In the Northern Hemisphere, our temperatures drop and our daylight diminishes, while in the Southern Hemisphere, the days lengthen and warm up. There is, underneath all the chaos, a rhythm to the Earth and that rhythm is a through line for those who face the chaos as it comes. Here, it’s time to reckon with the fact that in the United States we’re facing an election while dealing with a pandemic and an ongoing uprising against a racist, militarized police force. Astrologically, we’re facing an election during, and in the shadow of, Mercury Retrograde in the sign of Scorpio and then Libra and then Scorpio again — unveiling, litigation, debt. A nation mailing in ballots after postal boxes are stripped from street corners during a transit that is famous for complicating our plans and thwarting efforts of communication. Mars retrograde in Aries has its own influence, as people’s right to safe and legal abortion is once again put in jeopardy.
Jupiter and Pluto make a conjunction in Capricorn mid-month, and if we’re to imagine Jupiter as a governing force, empirical the way Zeus was, then the Pluto conjunction can be a power play. Which is to say, a marked distinction between violence and power. Here, I’m thinking of Hannah Arendt who wrote, “Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.” Power resides in people, in collective. It's granted as an act of faith and earned through love. Violence is fear of power, fear of the people. Violence is forced internment, forced sterilizations, force as an offensive tactic to (power) cries of injustice. Violence in Belarus, in Armenia, in Nigeria, in Philadelphia. Violence that aims to keep our struggles separate and our power subdued. Violence that becomes banal and trickles into our daily lives, our doomscrolling and our ability to witness each other.
Venus moves into Sagittarius, challenging us to relate to each other in a different way — a way that opens channels of communication between us. November closes with a full moon eclipse in Gemini, a reminder that in our difference, no one is destroyed and the other one saved. As Gemini poet Gwendolyn Brooks once wrote: “We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.”
ARIES & ARIES RISING
There’s nothing wrong with retreat, Aries, in seeking small comforts where you can get them. Just because you’re known to be the kind of sign that spends most of its time making and doing, doesn’t mean you’re a stranger to relaxation. In fact, when you set your sights on a staycation, you aim to be the king of kicking back. No big screen big enough, no pleasure read long enough, no meal too rich. With Mars, your ruling planet, still retrograde in your own sign, your horses might fare better resting in the stable than competing in the race.
I want restoration for you, Aries. I want your battery charged for the long journey. But, in your moments of retreat, I hope you remember that taking care of yourself doesn’t and shouldn’t mean checking out from the connections you’ve worked so hard to build.
If you find your guard up, consider the ways maintaining a wall can distract you from spending time with what you’re guarding. The connections you’ve built with people who inspire you to grow and change and the connections you’ve forged between your intuition and your presence in the world are two sides of the same coin. This coin is the fare for crossing the river of grief and disillusion toward the future self you know waits for you on the other side. No theory, no book, no life of the mind can get you there.
TAURUS & TAURUS RISING
Everyone always talks about Taurus stubbornness in terms of how good you are at holding on and digging your hoofs in. Few talk about how absolutely and finitely you can let go when you decide it’s time. The truth is, Taurus, you’ve got a gift for cutting cords — a mathematician’s sense of what you do and don’t need. So, when the scales tip too far to one side and keeping the balance becomes untenable despite your ardent efforts, you know it’s time to give it a rest. If this season has found you on the other side of severance, it hasn’t found you with regret.
Whatever you’ve left behind, you’ve done in service to joy and your desire to access it more fully, more bodily. If you find yourself swept up in a feeling, of being in the right place at the right time, it is affirmation.
Out in the field of possibility, you have the chance to realign yourself with a truer notion of wealth. Not some immediate sense of accomplishment, not a tireless commitment to someone else’s vision but, the work of securing a sustainable relationship to your own pleasure. Which, despite all attempts to the contrary, refuses to thrive in extreme situations and dwindles the more it is performed rather than felt. Here, your measures should be slow and sure, which you’re good at. Interrogate how your outer social self serves your inner private self. What do they owe each other?
GEMINI & GEMINI RISING
Under the circumstances, maintaining the systems you understand is a valid choice. If the systems you maintain are creative, if you are a teacher, a project leader, if it is up to you to sustain and support the efforts of others, then your task has great power and value. Even if you feel compromised on most days, even if it’s hard to extricate the systems you maintain from the systems that suppress the creativity of others, your presence makes a difference — and the kind of difference it makes is up to you.
There is an aspect to the stars this month that calls you into reckoning with your social commitments, how you show up practically for what you believe, how you embody what you believe when you are in community.
On the other side of this aspect is your relationship to your body’s creative force. And, despite its ability to show up in your work life in various forms, this is almost certainly a sexual negotiation. Primal energy, its drive to be expressed, has its own timeline. Rarely can it be evoked and rarely can it be suppressed. To recognize your desire and obscure it is to perform weakness and call it strength. Channeled well, it can help you inhabit daily pleasures and expressions from a place of mutual recognition. When you sense desire welling up inside you, remember that restraint isn’t restriction. You can find a way that works.
