Greetings, fair creepoids. February brings with it both obstacles and blessings. Mercury goes into retrograde on the 6th. Many fear these periods for their disruptions in communication, travel, and technology. But they can also be great times for completing unfinished projects and for self-reflection, building on last month’s theme of renewal. The Venus retrograde is winding down at the beginning of this month, granting us brief relational reprieve before we plunge into Mercury-In-Pisces’ liminal creative depths.
Valentine’s Day can produce astronomical amounts of insecure self- loathing and/or smug self-satisfaction, depending on your personal style. To encourage your successful survival of the occasion, I will share this inspiring parable from my own life. One Valentine’s Day many years ago, I was full of rage and despair. None of my coping strategies, used alone, would soothe my broken heart. So I decided to use them all at once. I dragged a TV into the bathroom, drew a hot lavender-scented bubble bath, fixed myself a White Russian, and rolled myself the most ample of blunts. Then I slipped into the tub and partook of my refreshments while watching High Fidelity. Every 20 minutes, I raised my foot up to the hot water faucet and infused my soak with more warmth. Sure, by the end of the film I was addled and pruney. But I was also comforted and heartened by my resilience and resourcefulness. What is the moral here, my puzzled little puppets? Try to provide yourself with everything you need—alone. The full moon on the 14th can make everything seem more dire (or more sensual). The full moon will be moving from Leo to Virgo, which may add some shimmer to your charm. It also might make you more sensitive to rejection or to any slight to your pride. This moon cultivates vanity and arrogance, too; so I caution you to use those qualities in moderation. My earlier allegory is one of autonomy, not egotism. Our survival depends on balancing independence with interdependence: when I needed another drink, I hollered for my roommate. With my body modestly submerged under the gently fizzing bubbles, he fetched me the vodka and Kahlua.
We need each other. And we’re stuck with ourselves.
Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky theorized that there were two types of speech: inner and outer. A person transitions from one to the other in the process of growing up. As children, before we learn to think silently, our thoughts are all out there on the surface. Aries, you usually tend to emulate this honest, unaffected style. But cosmic forces are colluding to alter your process. As adults, Vygotsky speculated that our inner speech was untranslatable, ineffable. When our knowledge is inchoate, it contains truths we cannot yet utter. This month, you will be filled with a symphony of inner speech, of intuitions and hunches. Experiment with this way. Allow it to percolate.
This might have been before your time, Cancer, but do you remember the arcade game BurgerTime? In it, the player desperately attempted to catch the meat and toppings on a bun, while the ingredients relentlessly fell from the black bitmap sky. If you weren’t sleazing around arcades in the ‘80s, you probably still remember the similar but more deadly Frogger. Much of this month may feel like a sick mix of those two games. But the end of the month, starting around the 22nd, will put you back in your zone. Until then, try to quell your restlessness about squalor and contention on the home front, especially concerning money. You feel antsy (and that’s understandable), because something isn’t quite right. But right now, just try to focus on crossing the street alive.
The ceaseless cleansing continues, Taurus. As this strange winter progresses, you’re starting to shift focus from your home to your life at large. If you’ve been dragging your feet in a job search or career change, make some moves this month. Don’t worry, I’m not advising you to do anything rash. Because Mercury will be in retrograde, your ideal starting point is the half-realized project or lead you’ve been letting linger on the back burner. Nurture this lead, weigh your options, and prepare for the real action to come next month. Brace yourself to stop dragging your feet. The stars are still giving you some time to cement your new habits for your new life, on the still bare slate that the January new moon bestowed upon you. Tread carefully but ever forward.
In the world of communication, of theory, of concepts, thoughts and ideas, you glide around with the self-assured confidence of a buoyant rapper on MTV Cribs. This is my house, you say, Gemini. Like Alien on Springbreakers, you exclaim with joy: Look at all my shit. Look at all my shit. This month I urge you to proceed with caution even in your own little empire. Navigate your domain with the vigilance and care of a deep sea explorer, because there might be a vampire squid lurking behind your bookcase, or an invasive/ exotic predator under your bed. It’s not all peril and hazard, though. By donning your deep-sea diver goggles this month, you will see anew and in particular refresh your creative approach.
My brave, golden lion, this month began with a true trial of your valiant heart. You may have faced a crossroads in a close relationship. The harsh look this forced you to take at yourself will pay off almost immediately, because the aforementioned full moon on the 14th is all about you, baby, regardless if you’re single, taken, or some delicious mix of the two (polyfabulous, polygluttonous, born-2-cruise, “It’s Complicated”). Aside from that day, this whole month is kind of a couple’s dance. You can barely conceal your nesting instincts; and why even bother when you have such a spectacularly generous heart? Hold those early February trials next to your heart, Leo, gently. Not like a grudge but a lesson- learned—or else, come next month, you may have to learn it all over again.
