An endless pandemic:
Currently, Chicago is still under a stay-at-home advisory. Los Angeles is under a stay-at-home order, and I and others are anxiously awaiting to see what happens in New York City. Like I’ve said before, I am ethically okay with the death of people who will not do the bare minimum and stop being selfish pigs for one fucking minutes, but since catching a virus isn’t like drinking poison, it’s always others who will suffer due to the self-absorption and stupidity of a handful of people.
And part of my job now is to research the progression of the virus and public health efforts for briefs pertaining to civil procedure because not everyone thinks we should stay out of court rooms during a pandemic.
I get to learn things.
Rapid tests won’t show that you have the virus until you’re positively riddled with it, which is about five days after contraction, meaning that you’ve got a very high chance of a false positive, from 100% percent on the first day of exposure to less than half by the fifth day of exposure.
Too many people in America are unreasonably afraid of vaccines, which may make even herd immunity quite a hurdle in many communities, and will likely inevitably result in necessary (and legal, because being unvaccinated is not a protected status) measures to keep the unvaccinated away from the vulnerable who cannot be vaccinated, like little innocent newborn babies.
And a lot of people would rather be correct than kind nowadays. Or maybe all the days they’re like that.
Zoom exhaustion is real, and it’s killing me.
Here’s an interesting thing that’s happened during the pandemic:
People are abusing Zoom.
Meetings that used to be merely conference calls or emails are now virtual meetings.
And they’re often scheduled at the last minute or without regard to everyone else’s schedule.
This means that for many of us who were accustomed to being able to attend hours-long meetings and still move about freely and multitask are forced to perform “attention”: sitting still and pretending not to disappear into our minds, sitting still and not fidgeting so as not to distract others, desperately waiting for the meeting to end so we can relax.
I can’t move about. I can’t scratch my nose. I can’t lean to the side and fart. I can’t roll my eyes or make a face. I can’t lean back in my chair and stretch or yawn.
I can’t react.
Sometimes I pretend that I have a bad connection and that I have to turn off the video so I can stand up and stretch or answer a text from a colleague.
I’m already stuck in my house all day. I’m already stuck in Zoom court wearing half a suit for half a day, and I can either perform or listen intently, but not both.
This is what I think part of the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in earlier Aquarius is going to reveal later this month, that our need for ‘Murican freedumb (Jupiter in Aquarius, unevolved) is going to cause restrictions of freedom for everyone (Saturn in Aquarius) because the stupidest among us have just as much forum as the reasonable.
But who is reasonable, and what is “research,” and who is an expert?
But innovation restricted AND expanded is also possible, especially in the sign of the everyman, which makes me think that it’s going to be a lot harder to get us all vaccinated than we could even imagine, and it’s not entirely because of the anti-vaxx crowd or Big Pharma pricing, but bureaucracy (Saturn) and over-optimism (Jupiter) at least initially. I think that by mid-March of 2021, right at the tail end of the natural year as the Sun is in the last couple degrees of Pisces or upon entering Aries, when Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto have moved far enough away from each other to permanently break this stellium, we’re going to see the world come back to normal for real — or whatever our version of normal will be from then on — about a year after the initial alarm over coronavirus, the phase I’m thinking of as a hangover.
That’s just one thing, and frankly, no surprises here. Sometimes, your work as an astrologer is very easy. Sometimes it isn’t, and I feel for every astrologer who had to figure out a way to make 2020 appear positive in predictions because there really was no reason to think that 2020 was going to be a great year for everyone besides the richest people on the planet, but the people who hire you to write horoscopes don’t really want to hear that, and frankly, neither does your audience: no one wants to be told to brace themselves for a Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn. They want to be told to embrace it, take it by the reins, that there are no lean times for those who like astrology, and that everyone reading a horoscope is just a temporarily embarrassed millionaire who can manifest anything they want whenever they want, and that the horoscope is all the map and umbrella you need on this journey.
And this is also why I won’t do celebrity synastry readings, even though that’s basically slam dunk marketing for an astrologer. For example, I don’t think anyone really wants my take on the souls of Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly starting a new romantic karmic cycle in this lifetime, their upcoming marriage, possible upcoming divorce, and possible remarriage. I don’t want to opine publicly on the relationship of two people I’ll never meet regardless of what I can see in the charts, because some blossoms bloom best in the dark away from the light of scrutiny, no different from any other love, I think.
