• The Woo Issue

    November Horoscopes

    The Woo 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.

    Nov 16 horoscope art


    November 2016

    Halloween may fall in October, but November is the season of the witch. Though midwinter is when darkness lasts the longest, now is when it feels the thickest. Like at dusk, it’s a time when shapes become unclear and shadows ominous. What little light there is can distort what we see, and our imaginations fill in the contours. As the Sun moves through Scorpio, we’re invited to encounter the hidden, the secret, the closeted, the covered up, the disappeared. In this current political moment, this is may be the last thing we have energy to face. We are exhausted. We are raw nerves. We are consumed by fears of being ineffective, showing up too late, of all our urgent activity being useless, still, to prevent the disaster that has already begun, inexorably, its infancy swaddled in the dim history of generations long before we were born. Our fear is real, as is our grief. We’ve been facing down the darkness for a long time already.

    Mercifully, this is an astrologically easy month. Apart from a few challenging aspects to Pluto (planet of death and rebirth – ruler of Scorpio) on the week of the 24th, we’ve got fairly easy sailing. This means we get to fall apart if we need to. Scorpio season reminds us that our truest strength comes from letting go – letting ourselves die and be reborn, again and again. Now is the time to be in-between, to sustain the discomfort of being between worlds, between lives, between selves. In this state, the invisible becomes visible. In this state, we don’t need cameras to show us the news. In this state, we understand that we are never finished and we are never neutral, and that our strength is never ours alone.

    As always, take what you need from these horoscopes and compost whatever doesn’t help. The astro-literate are advised to read their rising sign first, followed by the Sun and Moon. And if you’d like some extra insight and support through this murky month, you can find me for readings at flaxandgold.com

    "The raindrops trying
    to put the fire out
    fall into it and are
    changed: the oath broken,
    the oath sworn between earth and water, flesh and spirit, broken,
    to be sworn again,
    over and over, in the clouds, and broken again,
    over and over, on earth."

    Galway Kinnell, "Under the Maud Moon"


    It takes a special kind of mind to see a glacier as a threat. One must envision an impossibly slow ice giant flattening the living mountains of the earth as no more than a foot quickly stamping out a row of ants. One must enter the consciousness of the Cascades or the milder Appalachians, with their geologically slow sense of speed. This impossibly long and low alarm, this anti-capitalist clock, recognizes the danger in slower catastrophes than our news cycles can articulate. You are built for instant responses and unequivocal action. You rely on you reflexes and your quick assessments. What does it mean for you, this month, to expand your senses to include this slow lens? How do your values shift? How must you respond, when what is at stake reflects so much more than one short life?


    Here’s the thing about winter: you can pile on blanket after blanket until you’re not sure if what you feel is warmth or suffocation, and still in that in-between where your own desires are murky, you’ll become accustomed to the feeling of heaviness and stop asking yourself whether it’s what you want. The same is true of the cold: you can shiver in your unheated room, sans sweater or cheering mug of tea, and recognize that while the situation isn’t ideal, you’ve been cold long enough at this point that you might as well continue until the world comes back to its senses and throws some warmer days your way. You have a way of carrying the springtime within you, which can disrupt your desire to change external circumstances. Apply this metaphor liberally to everything you’ve become accustomed to. This month, however, it’s time to cast off the extra unwanted blanket. It’s time to run outside in the snow until you’re damn sure you do need a sweater, and then it’s time to find one. It’s time to embrace the discomfort of change, when what it brings you is release from inertia. What would you be capable of if you didn’t glumly accept whatever condition you happen to be in? Being tough isn’t the same as being doomed to repeating the past ad infinitum.


    The minor trouble you’ll meet this month mostly stems from denying the possibility of things getting wet. You are moving through a perpetual summer day, with achingly blue skies for miles and miles – as though you’ve learned the knack of skittering above the puddles that drench the feet of lesser mortals. The risks you’re taking are minor but significant: Car windows left unrolled. Caps to all sorts of bottles left untightened. Choosing stylish rather than practical shoes. Ignoring dreams that show you a waterlogged orange gone translucent and tasteless. Small details that add up, especially by the middle of the month when a sudden cloudburst might find you wholly unprepared. Luckily, the solution is simple: keep anything delicate and precious somewhere waterproof, and enjoy the deluge when it comes.


    How do you respond to tension? Do you crumble like dry snow, or burst apart like a net of bees unloosening? Or do you absorb the shocks of life in by hardening, stiffening your neck and knees? You may think your defensive behavior affects you alone, but you are not neatly contained within your skin. Your crumbling, freezing, or exploding affects everyone around you, tugging on their own intricate threads and creating ripples that could be read as something beautiful from far enough away. It is that perspective you’ll get to hold this month, freeing yourself from the ways you get caught in reaction (even if you keep reacting). Your gift this month is the freedom that can only come from identifying with the largest possible version of “self” you can imagine.


    While trying to concentrate on other matters this month, you’ll find your attention drawn again and again to the moeritherium, that extinct ungulate from the Eocene era that is most closely related to modern elephants. This delightfully humble creature corresponds to one of your deepest fears: insignificance. Smaller than the elephant, without a distinctive trunk, and having vanished over 30 million years ago, the moeritherium (whose name refers only to where its bones were found, not any astounding merit of its own) exemplifies a small blip in evolutionary history. When you begin to fear a similar fate for yourself, remember that it’s still within your power to commemorate and immortalize the humble moeritherium through your own merits. Don’t go gentle into this dark Anthropocene era; rage against the dying of the megafauna!


