Close Readings: Our glorious satellite, the Moon

A chart of science

A chart of science

My brother recently forwarded me a spam email wondering if he had yet made his decision re: the important lunar transit. “To be honest I was hoping for some kind of contact from you either by email for through my web-page as we are getting closer and closer to this date,” it reads, “a vitally important day for you as it marks the beginning of a period of 6 months of chance and fortune when you will be living under the full and beneficial influence of our glorious satellite, the Moon.” Thus begins a striking amalgam ancient and modern bullshit, as contemporary business prose enters the house of astrology on the cusp of internet phishing. Long excerpt after the jump.

I am entirely ready to work on your full reading for you, as I feel a very strong connection between us both and I understand your current situation very clearly, and I only need your confirmation to begin.

I am writing to you again today as in a few days time it will be too late to act. I will not have the time to send you all of the information which you require to get the best out of this extremely influential period. You will need a certain amount of time in order to prepare yourself correctly and you cannot begin all this at the last minute. The choice still remains with you however, it is entirely up to you to decide whether or not you would like to benefit from the great opportunities which are in store for you and as I have always done I will respect your choice whatever it may be. I have had a quick look at your configuration again and I can confirm my previous findings, detailed in my last email to you.

The ostensible author of this email is Jenna Perso of, a website that is unremarkable except for its inclusion, along with the usual “About Us” section, of a section titled “About You.” Jenna understands my brother’s situation “very clearly,” probably because of the “very strong connection” between them both.

Presumably because of her cosmic understanding, Jenna is not interested in half measures. She is not only ready to do a a reading but “entirely ready to work on your full reading for you.” In the world of spam, this occasion to analyze adverbs is a luxury; Jenna’s prose rises above the standard for junk emails, attaining to an almost-business level of bad English. It also contains sentences like, “You must be ready to seize the opportunities which will bring you the developments listed above and to do this you will need the right tools,” but for the most part, this is high-quality spam.

Yet it hews to the conventions of the form. The genius of this mass email asking people if they want their charts done is that it puts a time limit on its offer. I don’t want to make you nervous, but today is the last day for my brother to request his full personal reading. Presumably will not go out of business tomorrow, and this deadline has been imposed to create an arbitrary sense of urgency.

That sense is intensified by the phantom “last email to you.” The first words of this message are “I still haven’t heard any response from you,” and the entire thing is conducted under the conceit that Jenna has been sending my brother important astrological information that he hasn’t been getting. But what could it be? Does it pertain to some different person with a similar email address? Is it perhaps kismet that he is just getting this very important email now, days before his last opportunity to learn about this “very influential period?”

The beauty of this spam email about astrology is that it mimics the conditions of astrology itself. Like the (apparent) movements of the stars, mass internet spam gets beamed down to everyone. But the temptation to think that it is specifically about you—that the perspectival alignment of the planets/flickering of Muscovite server racks happens with you in mind—is irresistible. Everything else happens to you or at least implicates you as the POV narrator. Why not this lunar transit deal and the email about it?

If only the world worked that way, instead of according to the fevered dreamings of Cthulhu or whatever. If only these stars and electrons and ones and zeros drifted about with us in mind. If only we lived under the full and beneficial influence of our glorious satellites.

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