I don’t know about you, but pandemic fatigue is just starting to hit me. My inner introvert found things to love during the intense lockdown phase, when for more than a year I only breathed the same air as two or three other people. I was also excited to get vaccinated and begin to take a few tentative steps back towards regular life. And now as we find ourselves in a new kind of uncertainty — Are the vaccinated still protected? Will the Delta variant burn out soon? Will another rise up to take its place? Will the richer countries distribute enough vaccines to spur global immunization? Will this pandemic ever be truly over? — I find myself hitting a wall. I begin to wonder if this long slide into apocalypse-with-Netflix is just our lives now.
And then I look at the astrology.
If any of you have been paying attention, we astrologers have been frantically waving flags and dropping podcasts and creating memes about the astrology of these couple of years for some time now. The astrology of 2020, 2021, and 2022 is era-defining. And we are still very much in the midst. Remind yourself of this, my friends, if you find yourself wondering why you’re not exactly at your best right now — not doing the things you want to do, not being as patient with your loved ones, not as joyous during times of celebration or as moved during times of grief. The crisis is still here with us, it’s just become background noise that we’ve decided we need to ignore and get on with our lives (or so seems to be the feeling here in the United States).
Astrologically, we’re still in a high-intensity year. But sometimes we get a month like this one — this October brings us the kind of ease and forward momentum that’s like a cool breeze lifting your hair from your forehead after a stiflingly hot day. It’s time to open your windows, air out all those stuffy places where you’ve been congealing in daily misery (or at least daily disappointment and unvoiced grief).
This month, we’ve got a handful of planets shifting from retrograde to direct. Not one, not two, but four planets — Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto — will all turn direct. This brings with it a rush of forward momentum. Think of the planets like those toys with springs that you drag backward to wind up and then release. As I write this we’re still in the being-dragged-backward phase — the energetic sludginess of “why do I even have to shower if I’m just going to get dirty again” and “it’s too much work to schedule a phone call with my dearest friend, I should probably just keep doom scrolling.” By mid-month (the 18th to be exact), we should feel a distinct shift toward possibility and enthusiasm. Jupiter, planet of “you look beautiful in that pantsuit and you should definitely ask her out” has been wallowing in regrets and reminiscences since June 20th. Jupiter retrograde is like your best friend — the one who always knows how to cheer you up — has lost her cell phone and been unable to text you back for three whole months. But she’s back now, and she’s typing furiously, reminding us that we all look amazing in our pantsuits again.
So at the risk of sounding like a corny wellness guru who believes a positive attitude is all you really need to succeed in life (it isn’t, and what even is success?) I want to team up with Jupiter to remind you to keep the faith. Not because I believe in keeping calm and carrying on. Not because I think we can self-improve ourselves out of late stage capitalism or ongoing colonial devastation or climate change. In these very bleak and stressful times, very little is certain about what kind of future we’re headed toward and we’re all carrying a global level of grief right now that we haven’t yet been able to process. So when I talk about faith, what I’m talking about is the way the heart can open again even after the worst experiences. The way our bodies know what we need. The ways we can surprise each other through tenderness and vulnerability. I’m talking about the kind of faith James Baldwin had in humanity, because he could not afford to be a pessimist. I’m talking about what’s needed not just to survive, but to strive for a better world for all of us.
This month, I invite you to lean into that kind of faith in yourself and each other. It will probably feel stiff and awkward at first. You may feel dismissive and judgmental. You may need to get angry or cry. That’s okay. There are many ways in.
And if you need some extra insight or support, my books are open for readings. You can also find more notes on the astrology of this month on my Patreon and follow me on Instagram to hear about upcoming classes and offers. Good luck out there this month!
Have faith: That the future can be wildly different from the past. That you don’t have to be naive to hold onto your values and visions. That you belong to this world, here and now, and to the future you can help create. That your friendships are the most potent magic you have to work with. That it’s worth it to try to learn from conflicts, reach toward each other, find that ever-shifting-center in any collective effort. Trust your love of this world. Trust your love of people at their best. Trust that most of us, most of the time, are trying hard.
