Astrocreep: 2014 Can Get the Fuck off This Planet but You and I are Stuck Here, Bud

Published  December 2014

From James Tilly Matthews’ illustration of the Air Loom (an imagined surveillance device) featured in John Haslam’s Illustrations of Madness (1810).

From James Tilly Matthews’ illustration of the Air Loom (an imagined surveillance device) featured in John Haslam’s Illustrations of Madness (1810).

There’s a movement among science-fiction writers and critics to dispose with the term “dystopia.” The argument to drop the term (or at least use it a lot more selectively) is that it obscures the urgent truth about our actual world. A world in which most of the population toils under the boot of a powerful police state, one that endlessly places people and land into enclosures, one whose insatiable appetite for resources, capital, and labor is matched by a vicious internal logic. In this actual world, the ruling order surveils indiscriminately, kills with impunity, and deftly nullifies or incorporates resistance into itself. What is such a world if not a dystopia?

I’m not so heartless that I’d deny us our escapism. While many of the answers to our problems rely on us looking steadily at this world and our conditions in it, there is value too in looking toward speculative futures, alternative histories, the stars, and other dimensions. We must continue to dream and our dreams must be vast, creative, and unruly. But we ought not delude ourselves into thinking our world is more functional and just than those alternate realities of page and screen. That is a palliative delusion, and we must not surrender to the living death of giving up on total social transformation. Life is painful, and in order to survive we have to limit our vision and kill the pain.

My plea to you on the occasion of the changing of the calendar is: don’t let your entire actual worldview function as a painkiller. Sit with the discomfort of this dystopia we inhabit, let it into your awareness. The greatest ally to the dystopian ruling order is your docility. So drink or smoke or pray, whatever your vice of choice is when the pain and sadness are too much. Astrology, at its worst, can be a kind of opiate too, like any set of ideas nebulous enough to confirm one’s biases and not challenge very much one’s worldview. That is why I feel compelled to urge you, on this eve of a new year, to dream unruly, rebellious dreams and look at the world through clear, steady eyes. Don’t be afraid of anger or madness; remember that madness itself, as a condition in harmony with chaos, is ripe with revolutionary potential. Because in the words of mad, syphilitic Nietzsche: “Somewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states.” He said somewhere, astrocreeps. We will find it among each other.

On December 6th, the moon is full in Gemini, casting light on extreme thought patterns and habits of mind we ought to shed. The new moon is in Capricorn, on the 22nd. It is a time for setting intentions, particularly around work. On the 23rd, Saturn leaves Scorpio, where it has been since 2012, and enters Sagittarius—a move that could infuse measured optimism into the rigid necessities of living. This month I am offering you forecasts designed to assist in becoming more fully present even to uncomfortable realities.


You are likely to seek escape in sex, or the conquest of it. It is so exciting to think of being desired, and to be desired, and to give and receive your desire. I’m all about it. I’m no slut-shaming astrologer. While my personal preference is to avoid the psychic contamination that comes along with human contact, I don’t wish the isolation of the hypersensitive on others. One risk to full presence that this pastime holds, though, is the negative self-reflection that can follow a casual fuckdate. Remember that sex is an activity that you do with your body, not your body itself. Avoid self-objectification.


You are likely to seek escape sequestered inside your home or a long term relationship. You look at this as investing in things that you can trust, things that will last, life anchors. You are not wrong, but there is no guarantee that assiduously tending to a situation, person, or place, will ensure its long-term survival. It just helps the odds. The only thing you can count on is each moment as it happens. This can look like simply enjoying your home and your relationship in the moment, but I would push you to get out of your comfort zone more. At the very least, it will help lend some perspective to your nest.


You are likely to seek escape somewhere just beyond the present. You love plans, you love getting everything in order for the future. What you love is the feeling that you’re making things happen. What do people tell you you’re neglecting? Specifically, what do people who don’t quite get your life choices tell you you’re missing out on? They may not understand you, but they have access to a certain perspective, and you can benefit from their insight. Try thinking of their nags as hints, clues on your quest to get even more out of life.


