Dear Autumnal Rabbits,
It’s hard to say goodbye to summer, to days when lying still under the hot sun can count as an activity. It’s hard to find time for ourselves, for stillness, for thinking about each and every little part of our bodies so that we might send it love. I love you fingertip, I love you tiny toe. It’s harder still, to cater to such small concerns when faced with the enormity of this world and it’s failure to care for the people in it.
Someone has, once again, reposted the photo of a Syrian child washed up dead on the shore. An interview with his father reveals a second son and a wife lost to the ocean. You look. You repeat their names in your mind, under your breath. You think about the bodies; were these bodies that you could have loved? I love you fingertip, I love you tiny toe. You can’t bear any more looking.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish calendar, is September 23. Forty-two years ago, Syria and Israel were at war. Now Israel has the chance to practice forgiveness. This month, when I light a candle for my dead, I will count a country of strangers among them. I will remember every time I have not been brave enough to forgive, not compassionate enough to be generous in the face of scarcity.
A tiny drop in an ocean of nations, I will vow to be better. What if you joined me?
P.S. Thank you, Claire Skinner, for all your help. <3
P.P.S. If you’d like to donate to the making of these horoscopes, there’s a PayPal link located on the sidebar of the site. I appreciate you and adore you.
Here we are on earth, you wrote, terra / my name / your name / all that cannot.
I am thinking about all that cannot today. About what it means to live on this planet with it’s endless war and factory line. It’s 40% off at the Banana Republic. I am thinking about what it means to be complicit in our own suffering and how that suffering rises to a pitch so high only bats can hear it.
This month, Germany opened its arms and took in thousands upon thousands of Syrian refugees. A big move for a small country but Germany, for reasons mostly rooted in historical ignorance, has taken on almost the entirety of blame for the Holocaust. While I cannot speak to the inner working of national leaders, I dare say that in doing so Germany has shifted its image in the world.
There are many ways to change, Aquarius, many ways to shift how the world sees you. How do you suffer? What ghosts and worldly wounds have you taken on as your own? To become lighter, you can’t be afraid to give more of yourself.
In the beginning of this month, under the full Pisces moon, I gathered with a few sweet friends by the beach. What I love about the night ocean, what I look for in most things I love, is the moment when darkness is a lens that unifies what lies separate. What I mean is the sky and the moon and the water, all one. What I mean is you, Pisces, and the moon you are: wound, healer, and the keeper of precious things.
The water crests and crashes over itself, slapping the rocks and sucking at the shore. The lunar light is brilliant and white like a hole in the universe.
What is made there, what is birthed and destroyed beneath the water’s cloak, is what lives in us. Feminine divine. Uncountable stories. In some parallel universe, you know them all by heart. In this one, they come to you, in dreams and in heartbreak. In the sparkling night, we’d come to honor your power, to charge our crystals and stones beneath you. I held a rock quartz to my third eye and felt an immense clarity, an opening that vibrated deep into my bones. I knew this was your gift and I felt you with me. You have come so far; you’re stronger than you’ve ever been.
“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Aries, when I remembered The Velveteen Rabbit—written by a Cancer, I thought of you. I thought of you because the Lunar Eclipse will fall in Aries (Decan 1) this late September, and because Cancer is the star in the sky that understands your drive and devotion more than most. I thought of your young heart and how the world betrays it.
I want to tell you about how much I loved The Velveteen Rabbit as a child new to this country, how it made me feel optimistic about being accepted and loved. I desperately wanted to become “real,” whatever that was. I wish someone could have told me that we are always real. That there is no amount of love or ruining that can deem us worthy of each other. As far as reality goes, we can be wild rabbits in a field or stuffed horses with missing parts. It doesn’t matter. We are in this book, this room, together. We are for each other, beautiful and real, even in our separateness.
