When life gets overwhelming, do you ever wish you could just politely slip out of it for a bit? Not in any dramatic or disastrous or even noticeable way, just softly saying “excuse me” and bouncing? Finding ways to live with the enormity of our experiences is critical to our survival. Though we are big enough to hold all of our sensations, thoughts, and memories, sometimes we feel frail. There are many strategies responding to this feeling, ranging from the pathologized, like dissociation, to the smiled upon, like meditation. For this month, I recommend a diversity of tactics. And as ever when invoked, by this phrase I mean firebombs. Loyal readers know that this mystic is always on the vanguard of explosive trends. I’m here to tell you that the hottest new woo is Google Trends divination, wherein you deploy one or many search terms like so many sticks in the iChing, and the machine shows you the waxing and waning of their relative popularity. For example, when you start to wonder if the world itself is creeping closer to crisis or if you’re projecting your own wild tempers and hopes, you can throw “abolition” and “reform” into the machine and see which claims the public favor.
When engaging with the world to any degree feels impossible, don’t forget, there’s always coasting or denial. Neptune goes direct on November 18th. It has been retrograde since June. If the previous five months have felt merciless—a difficult period of unceasing revelation—this is your opportunity to bury your head in the sand again, if you want. With other planets, deception or confusion is more associated with the retrograde period than the regular transit. But Neptune flips the script, forcing us to confront realities (material or spiritual, personal or global) during its apparent backward movement.
Mercury enters Scorpio on November 2nd. Your mind will be like a knife— penetrating, sharp—but like any weapon, also capable of being used against you. If you can hold this tool steady, you will be focused and especially persistent. If you allow your discipline to waver, you will be susceptible to paranoia and rumination. On November 20th, Mercury, governor of communication, moves into outspoken, loose-lipped Sagittarius. Predictably, this is a time wherein your mouth may be acquainted with the taste of your foot (even if you’re not normally into that kind of thing). This planetary position may also help you think and transmit thoughts with a more expansive vision. It’s an auspicious time for breaking down creative and interpersonal blocks, albeit perhaps with a battering ram (when a gentler approach would also do).
Venus enters Libra on November 8th. Libra is ruled by Venus, and this period of time is favorable for working out relational wrinkles, particularly if done with tender care. During this time, recent doubts about how much you’re worth to the people in your life may become clarified, and if it seems you’re not being treated fairly, your displeasure may move you to action. Mars joins Venus in Libra on November 12th. Mars, ruler of our passion-fueled drives, whether they be amorous or antagonistic, is lackadaisical but not charmless in chill AF Libra. During Mars’ time in this sign, you may be bad at drawing boundaries with people who you don’t have a strong interest in, because attention feels good. This can lead to you being perceived as a jerk. This tendency can be made worse by the pressure to couple-nest in the Autumn. If you’re a person who feels that push, check in with your sincerity.
Our friend the moon is renewed in Scorpio on November 11th, drawing our focus inward. Scorpio can be narcissistic, or amplify our narcissistic tendencies. If you feel positively about yourself when you become engrossed in self-reflection, use the energy of the New Moon to get your house in order (literally and figuratively) for the winter. If on this day you spiral into negative self-analysis, diagnosing yourself with ailments of mind, body, and lifestyle, try to beam compassion into those areas instead of criticism.
The sun enters Sagittarius on November 22nd, enhancing an optimism that, if we can draw upon it (goddess willing) could help get us through Thanksgiving. The Full Moon in Gemini on November 25th expands our potential to communicate, by speaking, listening, touching, and the host of other less tangible methods. Whichever variety of holiday you observe or avoid at the end of the month—whether that of harvest and bounty, or the other more white-washed colonial/genocidal one—it can be a rough time. Holidays have the magical/annoying property of transcending time, drawing energy from the disappointments and triumphs of the holidays past. Memories of, or direct encounters with, chosen or biological family can enrich and renew us. They can also embitter, scar, and confuse us, or cause us to regress to a more embittered, scarred, or confused version of ourselves.
