It’s 2021, and I wish there was a song for it. The way Prince made "1999" or R.E.M. sang "It's the End of the World as We Know It." I wish there was some obvious, generally accepted anthem for the end of this demonic year and the beginning of whatever comes next. I'm not privy to such a song, although I’m open to suggestions, but I do know that the planets have their own refrain. The slow orbit of Uranus in Taurus like an ongoing melody, a theme. The dynamics of Saturn flourishing and Jupiter falling, Capricorn finding a new kind of harmony in Aquarius. Mercury in Aquarius, too, a unique chorus introduced and then reintroduced when Mercury retrogrades mid-month. The conjunct and disjunct position of Pluto. The durational, aggressive, rhythm of Mars in Aries restrained through Mars in Aries retrograde, not released but dragged into Taurus. The progression of Venus through Sagittarius, the dissonance of Venus in Capricorn. The more we study these planetary bodies, the more we make meaning of them, making meaning of their songs. Meaning-making is a human impulse, a sign of something human within us — something that holds life sacred. For this year 2021, the year of the Hierophant, the guardian of meanings, may each of us find meaning enough in what remains to write something new and beautiful into being.
AQUARIUS & AQUARIUS RISING
There’s a lot of talk this season about what Aquarius is bound to do for the collective. There’s a consensus that once Saturn met Jupiter under your stars and made a “Great Conjunction,” a change was going to come. Well, Aquarius, are you ringing the bell, too? Or are you leaning into your dissident nature? Assuring anyone who asks that if a change is coming — it’s welcome — but you’re not about to shift your life around preparing for it.
And, anyway, what would it mean to shift your life around? Hasn’t the state of the world shifted things enough for the foreseeable future? Yes, you’ve incurred enough change, enough upheaval, enough loss. If you allowed it — you’ve felt these thing beyond the bounds of your own small life — you felt it all, everywhere.
But, Aquarius, you and I both know that the kind of shifts the state of things create and the kind of shifts we empower ourselves to make are not one and the same. The former requires a certain amount of surrender, of acceptance. The latter, asks us what is within our power, and how we can go about taking our power back. Imagine what it might feel like if you spent a month making good on every promise you have made to yourself. Imagine if you changed even one habit in service to keeping those promises.
PISCES & PISCES RISING
It’s true that there are no guarantees, no certain futures. There are, however, probabilities. And while the future is and always will be subject to change, the more you choose situations and behaviors that narrow down your chances, the narrower the chances get. Am I being too abstract for you, dear one? Too vague? I can speak to you in transits. Uranus is a planet that signifies radical change, in a system and in the distribution of power.
On a collective level, Uranus in Taurus can shift our relationship to our resources, our values, and our agency. Uranus in Taurus is the will to change. For you, Uranus in Taurus can have a great deal to do with feeling understood by others, with making sense and meaning of your intimate connections.
When Uranus squares Jupiter (your traditional ruler) in Aquarius mid-month, the tension between how you want to take up space in the world and how you choose to might prove difficult to navigate. Even if the future feels impossible, you know in your heart that, not only is it happening, but it’s waiting for you to move intentionally toward it. Life, after all, isn’t just about meeting your basic needs. Survival is the beginning of life, not the whole of it. Concurrently, Neptune (your “modern” ruler) in the sign of Pisces will be preparing to make a square to the moon’s true node in Gemini. Every day you get to bring your visions to life; every day you get to choose a road that brings you closer or farther from your intended destination.
ARIES & ARIES RISING
It’s not easy to measure internal changes when you’re a sign that’s always making moves. The external adjustments accumulate and, all of a sudden, the external landscape is changed — the view is from a different window but the viewer remains unexamined. What Aries lacks for in self-interrogation they often make up for in self-actualization. Why navel gaze when you can just become something new, right? Not all reflection is navel-gazing, we know that, and certainly a year frozen in time will teach you otherwise.
Whether you've been quarantining since March or risking your life as an essential worker, you’ve certainly felt the effects of delayed timelines and deferred plans.
When making moves externally proved unlikely, your interior landscape came clearer into view.
Not one to get nostalgic about how far you’ve come, you’re much keener to spend January imagining how much farther you can get. The relief of Mars (your ruling planet) leaving retrograde shadow on the second of January is swiftly followed by Mars moving into Taurus on the 6th. The tangles and knots of the past few months combed through, you’ll be ready to move out of your own way and see what there is to see — get what it is you want.
TAURUS & TAURUS RISING
When it comes to appearances, Taurus people can and will act like the greatest power source in the room. Like a mountain in the distance, like old rock up close, Taurus babes are rich with steadiness. The voice of reason for others, Taurus people are guaranteed to remind you “it’s just money” when you’re stressed about the future and assure you that come hell or high water, they absolutely will drive 10 hours each way if it will make your life easier. This might sound like people-pleasing behavior but the truth can often be far from it.
