With Mercury in retrograde, still and seemingly almost always, it might feel like every message you receive is a message carried by a small genderqueer god with winged shoes who took a wrong turn somewhere and got to you just a little too late. You want to stay mad at Mercury, you want to chide that fool for not getting to you sooner and stopping you from signing on to things you should never have signed on to, but... you can't. You can't stay mad at a planet that acts exactly how it promised it would, especially a planet so red and lovely and winged. Why is it so easy to forgive a planet? How do we walk out into this mutilated world, which refuses to promise us safety, and look up at the trees with love even as their leaves begin to turn?
This month, we stay in Mercury's red shadow and learn how to rise like a Firebird in the midst of surrender. This month, Venus and Mars meet like old lovers, familiar in many ways and yet exuberant in their newness. This month, we hold the memory of a black sun as we welcome the full and brilliant moon in Pisces, a moon that wants us to hold the waking world and the dreaming world with equal reverence.
If you were to start from scratch, from nothing, it might be different. It might be easier to see what you’ve got in front of you without the wounds and weight of all that’s come before. You wouldn’t have to answer to anyone—not the commitments you’ve already made, not the partnerships you’ve worked so hard to build, not the people witnessing your growth who loved you once and love you still. But, you know as well as I that starting from scratch is an illusion; we carry ourselves into our new lives and what we don’t face head-on will follow us like a dark cloud threatening rain at any moment. Yes, even if (especially if) you avoid yourself, keeping busy and over-extended.
I know there’s a part of you, Aries, that feels the way forward better than anyone. While the world you’ve built around you cracked and reconnected in large tectonic shifts, you’ve been stepping back and reassessing your place in it. For years now, the planet Uranus in your sign has been a revolution swirling inside of you, a need to make a big change and be changed in turn. With Uranus in retrograde, Mercury and Mars in Virgo, the cosmos is calling on you to bring the revolution home and into your heart. Everything you’ve wanted, a life of good work and all the sweetness you could ever need, it belongs to you; but, you must believe you deserve it or do whatever is necessary to become the version of yourself that does. There’s no room for fear in that kind of revolution. Only courage, only love.
I know you might find this hard to believe, sweet bull, but there’s such a thing as being too proud. Yes, there were moments when your pride served you well and kept you above water, and it is good to remember the strength you felt in your bones back then—how you walked steadily toward safety and provided safety for others, as well. I suppose there might be some part of you now that believes this sort of strength is the only thing you’ve got to rely on. That no matter how deeply you care for others, how beautiful the community you’ve built with your enduring dedication, when it comes to asking for what you need, you’re better off not asking at all and just figuring it out as best you can by yourself.
I suppose that sort of thing might feel like independence, like self-reliance, like never getting hurt because no one has the power to hurt you, and there’s a little truth to that. Many of us would be better off being our own best friends, our own greatest loves, our own parents—even—if that’s what’s needed. But, Taurus, just because you’ve spent your whole life learning how to be strong in your aloneness, doesn’t mean you’ve always got to go at it alone. In fact, it’s your stalwart nature, your quiet unconditional generosity, that makes the people in your life yearn to show up for you. Don’t be so proud that you keep yourself from experiencing the nurturance and care you deserve from others. Sometimes, the strongest thing an independent bull can do is share her life with others.
I mean, it’s been clear since 1997 that the more money you have, the more problems. But, as we know, somebody who had lots of money said that, and not someone who was trying to, like, feed their family or get out from under debt. That being said, I know you know in your crystal mind that money ain't everything. It might pay your rent, it might make you feel like you’re that much closer to whatever winning is, but it’s not who you are—and it sure as shit isn’t going to make or break any relationship you’re in. The connections we build with the people around us should depend first and foremost on the emotional respect we have for each other. Sometimes, to invoke emotional respect in others, you’ve got to step back and cultivate it for yourself.
That means trusting your desire to spend time alone, to figure out who you are when the only person in the room is you. Perhaps it’s become a little bit harder to mean what you say when you’re not quite sure what you mean. It’s not strange to want to detach yourself from what you value when what you value makes you feel vulnerable. Your desire to guard your thoughts and act slowly is cosmic intuition. Twin star, whether you’re on the top of the wheel or at the bottom, your ability to experience success depends on your ability to show up for yourself. Know that it’s not up to your partners, exes, parents, friends, or anyone else to determine what showing up for yourself looks like. It’s your job to figure that out.
Despite the fact that gender is supposedly over (if we want it), the world seems to have doubled down on dichotomies on every front. From the rulers, who pose behind political parties as if your common citizen is more accustomed to recognizing the difference between red and blue than they are between cruelty and compassion, to the media makers who encourage you to sort your loved ones into piles labeled toxic and non-toxic as if what makes us act the way we do is as easy to understand as the difference between a Sharpie and a Crayola. It’s not impossible for even the most sensitive and understanding amongst us to get wrapped up in easy narratives. You’re a narcissist or an empath, but either way, you’re prone to manipulation or you’re in danger of being manipulated.
