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Horoscopes by Corina Dross
Like some cruel monotheistic god, this month tests our faith. “Faith” is already a treacherous path to walk, as the faithful have inflicted spectacular carnage over the centuries and continue to swarm and hoot for blood. Those who favor all-or-nothing solutions prefer nihilism – at least in small, comforting doses; the kind of nihilism that releases you from the need to solve anything, but lets you keep believing in elegant design and the usefulness of distributing zines. Even the nihilists this month will find their faith tested – whether that means questioning their totalizing narratives or merely their choice of fonts. But those of us who are still committed to some form of hope, some positive project, do recognize that to have faith in anything while riding this juggernaut of colonialism and global capitalism into the fiery pit of Mount Doom seems inexcusably naïve. And yet – in the immortal words of James Baldwin, whose face twisted in pain as he spoke them: “I can’t be a pessimist because I’m alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter.”
This month requires that we face our faith, or our fear of it. But if it’s not some religious dogma, what is it? Faith is an act of imagination. Faith doesn’t have to be blind or foolish. Faith is time travel – a beacon sent into the future, bounced off something unseen there, and returned to us. Faith isn’t ever verifiable, and shouldn’t be confused with prediction or fact. Rather, faith is what underlies every action we take toward a better world that we may never live to see. Faith is what weaves songs, writes fiction, offers generosity to strangers. And it’s a terrible tyrant. We sea creatures trust our shells, our certainties, our protective camouflage far more than we trust the roiling chaos of the ocean. We’ve all been betrayed, we’ve all been disillusioned. But we’re still here. And in order to really be here, to make our lives as full and potent as they can be, we need to understand what we have faith in. Another way to say this is that faith tells us what we deeply long for and allow ourselves to be devoted to, whether or not we ever get to experience it in ordinary life. Luckily, this month offers us ways to slip outside the ordinary and dip into that other stream of time, where there is no difference between wanting and having. What we find there will be vital, and revitalizing.
As always, you can hit me up for more insight into your own life and current questions at flaxandgold.com. The astro-literate are advised to read their rising signs first, followed by the Sun and Moon.
“Until the rainbow burns the star out of the sky
Until the ocean covers every mountain high
Until the dolphin flies and parrots live at sea
Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream”
If your memory is a long rope with two hooks on it (one extending backward, one anchored to the task at hand – like driving or chopping onions), you may find the wandering end of your rope dredging up all sorts of detritus and to confuse and alarm you throughout your day. What you need is not this meandering string getting caught in the eddies of your past, but a pearl-diver – like how Hannah Arendt saw Walter Benjamin – someone who digs up strange treasures from the buried wreckage of history and destroys their contexts in so doing, making them new. The content of your memory can shift and reveal new possibilities. It’s time for you to see your own past as strange, and available for creative pillaging.
These things are true: 1) Your arms are tied and you’re lying in the bottom of a boat whose tall sides loom above you. 2) You are in love with the glints of sunlight on the sea foam as you watch them rise into the sky. You have gone so far as to say that you are up there, in the sky, with the sea foam. Or, if pressed, that you would like to be – that the best life is one lived in brightness, lightness, with uncertain trajectory. Here is what is also true, though: If you were to untie your arms, you would be able to sit up and see the horizon. Context would come flooding back. Your pure communion with lightness would grow heavy, would settle into solid shapes at ground level. You would also shoulder the responsibility of decision – do you pick up the oars, or do you continue to drift? Now is the time to decide if you want to cut those ropes. Are you ready to take responsibility for what happens next?
After shuffling a deck, you pull the following cards: Compression Vests for Anxious Dogs, Rope Bondage, Patriotic Anthems, Tiny Houses, and Frida Kahlo’s Affair with Leon Trotsky. At first glance, these may not have a lot in common; a losing hand in philosophical poker. But when you look again, you see the slender yet tenacious thread that ties them all together: the profound comfort of being constrained. Our desire to be held in place, to be able to name that place, to belong to that place, to have someone in charge tell us we belong. Desire for connection outweighing desire for expansive freedom. Daddy issues, to be blunt. The love of what restricts, as long as it also includes. This month, recognize that you have to hold onto at least one of these cards and work with its implications, but you get to choose the one that feels most liberating.
In the colder months, you ache for the feel of cold stones in the summer time – that wet, rough texture that saps the heat from the soles of your feet and shocks you back into awareness of time. Time seems to stop in the winter, or on those long summer days when the sun never fully sets but rattles around the horizon peering under your eyelids even at night. Only in these transitional months, between those static fortresses of dark and bright, do you remember what’s possible. Call it a sixth sense, or a rupture, or lateral step toward an alternate timeline – however you frame this reaching toward another life, now is the time to remember that you can get there.
