By the way, if you have questions, it’s best to email me if you want answers. I love personal email. I love handwritten letters too, but for the most part, I don’t get too many of those anymore. To be fair, I don’t send too many of those anymore either, which is sad, because when I’m relaxed, I have pretty cool handwriting. If I were sure I would get many handwritten letters, I would get a P.O. Box to get those letters, but I have no such assurance.
Today is a natural holiday, the fall equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, or Mabon. It’s the first day of Autumn and the first day of Libra. On the equinox, the duration of light is the same as the duration of darkness, with the days becoming shorter and the nights becoming longer, the weather growing colder.
I’m always happy to know that I survived another summer.
I think I’ve made it clear that I’m not a fan of summer, but I have to admit that despite the pandemic and my life changing completely, it wasn’t actually a bad summer, or, alternatively, I didn’t notice that it was a bad summer because I was preoccupied during one of the worst years of my recollection, perhaps only behind 2002 for obvious reasons and 2009 for also obvious reasons.
We have been in a pandemic for nearly seven months. I’d been working from home for over six months. I have been alone for about that long, and it actually feels longer. It feels like a year.
Most of my planets are in Virgo through Capricorn, so late August is around the time I start to come alive again, to take care of myself again, to focus on long-term projects again, to become romantic and creative and all the other fun stuff I can be.
I wish I had taken the day off, but this is the season of fires to put out, and unfortunately, unless the court is closed, there is pretty no day I can safely take off (Virgo energy, no?).
For the equinox, I will be continuing on my elimination diet (Virgo anyone?) which includes making steaks incorrectly.
I don’t have a grill, or a griddle, or a fancy kitchen. Brown the butter and put a cold, dry steak in the pan. This way, you get the sear without overcooking the steak. A cold pan means the steak will boil in its own juices; you want the water on the surface to evaporate as quickly as possible. One pan per steak. Crowding the pan is essentially steaming the steak. Don’t worry about letting it come to room temperature. If the steak doesn’t cool down evenly, it won’t warm up evenly either, so no point in helping the inside cook faster. This is especially important if the steak is on the thin side (> 1.5” thick).
I prefer medium rare for fattier cuts of steak as I don’t want to chew uncooked chunks of fat, but rare is good for drier cuts like filet mignon or days that I’m feeling especially in need of iron. Medium is okay, but you lose tenderness and flavor, and it’s actually harder to cook a steak medium and serve it medium because once it gets that hot, it continues to cook at a faster rate when it’s resting than if it’s cooked medium rare.
Anything cooked more than medium is a waste of meat and you should have bought a hamburger instead, because it defeats its own purpose. If you’re afraid of germs, handle the meat properly and you won’t need to cook the meat into a shoe sole, or just make a pot roast or something that has to be cooked for a long time.
If you must trim the fat, do it yourself after you cooked it. The fat adds flavor and helps insulate the meat from excessive heat.
I also don’t salt the steak until it’s ready to serve. I don’t think it enhances the flavor that much to have the steak sit in salt and reabsorb some of the water it just sweat out. In fact, I don’t like meat sweating any water out, dry aging not withstanding.
I also don’t see the point in giving the steak a reason to sweat while it’s sitting, so no salt until it’s ready to serve.
I’m often mistaken for being a vegetarian.
I’m often mistaken for a vegetarian. I think it’s the light skin and the sad Pisces rising eyes that does it. But I cannot live without animal products. I was born with vitamin B and iron deficiency, and I cannot get adequate amounts of nutrients without meat. There is no adequate vegetable substitute: even if there are beans and tofu and other protein sources or brewer’s yeast they’re not actually bioavailable sources of nutrients because they go right through me and not without pain and suffering. Living on a mostly plant-based diet has historically made me overweight, ruined my skin, caused constant hunger (and therefore constant eating), caused metabolic disorder, and caused anxiety that medication couldn’t control.
I don’t have a moral reason to not eat animals because I am a human, and this human is an animal that also has a right to live naturally, pain-free, and without humans trying to place an arbitrary value on her life based on how exploitable she is.