But, if the solar eclipse taught you anything, Cancer, I hope it's that opposing forces exist not despite but because of one another. There is no shadow without light, and when the sun and moon align, their combined gravitational forces will pin you back to the earth and all the earthly concerns that come with it. So, while you’re out there working tirelessly to release yourself from everything and everyone you think has held you back, don’t let your fear of being manipulated or undervalued make you into someone you don’t want to be. Let the full moon in Pisces guide you toward softness. Cancer, your heart is a hearth where loved ones gather, your warmth is essential to their survival and to yours.
When I was growing up in the '90s, it was common to bump up against the adage "knowledge is power." I'd hear it on TV spoken by know-it-alls like Clarissa or find it in the library, on a poster depicting a household celebrity posing smugly with a pile of books. I think I must have really believed it because to this day I can often delude myself into thinking that if I can collect enough information, I'll be strong enough and ready enough to do what needs to be done.
What's funny (but not “ha ha” funny), is that knowledge seems to have decreased its claim to power as we've grown older. Now, it seems that the older we get, the more we think we know and the less we know what to do with all that knowledge. And, yes, this is about the internet and social media and surveillance, about the precariousness and false intimacy of the perceived lives of others. It’s about watching state-sanctioned violence committed against marginalized people on video loop until you can’t feel or understand anything at all. It's also about your life, Leo, about who you are in this world where knowledge is a burden few of us can bear gracefully and the call to action becomes harder and harder to hear. And, here you are, knowing all the ways you’d rather live yours, yet, over and over, you choose to stay with what anchors you, polishing your chains.
Last night, at a Virgo’s birthday party, I witnessed each guest at the dinner table take their turn toasting a dear friend. And, while the origin stories of each friendship differed, the virtues espoused remained very much the same. Dependable, loving, the one to call and the one who shows up—Virgo, if ever you doubted the ability of others to witness your good deeds, doubt no more. In every city and possible realm, a table full of people who appreciate you fills slowly with laughter and good food. And, if you’re lucky, a cutie you adore above all others has decorated the cake in a way she knows will please you.
I want to give you the image first because I know that, despite your congenial manner, when the world gets you down, it gets you down to the ground. September will be an intense month for Virgos with five cosmic bodies crammed into your house like incorrigible houseguests. While the Sun shines on you this month, your cosmic dinner party will include your ruling planet, Mercury, stationing direct in your house (but still in shadow period, post-retrograde), so watch what you say or you might give away more than you’re ready to! Mars busts in on September 5 adding fuel to Mercury’s misgivings. Thankfully, Venus makes a late entrance on the 19th, a reconciling and softening energy. The new moon makes her way to you on the 20th, and she wants to know what you intend to do in service to your future self, to say nothing of the fact that the asteroid Vesta has been with you since July, imploring you to focus on your purpose above all else—even when it feels like all you can focus on is your relationship life. It’s a lot, Virgo, and it’s okay to take short breaks on the floor—especially if there’s cake down there.
No matter how light and unburdened some people appear, there’s no one who sits down at the table who doesn’t have their baggage waiting in the hall. All humans who have endeavored to build a life on this planet, to love someone or something, have self-narratives and complexes to unpack. And, chances are good that while you’re a charming visitor, Libra, you get complicated the longer you stay. You know this about yourself, and although you let your grief and your disappointment slip out of their cases from time to time, rare is the person who gets the chance to see what you carry with you and how much it weighs you down.
Oh yes, you know how to talk a good game, how to lay your troubles out on the table in such a way that they’re strange yet palatable. But, for whom is your kitchen open with free reign, and when have you ever trusted someone to take the bags out of the hall for you and place their contents softly in a room that gives you shelter? I ask you these things not because I want you to remember everything you’ve lost and certainly not because I think you’re better off alone; rather, I’m asking you to look at the people you’ve let in and the people you’ve let go with a forgiving eye. They carried their own secret parcels, they served you meals mysterious even to them, they came to you with a heart that needed shelter. And you gave them shelter.
All Scorpios were children once, all Scorpios were born with a clean heart. And, yes, some of those children were wise old souls, but childhood is built out of the myth of lightness, which is the first myth given to a child and the first myth taken back. A child learns to surrender what they know for what they hope to learn and, in that trade is a kind of faith in the world as a teacher whose claim it is that to know one thing is by necessity to un-know something else. This month I’m ready to talk to the child in you, Scorpio, who has come a long way and traded what she knows over and over in the hopes that one day her lessons would be done.
