all of Towson and back on a dare. So sorry, Helen. We appreciate your sacrifice.

Like the Rubber Ball, we are all essentially born under the sign of Towson. You couldn’t be an Aries, a Scorpio, or a Scorpio Ultra if you weren’t first a Towson; it is the sign that anchors our earth to the cosmos. So maybe if you’re going to have a Virgo tattoo on your wrist, you could also consider a tat of the Maryland flag, since it’s considerably easier than getting one of the cosmos, and also more affordable.

All months and days for all calendars: Roman, Julian, Gregorian, Cumin, and Sheila

helgabundtcake

Helga the Bundt Cake

While Bundt Cakes have only been part of the American consciousness for the last sixty years or so, it’s clear that they have been a part of civilization for much, much longer. Bundt cakes have appeared in the prehistoric cave paintings of our earliest ancestors, and there is a scene in Beowulf in which Beowulf tells his men, “You know what would be really good right now? A round cake with a hole in the middle.” Hrothgar asks, “Do you mean a donut?” and Beowulf is like, “Hrothgar, please,” and that is how we know that it’s specifically a bundt cake and should not be questioned.

A scant few years later, the noted silent film A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1902) featured a bundt cake — or rather, it would have. If you look just below the laughing moon-face in the film’s opening, you can see that there is a chocolate bundt cake asteroid hovering below Mr. Moon, just a little off-camera. Surely there would have been some wacky bundt cake antics if only all the original celluloid footage survived, but guys, that stuff was super-flammable. We can assume that the bundt cake scene was lost in a cinematic flambé.

The Bundt Cake is a symbol of warm, sweet commitment, but all Bundt Cakes know that this does not necessarily mean a romantic commitment. It could be a commitment to another, to the arts, or to a TV show. Bundt Cakes understand that commitment is a source of comfort, and that comfort is rare in this world, so they invest in it.

The Bundt Cake is a Baking sign (a splinter-sign from the Fire signs), who are typically caring people with a strong work ethic, and who break the mold they are baked in. They pair well with coffee.

August 3 – October 20

skull

The Skull

In 1999, an upstart cola company purchased a small cluster of stars that were theoretically in the shape of a skull to promote their new soda, Skull Cola, which was exactly like all the other colas, but with hint of licorice and very edgy packaging. Skull Cola was for people who felt having a grape soda was not enough of a memento mori, and who rejected bright color palates, all of the Impressionists, and other soft drinks for being just too upbeat.

How does one purchase a constellation? “They charged per star, but we were able to work out a little bit of a deal because we bought five,” former Skull Cola CEO Mark Hermann told me in a moment of extreme confidentiality, after I swore I would never repeat his words in any kind of public forum. “We were fueled with millennial optimism. We thought, ‘This is a great idea. Nobody’s doing this. This is nuts. We’re going to rock the casbah.'”

Rock the casbah they did — and the shareef didn’t like it. The Skull Cola Bottling Co. was immediately inundated with death threats from angry and violent astrologers who warned them that they were playing with forces that they didn’t understand.

“You’re playing with forces you don’t understand,” read a note taped to a hatchet stuck in the soda machine of Skull Cola’s lobby. The hatcheteer had struck a deep blow at the heart of Skull Cola. “That soda machine dispensed free soda, not because it had to, but because it wanted to,” Herman told me. “The company was never the same.” Sales plummeted. Rumors that some kind of astrological “curse” had befallen Skull’s shareholders made it difficult to remain in business into the new millennium. “Eventually we just started telling people that we had a Y2K bug,” said Herman. “We figured Y2K would affect someone else, or that someone else would at least have the dignity to lie about it. Big. Mistake.”

But the astrological sign had found a cult following. “In the beginning, the horoscopes we posted on the Skull Cola website were sparse and bleak because we enjoyed that sort of thing. ‘Maybe stay away from waterslides for the next few days’ was one of my favorites. They became more elaborate and personal as it was clear that our company was tanking. But people kept coming back to our website for their horoscopes. Then they started writing their own horoscopes, and now almost no one remembers the soda at all.”

Those born under the sign of the Skull understand the importance of novelty and big ideas. They also are resistant to the idea of punctuality or schedules, for they know that the only real deadline is our own mortality.

November 16 – December 10

lemur

Katrina the Lemur

Lemurs enjoy buying secondhand books, and one day hope to own a globe. That’s not all they do, just some things they all like, and that’s all that matters.

Ancient astrologers who were pestered about their signs and did not wish to prompt the usual response of “I thought so” or “How odd, you don’t seem like a ____!” created Katrina in order to evade judgment by lesser astrologers and practitioners of astromancy. It is the “get out of jail free card” of the horoscope, and it rules.

As you prefer

moth

Tiger Moth

The Tiger Moth is mothy like a tiger, and tigery like a moth. Contrapuntal to the Venusians, the Tiger Moth’s delta is in Jupiter with a moon in Pierogi.

If this makes sense to you, you are likely drunk, or possibly born under the sign of the Tiger Moth, and there is no reason you can’t be both. While many of the star signs here cannot be easily classified, the Tiger Moth actively avoids classification. It flies straight toward the most obscure and distant of moons, it crafts a strange vocabulary to describe itself, and it is massively inebriated by stardust. Stardust, the Tiger Moth will tell you, is delicious, and everyone should have some. “Here, have some more,” the Tiger Moth would say.

Early on, when the Tiger Moth was still a star caterpillar, it knew that once it had wings it would avoid staying anywhere for too long. Astrology is at worst a polite shell-game of birthright and circumstance, and the Tiger Moth wants no part of this. The Tiger Moth would tell you the notion that your behavior is in any way predicted by when you were born is an insult to the beauty of life. The Tiger Moth wants more contradiction, more excitement, less predictability.

Those born under the sign of the Tiger Moth are not aware of it, because that’s how the Tiger Moth operates. The Tiger Moth wants everyone to be know that they just might be a Tiger Moth, and in doing so has screwed up everything for the better.

Stardust

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