• The Body Issue

    “The Whole World Is Watching” — Horoscopes for October 2017

    The Body Issue
    Horoscopes 3

    Everything you need to know about the Earth opening up and swallowing your planets or the other way around.


    Corina Dross is an artist, astrologer, and rabble-rouser best known for her illustrated card deck, Portable Fortitude. Based out of Philadelphia for the last ten years, she’s currently splitting her time between the East Coast and the Northwest.



    October 2017

    This month is poised on the edge of a knife. On one side is the energy that began on the Autumn Equinox: the balance of day and night; the clear, honey-colored light as the sun tilts away from us; the exhilaration of cool air and fresh thoughts. On the other side, we’re moving precipitously toward darker times, when the night grows longer and we remember both our beloved dead and the ghosts that still haunt us. This shift from champagne-bright leaves sweeping cinematically across the sky to the brackish, slimy shapes they become as they return to the earth is particularly accentuated right now, as the vast and buoyant planet Jupiter moves from Libra to Scorpio. 

    Libra is crisp air, clear communication, and the faith in each other that inspired the chant “The whole world is watching!” Through Libra, we want to solve our problems with generosity, civility, and trusting each other’s better natures. Libra prefers non-violence. Libra helps us understand those who are different from us. Libra cannot rest in the face of injustice. For the past thirteen months, Jupiter has been moving through Libra, encouraging us to grow and expand our relationship to justice, harmony, and equitable partnerships. Jupiter is the point on our internal compass that always points toward growth through adventure. Jupiter is how we learn to exceed our former capacity. With Jupiter in Libra, we have been learning as much as we can about how to solve our problems by talking them out and strengthening our relationships. Some of us may also be clinging to the idea that love as a feeling, rather than an action, is enough to conquer hate – as if tolerance alone can transform the dangerous and oppressive forces at work in our world right now. 

    On October 11th, Jupiter moves into Scorpio. Scorpio is the sign of deep, messy transformation. Scorpio rules what happens in the dark – the forces that speed the decay of a leaf into molecules of carbon that can become part of another body. Scorpio is about shapeshifting, digging deep, and being able to sustain the chaos of change. Scorpio is the surgical knife that excises a mass of cancerous tissue. The sterilized tweezer extracting a deep splinter. The nausea that prompts us to disgorge something toxic. The adrenalin that helps us move something up and out. As Jupiter moves into Scorpio, our joyous orientation toward growth is encountering all the demons that Libra shies away from. Scorpio is the energy that helps us encounter crisis and skillfully transmute it. It’s the first responder, the street medic, the herbalist, the doula. Scorpio knows how to wield a scalpel, and when it’s necessary. For the next thirteen months, our collective joys and mass enthusiasm will be leading us into Scorpio territory. This will expand our shared capacity for handling the traumas we’ve all been experiencing, directly or indirectly. This will help us connect with our emotional courage, and our capacity to bring more insight to all our struggles. It may also promote an uptick in paranoia, so watch out if you’re already prone to that. 

    We choose how to work with the energy of our times. With Scorpio, the choices are clear: fight, flight, or freeze – and then examine the choice you made and why. Intense times will always activate our core defenses, but Scorpio energy also encourages us to learn a little more each time about how to walk through the fire and not end up limping forever after. As this shift happens, participate in the shifting mood by asking yourself: What do you want to be brave enough to do? What will help you restore yourself, physically and emotionally, after an intense or prolonged struggle? 

    I’m available for personalized readings this month, including a few weeks in North Carolina. As always, read these horoscopes only for what you need and compost the rest. The astro-literate are advised to read their rising signs first, followed by their Sun and Moon. 

    “Incontestably, alas, most people are not, in action, worth very much; and yet, every human being is an unprecedented miracle. One tries to treat them as the miracles they are, while trying to protect oneself against the disasters they’ve become.”

    James Baldwin, No Name in the Streets


    Give yourself permission this month to engage in whatever Dionysian rites feel most appropriate, up to and even including sparagmos and omophagia if it’s really necessary. Everything you need to learn right now will be easiest to really commit to memory and make your own if you learn it through intense experience. When at all possible, let those be pleasurable intensities. Cultivate a connoisseur’s palate for even the least pleasant intensities. Be prepared to discourse fluently on the various notes and undertones of experiences it might be easier to forget entirely or only remember as a blur. We need you to tell us the stories we too easily forget.  


    Here’s the thing about being truly, deeply loved: it can sneak up on you, like a sentence in the passive voice, implying an action that has already happened and an actor whose identity we may not know. Once you forge a strong enough intimacy with someone, that love remains like a bridge you can cross (even if there’s a gate at the farther shore now), or a trellis on which vines once grew and can grow again. You do not need the physical or temporal presence of your lover to rely on the structural strength of that state called being loved. It is as real as your own bones. It may have even helped to form some of the tissue in your body. What matters most for you in this moment is your capacity not only to relax and absorb these nutrients, but also to create new bridges that can last long after you are gone. 


    Though it still seems odd to you, it’s one of the tenets of postmodernism that you can stitch almost anything to almost anything else. You can photoshop yourself into any photo you find on the internet. You can staple a show flyer over campaign ‘help wanted‘ ads. You can sew a husk of corn to your pierced earlobe. You can take a long length of floss and use it to sew together every article of clothing you own until they make a bulky and ragged circle skirt. In the Renaissance, this sort of promiscuous association of clothing and objects and symbols was unthinkable, sacrilegious, and illegal. These days, it is the national pastime to meme whatever you can. Our chief export is pastiche. One of your core problems this month is discrimination: how do you ever know what belongs with what? To help you meditate on this problem, remember: some things will exert so much force on the medium used to unite them that they become inherently unstable. 