Once my friend L called me out of nowhere. We hadn’t spoken in what felt like years. GALI! She exclaimed over the phone, I have some questions for you. L had just begun a graduate program in mathematics. She was one of the few women admitted and the isolation of her experience had catapulted her into re-thinking her identification with feminism. What L wanted to know was: could she be a feminist and still prepare dinner for her husband?
Such an absurd question came out of her desire to make things black and white, this or that. It didn’t matter that the question was absurd, or that she left her husband shortly after our phone call, moved across the country and began to date women exclusively.
What mattered (then and still) is the way life has a way of teaching you over and over that if you are stuck in a quandary (career path, relationship, friendship, etc.) and looking for an easy answer—you are probably searching for the way out. Which is, in many ways, the easiest answer of them all.
I have known two kinds of Gemini, the kind whose every love was their Big Great Love, and the kind who wandered from lover to lover indifferently casting their affections. Even as I write this I know that each of these Gemini was one half of the other. Still, I remember my friend J, whose journal spilled out with crosshatch sketches of every boy she kissed. And, I remember S, who never talked about desire, who to this day rises up in photographs alone and beautiful on tropical beaches.
When the moon sails out / the waters cover the earth / and the heart feels it is / a little island in the infinite*
Today, I am thinking of this Gemini dichotomy, the great lover in you and the butterfly flitting from flower to flower. I want to ask each of those twins how they thrive. How do you, Gemini, make space for the one who wants in you? The one who is curious about everything in the world? Where do you rest, winged one, when all the flowers fall asleep? This month, imagine the little island in the infinite that is your heart, let it be home to both Gemini in you.
*Federico Garcia Lorca
On car rides to Mount St. Helens, over Dar Williams cds, we would hash out the meaning of feminine and masculine, human and animal, Christians and Pagans, non-violence and self-defense. We would talk over one another, interrupt, reach for answers where there were clearly none to be found. We didn’t care. If my girlfriend was in the car with us, she would come to me later and say, “All you two do is fight. Doesn’t it exhaust you?” No, I would tell her, quite the opposite. Our arguing invigorated us, made us respect each other, made us close.
It also made us sensitive to one another. Perhaps that’s why when my girlfriend and I broke up, you were the first person I thought of. I needed your expansive mind, your strong logic to guide me toward every truth I had forgotten about myself.
My sweet friend, my partner in feminist praxis, who is asking you the tough questions now that we live so far apart? The ruby of your great mind is in full effect, do you feel as if you’ve honored its capacity? Don’t be afraid to go it alone, Cancer, to figure it out for yourself. Be brave. The people who love you cast a wide net and they’ll be there to catch you if you fall. But, dear heart, I know that you won’t.
On your back on a rooftop in Brooklyn, under a night sky that is not without stars, you can feel the world pulse on. Cars honk and skyscrapers blink. There is the faint sound of music. You pulse too but it’s a soft pulse. A sad song, I hear it, have heard it for months. What balm could you rub on that strong chest of yours? What more can you do than what you’ve done? For years you’ve built a damn around your heart but life rivers through, erodes the land. That’s the nature of rivers. Your heart aches but it won’t break. Hearts are unfathomable in their fortitude. No matter their weight, their darkness, their hard jacket with the collar turned up, they go on.
You have been dead a long season / And have less than desire / Who were lover with lover; / And I have life—that old reason / To wait for what comes, / To leave what is over. *
Life—that old reason. It’s not shallow, not a small feat, to look at the person you’ve become and take her hand. I want to give you something powerful: a crown of black onyx and rose quartz, a tea to soothe your beautiful lion heart. I wish that it were possible to know just the right thing, but there is no right thing. Do whatever you need to do to live in this world, to leave what is over and begin again.
The Solar eclipse and the sun in your eyes, dear Virgo, may the Earth be good to you. May you eat the seeds of this world, and the next, and not be held responsible for your hunger. Let yourself know desire, let your shame become the ripe fig you tongue at the edge of your longing.