    I’m afraid someone’s already beaten you to the idea of decorating your pubic hair with wildflowers, but you can always be the first to go one step farther and work in some stinging nettles and other less-than-gentle medicinals. Not to torture yourself, of course, (unless you’re into that) and not to dissuade would-be suitors from approaching you – but to bring home the theme of your month: no beauty without reality, no dreams without embodiment. Follow the reading of your sign that sees the virgin not as someone inexperienced in sexual pleasure, but someone whose sexuality has not been colonized by patriarchy or market forces. In this reading, the virgin remains intact unto themselves; no matter who they share pleasure with, no one owns them. To aspire to this ideal, root out your own desire to be beautiful more than you are effective; more ornamental than wise, more surface than depth. As you’ll move between dreams and reality this month, make sure you’ve got some grounding influences to keep you balanced, and remember that you belong only to yourself.


    Good news: your experiments are succeeding. The scaffolding is strong. The orchard is bearing fruit. The waxwing’s song has been captured by cunning little recording devices. The waxen fruit on the tabletop has a plan for becoming financial independent and no longer trespassing on your hospitality. In other words, much more than you planned to achieve has been achieved, in the passive voice even, with no clear subject enacting these miraculous achievements. This is because you’re undergoing a delicate rebirth – less bloody and shocking than birth often feels. More like you’ve discovered an intelligent bird lives inside your bedroom, where it’s been politely nesting in an abandoned winter boot and learning to make itself useful before announcing its presence. And now the two of you can talk all winter about books you’ve both read while the potato peelings string themselves into the compost bin in one beautifully intact spiral. The only note of caution you should heed is not to expect such ease to last indefinitely, and to use it wisely while it’s here.


    Your hero this month is the poorly named but uniquely armored scaly foot gastropod. This snail improves on the traditional exoskeleton design, eschewing calcium carbonate for iron. It’s actually the only living creature that has learned to grow metal into and around itself, absorbing the stray molecules that float amongst the hydrothermal vents it calls home. The shell it builds, whose outer layer is iron sulphide, can withstand incredible forces. Not only does it deflect predators, but it can damage their claws and teeth. Emulate this genius of adaptation this month, and absorb what strength you can find – even if it’s only small flecks – from an environment you feel safe in. Weave this magic strength into that bubble of space you keep between yourself and all that is horrifying and soul-crushing in life, and you’ll be able to withstand the unbearable pressures of working for a living, being separated from dear friends, and having such a tender inner world. Better yet, when you’re too tough to be messed with you can move as slowly as you want.


    You’ve been keeping your dreams all knitted up in a silk bag, tossed about with mismatched hosiery and some shiny stones (the ones you picked up to help you remember all the things you left behind at various crossroads). This means your dreams are becoming wadded and wrinkled and inseparable from heavy reminders of past choices. I know you’re afraid that if you reach in with your fingertips to catch one evanescent dream and pull it out, it might balloon to monstrous size and then pop like a soap bubble. This is a risk you must take, though, if you intend to keep living out a story that’s worth telling. Perhaps your current dreams are too slight and musty and battered to gasp more than one breath under the sun. Perhaps they will shimmer and fade or burst as soon as you call them back to the warmth of your hand. Even in this scenario of scarcity, that very lack will create a vacuum attracting new ideas and new experiences. And you never know, something you’ve been keeping secret and safe lo these many years may still be sturdy enough to flourish.


    The phrase “pour encourager les autres” has a strange provenance. Since Voltaire popularized the idiom in a moment of dark irony, praising the execution of wealthy Admiral as a good example for “encouraging” the others of his rank and class, the phrase has since come to mean the exact opposite of what it says: a warning against, a discouragement, while still explicitly meaning “to encourage others.” This level of doublespeak has become so common that we’re all used to using words that mean their opposite, but this phrase has a special significance for you, right now. Like the unfortunate Admiral Byng, whose tactical decision to turn away from the Battle of Minorca cost him his life at home, you’re leading a charge that could have all eyes on you – and you can’t control the way history will judge you. Think of the example you want to set, whatever your own personal consequences might be. You may be surprised by a better outcome than you expected, but you have to plan unselfishly.


    Consider this horoscope the polite cough that signals your attention is needed, and that, while the situation isn’t currently urgent or dire, it could become so if you don’t acknowledge that thing behind you that you’ve dragged into the room and neglected to introduce to your hosts. It’s not that it smells any worse than a wet dog or looms any more ominously than a giraffe at rest. It’s not that you’re not allowed to bring over a guest. The stars are merely concerned that you might not know this thing is following you around, and clearly wants to be asked to sit a little closer to the table and given a mug of something revitalizing. They point this out as hosts who have themselves been followed around by all manner of things that smelled and loomed much worse than your visitor. So, drawing a sacred or haphazard chalk circle around you, muttering a half-remembered prayer, and hoping for the best – now’s the time to look over your shoulder and learn the name of this fond but disheveled thing that is your very own.


    There is the sadness that comes from happiness that has ended; the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one, the move away from a beloved home. This sadness can take years to wring through your shivering substance on fall days and in the wee hours and unexpectedly while doing calculations or admiring a stranger’s dog through a window. But it’s yours, after all, the beloved death of those beautiful times you lived through. It’s your reward for having loved deeply, for having once been full. There is another sadness that does not move through your body but hovers three feet above your head like a ceiling you’re liable to crash into if you stand up too quickly. This is the unspeakable grief about the happiness you’ve never had and know you never will: maybe it’s the happiness of living in a world without genocide, or without industrial poisons spilling into our drinking water. Maybe it’s more personal – the happiness of getting to live in a body that functions without pain, or having a childhood unmarked by trauma. This sadness is harder to wring through you, because it stays aloof, pretending inevitability. Here and now, though, you can reach your hands up and pull this sadness down to the height of your mouth, compress it between your palms until it’s small and dense as a cough drop, and place it on your tongue. Let the sweetness of this impossible future fill you. Claim it and absorb it.

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