Have you ever felt like your zodiac description was so perfectly you that astrology as a whole felt rooted in some kind of undeniable truth? Yes, same. But after coming across a new year horoscope that made absolutely no sense to me, I began to wonder if I’d been leaning into traits simply because “my horoscope told me to”.

After reading this bewildering horoscope, I felt desperate for meaning. Was there something I didn’t understand? Was this a bad omen? Am I truly a Sagittarius?

I tried re-reading it, looking for clues about what this New Year might hold for me. After nearly giving up, I instead decided to find meaning elsewhere—or perhaps, not so far away—and to read a different sign’s predictions.

I began to wonder if I’d been leaning into traits simply because my horoscope told me to.

Instead of going completely rogue, I chose my rising sing. To my great comfort, this prediction made perfect sense for me. Was it because my rising sign represents, on some deeper, truer level, who I really am? Or, perhaps, is the zodiac limiting my own perception of myself?

Is the zodiac limiting my own perception of myself?

I decided to read the descriptions for various zodiac signs, and mentally track my own traits based on my own self-knowledge, rather than my birthday. It was surprisingly exciting to identify with traits simply because I (not the stars) felt they matched who I am.

I left my zodiac experiment with a renewed sense of empowerment—something I rarely feel, post-horoscope reading. I was reminded how valuable it is to have a sense of oneself, in order not only to identify with a group of traits, but perhaps most importantly: to recognize when something doesn’t quite fit right. Instead of trying to find the sense in a bewildering prediction, leaning into what I knew I wasn’t allowed me to find clarity in a very different way. I’ve now taken to reading many different horoscopes, partly because I like to read, and because I prefer not to limit my outlook—from now on, I’d rather allow my days, weeks and years the prospect of many different possibilities.