If you're reading this, you made it through January, and I'm proud of you. To many of us, the month could not have been longer. It's hard to weather freezing temperatures and demonic leadership at the same time, which we learned last year and are now learning again. Still, this January did offer up a conciliatory finale, and for those of us lucky enough to witness the totality of the Lunar Eclipse, we'll not soon forget it. When the Sun and Venus are in heady Aquarius, it's brave of the moon to come in real close and burn red with the heat of Leo's heart.
It's nice to remember there's something else in this world besides information.
Lucky for us, February is a short month, and there's sweetness to that. The new moon and partial solar eclipse mid-February will give us pause, the chance to re-evaluate what Aquarius season taught us about our vision for the future, for our community and for ourselves. Venus and Mercury will enter Pisces before the Sun does, leading the way for dreamy tenderness, if not a general refusal to engage with any world that suppresses the imagination. Let everyday magic be your remedy this month and have faith that whatever you choose with love chooses you back in turn.
It’s good to ask more questions, to seek to understand what forces have been stacked in your favor and what forces have been stacked against you. But understanding what your inquests reveal to you is not the same as knowing all the truth, and, besides, knowing the truth and knowing how to communicate it to others are two different journeys. Which journey are you on this month, Aries? It’s time to get real about how you want to be living, and that might mean trading some of the truths you’re well versed in repeating for some of the ones you refuse to accept, like how you got here, how much of it was your choice, and how invested you are in changing what you don’t like so that you can thrive.
Are you keeping yourself busy so that you might not have to face the fact that you’ve changed?
Are you walking around in a fog but also the one carrying the fog machine?
Separate your performance ego from your sense of self. Meditate on the people and situations you claim strip you of your power, that suffocate you or tamp down the fire that makes you you. Every relationship, project, and place in your life is in your life because you have made a space for them. They are here to teach you who you are and who you are not by association. Zero in on your own image amidst that fog. What do you believe about yourself, and what illusions do you will yourself and others to believe? Why smolder for years trying to spark wet wood when there’s a spirit in you ready to burn a house down? Don’t tell me you’re not ready to bet on yourself or that betting on yourself is a losing game. You were born for high stakes, you’re a sure thing.
Close your eyes, Taurus, and imagine who you were six years ago. Hell, close your eyes and imagine who you were in August. Can you imagine ever moving back into the mindset of what you were like back then? Can you imagine ever choosing that path? Impossible. Truthfully, never have I ever believed in someone’s ability to change more than I believe in yours. Not only do you have the determination, the brute force, honey you’ve got stamina. Optimistic endurance, I like to say.
Oh boy, has that endurance gotten you into trouble, staying in bad relationships way past their due date, chipping away at the very core of yourself because you firmly believed that the pillar was strong enough to withstand any blast. I guess you’ve proven us wrong, I guess you’ve not only withstood the blasts, you’ve built support pillars and wound morning glories around their base.
Yes, you feel closer to your body and, yes, you’re stronger than you’ve been in a long time, but it’s not all repair and gardening, is it Taurus? In your quest for a more self-actualized life, have you placed certain parts of yourself in a hierarchy of need? Is your body at the top of the triangle or at the bottom? Does creative energy take up as much room as a community? Does healing go hand and hand with pleasure? Taurus, this month I beg you to go beyond what makes you feel better and do what makes you feel alive.
Responsibilities be damned! Am I right? Why is it that when you have the most to do, the drive to shirk all semblance of day-to-day duties and run toward the nearest wave or ski slope feels less like a whim and more like the mandate of God herself? I mean, we all like to have fun—especially girls, according to Cyndi Lauper. And who invented fun if not a Gemini? But maybe there’s something to that winsome feeling you get every time you check something off your to-do list. There’s a good chance that the burden you feel has less to do with whether you’re up to the task and more to do with whether the work you do serves your inventive nature.
You know how there’s this idea floating around that if a person is always running late and handing in work that’s not their personal best, they just might be subconsciously sabotaging themselves. That’s an idea worth investigating, but I wouldn’t take the easy way through it.
