on the virtue of periodic self-effacement
Welcome to the new Saturday newsletter for paid subscribers, which will offer esoteric guidance for the week ahead. Today we’re talking about the Seven of Swords as the energy for the upcoming week, following the Sun’s movement into the last ten degrees of Aquarius. I’m also plugging the new Q&A tarot reading section for subscribers. If you have a question for the tarot, you can write to me, and I’ll answer it with a two-card draw as part of the Saturday offering.
There has been heated subtweet-discourse among various corners of the astro-community online recently about the ownership of ideas. (I first wrote that sentence as “heated conversation,” but upon reflection, realized no one was really talking to each other so much as passive-aggressively mouthing off to people who already stan them). Who gets to claim what work as their own? When is something plagiarism, and when is something simply honoring a lineage or a tradition that they’ve built off themselves? When is something honoring a lineage, and when it is just a bid to seem cool, useful, unique, wise by virtue of association (and therefore worth spending money on, the implication goes)? When is an online community a place of generativity, of strange and curious insights, and when is it just an online clique?
When astrologers spend all of their time only talking to each other, only citing each other—only paying attention to, only arguing with, each other within their own closed loops—they become solipsistic. And boring!! Ineffectual. Their language changes, it falters, it becomes weak. People begin to speak in code, they make up words that flap and distort, turning everything into gerunds or adjectives that are, I guess, supposed to gesture at holiness, at relationality, at some encompassing understanding about what it means to be human, to be “in relationship with the universe,” to be in contact with “god.” They describe death and suffering only metaphorically, without registering the real, individual stakes of death and suffering. They venerate the “natural” world and “embodiment” as ways to reaffirm their personal choices to say and do whatever brings them the most exposure online. They discuss planetary transits, placements, and interpretations in ways that, at best, can be described as mediocre poetry, as pseudo-philosophy, and, at worst, reveal an intentional obfuscation—an attempt to keep some people outside, and others within a seemingly privileged realm of … what? Gnosis? Spirituality? Unicorn-filtered-digital-reality?
Everyone ends up taking everything—themselves, their ambitions for visibility on the internet, their proprietary impulses around “wisdom”—a little too seriously. At the end of the day, a little self-effacement goes a long way. However important astrologers like to secretly (or not-so-secretly) believe we are, however special our attention to the “celestial spheres” makes us feel, we are still the weirdos who make decisions based on faith, sensation, and the narratives we’ve attached to the way distant balls of gas, rock, and fire move through other human-made notions of time, space, and history.
I think that’s beautiful, of course, but I also think it’s hilarious. A little embarrassing to talk about in daily conversation, the way all good and deeply felt stories are.