Taurus devotion feels boundless, but it’s offered to a very select few. Taurus believes the people they’ve chosen are sacred, not only to them but to the world itself. When they take care of these people, they take care of their faith in their own intuition.
Unlike other Earthly signs, Taurus rarely yearns for validation. They glow inside their own generosity and validate themselves. For the most part, this works well. But stones sentient too and no one can live like a lone mountain without regularly experiencing the reassurance of all the other mountain and living forms that make up their Earthly family. Devote yourself, Taurus, to your great loves but don’t deny yourself. You are more powerful when you claim the love you deserve then you could ever be pretending life’s bearable without it.
GEMINI & GEMINI RISING
While certain chaotic Geminis take up a great deal or airtime, Gemini nature is much more precise than all that. Gemini people, suns, risings, and moons, have a propensity toward calculated thinking — especially when it comes to their ambitions. Once a Gemini knows what it is they’re aiming for (goddess willing) there’s really no stopping them. That’s why those aforementioned chaotic Geminis still find success and an audience. Geminis know how to strike a good deal and they’re especially adept at striking deals with themselves.
Even if it feels impossible most days, even if you haven’t yet felt the fruits of your labor, it’s important, Gemini, that once you strike a deal with yourself — you keep it.
Your word, let it be known, is just as potent when you’re answering only to yourself. The work you’re doing now, creatively and emotionally, is powerful and it will have an impact. The setbacks and disappoints that come along with putting yourself out there are part of the experience, part of the work. They teach you what you are and aren’t willing to compromise on the path “success”. They show you who is and isn’t a worthwhile collaborator for you — on the projects that you’re passionate about, at this thing called life.
CANCER & CANCER RISING
Being an emotional person doesn’t automatically make one perceptive. While descriptors like sensitive, empath, and intuitive are often used to describe the cardinal water sign of the zodiac, they’re not often interchangeable. One can, after all, be intuitive and insensitive, empathic and lacking intuition. These human qualities aren’t as steadfast as we’d like to believe, and they certainly shift depending on the situation. Anyway, being perceptive as a singular being is different than being perceptive in relationship.
Cancers like to attach, and attachment evokes behaviors that are more primal than logical, often fear-based rather than intuition-based. It can be hard for anyone, even sensitive crabby babes, to perceive the impact of their own behavior.
December closed with a full moon in Cancer and reminded us that it takes work to hold feelings that are tied to the past, to recognize what can’t be resolved because it’s already gone. This month’s new moon in Capricorn on January 11 meets transformative Pluto in the night sky. Imagine the weeks leading up to the new moon as a good time to reacquaint yourself with your emotional perception. Practice noticing your emotions and what judgements come up around them. Resist the urge to (“spiritually”) detach. Sit beside what you feel and ask: where does this judgement come from? How did it get here? What does it help me avoid?
LEO & LEO RISING
When we write the word love and we speak of something that goes on without us, we know that love to be effortless. Wisteria bloom over an awning and we love them, tomatoes ripen on the vine and we love their weight as we tug them free. But, would you believe it? When two or more humans are involved, love can become complicated. Love can evoke fear of loss, love can make us push people away when we want them closer. Love, between people, can look like the steady work of deciphering what we feel inside from what’s happening outside, what people have shared with us from what we project onto them.
If love is work all the time, then work must be understood differently. Work, when it is sacred like it is in relationship, feels profound with challenge and revelatory.
Work, in relationship, is different in every dynamic but necessary to the health and evolution of each one. If you want to feel closer to the people you love, if you want to feel known, it would serve you well to figure out what exactly your work is in those relationships. Most likely, it will not take the form of what feels familiar to you, like running errands and cooking dinner, although those offerings are enriching in their own way. Most likely, it will require you to be more honest about your needs than you’ve let yourself be. Most likely, it will require that you take off the armor of old stories you have about yourself and each other, and touch clumsily what’s exposed until your touch becomes wise.
VIRGO & VIRGO RISING
Alright, hear me out: what if January was the month you committed yourself to your own pleasure above all? I mean really committed, made a vow? What if the rule was: if it doesn’t feel good it’s not for me. Oh, I know the rule would get broken imminently. I know you’d probably have to pay the bills by doing something you find to be utter drudgery and surely there’s someone in your life that depends on you doing something incredibly exhausting. Of course, the vow would not and could not easily be kept.
But, what if you made it anyway? What if, in making a vow to your own pleasure above all, you could more plainly discern how many times a day you’re compelled to break it?
We are born having made this vow to ourselves and from the moment we sense — we are driven toward satisfaction. All discomforts are a reason to weep, all delayed gratifications an act of cruelty. It took a long time to believe that what we owe others must take precedence over what we owe ourselves, that we can’t even rest until we convince a stranger in a different city that we’ve labored to their satisfaction. This isn’t a call to the workers of the world, although if it were, would that be so bad? This is about recognizing that our bodies, our spirits, never fully accepted the lessons taught in the name of respectability and accomplishment. Your body doesn’t care about whatever imposter syndrome is, it’s made of muscle, hunger and blood.