You are likely to seek escape in other people, whether by submerging your identity in a relationship, taking care of other humans, or devoting yourself to your family. These are all such noble callings. Few will fault you for them, or say more than the occasional “take care of yourself, too,” if you’re lucky enough to be around folks who remember that’s important. What’s important? You. Consider the idea that you are interesting, deserving, and worthwhile enough to be taken care of by yourself. Not for show, not as a performance, just as loving—and necessary—self-maintenance.


You are likely to seek escape in solitary physical activity—eating, working out, masturbating. These are necessary and good, and superficially seem to be among the healthier, more productive escape routes in the zodiac. You do run the risk of neglecting the mental, the emotional, the spiritual, though. Of course, you tend to these arenas when you tend to your body. Look to your interpersonal relationships for signs of neglect and avoidance—that will be the bellwether.


You are likely to seek escape in your own mind, and while endless worrying doesn’t actually feel like escape, it serves to keep you mired in the past or lurching toward the future, rather than firmly grounded in where (and when) you actually are. You’ve probably walked into a wall because of being so deep down your mental rabbit hole before. So that’s one obvious risk of tending, shall we say, toward the analytical. Another dimension you may not have considered (despite your endless dissections) is that when you pick something apart, you lose the beauty of beholding it intact.


You are likely to seek escape in frivolity. Whether this takes the shape of idle gossip or morbid browsing of former classmates’ Facebooks, you love the dirt. If you’re trying to avoid thinking or feeling, you can squeeze volumes out of the face of a chess player on TV. Really! You’re that imaginative when tuned to the trivial plane; you can find diversion in almost anything. This sometimes reads to others like you love drama and blow things out of proportion, so the obstacle to presence is compounded by that social dimension.


You are likely to seek escape in a fight—often without realizing that’s what you are doing. It is your nature to pick at a scab until it bleeds. Even when you know what lies below, you cannot resist digging. Nothing I can say will change your love of mystery and your drive to know the fundamental truth. But consider the beauty and grace of an untampered- with garden. What do you miss if you dig the whole thing up? Furthermore, what may you uproot? Being present can mean handling the mysteries of life—and the people in your life—with gentle care.


You are likely to seek escape in travel. Surely this comes as no surprise. You aren’t without self- awareness, so it’s not news to you that vacations can have a psychic avoidance dimension. You’re smart and a little wise, too; you know that when you’re on vacation (or in vacation mode at home) you’re neglecting home-type problems. This includes life chores and the boring business of growing. What may not have occurred to you is that your spontaneous, adventure- seeking impulses actually serve to make you less present to some of the chaos and glory of life.


You are likely to seek escape in whatever is on your schedule, usually work. It feels productive, it tends to your sense of self-worth, and it certainly is in line with cultural messages about value. More importantly, when you are taking care of business you are confident in your orientation in the world. What would happen if you stopped? I predict a veil would fall and more of this life’s entropy would be revealed to you. You don’t always need to be looking at it, I know. But seeing the disorder and madness is part of the richness of the present.


You are likely to seek escape in rote inertia. The tasks and life you’ve set up for yourself are like a river and in times of overwhelm, you capitulate to the current. There’s something to be said for drifting downstream. There is a sense of covering some distance and of passing some time. But when you behave the same way as a piece of driftwood, or a dead animal, you aren’t fully participating in the present, or your life, or where it is going. Remember, even a little active wading can shift your direction.


You are likely to seek escape in vigorous explorations of the images and stories this world has to offer you. They are endless, and fascinating, and they feed your creative spirit. Being engaged in this way nurtures you. There is some part of this inclination, though, that grows from a revulsion. What is it you are repelled by? What tasks do you speed through with the least attention? I recommend the type of mindfulness meditation that demands full diligent presence to every task, to each small gesture that comprises a routine. The reactions you notice in yourself— even boredom, annoyance, distraction—will reveal inner obstacles to fully showing up to life.

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