In fact, I encourage you to look deeper than dissatisfaction, to go beyond a sense of aimlessness and a general cynicism regarding the great capitalist machine. Gemini, I encourage you to press your finger to the dry dirt where you have been returning, over and over, looking to harvest long past first frost. Dig until you find where the earth is wet and secret things root despite the winter freeze. What conditions cultivate your alienation from the work you do and those you surround yourself with? What conditions can you change so that the growth of your community and your creative self depends on more than just your own two hands?
You’ve been building something outside the box for a long time, a life that aligns with the world you want to walk into, a life that would sustain the person you want to become. Every year, what you’ve committed yourself to has grown, taken on an organic shape, shifted to accommodate circumstance and need. If once you wanted to landscape, now you feel the limitations of a title. What’s landscaping without sustainable gardening? What’s sustainable gardening without eco-responsible design?
Each unearthed wisdom has prompted a dive for more information, more certification, an investment into a whole that looks strong from all sides. Do you feel strong from all sides yet, Cancer? Stronger, yes, but it’s obvious to anyone walking the path to self-actualization that the more you learn, the more there’s left to learn.
Well, if there’s no endgame, then when is it time to move forward? How does one know when they have enough resources to open the doors to others and make something new out of what’s been stored? You know it when you feel restless. You know it when you feel stagnant despite the richness of your inner world, when you hesitate to share your excitement with those you love and prefer to guard it. You know you need to move forward when the anger that collects in you due to the stifling of your growing dreams begins to leak out sideways, when it’s raining passive-aggressive cats and sexually frustrated dogs. If what’s comfortable feels like it might be killing you slowly or if your symptoms could very well be an addendum on this list, then it’s time for you to shift gears, my love. The only thing you can control is what you’re doing—so what are you willing to do?
Brene Brown says boundaries are an act of love. When you know yours, you’re more likely to offer your loved ones nurturance and less likely to offer them resentment. But, what are boundaries, and what aisle are they hanging around in? If you ask for assistance finding boundaries, are you already starting off on the wrong codependent foot? It’s hard to know where to begin and even harder to keep it going. Beginning is hard, but putting yourself first despite what you’ve been taught never gets easier.
The first place one most often looks when they begin the work of boundary building, or re-building (a lady’s work is never done), is the place where your energy leaks. Inspect the part of the pie that never seems shaded in no matter how often you attend it. Note the nuance of this section and how it relates to the whole.
If it’s money you’re worried about, think harder about money. Where does your money come from? Where does your money go? Are there patterns you are willing to change so that you might feel better? Go deeper. Are there people in your life who depend on your resources? How do you encourage their dependence? Would your relationship gain or lose strength if this dynamic shifted? What fills the space in you where resources deplete? Go deeper. Do you believe that you deserve the wealth (money, support, emotional care) available to you? Do you understand what your time is worth? You can do this exercise with any piece of the pie, whittle your way down until only the core questions remain. Answer those questions reverently and without shame, then build a room for each answer. You’re in charge of the rooms now, they are your inner mansion, your beautiful future.
There are more reasons to value your company than what I can get from you. There are more reasons to love you than what you offer others. You are not your market value, not your finances, not your acts of service, even though these things contribute to the whole of you. No, Virgo, you are more than the daily exchange of this for that, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you can earn the love you deserve the way of “The Giving Tree”—giving away parts of you until there’s nothing left.
Isn’t this an old pattern, Virgo, isn’t this a groove you wore into the floor of your spirit a long time ago that you keep sliding into as if it’s second nature to your very way of being? There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that there’s value in your care and beauty in the gifts you give dear ones, but neither of those things is as astounding as your heart, which glows softly on its own and needs only to be witnessed to be adored.
Perhaps the problem isn’t so simple. Perhaps it’s not about what you keep doing in the face of old circumstances, but why it is you refuse to manifest new ones or change the ones you’ve got. When the ghost of self-doubt and indecision keeps knocking on your door, don’t get mad at the ghost. Look around at who you’ve got on the other side of the door in the room with you. Ask yourself who the ghost wants. Who is his family? Are your actions also ghosts of a former you? You know what you need to do to feel better; I’ll tell you now you’re strong enough to do it.
