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TRANSFORMATIVE WORK

We move into Virgo season this week. This is an opportunity to contemplate the Virgo qualities of humility, attention to detail, self-improvement, attending to health and well-being, humor and quit wit! Thriving on work, transformative work, healing work. Virgo is good at problem-solving. It's an earth sign but it's the most mentally focused of the earth signs. In struggle, Virgo can be overly critical, hard on itself, and use work for its unending obsession with improvement. While thriving, Virgo uses work to transform, to heal. Look into how you use and perform work of all kinds this month. What details need to be attended to in your life that have been neglected? What time and space can you devote during this month to reconnecting with the natural world, with your own version of well-being? What transformative work is waiting for you? How can you shift your perspective with humor? Reflect on these qualities and set some intentions this month for integrating this energy, going with it instead of resisting it. The Full Moon in Pisces at the end of the week is a good time to feel this shift, acknowledge it, and set some intentions. 


ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - When do you ask for help?
Meditation - asking for help
Assignment - When you feel isolated, especially when you have taken on too much, notice the stories you have about what you should be doing. Are you not getting what you need because you think you should be doing it all on your own? This concept is so strong culturally in the west and USA and Aries as the independent one, the initiator, tends toward this belief. Come back into connection when you ask others for help, it's a way of connecting and moving from isolation to inter-being. Sometimes the simplest way forward is just to ask.


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - What do you do with your complete attention?
Meditation - totality.
Assignment - What compels you? What holds your attention easily? What do you become absorbed in, not checking out, but checking in. What activities and processes in your life lead you to a feeling of totality? Follow those. Take note of them. Write them down. Let them live by making a plan to be with them more of the time.

 

GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - What are you cultivating in your life right now?
Meditation - cultivation.
Assignment - When you move around too much, in your mind or in your body, it's hard to cultivate. Cultivation involves some conditions that are constants and some that are changing. What is changing in your life that you have no control over? What is changing that you do have control over? What are the constants in your life? How do you make space for them, so that you can cultivate what you want to? How might you neglect the constants? Write about and live with these questions this week so you can cultivate what you really want to.

 

CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - What does it mean to you to honor ancestors?
Meditation - bring the past into the present
Assignment - You are so connected to the past - how can you bring it into now? What memories haunt you, what places do you still hold guilt and shame and confusion? What does it look like to carry the past with you in a generative and loving way toward yourself? What does it look like to carry the ways that others have wounded you - to let it shift into your own new understanding that you can bring to the present, instead of feeling trapped in feeling wounded? We have to shape shift with the past. When you are struggling you can hold emotional grudges that keep you locked into pain. At your best you intuitively understand how to honor the past, ancestors, and all the wounds - folding them into a rich, alive, embodied, human present.

 

LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - How often are your creative pursuits enacted in the present?
Meditation - right here, right now.
Assignment - Be a visionary for the present moment this week. Use your creative powers to bring yourself back to right here, right now. Every time you find yourself envisioning some new plan or idea or creative expression that feels out of reach at the moment, ask yourself how you can embody or practice a part of it right here, right now.

 

VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - What if you allowed yourself to be as you are?
Meditation - as you are
Assignment - As you already are. Being as you already are. How would your life look different if you did that? What might you see about what you are already that you don't see when you're trying to improve? What is freed up by not trying? You don't have to give up anything good here, just see what happens with the thought experiment, trying this on. It's all about the mind.


LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - What does your body need?
Meditation - nakedness
Assignment - Get naked this week, ideally outside somewhere. If this is not possible, get naked somewhere other than the shower. Maybe it's in your bed because you don't usually. Maybe it's in your living room, stretching. Don't get naked to have sex, although you can do that too, but do this on a separate occasion at least once - just feeling your body as it is, without clothes, and see what you notice. See what your body asks for.


SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - Are you giving your emotional depth enough space?
Meditation - thriving
Assignment - Just checking in here - the depths of the emotional realm is such an important part of your life force. You can be good at controlling what people see of them, even what you see of them, at times, if you feel it is safer to hide them. But no matter what you do with your job or your relationships, this is still a need. So review when and where you get to express and/or be with this depth, and give yourself new space for it this week if you haven't been, especially at the end of the week with the full moon.  


SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - What brings you relief?
Meditation - relief
Assignment - Relief is the feeling of realizing you were carrying oppressive thoughts you might not have even known about, until something shifted and then they were gone. What gives you this feeling, what has given you this feeling in the recent past? What can you carry with you from that previous relief, into right now? Into the future when you need relief and might not get it? If you're finding a break in the intensity right now, use it to fortify your methods for accessing relief. If you're in the intensity without a break, give yourself the gift of reflection and creativity toward finding relief again.  


CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - What is being transformed by forces greater than you?
Meditation - a spirit that is free
Assignment - Capricorn is actually quite spiritually open, underneath a certain skeptical approach. The skepticism serves you well, as long as you don't hold onto it too long. Consider what is being transformed in your life right now. It's probably a lot. 


AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - What is being asked to change in your life?
Meditation - ocean blue.
Assignment - What might you be holding on to right now, resisting a certain change that you sense somewhere is needed? The color of the ocean changes all the time, but it's still the ocean. Channel this idea in relation to your self, that you have permission to change colors all the time, in fact that is what life is asking you to do! But as a fixed sign it's easy for you to get caught in keeping things the same (even the same rebellions). So look at this, and if what you see is changes that need to be made or at least not resisted by you, then be brave. Remember how easily the ocean is itself, and let yourself do the same, changing all the while. 

 

PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - What are your feelings when they aren't attached to stories?
Meditation - complete feeling
Assignment - This Full Moon in Pisces opposite the Sun in Virgo this coming weekend is an opportunity for you to take note of your emotional state, its waves, how it moves lately. The Full Moon is an opportunity for opening, flooding even at times. Try to notice your feeling body with as little judgment as possible and see what you can learn about feeling itself. What happens when you get very curious about the sensations of feeling themselves? What happens if you pause your own story that overlays the feeling - what is then left? 

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TINY TINY FRAGILE BEINGS

I wrote an instagram post last week about judging a loud talker on a cell phone at a coffee shop. He was going on about his latte and stuff, and then at the end of the call he said, "See you at dad's hospital room tonight yeah?" 

It was the best reminder. It was the kind of thing I wished was happening more because obviously I need it. Like every time you judged someone suddenly the most vulnerable thing about them became visible, or audible. It's a very important cue that snapped me right back to the miracle of the everyday. I was confused for a moment (who knows how long), about what was going on. I thought that what was going on was a loud person who seemed entitled to take up a lot of space with his phone and voice. When what was actually going on was me just being really confused by carrying this idea of how the world 'should' be for me. I was silently demanding a lot of space, by insisting that everyone should follow my rules of quietly talking on their cell phones, or moving away from my body to talk on their cell phone. Maybe you would still insist he should have been quieter, but the only thing that happens in that situation is you are mad that he's not being quiet because you think it should be different. So nothing else is happening except you, being mad, which disconnects you from your life, which is a bummer. Which was what was happening to me.

This is what being on a spiritual path means to me, why I meditate, what all of this is about for me. What I'm doing writing horoscopes, doing astrology readings, teaching. It's about reminding myself and everyone else who is interested, in returning to our birthright as interconnected beings sharing a planet. I'm talking about staying connected to the truth of the immensity of every single being's vulnerability, because when I am connected to this, a strange joy is always available to me, because I am living very close to life. 

