Happiest New Year! And: Happy birthday Capricorns everywhere. If you're reading this then you've already survived another year under neo-fascist rule and a long holiday week with family members who remind you why you started drinking as a teenager. If your survival was threatened, if you walked to the edge of the void and dangled your feet but decided to stay and fight, you have accomplished what was impossible for many and I'm grateful to you. To stay is brave and it is a gift. June Jordan wrote "all things are dear that disappear," but you are dear to the living right now, reader, no matter how long the night gets.
We have lived through the longest night, haven't we, friends? We have lit our candles for the spirits and set angels on our trees. Now, the days stretch their limbs and grow a little longer inch by inch. Our patience grows longer too. If we are lucky, we will out-wait violence, we will nurture a radical imagination and welcome a powerful joy. This month, I offer you thoughts on two eclipses, only one of which most of us will witness, and I offer this poem—which is a blessing.
"Try to Praise the Mutilated World"
By Adam Zagajewski/ Translated by Clare Cavanagh
Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
Let's say you're in a chariot, Aries, and you're rolling down a dark road. The weather is wild and unknowable and your horses feel it. The chariot is careening with them, you feel a strain on whatever it is that binds you to your animals. I know it's your impulse to push through, to grip at some control over the reins, and keep going until the trouble clears or your run clear of it. But, the trouble isn't a storm this time, Aries, it's a season. Your animals? They're in relation to you, they reflect your inner weather just as much as they do their general environment. So, against all impulse, I assure you, it's a good time to stop. It's a good time to ask yourself point blank: "What the fuck am I doing?"
The road is dark because it needs to be dark. You've got to adjust your eyes in order to see, you've got to trust what you already know about the sky. Wasn't there a time you were lost before? Wasn't there a star you followed, an inner compass that showed you True North better than any map ever could?
It's true that a map might help but what if no map serves this season, when all markers of place feel distorted? There are those of who have chosen paths for which maps have yet to be written. You are tasked with surviving so that you might make a map of your life and offer that to the ones who come after you. Nothing will clear, no animal quell, until you get clear about where you want to go and how you mean to get there. Dear Aries, therapy is better than self-laceration (an indulgence with no path to a cure). Besides, you have more to do in this life than survive it.
If last year was the year of the body, of recovery and coming home to yourself, what will 2019 offer you? I know you, Taurus, I know you like to be prepared but not overly so. Enough to be comfortable but not so much you could be perceived as zealous. Rest assured, everything you've recovered in the past year was in service to what awaits you, and none of your work was for naught. In fact, expect this January to offer you a reprieve along your path, a moment to sit with what you've learned and collect your energies.
If you think that this moment of quiet will be like the many you've experienced in 2018, you're in for a surprise. This past year has seen multiple moments of you running your own well dry, of needing to take cover and recharge the dead battery within you. Sometimes this depletion was due to physical distress, and sometimes from emotional overwhelm, and often because of the deep ties between those two states that you foster within you—given your habit of convincing yourself that nothing affects you "all that much" until that "nothing" is bludgeoning you with its effect. January offers you the chance to experience stillness for the sake of stillness—not out of necessity, but out of pleasure.
What will you do with a quiet like that? Read more and read widely. Listen to a symphonic poem or learn to meditate and listen only to your breath—for an hour, for the length of a sunrise. Let yourself draw again, because it feels good to think only about the weight of a line and the direction of a shade. The sensual is key here, an intention to engage the richness of all your senses. Pour over old journals and remember an old self; you can light a candle for her and pray that she rests peacefully in the dark paradise of your yester-mind. What I'm saying is, you've worked hard to get here and you've got a long way to go before you reach the destination you're after. Take January up on its offer and use your rest time wisely.
It's easy to see that you're changing, Gemini, that 2018 was a year of doorways for you and each one you walked through ushered in a room of transformation. Some of those transformations were choices and some of them happened by necessity, but all of them had an immense impact on you and that impact is far from done making itself known. It's understandable that a social creature like you would want company during this transformative time, transformation is never easy—even, especially, when it's fulfilling—but you must know that the doorways you've walked through are ones you were meant to walk through on your own.
There's a loneliness to that, yes, and it's hard not to resist it. Not to feel a certain kind of resentment or betrayal when your chosen circle doesn't circle around you... especially when you feel most in need of a holding. But, you'll find that the tighter you cling to your expectations of others and the ways you wish they'd show up for you, the tighter your own doorways will feel—and the harder it will be to let anyone through when they show up as best as they know how.
This month, while you sit in one of your many new rooms, wishing for some sort of imagined company that would deepen your experience and give it a greater sense of purpose, invite your disappointments to the table. They will come wearing many faces and costumes, looking new and looking like a shadow of your childhood, and what you recognize at first might pain you. But look underneath, Gemini, and don't stop looking. You have been seeking transformation and your disappointments are a part of you. They've come to you, just like anything else, to be transformed.