LIBRA & LIBRA RISING
It’s nice when you have a role to play, socially. It can be lovely and comforting to host the dinner, curate the guests, introduce one lonely person to another. And, outside group settings, it can be powerful to spend close time with a dear friend and recognize their troubles from a few small words. There’s something Victorian about it, the care basket, the tête-à-tête. These small exchanges lend themselves toward intimacy while you get to lend yourself toward another without artifice and, in some ways, without much vulnerability.
Roles, after all, create neat pockets and parameters. But, in this current iteration of society, many of us have had to renegotiate what our roles are socially when quarantine, isolation, and solitude are best practice.
If, this January, you find yourself feeling at a loss with others, if you’ve found it harder than ever to connect authentically over distance and screens — when what you cherish is the subtle sweetness of being together — take heart. We’ll sit side by side before long. Until then, try leaning into your cardinal air power and challenge yourself to communicate in new ways. These ways might require a vulnerability you’ve skirted. They might require you to make a phone date with someone you miss and share what’s on your heart without tailoring it to their skillset or personality — without knowing how or why you’re sharing yourself, simply that you must.
SCORPIO & SCORPIO RISING
When SZA sings, “I’ve been on my empty mind shit,” I know she’s speaking to her ex, but she’s most definitely speaking to Scorpios everywhere. Whether they’ve mastered it or not, Scorpio babes have spent the better part of this year transforming the stormy sea of their interior into a cool, calm lake they can sit beside. Of course, it hasn’t been easy, and of course, storms gather over lakes, too. But, surely you should know by now — dear Scorpio — that success won’t be measured by a record number of peaceful days. Success won’t be measured at all.
Your commitment to your practice is just as much the work as the practice itself. Your will to climb over the hurdle of "I don’t want to" toward "but I need to" is a gift and it keeps giving.
You can have off days, you’re not a saint or a monastic. Fallen angel, it’s your right to lay around fatigued, surrounded by indulgences and filth, especially coping with a year like the last. But fallen angels have work to do on this Earthly plain, so fallen angels can’t lay around for long without starting to feel a little aimless — a little clouded. You know how to get clear, Scorpio, and you know that inner clarity is worth more to you now than attempts at closure or commiseration. The more time you devote to the lake inside you, the easier it gets to find that lake when storms gather around you.
SAGITTARIUS & SAGITTARIUS RISING
How does it feel, Sagittarius, to be a fire sign so deeply invested in the mental processes of others: so mutable, so social, so prone to overthinking? Air signs have a reputation for intellectualizing, but over-intellectualizing is Sagittarian domain. It must have something to do with being half human half horse — your lower half sensitive to every ripple in the environment, your upper half trying to make sense of the insensible, your back constantly weighed down by people who say they’re looking for a good time, but ultimately think they’re entitled to you.
Meditating on how and why people act the way they do toward you is a fun exercise, but the truth is, you’ll never really know. Not even if you ask directly, since most people have a hard time putting a finger on themselves.
If accounting for others isn’t as fun as it once was, then the only truth you need is that you’re just not having fun. Rather than wasting your energy and whatever fun you’ve got left in you worrying about why certain people make you feel certain ways and why you can’t just be more this or more that — consider the possibility that you’re perfect. You’re perfect even if you say something wrong, you’re perfect even if you miss a deadline or don’t call back when you say you will. You don’t need to psychoanalyze your missteps, you can just make them and then unmake them. Unless, of course, you’re having fun — then analyze away.
CAPRICORN & CAPRICORN RISING
I never really imagined myself writing this to a sign that isn’t fixed, but I’m compelled to remind you, dear Capricorn, that experiences are available in a gradient if you’re open to that kind of thing. What I mean is: you don’t have to live your life in extremes if you don’t want to. You don’t have to swing between intense secrecy and wild overshares, between hermitage and group hedonism, between judgmental restraint and indiscriminating affection.
You are, it turns out, not so fixed, and you’re highly capable of mixing your impulses and ideologies into balanced batches. You might even find that in choosing a middle ground, you’re less likely to spend time judging yourself for how badly those extremes treat you.
Perhaps, what feels like failure to you as actually growth. Perhaps you’re growing your window of tolerance after a great deal of hurt, and finding it harder to recognize how you feel without intense feedback. If living in the in-between proves too challenging this month, consider spending some time naming what that challenge is. What’s so hard about not committing to one way of being, what’s so disappointing about hitting the mark only half the time, what’s so wrong about not giving it your all when your all is precious? What’s the likelihood that your version of “in the middle” is more than enough?