• The Heretic Issue
    The Heretic 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 mag november horoscope illustration


    November 2014

    And here we are; having moved through that thin, filmy veil between the seasons, we’re seeing the world a little differently. Whether the dark tones of autumn feel truer than than the flashier colors of summer is different for each of us, but this shift in perception can help us see familiar situations as radically new – and prompt us to take unexpected actions that reflect these new priorities. There may be some heartbreak in our old dreams appearing thin and insubstantial, but there is the comfort of being able to see clearly and redirect our energies. If the proverbial scales have not yet fallen from your eyes, this month will certainly shake them free. With many planets moving through Scorpio this month, we’re still highly aware of all that is hidden, all that is damaged, and what skillful means are needed for regeneration.

    On November 10th the conjunction of Mars, planet of aggression and assertion, with Pluto, ruler of entrenched power and death, sets high stakes for any conflict. Their combination is volatile and explosive, but could be revelatory as well. Think about where you feel most stagnant and powerless, and direct this energy there (carefully!). Be prepared to be a little bruised and shaken up in the aftermath. A few days later Venus sidles up against Saturn on the 13th, helping us scrutinize where our intimacies need work. The Sun follows a few days later, meeting up with Saturn on the 18th, and Mercury ends the cycle with a Saturn conjunction on the 25th. These two weeks are an important time to commit to taking your connections seriously and learning how to work with the chaos, fear, and pain they cause with levelheaded maturity. Saturn’s lessons are always about longevity: what will sustain us in the long run? And in Scorpio, the focus of this question is our hidden, secret intensities – the ways we interpenetrate one another, physically and emotionally. As the trio of Venus, Sun, and Mercury moves into Sagittarius in the last week of November, the mood shift perceptibly lift.

    As always, read these horoscopes with the freedom to take only what you need. For a more rounded forecast, the astro-literate are encouraged to read their rising sign first, followed by their Sun and Moon signs, and for a personal reading, contact me.

    Not liking what life has in it,
    “It’s probably dead, whatever it is,”
    You said, and turned, and thought
    Of one spot on the ground, what it means to all of us
    Passing through the earth. And the filleted, reasonable
    Nymphs of the fashions of the air points to that too:
    “No need to be deprived. We are all
    Friends here,
    And whatever it takes to get us out of the mess we’re in,
    One of us has.”

    “Wet Are the Boards,” John Ashbery


    While a certain native recklessness dogs your footsteps on the daily, this is not the time to test the limits of your mortality. There’s trouble in the air, especially on the 10th when the ruler of your sign teams up with Pluto, planet of all kinds of bad ideas, to challenge Uranus, that ancient god of revolution and defenestration. And try as you might to be prudent, you’re almost sure to end up stepping on someone’s toes. Rather than rush blindly into conflict – or try to smooth over some necessary truth – use this handy mantra borrowed from an obliging insurrectionist: “O God of War, Make Peace Between Those Fighting Who Should Be at Peace; Make War Between Those at Peace, Who Should Be Fighting. Break Both the Bonds of Truce, and the Bondage of Struggle.” Amen.


    The ants are forming hieroglyphs on your kitchen counter; the hawks are dive bombing your windows; the dust patterns on your shelves are swirling into maps. There is a message here, urgently demanding your attention. It won’t be spelled out much clearer for you because it’s something you already know, something you have to name for yourself. Say it out loud, alone at first – knowing it will alter everything in ways you can’t predict. Let yourself disorder the universe: you’ve outgrown this one.


    You have permission to complain long and loud this month. You have been taken apart and reassembled, bled and staunched, and chosen silence more than usual throughout this ordeal. As you settle into your new shape, still a little tender in places, don’t get overwhelmed by all the work that awaits you or any loss you have yet to grieve. While you’re recovering, remember which friends are good at listening – not just the ones who nod attentively, but those who tie your story into the common one, who show you your place in the shifting constellations we create.


    We spend such an awful long time learning to be fit for company – years spent learning when not to poop, what not to put in our mouths, and how to stop hitting and biting our friends, followed by decades of learning how to dress stylishly, how to sound smarter or tougher than we feel, and how to consensually hit and bite our friends. But even the strict hierarchies of the Roman empire got overturned one day a year, when the Saturnalia turned slaves into masters and masters into slaves – what Catullus called “the best of days.” Can you throw yourself a few best of days this month, and risk being a little vulgar and uncivilized? At the very least, find a private spot far from prying ears where you can laugh hysterically or snort like a pig till the sounds of human language become so much nonsense.