I'd like to think that January will be a good month for you Cancer. I say "like" rather than "know" because like most human beings on the planet, the outcome of the month is entirely up to you and your free will. Okay, you say, so what makes this month different than any other month? I'll tell you. Dear Cancer, this January we will experience (if not actually witness with our own eyes) two eclipses: a solar eclipse on January 5th and a lunar eclipse on January 21st. You, dear animal, are a moon baby and in eclipse season… the moon is the reason.
During the solar eclipse, which will be a new moon in Capricorn, the moon comes between the Earth and the Sun. This lunar interception will bring a great deal of magic energy to the ambitious qualities of Capricorn. Think of the phrase "if you can dream it, be it," but then add the strategic layered work ethic of Capricorn and see yourself booking a different career development workshop for every week of January.
Or, maybe you'll feel a deep urge to finally try out for that job you feared you weren't skilled enough to snag. Or, maybe you'll finally share that website you've been working on. "New year, new me" mentality is at an all-time high! By the end of the month, the lunar eclipse in Leo when Earth will cast her shadow on our moon. This shadow, full of earthly concerns, domestic grievances, and the deep yearning to nurture without conditions, can stir a lot of sorrow in a moon-baby's heart. But, if you spend the beginning month devoting yourself to your dreams, I promise that any sorrow that arises will feel fleeting, even sweet in its own way.
My little lion, I know you're tired but you've got to press on. Whatever wringer the world has put your heart through in the past few years, it was never meant to wring the life out of you or, worst of all, extinguish your flame. My oldest flame, you know the one who believe in God like to say she never gives you more than you can handle and no matter what you think about scripture I'm here to confirm that these believers are not wrong.
Which is not to say, of course, that you haven't suffered enough. You've suffered enough. It's just that our suffering is rarely born of present day events, and more often the dangerous wave of a ripple made lifetimes ago. What you might find, on the crest and fall of these emotional waves, my eternal one, is that your suffering will not transform into your strength until you choose to transform it—no matter how long you wait or how much you project it onto others.
And, when I say choose I mean choose totally. I mean saying "this is not sustainable" and then changing this whatever this is. I mean practicing accountability even when you feel shame or fear of abandonment, even when you feel like it will cost you the position of beloved. To place yourself in the position of your own beloved, to call yourself up and say "we need to talk candidly about what's possible and what will no longer serve." To move consciously and mindfully everyday toward the most present and powerful version of yourself. Who is she? What is her name?
This might come as no shock to you, dear Virgo, given your keen sense of observation and your anticipatory nature, but it's that time of year again. The time for you to crawl out of your hermit hole or your love cave or your work ditch and put some elbow grease into nurturing your friendships. Friendship is powerful, Mercury is working its way into Aquarius, and January's solar eclipse is more than ready to remind you how the people you surround yourself with inform your perception of yourself.
Take stock, dear Virgo, of the many ways friendship has enriched your life this past year. Yes, there were the easy connections. The workplace camaraderie and social tapestries that deepened as the year wore on. But what about the friendships that have sustained you in your heart? Who has stood steadfast below your tripwire, reminding you that if you fall, you'll be caught? Who has taught you what love is rather than what you were taught it should be?
By the end of January, you'll begin to get a deeper sense of where and with whom your energy should be flowing. The connections you apply yourself to are not only reflections of what you value but also reflections of who you are and how you wish to show up in this world. The deeper your friendships, the more yourself you are around others, the more free you feel. And then your heart opens wider, and then the road opens wider.
You might have put a lot of rough years in the past but I'd venture to say that 2018 is one of the heavier doors you've ever closed behind you. And, it's not that the lessons of the past year were particularly bigger or more difficult to carry, and don't you for a second thing the road is a smooth glide from here on in. It's just that there's a finality to this part of your life, a sense that something about who you are and how you've lived has been changed and there is no going back.
Give yourself time, this month, for the ritual of letting go. What you've lost is no small amount of life, what you're walking toward is a large expanse and a candle of remembrance will serve you well and light your way.
By the end of January, you might get the sense that the spotlight is turning up and shining on you brighter than it has in a long time. There will be opportunity here to deepen your budding practices and carve out a bolder, more public, space for yourself. This opportunity, this offering, might spark fear in you, a remaining propensity toward self-sabotage. But, if you look deep into flame of your memory candle, you'll find that the person you are now is no longer afraid of her power or the identities she's got to shed in order to step into it.
Evolving isn't easy work and, for the most part, it's not exactly fun either. I'm not quite sure why some god wrote the book of your life as one long cycling odyssey towards evolution but here we are sliding between snake, scorpion, eagle and a hard place—the dance you've known the steps to since you sidled out onto the floor.
January finds you in the sweetest spot of your troubles, where the living might be hard but showing up is easy enough. You're learning something about the quickest and kindest way speak your truth and get the hell out of Dodge.