Good thing I’m naturally predisposed to optimism, or more specifically, the burden of being realistic and dwelling in the present.
But I am making horoscopes for 2021. Quite a few of them. And a few other things for 2021.
Just you wait.
Just you wait and see if I manage to get it done.
Sagittarius is primarily an explorer, the archetype that wishes to experience things for the hell of it. There is something of The Fool in Sagittarius but also The Hierophant: It’s difficult to tell which one it is at any given time, because they are both so sure that they are right.
And while Sagittarius may be happy to explore somatically through books, classes, and conversations, this Sign actually wants to put feet to the ground and live experientially. However, it’s not uncommon for Sagittarian types to continue to go to school long after school has served its actual utility. A Sagittarius Sun or Mercury even may feel more comfortable learning how to do things from an instructor before venturing on their own: I found that Sagittarian types have to discover on their own the limit of formal education, that they have to become positively sick of always being the pupil before they are ready to become the master.
Me? I only made it to a Juris Doctor when I determined that I was done with formal education forever.
But lately, I pull the Six of Cups often, and there is something nostalgic there, but something Sagittarian: the innocence of receiving, the experience of exchange, the sweetness of peer-relatedness.
I am not the only Sagittarius I know who does care about sports, or rather, the only Sagittarius who isn’t into sports. I don’t feel an aversion to them; I just think I have never had an initiation into the world of caring about professional sports. Rick, god bless him, helped me understand football at a rudimentary level, but because of Rick, god damned him, I was far too busy to sit down and watch a game with him. But the older I get, the more people just simply assume that you either have a decades-long body of knowledge of such a thing, or you are missing the part of your brain where you could process such information, some sort of sports-lobe other people take for granted.
Years ago when I was working at The Nation, my boss asked if I wanted to join the football pool. I asked what a football pool was. He scoffed and told me to “ask my husband” and walked away. Yes — I should have realized that this was a den of hypocrisy and should probably have quit right then and there. But I said “my husband wouldn’t know either.” Which was true, because he didn’t care for sports, either, so I think my initiation would have to wait.
And right now, it will still have to wait, because I would have no idea where to begin, but because I am ignoring politics right now, don’t care for Christmas, don’t have children, and don’t really like any reality show if it has any drama at all (all I want to see is how the thing is built. Don’t give a shit if you don’t like each other), I need some sort of lifeline to making small talk with other adults that doesn’t guarantee me putting my foot in my mouth almost immediately.
I’m getting my tattoos removed. I’ve had 3 and 4 sessions – 4 on the biggest one and three on the other two. One of those tattoos is a religious tattoo, a tattoo for a religion I do not care for. I will always be fascinated with Catholicism the same way I will always be fascinated with the cultural and historical dumpster fire that is my hometown, my family tree, or other things that are at my roots and the core of identity in this life that also happen to be dumpster fires, but I don’t want the tattoo. The tattoo I have is symbolic in a grand way; I might be more tolerant of it if it were symbolic in a vulgar, plain way, like instead of sacred heart, I had a tattoo of a pierogi on my shoulder blade, because you eat those during Lent. Someone out there knows what I’m talking about. There’s no one around anymore to impress or placate with lip service. There’s no identity with this institution or the communities huddled in it’s shadow and behind it’s crumbling walls. The good news is that it’s fading pretty quickly — both the tattoo and the institution — and soon, it will be gone forever, just like any other part of me that identified with it, and I’m free to be the nonbeliever I was born to be.
If you could see my prenatal epoch chart, it would make a lot more sense: I’d done religion and spirituality. This life is about taking what I learned and taking what is useful from that and applying to the material world and finding what is beautiful in the ordinary, the hidden and overlooked.
And what Sagittarius doesn’t want to be free?
Moving and Travel:
Months ago, my instinct was to pack up the car and drive far away, wherever I could go: sleep out under the stars, eat food from gas stations, go West as far as I could stand it and then figure out if I wanted to stay.
But you can’t do that in quarantine, or with a stay at home order, or with responsibilities.
And I find that I still can’t do that even though my inner itch is to say goodbye to Chicago, it’s been an interesting seven or so years albeit relatively productive, but it’s time to go to new places and once again to put down roots in cities I have never so much as visited before, let alone know more than one person living there…but the place I was thinking is kind of a dumpster fire right now, which makes me wonder if it’s either a really really bad idea or a really really good idea to go.
