• The Refuse Issue

    Horoscopes for January 2018 — A New Astrological Era

    The Refuse 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.



    January 2018

    It’s been dark for a long time now. In the far north, the sun hovers perpetually near the horizon, dipping below it for good in the early afternoon. These are the days when it’s hardest to believe in springtime. But this month brings us a shift in priorities and perspective: as Saturn moves into Capricorn, we’re in a new astrological era.

    Saturn, planet of daddy archetypes and diligence, has been forcing us to go back and check our work in the sign of Sagittarius for the last two and half years. Sagittarius is the sign of ardent, passionate faith in wherever we’re headed next. It thrives on leaping, bounding, ricocheting, and bursting into sparks. It trusts that the right trajectory will always be the one it happens to take. While Saturn moved through Sagittarius, we collectively felt our faith challenged and our joy more hard-won. Mythologies proliferated, mass movements arose and faltered, and the most encouraging moments of the past few years burned against the sky like a shower of sparks from a fire that kept leaping from tree to tree, trying to jump the gaps where there was nothing to feed it. Saturn keeps us careful, and many have been conserving resources like joy, connection, optimism, and adventure – while still dreaming of a world that offers these in abundance.

    With Saturn in Capricorn for the next few years, we are turning a corner. One the one hand, Sagittarius energy will feel less easier again, more buoyant and immersive. But our collective energy for serious, hard work will be focused on the sign of longterm strategy, environmental conservation, and what it means to build anything sustainably. Capricorn is a sign of working with reality: with the exact mess we’re in right now, with the tools at hand, with a blueprint and a repair manual, with the dogged persistence that is the only way shit ever gets done. Saturn in Capricorn brings us all into direct contact with the reality of our lives. Moving into this Saturn cycle, we’re panning back from easy wins and grand ambitions and learning how to buckle down and build something longterm – more vastly ambitious, but more humbly assembled, with patience and rigorous testing.

    From these last few years of wild shots in the dark, what are you wanting to hold onto and take more seriously? This a year that rewards focusing on exactly what matters to you most, and learning what you’ll need to make it a reality. This month also ends with an lunar eclipse in Leo, reminding us that we must bring our full hearts, passions, and playfulness into this project of becoming serious.

    Good luck out there this month, and get in touch at flaxandgold.com for a reading on your year ahead. And as always, the astro-literate are advised to read their rising sign first, followed by the sun and moon.

    “I came into the world under the sign of Saturn – the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays.”

    Walter Benjamin, Aesthetics and Politics


    Woken up with a start in the middle of the night, you feel your bed settle and shift like a ship that has scraped against some hidden spit of land. Last year, you sped so fast around the globe you scared your crew and the gentle manatees that had wandered too far from their coastal waters. Your wake was like the proverbial trail of flames left by a cartoon character in a hurry – only across the surface of the ocean, parted now to expose small fish baking in the heat of your passage. This is a year for anchors. This month, in particular, opens like the trunk you left on dry land as you’ve been circumnavigating every time zone, moving from better-forgotten-pasts to speculative futures. In the trunk are speculative pasts and futures you’ve been avoiding. You’ll need to shake them out, hang them in the sun, and mend them into some serviceable shape.


    In the wooly embrace of your favorite animal, you could sleep a long night being lovingly clawed and roughly tossed about. But whether you lie down with hibernating bears or restless housecats, your mission this month is to wake up transformed. Something wild in you wants your attention, and it insists you disrupt whatever feels most comfortable and settled in your heart. Resist the lure of routine, of beds that you lie down and arise from without anything significant having changed. Sleep outdoors, under the moon, if that’s what you need to feel the full scope of what you are connected to.


    There are times when the bustle needs you to be of it, to direct and react and emote and digest and fall down and do it all again. And then there are times when all that is needed is for you to marvel at the intricacy and completeness of a simple white handkerchief, for example, as you hold it up to your face – blocking whatever complex emotions may be playing out on the face of your breakfast companion. This month is a time for marveling. Let your reactions, when necessary, be well-timed and make wise use of your reserves. Let your actions be just as considered. Hold space for how much inaction you comfortably encounter.


    Having just rolled around on some damp and springy forest floor, you come home to examine what flora and fauna have made you their new home. You cannot see the springtails and tardigrades, but you do find ladybugs and patient spiders in the folds of your coat, colonies of lichen and moss clinging to your sleeves, and the magenta buds of the wood betony in your hair. Your task this month is simple but daunting: trust that every one of these is exactly where it needs to be.