Suddenly this person sharing the details of his latte became an incredible luxury, a delight of mundane life worth sharing loudly over the phone! Who knows how many days and nights he had just spent at the hospital! Who knows who he was talking to, and how many days and nights they had spent at the hospital! The point is everyone's dad is in the hospital at some point, meaning every person on this earth will reckon with loss and heartbreak in some way, meaning everyone, no matter how much of an asshole they seem, is just a tiny, tiny fragile being and if remembering that is what it takes to demonstrate compassion, then let's do everything we can to remember that. Not because it makes us 'spiritual!' But because it makes our lives, my life, worth living. 


ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - What have you done so far today?
Meditation - being while doing
Assignment - Make a list throughout the week of things you've done. Notice what you think of first as going on the list, and try to add things you don't normally even see that you do, like, sleep, or eat a bagel, or walked to the store, hugged my partner, cooked eggs, went to the bathroom, brushed my hair. Keep this list as a way of noticing, expanding your vision of what you do. How does this noticing change what you think about what you do? How does our hierarchy of tasks keep certain things out of our view? What comes into view with this way of seeing? 


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - What in your life connects you to your purpose?
Meditation - purpose.
Assignment - Write about your purpose this week. Reconnect to it. What activities, people, experiences remind you of this purpose? How does it feel to be in it / with it? How does it feel to be disconnected from it? What ways can you bring it in, connect to it, more regularly?

 

GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - What are the simplest tasks you perform?
Meditation - simply alive.
Assignment - Connecting to the simplicity of being alive this week. Byron Katie says, you do three things in life, sit, lie down, and stand up. That's it! That's all that's actually happening! We make things very complex, all the time. So this week, keep it simple. Ask yourself, what am I doing right now? Am I sitting? Am I standing? Am I lying down? What is needed in this moment? Do what is in front of you, be what you already are, today.

 

CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - How far does your vision extend?
Meditation - horizon lines.
Assignment - How often do you look far away? How far into the distance can you see from where you are right now? It's important for you to remember experiences and visions and lands far from yours, when you do this it helps you get perspective and keep yourself from being inside the cave of your own feeling for too long. Try out some views if you can get them this week, spaces where you can see into the distance, remembering you are small, in the best way, in the context of all the moving forces at place in the world. 

 

LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - When do you feel most invisible?
Meditation - seeing yourself.
Assignment - Invisibility can feel so painful to Leo, which is why the more conscious you are of when you feel this, the less you will feel it. When there's a gap between what others see and what you see, and it feels like you're not being appreciated, consider letting people into your world more. Instead of defending or feeling defeated or misunderstood, invite more connection. The more you invite people in with your warmth, the more seen you will be, and paradoxically the less you will feel the need to be seen.

 

VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - How do you relate to the morning?
Meditation - sacred morning
Assignment - If you don't have a ritual in the morning that grounds you, and gives you time to orient, and connect to something larger than yourself, find one for this week. It could be meditating, or lying outside on the ground, or writing for a period of time each morning, or drinking tea in a very focused way, etc. Don't look at your phone while you're doing this. Look around, be curious, be open, reconnect with yourself. If you already have a ritual, reconnect to it, ask about how to deepen it. We live our lives one day at a time, so it's important to not miss a day by not being awake to what is happening in it.


LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - What do you notice in the dark? 
Meditation - outside at night.
Assignment - If you don't typically walk around or at least sit around outside at night, try that out this week. See what it feels like to be outside at night, especially if you are in a city. It can be a way to connect to the natural world, if 'nature' isn't available to you as much where you live. See what stands out in the dark instead of the light, and how this changes your perceptions and feelings, your mood. Let yourself be open to new experience this week, do some weird things.


SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - What does your breathing feel like right now?
Meditation - breathing is a divine life force
Assignment - Here we are again, still breathing. This is the most basic thing we do, that we are conscious of. Which is why it's so important to be connecting to it, daily, hourly. Just simple noticing of a miracle your body performs all the time. How does this put whatever is happening into your life into perspective, to reconnect to your breath? Someone wise said, it's much harder to feel stressed and anxious if you are consciously breathing. If you've strayed from your awareness of breath, return to it as an old friend. If you do this regularly, slow it down more and renew your commitment to this gentle awareness, as a way of healing your life, in this moment.


SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - What are you learning right now?
Meditation - a spiral
Assignment - Learning happens in a spiral - we get something at a certain level, or a certain amount, and then we encounter it again later, and see how much we really learned. How much we forgot. This is how it works, this is not a problem! So when you notice that you're relearning something, try to embrace that it's happening, not lament that it's slower than you'd like. Use your capacity for wide view to reconnect to the truths about how learning works, and practice patience. Take note of what you are learning now, not whether it should be faster or slower, so that you don't miss out on what is being offered to you right now!  


CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - When do you laugh the most lately?
Meditation - laughing
Assignment - You need it. More than you even know. Make it happen, put it on your to do list, This cannot be emphasized enough. It's not an addition to life, it's required. It's practical. You know this deeply, but you have to re-prioritize it over and over. Return to your spiritual home as a jokester, today. In other words, the more connected you are to your spiritual self, the more connected you are to laughter. The more connected you are to laughter, the more connected you are to your spiritual self.


AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - Where are your new life influences?
Meditation - puppies and babies.
Assignment - That's right, get around some, if you aren't already. Include that new life energy in your world this week. It's so important. You might think other things are more important, but this is what needs to reframed at the moment. You don't have to leave all the other things, but you need to find ways to cultivate, to consciously bring in, this playful, easy, curiosity again. 

 

PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - How often do you exercise your capacity to balance?
Meditation - balancing
Assignment - Balance and imbalance go together, we need both to be able to identify balance. So remember that when you aren't 'in balance', it's information to help guide you to balance. And if the balance gets stagnant, life offers you imbalance to wake you up. But we can practice balance, be more conscious of it, with how we live but also with movement and body practices. This is the benefit of balancing exercises - to practice on a smaller scale what we want to embody in a bigger way in our lives. Start with the physical, the small, and eventually scaling up becomes easier. 

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Y'all! Here is another an interview from my astrology interview series HOW TO BE YOUR OWN NATURE, every month featuring a person whose sun sign corresponds with what's in the sky currently, aka it's their birthday month. I've known Julie in many capacities for many years, working on art projects together, and as a friend. I've always been in awe at her ability to focus (Scorpio), to set gentle and realistic goals for herself (Leo), to build her work over time, and to be so incredibly organized and detailed (Virgo).  

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Julie Cloutier is an artist living and working in rural California. Her ceramic work focuses on handheld sculptures, functional wares and everyday objects. She investigates domestic rituals through play and draws upon her architectural background to inform her minimalist lines.

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1. Leos can be known for having a strong creative desire. Do you identify with this urge to create? Has there ever been a time in your life when you didn't make art of some kind? If so, did anything replace that creative urge, or was it just not met?

Completely! I need to make! Allowing myself time to explore, fail and play is my medicine and I’ve only recently come to realize that creativity is my self-care. Without it, I get easily run down by the day-to-day stuff. It feels like a luxury, but I’ve been setting aside one day a week for painting and it feels so freeing and honest.

There was a time when I stopped making art for a couple of years. I didn’t think my work was good enough and was dabbling in too many mediums, nothing felt right. I was very sad about it, so I just stopped making time for art hoping I would get over it. After being out of grad school for a few years and not creating anything for a long time, I burned out at work. At the time, I was an architectural designer working on the computer every day. The lack of creativity in my life was starting to build-up and the void grew. That’s when I signed up for my first ceramics class, I just needed to use my hands and playing with clay attracted me for that reason alone. 