Your desire for self-knowledge is admirable, but googling “why does my tongue hurt” or “how long does it take to quit smoking” or “how to continue living when all that you’ve been living for is gone” isn’t going to reveal the truth you’re after. You’re halfway there, though, in recognizing that you need to travel through some kind of portal in a deeply private way right now to solve some vexing problems. But what’s a more intimate mode of interrogation? You aren’t a statistical average of askers and answerers in the cluttered forums of our collective brain – you’re something unique that has never happened before. Get a closer look at the parts of your identity and desires that are still mysterious and resist being summarized or explained. Only you can figure out what they mean.
Delphi had its oracles perched over steamy fissures deep underground; ancient Babylonians had their fish people who would rise from the sweet sea and teach them everything worth knowing. There are times when answers bubble up from any conveniently nearby geography. And then there are times when the sources run dry. What do you do when the fish people stop talking to you? The Babylonians invented religion, wearing robes that resembled fish and collecting the wisdom of their departed friends into scrolls and rituals. Your decision, this month, is about the appropriate response to lack. Do you press your lips to the parched ground, forcing it to croak out one final, irrelevant answer? Do you seek out another source? Or do you hold this lack as something equally sacred, like the silence of a desert between wind storms?
Seattle recently admitted to and removed some hostile architecture it had installed to make the lives of people who don’t have houses even harder – namely, a public rack for parking bicycles securely affixed to a spot where bicycles rarely need to park, but houseless people often need to sleep. For those who believe the campaign slogan “more bicycle parking” promises a kinder, more conscientious world, it’s worth panning back to see the larger context. In your own life, dear Libra, it’s time to pan back and see what you’ve been inviting into your world under the mistaken belief that “more of this thing is generally good.” What is this thing preventing? What is it hostile to? What can’t you see until you remove it? Get an industrial strength wrenches and begin unbolting, even if you’re not yet sure what to replace this thing with. You may not need to know.
A certain secure-messaging app commonly alerts you that your “safety number has changed” with a specific contact. This can happen if they switch phones, or uninstall and reinstall the app. It can also indicate that a malevolent third party is trying to tap into the secure conversation. Like many alerts, the frequency of this one leads to it being widely ignored – yet not before a momentary suspicion creeps over you. Perhaps your contact isn’t who you think they are? Should you reach out and verify with them? In a way, this technological alert mirrors your own intuition. A piece of you is constantly monitoring your relationships to see if safety conditions have changed. Too often, you end up either ignoring the gut warnings for too long or falling prey to constant, groundless suspicion. This month, you’re refining this alarm system. You may want to use a code word for each relationship, to repeat to each other as needed. “Articulate ungulates” you might say, and your friend might answer “beloved spines” – until the day they answer “beloved pines,” or you accidentally lead with “ungulated artifice.” Then, and only then, is it time to re-verify the terms of your intimacy.
If you are among the writers and artists and musicians and healers and scheming empathic lovers whose imagination is always on the clock, as it were, for people who have a harder time accessing their own, you may notice several clues that it’s time to slow down and recharge: 1) You find yourself rewriting your environment constantly – from conversations you had last month to the comforting adages on Yogi tea bags. 2) You feel strongly compelled to relay messages you receive in dreams, without fully understanding for whom they’re important or what they mean. On that note, Sagittarius, your mission this month is to seek out a wyvern. Some of you may know what that is and why it matters, the rest of you will just have to figure it out.
Sound engineers will tell you of sound envelopes, the most common of which is called ADSR – attack, decay, sustain, and release. The character of any sound can change dramatically if you tweak the volume or length of each of these phases, or rearrange their sequence. The attack is the quick rush of energy that peaks at the loudest point, while the decay describes the drop down to whatever sound sustains until it begins to release back into silence. This month, consider how much time you’re spending sustaining something you ought to release, or attacking again and again without letting anything decay into a sustain. It’s time for a new rhythm.
Coming down off freak mountain, you’ve got a side-eye for what passes as ordinary commerce down here. Everyone keeps jabbering at you about fulfilling your destiny – but that seems to mean something very different to them than it does to you. In fact, they act suspiciously like they already know what you’re going to do, if only you’d step into the bodysuit and start executing the dance moves they’re waiting for. If this raises an internal alarm that perhaps these people have you mistaken for someone else, you are not wrong. They want only for you to be familiar, not to surprise them so much they have to rewrite any history books. But you’ve been up on that mountain long enough to know that you don’t owe them that kind of favor. Rather, this is the time for you to keep your faith in what you already know matters and ignore all ignorant distractions.
The borders that matter for you right now are temporal, not spatial. Ignore walls. Ignore chain link. Pay attention to what’s keeping you from re-entering the past, rushing ahead to the future, or fully expanding into the present moment. Imagination isn’t enough: a part of you got trapped in your past and you need to get some bolt cutters to tear apart that fence to go get it back. This rescue mission should weaken the integrity of all the invisible constraints of time, and give you a little more breathing room.