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.

Helen Tseng Dec 10.jpg

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.


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. 


“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. 



Adaptation is a quality that can be found in the mutable signs, including Sagittarius, whose season we are in. Learning how to adapt and adjust to the one unending change we call life - we can learn a lot from the mutable signs about how to do this. Sagittarius adjusts by finding the new inspiration - the adventure or philosophical outlook that can be the guide to accepting change. Its opposite Gemini, adapts by being curious about the other option, looks at it the situation from all sides, endlessly changeable. Pisces and Virgo, the other opposites, also mutable signs, find other ways of adapting. Pisces spreads out, resisting nothing, feeling wave after wave of life pass through. Virgo adapts through analysis and humility - through being of service and being practical. Of course every human, regardless of their astrological makeup, has to adapt to life repeatedly, but adaptation comes more readily to the mutable signs than others. This can be a problem for people with lots of mutable energy - they can struggle knowing when and how to stay with something, to resist changing form. But I include this quality of adaptation here because it’s a good time to practice our adaptation skills, whatever our charts might look like!

This time of year can be challenging for so many people, a time where a sense of obligation or expectation to connect through the holidays can actually lead to more pronounced feelings of isolation. What adaptations can you include right now that can help you through this time? What can you practice acceptance around that might bring you more ease? What can you experiment with changing your perspective on, that will help you feel less resistance to whatever is happening in your life?

Most of us frequently live with this illusion that our lives are static, some kind of fixed and ongoing experience of consciousness and events, and then different things, outside circumstances then interrupt our story of what we think we want, or a specific plan. It can feel like a disruption, but what feels like disruptions are actually places where we are shown we had an expectation of how something would go, or should go. This is a big part of how the learning takes place on planet earth. So the more adaptable we are, and that especially means the more compassion we can hold for ourselves in the places where we don’t think we’re adaptable, the more peace we experience. Reflect on your own relationship with adaptation this week, and how your practice of it might help you through this month.

ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - How often do you look back into your past, consciously?
Meditation - the spiral of time
Assignment - Spend time looking backwards this week. Into the recent past, the past month, the past six months, the past year. What has been happening in your life? How has that affected you? How do you feel right now, in your body, and how is that influenced by what has been happening in your life in the recent past? Write about it. Encourage yourself to linger on remembering things that have happened longer than your tendency, and see what you discover. Hopefully this can help you register how much movement occurs all the time, and be gentler on yourself. 


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - What are you sick and tired of?
Meditation - purging
Assignment - What area of your life needs more space? How can you help create that space by getting rid of things / habitual thoughts / energy drains? This could be psychically, inside, or it could be physically, in your environment, but give yourself room to carve out new space for new energy. Let yourself feel the things you are ‘over’, and create enough time and space in your week to actually begin to make it happen to let them go.  


GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - What might you be missing on the ground itself?
Meditation - steady heart
Assignment - Give yourself permission to focus on the smaller things, the unglamorous things, the daily things. Attending to life itself. Reframing this attention as sacred, as essential to your wellbeing. What is moving much slower than you and so you can’t see? What might come into your view if you looked down, all the way to your feet, to the ground, to the earth itself outside? Let yourself practice this week, not through effort but through release.


CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - What do you miss because you don’t give yourself permission to perceive it?
Meditation - believing in the unseen
Assignment - Because you’re often such a good mimic, you can struggle to even notice when you are ignoring some valuable information your intuition is offering you. You can sort of absorb whatever energy is around you, and conflate it with your own. This is why it’s so essential that you find a way to relax and/or retreat, reconnect to the most basic part of yourself this week. However this happens is great, but you need to make it a priority. The more you do this, the more you will be able to perceive what is needed to nourish yourself and your life fully.


LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - What is most alive in you right now?
Meditation - the most vibrant part of the plant
Assignment - There’s a dolphin trainer who described her philosophy of training that was basically: reward the best behavior and ignore anything else. What if you did this with yourself? Just return, over and over, to your possibility, your beauty, your aliveness? What would that shift in your life? What does that idea bring up about stories you have from the past about how much you need to focus on your bad qualities in order to be ‘good’? What if you didn’t have to struggle and you could still be everything you wanted to be? This is worth contemplating, especially where you have resistance to it.


VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - When and where do you need to refuse?
Meditation - being unwilling
Assignment - Write down the places where you might benefit from refusing to do something, or adapt, in some way. Explore the ways you might be adapting newly to not adapt! What might you be doing that’s too detail-oriented, that’s actually not the best use of your time? That’s draining your energy in some important way? You can tend to want to be helpful or ‘practical’ in a way that’s actually not sustainable when you look at the whole picture of your life. Look at this this week, see what you notice, what it might be nourishing to change.

LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - What foods really nourish you?
Meditation - your body as vehicle for pleasure
Assignment - How often do you eat based on what feels really good to your body? How often do you pay attention to that? What do you notice in your body when you connect your own pleasure to nourishment? Move your attention from your mind space up above your head, and down into your body this week. Just with gentle intention, not a lot of effort. And ask your body questions about what it needs, what it likes, how it is feeling in the moment. This is so simple and obvious, but almost always underrated. Give yourself this. Give yourself the nourishment of pleasure.

SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - What voices in your head do you listen to most?
Meditation - listening as power
Assignment - They key at this time for you is not trying to get anything to go away. Not trying to extreme your way out of anything. To just listen to what is present. There’s listening as hearing, and then there is listening as obeying or taking without question. We do this all the time with the different voices in our minds - believe what we are told immediately. For example, my body looks horrible. We often believe this immediately. Or, I didn’t get enough done today. The self-critical thoughts we usually believe most easily. So use your investigative powers, and your ability to see through bullshit, to listen to it all, but question it all too. Don’t let societal rules and your own strict code drag you into exhaustion and overwhelm at this time. Give yourself even the slightest breaks by giving more stage to the self-forgiving, loving thoughts. 

SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - What do you want to carry over from the past year to this new one?
Meditation - continuity
Assignment - Spend time reflecting on this past year of your life! What has even happened?! What do you love about what happened? What do you want to take with you as you move into a new year of your life? Write about these things. Tell people in your life, so that you will have reminders in various forms around you, about what you want to continue. Use your adaptability to build continuity instead of throwing it into new temporary projects that fizzle out after the first excitement. One way to begin to build continuity is to spend time reflecting, and name ways you’ll carry what you learned with you into this unfolding present of the coming year.  

CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - What are you open to now that you used to be closed to?
Meditation - the movement of the sky
Assignment - Reflect on what you used to be afraid of, or closed to, because it seemed too weird or overwhelming or scary, etc. Learn more about your own process by asking yourself about how you came to accept it, or open to it? Was it a spiritual concept or a person or an activity or a way of being? Who introduced you to this? How has it changed your life? What ways can you apply that spirit of openness and experimentation in whatever areas of your life feel challenging now? Imagine your future self no longer afraid of or closed to whatever new thing feels needed. Bask in this future self long enough so that you can start to inhabit them.

AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - What media connects you to your own life, and what disconnects you?
Meditation - aural and visual influence
Assignment - Reflect on your media consumption this week. That could be news, social media, tv, music, texts, billboards, podcasts, etc etc. Especially during this time of holiday for so many - what influences leave you disconnected, and what helps nourish connections in your life? Be selective, and more choosey than usual perhaps, during this time. Recollect your own qi, through not giving it away to draining influences that you can manage through your own choice. 


PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - What’s happening at the back of your heart?
Meditation - the body as messenger
Assignment - Breathe into the back of your heart. Over and over again. Let your ribs expand, not through effort, but through allowing. Ask someone to touch this part of your body. Just a simple hand is very helpful. To bring your awareness back to healing it yourself. Just with intention. Whatever energy you have given away prematurely, or in excess, you can reclaim with this simple gesture. Breathe into this part of your body, and renew yourself right now. Do this as many times as needed this week and beyond.

nov 19 Nabil Kashyap.jpg

The HOW TO BE YOUR OWN NATURE interview for (the very end of) Scorpio season is with Nabil Kashyap, who has been my friend and a hero for close to 20 years. Last year my sister and I loved his book of essays so much that we had to publish it, and if you know anything about independent publishing, that means we loved this book a lot. There’s a link below to buy it. (Buying books from independent publishers is a beautiful and important act, sort of like supporting an endangered species.) Nabil, and especially his writing, of which I have been a fan since I’ve known him, is an incredible expression of Scorpio, Virgo, and Taurus, among other things. The precision, detail and wit of Virgo, the penetrating insights of Scorpio, and the sensory immersion of Taurus contribute to a feeling that it doesn’t matter what he’s writing about, I want to read it. So happy to share this interview with you, to engage with his specific perspective on the world.

