Hello again! Today is witchsong’s birthday. witchsong is an Aquarius, which is charming and altogether fitting, as we are collectively a long-limbed dorky weirdo who loves bananas and Stevie Nicks. It is also Ingrid Nilsen‘s birthday (happy birthday Ingrid, please call me, let’s talk about the new Glossier cleanser). Today is also Imbolc, one of the spokes of the wheel of the year, a historically pagan festival day which marks the beginning of spring and rebirth and all things bright and beautiful. It is also, not coincidentally, Groundhog Day! And in great news, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning. Nor, according to NPR, did his Canadian counterpart, nor did two other independent groundhogs. So! Spring has officially been heralded. Your horoscopes will be a little different today because I want us all to take advantage of this day, which is a good time to begin things, to change things, to believe in yourself.
BELIEVE IN THE SKY: IMBOLC (AND FEBRUARY) 2016
Aquarius: Soft music with no lyrics. Piano, not orchestra.
Light a candle, a new candle, white or gold or gray. Sit in front of it, in a position that will keep you comfortable, and stare into the heart of the flame, directly surrounding the wick. Try to empty your mind, to let it fill with light, the gradations of color in the flame. You have to allow yourself to be calm, to let your thoughts go still and quiet, like water. Examine the things that come to the surface, the things that cannot be stilled, and then decide whether or not to keep them. Do not blow out the candle; either extinguish it with your fingers or allow it to burn out.
Pisces: Songs from your childhood.
Take a pomegranate and split it open carefully. Remove the seeds, letting the juice stain the tips of your fingers, your nailbeds. Fill a bowl and look at the seeds for awhile. Think about all the places they could have ended up, the ways they could grow, the potential contained in every single tiny core inside that deep red jewel. Think about planting things, about growth, about the way everything stretches upward toward the sun. Eat the seeds, one by one at first, feeling them crack under your teeth, and then take a big handful and crush it to pulp in your mouth.
Aries: Norah Jones.
Find a notebook, a journal, a sketchbook – anything with blank pages. Find a pen, a good pen, one that you feel comfortable holding. Start writing. Write down the sorrow, the joy, the petty thoughts, the things that you can’t hold inside your heart anymore that you still don’t want to say to anyone but yourself. Write longer than you think you can, past the point of thought. Write at least five pages. When you are done, do not read it over. Turn the page and close the book. Do this again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, until it becomes a habit.
Taurus: Bluegrass, the almost-country kind.
Find an animal, a small one – go to the pet store, if you need to. Sit for awhile and look at it, the perfection of it. What it is made for. The economy of being an animal, rather than a person, the usefulness of every feature. If you can put your hands on the animal, do so. Feathers, fur, little teeny toe beans, scales, tiny perfect teeth. A cat is a cat is a cat and it knows it’s a cat but it also thinks you are a cat. Think about your animal self, the perfection of it. What it is made for. The usefulness of every feature. Put your hands on yourself. Feel your muscles under your skin, your toes, your teeth.
Gemini: Anything that reminds you of summer.
Draw something today; it doesn’t matter what, it doesn’t matter if you never have. Take a pen, see something inside your head and then make it real, make it exist in the world. The thought takes on substance and form and becomes something beyond yourself, a part of you externalized. It is never weakness to need evidence that you exist, and for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Breathe something new out and let yourself take something new in.
Cancer: Something soft, something romantic. Spanish guitar.
Write a letter to someone, one that you have put off for too long. Write to heal wounds, to break the bone in order to reset it. Write everything you have kept yourself from saying. Think about what will happen if you send this letter, and whether this is something that you want. Leave it alone for an hour, come back to it. Read it once more and then seal it in an envelope. When you wake up tomorrow, either burn it or mail it, but do not open it again – physically or mentally.
Leo: Lush electronic songs, the kind with a heartbeat.
Find a body of water. Use your phone, the internet; there is at least a reservoir closer than you think. Drive there, if you drive, or walk. Approach the water, getting as close to it as you can. If it is warm enough, and if it is allowed, take off your shoes and wade. Sit or stand, looking at the water, feeling it against your skin. Let your eyes drift out of focus, listen to the sounds of the wind and the birds and whatever trees are there, and the water. Look into the water until you can feel your blood like the tide, gently rocking. Be still, be silent, be open.
Go to the store and purchase a squash, any kind you want. Bring it home and cut it open, scooping out the seeds. Do this with your bare hands. Rinse them, keep them. Wrap the squash and roast it; or if you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, cook the squash by burying it in the hot ashes. Eat it hot, as hot as you can bear, right from the skin and seasoned only with herbs. Think about how everything comes from the earth, returns to the earth, comes again. Roast the seeds, except for a few, and eat these as well. Leave the rest outside, for the animals.
Libra: Satie, the Gymnopédies.
Look for a classical music radio station, something that will play continuously without interruption. Wait for a song you don’t know and find a place to lie down. Turn it up as loud as you can bear it and close your eyes. Try to pick out each individual instrument, follow them, travel with them for as long as you can. Let them find each other again, behind your eyelids, however you visualize them braiding into each other and becoming one sound. So many parts, and yet it creates such an elaborate, seamless whole.
Scorpio: Rumba, something sun-soaked and warm.
Plant something, a small green something. Indoors, outdoors, it doesn’t matter, but do it with your hands. Turn the earth, press the seeds into their small dark burrows and cover them gently. Think about what it is to germinate, to take the leap from not-life to life. Don’t clean the dirt out from under your fingernails right away; don’t break your connection with the earth so quickly. Keep one seed in your pocket for awhile, until you forget it is there.
Sagittarius: Your favorite band in high school.
Fill a bathtub with almost as much water as it will hold, as hot as you can bear it. Take whatever crystals you own, small bright pieces of the earth, and place them in the water. Get in slowly, inch by inch. Let yourself acclimate to the water, even if it bites at first. When you are ready, close your eyes and slip under the water, holding your breath. Listen to the sound the silence makes, the water in your ears, the muffling that is somehow still noise. Listen to your heartbeat, the steadiness of it. Lift your head out of the water slowly, lovingly, and let it drip until it dries on its own.
Capricorn: Love songs.
Write down the things you need to let go of. Do not think about this overlong; do not pretty it up. Write down what you want to leave behind, the ashes you want to rise from. Read this list out loud to yourself as many times as you need to and then light it on fire. Watch it burn until the fire dies completely. Take the ashes somewhere high – a balcony, a hill – and let the wind have them. Do not bury them; this is another way to hold onto something. Watch them go.
Today is the first day of a ceremonial kind of spring, the season where all things are made new, and although this year it’s calendrically speaking today you can celebrate it any time, especially this month. These are all things that will ground you, center you, remind you of your connection with the earth and the physical world, the regeneration that is occurring every moment of every day of your life. Little rituals, small ways to feel in control of your physical self. These tasks are yours to perform whenever you want, this month and every month, any time you feel like you need renewal.