Though you aren’t the only one ruled by Mercury (Gemini is as well) I tend to think retrogrades are hardest of all on you, my delicate little Virgan flower. Wade out of the minutiae a minute to get out of your head and around friends, around the beginning of this month. You will have the opportunity to ease acquaintanceships into friendships, specifically the ones you delight in the most—people to hang out with while you quietly work on your own individual projects! You often long for an assistant, an intern, some fresh- faced energetic high-schooler to assign your most menial tasks. During this retrograde, be your own peppy assistant. Care for your errands as though your college recommendation depended on it.
If you and your boo have opposite schedules and can’t seem to catch a minute—let alone a date—you may actually find some time to be fond companions in the flesh soon. But this month is really all about the single ladies (and I use the term loosely). You know that special flavor of fly you apply when you suspect you’ll see your ex? Relaxed hot, too-cool, don’t need you. Try to rock that look all month. Not because you’re going to run into some sorry part of your history (although that’s always on the table during a Mercury retrograde). Actually, it’s because you might meet someone surprising around the 18th, but you’ll only feel the chemistry if you’re at your confident sleek peak. As the moon wanes, your creativity will grow. Many juices are flowing.
Sometimes life feels like one unending nightmare. Sometimes you run into old friends and they ask how you are and you try to manufacture enough words to camouflage the primeval, eternal abyss within. Scorpio, out of empathy I offer you this bit of Bukowski verse: “The city dumps fill/ the junkyards fill/the madhouses fill/the hospitals fill/the graveyards fill//nothing else/fills.” I know. This month, I suggest you retreat, but not in the sense of defeat or even surrender. Retreat into comfort but not into poison. Retreat into your dreams, into some of your many mystic interests. Here you will find respite and regeneration, some of the best “re-“ words the retrograde has to offer. You may even find a beautiful part of yourself you forgot all about.
For such an avid traveler, you’re rarely in danger of losing yourself. But this month, dear archer, you’re at risk. You have wandered far in some hidden way, and you’re dangerously impressionable. Beware heroes, saviors, luminaries and other such charlatanry. To find your way back, you must return to your roots. Use this eldritch retrograde to devise a roadmap of your true self. Trust old friends, not new noise. When the scales fall from your eyes, you may be able to seize a unique chance to heal past wounds, but only if you’re lucid. It will take more than bravery, which you have in droves—you’ll need some dogged persistence. Listen to Lungfish’s “Way Out is the Way Out” on repeat, with the covert Christianity filtered out.
Capricorn, each sign experiences the trials of the retrograde differently. Every person has their own vices. Every person has their own weaknesses. This is all just to soften the blow of letting you know that you are at exceptionally high risk for ex- sex, sympathy sex, and other such messy strings-attached trysts this month. Have you ever considered therapy? No reason, just asking. If you have, this retrograde would be a fantastic opportunity to give that a try. Project-fleur-de-lis.org has a number of sliding scale options on their website. No shame in needing to talk to someone sometimes, you old goat.
Happy birthday, water-bearer. The new moon at the end of January was your real birthday present, and you may still be basking in its absent glow. I’m hoping your radiance is due to a full night’s sleep and a brisk morning run, rather than the slick sheen of hangover sweat. Not to harsh your mellow, but it’s time to focus on personal health and hygiene. I’m really not trying to spit in your sundae, but this sort of isn’t your month, champ. Saturn has got a message for you, and it concerns a choice you made a few years ago. Something you keep re-upping, even though it’s the true source of your subtle malaise. If you can’t confront it by the time the sun leaves your sign, you’ll be locked in for another several months.
Happy birthday, trippy dreamer. Piscean poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning anticipated this phase in her poem “A Sea Side Walk” when she wrote “O solemn-beating heart/ Of nature! I have knowledge that thou art/Bound unto man’s by cords he cannot sever.” In other words, you will be in your element in every sense of the expression this month, with the rest of the world just along for the ride. It will be as though you have classified knowledge of reality forbidden others, and are thus free to be other than a cog. The new moon at the end of the month will represent the peak of your powers. Try to check in with mundane reality around this time, especially if you have one of those bodies that can get pregnant, because if you’re not trying to make that happen, you’re going to want to keep an eye on that pesky fertility of yours.