• The Confusion Issue

    Horoscopes for May 2018

    The Confusion Issue
    Horoscopes 3

    Everything you need to know about the Earth opening up and swallowing your planets or the other way around.


    Corina Dross is an artist, astrologer, and rabble-rouser best known for her illustrated card deck, Portable Fortitude. Based out of Philadelphia for the last ten years, she’s currently splitting her time between the East Coast and the Northwest.

    Mayhoroscopes 4

    From Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky


    May 2018

    Something is moving underground this month, possibly to create some earthquakes. For the last seven years, Uranus, planet of revolutionary impatience, has been moving through Aries. Uranus is our courage to resist; Aries is the most outwardly courageous, conflict-oriented sign. Together, they’ve agreed that it’s time to burn it all down. And open conflict has been on the rise for the last few years, for better or worse. Aries helps us motivate, understand urgency, and act when we need to act fast – it’s also an energy that leaps before it looks and maintains a state of hypervigilance about survival. On the 15th of this month, Uranus will move into Taurus, sign of bucolic pleasures, slowness, and sucking the juicy marrow out of life. Taurus grounds us in what gives us life and steadies our nerves. Taurus patiently and stubbornly pursues the paths that offer the most tangible gains. Our liberatory impulses moving from Aries to Taurus may bring different tactics to the fore, but it doesn’t mean the struggle will be extinguished. Rather, this month begins a seven-year cycle of learning how to make the struggle more habitable.

    Uranus in Taurus may help us see what we’ve overlooked about timing, connection to the earth, and experimental ways of thriving through these austere times – ideally in ways that lift us all up, that demand fully luscious and sustainable forms of collective liberation. The shadow side of Uranus in Taurus could be a turning away from action and toward hoarding of limited resources – whether those are material, emotional, or ideological. The last time Uranus moved into Taurus in the 1930s, German Nazis were waxing poetic about their connections to land and ancestry, and appropriating artwork and symbols that helped them feel grounded in a sense of home and people. As similar movements are on the rise now, Uranus in Taurus will remind us of our desire for social cohesion, for the beautiful life, and for a deeper connection to our lived environments. Let’s remember that these things don’t have to come with purges. All that is divergent, messy, in-process, and unpredictable in our worlds is needed and beautiful. Uranus in Taurus asks us to practice as-yet-unheard-of ways of sharing our resources, establishing a world worth living in, and doing so in profound connection to what brings us a sense of pleasure and continuity.

    As always, read these for what resonates and forget what doesn’t. The astro-literate are advised to read their rising signs first, followed by the Sun and Moon signs. And you can holler at me at flaxandgold.com/readings for insight into your personal questions and transitions right now. Good luck out there!

    “And let them have a laugh at their passions. Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy, but just the friction between their souls and the outside world. And most important, let them believe in themselves. Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing.”

    Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky


    Across the bony landmarks of the body we’ve mapped Latin names, looking for external reassurance that what we can feel but barely see deserves to sound impressive. Latin, the language of the learned across hundreds of years of empires, exalts these hidden scaffoldings in our otherwise squishy and fragile bodies. This month there is so much you can feel but barely see: call it to you with the fanciest names you can imagine. Exalt the structural but also the mercurial and the delicately liquid within you: find new names for how these pieces rely on each other.


    As a lover of containers, solidity, and the beauty of familiar shapes, you may be disturbed to learn that on a cellular level individuality is only maintained through constant tension. Cell walls circumscribe a single cell through complex systems of electrical charges and water repulsion or attraction. The phospholipid bilayer and whatnot. But we are subject to changes in pressure, internally and externally. Our electrons may be stolen. Our structural integrity may dissolve. Your assignment this month, as the planet of chaos moves into your sign, is to learn to love new shapes that are as yet still in motion. You don’t get certainty right now, but you get something better: a release of an unbearable tension, and the promise of something as yet undiscovered.


    In trying to untangle the difference between neuroaesthetics and neuroesthetics, you fall into dangerous terrain – a vast internet full of speculation about the evolutionary purpose of symmetry. Picking your way between vaguely misogynist and highly reductive theories on “human nature,” you still feel pulled to find meaning in every branching sentence, each with a crisp bouquet of hyperlinks and an authoritative footnote. But here’s the thing: you could find meaning in the random fall of toothpicks across a blue-and-white tiled floor. You could read and categorize the cracks in a brick wall. It’s in your own sparking mind that the good stuff is happening, not necessarily in whatever you’re paying attention to. That’s just a way of following your own genius down the rabbit hole where it sometimes disappears. Luckily for you, this is a month where you won’t have to chase it too far. Turn your attention wherever it pleases you, as long as you recognize that you’re creating the meaning you’re looking for.


    If you find yourself daydreaming about the Kronstadt rebellion of 1921, in which thousands of sailors rose up against the oppressive Bolshevik régime and were slaughtered, it’s not because your martyrdom urges are particularly higher than anyone else’s. Rather, that uprising was a tipping point in which the inchoate and shifting personalities and desires of a fairly large group became focused through a shared sense of integrity, through a recognition of how high the stakes were and what they were willing to do together about it. Living in times of similar urgency but less social cohesion and no clear path forward, you’ve got plenty of reasons to romanticize glorious failures of the past. What succeeded in that rebellion wasn’t a new, widespread social logic or the overthrow of tyranny, but the creation of a world – however temporary – in which several thousand people understood their hearts and their consciences as aligned, and were able to act together. It’s time for you to seek out this alignment with those whose values you share, and understand what it means to act together on what matters, however temporarily. But remember: martyrdom isn’t the moral of this story, togetherness is.