Nabil Kashyap is a writer, librarian, and technologist living in Philadelphia. He is the author of an essay collection, The Obvious Earth (Carville Annex Press, 2017). He works on websites and digital projects related to critical perspectives on computing, public art, and activism.

1. What brings you the most joy?

I think it's hard for me to think of something out there bringing me joy in here forever and for all time. E.g., I really do like ice cream sandwiches, but sometimes they bring me zero joy plus maybe a stomach ache. I probably feel compelled to make the distinction in the first place because I tilt towards obsessiveness, so I have had to learn how to cool it on trying to recreate a situation or get more of a thing because that situation or thing brought me something good at one point.

Ice cream sandwiches aside, I will say there are three joys that come to mind and I can't say which is most. I would find it hard to exist without some of each. First, every once in awhile I wake up or otherwise find myself engaging the tasks of the day (make coffee, stir oatmeal, pour cat food, tie shoes) and I'm struck by how oddly fun it is, how the implements feel in my hands, how I like moving my body in just the ways required. Joy #2 is maybe because I know this is supposed to be about scorpios and it's something I had to learn. Has to do with sometimes, only occasionally, being with a few people, a little dinner party maybe, people you like and/or love, when without qualification, without thinking about it, suddenly feeling connected to these humans, feeling supported, seen. Number three is the big guns, the splashes of colossal feeling that sneak past, outside, ahead of what is immediately occupying my current scene. What might spur such a feeling is, in multiple senses, private. Rarest, but seems essential to be reminded we have access to such places. Don't forget.

2. How do you relate to Scorpio characteristics?

Yes. More or less all of the Scorpio memes. But I should add that much of what resonates does so because it helps me think about my past rather than what's going on this very minute. People grow up! One thing I'll call out because it seems kind of meta-Scorpio: A reason astro signs are compelling to me at all (they have not always been) is how embarrassingly helpful to have names with which to name the motivations of others in relation to my own. It used to be comically challenging for me to fully get that not everyone was experiencing the world, especially one-on-one interpersonal dynamics, as intensely and fixedly as I was. My first visits home after moving away for college, I'd try to describe what I was learning or adventures I was going on, but always with too much enthusiasm, speaking too quickly, gesticulating, intense. My family had a code for it. Oh, like camping, they'd say. The first time I was visibly puzzled. In-tents, get it? Followed by peals of laughter. They still rib me about it. Scorpios are so in tents.

3. How does your work as a librarian and as a writer interact? Where do the two diverge? How do they relate to your politics?

Old story: Hard to prioritize nebulous creative projects when swimming in emails reminding you of more concrete obligations. Before deciding to abandon the adjunct grind and go to library school, I had a fantasy of a job I could stand behind for a not-terrible institution that would allow me space to make stuff. As it turns out, it's challenging for me to stand behind a job if I am not totally into it, and as a result, I am much more intellectually (often emotionally) invested in my library than I'd thought.

Still, there are some ways they interact. At the library I am surrounded by new ideas with a density and constancy that I take for granted, which is definitely part of how I think through writing. I am deep in the minutiae of how cultural production is published, acquired, and preserved, how all that's changing--which has reshaped how I think about the forms writing takes in the world, how a reader might encounter it, and what the implications of those systems might be.

Also, in my regular life, I feel resistant to minor performances of my politics, especially on social media. Among my acquaintances, too much is assumed to be shared and too little is at stake. But in the library, weirdly, it seems to make a difference, however tiny, just saying, just articulating what I am for. On discussing what I think to be uncontroversial readings I've assigned, hearing computer science students say stuff like wait, algorithms aren't objective? or I had just thought tech meant progress. Direct quotes! Or a student stunned by the fact I am willing to sign her BDS petition, that I could suggest related activities in the city. Or the student who hovered awkwardly to ask about the quote on my door about financial capitalism and the instrumentalization of language. I am not and have not been a human to tape a goofy critical theory quote to my door, but in an environment where little adults are actively pitching around for models for how to be in the world, well, there it is. I think this impacts my writing in realizing what ought to be named, even if it has been said before, even if I can claim no special relationship or expertise.