CANCER & CANCER RISING
It’s a heavy season for most of us, Cancer, but surely you bear much of the weight. With so many of the cardinal signs hosting difficult transits and your governing moon linking with Uranus at the beginning of the month and forming an eclipse toward the end. Perhaps, amid all the charged energy, it might be helpful to remind you that you are more than equipped to handle what comes next, you are abundant with resources. The corporeal world offers itself to you, both ordinary and powerful — all that is left is your agreement.
“The moon tonight, there's a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing... I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for… I want to be seen. I don't know,” Sally tells Gilly in Practical Magic. “Maybe I had my happiness. I don't want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon.”
There is no man, dear reader, or person, or audience, who in seeing you will show you your wholeness. Your wholeness is implicit as the moon’s — no matter how much of the moon we see. If there is a side of you that you have named your darkness, if there is a want in you that threatens your sense of stability, there is a power there that won’t quit till it’s integrated. You have everything you need to bet on yourself, whatever you lose will be a necessary loss.
LEO & LEO RISING
In a world where we are pressured to share more and more of ourselves with strangers to prove our productivity and our purpose, it can be hard to parse the story of the self from the self. Even if we are strong individuals, even if we pride ourselves on knowing who we are. It’s not uncommon to maintain a story of the self that’s “ready” for consumption, even if it is rarely shared. Of course, it’s within your sacred right to flesh out who you are and why you are, an act of self-love and preservation.
It’s important, Leo, that in the writing of yourself, you learn to parse mythology and record. You get to be part of the process. You can ask, anytime, “What does this mean to me? And who will it serve?”
Self-mythology, at its best, can shield you from pain. It walks around the harm that’s been done and creates containers for chaotic emotions. And yet, it facilitates a great deal of self-betrayal. True intimacy requires honesty, with yourself and others. Whatever erratic energy surrounds you, whatever challenges you face in relating to others, whatever wounds you, mythology won’t serve. Your nervous system keeps the record. To deactivate rather than react, to perceive rather than project, to act from a place of hope rather than fear, ground yourself in what you know for sure. Show yourself emotional respect.
VIRGO & VIRGO RISING
It’s a beautiful thing to be of service, to feel yourself a useful part of the bigger picture. With your acute attention and your storehouse of information, you bring a lot to the team and the table. All this can be true and still not enough to sustain your spirit. All your social commitments, all the roles you take on in relation to others, depend your daily commitment to your role within your own life. If you find yourself on the other side of a liberating loss, dear Virgo, are you walking toward what comes next or are you lingering around the ruins?
What part of you stays firmly in the present, and what part of you fears letting go? Do your commitments, your piles of life, serve your growth or your distraction?
The answer lies in your heart when it’s at rest. When you power down, when your battery is depleted, what recharges you and what do you reach for? Are these things the same? Old habits die hard, and attachments don’t detach themselves, they require a steady hand and strong will. The energy is surface and submerged at once; the task is keeping track of your personal investments, your stake in the outcome. This month, focus less on figuring out why something makes you react a certain way, and more on what role you play in your reactions.
LIBRA & LIBRA RISING
Some people come to astrology when they get weary of God, or the idea of God. Humans like to believe in something bigger than them, if they can help it, and it’s harder to be furious with stars and planets that it is to rage at a merciless anthropomorphized divine. Once, after hearing that I write horoscopes, my cab driver turned to me and said, “The only thing I believe is that everything happens because of the choices make.” On, the surface, this kind of statement can sound like free-will or, conversely, like different strands of fate.
In some ways, it’s impossible to argue whether fate or free-will brings us to the other side of the roads we take. Of course, all actions have reactions, all choices have consequence.
More valuable is acknowledging the faith and self-belief it takes to take the path you were not raised to take. More compelling is the recognition that you have chosen joy when all your wiring predisposes you toward sorrow. As your understanding of what home means changes, so too does your understanding of family. Here is the spoonful of medicine, dear Libra, the monthly dose: you can’t choose what brings you sorrow, or suffering, or even pleasure, but you are powerful enough to change your relationship to them if change is what you’re after.
SCORPIO & SCORPIO RISING
Happy birthday Scorpio! Or, as happy as is possible, given the state of things. If you‘re reading this and you’re feeling far from celebratory, may you be reminded that every solar return is a gift and an opportunity to balance what is painful in the world with your own gestures of beauty. The past few months haven’t been easy on you, that’s true, but you’re not the type that flourishes under loose constraints anyway. Outside pressure grants purpose to the fire within you, which you otherwise keep simmering and low.
Still, just because you can cook up a feast doesn’t mean you’re relegated to endless kitchen duty. Especially when your ruling planet is retrograde in Aries and things are more likely to overcook or burn. Not to mention Mercury Rx in Scorpio, ensuring that all communications run the risk of betraying thoughts you don’t intend to share.
