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I’ve been writing horoscopes and publishing them here for the past year, and now I’m transitioning much of my writing to patreon, a platform that makes it easy for you to purchase a monthly subscription to receive my writing and support my work. This will help make it more sustainable for me to devote time to writing on astrology, suffering, joy, interconnectivity, and how to be as alive as possible, among other things.

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Feel free to look back through the past year of weekly horoscopes I’ve written, all on this page. The format of the writing I’ll do on patreon will be slightly different, but all of the content will be covering similar themes.

I’ll also still be publishing short pieces here from time to time, and of course the Existing Together Astrology Interviews with amazing humans each month (see below), so check back here for new stuff, or sign up for my free newsletter if you’re not already!

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I’m really honored that the beautiful expression of a Capricorn that is Beth Pickens has answered these questions in this space. All of her advice is the most grounded, realest magic. She tells anyone who needs to be an artist to keep being an artist, no matter what! And then because she is such a Capricorn she outlines very concrete steps for how to do this. She is an antidote to despair. Follow her on instagram and sign up for her newsletter and buy her book because there is no one who doesn’t need her advice! And enjoy the beauty below.

Beth Pickens is a Los Angeles-based consultant for artists and arts organizations. She is the author of Your Art Will Save Your Life (Feminist Press, 2018).  Her pamphlets—Making Art During Fascism and On Artists and Hopelessness—were designed and distributed by The Women’s Center for Creative Work in Los Angeles. 

Pickens earned her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri. Since 2010, she’s provided career consultation, grant writing, fundraising, and financial, project, and strategic planning services for artists and arts organizations throughout the U.S. She team-teaches an entrepreneurship course at the California Institute of the Arts School of Theater and teaches workshops at universities, companies, and art spaces throughout the U.S.

Before relocating to Los Angeles in 2014, she was based in San Francisco where she served as Senior Program Manager at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Managing Director of two queer, multidisciplinary arts non-profit organizations. She specializes in supporting queer and trans artists, women, and artists of color. She lives with her wife in LA.

1. What brings you the most joy?

The moments when I have serenity because I'm using my many spiritual tools and practices, these moments are what bring me the most joy. I understand more as I grow older than joy is linked to serenity and surrender; I feel more joyful when I'm working for those. I can be doing the "most fun thing" with "my favorite people" in the an "idyllic environment" and not feel any joy if I'm not spiritually in tune. That's just how my brain is wired (maybe how all our brains are wired?) and it's up to me to do the work so that my interior is capable of feeling the joy of the conditions around me. The more I'm in serenity and connected with a power bigger than myself, the more I find joy in anything and everything and everybody. But, WHOA, when I'm not in that connected space there is really nothing that brings me joy! And this capacity to experience joy changes one day to the next; luckily I understand most of it is up to me. 

Actually, I just remembered that gratitude is my pipeline to feeling joy. When I do the work it takes to be grateful (it's a practice, a muscle, a skill) then I have greater capacity for joy.

2. Do you relate to Capricorn characteristics? Which ones? 

I really relate to everything Capricorn! Aside from being in the micro-generation Generation Catalano, being Capricorn is one of the group markers I most identify with. Even more these days than being queer, a feminist, Jewish, a Californian! What I relate to most in the Capricornian sphere: I am planted firmly on the earth; I have a lot discipline; I am concerned with financial well being for me, my loved ones, my communities, and my larger world; I have many goals and a plan to reach them; I am very reliable; I am probably a little boring; I understand and can build systems. I often say that where my heart would've been, the zodiac instead placed a very powerful data processing unit. (But I have a Leo moon so I was granted a lot of heart, too!) 

3. I see your work as profoundly healing for the artist community, I know it has been for myself and many who I've shared your work with. Where and how do you find healing? 