4. How does writing affect your relationship with the world? Does it bring you closer to yourself? Further away? What about with other humans?

I think it has something to do with investigation, how I'm too lazy to investigate if not in writing. I operate in an active cloud of impressions, about how the world works, how iniquity happens, memory, emotional states, the ways I think ideas fit together. Having to shape those impressions in sentences always reveals how flimsy my premises. To be clear, this isn't about articulation or accurate description. More about practicing for myself what a durable connection feels like, a way through, even if the terrain is murky and is probably going to stay so. I'm convinced that practice is important to me not just as a writer but as a human intent on getting a sense for how one fits inside a world.

Coming from poetry, I mostly think of language as material. If I perform myself or some version of myself in writing as I have done in the essays I started after poetry school, it is to leave open a wider entrance than poetry usually allows. Plus throwing in the personal adds a little bit of risk, even if artificially. That's how I see it. How strange a surprise, then, when people read something of mine, whether already close to me or strangers, and suggest that they know me better or feel closer to me. This has only happened a couple of times, but in each case felt super disorienting. Gut response is invariably: You don't know me. If anything, my writing involves a kind of aestheticization, remove, and maybe even control, not at all what bring me closer to living breathing others.

5. Can you tell us something about butterflies?

Eek, a little embarrassing. Nothing complicated, just little flashes of color in the periphery, what will not sit still or brook heavy examination, little calls to attention, and like any kind of attention, the more you see the more you see. Of course for the acquisitive kind of nerd eros (Sarah calls it Virgo Venus), there is the endless tiny intricacy of insect anatomy to suck you in. Not cute or auspicious or inauspicious or gendered or mammalian, thousands of years of overuse in the stories of every culture where there are butterflies, and still they resist. No matter how many shitty ankle tattoos or greeting card prints, looking close, a butterfly is indelibly, inscrutably weird.

ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - What part of your body feels the best right now?
Meditation - pleasure.
Assignment - Locate and notice wherever feels best in your body, throughout this week. Let yourself return to this, even if it’s just a spot on your body that is the absence of pain. No matter what you have going on this week, take care to notice this and feel into it everyday, even for a few minutes. There is pleasure to be found, and finding it changes your life.


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - When has not knowing benefit you?
Meditation - the earth rotating around the sun
Assignment - Take some time to write about times in your past where you didn’t know the outcome of something, or some other uncertainty, and that not knowing benefited you in some way. Just look into your past and see what you find about times you didn’t feel ‘secure’ and what you learned. It can help your current situation, whatever it is, look more whole.


GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - What part of yourself do you need to reunite with?
Meditation - exposing yourself to yourself
Assignment - This full moon in Gemini later in the week will likely affect you significantly - take note and slow down so that you can soak it in, whatever it brings. Use this shift in energy, the movement into Sagittarius season along with your Full Moon to connect you with your deepest conversation. What have you left that you need to return to? What do you need to call back? Don’t be afraid of intensity during this week. Remind yourself if this does arise that intensity helps you connect with your own truth - it can be nature showing you what you might have forgotten or turned away from.


CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - What are you giving to others right now?
Meditation - give it away.
Assignment - Return to the kitchen, or some other domestic space this week, and let your time there heal you. Make something for someone else (maybe delicious food), and by doing so remember that you nourish yourself this way. It’s about letting the act itself remind you of truths, instead of having to do any kind of intellectual work. Feel it in your body, in the making of a life-giving thing.


LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - What are you paying attention to most right now?
Meditation - sweeping the floor
Assignment - The image this week is picking up all the scattered things you’ve left around your space, especially forgotten things in the corner. Tidy up. Do this in an unassuming and quiet way, and trust that it will bring you back to knowing what your next step is. Don’t forget that small detailed acts of attending to one’s life can powerfully affect your orientation. So if there’s any overwhelm or the to-do list is feeling too long, being with the smallest thing. Don’t neglect the smallest things in your need to be big.


VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - Are you branching out enough?
Meditation - branches seeking sun
Assignment - Write and reflect on where your vision lies lately. As in how focused you are on your work and responsibilities, and how much space you’re making for more different surface areas to catch more light. Tell yourself a new story of productivity, to turn your attention out to the sides of your life also, to places your health and love will benefit if you give your body and mind more time spread out, not spread thin.

LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - In what ways does your people-pleasing get activated during holiday times?
Meditation - strength and relaxation in your pelvic bowl
Assignment - Take note of your familiar tendencies to worry about what others are thinking and how they are doing during this week. Especially if you are interacting with family at all. Don’t worry about trying to fix yourself in this, or stop it, just notice. When we notice, we shift so much without effort. Remind yourself also that every other person has their own agency, and can communicate with you about what they need. You don’t have to spend so much energy trying to predict and alter things based on your predictions, it’s exhausting and likely not as effective as you think.

SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - Where do you resist change?
Meditation - yielding
Assignment - Put your body in open and receiving positions this week. A significant week of shifting, from Scorpio season into Sagittarius, with the full moon later in the week. Do legs up the wall, or lie on the ground, or in child’s pose, or any other positions that feel receiving to you. Notice any resistance you feel this week. Let it pass through. Let breath in deeper and deeper, without more effort. Imagine your breath coming in as if through your pelvis, and the ground itself.  

SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - What do you need to shift as you enter a new year?
Meditation - from the river to the sea
Assignment - The beginning of Sagittarius season starts with a Full Moon this week. Let this be an opportunity to be with yourself in a way you might not usually be. Choose an activity that allows you to be as close to yourself as possible, and commit to doing that at least once this week, ideally a few times during the month of this Sagittarius season. All you have to do during this time is listen. To yourself. Let things move through.  

CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - When do you feel most serious and rigid?
Meditation - breathing from the soil itself
Assignment - Look at when you feel serious and rigid, because those are the moments when you can learn the most from nature, and how nature responds. When you’re feeling serious and rigid it’s easy to freeze and not adapt, not know what to do. When you remember that you don’t ever actually have to feel serious and rigid, that it doesn’t matter if people like you, or even respect you (spend some time with that one!) what might that free up for you? What obligations arise for you during the holidays? How do you manage those / that feeling? Loosen up your body as much as you can, and the most important part is to not judge yourself even more for when you do feel serious and rigid. Noticing is all that is needed, with the eyes of compassion.

AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - Where do you need to compromise?
Meditation - fluency
Assignment - Just check in this week and see where you might need to bend and shift, sway even, instead of hold fast. Is there some aesthetic or social rules you’re trying to follow that keep you from exploring what new collaboration might take place? Remember that limitation is such an important part of creative expression. It’s not just okay, it’s often what creates moments of inspiration or connection itself. Look for where there might be limitation that you can reframe for yourself to have a better time, and feel more connected.  


PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - What stage of transformation are you in?
Meditation - stages and seasons
Assignment - As soon as you look at your life through the lens of transformation and growth, it starts to shift your perspective on the challenges you encounter. It starts to immediately give you more agency. Where is this simple shift in perspective, just a light remembering of the truth that you’re developing, available in your field right now? You don’t have to like your circumstances or even be happy or grateful. You can just take note of what is being learned, or what might be learned, and see what that does. Remember we don’t have any control over what happens to us but we can control how we breathe, and how we see what is happening. Learning is always available. Naming it is reclaiming some of our power.



Nowhere in my experience has the reality of interconnectivity been so apparent as in the fires in California (where I live) the past few years. There’s another round of them happening right now, and they aren’t burning my house down, they aren’t burning where I am. In fact they are very far away. And yet for the past many days I have felt so sick because I’ve been breathing smoke from these fires. There is nothing in life more inescapable than air, in the most literal, bodily way. And nothing demonstrates our interconnectivity more than air which is hard to breathe because of our shared participation in polluting that air, in changing the climate and landscape in such a way that results in these epic fires (and so many other increasingly destructive natural disasters). Here we are, inheriting our past actions now. It’s so intense! It turns us back to ourselves, or at least gives us this opportunity, in such a deep and often painful way.

It’s made me think about what we are committed to in our lives. How we change things we want to change.

What is commitment to you?

How much does it matter?

What places in your life does it come easily for you?

Where does your doubt undermine your commitment?

What in your life might benefit from more commitment?

(You’ll notice below that there aren’t questions in the horoscopes. Perhaps the questions above are the questions for all this week. As these strange horoscopes took shape, it just felt more appropriate to leave the questions out.)

ARIES | March 21-April 19

Meditation - persimmon
Assignment - Running through a winter forest just to feel the cold.


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Meditation - violet
Assignment - Sitting on the ground, feeling your sit bones sink into the earth with each breath.


GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Meditation - bright green
Assignment - Recreating and participating in childhood activities as an adult, in order to heal.


CANCER | June 21-July 22

Meditation - silver
Assignment - Believing in spirits just to let yourself open in a new way, like a weird aunt.


LEO | July 23-August 22

Meditation - grey
Assignment - Wiping your hands across the screen of your imagination in front of you, to clear the fog.


VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Meditation - soft pink
Assignment - Gliding up the side of a mountain, for the pleasure of touching the mountain itself. 

LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Meditation - cranberry
Assignment - Floating in water with your ears covered, to turn down some noise and bring up the noise of your breath.

SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Meditation - pale yellow
Assignment - Caressing your own arms, letting your belly be big and loose. 

SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Meditation - orange
Assignment - Exhaling as after great effort, but for longer than the effort took.  

CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Meditation - dark brown
Assignment - Drawing a new kind of map, based on everything in you that is already ancient.

AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Meditation - red clay
Assignment - Digging in the earth, to find where your own feet fit. 


PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Meditation - a rainbow
Assignment - Seeing everyone seeing you, and not blinking.


Political Power and Spiritual Life

Continuing in the spirit of this Scorpio season, and particularly the New Moon in Scorpio this week, let’s talk about power. Scorpio understands power on a fundamental level, intuitively. How power moves, how it functions individually, interpersonally, culturally, politically. Scorpio is a sign of extremes, and for this reason it’s very human. It has the most power for self-destruction, for exploring beyond the edge of any taboo, and also the most power for transformation and healing. This energy embodies the uniquely human experience of choosing our path - the aspects we have a choice in, anyway.

How power moves politically is especially foregrounded for us in the USA this week - showing up in our elections.

I’m especially invested in the relationship between political power and spiritual life. This may not be apparent based on what you see expressed within this project so far. I’ve been asking, for many years but with particular focus in the project called Existing Together, what is necessary on an individual and internal level to build a truly sustainable political practice? And by ‘political practice’ I mean, what must we attend to in ourselves to really be able to be there for others? And this is, of course ongoing, not fixed. So I paused on a more overt expression of my politics to some extent when I started this project, because I want as little as possible to get in the way of asking myself and you the questions that turn us back toward what is sustainable for us.

There seems to be a separation between political life and spiritual life - spiritual life being something we do in a certain set of spaces, usually private, (and is somehow only needed by the intellectually less rigorous), and political life is something we do in another set of spaces, usually public. This separation feels connected to so many of the problems of the moment. That somehow engaging politically means we put our humanity, vulnerability and compassion aside in some way, to ‘fight’, or, to engage in spiritual life means we give up on forward momentum in the form of tangible improvements to people’s lives.

I reject this binary, and yet it feels imperative that we describe the interconnectedness of these realms in literal and concrete ways for ourselves if we want to experience joy at all now, while also not resigning ourselves in any way to the horrors occurring on this planet. This is what I mean by asking questions about sustaining our own spiritual and political lives.

Along these lines, here are some questions and horoscopes for you, asking you about your own power. The New Moon in Scorpio is a great time to ask yourself questions about your own political and spiritual power.

When do you feel any sense of power?

How do you accrue or draw on power?

What does power feel like in your body?

How is your power expressed?

What’s the correlation between power and effectiveness for you?

Where do you have power that you might not see it?

Where do others reflect your power to you?

Who models a relationship to power that you admire?

ARIES | March 21-April 19

Question - How does your power relate to your support system?
Meditation - the power in receiving 
Assignment - Begin a new project of connecting the sensation of strength with the sensation of being resourced, helped. Being surrounded by support. Even if it’s through your imagination of unseen guides or influences from art and writing, those dead and alive, human and all other species - take a break from your habit of imagining strength as isolation and see what happens.


TAURUS | April 20-May 20

Question - How much do you associate power with consistency?
Meditation - taking a break from routines 
Assignment - What beliefs or habits feel entrenched? What beliefs and habits feel chosen and embodied? Do you worry about changing your mind? Do you give yourself permission to change your mind? Experiment with changing your mind, letting go of your view, building flexibility in your mind - and notice how that affects your power.


