The stars make you sick

by Virginia Rosenberg

I’ve been sick this week. Like, really sick. Some kind of summer flu. It’s been pretty intense: body aches, fever, swollen sore throat and all. Maybe I should have expected it, seeing as Mercury stationed direct, and Mercury is my ruling planet. Not to mention Neptune stationing retrograde the day after. Everyone knows Neptune can get you sick.

Luckily, I live in Asheville.

To-do lists

When I got sick, I went to Greenlife Grocery to get some fresh-pressed juice (kale lemonade, to be exact), since we all know food is our best medicine.

As I entered the store, I ran into some friends. “How are you?” they asked.

“I’m really sick, actually. I can barely think straight right now. Just came to get some juice.”

“Did you take a salt bath yet? Take a salt bath. Make sure it’s purified sea salt. Crush up some ginger and use a cheesecloth…”

I stood in wonder for the next many minutes as they gave me detailed instructions on how to make a ginger salt bath and use a hot compress afterward to squeeze all the toxins out of my body.

“Hope you feel better,” they quipped upon departing.

Juice isn’t healthy

Grocery stores are always far too cold. I walked outside while my $7 juice was being prepped, to escape the freeze.

“Hey, how ya doin’?” shouted the long-haired busker playing banjo outside the entrance.

“I’m OK. How are you?” I responded.

“I’m getting over a cold; feeling pretty good now.”

“Yeah, I came here to get a juice because I’m pretty sick.”

“Actually,” he said, “I heard that juice isn’t really that healthy for you, because of all the sugars. You should do smoothies instead, because we need fiber.”

“Uh, thanks?” I thought to myself, before telling him “I’m getting a fresh-pressed lemon/ginger/apple/kale juice, because I feel like that’s what my body needs right now.”

“Right on,” he said, picking his banjo. “Yeah, a friend of mine had cancer and went on a juice fast but it didn’t work: He died anyway.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” Despite my aching muscles, I tried to connect with this person who’d randomly started a conversation with me. “My aunt is currently battling cancer. She just started another round of chemo last Wednesday.”

“Turmeric,” interrupted the banjoist. “Tell her to eat turmeric. You should eat some turmeric, too. But you have to eat it with a precise combination of black pepper, cayenne … (he rambled on about other spices and exact amounts, but being feverish, I zoned out) … on a bed of massaged kale. That’s honestly the best food you could possibly eat pretty much ever. And it fights cancer. Seriously, you should tell your aunt.”

“I’ve tried to talk to my aunt about diet to fight cancer. Her take on it is it’s her illness, and she wants to choose how to spend the rest of her life.”

“Oh,” he said. “Yeah, you can’t force it on people.”

I excused myself to go get my juice.


At the onset of my illness, I thought I had a backache, so I scheduled an appointment with a chiropractor. Later I realized that my full-body muscle aches were due to the sickness, but I kept the appointment anyway.

My chiropractor asked me how I was. I told him I was sick with some kind of summer flu. I’ve been in Asheville for nearly six years now, so I no longer remember how people in other places react to news like this.

My chiropractor informed me that I probably wasn’t sick after all, but rather “evolving.” And my system was “dumping stuff.”

What a relief! I am so glad to hear I’m not actually sick. And I love it when my evolution includes waking up after sleeping for 16 straight hours connected to my pillow via encrusted mucous.

Once again I was instructed to take a salt bath. But this time it was Epsom salt, not sea salt. And there was no mention of ginger or cheesecloth or hot compresses. At least it seemed a more manageable recommendation.

 Whose fault is it?

On my way out of the appointment, I ran into another friend. She greeted me happily and asked how I was. When I told her I was sick, her response was, “Why?”

That’s all she said.

But as with the banjo man’s juice vs. smoothie remark, I sensed a gentle condescension. Maybe Condescension is the new path to Ascension? After all, both words contain “scension.” What’s implied, though, is “What’s your psychospiritual-emotional reason for being sick? Where are you out of alignment with your true path? What are you doing wrong in life? For what reason did you make yourself ill? You obviously called this in for your highest good, so what lesson are you learning from being sick?”