    In 1797, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was living in a lonely farmhouse in the English countryside, between Porlock and Linton. Feeling ill and taking opiates, he fell into a deep trance while reading of Marco Polo’s 13th-century travels through Asia. He awoke with 300 lines of epic verse hanging clearly in his mind and began to write them down, as if plucking ripe fruit from a vine. After only a dozen lines, though, he was interrupted by someone with business from Porlock. They spent an hour together discussing the mundane world. When Coleridge returned to his poem, he was devastated to find he could remember the vague shape of the rest but none of the actual words. For the next twenty years he was unable to finish it and finally published it in 1816 as “Kubla Khan, Or A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment.” This month, shun all visitors from Porlock. Whatever business they have with you, it’s not nearly as pressing as your own responsibility to your inner life. 


    Most of us have only ever seen barnacles, if we’ve seen them at all, as gatherings of hard shells clumped around the posts of a dock or some other transitional maritime object that spends some time underwater and some time above. Above water, barnacles resemble chitinous carbuncles – lifeless and chalky. Below water, though, these creatures come to life. From every gaping shell flit several feathery tongues, tasting the water, waving wildly. Stranger still, these tongues are legs, as the barnacle has attached itself head-down onto its base. Living in amalgamation, in large colonies, in almost total immobility, these creatures have learned to patiently close up their homes when the tide goes down, then burst into frenzied activity when it returns. This month, consider where you find your own high waterline. As your own tides rise and fall, remember how to seal yourself up tight and then just as quickly burst into action when the time is right. 


    Noctiluca scintallans is the name of a bioluminescent dinoflagellate that you might meet in a body of water at night, sparkling energetically around your hand as you wave it through the water. The motivations of this eukaryote are mysterious, but we can imagine that Science would label their sparkling ‘an evolutionary defense against predators.’ You and I know, though, that what they’re up to – and what they’re trying to teach you – is that magic is always more interesting than fear. 


    According to Peter Wohlleben’s book The Hidden Life of Trees, trees are social beings that communicate in a variety of ways – including speaking, or rather, making communicative noises. The roots of trees crackle underground at 220 hertz, which seems to attract other trees to extend their roots in that direction so that they can intertwine and share resources. Consider your own obsession with communication, and what means you have – subterranean or otherwise – to signal that you need care and have resources to offer. It must be reciprocal or the network falls apart. 


    There was once someone so badass that while acting as a doctor with a small crew of researchers in Antarctica he surgically removed his own appendix. Leonid Rogozov was part of a small expedition that had become trapped by bad weather, so he couldn’t be transported when he fell ill with appendicitis. Being the only part of the team with medical training, he eventually determined he’d die without operating immediately. He stayed conscious for the entire two-hour procedure, though his head began to swim and his hands felt like rubber as he finished the final stitches. He healed without complications and was airlifted out later that year to return to his clinic, which he had begun to regret ever leaving. Your month will be SO much easier than this! As Jupiter moves into your sign, you are beginning a year of stepping into greater courage, insight, and capacity to heal. Odds are you will not find yourself needing to make this kind of choice, but whatever the world throws at you right now, remember that you can channel Rogozov. You are skilled and strong enough to handle whatever you need to. After every crisis, there gets to be a homecoming.  


    On Korea’s Jeju Island, women divers called Haenyo spend their lives diving for sea creatures to sell. Many began diving for seaweed as children and are still diving in old age. In a recent interview, they described their work with pride, emphasizing their independence. As new mothers, they left their infants with their mothers-in-law. In the water they were often surprised by floating, abandoned clothes, by sharks and dolphins, and sometimes by a thunderstorm. The water can be cold enough to freeze their lungs, and they always surface with aching backs from the weights they carry to stay under. One says, “You have to be hungry to dive well. If you’re full you can’t dive; your breathing is too busy. Your inhale is too busy.” As the oceans empty of life, the divers have less reason to stay under. This month, you are learning to dive well. You’ll have to discover what you’re looking for, though. 


    In the days of the Paris Commune, it seemed at times like the entire city was conspiring together against the forces of oppressive hierarchy. After this insurrection, the press created the specter of the pétroleuses, the dangerous women – Witches probably! Prostitutes! Ghastly and pale! – who were subverting the natural role of femininity and clearly were responsible for burning Paris to the ground. These days, the image of the pétroleuse is sexy enough for many to claim it for their publishing enterprises and thesis topics. What kind of slanderous stereotype propagated about you and your friends can you reappropriate right now – or at the very least, what internalized shame about yourself can you rescript into something to admire? 


    We regret to inform you that your brain is not a computer. There is actually no data stored in your brain, nothing that can be retrieved and played back. Memories have no physical existence. You are a series of impulses, loosely strung together through time and intimately enmeshed in your flesh suit. The downside is that so much of what you think and imagine and love will be lost in time. The good news is that your life gets to be infinitely strange, beautiful, and complex. Align yourself with the chaotic and unknowable forces that move between your physicality and your consciousness right now. Let your sense of self expand and begin to dissolve at the edges. 


    Rationalists and lovers of civil society would have us believe that magical thinking is a slippery slope to fascism. They use this term as a catch-all for any conclusions that fall outside the bounds of empirical testing. These well-intentioned souls love the Enlightenment, the rise of Science, the de-mythologizing of the world. What they don’t understand is that mythology persists throughout our supposedly rational world – both in the shadows and out in the open. What else is money, what else is capitalism? Dearest sensitive and insightful fish, remember this month that there are forms of magical thinking that have profound effects on reality. The real question is, what kind of effect do you want to make?

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