SUNRISE: January 10, 2018

January 10, 2018. Photo: Ariana Reines.

IT OCCURRED TO ME YESTERDAY the cosmos might be too wide for a proper writer’s slender gift: the duty one has to the ever-neglected miniscule majesties and tragedies of Earth stuff. We are supposed to know ourselves. We are supposed to study each other.

Which is why I had always been reluctant to apply myself as a writer of prose, which I also don’t officially consider myself to be, to matters heavenly. I have adopted this affected tone because it has just now come naturally to me. Writing so well as to write almost purposefully badly.

M. Geddes Gengras, Magical Writing (Side A), 2011. With thanks to Alexandra Leon.

Some part of me thinks she can fatten certain wraithlike and exceedingly tender elements of the kind of receptivity bordering on self-neglect that I require of myself in order to then reap, when I can reap, some majesty of an impression to which I can be confident I have been just. I’m talking about poetry again, about the way it makes you throw yourself around, and treat yourself like an idiot, and treat yourself like trash, and ignore yourself, and worship yourself. The way these holy offices make you spill out into some form of untoward possibility, like milk over tile, spreading milk ordered by the grid of the grouting, in the manner of the artists of the 1970s whose mystique was that of the raw fact, chapped lips on a beer can in the cold, or else some stiffness in you, the part of your intellect that wants things distinctly drawn, that wants to distinguish itself from the charnel ground you’re wading through, at least crane its neck for some kind of perspective, demands that if you still refuse on principle to make sense of it all or even of any of it, you could at least say something if not true then in the prosody of truth.

I can relate to anything. I can relate in some form to anything. This is my problem, and it is also yours, and this is also a gift we share. Isn’t it weird to relate to what doesn’t speak to you, to be called to relate and to be in constant relation, to accept and admit it all while protecting something at your innermost—or trying to—proceeding both open and closed, both melancholy and hopeful but not wanting to hope? It may occasionally be fascinating. It is so much confusion and error. It is the intricacy of how we’re becoming. We have by now had some practice watching the poles to which millions and billions pay their attention. We have practiced testing these poles on our own soft targets. Nothing, absolutely nothing can replace your sovereignty.

I almost wrote that it goes without saying—but in these times nothing does—that some form of daily meditation practice is going to be infinitely more nutritious to you than everyday consultation of horoscopes and astrologers.  

The tarot wizard and poet Geoffrey Cruickshank-Hagenbuckle once explained to me that “they,” though they are always giving of their infinite bounties, get annoyed if you knock too often. Geoffrey’s they was the they of “Spirit” or spirits, the they of the infinite, whosoever’s vast consciousness we consult when we divine, the name of that which is beyond all naming . . .you know who I mean.

Even though many of us, each astrologizing with every sincerity, are meditators and variously devout ourselves; even though it is our earnest wish to encourage you through the glories and warrens of your day; even though we, like you, believe in the making of meaning and in the wisdom of a wider and more generous context than what the feeds want us afraid of, or buying—I have often wondered at my own appetite for being told how I might feel, for being instructed as to how I would or could feel were I properly aligned with things heavenward, my own willingness to be reminded, as though I weren’t already doing it, to “just breathe through it when shit gets gnarly,” or insert here any other variation of the tarted-up universally good advice diviners wring from themselves on your behalf (at least hopefully) daily.

Once, when I was on mushrooms, Richard Pryor took possession of my body and used it to give a sermon about the sacred nature of hot peppers and the history of totalitarian states—chiefly Ancient Egypt and Imperial Rome—which intentionally used wheat as what he called “slave food,” as the American bread basket continues to do today, and everything he had to say about bread and circus, ergot and the witch trials, mass delusion masquerading as reality, and the true—grim—meaning of the wheat staff when you find it in state iconography—it all rang true. But having had such an experience (it was fun) doesn’t, duh, qualify me to tell you what’s true.

I believe all diviners and all astrologers and really the entire spectrum, from the worst of the bro shamans proffering acoustic guitars, to the most shopping-addicted of Insta-witches, the vampirists of your deepest pain you believed were “intuitive healers,” the past-life regressionists, the numerologist root chakra penetrators and faith-based dieticians, the hypnotist comedians specializing in “cunnilingual release,” the receivers of direct transmissions from Sirius B and the speakers of fluent Galactic, the ones who will tell you they have seen unicorns, the ones who remember Atlantis, the ones who were on Mount Shasta in the heady last days of Lemuria, the myofascial masseuses and the rolfers of your broken dick—mediocrities of the world, as Salieri said it in Amadeus, I absolve us.

It is good to be suggestible. It means you are not a rock. It is good to want to connect. It means that in spite of what you’ve been through you still partake of the sweet, creaturely, frolicksome, childlike nature of the morning of the human spirit. Horoscopes suggest correspondences that, though they may ring true one tenth, even one fiftieth of the time, we nevertheless consult, because it is nice to have a map.

And yet, as sages have been reminding us for ages, the map is not the territory. Consciousness, gazing so intently on its own reflection, finds itself suddenly distorted. Drunk on our longing to resemble what we wished to resemble, we found ourselves electing the ugliest side of every truth in us.

I wouldn’t have agreed to write daily in some kind of dialogue with astrological doings if I weren’t curious what I might learn from the process; if I didn’t hope I might discover good things to impart. Ten days doing this has made me think a lot about my own suggestibility, my appetite for pablum, my sense of discipline, and to think about what feels like the future. It has also made me warier than I even was before—and I was—of knocking daily on the door.

Do your meditation today. Do your writing, your singing, your constructing and painting, your prayer. Feel free to keep sending me stuff. And I promise I won’t tell stop telling you stuff about the skies, even though nothing (to me) is better where that’s concerned than a real good relationship with your own birth chart, which I likewise encourage you to periodically ignore.

See you tomorrow.

January 10, 2018. Photo: Ariana Reines.

Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at