GEMINI | May 21-June 20

Question - When can your indecision be powerful?
Meditation - letting it be as it is
Assignment - Instead of lamenting your tendency to want to do everything, or being indecisive, spend some time writing this week for yourself. To connect this indecision and curiosity with your own power. Write especially about examples of when this tendency has helped your life in a way that you can only see in hindsight.


CANCER | June 21-July 22

Question - What are you afraid of lately?
Meditation - facing fear
Assignment - Look directly at your fears right now. Write about them, spend time with them. Don’t turn away from them. You don’t need to make them go away. You don’t need to solve or fix them. You can touch your own power just be not avoiding them. Take note of the differences between avoiding and being with, and how they relate to your power.


LEO | July 23-August 22

Question - What kinds of lights do you surround yourself with?
Meditation - light and power
Assignment - Start with the physical realm and look at your lighting situation - in your house, in your work, your environment. How does it affect your vitality? How is your vitality connected to your power? Then look beyond the physical and ask those questions about what other kinds of light influences are around you. Put some intention into cultivating influences, both physical and spiritual, that nourish rather than deplete.


VIRGO | August 23-September 22

Question - What would happen if you didn’t have to improve?
Meditation - the power of being
Assignment - This relationship to doing comes up a lot in your horoscopes but that’s because it’s so needed. Identity for you is so closely tied to output, and the more space you can let in between your self and your output, the more peace and breath will arrive. It’s not a matter of stopping doing, although that is helpful sometimes, but it’s just keeping present the truth that your being is not dependent on, or earned by, your doing self. Think about how we regard children - we don’t expect them to do things to be worthy - we love them just for existing. Turn this lens to yourself. 

LIBRA | September 23-October 23

Question - What percentage of your day is spent considering potential conflicts?
Meditation - the power of your own breath
Assignment - Find ways to let your mind rest this week. Especially surrounding any conflicts or potential conflicts in any area of your life. Give yourself periods of time where you do things that help turn your attention away from problem solving your social interactions and into a more internal experience. What is happening in your body? What is happening in the sky? What is happening in your digestion? What new ways could you be attending to your own vitality?

SCORPIO | October 23-November 21

Question - When do you conflate your intuition with emotional responsibility to others?
Meditation - distinguishing what is you/yours
Assignment - Just because you perceive some emotional state of another, doesn’t mean you have to do anything about it. It does not mean you become responsible for another, or their state. This power to discern between these two things, to create more distance between your intuition and needing to do something always in response, will help you feel more energized and full of power that allows you to be much more generous. Spend time looking at when and how you conflate your intuition with a sense of responsibility for others, see what you find. 

SAGITTARIUS | November 22-December 21

Question - What is it that fulfills you in the quest itself?
Meditation - seeking as power
Assignment - There’s power in seeking, in looking for the next thing, but only if you know that’s what you’re doing. Spend time reflecting on what you are looking for as you look for a new thing - a new belief system, a new person, a new activity, a new product, a new philosophy. The more conscious you are of the fact that you are seeking, the less you are controlled by this habit.  

CAPRICORN | December 22-January 19

Question - How do you see your own power and your own freedom?
Meditation - social freedom as power
Assignment - It’s easy for you to see power as only for people who follow certain rules and have achieved a certain set of things. Observe the places where power exists, yours and others, that are because of someone’s freedom to break rules and freedom to create their own path. Seek out this new understanding of power, look for it.

AQUARIUS | January 20 to February 18

Question - How much and what kind of power do you want?
Meditation - the six directions as related to your body
Assignment - You are not responsible for healing on a collective level and the more you can give yourself permission to focus on your life individually the more power you will find that you already have. This doesn’t mean giving up your group-oriented spirit - you don’t have to worry about giving that up - it’s in you. But when you allow there to be a focus on your individual experience you gain freedom to connect to others more deeply through this lens. Spend time acknowledging and meeting your personal needs this week. Notice your reactions to this practice, if/how much you think it feels self-indulgent, etc. Notice how you ideas about power relate to all of this. 


PISCES | February 19 to March 20

Question - What kinds of power do you care about?
Meditation - connecting to power itself
Assignment - Let yourself register and explore the importance of power in your life. Your own specific personal power. What is that and how does it move, how does it work. Write about this - your relationship to power, and see what you notice. Are you avoiding power because it makes you uncomfortable? Are you denying places where you do have power? Are you vague when you could be clear, and how would that help you and the others in your life? How does your sense of clarity relate to your sense of power?