With the lunar eclipse hours behind us, and Venus slowly sliding into Pisces as February progresses, emotions run high, but dreams run deeper. It might seem counter to the hands you’ve been dealt so far, but the theme of the month is optimism, Libra, and it’s not old hat for you. It’s hard to bound unrestrained into the future when so much of you knows exactly what you’ll lose when you get there. You’re too smart for your own good, analyzing the results before they’ve come in, too much the scientist and rarely ever the tree the scientist rests under.
This month, pretend you are the tree instead. Imagine you know what a tree knows. Her roots finger the soil and tap deep into the core. She knows the ground beneath her better than she knows who visits her or sits at her base, and this gives her peace. You think you know the future? A tree knows the future; each season is the same for her, the branches bud, flower, fruit, fall, and wait for the wind to shake what’s dead to the ground.
Still, the tree is no less a miracle. If the wind were too strong, the weather too severe, if it took her up by the roots and made of her a log—the immensity of her life would be startling—you catch your breath when you see those roots like bones out in the sun. Just because you know everything doesn’t mean you know anything. Just because you’ve been burned before doesn’t mean you’re better off not trying. If you’re looking to root somewhere, root in your own ground. If you want to flower, flower.
We all know growth isn’t linear, but it’s never a bad idea to repeat the phrase so here goes: Growth isn’t linear, you fool. Okay, I added the “you fool” in for my own amusement but, hey, we’re all fools sometimes. Fools because we let our illusions get the best of us and fools because we let our mistakes guide us to our wisdom rather than allowing our wisdom to guide us away from our mistakes. Then in our sorrow, we weep around, softly singing that one song by Me'Shell NdegéOcello, “What kind of fool am I that you so easily set me aside… you made a fool of me… tell me why?”
I’ll tell you why: The moments right before we sacrifice ourselves on the altar of our dignity are delicious, full of risk, and always a gamble. There’s a sense that even if they don’t pay off, the story of trying will have been worth it.
Yeah, you’re extreme, and you’re prepared to own that about your nature. What’s harder to own is that you’re soft at the center, easily wounded, and bad at letting go. Now that Jupiter is yours again, now that winter is standing on her last fierce leg, now that you’ve committed your energy to your own well-being, it’s time to recognize what your extremes cost you. How you gonna lie around sacrificing yourself when each puncture you endure etches itself into your memory as the ultimate proof of human cruelty? It’s not worth it, and it’s not a contract. If you don’t like a situation you’ve already agreed to, be kind, be gracious, and go home. It’s better there anyway, and you can invite someone over if you like—but make it someone who respects what you’ve got to offer.
I guess it’s better late than never to get to know yourself, and you sure are doing a lot of that this month, Sagittarius. The world is a lightning rod of chaos and Eros, and it’s not hard to feel it in you: the curious drive, the kind of whinny a horse releases right before the gate swings wide and she’s galloping after her herd or—better yet—running out on her own into the open brightening field. Does the call of adventure echo in your upturned ears, Pony? Are you burdened by the same old this and that you’ve been up to day after day, year after year?
What else is new? Never has there been a soul more restless. Seems like the only thing different this time is that you’ve got a sense of where it’s coming from and an even greater sense that your old habit of burning down whatever you’ve built and starting from scratch is no longer a viable solution.
But, old habits die hard, so it’s up to you to map a new kind of freedom onto an old life, and if you’re being honest, you’ve got to admit that the life you’ve got right now is barely old at all. What feels monotonous, what feels like forever, is only the beginning. One year of farming requires dedication, early mornings, back-breaking labor, endless rows meticulously supervised and tended to. Still, the farmer doesn’t quit. They know they have yet to reach the harvest. And, after harvest, the farmer turns the earth because the earth needs turning, because of intimacy. The winter, too, gives the farmer work, in the greenhouse and the cellar full of glowing jars. To preserve, to anticipate, to weather, that is not outside the cycle of care.