    Open the door, if you’re near one. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold outside, or if the wind is gusting – in fact, it’s better that way. Let the wind empty its pockets across your floor: curling leaves, soft ticket stubs, bird fluff, street dust. Watch how they scatter and arrange themselves, making brief pyramids in the corners of the room – what Heraclitus called the “fairest order in this world, a heap of random sweepings.” This is your assignment this month: let the wilderness in, even if it’s uncomfortable, especially if it’s baffling. What’s in motion for you right now doesn’t follow a linear path; the more you try to shut out the chaos, the harder the wind will blow.


    Overall, this new life you’re building feels a little tenuous, like a tripod of stems bowing under one drop of dew. Perhaps because so much of it is still just an idea, cobbled together from lists scribbled on a page, dreams half-remembered, and motivational posters détourned. Get your language right, this month. Hone your verbal skills: dust off those antique verbs and German compound nouns you’ve been saving for a rainy day, and imagine that you can write into being the world you need. Bit by bit, you’ll see those thoughts becoming form.


    Though it is called “self-sabotage” there is very little of a unified “self” involved. Why do we trip ourselves up? Is it spitefulness, as Dostoevsky suggested? Or parasites from our animal familiars, colonizing our brains with unfamiliar urges? How many of the voices in our heads are even our own, much less welcome and useful members of the mob? This month it may be time to call in outside support if you feel yourself making choices that reek a little bit of doom and collision. Do the minimum necessary, if that’s all you can do – or cleanly decide you’re done if you need to be done. Don’t sit passively by as your fingers start fumbling with matches and flicking them at a nearby bridge.


    If you were to build a miniature scale model of your bedroom, inside your bedroom, would you be tempted to change your real room to more perfectly reflect the miniature? Or to keep the miniature updated in real time – spilling a tiny jar of water or sprawling a tiny sweatshirt across the floor to correspond to accidents and flux of the domestic outer realm? The esoteric law of “as above, so below” has got your number this month, and while it has you on the line it would like you to clear up a thing or two about why you’ve been screwing up these correspondences on purpose. Now is a good time to get your story straight, and interrogate your own motives. Sheer perversity is a fine defense, but if you’re setting your inner and outer worlds at odds out of some deep, unspoken need – now is the time to speak that shit.


    Being polyamorous won’t protect you from loneliness, and being a nomad won’t protect you from homesickness. The hard truth is you’ll always have to choose one heartbreak over another, if you’re lucky enough to get that choice. And this month you are. It is the half-lived lives that are hardest to give up – relationships and homes that should have lasted longer. Right now, your power lies in navigation. Whether you aim yourself toward a familiar harbor or the distant seas, you’ll carry the old griefs with you. Before the month is out, bury them somewhere where they can change form and grow strange: deep in the ocean, or under the frost line.


    It’s a safe bet that if you’re reading this column you don’t abide by all society’s rules. Most Capricorns are not actually law-abiding bureaucrats patiently amassing wealth and prestige. If you are more of a rule breaker, this is a particularly rewarding time to break some rules – but not the obvious ones that convey some sexy outlaw status as you break them. What are your unbreakable rules for yourself, for your own values and conduct? Where are you rigidly policing yourself? What are the risks of an internal uprising? If you can’t kill the cop in your head, no one else can do it for you.


    Pop psychologists are rediscovering Victor Frankl and his mid-century theory that it is the search for meaning – not happiness – that motivates humans above all else. Folks who quantify this sort of thing have surveyed a sampling of Americans, who report high levels of happiness (equated with being comfortable and having resources) but low levels of meaning in their lives (equated with knowing why you goddamn wake up in the morning). I know, Aquarius, I know. These surveys were clearly administered at Ted Talks and on Google buses, rather than in the more colorful neighborhoods of our increasingly austere land. But your puzzle this month, if you choose to accept it, is to close the gap between these concepts. Must happiness and meaning exist as a polarity? Is there a Venn diagram of where they overlap? Please show your work, drawing on lived experience over the next few weeks.


    Do you know those instant oatmeal packets that come sealed in individual servings, with flavors like Strawberries & Cream or Apple Cinnamon? These futuristic space meals, these dry little powders and flakes that burst into technicolor chemical flavor, are the promise of an age that trumpets the fake over the real. But as far as spectacle goes, instant oatmeal is a little anemic, a little underwhelming. What does this all mean for you, dear Pisces? When it comes to pleasure, you might want to hold out for a real meal this month – home-cooked and old-fashioned, dripping with butter or oil. And if you like your pleasure outlandish and artificial, insist that it be larger-than-life, not cut down into flimsy servings.

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