I am so fortunate to have spent most of my life gravitating more and more toward what and who can heal me. For some reason, I was born with an intrinsic desire to have a better life than what was modeled for me in my family of origin and a willingness to do just about anything to get to it. Since I was a teenager, I've understood the transformative power of chosen/logical family. (Nod to Armistead Maupin.) My years of accumulating and learning from/with my chosen family has been a central source of healing. Additional sources: lots of therapy, anxiety meds, 12-step programs, converting to Judaism, feminism, being in community with many lesbians and other queersmeditation, swimming/hiking/yoga, and a deep commitment to being death positive. (Nod to Caitlin Doughty.) 

4. What are some things you learn from your clients?

My clients teach me how to be human, how hard it is to be human, and how profoundly human we  humans are! I learn constantly that most people are having very similar experiences and kinds of suffering, which I find comforting because it means there is a path out of those suffering woods. They teach me what it is to be an artist, how hard but crucial it is for their lives and the world. I feel profoundly honored to have a job that is centered in supporting artists and building resources for their work. 

5. How would you define your own creativity? 

At my core, I do not feel like a creative person. Honestly. I never have. An outsider might meet me and hear about my experiences and interests and call me an artist or a creative person but truly I have never identified as an artist and don't find myself to be particularly creative. As a Cap, I'm good at most things I try so, in the end, I can effectively do things that seem creative/artistic on the outside: drawing, writing, creating radio shows, leading food clubs, teaching workshops, making clothes, playing instruments. But really I just like mastering things and reaching goals. Hopelessly Capricornian

But here's what I am that drives me in a way creativity drives others: curious. (Gemini rising?) I am endlessly curious about the world and everybody in it - past, present, and future. I want to know everything! One of my biggest anxieties about mortality is that I can't read every book I want to read before I die. There's just not enough time. I love learning and want more and more information constantly. This is one reason I love art so much; I get so much information and insight in so many different forms.

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NEW MOON IN CAPRICORN

What I offer this week is a short list of things I know to be helpful, perhaps they will be helpful to you. This New Moon in Capricorn week is a good time to attend to earth life things. 

  • breathe in silence

  • breathe wherever you are

  • drink a glass of water

  • reach out to someone if you are feeling isolated 

  • write to someone about how they have helped you / inspire you

  • take a walk outside

  • ask people in your life for their good news, instead of reading the news

  • read a poem out loud (maybe to someone else)

  • listen to music while lying down 

  • remember gravity, let it hold you

  • look at your bank accounts instead of avoiding them

  • make something for someone else

  • cook food at home

  • clean out a drawer or small space that needs it

  • ask someone in your life some questions that you normally don’t ask them

  • go somewhere that you never go in your town

  • stretch

  • drink another glass of water

  • breathe in silence

  • find a way to laugh

  • pray

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You’ll notice that the horoscopes are different today - I’m sharing the piece I wrote for the Solstice event we just had this past weekend at Black Bird Bookstore - some tender advice for Donald Trump. Perhaps some of the advice I’m offering to him could be applicable to you. Perhaps.

The exercise of this writing for me was about finding a way in to not reinforcing the opacity of the hatred of Trump, which feels very energetically similar to the opacity of his hatred and delusion. I’ve been thinking a lot about the satisfaction of ‘rightness’, being convinced of one’s own ‘rightness,’ and how intoxicating it can feel, like a hit of sugar, or booze, something we can use like a drug. And the separative qualities of rightness. The isolation of rightness. Where do you feel ‘right’? And when you’re feeling ‘right’, who are you feeling connected to? Who are you feeling separate from? How does your heart feel when you are feeling ‘right’? I’m not even suggesting you need to stop feeling right, I’m just wondering what we find when we really pay attention to the qualities that accompany that feeling. Perhaps it’s a good thing to contemplate while many of us are with family who we often politically disagree with right now.

Remember that no matter where you are, how triggered you might get, you can always count your breaths to slow them down and bring your attention back to them. You can remember you are in a body on planet Earth, breathing, like every other body on planet Earth. You can get a glass of water and drink it, and know you are drinking it while you do.

With love, and as little separation as possible on this day.