I know you want a clean heart, a good heart, and you have it. What’s heavy in you is the myth of your life, the accumulation of sorrows which have not always been yours to carry but which you carried for a long time out of respect for sorrow. You thought sorrow was your teacher, and you were not wrong. But, Scorpio, you have had many teachers: the enduring pleasure of the natural world, the generosity of strangers, and karmic loves that met eyes with you across wide rooms and even wider lifetimes. In Russia, the school children used to bring their teachers flowers, a sea of red gladiolas they clutched proudly as they lined the streets, a ritual parade toward knowing and unknowing. This month, clutch your red heart proudly as you begin again, long as you live, with lessons that are not done.
Saturn is finally going direct in your house, thank the ever-loving goddess, Sagittarius. At work, you’ve been diligent and tireless—giving way more energy than you thought you had the capacity, or even willpower, to give. At home, you’ve seen to the hearth, cleared cobwebs, cleaned house, and made space where those you admire could gather. In love, you’ve been consistent even when you did not feel consistent, you imagined yourself a pillar and became a pillar to support others and be supported one day in turn. In friendship, you’ve picked up the late-night call, validated the heaviness of another’s burden and offered to hold them as they held what you couldn’t understand. You’ve worked hard all year so that you might know yourself as arduous and diligent, disciplined in your care, and your labors haven’t gone unnoticed.
This month brings you returns, Sagittarius, and although you might not want to be the kind of person that awaits returns, I’m here to tell you that you deserve to look forward to the fruits of your labor. When it comes to you, the pleasure of good company which is steeped in deep bonds, the raise you needed, the recognition for a job well done, celebrate it like a trophy, like a hard win. The more time you spend wondering why you don’t know what you want a year from now, or why you haven’t done this or that, the more you dishonor the dedicated spirit you’ve cultivated within you. Raise your glass, Sagittarius, to the person you’ve become and leave beautiful offerings to the person you’re still becoming.
Perhaps these past few months have given you the impression that the work you put out into the world isn’t as valued as you wish it were. It’s hard for many of us to see the impression we make on others or the many ways in which we change people’s lives simply by moving through them on our path to something else. It’s doubly hard to witness your influence and your strength when you spread your energies far and wide, committing to projects and relationships that offer few short-term rewards in favor of achieving long-term goals. It’s no secret that long-term goals take a long time to achieve and even longer time to wash over you with that golden wave of success.
Waves of success are the most wondrous waves and believe me, Capricorn, you deserve to stand at the shore as they break open around you. It’s just that success might not look anything like you’ve pictured; success might already be all around you, just waiting for you to let yourself step into it. Success might have more challenges than you originally envisioned, and those challenges might feel, falsely, like defeat. Now that Saturn has gone direct in Sagittarius again, your power is bound to flow forward where once it was stuck, or dammed, so it fair to warn you now that the cosmos has conspired to make sure that whatever you believed held you back before, it’s willing to give if you are.
Good things come when you least expect them, Aquarius, even if you spend all your days and nights praying to something on high to give you what you need—who on earth prepares us for what comes when our prayers are answered? Who teaches to take care of precious things when those precious things are ours to keep? This month is an answered prayer, Aquarius, it’s exactly what you asked for, and so your challenge is to learn how to walk with abundance when for so long you’ve learned to walk with less.
For some people out there, the challenge of abundance is no challenge at all; some people are comfortable being happy and trust that happiness is their birthright, a state of being they return to again and again like a mecca. Chances are good that you are not one of those people, that for a long time you were the kind of wandering soul who only knew happiness as a reprieve from grief. What you know of love, what you know of joy, is never enough. What I mean is, you’ve got a good thing going and more good things coming, so don’t court the god of chaos when the goddess of fulfillment has got your calling card.
Let’s talk about the full moon, Pisces, let’s talk about it at the bar over beers. Or let's talk in your bedroom, looking out a window with our arms softly brushing and our voices low. Let’s talk about the ends of things, how they sneak up on you and insist that there’s one world where things could have worked out, but it’s not our world, and it’s not this time. Let’s chart the cycles that spell us, that pull us back and forth from the shore where earthly things gather, insisting that we learn to let go before we can begin again and, in beginning again, learn that letting go is imminent always, and a blessing most of the time.
Let’s talk about it, Pisces, because talking together is sweeter than crying alone, although crying has its virtues. You’ve been the wounded and the healer for a long time, the moon knows that. She loves you for it, even on the days you forget how to be kind and the nights you are selfish with your love because you’re just remembering how to love yourself again or for the first time. You have a right to be selfish sometimes, your selfishness rises out of you because you are full of dreams that needed your undivided attention. The moon loves you even when you forget to love her back because that is her nature, and in doing so, the moon teaches you that it is your nature also.