Wherever Jupiter falls in your birth chart, it hints at a certain kind of joy. For one person that joy might smell like an armful of library books. For someone else it may feel more like the exhilaration of climbing the tallest tree in your neighborhood and being able to see your house from there. Jupiter offers us, in various ways, a sense of giddiness when we expand our horizons. It rewards making connections between ideas we already have and brand new ones. It likes to point us toward what’s possible, often with the encouragement that this is going to be really fun.
Wherever Jupiter is in the sky, it speaks to our collective experience of delight and exploration as our culture opens up to new ideas. Jupiter moves signs about once a year, and on May 16th Jupiter moved into Taurus. What we are learning here is all about pleasure and embodiment. Taurus energy insists on us returning to a sense of goodness in being alive in our bodies. But Jupiter is interest in learning something, in expanding on what we already know, so this isn’t just a time to smell flowers and get massages (although by all means, you do you). Jupiter wants us to climb a little higher in that tree. Or read a few more books. What is it about pleasure and embodiment that you still need to learn? Where do you notice resistance, apathy, or the feeling that there isn’t much there to think about? Most of us have fairly complicated relationships to our bodies and the ways they can experience pleasure or pain. Most of us could benefit from accepting Jupiter’s friendly encouragement to dive a little deeper into what this means.
So in that spirit, here is your required reading list for Jupiter in Taurus. You have a year to complete this assignment, and there will be no test. In fact, dozing off between chapters is encouraged. But you might just feel that heady sense of feeling your world expand that is the reward of working with Jupiter. And if you find yourself in that space, you may be able to rewrite some old, worn out stories you’ve been carrying around for years.
Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey
Taurus is the sign that reminds us we need to rest, and Tricia Hersey’s brilliant manifesto speaks to how something so simple can be revolutionary. Tricia Hersey is the creator of The Nap Ministry and this book has a resounding, inspired message. With powerful stories from her own life, she identifies how capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy become embodied in a kind of grind culture that we perpetuate ourselves — and the harm that causes. She calls for a return of what has been stolen: space to dream and imagine, space to rest, space to have experiences that do not lead to productivity. This is the angriest, most uncompromising book about rest I’ve ever read, and I consider that high praise.
Pleasure Activism by adrienne marie brown
This iconic collection about the politics of pleasure is slightly uneven, but that’s entirely aligned with what it’s offering: permission to play, experiment, get messy, and pay attention to what makes you feel good. Informed by Audre Lorde’s groundbreaking essay “The Uses of the Eroticwp_postsand ranging from interviews with activists and organizers to (fictional, I think?) interviews with sex toys, Pleasure Activism asks us to recognize which bodies and identities have commonly been denied experiences of self-determined pleasure, and to reach for that freedom.
Queer Nature: A Poetry Anthology edited by Michael Walsh
A generously thick book, collecting poems from hundreds of queer writers, Queer Nature rewards settling in and slowing down. You may think you don’t like poetry if you consider it a code language you need to crack. But this anthology of nature poems doesn’t need you to solve for x or answer any riddles, instead it offers lush worlds full of gender weirdness, seasonal changes, stickiness, and longing. You may find yourself wanting to live there for awhile.
The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
My body has changed a lot in the last few years. I can come up with reasons why — the pandemic, new health issues, getting older — but then I wonder why I’m coming up with these reasons. Who am I apologizing to? Many of us hold this cognitive dissonance of believing all bodies are valid but then holding ourselves to a different standard — which, Sonya Renee Taylor argues, causes more harm to ourselves and others than we think. Taylor describes radical self-love as a blueprint for a transformed relationship with our bodies, and by extension all oppressed bodies and the planet itself. That may sound grandiose, but I invite you to imagine how different our world would be if we stopped investing in hatred for our own or other people’s bodies. This book offers critical tools for making that transformation real.
Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit & Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction edited by Joshua Whitehead
This collection opens with a line from a poem by Natalie Diaz: “Am I / what I love? Is this the glittering world / I’ve been begging for?wp_postsWritten during a time of loss and global crisis, these stories turn away from dystopia as the only way to imagine the future. Editor Joshua Whitehead gathers stories of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer love in futures that weave together the natural world and cybernetics, ancestors and AI, to create glittering worlds where love is palpable.
Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat
Nothing brings me into my senses so immediately as the smell or taste of food. On the surface this cookbook may seem out of place in a list of books that connect the dots between pleasure and resistance, and I did consider choosing a book about unlearning diet culture and restoring intuitive eating, but I kept coming back to this one as giving me the most Jupiter in Taurus vibes. Samin Nosrat is not telling us diets are bad or that we should experience more pleasure from food. Instead, she takes it as her premise that we eat for pleasure and that we, like her, are interested in how to make that experience more pleasurable. The entire lack of apology for this premise is what landed this book here, and what makes this book subtly subversive. Nosrat wants you to learn how to taste your food with more care and attunement so that you can make your food tastier intuitively and I fully support that mission.
An Immense World by Ed Yong
When I was a teenaged Buddhist committed to non-violence in a way I interpreted as not killing any living thing, including insects, I read a book about how insects perceive the world, and it blew my mind. It didn’t make living in a roach-infested apartment any easier, but it did humble me. This new book by Ed Yong goes beyond the insect realm to help us understand how all kinds of other creatures experience the world through their senses. I would argue this is an innately queer experience as it expands our understanding of what bodies can be and do.
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
Poet Ross Gay’s essays on delight arose from a lighthearted idea that turned into a daily discipline: writing about delight every day for a year. Having this schedule, he says, developed in him a kind of radar for delights. You may be imagining, at this point, something in the genre of self-improvement through gratitude or having a positive mental attitude. This book is not that. These essays are alive with tragedies and complicated family dynamics. The delights are not plucked from the larger tree of ordinary life but admired where they are growing, ripe for a brief moment, just as real as whatever sorrow has recently watered that tree. Gay’s language is itself a delight, but by zooming in on these moments in his own life he is also showing you (without telling you, more by waving an arm) how to look differently at your own life.
What about you? Any Jupiter in Taurus must-reads you want to add to the list?