No matter where you go, you are your biggest adventure, Sagittarius. Write a book, flirt with a stranger, then come home.
When Saturn returned to you, a sense of purpose must have returned as well, a sense that there was work yet to be done, and plenty of that work had your name all over it. Attuned to your higher self, you have begun to see that the places where you once felt under-appreciated or unseen for your contributions are the places where you need to shift your gear out of park and into drive. Yes, the planets are lined up and the lane is clear, the lights are all green, some rockabilly babe is waving her two red hankies over her head, yet something holds you back.
The universe is watching you idle in your vehicle of transformation and wondering, What’s going on?
Negativity is a dangerous drink to sip from, and I wouldn’t advise it to anyone, not even my fellow Russians who drink of it like mother’s milk. Just because a certain kind of attitude feels comforting doesn’t mean it’s the attitude you need in this life. What’s helping you move around isn’t helping you move through and isn’t that what you want?
To know yourself a new way, to drive down the open road of possibility, to get in the race just for the heat of it, I want these things for you. Believe in the possibility of what already is rather than doubting what’s offered you and don’t criticize those who don’t meet your expectations if you can’t be clear about what you expect. Find the humor in communication breakdowns, let humor be your medicine. Laugh a little harder at your own foibles rather than hold those mistakes against yourself or others. Don’t you know that your laugh is legendary? Love songs have been written about less beautiful sounds.
Happy birthday, my gentle friend. Have you celebrated yourself this month? Have you gathered your friends around you in the spirit of revelry? Oh, I know how you do, you take up a whole room while wearing an invisible cloak, gracing everyone while keeping yourself all to yourself. Why don’t you shrug it off your shoulders this month, Aquarius? Step to the side of whatever obscures your shine and be plain with your brilliant demands. You want your work recognized. You want to pay your bills without gritting your teeth. You want that one earth-shattering fuck whose tremors will outlast every ordinary exchange that comes after it.
What else, Aquarius? Give it a name it and call it toward you like a dog that loves you, like a dog that takes your lead. Wherever you are in the great field, no matter if you are lone or accompanied, what you call comes bounding toward you panting with anticipation.
It’s okay to want something for yourself, something someone once made you believe wasn’t in the stars. Remind yourself you are the stars and you are the one who claims what’s in you. Commit yourself to the challenge of proving the naysayers wrong, to the act of showing up and growing up. Keep growing up and never stop—like the rising star you are. I’m being cheesy and probably you hate it. Well, I love you, and you’re going to have to let someone love you in the best way they know how and still deign to call it love—no matter what comes of it.
In the Tarot, the Hermit card arrives right after the Strength card in the hero’s journey and right before the Wheel of Fortune. The Hermit card is a figure wearing robes and holding a means of light, this means of light—a torch or a lantern—illuminates into the figure’s darkness, which is the cavern of their retreat and the shadows of their mind. The Hermit does not retreat out of fear. Rather, they have earned their rest, courageously pulling thorns from lion’s paws, relentless in their grappling with inner chaos. The Hermit knows that no matter what society has taught them about filling the void inside with the cacophony of other people’s needs, it’s good to be alone and grow strong in one’s aloneness.
This month, the shortest of all months, hold the wisdom of the Hermit close to your heart Pisces. Soon, you’ll lower your lantern down so that the Sun can fill your days with light. Soon, the Wheel of Fortune will spin again in your favor.
It’s a good idea to know where you hope the arrow lands before you take your hand to the wheel. Start cultivating a new dream, Pisces, build the foundation of it in your Hermit’s cavern so that you might bring it back with you into good company. This is the month to study what intimacy is and is not without placing any bets. Practice gratitude for the people who have carried you, admit that we can never know another person’s burden and what they’ve had to do to take ours on in addition to their own. When you’re ready, reach out with sincerity. Remember, retreat can be a form of self-acquaintance but pride is isolation without sweetness.