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"Britney is under so much pressure—too much pressure." world-famous astrologer Susan Miller told me. "She's lost her childhood. But she has amazing opportunities."
I'm a little bit skeptical. For one thing, it hardly seems that Britney Spears will ever be able to recover from her disastrously bad performance—and ensuing pro forma vadgeflash—on the night of the MTV Video Music Awards. For another thing, isn't astrology bullshit?
Susan assuages some of doubts immediately. "When you have Jupiter conjoin the sun, as Britney does now, it's a double edged sword. It makes you super-optimistic and a little bit lazy. You think, for example, 'Oh, I'll always have money. I'll always have my kids.'" There's a note of foreboding in her voice, and I get what she's saying, though she'd never come out and say it. I've been reading Susan's predictions on Astrologyzone.com for long enough to know that's not her style. "But she might actually settle down, though, and I'll tell you why. Saturn is in her 10th house of career and reputation. What's happened to her may have been a wake up call. And she's had a lot of wake up calls, but this one might have actually gotten through."
What, though, about whole "isn't astrology bullshit" thing? "Well, you have to realize, every astrologer starts off a skeptic. If you want to give it a chance, read me for six months. Read me at the end of the month. See if I'm not giving you ideas."
Astrologyzone.com has been around since basically the dawn of the Internet —well, 1995. Since then, it—and astrology in general—have grown increasingly popular. 17 million reports are downloaded from Astrologyzone every month. "I think it's because the internet gives you privacy, so people who might not have had their charts done before are exploring something they might have been ashamed to explore before," Susan said.
A lot of people have the wrong idea about astrology, she said. "When O.J. Simpson was on trial, people would call me and ask me whether his chart showed that he was guilty or innocent. Well, his chart showed that he had anger management issues—but so did my boyfriend's at the time!"
"Life is like a river! You need to have goals, and I know which goals are more likely to pan out when. Astrology is for planning. It's not about predestination. It's all about mathematical cycles, some of which will be repeated, some of which won't. If you choose to use the information that I give you, it will increase your success rate tenfold."
That sounds like a sell. Be that as it may, if I had to guess, I'd say what really keeps keeps those 17 million people coming back for more of Susan is her tone, which is friendly and chatty and just plain soothing to read. "Your chances for promotion and an increase in status have never been better! My goodness, your career will be on fire from end-of-September though mid-May 2008!" she'll say, or: "Dear Libra, you've not had an encouraging romantic picture for a long time, but as you see, all that is changing now, at long last!"
"I try to talk to each sign like I'm talking to just one person, like I'm talking to my best friend," Susan said. Her mother, who taught her the art of reading the stars over a painstaking twelve year period, always told Susan that she needed to work just as hard on her communication style as she did on making accurate predictions. "You can tell people the right thing in the wrong way."
It's hard to say whether Susan's telling Saggitarean Britney the right things in the right way in her September horoscope. "September marks a very big moment. Like the actor waiting in the wings about to go out on the stage, you may have a few butterflies in your stomach, but pay no attention. The audience is in their seats, the orchestra is starting up, and the curtain is rising. You are about to see your defining moment, upon which everything else will be based."