After all, Scorpio, you've got work to do, a world to change, and that's not gonna happen if you let yourself get tied up in the webs of other people's lives. There's many ways to get your spiritual information and speculative heartache no longer need be yours. Coming clean, staying clean, and practicing right speech will carry you a long way up towards the great eagle's nest. From there, what pains you will feel like a far ways off, and your spirit will finally get what it's hungered for—a clear sky and the feeling of possibility.
I'm in a Jeep on a four-hour road trip to the city I hate most in America to spend New Year's Eve with some of my favorite people in this world. I'm thinking of you and all our road trips, the ones we've laughed all the way through and the ones we've already imagined into our future. In this Jeep, we're talking about micro-dosing: acid, mushrooms, MDMA. We're talking about all the different tools at our disposal, chemical and emotional, that might bring us closer to our creative selves.
What is the creative self and why is it so illusive? Here, your mutable nature might hold more keys than you're willing to admit. In a world where we are told that our accomplishments are our lone victories and personal titles, a Sagittarius thrives otherwise—finding inspiration and energy in the magic of many minds coming together.
Which doesn't mean that you should rely on others for your sense of wholeness, or depend on the creative energy of those around you to rev up your engine. Rather, this January is a good time to reset the aim of your arrow. Ask yourself what it would take to show up fully in a group setting, what kind of personal practice might help you become an integral member of the band. When you feel good about what you bring to the table, you'll find that a place has been set for you for a long time. What you begin developing in your own seedling pot will thrive in the fertile ground of community. I know it's hard to hold your horse but, sometimes, life really moves one step at a time.
It's your season, witch sister, and the planets are here to celebrate you. The Sun shines brilliant and steadfast in Capricorn and forms a solar eclipse on January 5th with the new moon in Capricorn, both conjunct Saturn and sextile to Neptune. It's a dreamscape where all your generous efforts reap rewards.What ritual will you practice in honor of these events?
Over Christmas Jewish Chinese dinner, my friend and I split one fortune cookie. The fortune inside felt so apt to both our lives, so deeply infused with the lessons of Saturn under the stars of Capricorn, it pierced into the reality of our winter night. What did it say? Self respect is the root of discipline.
If discipline is Saturn's bread and butter, and self-respect is the moment the Sun flows through us and shifts the shades of shame, then this month's aspects are composed in favor of your arrival, dear Capricorn. Come as you are and bring forth the very best of yourself. Your talent can't and won't be hidden; your most private work gives way to your grace.
You can't just say a thing until it becomes true, Aquarius, no matter what holy books and cult leaders might want us to believe. Words are powerful, yes, but they can also be powerful delusions. This January, the stars will be making big moves and you're sure to feel it, thanks to the Sun and Mercury in your sign, Uranus finally shifting into direct motion, and a lunar eclipse in Leo on the 21st. There is a focus here on sites of personal rupture, disjuncture between the roles you play and the person you believe yourself to be. Realness, what is that?
The solar eclipse hits your communication sectors as you reckon with the services you render and the services you require to maintain function. Here, you might find both power and bitterness, a list of things you felt were under-appreciated and overlooked. Here is the place where the veils we hang between what we say and what we mean flap flimsily in the wind, threatening to reveal our resentments. Which, if you don't know by now, are our wounds—our raw places.
You hate staying mad for long, since so much of this—what you might deem Earth business—is beneath you. Yet this month's themes are far from the Earth, hammered between the two planets we believe ourselves most knowledgeable of: our Sun and moon. Here, again, you must reckon with realness, what you know to be true and what can never be known. The lunar eclipse at the end of the month brings you pleasure. But, like everything else, it's not a sure thing. Pleasure, the generative spark, is beautiful, but most beautiful things rely on myth. That is, until we get used to them and then they become ordinary.
We could begin by talking about the new year, about what you're going to leave behind and what you're hoping to bring with you, but we both know that time doesn't work for you the same way it works for the rest of us—what's a year anyway and by whose calendar do we mark it? Well, alright, let the movement of celestial bodies tell you what time of the year it is. This month opens and closes with an eclipse. The solar and the lunar, the ego and the subconscious, the shifting of veils between light and dark.
Neptune, your ruling planet, plays a large part in the solar eclipse on January 5th, forming a sextile to the sun. There is a focus on your relationships here, on how you structure your own needs in the presence of others. Here, the energy is captivating and it is easy to be enamored with visions of the beloved and the muse.
But, it's known that anywhere Neptune gains traction is a place where a glamour can thrive. A glamour serves our hunger for inspiration, it's a tablecloth on which you set the feast. And, Pisces, you can set a table beautifully and serve up the most delicious offerings. But, if the table isn't sturdy, if it buckles under the weight of all your expectations, it's not the right table for your feast no matter how you dress it. Funny thing about tables is they can't fix themselves, so it's on you to find a sturdier foundation.