Here’s a vegetarian story about that very thing:
When I was in high school, I had a friend whose entire personality was being a vegetarian animal lover. When I tried vegetarianism for her sake and failed, she refused to speak to me for a long time. She took it personally. Granted, this girl also struggled with/struggles with a personality disorder, so this kind of thinking wasn’t unusual for her: in order to be her friend, you basically had to be her slave. She in turn, didn’t have to do anything for you, even be nice once in a while, because she was a very sensitive soul who should be accepted no matter what terrible callous things she does. However, what was unusual was that during this teen years friendship, she started dating the most violent, unpredictable, antisocial man any of us knew.
They say opposites attract, but they were much more alike than I think anyone cared to admit. They were just two sides of the same coin, the same coin where only their personal impulses and immediate desires were real.
This guy threatened to beat me up because I was busy with getting ready for college and hadn’t called his precious psycho girlfriend for a few days. I found this out after having been invited to his place and seeing her sitting in the corner crying wondering why, this time, she’s standing in a corner crying. She watched as he backed me into a corner demanding to know why I didn’t make her the biggest priority in my life.
Now, you may be wondering why she didn’t call me. This girl didn’t like using the phone, but didn’t see the problem with demanding that people call her anyway full well knowing she didn’t want to talk on the phone. She actually wanted people to call her but she didn’t want to talk to them, and somehow, she always found a flying monkey to come after the people she felt she deserved phone calls from.
Okay, but why was I still friends with her in the first place?
In a small town, it’s very difficult to get away from people like that, damned near impossible in many ways. They don’t simply let you drift away anyway, but when everyone is enmeshed, you basically have to disappear in the night to save your own life, and if you can’t do that, then oh well.
You know of stories of kids getting murdered by their groups of friends? You know what I mean. Sometimes it feels like it’s the only way out. Sometimes it’s exactly what you think it is. It’s often by a deranged child who does it for the strangest of reasons. Sometimes you have a reason to be afraid of your friends, especially because even though the signs are already there, it’s all you know, and the adults — especially the perpetrator’s parents — don’t want to deal with their kid’s problems.
But what you’ll notice in just about all of these murders is that the victim deviated from the group, the group who somehow justified their death as being the most appropriate way of resolving the discomfort. And for most part, what they didn’t wasn’t that big of a deal. Not checking with the group to find out what your opinion is before having it. Not being just like the other girls. Dating someone’s ex-boyfriend.
I thought going away to college was my chance to “disappear into the night,” and then I would go over and drink and play nice before the end of August when school made college made it an impossibility to be around her all the time, but having her boyfriend invite me over to threaten me was pretty much her way of letting me know the friendship was over.
It was a blessing, because she was one of the most destructive, duplicitous human beings I have ever met, second to the psychopath she was dating, and I managed to beg my way out of a beating. Of course, he made fun of me for begging him to not beat me up, but that was better than what could have happened. I was half his size, and he wasn’t a person known for going easy on anyone.
Weirdly enough, she never forced him to become a vegetarian.
Eating a chicken wing? Terrible. Letting your psycho boyfriend beat up someone because they haven’t called you in a couple days? Morally justified.
They broke up and life went on, and years later, he had a new girlfriend at some point that he did break up with at some point. One day, I read in the newspaper that he was arrested for eviscerating that ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend’s pit bull and beating both the new boyfriend AND the ex-girlfriend. Apparently, this guy decided to get back at that ex-girlfriend by taking a knife and running it up the dog’s belly. The dog ended up disemboweling itself as it ran away. It eventually died.
This guy managed to avoid jail time because he used his PTSD as an excuse.
Then, he and the vegetarian girl not only pretty much immediately got back together, they also had a baby pretty soon afterward. So, here is this very moral vegetarian who doesn’t believe in harming animals who not only has sex with someone who just tortured an animal to death, but makes a tiny human animal with this person that she has to know is now in harm’s way.
But I would bet real money that she’s still a vegetarian.
And god help that kid of theirs if it’s still alive. I see too many kids like this in my line of work.
Not all vegetarians are like this. All the other vegetarians I’ve known since then are reasonable, mentally healthy people who do not encourage or condone violence against humans. All of them have a their diets as part of their identities, not their entire identities.
