When I talk about magic, what I mean is serendipity. More specifically, what I mean is that I believe in romantic correlations. I believe in a world that can reveal itself to me in invisible ways. Everyone speaks to the world differently, but I communicate through astrology. There’s something romantic about the correlation between a first breath and the precise alignment of the planets in the universe. I love natal charts for capturing this moment, for giving us a map that holds the serendipity of being born. I love how natal charts say to us: Look. The moment you swallowed the sky.
Every natal chart contains an individual mythology. Mine tells the story of what it’s like to live as an underwater city. The planets that form my identity — the Sun, the Moon, Mars — are all submerged in this city together. Closed off from the rest of the world, they study the truth of the universe. Their discoveries are my magic. My natal chart feels dazzling but hidden, like I secretly know how to light flames in the ocean. It’s the kind of natal chart that makes someone highly intuitive, maybe even psychic. But it’s also my deepest kept secret.
The other planets in my chart hide this place. Venus plays gatekeeper, making sure I keep people at a safe distance. Mercury and Capricorn Ascendant work together like a security system, disguising my personality as charming, extroverted, capable and mature. They make me seem like the kind of person who could never contain the depth of an underwater city. People have tried to get in before. A Cancer once tried to get in by sleeping at the gate every night for three years, before finally giving up. I’ve met a Pisces who can evaporate themselves into the city without my consent. I’m still not sure how the first person allowed in was a Taurus who doesn’t believe in astrology.
Here’s the serendipity of that Taurus, Archie. I didn’t mean to correlate with them in a romantic way. We were assigned to the same staff cabin at A-Camp and one night, after dancing for several sweaty hours, we walked back together. I took it as an opportunity to test my magic, offering them the opening line of my favorite spell: “We could sleep, or we could fuck?” It was a spell I used often during this time in my life. It was before I had astrology, when I discovered my magic through sex.
Having sex with strangers is a ritual that lets me casually connect to the universe. When I’m held down, something sacred happens. Instead of staying on earth, I go somewhere else, a place where I give others the torch of my ocean-lit flames. No one ever comes with me, but they can keep the magic I find for themselves. It doesn’t feel unhealthy, like most dissociation. It feels pure, like a healing ability. It feels like the ability to charge bodies as if they were crystals.
So when I fell to the floor with Archie, I knew what to expect. It began the same way. Feverishly making out, fumbling in the dark, tearing off clothes. When they pressed their thumbs into the joints of my hips, the ritual started. It always starts with my body being anchored to the ground. Ready to go. But this time, I didn’t float away. Archie held my wrists down and for the first time I actually felt it, the surprising reality of being in my own skin. They touched me and magically, I actually felt them touch me. Not as some cosmic interference, but as a body. Pressed together with another body. Receiving pleasure.
In the chaos of experiencing a body, my spirit responded with its escape trick. I could feel my spirit trying to commune with the universe, the only partner it knew how to touch. I could feel when it won, and I started to float away. But this time, I didn’t go alone. Somehow, impossibly, Archie came with me. The secret underwater city sent up flares. My spirit stared in awe. It wasn’t magic; it was alchemy. Instead of rearranging my magic into someone else, we created something entirely new together. We learned a new spell that night: combine one person made of fire and water with one person made of earth and air. Stir them together and discover the feeling of being held to the earth, while also floating above it, with someone else. Understand how mountains must feel, holding the weight of the earth below them and at the same time, touching the clouds.
When I saw Archie’s natal chart for the first time, I knew I’d find a mountain. And it’s true: their chart is a radical utopian commune carved inside of the world’s tallest mountain. Their planets are fun and lively and deeply skilled in structuring their creative pursuits. The Sun rises on the mountain every morning, providing the energy to fuel a beautiful revolution. Mercury assigns the other planets tasks from a to-do list titled “Dismantle The Patriarchy.” The Moon updates everyone on her work, saying, “I drew an educational comic about laws impacting sex workers!” Mercury high-fives the Moon, and Mars enthusiastically chimes in: “Yeah, and the queer dance party I organized met both its fundraising and sweat goals!” Mercury responds, “Guys, it’s only Tuesday and we’ve checked off the whole list.” The Sun yells from the sky: “Fuck it, today’s canceled. Get a drink everyone, you deserve it.” The planets celebrate their hard work together, and at the bottom of the mountain, you can hear the faint sound of music and laughter all night.
