This month brings some mixed messages, my dears, but also enough slowness that we’ll have ample time to settle down and sort through them. Even in a pandemic, it’s Taurus season — time to rest in the abundance of what is green and sweet and alive and intoxicating. Where I live, poppies and lilacs are in full bloom. Cherry blossoms are falling and peonies are budding. What does it mean to slow down and tap into this source of deepest nourishment during hard times? It means a day of joy and spaciousness may be followed by a day of grief or shut down. It means we cycle as the rain comes and goes. It means we shape ourselves in attunement with the rhythms of sleep and meals and stretching. And in this focus on just-getting-through-another-day with some conscious reaching toward joy-as-medicine, we’re all changing.
We’re learning things right now that will be with us for the rest of our lives — not just as trauma patterns that might make us wary of crowds from now on, but as hard-earned skills in knowing how to act responsibly from a place of compassion, how to sacrifice, how to negotiate needs, how to understand our fragile networks of mutual dependence, and how love can be an action rather than a feeling.
It may not feel so heroic in the moment. You may feel exhausted, angry, and scared. You may slip up in your safety protocols because of how much you need to feel connected. You may judge other people for taking similar risks, or risks you consider more dangerous. For everyone still in lockdown, or just going into it, this can feel like a time when we’re being torn from each other. Depending on where you live and how much illness and death you’ve seen first-hand, this may feel brutally necessary or hard to really take seriously. You may be sick of the beloved friends you’ve chosen to live with, or missing deep intimacy with partner you don’t get to see or touch right now (or you’re sick of your partner and missing your friends—there’s no winning, here). Every tiny thing may be setting you off into anger or crying or depression.
This is all incredibly normal. Since this pandemic hit, we’ve all been living in the day-to-day, moving through an eternal now toward a future that seems impossibly far away and hard to imagine. Each day bleeds into the last, and each day we focus on what’s in front of us: reaching out to sick friends and family; remembering to eat something healthy; navigating sadness, disconnection, or conflict in relationships that seemed stable just a few weeks ago. None of us is at our best right now, my darlings, but we do get to learn from this experience.
This month, in the midst of our annual Taurean splendor, we’re doing some time travel. Venus, planet of how we all figured out we were queer and that queer love is everything, is moving retrograde in Gemini, while squaring Neptune. Breaking this down: Venus, the part of ourselves that wants to get in a hot tub with all our friends and lick whipped cream off each other’s necks (this is what we’re all craving right now, ya?), is showing up in a sign where it’s very mentally active — wanting to think about, investigate, talk about, and fantasize about our relationships. On May 13th, Venus turns retrograde and will stay so until June 25th — retrogrades are times when we go back in time. Imagine you’ve lost your keys while out on a walk and you retrace your steps to find them. Going back over your same steps, you’re moving more slowly and looking more carefully. The world offers up its surprises and beauties that you ignored the first time around. Finally, Venus is facing off with Neptune all month, and Neptune is notorious for taking us out of reality and into the world of potential and possibility. So, even as we go back in time to sort out what’s happening in our relationships (Venus retrogrades are often times when we forgive old grudges, find closure with an ex, or rekindle a relationship) we’re also time traveling to the future. Because Neptune is a portal into non-ordinary time, particularly the worlds we can create by imagining them hard enough that we start shaping the world in their image. Between the past and the future, staying embodied through slow, nourishing daily pleasures, we can do some incredible things this month.
Activist and philosopher Joanna Macy has an exercise to help people facing uncertainty and fear in hard times like these. Adapting that exercise, I’m asking you to imagine your future self — the part of you that survived the grief and terror, or the boredom and isolation, of these times. I want you to imagine your future self as hella cool. Wise, but not self-righteous about it. Deeply loved. Deeply in love, with yourself and maybe with one or two or many others. Able to show up for the hard work of intimacy. Able to keep growing and learning. Knowing who you choose to be responsible to, and who’s responsible to you.
This really cool person that is your future self was a tiny seed in this moment. This is the time when you started learning what you’ll need to know to become that future bad ass. So for this month’s horoscopes, I’m inviting you to look back on this time as your future self and remember what it was you learned back then, in the crisis, that has helped you become who you are today. As you live into these lessons, day by day, try on the future perspective. As you look back from the future, dig a little deeper into your past to see where you can do some healing. Congratulations—linear time doesn’t exist anymore.