I gave her a stock answer about having taken on too many projects. She nodded with false understanding, and we continued on our separate ways.


After lying in bed all day reading, resting and drinking “lots of healing drinks” as recommended by a text from a friend, I felt I needed to move some energy, so, carefully mustering all my strength, I made it to my qi gong class.

When folks there found out I was sick, they immediately started rattling off all the supplements, herbs and formulas they take as preventives.

“Whenever I feel like I’m about to get something, I take XYZ and it clears right up!”

“I never actually get sick, because I take ___ every morning. You should too. It’s the ___ brand.”

“Go to Greenlife and get the one with the silver label. I think it’s on sale right now.”

But while all the unsolicited advice, opinions and “teachings” I received during the worst day of my illness made for an interesting time, I can’t say that any of it helped me get better. Psychospiritually analyzing myself to try and discover the cause of my illness didn’t either. Thinking of my flu as transformational evolution pacified me for a minute or so: Then I had to blow my nose again.

The day had drained me. I was physically drained by the illness and emotionally taxed by the empathy vaccuum I seemed to be moving through. Could someone just nurture me, please, instead of telling me what to do?

Magic words

You know what did help? One friend I contacted texted back, “Do you need anything? What can I do for you?” He then drove 40 minutes from his house to bring me my preferred supplements and some chicken soup.

That gave me strength enough to draw myself a bath. I used sea salt and ginger without any cheesecloth.

Virginia Rosenberg, an Asheville-based intuitive astrologer and sacred movement artist, can be reached at


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11 thoughts on “The stars make you sick

    • Able Allen

      This is a humor commentary based on the writers opinions. There is need to be rude. I have deleted unnecessary curse words.

      • HuhHuh

        But this column isn’t presented as such. It’s presented the way many nutnuts in Asheville actually believe — that somehow there’s some cosmic intertwining and that you should burn incense and buy hemp-made clothing for all to be well.
        Be careful what you print; some people believe this nonsense.

        • NFB

          The web site linked in the byline does not lend much credence to this being a “humor commentary.”

  1. One would hope but this is just an unfortunate case of unaware self-satire borne from absolute scientific illiteracy and irrationally absurd belief systems. Mountain Express should be embarrassed about publishing such nonsense.

  2. Having moved back to AVL about a month ago following a 3-year stint in the Triangle (was here previously 2002-12), I have to say this article was a delight and I have sent it to all my non-AVL friends who have queried me along the lines of, “So, is AVL still keepin’ it weird?” or, “Is AVL as crunchy as you remember it?” Clearly, the answer is yes – this despite the fact that the above article has gotta be some type of New Age parody (the Greenlife references were the first giveaway, as everyone knows that Greenlife is Crunch Central here, while the stereotypical advice-spouting banjoist was brilliantly AVL-crunchworthy since we’ve all encountered similar buskers on our streets). The only thing missing was a topless diner at a street cafe, and since I saw one the other day on Biltmore outside Olive Or Twist I’ll take that as a gimme. Lord, I’ve missed this place tremendously. The Triangle run was a great one, don’t get me wrong, although Chapel Hill is so expensive as to be rendered unlivable, Durham is the murder capital of the area and is too dangerous to be in, and Raleigh, bless its heart, is in the process of selling its heart, soul, and downtown to the developers and chains. (AVL, there’s a lesson for you in there somewhere.) So yeah, to quote a great philosopher, there’s no place like home. – F. Mills

  3. Peter Robbins

    Anyone who can’t see the wit in this piece must have her Mars in transit or something. Very well done.

  4. Virginia

    An FYI from the author:
    This writing is satire. Self-aware satire, actually.
    Yes, I do actually make a good portion of my living as an Astrologer and Movement Artist.
    Yes, I “believe” in astrology.
    Yes, it is possible for someone to live a “New Age lifestyle” and also critique the New Age lifestyle (and their own lifestyle) via humor. I can see that it’s boggled your mind :)

    • sigh

      Congratulations, Xpress has deteriorated to the point where the only things of any value in it are the News of the Weird, the crossword puzzle, and the political cartoons.

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