Astrocreep: The Look of Flowers that are Looked At

Engraved by Frans Huys (1555) pub. Hans Liefrinck
Published  August 2014
Engraved by Frans Huys (1555) pub. Hans Liefrinck

Engraved by Frans Huys (1555) pub. Hans Liefrinck

Word of this month’s Antigravity theme has reached me (despite my isolation in my remote mystic fortress). I considered providing just one image in lieu of the usual twelve star-sourced forecasts, but scores and scores of pillars of salt make for a dull readership.

Obvious: photography concerns light, perspective, focus. Perspective is the mother of proportion. Our vantage determines what looms large, what appears miniscule, who is dust and who is a person. I am not a photographer ( just a visionary) so you will forgive me if my strokes here are quite broad. Traditionally, photography relies heavily on the moment. From daguerreotype to polaroid to snapchat dick pix, the image depends on the subject captured from a vantage, with varying methods of alteration and artistry after the fact. Dodging, Burning, Blurring. Now a new photographic technology, a light-field or plenoptic camera, captures rays of light, allowing focus to be manipulated after the picture has been taken.

Our memories are a bit more like this new plenoptic technology. We refocus as suits our current narrative, whether or not we are aware of doing so. Just as in plenoptic images refocused, the output is low-resolution. We are an assemblage of fuzzy images. Like an insomniac scrolling through their own Instagram, we grope at proof of our documented selves. Maybe some of us look in the mirror all night instead, trying to grasp the relationship between emotion, affect, image. The face can be a raw field and it can be a mask. The danger lies in our relationships with each other becoming “mediated by images,” as Debord warned.

When you rend your sense of self-awareness or self-worth away from your constructed identity, there can be terror and freedom. Rend, apply acceptance, rinse, repeat.

I am reading a book about Scientology right now—and because it is not particularly special or interesting I won’t plug it here. It is more history than exposé, and it explains that Scientologists espouse some sort of extraterrestrial dualism. I had a Scientologist boss once who informed me that his “self” shifted up and to the left because of the steroids he was taking. Talk about roid rage. Even after reading this book, it is difficult to think of Scientology as anything other than a predatory, cult-like megabusiness  ( hmm, it can also be hard to think of Christianity or the State as anything  other than that too—wait a sec!). My point is, by pointing to a “sense of self ” isolated from an identity, I don’t mean to affirm dualism. A far cry from Hubbard, I tend more to the idea of bodymind embraced by Babette Rothschild, Lennard Davis, and more recently Margaret Price.

By isolating, naming, and addressing different parts of yourself, you can honor your desires and fears without letting them control you. That is the key to August. Tempers run high. Perspective matters.


 

Aries
In the occult, a “glamour” is a spell cast to trick others into seeing a thing or a person as other than that which they are. It is commonly used in love spells. This month, it is as though you have a glamour  about you, but it is not smoke and mirrors. You are attracting people to you honestly, though they may see something in you prematurely, qualities that have yet to blossom. Your challenge this month is: instead of revelling in the abundance of attention (and the abundance of ass) let your admirers change you a little. Become what they see. Use your discernment to navigate what qualities are worthy of seeking. Some of your new fans deserve this power.

 

Taurus
It does not take a mystic to predict that many people travel in the month of August, even the generally home-inclined Tauran. If you are far from home this month, you will of course encounter new people and perhaps new places. But a different kind of sightseeing will shake you up, send quivers down those thick tethers that usually keep you securely attached to the earth. That is because on your travels this month, you will see not only new people but possible other realities for how we might live, where we might live, who we might love, who we might become. Are you committed to your home life? Would you benefit from dabbling a bit more?

 

Gemini
Perhaps more than any other sign, you have a loose, separate sense of how others perceive you. Let me draw your attention toward  one aspect of that for August. Sometimes folks get scared that you are being disingenuous, but not like a liar or a bullshitter, more like a sociopath. I am not talking about  the reality of how you are, I am talking about a fear borne of others’ insecurity that can sometimes be attached to you. You have a strong,  agile mind. Though writ large we can not control how others see us, you have the power to influence this one tendency. Remember yourself as a child without much  control over your life or landscape. Embrace, release.

 

Cancer
O Cancer, you who are gentle and generous of spirit and fierce of love, have you been spending money on other people? Whether you have been paying the way for your partner, lavishing your friends with gifts, or just picking up the check a little too often, it’s time to tap the brakes. Better yet, stop. It looks like that might be difficult to do, so my question is: to what extent are you able to hold back from providing for others? What keeps you from investing solely in yourself? If there is a way to refocus your material support without demolishing your attachments and bonds, take that path. But if your reaction to my guidance is “I cannot stop at all,” something deeper might be wrong. Pull away willfully. It’s all about investments in yourself and your future this month. Not fun, not an immediate return, but necessary.