But I am still making time to talk to all of you! You can holler for support and guidance at flaxandgold.com/readings. And as always, I invite you to read these for your Moon or Venus signs first! (You can look these up at cafeastrology.com or astro.com for free). For expanded horoscopes, with more information on the astrology of this month and more personalized advice for your signs, you can follow my Patreon for as little as $2 a month.
This was the time when you learned: How to break out of a rut. How beautifully strange something (or someone) is when you love it (them) enough to look closely. How to release your expectations and receive a brand new perspective. How to talk about what’s hurting and why, without knowing what comes next. How to listen to your own words and hear how they sound to others. How to listen to others and hear what they’re not saying but want to say.
This was the time when you learned: What’s worth holding on to and what really isn’t. That healthy love doesn’t demand that you’re always healthy (physically or otherwise). How to be with the people you love, without words, across distance. How to see what’s sacred about the food that’s coming to you through the hands of so many people risking their lives right now to feed you. That your life is tied to theirs, even if you never meet them. How to be in love with the vulnerable world, and your own vulnerability.
This was the time when you learned: How to name what you need and come up with creative ways to meet that need. How to draw a magic circle around yourself and say to boundary violators: YOU SHALL NOT PASS. How to reconnect to joy and meaning (see the first two). How to choose your own life. How to choose your connections instead of letting them choose you. How to say yes to the unknown, even when it terrifies you. How to let your dreams and fantasies rock you back into knowing that you are held and loved.
This was the time when you learned: How to really be with your feelings. How to let them move through you without getting caught on any destructive stories. How to let the past be past. How to put on your own oxygen mask first. How to send love telepathically. How to receive love telepathically. How to accept mystery and uncertainty. How to trust that you know how to heal.
This was the time when you learned: That you are never not chosen. You always belong. What’s personal is political is personal and those lines never stop moving through you and out towards your broader world. That you are one node among many that’s beaming light out into the world like so many goddamn stars, and none of you is doing it alone. That your heart holds constellations. That you don’t have to work hard to stay open-hearted. That grief moves through you and leaves room for joy.
This was the time when you learned: That even your smallest choices matter. That what you do every day shapes who you are year after year. That what you have to offer can do much more than you expected. That what seems invisible now — the ways you strive to learn and grow from your mistakes, the effort you take to stay patient and restrain yourself from judgment and critique — these thankless acts of love might go un-noticed now will be what people see most clearly about you in years to come. That everything you do to minimize suffering — your own or other people’s — matters.
This was the time when you learned: How to connect the dots between you and the people who will be your future community. How to keep aiming yourself at the growth experiences you need. How to let anger and fear be teachers instead of prison guards. How to break free from feeling trapped, without breaking any safety protocols. Where there is a spacious, open horizon. How to move toward what you know is right.
This was the time when you learned: That you can either resist or release. How to know when it’s time to resist and when it’s time to release. That stabilizing (resisting) and releasing are cycles you’ll keep moving between, and that you can learn how to surf those waves. That there are endings every day and that nothing really ends. That fear doesn’t have to be the end of the story, but could be the beginning of learning what’s on the other side.
This was the time when you learned: What it feels like to stay when you don’t want to. How conflicts can be worked through in time. How to say no instead of disappearing. How to ask for what you want and hear no. How to metabolize frustration and soothe yourself when you can’t have what you want. How to let each day be a new one. How to keep the faith, keep laughing, and believe in the better side of everyone who’s showing you their worst sides right now.
This was the time when you learned: The difference between offering help and fulfilling an obligation. How to delight in the first as a way of handling the second. How to value yourself for more than your competence. How to fall apart when you need to, and who to call when you do. The wonders of a good night’s sleep. What creates resilience, and that it’s okay to pull back when you have less.
This was the time when you learned: That you are at the center of your own story. That the worlds you move within are contained in you, as well. That your connections can move and spark and jump into creative new ways of being real. That there are seeds of a better life in this tragedy. That what you love shapes you. That you can change your focus and change your shape. How to shapeshift without losing yourself.
This was the time when you learned: That what you inherited from your family doesn’t define you, but you also can’t ignore it. That you can make different choices. That your home should keep you safe. That you deserve a home where you feel neither isolated or invaded. That even longing for someone is a kind of happiness—to feel desire, to feel love is a way of tapping into infinite beauty. That dreaming the future is just as important as staying present.