-Sarah

Very Tender Advice for Donald Trump

Drink a glass of water. 

Then have another.

Lie on the floor in the oval office.

Go outside and take off your shoes and socks.

Lie on the lawn of the white house.

Put your bare feet in the ocean, or a river, or a lake.

Get the secret service to drive you somewhere with trees and animals and soil, then take off your shoes and stand on the ground. Stand on grass and soil.

Delete your twitter account.

Then turn off your phone.

Pay all your back taxes.

Stand naked in front of the mirror with no makeup on, alone. 

Contemplate your internal organs. 

Contemplate your pancreas.

Contemplate your lungs.

Contemplate your circulation.

Contemplate the years your body has lived.

Sell your Rolls Royce Silver Cloud and give the money to me. 

Sell your Lamborghini Diablo and give the money to anyone who has held a baby today. 

Sell your Mercedes SLR McLaren and give the money to anyone who has put their feet in the ocean this week. 

Sell your Cadillac Allante and give the money to anyone who has visited a prison. 

Sell your Tesla Roadster and give the money to someone living in a prison. 

Sell your 24 Karat Gold Chopper and give the money to someone who has made food for someone else. 

Sell your Boing 757 and give the money to anyone who has served you food. 

Sell your Mar-a-Lago Mansion with 33 bathrooms and give the money to anyone who has ironed your boxers. 

Sell your 39,000 square foot Seven Springs mansion and give the money to anyone who has been a caretaker for the dying. 

Sell your 23,000 square foot Virginia mansion and give the money to someone who has birthed. 

Sell your Sikorsky S-76 remodeled helicopter and give the money to a scientist who has watched a species they have been studying for 30 years die off. 

Sell Trump Tower and give the money to Bill Gates.

Sell your National Golf Club in Bedminster and give the money to a midwife.

Give the money to a piano player.

Give the money to someone you betrayed.

Give the money to anyone. 

Give something away, to someone, today.

Once you give the money away, observe the moon. Or maybe observe the moon before you give the money away, I’m not sure.

Also observe plants. 

Water a plant.

Observe someone else.

Observe your own breath. (What does it feel like to breathe?)

Join the caravan for a day. Walk next to a family. Hold a child while walking in the caravan, if someone will let you. 

Ask someone a question.

Listen to their answer.

Then ask a follow up question.

Get a scientist to take you to a place where a species you have never seen before exists. Get them to show you what is dying. And what is living.

Find a newborn to hold for a day. 

And a night.

Change the newborn’s diaper.

Give the newborn a bath.

Remember when you were a newborn.

Remember who gave you a bath.

Remember who gave you your first bites of food.

Remember your time in the womb.

Convert your golf courses to nature preserves. 

Tell Melania you are sorry for saying that she had to lose the baby weight in a day. Tell her you are sorry for saying she had to lose it in two days. Tell her you are sorry for saying she had to lose it in a week.

Ask someone who lives at sea for advice.

Ask someone who makes $15,000 a year for advice.

Ask someone who makes $80,000 for advice.

Ask a person in the caravan for advice.

Ask a child in detention for advice.

Ask an old woman for advice.

Ask the ocean for advice.

Ask a NICU nurse for advice.

Ask a SF General Hospital social worker for advice.

Ask a garbage collector for advice.

Ask a buddhist monk for advice.

Ask a teacher for advice.

Ask the earth for advice. 

Peel a pomegranate, then eat it. Peel another one, give it to someone who works for you.

Put your dirty clothes in a washer. Once they are clean, put them in a dryer. Then take them out and fold them. Iron your shirts. Iron your boxers. Iron your pants.

Put someone else’s clothes in a washer. Once they are clean, put them in a dryer. Then take them out and fold them. Iron their shirts. Iron their boxers. Iron their pants.

Make a cup of coffee and bring it to someone.

Cut up a winter squash and cook it in an oven with olive oil and salt. Serve it to anyone. Serve it to Barron.