Not only do you deserve a little rest, you need it. The state of toggling extremes, over-working and then escaping reality completely, is a signal that your window of tolerance needs attention. There’s something there, of course, about self-reliance and learning what is does and doesn’t look like — refusing to set limits for instance, or keeping people who want to help you at a distance. Wanting company, support, care, is not the same codependence. In fact, refusing to admit your very human desires has a lot more to do with other people’s needs than your own.
SAGITTARIUS & SAGITTARIUS RISING
For those of us who have spent months and months declining social invitations, or furtively dodging in and out of grocery stores in states of hypervigilance, there is an accruing cost. On one side of the scale is a rising sense of isolation, or difficulty connecting with other, of loneliness. On the other side is an increase in detachment, a fear and resistance to negotiating social space with others. Not that it’s always so extreme or obvious.
It can simply take the form of being “busy with work,” “having screen fatigue,” or funneling our need for general socialization and intimacy into codependent thought loops and anxieties.
Has October taught you how to set your limits professionally so that you might spend November applying those lessons somewhere closer to home? Of course, a deadline is a deadline and, in times like these, it’s hard to say no to anything that helps you feel a little more prepared for tomorrow. But, how often are your broken social engagements intentionally repaired and by whom? Your spirit thrives in communion. When loneliness sneaks in with old beliefs of unworthiness, nurture your connections rather than nurturing your loneliness.
CAPRICORN & CAPRICORN RISING
Just because you’re good at self-reliance doesn’t mean that self-reliance is good for you. Yes, there’s something to be said for how far and how well one can make it on their own but there’s something else to be said about knowing there’ll be someone there at the finish line with open arms and hot food and a clean bed. Good thing that we are never as alone as we feel, in constant relationship with our ancestors. If this reads like a reminder to practice interdependence, read it that way. Perhaps something like that is easier to hold than this:
I know that you are losing faith in others and I know that self-reliance has proved both doable and devastating. If creating yourself over and over in attempt to face the day with fortitude has become a ritual in heartbreak, hold on.
Hold on and hold tight but don’t fake it. Performing calm and certitude when you are furious and afraid only depletes your connection with yourself — and your connection with yourself is your safety net, your sure thing. How else will you know when someone gets close if you’re not close yourself? If you wake up mad with prophetic dreams, know that your psychic powers are growing. Let the anger you tuck into your muscle and pinched nerves be the lipstick stain you leave on your mirror, a ritual and a hex for seeing yourself clearly.
AQUARIUS & AQUARIUS RISING
Being a fixed sign can, more or less, mean knowing who you are since you were born. Not that you can’t change — of course you change — but that each iteration of you is a deeper clear image of the one you started with. For many of your fixed kindred, this sense of self can read as a kind of aged wisdom layered over their youth, their lifetime a process of peeling back those layers as they get older and allowed to re-connect with their inner child. But you, dear Aquarius, are born inside a spark of child-like wonder that carries you into your adulthood.
Like children, Aquarians can sense emotional vibrations and relate to living things that are not like them. Their relation can begin with curiosity and lend itself to awe. Awe is worship, and so awe is your grace. But, awe can also get in between you and what you love.
Throughout your years, you have learned to guard your capacity for awe from those who seek to diminish it. How you guard it depends on many things, your natal placements, your upbringing. Perhaps you perform detachment when you are stepping back to marvel. Perhaps you don’t let yourself look too long, or too deep, lest your gaze betray you. No matter your tactics for preservation, your awe is intrinsic to your relationship with all living things. So, when you find yourself wishing to share yourself yet fearing for that spark in you, that is information — not only about who they are, but who you are not when you are with them.
PISCES & PISCES RISING
If ever anyone has tried to convince you that your desire to be accompanied is unrealistic or a burden, strike those words from your heart. You, dear Pisces, were always meant to swim in schools and attempt great feats in the company of like minds. You are a social creature, flourishing in relation. Why shouldn’t you want to mourn with those you love? Why shouldn’t celebration, especially celebration in times like these, be sweeter with dear friends? I affirm these desires for accompaniment in you because they’re beautiful and because it’s very likely, in this moment, that you are wrestling with a great disappointment.
Perhaps your disappointment is rooted in relationship to someone else. Perhaps you expected more from them, more for yourself. Perhaps it’s rooted in a milestone that you’ve reached only to realize it didn’t feel right or true to you. In either case, you have a right to disappointment and it won’t serve you to veil it.
Better to meet your present moment with acceptance for what (or who) it is and what it can’t be than project a future onto it that isn’t guaranteed. Even if it’s painful, even if that means going at it alone. Fact is, you’re not the type to be alone for long. What’s important is recognizing that longing for something that has already changed shape is longing for something that no longer exists. A whole life stretches out before you, with collaborations that compliment that life. But a life must be traded for a life, your old skin for the new ceremony.