    Philosophers have defined being human as the state of wanting to be somewhere else than you are – a near-constant awareness of discomfort and FOMO. Do you remember your fantasies as a child about being able to read the minds of animals, or to move objects through sheer force of will? Almost as soon as we are born into these bodies we begin to strategize improvements on their limited capacities. The fundamental inadequacy of a human body, and the consciousness embedded therein, is a lifelong frustration for you. This month, there are things you are capable of in this self, in this body, that will surprise you. If you can accept the understandable and infinite frustration of not being able to telepathically communicate or travel in time, you’ll be amazed at what you can do right now.


    Living on the West Coast where there are no fireflies, you are delighted and amazed to see one on a warm night when the stars are just beginning to show. It hovers about six feet off the ground, looking lost and lonely. At least, it appears to be a firefly, though others assure you that’s impossible. You try to put it out of your mind, but night after night you see it rising up out of the tall grass, looking for others of its kind. When you try to sleep it blows through your window. Its cool, green light pulses in a corner of your room – slow, questioning strobes. And your heart wrestles with what it means to be human in a space of intimacy with something wild and wounded: joy and grief, joy and grief. This month, remember that there is no joy without grief, no grief that is not encircled by joy. Whatever short-lived miracles you encounter this month, welcome them fully.


    Your assignment this month requires a photobooth. You are in a profoundly transitional time, but it’s hard to know where to persevere and where to drop the rope and fall back exhausted. Look for an old-fashioned photobooth that uses real film and dispenses long strips of four discrete moments in time. As you pose for the camera, embody four possible choices forward. Hold them clearly in your mind and notice if your features change enough for you to recognize each choice from the photos – if not, hold up your fingers to count which is which. When you have the photostrip in your hand and you’re feeling the vanity and self-conscious of such moments, cut the strip into four photos – your four potential ways forward. Without looking at them, choose one to discard – this will be burned. Choose another to hold close. A third you will give to a friend to hold that choice for you, and possibly begin that path while you cannot. The last place in an envelope dated 2020. Forget about it for a few years while you dedicate yourself to the path you’re currently holding close.


    Finding the right way to communicate feels crucial this month, but what you want is a lighthouse beacon instead of words – something that can sweep across the vast spaces between you and the one you’re trying to reach, beaming with full intensity what is in your heart. But all those intervening spaces where gossipy dolphins or scheming squid may be eavesdropping prevent you from making yourself as clear as you might wish to be. Even so, what you want to convey is already spilling out like ink across the waters, lapping out into the middle distance despite your efforts to hold it back. As you cannot remain silent, consider phrasing your message in such a way that anyone who hears it might think it’s for them, and be pleased, but the one you have in mind will know, and know how to respond.


    If, like Tony Makarios, you find yourself clutching a piece of dried fish (or some trifling dalliance, or a tired ideology, or a stale love affair) as though it is your dearest friend and protector, consider what you can learn from examining this situation: 1) What you are holding never was, or can no longer be, a vitalizing and generative force in your life. 2) You deserve the full bounty of the oceans and the earth and the goddamn moon, if that’s what will help you feel that your life is rich and meaningful. Understanding this, you get to choose whether to keep holding on to your dried fish or to let go. Sometimes something stale and hollow is still better than nothing. Sometimes the hand can’t bear to be empty. Don’t shame yourself for loving what’s close at hand, but do remember that you can raise your eyes to the stars.


    Scholars disagree about what Spinoza felt about what he wrote – was he passionate or Stoic? When he wrote of the dominance of our passions over our will, was this with a sense of regret or celebration? His texts hold a mirror to the biases (or shifting moods) of the reader. Do we dance or do we mourn when we imagine ourselves as sails, blown across oceans by our passions? You may have firm convictions about whether you’d prefer to assert your will through self-restraint, but your mission this month isn’t to debate the merits of passion vs. willpower – rather, the more interesting question for you is how to inhabit both of these poles fully. Do they necessarily conflict? Must one always win? What’s at stake in choosing one over the other? Where might integration be possible?


    As if transported here from a time or a culture where each symbol still referred precisely and only to one meaning, you find yourself stunned by how many uses certain symbols have been put to, including the purely whimsical. In fact most of the once-sacred, once-specific symbols you encounter have been generalized to represent merely themselves, in cartoons and tattoos and wrought-iron gates around old-timey restaurants: Look, A Rune. Here Is a Glyph. Marvel At These Mystic Sigils. It is as though meaning has been hollowed out of the communicative world like the seeds of a gourd, and it lies slippery and on the verge of molding in a tupperware container, awaiting cleaning and roasting that may never occur. Your question this month is this: can you live in a world emptied of meaning and make sense of your own life? If so, how? If not, which of those slimy-yet-potentially-still-nourishing seeds are you willing to clean and roast and redeem?


    At the house where you and I have lived off and on for years, it’s not always easy to make collective decisions. Some of us are always elsewhere when the others are present. Both physical and mental absenteeism proliferate, especially at meetings. Even those of us who are physically present practice being elsewhere, despite our best efforts to be here. This is why we pull out the tarot deck for important decisions – to gather up all those wandering parts of our consciousness and remind them to speak. Once, when we reached a deadlock and passed the tarot cards around from hand to hand, you offered the deck finally to our dog, who trustingly held them in his mouth, releasing them back into your hand when he’d tasted them sufficiently. This month, wherever you’re wandering, it may be hard to make a crucial decision. That’s when it will be time to pull a tarot card and put it in your mouth, holding it there just long enough to taste the full image.

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