Feed a pet. Take a pet on a walk.
Lie on the lawn outside the white house. Stay there until you experience feelings of remorse. Once you do, drink another glass of water. 








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NO ONE ELSE KNOWS BETTER THAN YOU

Imposter Feelings, Ancestry, Full Moon in Cancer, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Inheritance, Winter Solstice

On This Movement from Sagittarius to Capricorn

On This Movement from days getting shorter to days getting longer

On This Movement

“There is a kind of (very human) blindness we can have towards each other, a reactivity, where we don’t question our judgments enough, we foreclose on each other. Foreclosure … when we lose credit, credence … when a generalized system (a rig) overtakes a particular situation (lives). … we are strangers to ourselves and to each other, we are so mysterious and unpredictable, and that mysteriousness, which we want to protect ourselves from, is actually so enabling. Surely it is hard work and slow going, but we can change; we do change; we are changing. But only if we don't let our assumptions about what we or others are, or are capable of, calcify." 

These beautiful sentences from Miranda Mellis are just so important right now. (I am reading writing with her and Kelly Murphy on December 22 in San Francisco). We need all of the elements to survive, both physically and spiritually, and this week embodies a shift from the visionary and vast energy of Fire into the practical and on-the-ground energy of Earth. 

There’s a theory of astrology that each sign in the zodiac is a response to the one that comes before it, you can think of it like nature’s movement toward equilibrium. So it’s as if this Earth energy of Capricorn is asking Sagittarius, “But how are you going to make the vision happen? How is this actually going to show up on Earth, in form?” Questions that Sagittarius often finds tedious or limiting. These energies need each other, or we need both of them, or we learn through both of them. We learn how to not foreclose on each other (or ourselves!) due to our own zealotry (Sagittarius) or our own skepticism (Capricorn), by understanding and including vastly different energies.

This Earth question of how do we embody and manifest is very important because we live on the Earth and we live in bodies. We are subject to the rules of incarnation, the limitations of a body in this atmosphere on this land. Which sometimes feels terrible and sometimes beautiful.

One of the struggles that comes up a lot for people heavily influenced by Earth energy and when Earth energies are acting on us through transits and astrological cycles, is the sense that they aren’t qualified, that they are an imposter of some kind, and that somehow other people aren’t. Capricorn shows us what the rules are, and insists that we follow them. Rules help us! Like the rule / law of gravity, for example. Or the rule of seasons, how life on earth functions based on these cycles. But then some rules can oppress us (which is where Aquarius comes in after Capricorn to break all the rules). 

Pluto is moving through Capricorn in the sky right now, and so is Saturn. These are huge influences which we see in the political and financial sphere where corrupt power structures are being exposed and broken up. Light is being shed in a huge new way, on what is not working. How so many of things we thought we were supposed to be aspiring toward are actually empty and or directly harmful. But just because we are seeing this, doesn’t mean we aren’t still subject to these old rules and are very much still engaged in a struggle with deciding for ourselves what works and what doesn’t, what we are really going after in life. 

The feeling that I’m somehow an imposter has resurfaced lately in my work as a writer and astrologer and it feels like such an important thing to speak to right now. The very possibility that one could even be an imposter is based on the assumption that there is such a thing as a “real” version, that someone else somehow knows how to be, and that this knowledge or ability is perpetually unavailable to me. 

I can’t help connecting this to what I’ve been learning about the history of birth, how many hundreds of thousands of women were literally burned by the church through Western Europe for their “witchcraft” of healing and midwifery. This points to a kind of power that is maintained by exactly this strategy of insisting that you are not the expert, that someone else is. I bring this history up because we don’t grow up outside of or separate from our ancestry, we grow up within it. We inherit it. This feeling that someone else is the expert, that someone else really knows, through all the layers of its resurfacing, feels older than me, because it is. It is inherited. And this is why “personal” healing is so essential for “collective” healing. 