 

Leo
The inverse side of charisma is abrasiveness. Of all the Leos I observe, I watch women-identified Leos be received as harsh and men-identified Leos as compelling.  That’s not because there are innate astrological characteristics, it is because of the pervasive sexist conditioning to which we are all subject. But, because life is unfair, thems the breaks. Either way, Leo baby, you can’t turn down your ego during your most bombastic month! But what if you try? Who will come lick your lion’s mane, if you just lower your head to your paws? The August 10 full moon will illuminate the answers, particularly if you are a Leo whose birthday falls on or before that date. No matter what you decide, don’t get carried away completely by the passion and fire of August. Stay grounded by engaging in a routine that takes care of your body, not one that just lavishes it with pleasures and delights.

 

Virgo
You aren’t totally thrilled with where you are in life at the moment, but it is important to remember that to some extent your choices have been yours. Though they have been shaped by circumstance, molded in reaction to people you depend on, the choices are yours. If you own your choices this month, it might change the ones you make in September. In the fall, you’ll have the opportunity to pull a few thorns out of your side. In August, you’ll still be stewing in the pus and blood from those wounds. Take some time and space to lick those wounds.

 

Libra
A clarification: diplomacy as a characteristic applied to your sign by astrologers bears little resemblance to the international spectacle of State relations. Isn’t that a relief ? When I say again that you are the diplomat of the zodiac, now, know that I refer to your natural inquisitiveness and ability to empathize with detachment. But for August, a note of caution: your nosiness won’t always be perceived as curiosity, and vice versa. A warning from fellow Libran T.S. Eliot—from whom this month’s column is titled as well—“All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance/all our ignorance brings us nearer to death/but nearness to death no nearer to God.”

 

Scorpio
In August, focus on experimentation. Usually, because  of your curiosity and intensity, the whole world is your unwitting lab. Restrict your field to yourself  for now, and you will find a new source of inspiration. Scorpios feed on discovery and passion like carnivorous plants on flies. So, if you’re feeling honed in on one particular person or one particular fear, resist the urge to lure it in like a Venus Fly Trap. Get a little hungry and you’ll find new food elsewhere. Convince yourself to focus on more solitary work—even if you have to frame it temporarily as playing hard to get—and your vast internal library will expand. Your lexicon of passions and seductions will grow. You’re a mad scientist. You’re on your level. Stay up there and observe.

 

Sagittarius
If your universe has been in soft- focus lately, all glow and haze and fondness, it’s okay. You’re still the independent wild one you see yourself to be. So don’t be scared of big love. It’s understandable if you are, because in addition to being fiercely free (verging on fickle) you also know quite a bit about the big sad. Take that information and use it to be measuredly cautious before making big life changes. But love and sadness have a complicated relationship, not nearly such a simple cause-and-effect one as most people believe. What’s the good kind of caution? Where can caution come from, if not fear, if not memories of pain, if not in lukewarm warnings or reassurances from friends? Find out and you’ll unlock the key to relaxing into the big love. Also, this has nothing to do with polygamy or Mormonism.

 

Capricorn
In your work this month, you’ll uncover a creative or relational block you didn’t know you had. It will knock you on your ass for a bit, while you process the implications of your discovery and ruminate on your life up until this moment, seeing everything through the lens of this new information or new awareness. But be a little easier on yourself and you will be able to pick yourself back up. Remember, you can’t unblock what you can’t see. That which is illuminated might be worked upon. Find new tools, something that feels unfamiliar but interesting. If you’re an atheist, attend a mass or a meditation- centered ritual. If you drink, spend  a week sober. You get the picture. Personal shakeups gain perspective in alien atmospheres. You can do this work.

 

Aquarius
You’re involved—or at least invested—in a struggle with other  people for a cause which you consider moral. The dark side of your concern for the greater good is a bitter indifference toward that  which you deem insignificant. Smugness is a red flag that you’re wrong. Comfort can be a sign that  you’re not being brave. Unease is a tugging on your sleeve, a part of your recent past that you wish to sweep under the rug, for what you perceive to be the greater good. Are you quick to point out hypocrisy in others but forgiving of it in yourself? Humility is the best marinade for fervently-held beliefs.

 

Pisces
Self-care practices you have developed in this most recent phase  of your life are either paying off, or you’re paying for them. If you have been focusing on eating well and getting your heart rate up, your health is about to level up. If you’ve been treating your body more like a dumpster and less like a temple, and keeping your heart rate up only with panic attacks, the effects are starting to show. But these effects won’t just be playing out on your body, they’ll be manifesting in your personal life. Who you become sculpts who you meet, who is drawn to you, who you are able to perceive around you. Keep your eyes open for newness in that arena, and ponder what it reflects about how you’ve been taking care of yourself.

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