But, I am well aware that you can be completely devoid of compassion for other humans and be a vegetarian, i.e., Adolph Hitler, i.e. this girl. But I have to say that with first experience with a vegetarian being that girl, it really makes me unable to ever accept in any conversation or interaction that the person who does not eat meat is automatically morally superior in some way and that I should not eat meat in front of them.
But maybe that’s a good thing, because it’s really the first step to living in harmony, isn’t? Once you accept that some people will just not accept something as true then you can really talk, right, get to the heart of the matter, find common ground?
It’s not fair to judge everyone based the most extreme example, but it’s also not fair to judge everyone based on an idealized example, either, or a demonized one either, even though lately, there are quite a number of Americans making a living doing just that, and as Antifa’s supreme commander and CEO who is also the head of the Pizzagate trafficking ring and years ago as a humble BLM intern was responsible for putting the autism in vaccines, I think that’s silly.
The Equinox is a farewell to extremes.
The equinoxes brings in the mild seasons of autumn and spring. The begin the seasons of Libra and Aries, respectively. Despite it’s energy, Aries is not really extreme. It doesn’t go beyond the limits with that express purpose the way Scorpio does or push itself further and further the way Capricorn does. It just doesn’t have limits or the intention to go beyond limits. Aries still actually wants people to like them.
Libra is a sign of balance, or failing that, not doing one thing or the other. Libra is, however, a sign of commitment, although it’s a sign that isn’t necessarily ride-or-die like Aries or Capricorn, because unlike Aries, it will stick around, but unlike Capricorn, it will not take forever to commit, and it’s not like Cancer in that it won’t stay on a sinking ship because of the sunken-cost fallacy.
It’s a time to accept what is unpleasant and try to find the beauty in things. Leaves are changing. Nights are getting cooler and perfect for cuddling, and if you’re alone, they’re perfect nights for throw blankets and tea. We’re not as interested in or bothered by the buzz of life so much: I haven’t heard one fucking cicada at all today (is there a god after all?), but I have heard the breeze rustling the crispening leaves that will soon turn colors and carpet the ground as the days and nights turn colder.
And you know what that means.
Winter is coming.
And you know what that means, don’t you?
Aren’t you excited for it? You should be, because:
This means that assholes who don’t know what they’re doing will finally stop riding bikes all over the city in any manner they please, and I may actually survive another year without accidentally killing one of these stupid shit-for-brains on the Divvy bikes riding around sans helmets who think that cutting me off in the middle of a turn is not only their right but somehow that the two-ton bullet I’m moving around isn’t somehow going to kill them so long as they shrug at me and give me a dirty look.
Look people: if you’re going to ride a bike and you don’t want to bother finding out if you have to obey traffic law when you’re doing it (hint: YOU DO), just assume everyone in a car is a lawyer who has at least some background in insurance defense and is calculating the odds in their heads when they see you tooling around in the middle of the road doing whatever you please. That way, you might trick yourself into riding safely somehow. But understand that like a lot of young people, I have the minimum coverage, and my insurer is like every other insurer who does not want to pay out, so I suggest you say farewell to the extremes of riding around like a maniac.
That took an entirely different direction from what I intended but I think it’s important, and I’m going to keep it.
The Equinox is a between time.
Today is not always my favorite day, as the Sun is directly opposite my natal Moon. It’s not like when the Sun is transiting your natal Moon in conjunction, because then you kind of feel nostalgic or reflective of the past. However, when the transiting Sun opposes your natal Moon, it just sort of shines a bright light on all your insecurities and fears. For example, any news about the case that gives me heartburn feels worse because my insecurities about being a new-newish lawyer is just amplified. This is supposed to be a day of balance, and it really ought to be, which is why I should take the Equinox off, because it usually brings with it a dumpster fire of some sort (four today, related to four different cases, from the moment I first signed on to zourt this morning until I had my last phone call), but is worse now with Mars retrograde in late Aries, because it feels like I’ve been struggling against the ropes and I’m getting tired, but if I don’t keep chewing them, I won’t get free.
By the way: that’s normal with Mars retrograde, and you’ll feel it especially in the area of life the house it’s transiting rules. For example, mine is in the first house, and while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak and wants to sleep but also can’t sit still and needs to go on five mile walks at night before there are few things are sublime as the street lights on the flowers and plants along the tracks on Ravenswood Avenue.
