Everyone, at one point in their life, has picked up a newspaper, flipped to the section with the crossword puzzle and comics to read the laughably-generic horoscope based on their birth date.

Makayla Grijalva

Although the great Walter Mercado popularized horoscopes (especially in the Latino community) and created his whole brand of of sun signs, amazingly gaudy jewelry and ornate robes, an astrological chart is far more complex than that.

Sun signs, the sign the average person is most familiar with, show the core of who you are as a person — your identity. For example, I, as a Taurus, am stubborn, competitive, deliberate and enjoy food and sleep way more than the average person.

For me, sun signs were my gateway drug into the world of astrology. It wasn’t long before I was asking my mom for my time of birth so that I could unlock my entire chart.

My interest in astrology began when, as a toddler following my days at preschool, I watched Walter with my grandma. I remember his compelling demeanor and distinct features. Although I did not understand Spanish or really anything, he said, I felt intrigued.

(If you don’t know who the amazing Walter Mercado is, I suggest watching the Netflix documentary “Mucho, Mucho Amor.”)

Going to college, many of my friends had passing interests in astrology, growing my interest in the topic. Before I knew it, I was regularly indulging in my daily horoscope, even though I didn’t take it too seriously at first. I even might have scoffed at a few predictions.

Big three’s — sun signs, moon signs and rising signs — are now a frequent topic of conversation among my friends as we compare charts and analyze the compatibility among us.

There is also so much more that astrology has to offer, including houses and what signs rule different planets, all unlocking insight into different aspects of our personalities that I am not nearly qualified to get into.

Charts have also become an easy way to look into why others act a certain way and have given me an easier avenue to look at situations from other perspectives. It has made me more empathetic to others’ personalities and actions.

Most people are decent with overall good intentions. It’s just a matter of understanding where they are coming from and what influences their actions.

There are people in my life who don’t agree with me when I attribute an action to a moon sign or roll their eyes at me when they blame my bad mood on Mercury’s retrograde, but that doesn’t matter. My belief in the topic is no harm, no foul.

I encourage anyone with even the slightest interest to begin looking to the stars, even if it’s just for fun. At the very least, it’s an interesting thing to do on a hot, New Mexican afternoon.

The astrological community has welcomed me, and anyone else with even a slight interest in the subject with open arms. They will welcome you, too.

Whether you believe in the stars and their effect on the world around us or not, astrology gives me insight into myself, my relationships and into others.

Does my astrological chart truly mean anything? Does the location of the stars in the night sky relative to the time and location of my birth truly offer clues into the root of my personality? Probably not, but it makes me feel better and affirms any emotions I may feel.

Astrology brings me solace.

As Walter always said, “Pero sobre todo mucho, mucho, mucho amor!”

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Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.