If that all sounds alien and off the mark to you, congratulations. But if any of it sounds familiar, I invite you to use the Full Moon as a ritual of self-fortification. Draw upon Gemini’s duality to prepare yourself an alter ego, a public version of yourself that is true but safe to share. Nourish your private self by listening to what you feel, and assessing your willingness to openly communicate with others. If you can’t bear to do that, you can communicate with yourself, with your ancestors, tell yourself what you wish someone else would tell you. If all else fails, you can always excuse yourself, for a little while.
Every lifestyle article about the modern malady of “being busy” was written about you. They all sort of have a point, which they dance around, which is that valuing yourself by your calendar is a sad, Protestant codependency. These articles usually don’t mention that if you’re broke and busy, you probably can’t be less busy. Don’t read those articles. You are too busy.
This month, focus on the appearance of your habitat. Wax plants that look real are just as good. Even creative clutter still looks like clutter. Straighten up. Having lots of cables around your bed makes it look like a hospital bed. Charge your phone across the room. That way you can’t look at it right when you wake up, too. Don’t sleep in your clothes, even if they’re comfortable. It’s bad luck.
Your powers of seeing both sides, or holding two incompatible- seeming realities, can hold you back sometimes. This month you’re going to need to take a pause from your supernatural harnessing of many worlds in order to engage with something difficult. Show up for it around the New Moon. Recover from it til the Full Moon. Your brain is powerful but you can’t use it to crush all your feelings.
Contemporary life can feel like a maze of funhouse mirrors of other people’s projected happiness. On bad days, everyone else’s trajectory looks like a straight line, and your own wandering an embarrassment. When you feel like all eyes are on you, thinking about how foolish you look, remember that everyone’s eyes are almost always on themselves. It can be comforting.
There are a lot of good, probably DARPA-born acronyms, but this month yours is GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out). If you’re stagnating, no matter how busy you are, you can’t afford not taking the long way home, seeing strange streets, maybe getting a little lost. If you can’t give yourself better input, at least give yourself something different. The resultant output will be a welcome change.
When you’re stressed out this month, think about something wonderful you’d like to collect. Maybe you even do have a collection of it already, you freak. In your visualization, though, your collection is resplendent and complete. Someone you love is carefully examining each object, leaning in but not picking it up, and quietly complimenting all the little aspects that make each one so special. Does this induce ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response)?
While you’re ignoring your body and your phone, all types of calls and signals are coming in. Every capillary is like an antenna, but if the operator’s not at their station, it doesn’t matter who is on the other end. The conversation is ongoing, it has pregnant pauses—don’t mistake them for silence or you will end up being unintentionally rude. Having bad manners with mystical callers can have dramatic implications.
I described your symptoms to WebMD and it came up with a dire diagnosis. It says you’re addicted to meaning. You have it really bad. Maybe terminal. At this point you can’t even enjoy meaninglessness unless it’s meaningful. You probably don’t have long left. Guess you’ll just have to enjoy what’s left of the rest of your life now. Congratulations. Now you can get on with it.
If you keep waiting for your happiness, depression, or inner beauty to spontaneously manifest into some grand, groundbreaking, triumph-of-the-spirit work of art, you will be waiting a while. In the meantime, whatever it is that you suspect might be special about you could be inhibiting your success. Success is the result of proximity to power, usually inherited, or in rarer cases randomness or persistence. Try to make your own odds.
This month, you’re like the emperor in the parable about the naked emperor, and lots of kids can see it. The myth falls short, though, in its implication that breaking the spell would rob the emperor of all their power. If you can acknowledge that you’re naked, you can begin to see what other mechanisms are holding your subjects in their station. How do you feel about that? Do you feel it enough to do anything?
Some physicists now suspect that parallel realities do casually interact with our world on the quantum level. Pretty much everyone who wasn’t a scientist or an unfeeling jerk already knew this on an intuitive level. Maybe one day you’ll be able to see what life you could have had if you’d made other decisions, pop-sci journalists now fantastically suggest. If you close your eyes, but stay awake, late at night, you already can.
It can feel lonely to be the sole bearer of a memory, but in some ways we always are, because two people can experience the same situation completely differently. Make peace with that and you’ve licked one of loneliness’ main weapons. Dispense with the precious delusion that memories and experiences are so unique and you’ll have licked another. What’s left that stands between you and total communion with all humankind at this point?