But if this was the whole story of Archie’s chart, we never would have met. Our charts are miles apart, and our planets speak entirely different languages. Luckily, every chart has nuances and contradictions. And sometimes, these incompatible truths are the exact thing that let us find one another. The outcast of Archie’s chart is their Venus, who also plays gatekeeper of their isolated mountain commune. Their Venus keeps people at a distance, making sure no one makes a mess of the perfectly organized work of the other planets. But their Venus is also restless, often abandoning her position so she can build a highway that gets her off the mountain. When the highway works, she leaves and only returns after meeting a million wild people in a thousand neon places. When she asks people she meets to recommend a new place to visit, they dare her to find the secret underwater city that no one’s ever found. So she returns to the mountain and tries to build a highway into the ocean. But it’s never worked. Until the day that Archie and I fell to the floor.
People often describe fate by saying “the stars aligned,” and that’s true. But astrology isn’t a vague cliche; it’s a deeply complex geometrical language that pinpoints the exact statistical rarity of the stars aligning in a specific way. So I can tell you how, when Archie and I fell to the floor, the stars aligned for us. The sky above us completed the highway of Archie’s Venus to visit the underwater city. And at the exact same time, the sky let my Venus open the gate of the city for visitors. The lifelong project of letting someone in, completed by the night sky. When Archie’s Venus arrived in my underwater city, she charmed my Sun, Moon, and Mars to leave for the first time so they could see the beauty of a mountain. And when the planets of Archie’s mountain met mine, they didn’t feel a threat to their working order. They felt the exciting possibility of collaboration. The deep-rooted fears behind our isolation, soothed by the night sky. Our planets collaborated through the alchemy of our bodies that night. Our bodies aligned, the stars aligned.
I don’t need astrology to tell me that Archie and I are compatible. We’re compatible because of how we feel together, without needing any language to describe it. But astrology shows me how individual mythologies align with the stars. It shows me how the mythology of me can be alchemized into the mythology of us. And that’s my favorite kind of romantic correlation.
This is lovely. Thank you.
This is so beautiful. Cecelia, I’ve become a really big fan of yours by reading a bunch of your essays and listening to the first episode of your podcast! Have you stopped making Broke Bad Witch? I can’t find any more of it online. It would be a shame if you did because a lot of what you said really resonated with me. x
wow! i’m honored~ so yes, i only made one episode of Broke Bad Witch & I do plan to make more in the future, but I don’t know when that will be? so the podcast is sort of on hold indefinitely, but i’ll definitely continue to write / share my thoughts on witchy stuff on the internet! Just not sure if I want to do it in podcast form.
Awesome! Well, I definitely look forward to reading/listening/consuming whatever you have to say!!
I love this! Beautifully written in my language of magic.
This is so sweet! I love the imagery and the scenes your writing created in my head, especially with the mountains and planets. Is Archie a new AS writer or pseudonym? Looking forward to seeing their work! AS romances are the cutest.
i’ve waited my whole life for strangers on the internet to be obsessed with my personal life so SURE I’LL BITE, you might recognize them as the saturday morning cartoonist behind Grease Bats ;)
absolutely beautiful <3
I’m pretty sure this essay is going to convince a lot of people to take a more serious look at their astrological chart.
Separate from that I really appreciate the parts specifically about separating yourself from your body during sex in a way that’s different from disassociation I’ve never seen it written about it in that way, and I want to reflect on that more.
this made me cry, three separate times in one morning (once when I read it, twice afterwards thinking about it). Thank you for sharing. :)
Thank you for sharing your mythos — it’s beautiful.
You’ve written paragraphs that literally took my breath away. Thank you for this <3
I am deeply honored to read this. Thank you my star friend.
I LOVE THIS. Also I just got into Alvvays and the song “Marry Me Archie” has been in my head so this was quite apt
I love this more than I have the words to explain. Thanks for sharing your magic here xo
“Look. The moment you swallowed the sky.” I’m gonna write this on my mirror and look at it every day!!!
Oh gods, this is so beautiful.
“Look. The moment you swallowed the sky.” is the best sentence (okay, two sentences) I’ve read this week. Thank you so much <3
I don’t know anything about astrology or magic, but this makes me want to learn more, and I’m wondering what my natal chart would tell me. I’m not sure where I would get one.