Sometimes, I like to get on my exercise bike, put on some classic rock and close my eyes and pretend that I’m actually driving down a highway in the summer. I don’t have a job, I don’t have any bills to pay, and I don’t have anywhere I have to be for a while.
I think it could be like that again, you know?
But I’m also not ready for the vaccination, you know? I mean, eight months into a major life change, and I’m realizing this forced hermitage that everyone else got to take advantage of is pretty fucking awesome. I used to long for time like this to be quiet and alone, working, doing my thing, not having to wear real clothes, being able to work on my projects, swish around like Stevie Nicks, etc.
And I’m not like one of those fake hermits who insist they’re happy to be alone but then turn around get all social out of fear of being alone: I have lived in places for years and have never made a single friend there simply because I didn’t want to even, if I’ve had fantastic conversations with all sorts of people, less of a resident and more of a ghost temporarily haunting a city, a neighborhood, an office, a café, a bookstore and then quietly exorcised.
But there’s nothing else I can do but melt and become liquid again, filling up all the cracks and corners of this vessel I have flowed into over the course of 41 years. So, here I am, contained, before the fever of my own longing makes a vapor where there was once a woman or maybe just an overgrown child waiting for adulthood to magically happen to her somehow.
Because this is it, isn’t it? The adulthood?
I wish I could go abroad again. Should I get my Italian passport? $6000 and a year later it could happen. I might be able to re-learn enough German to get work there since I hold out little hope for Italy itself. Or what about Norwegian? I did pretty well on Duo Lingo. Not in the EU but maybe they need some lawyers licensed to practice in the US who don’t mind the cold?
That’s actually a trouble with Mercury retrogrades: I’ve noticed that a few of us have the distinct problem of being able to learn a foreign language but struggle to use it.
This is not a Sagittarian problem. In fact, people with the Sun, Moon, or Mercury in Sagittarius tend to find that learning and using a foreign language comes naturally to them, especially if there’s some Aries planets in the charts.
And that’s me. I’m a Sagittarius Sun with an Aries Moon. Why can’t I be a polyglot?
Astrology of Self-Taught Polyglots:
A dear friend of mine, a fellow former ESL teacher, grew up abroad with parents who worked for the embassy. She speaks 5 or 6 languages now. She grew up speaking three of those though, to be fair, but she now works for the embassy and wishes to spend the rest of her life like this, living from country to country, learning new language upon new language. Aries Sun, Sagittarius Moon exactly conjunct Uranus exactly conjunct the Descendant (and yes, she’s the first to tell you that she loves “foreign” men, or actually, the local men of wherever she lives).
My grandmother, also an Aries Sun and Sagittarius Moon, had the Moon in early Sagittarius (conjunct my Sun, actually) trine the Sun, Mercury, and North Node in Aries, and she spoke English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Yiddish, with three of those being her “native” tongues — she was the daughter of Italian immigrants growing up in Jackson Heights, the oldest girl in the only non-Jewish family in her neighborhood. When she had her strokes, she would go back and forth through various languages, and it took everyone in the family to try to figure out what the fuck she was saying when she was still capable of talking.
One of my sisters is Sagittarius rising with an Aries Sun conjunct Mercury and Venus, all trine her ascendant. My sister has learned to speak Chinese very well and lived there for a semester or two in college. I believe she learned some Polish while working there for a little while. In fact, she’d probably be more comfortable moving back to East Asia than trying to find a place here in America.
I have the chart of another self-taught polyglot with Aries Sun, Aries Mercury, and Aries Venus trine Pluto in Sagittarius.
Me? I’m a Sagittarius Sun with the Sun in the 9th house, trine Aries Moon in the 1st house. I have acquired some languages for fun. I was pretty good at German and intended to take it for all five years until our high school cut the program because of a budget crisis: the teachers wanted structured raises, the town didn’t want to pay (in the alternative universe I grew up in, tenured teachers were the best-paid people in town), and the old folks who were the majority of the population and the majority of voters only learned readin’, writin; and ‘rithmetic in the little red school house and still managed to get jobs in town, so what was good enough for them was good enough for us, and to be fair, that’s true, because if you want to work in Auburn, you really only need to learn a little readin’, writin, and ‘rithmetic to open your own meth lab and even less to sell pizza.
