• The Control Issue

    August 2016 Horoscopes

    The Control 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.

    Mask aug 02

    Art by Kyle Mowat


    August 2016

    There are many ways to practice freedom...

    Some go into cloisters and monasteries and grad schools to shield themselves from the bustling stream of human activity, to be free enough to think and meditate in peace. Others spend years ingeniously escaping from any institution that might trap them, be that a prison, a marriage, a job, or an attachment to social prestige. We may pursue freedom as an ideal, or let it find us wherever we are. Many fear freedom, as we might fear a vast desert with no road signs and no visible oases. Others might take enormous risks to reach freedom, as the only air they can breathe without choking, the only clean water they've ever tasted. 

    As always, take only what resonates from these horoscopes! The astro-literate are advised to read their rising sign first, followed by the Sun and Moon signs. For more information on Mars and all the fancy ways it works in your own chart, check out my new workshop Playing With Fire: Mars through the Signs. This downloadable audio workshop helps you work with Mars in your own chart, guiding you in connecting with your fiery, passionate, conflictual, and erotic potential. And, for a more personal look at your current path, contact me for a reading

    “They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
    They pursued it with forks and hope…”

    Lewis Carroll,“The Hunting of the Snark”


    The Telemachy is the name of the first four books of The Odyssey, as they follow Odysseus’ son Telemachus, who travels from home to find his father, who’s been gone many years at war. Telemachus’ name reveals this primary theme in his life, with tele- meaning “distant,” and especially transmissions over a great distance, and -machy meaning “struggle.” We have a character who is named for this yearning for a transmission from a distant struggle, through which he hopes to learn news of his absent father. This month, you’re advised to undertake a telemachy of your own. Somewhere, someone dear to you is experiencing something far away that you have no way of participating in. Social media, if it tells you anything, distorts and glosses the message. How can you set out from the place that is most familiar to you and explore a distant world in search of this truth? Even if you never arrive, merely embarking will set in motion a chain of events that will reach your distant beloved. 


    There’s something this month that you’re struggling to understand – like a reader doggedly slogging through A Thousand Plateaus, hoping it will all make sense eventually. Meanwhile, it may feel like those around you are so quick to understand everything that they’ve already fully comprehended, digested, and dismissed books they’ve never even read. A hint for your educational goals this month: determine whether what you’re engaged with is meant to clarify or beautify the world. We see this distinction in the visual arts, where book illustrations are intended to clarify some aspect of the book (the Pequod bracing against a storm; how to build a restraining trap), while illuminations merely beautify the book itself (an antelope with a whale’s tale twining around an apple tree; a gilded, multi-pointed star with one Arabic character at the center). Concerning the texts you’re trying to decipher (the how and the why of your place in the world; whether it’s time to relocate and be reborn), pay more attention right now to what’s illuminated than trying to understand what’s illustrated. 


    This month, you’re wearing a ball gown festooned with lace, graceful swoops and curls and tendrils twining all about you as you spin and spin. Only the lace isn’t made of traditional fibers, but interstitial tissue – those lacy connective cells within the body that fill in the space between the organs, creating a vast, amorphous matrix. In this froth of swirling lace, you notice the delicate hem of your dress is hooked onto another piece of lace in a slightly different pattern, also swishing about, but leading to another person many yards away, also spinning. In a lucid moment, you wonder how you can both be spinning yet neither of your connected dresses have begun to rip or wind around each other. Before you can investigate, you see yet another tendril of lace leading off from you to another figure, and then another. Clearly, this interconnectedness doesn’t preclude autonomous movement. This month, meditate on this idea. Find all those points of connection, and pay attention to how they ripple in different patterns as you move freely. 


    Imagine that you cannot drown. Would you still be afraid of the dark recesses of the ocean? Or would you enjoy sinking deeper and deeper, until your inner ear could no longer sense the pull of gravity from merely one direction? Would the pleasant dizziness press you deeper under the blanket of waves, imagining the pleasure that waits even lower down, as cool currents begin to block the daylight and friendly phosphorescent creatures peer at you from behind waving anemone? This month, you’re free to choose floating on the surface of the waves or diving deep. Choose with your heart and your body rather than your rational mind. Don’t play it safe just because it feels like you should. 


    This month offers you a spell for letting go. Imagine a glorious bonfire, stacked high with everything that has made you cringe, rage, or rock back and forth and sob over the past year. Offer up your migraines, your muscle spasms, your hungover regrets, your sharp bursts of fear about loved ones in danger. Offer up your weary sense of helplessness, your exhaustion, your sticky and painful resentments. Offer up your idea of the perfect life, the perfect body, the perfect mind. Offer up the course you’ve tried so hard to steer clearly, and the ship you’ve run aground against the rocks. This is a month to release all these disappointments, all these traps, all these ruins, and watch them burn brightly. It doesn’t matter yet what comes next, darling. Today you are free. 