At the end of this week right as the Sun moves into Capricorn, the Moon moves into Cancer, its opposite, for a Full Moon. These two signs are most associated with the past, tradition, inheritance. The Full Moon is a good opportunity for releasing, shedding. Here are some questions to contemplate for furthering this practice:

What are the Saturn / Capricorn / emperor archetype voices that frequent your mind most often? 

Where do you feel this sense of being a fake or that someone else holds some power that is unavailable to you? 

What stories, situations, and people from your past contribute to these feelings today? 

What stories, situations, and people from your past offer you life-sustaining traditions and empowering beliefs? 

What part of collective fear and inadequacy can you be responsible for? 

Suggestions for meditations / practices as antidotes to feeling like an imposter:

Write a list of what and where you feel competent and capable

Write a list of people in your life who affirm your capacity and potential

Spend more time with those people

Write a list of the specifics of what makes you feel like an imposter or inadequate in one column

Write a list of how these specifics might not be or are not true in the next column

If you need help with the last one, get a trusted friend to contribute to the list, sometimes someone outside of you can remind you of your capacities with more perspective

Meditate on nature itself and its beauty and aliveness, and invite more and more parts of yourself into what you include in nature. Take notice of any parts that it feels hard to include in your version of nature. Don’t force them, just notice, and let (your) nature include these parts in their time.

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Yall this person is someone whose perspective I am so happy to share with you. Her work as an artist, designer, radio host, incredible conceptual thinker, all are expressions of her unique combination of Sagittarius, Scorpio, and Gemini, among other things! All of this can be found articulated beautifully in her interview below.

Helen Shewolfe Tseng is an interdisciplinary artist and designer living and working in an expanding universe. She co-hosts Astral Projection Radio Hour on BFF.fm and is the co-author and illustrator of The Astrological Grimoire (Chronicle Books, April 2019). Helen is currently a YBCA Fellow and a Designer in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

1. What brings you the most joy?

Being in a flow state: being fully present and absorbed in a task. I have a mark-making practice called growth spells that acts as a personal portal to autotelic experience, though I find myself there in other circumstances too, any states of being that are marked by a sense of intuitive competence and agency, as if channeling something beyond me. I've read that flow states induce a loss of ego and space-time perception, which happens to be one of the most joyful and expansive places our brains can travel to. I am drawn to this observation because it takes two vastly mysterious things – consciousness, the universe – and merges them into a tangible space that can be accessed, traversed, and embodied.

2. Do you relate to the common Sagittarius trait of knowledge / spiritual / adventure seeking? What do you find yourself seeking? When and how do you rest from seeking, if that's something you do, and if that's something you ever want to rest from?

I relate to my Sagittarius nature primarily internally, so that’s where I tend to seek. The realms of thought, perception, identity, memory, wonder, truth. Where disparate fields collide and connect. I freelance and keep myself occupied with an assortment of projects – it’s hard for me to do any one thing for too long. I am not satisfied with well-tread ground and I will seek out a niche or carve my own, and I tend to use my work as a bridge into all of my varied interests. And I don’t like being told something is true and just accepting it; I often feel the need to see the full ecosystem, to independently forge my own theories and impressions. I seek the secrets, the weird dark complex webs under the surface, the hidden levers. Knowing how a magic trick works doesn’t make it any less magical to me.

Because of this I can be a skeptical person, and I have sometimes had difficulty being present, because to seek is to always look elsewhere, and to be idle can feel fatal. Sitting with the unknown and unknowable is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, but it can also be comforting and humbling. I am learning to rest in the abundance of that infinite void.

3. Some of your work feels abstract, as in, visually it's spacious and open for a lot of interpretation. How much do you feel the need to be 'understood'? How much do you feel the need to engage with the literal, especially in relation to the political realm?