Now that working with clay is my full-time job, I create things for a living but it’s not always creative, so I need additional time to experiment. I like repetition and the process of it all, but it can be mundane and hard on my body. That’s where hobbies and side projects have become incredibly beneficial for my health and my work. 

 

2. Will you talk about other forms of art you've created in the past (for people who don't know)? And do you miss those and/or still do them? 

Once people started labeling me as a potter I felt very strongly that I wanted to be identified as an artist. It took me 10 years to comfortably say that. Most people think I only work with clay, but I’ve worked with many mediums over the years so that’s why being called a potter feels so foreign. I went to school for architecture and loved every second of it. That foundation has influenced how I see the world—from drawing details of a staircase to understanding how cities are put together. Looking closely is where my strength lies and I bring that to every project I work on. 

To list a few, I’ve made time-based drawings, rock portraiture, site-specific letter installations, letterpress prints, screen-printed note cards for the everyday. I’ve designed logos, a limited-edition alphabet t-shirt series, art books, photographed city landscapes and documented sidewalks. I don’t necessarily miss all these different ways of thinking/making, because having too much on my plate stresses me out. I’d rather pursue one method intensely for an extended period of time, and than switch it up once all my options are exhausted. It feels as though I need more than a lifetime for all the art projects I want to make, but for now, having one hobby like painting is all I can handle in addition to running my ceramics business.

A project that still resonates today is a collaborative 26-page alphabet book I made with Claire Nereim. Although we made this book a decade ago, it feels so fresh in my mind and there’s so much there I want to continue exploring. We designed the letter A from a Z, B from a Y, C from X, and so on. I think about language and meaning a lot but can now see that it’s all just a variation on a larger theme; function, utility and legibility and/or lack thereof. No matter the material, conventions are being questioned.

 

3. I'm interested in your relationship to time, especially as it shows up in your work - in so many places over the years, with so many time-based and / or time intensive projects. What are you exploring in work that deals with time in some way?

Time is change, time is routine, time is money, time is the sun and moon, time is a diagram, and than again time could be nothing at all. I love how subjective it can be. The first day of every month is like a mini-new year for me and I love setting and attaining tiny goals on a regular basis. My relationship to time can be playful and reflective. I make this clay object that I like to call a Time Keeper; a sculptural, ceramic hourglass made for celebrating goals and accomplishing daily tasks. This conceptual clock encourages domestic use by rotating the object when a project/idea/task is initiated and than flipping it back once complete. Each side is identical but it’s the intention that is key for this to function. This device strikes a balance between my pottery and my art practice, and this elusive zone is where I feel happiest with my work. It provides a different approach to recording time and it’s a shape that most people can identify with, but it’s also unclear what it’s for and I like that. 

Rituals play an important role in my ceramic collection. A cup can simply be a drinking vessel, but it can also be the time we spend with it. My slow mornings are directly tied to my tea cup. I love my water cup so much that I actually take more breaks throughout the day to hydrate because of it. 

Keeping time can be dreadful though, and I work really hard at not letting it get the best of me. My income is based on how many pieces I can make in a day so it’s an ongoing challenge to keep my productivity separate from money. Taking time-off doesn’t come naturally either. I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not a machine and that my work is not linked to my worth. 

4. How do you decide what to do for money, and what to keep separate from money-making? 

This is such a simple and difficult question to answer. Making work to sell clouds my creative judgment. I have to completely remove the audience/customer/user in order to make work that is unique, which in turn “makes money”. First and foremost, I only create things that I want to use in my home. I’ve been lucky enough to sell everything I make, but it took years to build up the confidence to put the work out in the world with a price tag. Being frugal helps, as making money doesn’t become the sole focus. The more financial constraints I have, the more I can express myself and have less worry in my life. I’m religious about doing my budget on the first day of every month, it keeps me on track and I learn so much from an hour of crunching numbers.

I’ve had recent interest from friends and strangers wanting to buy my small paintings. I’ve taken just a few commissions, but I’m weary of selling them. Part of me wants to keep it all to myself because it just feels so good and I don’t want to lose the magic it gives me. The other side thinks “how awesome would it be to sell paintings for a living?”. They’re both legitimate opinions, but for now, only selling ceramics feels right. 

5. When do you experience the most joy?

Looking at plants, touching leaves, noticing bugs, making tiny bouquets make me incredibly happy. Tapping into my inner child and removing any kind of adult expectation is an important element in feeling joy and it’s the closest I get to pure freedom.

This may sound strange but compulsive daily re-arranging brings me a lot of joy as well. When something is placed or aligned/misaligned in just the right way, it feels like perfection. I like to think of it as rational uselessness and irrational usefulness.


ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - How much do you think through the realistic nature of your goals?
Meditation - smaller steps. 
Assignment - Just take note of when and how you set goals, what they are, what you want, etc. Do you tend toward making big goals? Or none at all? Or too many at once? What is your relationship with the future in this way, and how does it cause you suffering in the present? Can you scale back to make your sense of what you are accomplishing feel more easeful? Or shift your ideas of what you need to do to feel like you got something done? Your life changes when your mind changes, so investigate your mind. 


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - When do you savor fruit these days?
Meditation - fruit.
Assignment - If you live in the northern hemisphere, there's lots of fruit in season! Eat the rich colors, all the reds and oranges. Bring this into your life as a ritual, make it slow and deliberate like you're good at doing with sense pleasures. You can include these pleasures and remember that they are part of what makes you feel like yourself. 

 

GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - When is your body connected to the earth?
Meditation - protein.
Assignment - Eat some protein this week, as a way to ritualize your connection with the earth, to bring your body down to earth. If you eat meat, this is a way to root downwards - but you have to give your body the time and space to digest this protein! So it's an assignment to nurture yourself, to stabilize the energy with a slowing process. If you don't eat meat, do the same with the vegetable kingdom foods that bring you down into the deep, living earth.

 

CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - What light are you exposed to and when?
Meditation - light.
Assignment - How much time do you spend outside? Inside? In the light of electricity? In the light of the sun? Don't worry to much about this, but just take note of your schedule, your daily life, and what lights you spend time under. Are there small changes you can make to experience more natural day light? Are the conditions of your indoor light something that could be improved upon? Your environment is such a huge part of your vitality - so give yourself permission to look at what's happening and make changes if needed here. 

 

LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - What parts of your life feel creative?
Meditation - mind nourishment.
Assignment - Make a list of the parts of your life that feel creative, whatever that means to you, places where you get to be playful and experience a sense that you are creating in some way. If you find this list is too short, ask yourself about what areas of your life that already exist that you can bring more creative energy to. And what ways you might want to develop more time for this. Remember this creative expression is a need, so reflect on ways to fulfill that more this year and you will probably feel more like yourself!

 

VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - What place does your ego have in your life?
Meditation - bringing ego into the light.
Assignment - Ego is not something that we usually associate with Virgo, because you do tend to be so humble. But every human has an ego, and the less conscious we are of it, the more it runs our lives. So the assignment is about looking into where ego might be unconsciously at play for you. (With a lot of kindness!) You don't need to go on an analysis spiral, but when you notice that your self-critical thinking is revved up, that's an indication of ego running the show. Because it tends to enlarge the importance of your mistakes, whereas other signs have other kinds of ego patterns. One cue that ego is present is when you feel like you've really messed up, done something horrible, etc. Pay attention to that, and remember that the antidote to this ego show is self-love!!!


LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - What is happening with your digestion? 
Meditation - lower body.
Assignment - Moving your attention to the lower body this week, noticing what is present there, what is neglected, what is happening! You can't really overdo this - moving your awareness down from your headspace into your lower body. The digestion has to do with how well we are processing what is happening, using what we nourish ourselves with. So look at your digestion in a literal sense and also metaphorically. What needs to be digested that's not yet? What needs time to move through, without you rushing it? 


SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - What is your relationship to sounds, other than music?
Meditation - the soundscape you live in
Assignment - Tuning into sounds this week can bring you back to the present, over and over. Noticing sounds in your life, in the different spaces you occupy, can be a gentle way to pay attention. Are there birds that talk and sing that you've never noticed before? Who talks around you in public that you might typically tune out? What is your focus on and what does that make you unaware of? Let your awareness expand out, loosen, and it will bring more ease into whatever circumstances you're currently in.


SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - What is happening in your body, right now?
Meditation - noticing the body.
Assignment - Bringing it back to the basics. This is so important for Sagittarius, bringing it from the broad view, the big view, to the small, the momentary, the present what is. The body is the easiest way to access this, to understand reality. What happens in your body that you typically don't pay attention to? Your digestion? Your skin shedding? Your eyes blinking? Your legs moving, even while sitting? Your rib cage? Be with simple noticing in this way, let it keep you tethered to the earth. When your attention wanders, remember it's just because your mind thinks it's already been here/there before. But this is an illusion- you've never been here, in this moment, with your body, before! 


CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - What foods feel energizing, like you are eating life?
Meditation - eat the sun.
Assignment - Return to these foods, bright colorful foods that are full of the sun's energy. Remember that you need this, that you are a living being and need life force to replenish yours, every single day. This is productive, this is worth your time and money, no matter what your mind tells you. Make it happen. Devote your time and money to this, eating the sun, this week. 


AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - What are your hands doing right now? What do they most often do?
Meditation - your hands.
Assignment - Be with your hands, attend to your hands. They do so much for you! Let this be a way of returning to your body, over and over this week. What activities include your hands. What activities DON'T include your hands? How can you care for them more? When do they get fatigued and you override this message? How can you take more little breaks with them, to listen to that message, attend to them? How do the hands connect to the heart? How does overriding their information connect with what you might override from your heart? 

 

PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - What is happening within your joints?
Meditation - connecting to your joints. 
Assignment - How often do you pay attention to your joints? Often you don't pay attention to them until they hurt. So how can your attending to them now change what is happening, how you are using them, how you are treating them, how they might feel in the future? What foods and drinks lubricate them, which ones dehydrate them? What movements feel good for them, and which ones feel bad? Don't get lost in worry about your body or the future with this exercise! Just notice as you go through your week, in a gentle way, what is happening with them, and see what happens. Noticing changes everything, if we don't react so quickly that we miss the new information and think we already know. 

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Usually, astrology includes talking a lot more about what's happening in the sky. But I'm interested in freedom and love more than I am in astrology, so when I'm trying to decide what to write, usually it's whatever I can think of that includes thought experiments which lead as directly as possible to more freedom and more love. 

Astrology is one tool that helps me and others get more intimate with the freedom and love that's already there, here, right now. But astrology can't tell you how to align with your own integrity, or what job to do, or who to date. Astrology readings, and horoscopes to a much lesser extent, can provide the experience of being seen, on a spirit level. The healing in this cannot be underestimated - to be seen not for our accomplishments or lack, or any other external signifier, but as being itself. When we are reflected in this deeper way, and when we develop names for our patterns, we immediately begin to heal ourselves.

Byron Katie, whose work I've been revisiting and cherishing again, says she has no doubt in people's capacity to understand the truth themselves. So the power of her work, in essence, is that she sits there knowing that the person will come to their own wisdom, inviting them to do so. Sometimes it seems that if we admit this is what healers are doing we will put ourselves out of a job, but this is the way it works in my experience and this does not diminish the importance of the role. It's actually fully acknowledging the power of seeing and trusting in another's process! (I pay and ask people to do this for me all the time, because I can't do what I do for other people for myself.) I'm skeptical of anyone who says, "I heal others." I'm excited by anyone who says, "I'm here to trust in your ability to heal yourself, and remind you of it."

Often when I sit to write these horoscopes, I don't want to say anything at all. I want to create a space for you to come back home to yourself, for these few moments while I have your attention, full of quiet, full of stillness, for you to remember what you already know, for you to give yourself your full attention. The truth usually feels like this - something we'd forgotten but knew all along. We just sometimes don't make enough space to remember, and this is the invitation from healers - that you - even you - can remember how to do this. You've always known and just forgotten. It's available to you right now, in the silence you give yourself, the few moments where you put down your device, breathe, and say yes to yourself, to your own nature, which is also the nature all around you. You don't need to know what is in retrograde. (You actually don't even need to put down your device!) You don't need to know anything but what you already have available.

You can rest in the home inside yourself, right now.


ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - When do you douse yourself in water, when do you put your body in water?
Meditation - water.
Assignment - Get in the water, let the water wash it all off. Sometimes the water can help slow down your burn a bit, to remind you to float more, to not burn out, to not burn up. Float, and look up, and relax. Consider your feelings, and receive, as water element does. Practice floating as a way of taking a break from initiating everything. 


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - What topics dominate your thinking?
Meditation - spaciousness. 
Assignment - Make a list of what you think about most. Is it what you want to be thinking about? What would you like to think about more, if there was more available free space? Make a list of that - what you'd like to be thinking about more. Look at that list when you feel down, and try to practice thinking about those things! 

 

GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - What actually connects you to others?
Meditation - connection under the surface.
Assignment - There's a relationship between the time you are spending and your connections. If you are feeling disconnected, look at the amount of time you are spending on connecting. What does connecting actually look like for you? What feels disconnecting? What are you spending your time doing, and how does that reflect in how you feel about your life? Write about this. Spend time with it, in a generous way.

 

CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - How is this new year of your life going so far? 
Meditation -  the moment is what's available.
Assignment - Did you make any plans about this coming year? Did you set goals? Does it feel different to be this new age? The way we make the changes that we want is in the moment. When your mind goes to the future and the past, bring it back to right here. How can you bring in the new things you are wanting, the spirit of them, to the here and now, with what you already have? Give yourself the relief of remembering that the present is all you have.

 

LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - What do you want for this coming year?
Meditation - ritual
Assignment - Ritualize your birthday. Create a form for a change you want to enact, invite your friends, say it out loud. Give yourself permission to set intentions to change what you want to! Don't do it half way - let it take up time and space in your life to mark this time and create. Don't isolate yourself - invite people to share it with you. Come down from your tower and include your loved ones so that they can welcome you back to yourself.

 

VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - When do you let yourself eat what you want?
Meditation - a rainbow of color.
Assignment - Eat the rainbow of foods this week. Continuing in Leo season, let yourself go a little bigger than you're used to. Go to the store and pick foods that feel good to your body, that feel enlivening. Choose foods that include lots of different colors. Do this because nourishing your body is the most practical thing you can do to prolong your life. Let there be pleasure in the simple magic of plants as food. 


LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - How often do you see and engage with art?
Meditation - the humanity of art
Assignment - I want you to contact art this week, to experience it in some way, to let it affect you. To remind you of the messiness of human life, that this is a big part of its beauty. That it's necessary to live, to engage with and reflect on what we are doing here. That this is a powerful thing that art can do, and connect us to. It can remind you about the importance of tension and conflict - most good art has some of that within it! And it makes the entire piece stronger because of it.


SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - What do you notice growing in your life?
Meditation - growth as a process of nature.
Assignment - Don't get caught up in ideas of growth that feel like effort, or what you have to do or say to be a good person - just take notice of what Is growing in your life. Where is your attention lately and what does that mean about what you are helping to grow? What is growing without your attention? What might grow better without as much of your attention? What plant life do you have around on a regular basis, to commune with growth itself?


SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - When and where do you find big sky in your life?
Meditation - perspective!
Assignment -  Get to a space where you can see more - hopefully literally but also metaphorically - whatever that means to you. This is your comfort space, when you have a lot of room to see and experience it all, so give this to yourself in a pro-active way this week. Give yourself room for looking broadly. Up high, look out far away, so you can get that perspective you thrive on.


CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - Who all do you communicate with in a week?
Meditation - divine communications
Assignment - What communications in your life are obligatory? Which ones feel effortless? How many people do you communicate with at any given time? How often do you say what you really think in those interactions? What communications are you receiving? How is the balance between what you receive and what you offer? Does any of your communication happen with the mysterious or unseen, divine? Write about all of this. See what you notice. Investigate your communications this week. 


AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - When and how do you care for your skin?
Meditation - where you meet the world
Assignment - So much of how we think about skin is staving off the inevitable process of aging, but what if we remembered that it's where and how we meet the world with our bodies? What if we respected it with this remembering? Caring for your skin could be another way of thinking about what influences you can control that you are subject to. What people, places, environments feel good for your skin? Which ones don't feel good? Just notice your skin this week, and what is happening with it. Let it be a way to return to your body, a surface organ that brings you back to yourself.

 

PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - What supports you?
Meditation - seeing your supports.
Assignment -. Make a list of what supports you. Reread it and add to it. How are you already supported. What are you sitting in / standing on right now? What air are you breathing? What food are you eating? Who are you communicating with? Who is influencing you? Who built the pipes which bring water to your house? Who made the tires on your car, or bike, or bus? Who ate the food while you were in their womb to allow you to grow into the living being that you are right now? All of these are just a few ideas of where support might be coming from, to name a few. The list is endless, even if it feels like you are lacking support right now. This is why it's so important to write them down. Not to be a 'good person' and 'grateful', but because it's a more accurate picture of the truth of the situation. And the more in accordance with reality we are, the more peace we feel. 

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Last week I taught a class at the Ruby SF about romantic relationships. Everyone wrote a list of relationship myths that we had picked up along the way. And we shared that list out loud, which was so powerful - just to name so many of the things we are taught about how relationships should go or be or not be, etc. Then I shared some of of what astrology can illuminate in this realm. And someone asked what the relationship is between these myths and people’s birth charts. This is so much of what astrology describes, actually. The presence of certain elements in your chart, especially in the Moon, Venus and Mars placements, has so much to do with the kinds of myths you are prone to believing. But of course it’s not all myths! These placements also indicates what you value, the kinds of relationships you want to have, the ways you want to connect, the ways you want to be appreciated, the ways you demonstrate love to someone else and much more. The purpose of astrology in this realm, as I see it, is to become more accepting of ourselves and others - to recognize that our differences are real, and not as personal as they often seem. Some people don’t want to be monogamous, and it’s not because they have some problems to be worked out. And some people really feel monogamous, and it’s not because they have some problems to be worked out. This is an example of a difference that can be so confusing without a framework like astrology, because it’s easy to imagine that someone is making something up or acting maliciously if they’re acting so different from how we would act. Astrology asks us to imagine what it might be like to have a completely different world view, and developing this imagination muscle is more important than ever, at the moment.

During the class someone also said that they understand that so many of these relationship ideas are myths on an intellectual level, but that they still struggle with bringing that understanding into their lives and bodies in a complete way. This is a beautiful question that requires a lot of living with it, I think. What does it look like to identify a myth in your life that is causing you suffering, and then act according to your best version of the truth right now? To act in a way that doesn’t perpetuate that myth, but instead is in accordance with what you know to be true? Spend time with this question yourself during this Full Moon in Aquarius this week, as we enter Leo season. 


 

ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - When do you let things not be okay?
Meditation - you don’t have to hold it.
Assignment - So much of the time you feel this pressure to project that you are okay, or confident, or things are going well - and that’s exhausting! You can just drop it, internally. (Maybe even externally too, but start internally). Projecting these things when you don’t actually feel them just disconnects you from people. As a more outward-facing sign, work toward balance by experimenting with not having to hold it yourself, not having to say you’re doing well if you’re not. You can be multiple things at once - you can be confident and insecure, you can be joyful and feel like shit. And the more real you are about this, at least with yourself, the more connected you will be able to feel with others. 


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - What influences are helping you right now?
Meditation - beneficial influence.
Assignment - What media are you consuming? What books, what news, what social media, what conversations? Let the light of this full moon week illuminate what needs to go, even for a short time. What subtler, quieter influences can you reconnect to right now, that might be nourishing and not get enough stage in your life? Remember that you can experiment for short periods of time, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Let the full moon itself influence you, with enough space around you to actually feel that influence. Your job is to guard your sphere so that the influences you want can enter. 


GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - How do your joints feel right now? How aware of them are you?
Meditation - attending to your joints.
Assignment - Reconnecting to your joints, remembering that they exist. That they are what ground you, they move your body, they connect the various parts of your body - connection points. How much attention do you give them? What does it feel like to notice them? Which ones feel good and which ones hurt? Give them some attention as you use them this week - especially right now the joints you are using to operate the screen you are look at while you read this. Be tender with them, thank them, for existing and making so much of your life possible. 

 

CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - How much are you listening to your very quiet inner voice?
Meditation - stillness. 
Assignment - There are so many layers of listening, and Cancer really understands this - so tuned into historical listening, familial listening, personal feelings listening. There are more subtle, quieter inner voices, the ones that usually don’t get much stage because they are so quiet, and all of our other input is so loud. Find some time to listen to this quietest of voices this week. Even a few minutes a day, or a few hours one day - devote a portion of your life to hearing this voice at all, asking what it wants. If you can’t attend to it right now, it’s okay, but don’t ignore it - talk to it - tell it that you will get to it when you can! 


LEO | July 23-August 22

Question -  What was happening on the day of your birth?
Meditation - interconnectivity of birth.
Assignment - Every human was born! We have this in common. Take time this week to connect with your actual birth, asking anyone who was around when it happened to tell you about it. Researching what was happening on this day, the day of your birth, when it happened, whenever it was. How does that connect with the themes of your life? How can your individual experience be contextualized by your birth? This Full Moon in Aquarius opposite your Leo Sun is an opportunity to bring into balance the personal and impersonal ways of orienting to life - so how can a broader view and context will likely help you feel better, vaster.

 

VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - What can you learn from your neighbor Leo?
Meditation - permission to be big.
Assignment - As we enter Leo season this week, look for Leo energy around you, and ask yourself what might be beneficial to try on, or cultivate, with this energy. Each sign in the zodiac is, in a way, a reaction to the one that comes before it. So Virgo is a reaction to Leo, it tends to be organized and detailed and humble to balance Leo’s drama, big view, and confidence. The good thing is that all of the skills and abilities you have as a Virgo will not go away, as you invite in some warmth of fire this week. Practice cultivating permission to be big, to take up space, to think well of yourself. Imagine! How would a lion’s roar feel in your throat?


LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - What if conflict actually connected you to others?
Meditation - reframing conflict.
Assignment - What if you never had to avoid conflict again? What if you could embrace it as a part of nature, like clouds, or rocks, or trees, or the human digestion system? What if it was necessary to relation, to life itself, and therefore you could even be grateful for it at times? Try this on! See what happens! Let yourself take a new approach to it, and just see what happens. Bring as much levity as possible to your life this week. Collect and connect to influences that help you do this. 


SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - What is your business, and what is someone else’s?
Meditation - staying in your own business.
Assignment - Give yourself permission to reconnect with your own business this week. Just because you might perceive what is good for someone else or how to help, doesn’t mean you always should! Sometimes conservation of energy is needed. And! We can’t grow for others - each person has to learn their own lessons - this is a law of this planet. The more we live in harmony with this law, the better our relations go, the more connected and helpful we are able to be. Pull back your energy from other people this week and remember what is yours to manage. 


SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - When is your breath labored, when is it easy?
Meditation - breathing easy.
Assignment - Take note of your breath in a daily, and hourly practice this week. So not just a meditation practice, although that is great (!) but just pay attention to it without trying to change it. Take note of the conditions of your life and situation when it feels challenging to breathe, and take note of when and why it might be easy. And then, of course, because we can’t observe something without affecting it, take note of what noticing it does to it. Give yourself a lot of kindness as you go through this noticing process. 


CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - When do you say exactly what you want to say?
Meditation - Permission to speak.
Assignment - Give yourself permission to notice what is energizing, and what isn’t. Foods, places, people, media, etc. What drains you? Don’t internalize your own tiredness so much - let yourself draw these connections between what is tiring, your sense of obligation, and people and places in your life. Make a list if you need to. Then see what can be done to alter them. Is there any way you can express what is draining you so that it can be less draining? Is there any way you can do that thing or see that person less? When you give yourself breaks from the things that are draining you, then you really start to learn if it’s actually external or internal. Notice when and where your energy goes and give yourself lots of permission to say the most obvious thing! 


AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - When do you feel full?
Meditation - Letting yourself be full.
Assignment - Full Moon in Aquarius this week - in your ongoing relationship with Leo as your opposite - and this week that relationship gets magnified again through this Full Moon opposite the Sun as it moves into Leo. Aquarius can be almost emptied out at times, so full of the impersonal, the group. So what does it look like and feel like to be full? To let yourself be full? Like this moon - an offering by nature to encourage you to integrate, to reconcile, these opposites of Aquarius and Leo. Aquarius tends to be the least personal and Leo tends to be the most personal - where is the balance point for you?

 

PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - Who and what do you collaborate with?
Meditation - collaboration.
Assignment - Just wanting you to remember your capacity to collaborate, that you inherently understand how to share life, existence, being, emotion. How your fluidity and sensitivity thrives when you are collaborating, but you have to remember this truth to be able to practice it. Don’t isolate when you get overwhelmed this week, instead make a conscious effort to reach out. In a direct way. Connection is waiting for you, through collaboration with all species, all the time, but you have to reach out, and ask. 

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Returning to ourselves. To yourself. Over and over, after all the small and large abandonments we are taught, we learn, we unlearn.  

This week take note of when you have the impulse to look outside of yourself to understand your life, to feel better, to change your situation. Of course we are deeply connected and dependent on each other! But right now return to yourself and see what it feels like to ask yourself the questions you might want to be asking others. 

How long has it been since you were quiet with yourself? If it has been a while don’t waste time judging yourself for this. Just come back to your breath, right now, close your eyes, give yourself a few moments to let whatever is there be there.   

Building trust with yourself involves coming back to yourself an infinite amount of times, no matter how long you have been away, or how far.  


ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - What’s your relationship to your environment?
Meditation - place as nourishment.
Assignment - Spend time noticing the place you are in, the places you spend time in this week. How do they sustain your life? On a physical level and also emotionally and spiritually? What is nourishing about where you spend time? How can remembering this ground you and help bring some slowness in?


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - What are simple ways you can integrate more balance?
Meditation - cat and cow pose
Assignment - The image for you this week is this gentle movement, of cat and cow, pictured in the link if you don’t know it. It’s a physical experience that practices balance, and the more you do it, the more you invite balance in other areas, in your mental, emotional and spiritual state. Use your sensory sensitivity to focus on the body and shifting the stuck places there. When you do this, the rest will follow. It’s simple, but so profound. Let this be your simple and profound job this week. 


GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - How do you mark time?
Meditation - time markers.
Assignment - Marking time can be a cage if you get too obsessed with it, but it can also be so grounding. Keeping track of what you’ve done on a given day, or in an hour, or week, can help ground you and remind you of all the things that are happening in your life. So that when you look to the future and see all of that possibility and curiousity you still have, you don’t feel quite as overwhelmed. Write these things down, what you have done, what you want to do. Write down the ways you understand and feel time in your body, and see if this helps your grounding. 


CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - When do you allow yourself to not feel? 
Meditation - differentiation as love
Assignment - Just because you can feel it, doesn’t mean you have to, or you should. Cancer is so absorptive, it’s hard to even slow down the process enough to become fully aware of what is happening. You absorb all the feelings, your own and other people’s, the collective feelings, in a way. The feelings are SO compelling, they pull you with their song. So the more you see this process, and slow down enough to notice what is happening, the more you can choose when and how to absorb. Absorption is your super power, but it takes a lot of discernment to learn what to absorb. This is a lifetime process but this week, try out the mantra - Just because you can feel it, doesn’t mean you have to, or should. 


LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - When do you spend time with the birds? 
Meditation - being with the birds.
Assignment - If you don’t feel drawn to birds it can be another life form, but something that connects you to freedom! Remember that this still exists for you, even when you feel weighed down by your daily tasks, work, etc. Freedom is available close by, right here, in a breath or two of remembering that you are divine, you have a right to creatively live your life, and that includes creatively remembering your own freedom and noticing it when it’s present! The more you remember it as it appears right now in your life already, the more you will allow in more future freedom that you are craving. Look to the birds to remind you of the freedom that is right here. 
 

VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - What is true exercising to you? 
Meditation - exercise
Assignment - Exercising your mind, your body, in whatever way feels right to you. Try to let go of the definition of exercising that’s about rules and shoulds, and focus on what type of movement and rigor your body is asking for right now, this week. Do this with your mind too - what types of thinking and activities activate your mind in pleasurable ways? Where does the pleasure of the mind reside? Give yourself permission to reclaim exercise as a vital and freeing experience, not one of inherited obligations to other people’s definitons of ‘fitness’. 


LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - How often are you aware of what you’re saying?
Meditation - mindful speech
Assignment - Spend time noticing what you say, and when you say it this week. How much of your speech is urgent? How much of it is idle? How much is it to fill the space? How much of it is about other people? How much of it is to soothe others, or yourself? How much of it feels good, in your body, to be speaking? 



SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - How do you relate to food and eating?
Meditation - food as life!
Assignment - There’s a tendency for you to preoccupied with lots of things other than food, unless you have earth signs in your chart. The water in you wants to engage with emotional intensity or feeling itself, and often food doesn’t fall into that category. It can feel more like a nuisance - so give yourself the gift of attending to it this week, and see how a lot of attention to food and nourishment affects your emotional state. I want you to care for yourself with reverence. 


SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - When is your vision expanding and when is it narrowing?
Meditation - narrowing the focus
Assignment - Let your focus narrow this week, toward what you really want to do. Pull back from that tendency to overdo it and see what happens. Imagine a steady energy washing over you. What would it feel like to apply more sustained effort and less bursts (a fire tendency)? Narrowing your focus can bring clarity and insight into how to apply your efforts more sustainably. 



CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - When and how can you connect to plants this week?
Meditation - vital energy
Assignment - Look for these connections to plants, to any phenomena of nature that is comforting to you. It’s great if you can go away to a place where there are more other species than humans per square mile, but if this is not available to you, just look for where and how this is available to you wherever you are. It’s the same as with the breath - plants - as soon as we turn our attention to them, we find life wanting to live everywhere. Affirmations of life. As soon as we turn our attention to our breath, it changes, we see how dynamic it is. 
 


AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - What changes are taking place in your life right now?
Meditation - winds of change.
Assignment - These winds are always moving through us, around us. When you are feeling overwhelmed by change, write down a list of the major changes that have happened so far in your life that you identify as beneficial. Then write about how you felt at the time about those changes taking place. Are there any that you resisted at first that now you see ended up being good? What do you notice in this process? How can this hindsight vision inform your approach and attitude to the current changes in your life?

 

PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - What is on the other side of your fear?
Meditation - embracing fear.
Assignment - Remembering that you have inner wisdom. That you have a vast sense of intuition. That fear can guide us or control us and this is the opportunity we have when it arises. We can use it as information - fear asks us to pay close attention! What is it asking you to pay attention to? What is it asking you to learn more about? You don’t need to go looking for fear, but just take note when it arises and then listen for opportunity within it instead of ignoring or escaping it. Fear drains us so much when we let it run the show by trying to ignore it or escape it.  

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Here’s an interview with the magical Rachel Khong, for this New Moon in Cancer week! Rachel’s work is an inspiring expression of Cancer (through her focus on food, family, memory, the past, and domestic space / experience), Gemini (through her bringing together of so many people and ideas), and Capricorn (through her astounding work ethic and responsibility), among other things! She's created a work (Capricorn) space that feels cozy and inviting like a home (Cancer), to bring people doing all different kinds of arts and letters (Gemini) activities. Read her books and her writing, and visit the Ruby for classes and/or for co-working.

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 Rachel Khong is a writer and novelist living in the Mission, in San Francisco. She is the founder of The Ruby, also located in the Mission, a shared work and gathering space for women of all definitions.

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1. When do you experience the most joy?

When writing is easy, when it feels like magic. Reading a good book, or watching a good movie. Cooking and eating a meal with friends who make me laugh. Being in someone’s garden (I wish I had my own!). When I’ve written or cooked something that I think is good; both the process and the result can be a joy. Maybe that’s the main thing: I like making stuff, or enjoying something that someone else has made. 

 

2. How integrated do your various roles feel? How much does it matter if they are integrated to you?

My roles feel fairly integrated in my body though I know they’re disparate to say out loud. I write fiction and nonfiction; as of January, I’ve also run a small business. I finally feel I’m at a place of just, like, feeling fully myself — doing the things that I want and love to be doing (along with, you know, chores! But I don’t mind chores). In the past I’ve felt unhappy and just off when I was doing too much of one thing; I think often because my sense of worth would be wrapped up in whatever work I was doing. There were years I worked incredibly hard at my magazine job, and though the work itself was satisfying, I was also miserable because I felt I was failing at finishing my novel. At the same time, I’ve also been really unhappy at times in my life when I had nothing to do but write fiction. These days, I get to work on my novel, write the occasional magazine piece, eat and cook food, and do things that I love at The Ruby, like learn how to make or do things, learn things period, talk about books, and even just play mahjong (I shouldn’t say just; mahjong is serious stuff!). Working on The Ruby has been the most interesting puzzle: making this thing for other people that, for me, has been so special and so valuable, too. The Ruby has been a way to bring many of my interests and skills together, a way to engage these different aspects of myself. We are all so many things, at once. It can be frustrating to be seen only as one part of you, or to have your worth feel tied up in a specific output. With The Ruby, I especially want to acknowledge this about us, as humans: we’re multifaceted, and have many interests and needs. I want The Ruby to be a site of integration and also belonging. You are not only the work that you do; you are your interests, you are your sense of humor, you are your generosity, you are so much. 

3. Do you relate to the typical Cancer problem of absorbing others' emotions, and if so, how do you manage that?

I do! As I get older I’m managing it better. I think recognizing that you do this is a first step. When I was younger I was so conflict averse I avoided conflicts altogether; I thought that even having an argument with my partner would mean that we were doomed — the relationship would fall apart — which of course wasn’t and isn’t true. I think as a Cancer and a woman and a minority I have done, in life, a lot of second-guessing myself. That problem of taking in what other people feel — not creating space for myself, and not drawing boundaries that need to exist — is so real. The way that I dealt with this tendency when I was younger was by simply retreating or running from problems — being emotionally unavailable, to not get close enough to people to let people’s emotions really impact me. Being detached and cool. Finally, now, I’m learning that really delicate balance of how to be a person in the world. I’ve had to; I’ve been forced to. I am a writer and I have books that strangers read; I’m a business owner and strangers think things about this business. Not all of the things, of course, are positive. But I’ve learned that people can say terrible things, and people can misunderstand you, and not everybody will like you, and that has to be okay. It just has to. I have had to decide not to be absorbent, but not in the way that I used to, of being emotionally unavailable. These days I’m always reminding myself: people will think what they think; I have my work — the work that I love — to do. 

 

4. You support so many people in the food industry (who probably don't call it the 'food industry', but I don't know the official words). Will you talk about your own personal relationship to food, and how it factors into your every day? 

Food has always been so personal and fascinating to me. There’s so much history and identity wrapped up in food, at the same time it does this very simple, elemental thing of nourishing us. We need it to stay alive; every person on earth eats. And, honestly, I just love eating. Food is good! I grew up with a mother who worked full-time yet cooked when she could; my diet growing up alternated between junk food and these really amazing Malaysian curries and noodle soups. When I moved to San Francisco, after college, I went to farmers’ markets for the first time and learned how to cook, and that was its own exciting discovery and joy. Probably this goes back to question number one: it brings me happiness to make things, and to eat things that other people have made. You can learn so much from both of those experiences. 

I also love that food can be both public (shared with people) and private (a solitary pleasure). Anthony Bourdain was a cancer; so was MFK Fisher. They were both public and private people, and I get it. Food can be public or private, social or not. It can be a way that a private, perhaps on-guard person can exist in the world, get to know other people more intimately — over a shared meal. Food can do a lot of things at once. There’s a book I love called Home Cooking, by Laurie Colwin, and in it she writes, “For the socially timid, the kitchen is the place to be. At least, it is a place to start.” That has always resonated with me. 

 

5. I'm astounded at the various ways you support other artists, especially at The Ruby. What do you want to be asked about that you don't get asked about enough? 

