Astrocreep: Space Bachtober

Published  October 2014
From "On the Writings of the Insane, with Illustrations" Collected by G. Mackenzie Bacon, MD, medical superintendent of the Cambridgeshire County Asylum (1870).

From “On the Writings of the Insane, with Illustrations” Collected by
G. Mackenzie Bacon, MD, medical superintendent of the Cambridgeshire
County Asylum (1870).

You know that thing where you hear about something for the first time—a person, a movie, an author—then all of a sudden it’s everywhere? This phenomenon can be easily explained by the efficacy of data mining and personalized ad algorithms. That’s the Scully explanation. The Mulder explanation has more to do with serendipity, destiny and of course patterns—the extent to which you understand those patterns as being imposed by your mind versus dictated by an outside force is the extent of your paranoia, or faith, or both. For me, a mystic with significant Scorpio in my chart, there is no better sensation than following a hunch. Because findings and explanations often fall somewhere on the insufficient-disappointing spectrum, I’ve learned to relish the feeling of being hot on a trail and to have that focused inquisitiveness as the object of my desire rather than answers.

In October, I encourage you to learn to love the hunt for meaning, too, and to appreciate your co-conspirators on that journey. Exercise your mind by searching for the relationships between seemingly disconnected events and objects. Uncritically accept nothing. Understand madness as inchoate reason and sanity as imminent madness, made intelligible only by context, frame, your personal lens. Exercise your mind by switching between lenses.

Lately if I’m feeling bent out of shape, I listen to “Music from Earth,” the content of an extremely limited pressing by an unusual record label. It’s the record on Voyager, a compilation designed to convey sonic information about human Earth society. Pair this with the live stream from the International Space Station (ISS), and you have a potent meditative alternative to aimless web browsing. The record opens with Bach and is punctuated with his work throughout. I’m not even a baroque girl, usually more inclined toward Russian romantic classical (or Górecki when I’m brave); their music provides a thought-provoking soundtrack to viewing Earth from outer space too. But the association I’ve formed between Bach and the ISS routine is so effective and soothing that instantly, in reaction to the opening notes of Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F, gravity relaxes its grip on something inside me.

While we are floating in outer space, here is some news from that neighborhood. Mercury is retrograde beginning October 4th. The challenges and gifts of a Mercury retrograde have already been covered in my column, and you can check the website to remind yourself of this thrice-yearly event’s portents. The full moon lunar eclipse on October 8th in Aries marks a time where troubled relationships may come to a formal close. It appears to me in the form of a bold change wearing a cloak of passivity: if you’ve been living with the knowledge that a friend or partner is unhappy with you, the eclipse may offer a moment where you will be forced to break up with yourself.

Be graceful, not self-righteous about the method of your severance, and you will heal faster. October 23 brings a solar eclipse just as the sun enters Scorpio, charging us up with courage to face the unknown.


P.S. Don’t forget to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, October 13!

Any person or organization that  shreds your self esteem and publicly humiliates you as an entry point for your enlightenment or personal betterment ought to be given a wide berth. Whether it’s more like Synanon’s “the Game,” or TLC’s What Not To Wear (in which the appearance of a person’s chest was described as “like putting a grapefruit in a slingshot meant for a pebble”), it’s a big red toxic flag. Run in the other direction if you find yourself surrounded by forces tearing you apart for your own good

Utilize the retrograde by confronting health issues that you’ve placed on the back burner or swept under  the rug (choose whichever adage is closest to your method of coping with discomfort). Tending to your bodily needs may renew or extend your patience with others, specifically people who place regular demands on your time or energy. That category of person  wins the superlative award of Most Likely to Test Your Last Nerve, but your irritation can mask an important truth about your interdependence with others.

Mercury is your ruler, and this retrograde presents an opportunity to clear debris from an area of your life in which flotsam and jetsam have been collecting—stay with the metaphor and picture your life trajectory as a current that inevitably produces waste, which is wont to collect on stationary players and obstacles. If you stay on your current path, you will eventually change to accommodate these barriers or factors. But if you confront them, you can become more powerful, surging with more breadth.