My work is divided into a few distinct but overlapping categories: freelance graphic design, a witch alter ego that includes the radio show and a forthcoming book, a nebulous art practice. Design involves effective visual communication and problem solving, so understanding and being understood is fairly central to that work. When we started the radio show five years ago, it was kind of an irreverent performance rooted in the mystery of the occult and esoteric. But these days, we are more interested in how the emergent cultural phenomena of the witch correlates to the strangeness of being human at this particular moment in time. And the art side prioritizes the tangible the least, as it’s often process-oriented and exploratory. There is a lot of spaciousness here, as I am still relatively new to this landscape and have resisted drawing any boundaries around what my art might consist of. Right now, I’m very taken with coyote adaptation; before this, I was painting with fiber optic cable, and researching a cluster of small towns in rural Mississippi.

It turns out all the facets of my work have inherent political implications, even if I am not directly engaging with them. Design affects the ways people perceive information, the world, other people. Witch culture exists in part as a response to oppression, environmental peril, and a general atmosphere of instability. And when my art draws from personal experience, it is deeply intertwined with my existence as a marginalized person. How overtly I engage beyond that depends, though I do tend to seek out work in realms that I am curious about and care about. But I am less interested in being personally understood and more in broadening my understanding and shifting existing modes of understanding, applying the appropriate angles for engagement. With most work I have adequate agency over, I am intentional about maintaining an openness and depth that is accessible from multiple levels. Sometimes I build in a secret level, just for me.

4. As a continuation of our conversation about our internet lives, will you talk about your current relationship with the internet? Where does it feel good? Where does it feel bad? What's in between?

Some things that feel bad: That the containers of web content and social media distort things of varying gravities into a set of standardized dimensions, reducing some while amplifying others, which in turn distorts how I relate to those things in the physical world. That judgment comes so easily and brutally. When it consumes my time, energy, and focus in ways I resent. When the physical act of using an internet device results in chronic discomfort in my body.

Some things that feel good: Ease of access to incredible things, e.g. live streams of wolves in Yellowstone, footage of astronomical events of the distant past, a universe of subcultures. When it connects me with kindred spirits I would not have crossed paths with otherwise. When it deepens and expands upon existing relationships. When it acts as a near-infinite library of resources and continues to be a platform and medium for my livelihood, creative practices, and habitual seeking.

Some things that are in between: That the architecture of the internet and social media have become implicit in my dreams, e.g. using time travel in a lucid dream to go back and Instagram something. Learning to treat my phone as a difficult but necessary relationship requiring mindfulness and boundaries. The rabbit holes! So many rabbit holes to bury my muzzle in.

5. What feels easy and alive?

What feels alive does not necessarily feel easy, and the converse also holds true. I feel the most alive in ideation and creation synthesis, but those moments of deep knowing often come at the end of long, intense periods of trudging, scratching, combing, fine-tuning. That said, I reject the assumption that suffering is necessary for making art, so I actively choose ease in places that surround and support the processes of creation, which can require so much of me. Cultivating ease in relationships and with basic needs has afforded me the energy and resources to continue doing what keeps me alive, and the ability to do so has been the greatest privilege.

WE ONLY POSSESS PERSPECTIVE


Our poetry now is the realization that we possess nothing

Anything therefore is a delight

(since we do not possess it) and thus need not fear its loss

We need not destroy the past: it is gone; at any moment, it might reappear and seem to be and be the present

Would it be a repetition? Only if we thought we owned it, but since we don’t, it is free and so are we

This John Cage quote connects to this moment astrologically, when the Sun is in Sagittarius and Jupiter also recently moved into Sagittarius (its home sign) and will be there for the next year or so. Sagittarius is always asking the question, what philosophy will sustain us? What perspective can renew and energize? This Fire energy is not ‘satisfied with well-trod ground’ as Helen mentions above. Here’s some thinking on how we can use this particular philosophy to enliven our experience of life right now -

Our poetry now is the realization that we possess nothing is an aspirational way I’d like to talk about the process of pregnancy working on me. I use the word ‘aspirational’ because so often it doesn’t feel like poetry. I’ve mentioned this process some on instagram and in my weekly newsletter. At (most?) times it has felt magnificently difficult. Specifically because of how sharply it has been showing me all the things I thought I possessed that I am finding I don’t actually possess. Like for example, my body! How it feels! How it acts! The body: a thing that so many of us able-bodied people think we possess control over in some way. I don’t think I have no control - I’m still going to treat this body with care - but the percentage of what I thought I controlled within it becomes smaller all the time.