I was reflecting on the fact that I sometimes feel squeamish when I get asked about the thing I’m currently writing, or about The Ruby itself as a project. I shift and I stammer and I freak out slightly inside, and I wonder, why is it so uncomfortable for me to talk about the things that I so deeply love and care about? I think part of the reason is that I’m afraid to articulate the projects incorrectly. That, if I start talking about something, it will be incorrectly received, or that something I say will lead to a misunderstanding. That’s a crazy way to think, of course, because I’m in the business of using language to communicate. And yet, misunderstandings and miscommunication are a really central part of the human experience. We communicate only in flawed ways; we do not understand one another perfectly. It’s a heartbreaking reality that I explore in my fiction, and have recently been exploring with The Ruby, too. This question of: Well, how can we connect, despite our various backgrounds, and our various baggage? I’m so interested in that question. 


ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - What is new around you in this moment? What do you not know about, right now?
Meditation - newness is unavoidable.
Assignment - Use your desire to start new things as a way to get more curious about your moment-to-moment experience. This can be hard for Aries, often easily bored! Without even maybe realizing or calling it that, Aries really thrives in moving from experience to experience, new stimulation. So instead of trying to make this desire go away, I’m suggesting that you use it in a new way - shifting your perspective. Using it to get more curious about how new this very moment is. And that it’s actually a habitual asleepness that makes us think that this moment and all it contains is NOT new. That’s impossible! We cannot possibly know what is coming next, and that is a good thing. That’s your job, as an Aries, in long term sustainability in your life - to use this newness and excitement for the things that might not on the surface look exciting. To see deeply into how vivid the present moment actually is. 


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - When do you initiate in your life?
Meditation - initiating
Assignment - Experiment with initiating, even if in small ways this week. Take notice of how much you are the initiator or not in your life. How much of the time do you start things, suggest things, begin things? Taurus tends to be good at running things that are already going but can be hesitant to start things because change can feel so jarring. But it’s useful to flex that muscle if you realize that you’ve been not initiating anything. 


GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - What is going in and out of your mouth?
Meditation - inspiration and expiration.
Assignment - Tune in to what is going in and out of your mouth. Breath! Food! Water! Connect with your mouth and throat as a location for your mindfulness this week. What is being communicated and what is transpiring through you, at this point. Prepare tea for yourself, using your intuition about what tea feels most nourishing. Use plants in drinkable form to connect to your own body through what you ingest. Drink it slowly. Breathe in between sips. Be the child of this earth that you are, intertwined with the lives of plants. 


CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - When are you most being yourself?
Meditation - being yourself.
Assignment - Being yourself can be hard for Cancer because it’s such a sponge, such a a chameleon, so good at mimicking. This is why Cancers are often good actors, good at language, because they learn through osmosis. But for this reason it’s important that you find ways to clarify your own path, your own emotions, your own free will. Discern what is yours, what is good for you, not anyone else. This is a daily practice, it’s not something you determine once and then set. Use the new moon in Cancer this week as a time to set intentions to return to yourself, your own knowing and way of being. The more you embrace and own these Cancer tendencies, the more easily you can discern what is yours and what is not. 
 


LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - How often do you think you’re right?
Meditation - pleasurable, freeing uncertainty.
Assignment - The thing is, you are often right, about what is happening with other people and what they should be doing, etc. However, this can cause you a lot of suffering when people don’t do what you think they should. So being right can be quite lonely and painful! In fact it often is! So just because you have a sense of what should be happening with someone else, I invite you to pull your energy back into your own sphere, as the most loving and respectful act you can do FOR ANOTHER PERSON. Because the more you do this, the more you invite people around you to do it. But! We don’t do this action, pulling back out of other people’s business, so that they will change. We do it because this is what we can control, this is our domain, and ultimately what is best for us. The bi-products that we can’t control are wonderful when they happen, but not the point. The point is what thoughts sustain your life, and which ones drain it - look into this. 



VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - What are your perfect pictures today?
Meditation - suffering as essential information. 
Assignment - So much of the time you get stuck because you’re in a perfect picture. Your mind created an idea of what perfection looks like, without your consent, and now you’re paralyzed because you or your project isn’t living up to this. This is your suffering! So the task is not to work toward that acheivement of the perfect picture - the task is to use your suffering (anxiety / stress / defeat) as information that lets you know your mind made this perfect picture, and THAT is the thing to expose and get rid of. Let the suffering be a lightbulb that helps you investigate the seed of it, which is always a thought/s about what you are doing that is not right or not enough. The more you look and and handle the perfect picture (as the boss!), the more your self and creation will become what you want it to be. 



LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - What needs to come out of you?
Meditation - coming out.
Assignment - Let your meditation this week be asking yourself what needs to come out? What needs to be spoken, or expressed, that you are keeping in because you are concerned about how other people will feel about it? How does this concern prevent you from listening to yourself? What would it feel like to release what needs to be released? Make a list of what needs to come out. Live with it for a while, see how it feels to write it first, then experiment with saying it. 



SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - What’s the relationship between your emotions and your shoulders?
Meditation - shoulders opening
Assignment - Track the relationship between your emotional life and your body this week. Especially in your shoulders. When do they feel ‘open’ and when do they feel ‘closed’? What does this have to do with your heart center? How can you notice this, with a lot of kindness? Don’t worry about doing anything about what you notice - the noticing is the doing. Just notice, over and over, what is going on in this area of your body and see what your shoulders can tell you.


SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - Who and what in your life brings you down to earth and holds you to your commitments?
Meditation - coming down to earth.
Assignment - Sagittarius has such a tendency to plan and think big. This talent will never leave you. But what gets missed in that big picture view? You love knowledge and wisdom for its own sake but who and what in your life keeps you connected to the ACTUAL? To the real life manifestation? To what it takes to actually make a change in your life? You are good at knowing how to talk about what needs to change, but what processes, practices, and people can help you, remind you regularly, to come down to earth and execute a plan about how to really make changes? Cultivate those things, give them life and energy and nurturing.



CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - What does ‘not following through’ open up, or allow you to follow through on?
Meditation - gravity.
Assignment - Letting yourself be tired. Letting yourself be ‘irresponsible’. Letting yourself go. Letting yourself not follow through. Let yourself experience gravity. Let gravity remind you that you are in a body, and the body is subject to rules of the earth, and your job is to not override your body’s information, but to listen to it. This is about getting wiser about what being responsible means. To whom and what are you responsible? How would your life look different if you made decisions from the point of view of what your body needs? Examine what parts of your life feel like they are in conflict with this type of being responsible. Remember gravity, over and over and over, and let your body be held by it.
 


AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - What is happening in your stomach and how does this relate to your mental life?
Meditation - digestion.
Assignment - How connected are you to your digestion? How is it functioning lately? Look into this, track it with your attention this week. Notice how it relates to your mental life, and how the two affect each other. Use digestion as a metaphor for helping your mind - let more things be digested! Let more of your mental process be processed, recycled back into the earth, with less analysis. The power and health-giving properties of digestion! 

 

PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - What ideas about yourself might be outdated? 
Meditation - protecting your neck.
Assignment - You can think of your emotional life as fragile, because Pisces can be fragile at times, or just, so tuned into the other world, the emotional and or spirit world that it can be hard to inhabit your body. But you can also think of your vivid emotional life as part of your strength, and your fluidity as exactly the way you wield power in your life. Whatever ideas you’ve picked up along the way about being ‘sensitive’ - look at those in front of you and let them be recycled back into the earth. And! Protect your neck. Some people think of the neck as a psychic door, and also as a site that, when exposed, makes us more prone to sickness. So especially if it’s windy where you live, use a handkerchief or scarf on your neck. This can also be a symbol of owning your emotional and psychic life in a new way. It’s a chance to update your beliefs about yourself.