Enduring an unresolved conflict with a loved one is nails on a chalkboard to a Cancer, but you may have to sit with that discomfort for a while this month. Your goodwill will only get you so far, but it won’t even do that when withdrawn if not immediately accepted.  Stamina, here, will serve you well, both in navigating interpersonal conflict and in character building. Cancers can tend  toward hedonism, and I have no beef with that, but a little calculated distress is pleasure’s best sauce.

Your progress on a creative endeavor that has occupied your attention since Spring is plateauing, and you’re feeling impatient with yourself. Frustration is likely to peak with the full moon. When your impatience with yourself leads you toward global thinking, use those  thoughts as a guide toward areas of your life requiring spiritual nurturing. For example, if your water-treading on a specific project makes you feel like a failure in your career, be compassionate toward the part of yourself that feels the need to measure your self-worth by career accomplishments.

My neurotic angel, if your hopes are being dashed it might be because they are impossible. I am not the kind of spiritual advisor who warns against impossible dreams, but in order to diminish future suffering it helps to at least know they are impossible. Otherwise the knife in your side is always twisting. If you have been pouring love into an impossible dream, try to redirect that love toward  yourself this month. You will need it: your habit of negative brooding  will be exacerbated by the perceived  movements of your ruler, Mercury. 

It’s birthday season for you! As a gift to yourself, this month resist the urge to assist people with their personal tasks, especially if they are motivated primarily by the desire for personal gain. This could mean colleagues or other people in your fantasy football league (I don’t mean neighbors—always help your neighbors, especially if they’re right next door to you). Because you are genuinely interested in other people, you’re a natural problem solver. But someone has their designs on your energy, and it would be better to set the standard for this next year of your life by conserving your psychic forces.

You’re so busy that at times it may feel like you already know what you will be doing at any given moment of any given day this month. The hidden meaning of prescience, though, is the ability to cement predictive vision, which is to say that the thing will become true  if you believe your prophecy. If you maintain a fresh outlook and approach even your menial tasks with an open, curious mind, you are more likely to accomplish tasks in a way that will produce interesting results. The new moon and solar eclipse in your sign on the 23rd will assist you in your efforts against stagnation.

Having the travel bug when you’ve just gotten home—or even worse, haven’t been able to afford a vacation in a while with no sign of that changing—can feel very defeating. Luckily, there are opportunities to journey without ever leaving home. I don’t mean astral  projection, because its relationship with embodiment feels a bit like denial and that disturbs me. Instead of shedding your mortal coil, feed yourself with fantasy in a way that imbues your life with mystical importance. It might be time for the archer to become the LARPer. No shame.

Your biggest enemy, in general, is your own tendency to mope and ruminate when faced with conflict. In October, to maintain important connections in your life, you will have to fight yourself on this front. Instead of retreating into your protective stance  when challenged, try to just wait it out without growing bitter. You’re not the most flexible communicator when annoyed, and the perspective time lends to friction is your best friend  when you’re on the outs with your actual best friends.

We live in the age of perpetual self- reporting and self-documentation, but just because one can doesn’t mean one must. Exposing an activity changes the nature of that activity in a universe where everything from electrons to cats behave differently when watched. Make sure you are protecting the precious parts of your practices. Be thoughtful about what you gain by sharing, and be critical of your motives. If anyone is capable of productive analysis here, it’s you with your renowned skill for detached analysis.

An event from the previous phase of your life will be on your mind this month, making you seem especially  remote to your friends. Your natural tendency will be to work through this by daydreaming—and I would never presume to deter a Pisces from abstract processing—but if it is starting to bog you down, try a more direct approach. Intentionally confronting the specter through an artistic endeavor using automatic writing (or any method that  feels like it) can give you the tools to move forward.

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