    In his book A Lover’s Discourse, Roland Barthes treats various pangs of romantic passion as a butterfly collector might treat rare butterflies. With his delicate theoretical tools, as slender and precise as pins, he attempts to pin down each emotion, each impression, each betrayal of the subject-object relation. Yet the muffled anguish that comes through the text reveals to us that Barthes is both the butterfly hunter and the rarest butterfly, and though he tries and tries he cannot catch himself. This month, notice where you have tried and failed to define and explain yourself – where you keep waving your nets and failing to catch yourself, again and again. What happens when you let your efforts at being clear and truthful soften into poetry, gestures, and sighs? Can you understand yourself without language?


    Please complete a short essay in response to this prompt: What happens when you move from urgency to wonder? For extra credit, consider: What forces do you muster at the call of the blood to rise in pursuit, defense, and above, all speed? Where do you become clear-headed and where do you become clumsy? As this month invites you to shift your pace and your pursuits, what propels you forward may look more meandering, more circular, and your movements may be much slower, like a triathlete who has run for many miles to plunge into a lake and mermaid their way through seaweed and coral. What can you see in the murky depths of this water? How can your fiery core maintain its momentum with a new agenda? You have one month to complete this essay. You will be graded on your creativity. 


    Perhaps you’ve forgotten what it’s supposed to feel like. Nights of tensed jaw muscles, guts squeezing sourly but gently, sloshing you awake from dark dreams. Perhaps you hold very still when they reach out to hug you, perhaps your mind is far away from any embrace. Perhaps the blue light and the endless spectacle help you feel like maybe you’re relaxing but also participating (but also horrified), doing some useful research (but devastated), and you’ll have something interesting to say next time a human tries to embrace you (squeezing, sour). Perhaps you’ve never felt the insistence of love like warm water that fortifies your form by letting you release everything that isn’t you. Perhaps it’s time to remember that love is the opposite of stress; it is the experience of not needing to worry. We may fear death, but shouldn’t fear each other. As William Blake writes, in a brief poem composed of four verbs: “Damn braces, Bless relaxes.”  


    We’re all familiar with depression, and with Saturn setting up camp in your sign for an extended stay, you may be struggling with the demons of depression more than usual this year. The good news is there is a new spark in your life this month, which may help propel you out of the murk. And remember, depression can look a variety of ways. You may not feel sad or have trouble functioning. You may not think you’re in any particular crisis. But at the same time, you don’t expect much from the future, and you feel resigned to enduring whatever is happening in the present moment. Depression isn’t an emotion, it’s a condition of feeling trapped. This month, that condition will change. Without even trying, you’ll learn the knack of getting free, and staying free. It may look different than you expected, but it will feel just as glorious as you’d hoped. 


    When you made the decision to be earthbound, you may have expected a solid and constant existence, like the imagined fate of movie couples after they live happily ever after: a monotony of sameness, in which no new decisions pester the uniform finality of your pure being. To the extent that this is still a fantasy of release and rest, you may not be hella jazzed about what’s going on this month. But you have two ways to approach this unrest, this reconfiguring, and enjoy the ride. You could choose fire, and become a long and snaking fuse, watching a bright spark fizzing away through your serpentine, subterranean turns and folds. Or you could choose water, and evaporation – letting the heat of this month lift you into the air, diffuse you, and separate out all the knots, letting old shapes release and fade. Whichever mode you choose, you may no longer hoard your routines. Something will set you off on an entirely new path. Your tired, stiff muscles will once more become supple and adventurous. 


    To be ardent is to be on fire. From the Latin ardentem (”glowing, fiery, hot, ablaze”),  ardency is the condition of feeling so enlivened by an inner fire that your heat escapes and sparks catch on your clothes and you move everywhere glowing through your eyelids with an inner sun hot enough to warm the cold places in this world, where concrete and damp rot and congealing sadness claim dominion – but also so hot it can scare away other warm-blooded creatures who may not want to catch the zealous fever you blaze with. Nevertheless, ardency is a virtue. To be strident is to be harsh, abrasive, and loud in a way that drops birds from the trees and makes cats arch their backs in warning. Stridency, from the Latin stridentem, refers to an inarticulate, grating screech. Too often, we confuse stridency with ardency. This month, as these hot fires move within you, consider whether you’re being moved by passion or by resentment and fear. 


    In Nietzsche’s mathematics of self and other, he advises that we focus less on influencing others and more on expanding our own selves. He writes, gnomically: “What? You search? You would multiply yourself by ten, by a hundred? You seek followers? Seek zeros!” Which is to say, don’t fool about with being a fraction of a larger whole, but to the number that is yourself, add zeros. Wear the puffiest of coats. Fill your cheeks with air. Rock those shoes with air cushions in the soles. Or, if you’re less literal-minded, use this month to free yourself from the logic of the group. What do you need to do to feel more like yourself, to feel expanded within yourself, and to attempt something ambitiously self-directed?

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