Have faith: That you can trust the wisdom of your experience. That what has been hardest for you to experience has also taught you how to make those experiences easier for someone else. That whatever age you are, you can step into your oldest self — the one who has a long view, who has expertise and humility, who has a sense of humor about it all. That even when you feel most confused and humbled by not knowing, there is a piece of you that remembers that your body understands things before your mind does — and may understand things your mind never can. Trust your gut.
Have faith: That your larger life will soon be possible again. That however you have contracted this year (or more), you will be able to expand again. Maybe you are already, or have plans very soon — maybe it’s still a dream for someday. This may be a month for action, or just for preparation. Your main assignment is to get acquainted with what it means, now, to be reaching for your future. Who do you need with you? What support can you call on? What support can you offer? What parts of your old life are you ready to let go of entirely? What do you know now that you didn’t last year?
Have faith: That whatever you’re facing right now will keep changing. That when you move toward what you’d rather avoid, it gets less scary. That you can choose your pace, that you can soften the shock. Whatever is causing you pain or frustration right now — you may not be able to change your conditions, but you can be kinder to yourself as you go through it. And what seems right now like it might never end — a heartbreak, an illness, grief, depression, restlessness in the face of this seeming endless pandemic— it will end. And something new will come. And what you’re learning right now will help you welcome that fresh new life, and all the changes to come.
Have faith: That you can trust the people you’ve chosen, and who are choosing you. Even as partnerships change. Even as your feelings within those relationships change. That you can also say no to longstanding relationships that are not founded in trust. That solitude is not your doom, unless it’s a solitude you’re choosing with relish. Remember that life is long, that connections will ebb and flow, that who you become through love will also keep evolving. Remember that partnership can look so many different ways — some quite different than what you expected. Welcome the ones who are sticking it out with you. Recommit yourself to the ones you’re devoted to.
Have faith: That your days will be magical again. That each meal can be a time to remember how luscious life is. That your body is always asking you for the kind of love you usually reserve for lovers or, these days, pictures of cute people and animals on the internet. That healing isn’t an assignment to add to your to-do list, but a party you’re invited to that you don’t even have to leave your house for. That you can’t do it all alone, which is beautiful because you don’t have to. Who are you going to call right now and remind them you’ve got them, too?
Have faith: That you’re not too old (or cynical or hurt or mad) to feel sparkly about someone again. That you can trust what your heart moves towards, and listen when it’s ready to pull back or move on. That queer romance is as magical as you’ve always hoped it might be. That you can remember where your edges are even when you’re holding someone tight. That you can remember how to hold yourself even when you’re not being held.
Have faith: That the home you need exists, and you will find it if you’re not already there. This home being not only a building but a network of loved ones and chosen family, of a broader community nearby, an ecosystem of trees and maybe frogs or maybe pigeons and voices that raise in laughter from bright windows at night and music that streams from car windows or maybe just from the treetops. That this home will never be without grief or conflict, that it may not last forever, but it will be good enough that you’ll know how to find it again if you have to. You’ll remember that feeling of taking off your boots and letting your shoulders fully relax.
Have faith: That you won’t lose touch with the people you miss. That the people you love still love you, even if you haven’t talked in a long time. That it’s easier than you think to just call someone out of the blue, just surprise them while they’re walking their dog or folding their laundry or staring at their phone feeling just as lonely as you do. That if you have a wide-flung network of loves it’s okay to not check in on every single one all the time. Trust that some loves can endure months or years of silence, and come back together just as strong as when you parted.
Have faith: That you can have what you need. That in this world of crisis and scarcity and separation and grief, you will remember how to orient toward what is good and abundant. That support may come from surprising places. For you, asking is the hardest part. Practice asking — an invitation to the world, to those who love you and those who’ve never met you — to collaborate with you in creating a strong network of mutual care. Imagine that this is not only possible, but necessary.
Have faith: That you are worthy. That of the countless visions and projects and rebellions and inventions that you have not yet brought into the world, you are at the center of them all and this being here now as you are is the core magic. Imagine a life in which merely being is enough sometimes. Imagine love that finds you there and recognizes you. Offer yourself this kind of belonging.
Have faith: That it’s not over yet. That whatever you’ve been too tired to address, or too scared to confront, or too sad to let go of — that all this is one part of a much larger story. Relax into the slowly flowing stream of your future days that will bring so many new chapters to this story. Remember that whatever feels like too much effort right now can lie dormant. And while it rests, it will change. And so will you.