It also doesn’t help that Mars retrograde is square to Saturn in Capricorn, creating a bit more loneliness and a bit more of a feeling of being isolated than the pandemic normally would. Even if you’re not socially distancing, and even if you have lots of friends you regularly keep in contact with, or you have a dog to distract you or you’re going through a hermit phase so you’re otherwise fine with it, there is a sense of being held in place, unable to go forward with one’s goals. For those with a lot of Capricorn/Saturn energy, this is especially trying right now because it really feels as if the rest of the world is somehow designed to marginalize you in some way, to keep you in a box. You may be losing your edge (and you guys most definitely have edges), feeling less enthused about ruffling feathers, making bold statements, or being spontaneous.
For those with a lot of Aries/Mars energy, this time feels like you’re a child trying to get Mom and Dad to let you do something you know is safe, but they’re being overly cautious for no reason.
Case in point: I was crossing Ravenswood Ave. on a flashing red hand signal because there was no traffic. The man on the other side of the sidewalk told me that I couldn’t go because the sign said I couldn’t. I said it’s fine, there was no traffic. He told me that was against the law.
Yes, jaywalking is against the law, but who cares?
And this guy happened to be Korean. The accent. The unwavering belief in the power of signs, but also, one more reason.
We had an argument as to whether or not this was okay until I was walked far enough away to not understand what he was saying. But I’m not sure what he wanted of me. An apology? To go back across the street and wait for the signal and try again, nicely this time?
But it was only after a few blocks that I realized that this man was telling me what to do because he confused me with a much younger person that he could boss around, so it’s kind of not that bad even though it happened to trigger some post-Korea anxiety, because I almost forgot how exhausting it was to constantly be bossed around by every older adult in Korea.
I ended up jaywalking many more times this evening on my night walk.
You may as well roll with the tide and for one day embrace the balance. You can dream if you can’t create. You can go places in your mind if not with your body. You can hope that when the light increases again, the world will awaken anew, but not before it’s had time to go to sleep, and that’s okay because you can’t lucid dream if you can’t sleep. And, despite the fact that the pandemic slowed us all down, the state of affairs hasn’t allowed us to actually rest, because with anxiety and fear, there is no actual rest.
But if there’s one thing that the tension of retrograde Mars (individual power turned toward the self) and Saturn (hierarchy) can do, it’s move you to resist, rebel, and refuse. Even if you can’t go out and protest something, you can protest by simply by refusing to internalize what the hierarchy or the powers that be want you to internalize and act on. You may not be able to force the world to change, but you can use this between time to get in touch with what is actually important to you.
Don’t apologize to people who don’t merit an apology.
How to celebrate the Equinox
Mars is retrograde right now, and it’s just not the time for new endeavors or major endeavors. Motivation for external things just isn’t there and that’s not a big deal.
Focus on cultivating a richer inner life today, because it is in the darkness, the growing darkness, that we can see our own inner lights or lack thereof.
That’s what I think you should do. Don’t go into a flurry preparing for the upcoming cold weather and winter holidays. They’re coming no doubt, but you have today to reflect and just simply enjoy what has come to pass and wonder about what will be. You will certainly do new things this season and embark on many adventures, but for today, take it easy. Have fun but relax so that you’re receptive to the subtle energy of this day. Go for a walk in nature. Go for a walk at night to embrace the coming darkness. Have a nice meal. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Read a book. Drink some wine. Knit a scarf. Bake an apple pie. Make soup. Buy a new thing for your home. Burn some pumpkin spice candles to scare the bad spirits (and everyone else) away.
If you must do magick, try something that isn’t forceful, overly elaborate, or takes a lot out of you.
The best thing to do is to do something Libran, which could be anything from doing your nails to reaching out and having a pleasant conversation with someone, however you define pleasant.
Obviously, if you have a religious attachment to the equinox, then you do the religious thing, but for those of us without religion who want to stop and take notice of the fact that all this incredible stuff is happening around us, that the Earth and the Sun and the other things in the universe just does what it does, and that we happen to be here with the perception to find it pleasurable.
Just don’t make autumn your entire personality.