I am always excited about Sagittarius season, even when the world gives me no reason to be. That’s kind of the point. We’re in the dark time of the year, here in the Northern Hemisphere. Our days are shortening. Night falls in the afternoon and the sun hangs low in the sky even at noon. This is the season when many cultures celebrate festivals of light and fire — Channukah candles, Solstice bonfires, Christmas lights. Sagittarius season asks us to tap into our own faith in the world, our faith that the sun will return and we won’t be plunged into year-long darkness. Sagittarius insists on faith, not evidence. This can seem like a dicey proposal in today’s political climate, where so many on the right are treating science as, like, just your opinion, man. So as a worker in the world of the woo, let me take this moment to explain what faith is and isn’t, and why we need it.
1. Faith doesn’t describe reality, it describes our relationship to it.
I don’t need to have faith that my old, beat-up laptop exists — I can see and touch it. So can anyone who sees me typing on it. It’s a non-controversial fact. I tap into faith when I choose to believe I can unplug it and carry it into the next room without its battery immediately dying. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. Faith always arises when there’s a mystery, when something is unpredictable or unclear. I see faith as a choice, a way of being in relationship to the world. My Taurus Moon inclines me to be attached to all my old, familiar tools. I hate having to buy anything new. So when I continue to rely on this laptop, I’m maintaining a relationship through faith. I know this relationship won’t last forever, but it’s good right now and I have every hope that it can continue for a long time. My rational mind tells me to make frequent back-ups and make sure I can afford a new computer when the time comes. But my faith in this laptop’s continued survival tells me that what I love exists and can persist. And this helps me feel present, connected, and safe in a chaotic world.
2. Faith is one part of a larger process.
I can have tremendous faith in my old laptop’s longevity, but I know it can’t run on faith alone. Love doesn’t replace electricity. This is why Sagittarius season is just one month out of 12. Before Sagittarius, we encounter our emotional depths in Scorpio. After Sagittarius, we reconnect to realism and practical actions in Capricorn. There are times in our lives when what we need most is faith, and there are times when faith is the wrong mode entirely. You may need to tap into faith when you are in despair about the ecological future of our earth and the continuity of our species on it. You may need to tap into faith when you read the news and experience secondary trauma from the daily crises and tragedies. You may need to tap into faith if you’re immunocompromised and still mostly isolated while Covid continues to circulate. In these instances, faith is a way of building a relationship with the future you want and need. I believe it can be a conscious choice, and that choosing to tap into faith is powerful. On the other hand, faith may be the absolutely wrong tool for you if you’re enduring abuse because you have faith in the inherent goodness of your abuser. Faith can also steer you wrong if it prompts an “everything will work out” attitude toward climate change instead of spurring you take concrete actions toward creating the better future you can imagine. Finally, faith is absolutely not a substitute for consensus reality. You may have faith that an angel appeared to you and told you that I have to stop drinking sparkling water or the world will end. This kind of faith can cause us both a lot of distress — your relationship to that angel and the demise of our world feels very real and alarming to you, but I’m not in that relationship. Whether I choose to stop drinking sparkling water depends on what my relationship is like with you. Which brings us to the next point.
3. What your faith has to do with my actions (and vice versa) is a political question.
So you’ve just pleaded with me to stop drinking sparkling water because of your faith. If we have a close, trusting relationship I may hear you out. I may be open to changing my ways, even if I don’t believe what you believe. I may even choose to try on your faith, so we can share the same reality. Or I may politely decline, because drinking sparkling water (or my autonomy to drink whatever I want) is a core value for me and I don’t believe in a world where that will bring dire consequences for us all. And here is where faith and science part ways: If your prediction of dire consequences has decades of scientific evidence to back it up, you’re no longer asking me to take something on faith. But if your alarm is about something spiritually destructive that you believe happens when I drink pamplemousse La Croix, you are asking me to trust your beliefs enough to give up my autonomy. I’ve set up this question so far as a voluntary one, a request from one friend to another. But let’s imagine that you aren’t my friend but are, say, a Supreme Court justice. Let’s say you have the power to make your belief into law. This is the alarming territory we’re in, here in the US, as right-wing evangelical movements are using their beliefs to restrict body autonomy for the rest of us. This why it can feel especially difficult, in this moment, to talk about the benefits of faith.
So where does that leave us, in this moment of time, here in Sagittarius season? I offered this digression because 1) my Sagittarius rising likes to get pedantic and 2) I want us to have all the tools we need to face these times, and to know how and when to use them with discernment. I don’t think faith and critical reasoning skills are mutually exclusive. And I believe we need to keep holding collective faith for a better future, even when it feels almost impossible. Luckily, this is a month that supports us in these efforts.