But I didn’t do so well on the oral exam in German class in high school. Reading? Yes. Writing? Yes. Speaking? I go blank. Sort of like when talking in real life and trying to be deliberate when I speak. I learned to read Hangul in two weeks; I barely learned to speak Korean even though I could sound out everything I read. I taught myself enough Norwegian to follow along some of the shows on Netflix, but even Duo Lingo can’t understand me when it has me speak what I read. And forget ASL. I could understand it, I could even think in ASL; I froze up when it came time to use it.
I took Old English as an elective in college and had a great time translating the texts. I couldn’t translate what my professor said aloud.
Once, a dear friend of mine tried to teach me Greek. Same problem: I could kind of figure out what her family was yelling about but couldn’t join in the yelling.
I have Mercury in Scorpio, retrograde.
I guess it’s the Anglosphere for me.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry:
I have not sat down inside a restaurant since…March? It’s been at least nine months. I have cooked for myself more, which means less butter, no potatoes, and way less mess. In fact, when I cook now, because there is no one else to cook for, I tend to tailor my menus around what is the least messy food to eat.
I eat a lot of salads and roast meat now.
I use the pressure cooker a lot, too.
I miss going out for dinner.
And I don’t think I’ve drank alcohol in nearly a year, and I don’t think I will again for a while. When I think about all the grief alcoholics have caused me, and how frankly, avoiding alcohol is the easiest thing you can do for your health, your looks, your brain, and your relationships, your immune system, your decision making skills, and your wallet, I don’t think I’m going to pass pandemic time drinking, especially alone.
Music and politics
I have to admit that after I stopped working at The Nation, I took a long mental break from politics, and these past few weeks, I only come out of hibernation to see what Trump is ruining. This is kind of like the break I took from reading fiction after undergrad, but not as long of a break.
Most of the music that was new to me I heard in Lyfts and Ubers, sometimes giving Spotify a chance to expand my horizons. No more rideshares these days. Now it’s just Spotify, and Spotify is demanding I pay for premium when it doesn’t fulfill its promise to not play ads for half an hour when I agree to watch that stupid fucking Nationwide commercial even though I already have a retirement account with them, rendering the ad entirely unnecessary. If Spotify can’t keep its promises on a small thing, how will it keep it on a big thing?
You really have to be diligent with Spotify if you have eclectic tastes, and you probably shouldn’t play with it when you’re high, because for months now, at least three times a week, without fail, in at least one of my daily mixes, Spotify includes the theme song to Sanford and Son.
I have no idea why.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great song. It’s just that I don’t remember liking it or playing it so often that Spotify thinks I want to listen to it every day, or even just casually, ever, for any reason.
So now I’m actually listening to it.
There is something to celebrate this year:
Miriam is finally liberated from Christmas.
No guilt about not wanting to celebrate a birthday for someone who was never born. No more stress of having to deal with the holiday to keep up with all the people around me who are mostly just trying to keep up, too. No more wondering what I’m doing on Christmas or for Christmas. I don’t have to do anything.
And I don’t need an excuse. I don’t have a religion that competes with Christianity. I don’t have the energy to get fired up all over again about the wanton consumerism, empty gestures, and the insistence that people swallow their feelings because It;S cHrIsTmAs:
I just don’t want to, am happier just living life, not getting sucked into the thick of things, and this year, the pandemic has erased holiday parties, secret santas, decorating contests, cookie exchanges, and all the other things that I don’t want to do.
Now that I never have to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas ever again, I have decided to celebrate the Winter Solstice as an actual holiday, a sort of abbreviated version of Yule for a day, which to me, is more of an observation than a festivity. The first day of winter is good to observe, and also, it’s on a Monday this year, and that gives me a three-day weekend.
Maybe I will buy a new bread stone and make Neapolitan pizza and eat it while I watch every Charlie Chaplin film the library has.
I am also liberated from celebrating the New Year. January 1st is a calendar day; the natural new year is the Spring Equinox, and as an astrologer, I know that what ails us in 2020 isn’t going away on January 1st anyway.
There’s a lot of freedom here, and despite whatever has happened in 2020, whatever happened before that, and whatever disappointments the future may certainly bring, I’m pretty damned lucky overall. Like, I am a really, really lucky person right now, and I am damn lucky to have the kinds of problems I have.
And if that’s not Sagittarian, I don’t know what is.