    Like the amphisbaena, a mythical serpent with a head on both ends, this month offers you either venom or healing. Its eyes may be shining brightly from within, or quite dull. You may see only one head at a time, or face down both of them at once. However this beast slithers into your days, remember that its special poison works through paralysis – particularly the feeling that you are blocked and cannot move in any direction because some essential part of your being is painted into a corner. This is where the medicine comes in: remember that you, too, are not singular. If the amphisbaena is trying to intimidate you with merely two faces this month, astonish it with your several thousand disguises. It doesn’t matter if any of them feel essential, as long as they get you moving.


    All night, a voice from the ocean pierces your dreams. Finally you rise, bundle a coat around your pajamas, and trudge to the shore to investigate. What you hear comes from far out on the water, and the voice is a familiar one. It chides at you not to be afraid, to step further out into the water. You wade in until your ankles are numb and you can see a sparkle on the surface of the waves, similar to the bioluminescence of high summer. The voice is disappointed that you are still so far away, that you are being so slow about it. It beckons with a sense of urgency, now, and frustration, telling you the icy waves are merely an illusion. Your feet and legs, meanwhile, have become quite numb. Dear Virgo, you may feel a deep sense of loss if you turn away from the voices that haunt your dreams, but trust that it’s better to have warm, dry feet this month. Ask the voices to meet you half way, at least.


    If in welcoming the new year you’re still nursing an injury from the old one – whether it’s a physical reminder of defending an occupation, toppling a statue, or tearing down a flag; or an emotional rawness in the face of what you’ve witnessed and those you love who are still in danger – if this wound feels like a hard thing to carry with you into the new year, remember that capacity is always shifting and that what we feel deeply brings us closer to home. You may be far from home right now, but you will find hospitality this month if you welcome your own vulnerability.


    Some times call for action, others meditation, others that frantic whirling around that happens when you can’t decide what to do and then when you finally decide to act you’ve left your keys inside and then aren’t dressed properly for the weather and it takes so long to even leave the house that you lose your motivation to do the thing – and then wonder if that was the universe trying to let you know that you made the wrong choice. This month, your handy how-to-instructions from the universe about about how and when to act goes like this: 1) Don’t be alone unless it feels decadently pleasurable and luxurious – you don’t need to isolate yourself when things are hard. 2) Move towards what feels strange.


    In the complex system of hanky codes that have been around for several decades, you’ve learned there are as many sexual desires as there are colors and patterns. It may feel tempting, this month, to invent a new system of flagging for any particular desire – carrying an umbrella on sunny days to flag for umbrophiles to whisk you away to Chile for the next full solar eclipse, or wearing every accessory you own to flag for some maximalist decorator to come fill your home with eccentric antiques and floral wallpaper – but bear in mind that this is a time when what you ask for is very likely to be exactly what you get. Are you ready to fly to Chile? Can you actually concentrate in a room with so many competing patterns? This is definitely a month for creative flagging, but you’ll do well to be quite sure you know what you’re getting into.


    In a series of dreams I had about what this month would look like for you, we spent every night pulling some kind of heist. The one that mattered most was when we broke into the office of your philosophy professor to steal both his research and his bonsai trees, which were really an old-growth spruce forest in miniature, arrayed across his desk in pots that resembled decaying nurse logs. The needles of these trees were infinitely fine and seemed to reflect a more condensed crystallized sunlight. The reason this last heist mattered most is that our mission was both to destroy and to rescue – the two could not be unlinked. Bear this in mind as you begin 2018: the next few years will be a balancing act between destruction and conservation. Be bold, be wise, and be patient.


    This month, take a cue from Diogenes, the Cynic philosopher who once carried a lantern through the streets of Thebes in broad daylight just to answer when people asked: “I’m looking for an honest man.” Also known for defacing currency, mocking Plato, and living in a large ceramic urn in the marketplace, Diogenes faced even the harshest circumstances with defiant humor. When kidnapped and sold into slavery, he was asked to declare his trade; he claimed to know “no trade but governing men” and therefore asked to be sold to someone looking for a master. This month brings you some unpredictable twists and turns: treat them as opportunities for humor and defiance.


    Physicist Alipasha Vaziri of Rockefeller University in New York is carrying out tests to prove that the human eye can detect single photons. In completely dark room, he flashes photons accompanied by a sound, and then sometimes a sound with no photons. So far, people are sensing the photons accurately more often than random guessing would predict, and more importantly are more certain of their choices when they are right. Vaziri, who participated in the experiment, says, “the most amazing thing is that it’s not like seeing light. It’s almost a feeling, at the threshold of imagination.” This month, you may feel at times like you’re in a darkened room, sensing things you’re not sure you can justify or explain. It’s time for you to take more seriously the experiences you have that are at the threshold of imagination.

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