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When Six Million Fans Demanded Their Horoscopes
"Dude, Where's My Horoscope?"
Susan Miller's great monthly Sun-sign horoscopes on Astrologyzone.com, read by six million eager fans, are due to appear on the first of each month, but during 2014 were often posted 2 to 13 days late, raising annoyance enough to inspire a July 2014 article in the online version of Atlantic Monthly titled "Dude, Where's My Horoscope?" -- about fans complaining they felt deprived of their favorite horoscope. Three days into September with no forecast, fans were angrily posting on Facebook and Twitter about feeling "abandoned" and "manipulated," although AstrologyZone horoscopes have appeared regularly since 2001 and are free.
Miller is the astrologer also for Elle and other international fashion magazines, New York Magazine calling her "the go-to astrologer for New York's fashion set." In September 2014, with fans raging for their September horoscope, Miller's IT team took down Miller's entire site, leaving only a notice on its homepage that Susan was ill and her September forecast will be online "as soon as possible." Impatient fans posted speculations that Miller might have been doing this for attention or monetary gain.
Other fans offered prayers and good wishes; Miller had let them know in a tweet from August 14, 2014, that she'd been ill. Miller confided, "This illness is taking so much time that it is a miracle I can write." She often posts about how hard she works to calculate and write the prized monthly Sun Sign horoscopes, all 12 written in the last 10 days of each month, each about 3,000 words long for a total of 40,000 words or half a novel.
Miller's Twitter (@astrologyzone) feeds record that the astrologer became acutely ill in April 2014, a month with two eclipses she predicted would be difficult for everyone. Miller had since tweeted about changes in her diet ("bread and water") and health status, revealing details some fans call self-pitying. Although the illness is never named, an assistant's tweet said Miller's most recent relapse was treated with injections of Humira, a drug used to treat Crohn's disease, a painful chronic condition. Injections are given when intestinal ulcers are so severe that medicines taken by mouth are not absorbed.
Were Her Horoscopes Really Late?
Astrologyzone.com was established in 1997 and historically the monthly horoscopes have posted on time. Here are the dates horoscopes were posted in the six months leading up to September 2014:
Since that time, the monthly horoscopes have since been written and posted on time or very nearly. Toward the end of each month, Miller posts her progress on Twitter.
What Susan Miller's Fans Want So Much
What do these fans want so badly? Each month Miller posts for each sign a long and detailed astro-forecast ending with a summary. Like no other astrologer she calls her readers "dear" and in a warm and intimate way encourages and advises them about the month's eclipses, lunations, retrogrades, and planetary aspects. Her sparkling writing talent was noted by previous employers Disney and ABC.com.
In July 2014 a Miller devotee expressed anger on Reddit about Miller's many excuses, which have included her IT team's vacations and her own eye trouble and a broken wrist. Others posted that Susan is not ill but merely stirring up attention and making more money through fans' repeated visits to her site. Some point out that the September delay coincided with the release of a new paid AstrologyZone app and that Miller might have been cleverly forcing fans to leave the website and buy the app.
On September 5, 2014, Susan posted to her Facebook account her first update since August 18: "The medicine I am taking is made to resist my immunity, so I caught something. I am working as hard as I can, I will try to get it done over the weekend. I am doing the very best I can, but I am struggling. . ." Fans grumbled until they finally got their 'scopes on September 13.
What Does It Mean?
This tempest, the astro-scandal of 2014, proves how people habituate to astrological forecasts, turning to them to inspire hopes, ease fear, and provide a semblance of order and control. The public fuss erupting after a few days' deprivation shows what happens when habit is bred with expectations of instant gratification: The complainers -- many of them New Yorkers, according to "Dude, Where's My Horoscope?" -- felt entitled to these horoscopes.
Miller's fans seemed to lack understanding about the preparations and calculations any astrologer must make before offering forecasts. Miller, a certified astrologer, furthermore refuses on principle to allow substitutes to write her horoscopes and does not pad them with vagaries or fictions.
Providing accurate, clear and entertaining astrological forecasts for all 12 zodiac signs day after day and month after month for 20 years, meanwhile publishing nine books, writing horoscope columns for fashion magazines, and winning the trust of six million readers will wear you out. Writing is work. Maybe it doesn't seem so? Writing astrology forecasts is twice the work. And writing them for no paycheck? Would you?
Sylvia Sky, experienced astrologer, writes about occult and spiritual matters and has reviewed more than 100 astrology and psychic sites for quality and accuracy. Copyright 2017 by Sylvia Sky. Sylvia does not select or endorse the ads appearing on her pages.