When I talk about my sense of a release of (the illusion of) control, and how it feels very specific to the circumstances of this pregnancy, it is unique to those specifics, and yet right now millions of other people are also being asked, or forced, to release their own versions of what they think they control, all over the planet. In fact struggle itself seems to be when we touch something in life that we thought we had control over, or wanted to go a certain way and then it didn’t. Which is why so many of us feel a sense of struggle so often. This exact surrendering of control might be happening because someone can’t get pregnant and they want to be. Or because someone in their lives is dying. Or because they can’t get the money or resources they need to thrive. There are a million ways that this happens. Our experiences are completely unique, and yet not at all.

Our poetry now is the realization that we possess nothing - this is a radical position; It’s totally enlivening to me. If we own nothing, truly, then everything that passes through our lives is a gift, or at least an opportunity. The truth is we are not entitled to anything! (This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t create an equitable society for all, or extend entitlements to others. It just means, no matter what we do, or how we evolve, things (identities) will still often be taken from us in a way that feels premature.) When you consider this idea, what might it open up in your perspective and behavior? 

Pregnancy has been teaching me this in a profound way. Yes, I did certain small things to contribute to conception, but those actions were very very tiny compared to what has happened without any of my conscious participation. This baby is growing organs and eyelashes, and my body has been a home for that. But I have done nothing to make it happen! History, biology, ancestry, spirit, whatever you want to call it, are all making this happen. This experience is showing me how much that is happening all the time, in many places where we think we did something to make something happen. 

The pain of it is not as much the physical experience (although sure, that sucks a lot) but more my thinking that it should be different from this. My body should be able to do more. My emotions should be more even. My life should be different from how it is in this moment. The underlying assumptions of those ‘shoulds’ are that my body is something that I have control over and should be able to make feel good, or do what I want. This idea is the suffering, or at least compounds the suffering! What are the underlying assumptions you have about how your life should be, or your body should be, or your relationship should be, that compound your suffering?

And, what can you really say you did alone? And therefore what can you really say you possess? And when you possess nothing - not even the choice of how long you live, for example - what shift in your perspective does that allow? What new freedom does that offer? It can be scary to really be with that truth but damn then life can become a new kind of adventure. I don’t possess this baby growing in me. I’ve honestly had so little to do with its creation and I have no idea how long its life will be, or anything else about it really. When I’m connected to that truth, I feel much more appreciative of the new perspectives I am being offered through the challenge of this time. It reminds me of the wonder, the wonder that can be found in every experience.

Oh, this, now this. This is what it’s like right now. This new way I’m being asked to learn to touch life. 

This is the kind of Fire perspective, the wonder available in any situation, the adventurous energy of Sagittarius, that life presents us with right now, saying, here you go, here is yet another opportunity to contact life itself through your own life. Sagittarius reminds us that perspective is what makes or breaks our lives, each hour that life passes. 

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“What qualities of the heart does busyness obscure?”

This week nature provides us with the New Moon in Sagittarius. Any time the New Moon comes around, astronomically it means the Sun and Moon have the same ecliptic longitude, meaning the Moon goes behind the Sun, from our view on earth. Astrologically, this means the Sun and the Moon are in the same sign, and become ‘conjunct,’ or on top of each other. So it’s a good time for beginnings, intention setting, and it’s a pronounced moment of the particular energy of the sign they are both in. This time it will be the Sun and Moon both in Sagittarius, along with Jupiter. 

All this fire energy brings a bigness to life for so many of us, which can appear as excitement or anticipation, and it can also appear as overwhelm, burn out, or exhaustion. 