This month begins with a trio of planets moving through Sagittarius, pinging off Mars in Gemini and both Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces. All mutable signs, these conversations are lively and far-reaching but the core topics include faith in the future, wild imagination, questioning, awe, communion with the sacred, and finding ways to tell the story of what we intuitively know (which may circle back to more questioning — do we know what we think we know? How does our intuition give us different information than our senses? And so on…). Jupiter, recently direct, will move into Aries on the 20th and the Sun will move into Capricorn on the 21st, leading us toward a more active and practical final week of the month. But bear in mind Mars is still retrograde (till January 12th) and Mercury stations retrograde on the 29th, so while we may have faith in our capacity to start anew (Jupiter in Aries), motivation and clarity are still lagging behind for a few weeks. All in all, this is a fairly chill time. If this is an emotional or stressful time of year for you, give yourself permission to do less and rest more. If you are in recovery or otherwise paying attention to coping mechanisms you don’t want to overuse, be aware this month can also make it hard to set limits and assess consequences. If you are just in the mood to gather and party (with Covid safety in mind, still, please!), this month will help light the way.
I’m here if you need me right now or are just curious about getting a reading. I’ve also got gift readings for your favorite astrology enthusiasts. For more astro insights you can follow me on Instagram, join me on Patreon, and listen to my New Moon podcast The Hum. Whatever you are celebrating or grieving this month, may you be tap into that kind of love that helps you have faith in queer collective survival and thriving.
Choose to believe: That your capacity to draw on your own deepest beliefs is what you need to heal right now, and may be a powerful medicine for others, as well. Express this more in art than in a manifesto, though. You need people to feel what you’re feeling, not hear what you’re thinking. Dig deep into that place where you connect with the magic of it all and see what you find.
Choose to believe: That you can release the carefully preserved grief and pain you’ve been holding onto for so long, like a precious artifact. That in its place you can receive a renewed sense of connection to the world. This is very much a receptive act on your part: You don’t have to do anything but let go, empty your hands. You will receive something else, something needed.
Choose to believe: That you can say yes to what you want, understanding that it means saying no to many, many other options. That it will actually feel relaxing to ignore those other options. That you will find the value in deepening into this choice, instead of always having one foot out the door or fantasizing about other possibilities. And, if it turns out your desires change or you made the wrong choice at first, you have permission to change your mind.
Choose to believe: That you are an unstoppable force of nature, and that you need to take a nap every afternoon, and that these do not contradict each other. Recognize the power you have when your full energy is behind what you’re doing, when you believe in yourself and your visions. Model that real, anti-capitalist self-care means letting yourself doze and daydream when you need to so that you will be energized for the activities that actually give you life.
Choose to believe: That when you name and notice what’s broken your heart, you are beginning to heal it. That you can do this in therapy, sure, but also through performance art or a shared moment with a stranger at a bus stop or whispering in bed with a new lover. That each time you tell your story, it changes because you change. That you are the healer of your own heart.
Choose to believe: That it is possible to prioritize deep rest. That you can be a wave ebbing away from shore, exposing all the shells and seaweed and beach trash, and your mind doesn’t need to catch on any of that. That your partners, your friends, your housemates, your family are all capable of tending to themselves or each other in your temporary absence. Meanwhile, you get to sink down into the sweet watery depths of whatever brings you pleasure.
Choose to believe: That your local actions ripple out globally in ways you cannot trace. Small acts of justice and compassion, ongoing behind-the-scenes support for what you believe in, what seem like fruitless efforts to explain your values to relatives on a different tip. Believe that while the world crashes in with all its urgency, your daily life only needs to answer to its own pace and scope. Believe that how you show love, your presence and attentiveness, matters intrinsically.
Choose to believe: That you can experience safety and love at the same time. That you can unhook yourself from a pattern of diving way too deep, way too fast. That each heartbreak helps you know how to approach the next big love with more respect for your own wellbeing. Claim your intensity. Relax into it. Introduce yourself with your dealbreakers.
Choose to believe: That you will get to become all the versions of yourself you can imagine, in big or small ways, privately or publicly. That your life is just starting to get interesting and will become even more so. That the compromises you make to get by in this world won’t crush your capacity to keep dreaming of a better one.
Choose to believe: That your dreams are worth remembering. Write them down somewhere, shape them, give them a little more soil and light and air. Sing to them. Your realism, one of your superpowes, can also weigh you down. This month reminds you to stretch your capacity to imagine what seems unimaginable. First step: imagine a world in which you get to do imagination as a serious activity.
Choose to believe: That you are not outside of the world for which you fight so hard. You belong here, with us. Your ethics and your activism don’t have to equal martyrdom. That you get to be in relationships that feed you, and create boundaries and distance with those that don’t. That in connection, you can draw water from our common well. Stay hydrated. Feast when you can. Remember the word “mutual” in mutual aid.
Choose to believe: That you can take material form and have preferences, opinions, needs and even irritating habits like leaving toenail clippings on the bathroom floor, and none of this will in anyway diminish the fact that you are also a whirling spiral of portals leading into all dimensions. You can be ineffable and deeply ordinary at the same time, and both are pure magic.