This is your beautiful everything, your thick elastic flesh molded from the shapes of ancestors, survivors, lovers who dug their nails in deep and refused to let go. Or, was it you who held on too long? It doesn’t matter…
Dear Virgo, may this month be the month of clear sight, a chance to see yourself as you have been and as you are now without regret. If there is a world out there you have held yourself back from, consider yourself welcome to it. If you have convinced yourself that love must prove itself to you before you can know what it is, consider that you are already full of knowing. Autumn beckons, the garden is thick with offerings.
Libra you, more than anyone, know a pattern when you see it. Surely, you might have guessed by now that the frequency of Mercury’s slip into retrograde has a greater purpose than messing up our emails and delaying our flights. We can’t blame a planet for our bad habits, our tardiness and our inclination to hit send too fast. We can, however, feel some kind of way about Mercury’s insistence on forcing us to confront them.
Mercury asks us to back up our hard-drives because that is an act of care we can perform for what we produce in the world. Mercury is here to teach us about listening before we speak, thinking before we act, and knowing what we want before we say yes. It forces us to take a good hard look at the obstacles we construct to get in our own ways and asks us if we are ready to dismantle them.
Well, Libra, are you ready to dismantle them? If the answer is yes, if you know what you want, then don’t be afraid of which way the planets move. Remember that you are your strongest astral influence and the universe aches to harmonize with you.
It’s no coincidence that poetry’s sad darlings, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, were both Scorpios. Who else could have courted death so famously? Who else could have been so brilliant in their darkness, captured the topaz light of a dying leaf so precisely that their genius would appear almost effortless? Two night dancers defying the gravity of language, the ghosts of Sylvia and Anne have often suffered a woman’s death—where their craft takes a seat behind their surrender.
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes / Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me. / The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea, / And comes from a country far away as health.
Beyond bank statements and painful conversations, beyond the anxieties of getting from one day to the next, there is a world where you are very very powerful. Scorpio, forget psychic death, forgo any form of surrender that does not yield pleasure. Let health become a country where you claim citizenship, move there. No matter how estranged, no matter that you’ve forgotten the language and the customs. Start small and soon you will remember.
In the years when my grief was deepest, when the hours between getting home and waking up ached on and on with slow hands, you were my lighthouse. Maybe it’s because you were stationed between my home and the rest of the world, maybe because I was only willing to bicycle as far as your front door, I demanded your company. And you were good to me. You welcomed me in even when you were tired; you brought out a bottle of whiskey and let me live at its bottom.
I don’t mean to suggest that I knew you then, or that I know you now. I have, little by little, figured out that there is little merit in claiming that we ever truly know anyone.
Archer, I sensed the lone animal in you, the warm live thing at the center of your solitude. I sensed and moved toward it. What contained that animal, what contained you and kept you from relief, I could only guess at. I loved you indiscriminately. Loved the good in you. How big that good was and is, like an animal’s heart beating hot under all her fur.
I know a man who is an alcoholic. He’s not a bad man, or he wasn’t, although who can say who is born bad and who becomes? This man, he has a mother. Everyday his mother wakes early in the morning and begins the arduous task of baking specialty cakes for her son’s restaurant. Everyday her son moves through the day toward his next drink. The restaurant gapes empty and the man’s wife keeps surfacing with bruises.
The mother’s heart breaks over and over. The mother can’t bear to see her son so broken; she can’t bear to witness his cruelty and his weakness. She bakes cake not knowing whether her son will pick it up or not. Not knowing if he will leave the cake in his car while he drunkenly lumbers in a haze until dawn.
What she can’t seem to put together is the way the cake is both a bribe and a form of permission. That, in preparing these cakes everyday, she is trying to establish a pattern in a world that is falling apart, to manipulate a return to normalcy. How have you, Capricorn, created relationships where your labors are lost? How have you, Capricorn, maneuvered to control what is outside your power?