This is a time where so many feel overrun with busyness, with work, holiday and family events, and a sense of getting through it. That our real lives will start again when the holidays are over. That our new years resolutions will start. That we’ll pick up our commitments to what sustains us again a little later. 

For people in the northern hemisphere, this is the opposite of what nature is encouraging us to do - let our bodies rest, do less with the very short days, embrace sleep during the long nights. Electricity is amazing - it’s part of what allows me to be typing this right now, but it’s also a way that we profoundly disconnect from what is happening around us. This disconnection is a big part of why things end up feeling wrong or unsatisfying in our lives at this time of year. We aren’t often listening to what is needed, or if we do, we feel we can’t respond with the appropriate (in)action, because of all sorts of commitments and obligations.

So this question feels especially important to return to right now - 

“What qualities of the heart does busyness obscure?” (-Matthew Brensilver)

When you’re busy, who and what are you available to? 

Who and what are you not available to?

What might your pace be preventing you from seeing? 

“The great tragedy of speed as an answer to the complexities and responsibilities of existence is that very soon we cannot recognize anything or anyone who is not traveling at the same velocity as we are. We see only those moving in the same whirling orbit and only those moving with the same urgency. Soon we begin to suffer a form of amnesia, caused by the blurred vision of velocity itself, where those germane to our humanity are dropped from our minds one by one. We start to lose sight of any colleagues who are moving at a slower pace, and we start to lose sight of the bigger, slower cycles that underlie our work. We especially lose sight of the big, unfolding wave form passing through our lives that is indicative of our central character.” -David Whyte

But this post is not meant to lead to despair about your circumstances, your busyness. The moment we ask the question about what is being obscured in and of our hearts, we return our attention to our hearts. It doesn’t even take moving slow to remember this! You don’t have to feel like you are failing at not resting, like you’re adding another thing to your to do list by reading this. You can just notice where you are, what is happening, right now. (Noticing changes everything.)

Here are a few contradictory suggested assignments - in the spirit of seeking that is the Sagittarius archetype, and in the spirit of not seeking anything at all, as a balance.

  1. Find at least one way to do less this week. Take something off the list. Look at your life, remember what parts of it you are the boss of, and then claim your position as such. Reclaim your own permission to not do everything. Connect this permission to your political life, to your politics. Understand and articulate your rest and conscious inaction as actions which bring you closer to the world you want.

  2. Attend a birth or death. Norman Fischer says to attend as many deaths and births as you can, and I think this is excellent advice. I realize this is not likely possible for many people to make happen in the next week, and perhaps not even advisable. But use these life events as metaphors to invite in and practice a different relationship with time. If you have ever attended a birth, or a death, or cared for a small child, or tended to someone very ill, or have been very ill yourself, you have probably experienced a different version of time, a very different pace than much of the modern human world moves at. We get confused and think that the pace we are used to is a ‘normal’ pace, and these other life events and circumstances I’m describing seem somehow not normal. Not only are they happening all the time, to millions on the planet, they’re also incredible opportunities to reconnect to the truth of our own hearts. The ways our hearts actually long to connect, to express. When someone is dying who is close to you, suddenly a million things don’t matter - in fact most things we preoccupy ourselves with don’t matter much at all. The question then becomes, what matters in those moments? What is left of our lives, what do we prioritize then? These experiences provide awakenings to the essence of our lives, and that’s why it’s good to pay attention to them, to practice their influence even when they aren’t happening, to bring us back from the endless stories of stress we spend so much time confusing as the only main event. So I’m saying, if you don’t have a birth or a death to attend, find someone going a very different speed than you, to help you open to and remember what matters to you. To remind you not to wait for the holidays to be over to regard yourself and others as you truly want to. Or write and reflect on what the differences between these states are, and what elements, what remembering, you can bring into your busy life right now.

  3. Don’t worry about doing anything differently, don’t change anything about your circumstances or events in the coming week. Just notice when you’re busy or you feel hectic or flustered, and ask yourself how your heart feels. Notice what your heart feels. Everything in us just wants to be acknowledged.