Shadow Horoscopes for the Week of August 30, 2021

The Shadow ‘Scopes, horoscopes for your sign written by yours truly, are up for this week! This week’s column features the art of Madeline Manning. Among the many things for which Madeline is known, one of them is that she makes legendary toilet seats!  Check out her work. My own personal voice of horoscope-writing still feels fresh. 

In a way it feels as though it’s in its infancy, and in another way I feel as though I’m striving earnestly to tap into a deep lineage of bards, ecstatic poets & griots going back to ancient times. I call them “shadow ‘scopes” because my intent is for horoscopes to include dream life, the life of the unconscious, and to respect the dark & hidden taboos of your life so that our shadowy sides can gain metaphoric fulfillment without causing as much grief in the literal daily life. My dream would be to make shadow ‘scopes a kind of artistic medicine through reading, listening & contemplation. 

I experimented with an adjustment & addition to them this week, though, after realizing that often when I write these I’ll hold a dialogue in my head that goes something like, “yes, this is all genuine, but give the reader something practical that they can use.” This has also come from real conversations with friends who ask questions: “but what will happen? Break it down for me, Nate!” So I tried something new: another voice interrupts the horoscope, in a rhetorical pivot that takes inspiration from some of the ecstatic poets—the liberation songs of Tibet and the Sufi poets both came to mind in a flash of inspiration, though I don’t at all claim to do justice to or appropriate either of them. There’s a convention sometimes during a poem or a chant when the speaker says something such as, “this is nonsense spoken by a madman. I apologize for none of it!” Or the poet will refer to themselves in the first name and interrogate/laugh at everything that just came out of their mouth. 

In this week’s column, I end each ‘scope in the spirit of saying, “what’s all this poetic embellishment for? Give it to us in plain language!” and I then offer a few bulleted points of practical, mundane ‘takeaways’ that you as the reader can use for the week. This is new so we’ll see if this sticks. I would love to hear your feedback and how those rhetorical shifts sit with you and also how your horoscopes resonate. Read for your sun sign & rising sign—and, why not, your moon sign, too! 

When preparing to write for each sign, I laid down on the floor, Vitruvian Man style, spreading my limbs at different angles to represent the zodiac, grunting, growling, breathing & intoning into my hands and feet. Tracking the path of the moon and mercury, I felt motions of opening & closing onto particular images that then appeared before me, which animated each horoscope’s life. It was a journey that left me darn thirsty for a long time afterwards—and then later I discovered that through synchronicity, one of Madeline’s paintings is entitled “Thirst.” Stay hydrated, friends, and thanks for reading. 

“DinDin” by Madeline Manning

ARIES. This week a part of you can’t resist seeing phantom masks of your parents in the face of your beloved partner, or dear friend, or subject matter, or part of yourself sitting across from you at the table who juices you up with love. The appearance of those drama masks of your roots, from deep in the ground of your genealogy tree, makes part of you uneasy. Dreams of two birds on a tree branch singing love songs to each other seemed promising; you & your beloveds exploring that path of non-hierarchical partnership has formed an integral part of your life quest. But that branch now feels delicate, with an opening, quaking ground. Those formidable faces of the DNA molds, part of which have served as vessels for the creation of your own form, shake the lightness of partnership into the depth & gravity of the deepest past. What will you each find out about the other, when you discover the nuances of those genetic codes, now that the sleeping dog of the parental complexes has awakened from across the dinner table, and every morsel of food entering your mouth & your beloveds’ mouth becomes overshadowed with nourishment or abandonment? 

While the body feels queasy at all this, there’s an opportunity here to slow down & listen. Those tree branches, the ones that support your partnership with your lovers, your subject matter & yourself as reflections of how your spirit ascends into the fullness of a higher perspective, are more resilient than they appear. The shaking ground that makes all communications and all food for the body & soul appear suspects of genetic violence doesn’t need to cause such a stir that the promising lovebird branch snaps, and even if one does, there are other branches on the tree that you can equally use as conduits for your journey of love, emotional awareness, & deep listening.  

This is nonsense spoken by a madman. Say something direct!

Well, here’s another way of seeing it: 

*You’re emotionally sensitive to themes of home, privacy, parents & roots this week. Give yourself some reflection time. 

*You may be initiated into trying to overcome everything through diplomacy in your one-on-one partnerships. Remember that listening is key. 

*Your physical & mental energy levels ask that you slow your body down a bit this week.

“Drip Drip Drip” by Madeline Manning

TAURUS. A part of your soul feels taken on a trip down dark roads toward a mysterious lighthouse—perhaps with a group of school friends, or dear brothers & sisters, or co-conspirators. The purpose of this journey, or of the journey of all the interior communications between you & your friends, feels shrouded in spirits of the nighttime breeze, collaborating to see what illumination comes out of you & your friends’ willingness to make the unknowns your collective center. And while a part of you resists an adventure in the dark to this abandoned shore, or to a less-often-visited place of connection, or the call at night to the person you haven’t spoken to in a long time, there’s an equal feeling that the car, the kayak, the train and the airways are connecting you & them from underneath your conscious will. 

While at that place, at a simultaneous short & long distance, you nest in some branches, creating a giant bird’s nest for your winged self. When your peers join you and you all collectively rest on the shore, it becomes apparent that the rough, spiky branches at this temporary together-away-home represents another telephone line to yourself; a memo to your mind to rejuvenate your circadian rhythms, rooting your relationship to day & night out of its frenzy of production & consumption and back down to the sensual simplicity in which you’re the expert. Lean in and enjoy how this voyage into minimalist night shows you a reflection of your winged creativity exploding the ocean tides into arching fireworks—that sweet vision of the future soon to come after this nocturnal reset with your comrades.  

This is nonsense spoken by a madman. Say something direct!

Well, here’s another way of seeing it: 

*You’re trying this week to communicate what constitutes balance for you in your health & daily routine. 

*You’re sensitive & pulled toward short journeys with people who feel kinship with you this week. Take these excursions as opportunities to recharge and glimpse new information about your daily rhythms. 

*Intensity about friends, lovers & artistic inspiration feels prominent. 

*Mind the subconscious gossip and rein yourself in when necessary, holding equanimity of response as an intention.

“whispered gains” by Madeline Manning

GEMINI. In swift movement serving every which direction and with some vague sense that you’re responsible to lead a pilgrimage, you find yourself saddled with baggage, tasked with the challenge of carrying yourself and your possessions, or long-held concepts or personas, up a steep path. It’s as if you and those close to you carry pieces of furniture on your backs, and when reaching the summit, there’s both an incinerator to shred them all, and a palace to move them all into. It seems a drastic decision, but both lead to the same outcome, as you don’t move into the palace to cozy up to any of these old chairs. The queasiness of responsibility thrust upon you to declare which precious objects to shred & which to exalt blurs into a cloudy sky above you, sending you a clear message: you, Gemini, are the one who constantly discovers new mobility, rather than finding yourself stuck operating within a binary of exalting & dismissing what has been dear to you. Despite initially feeling obligated to stand still, pacifying the gang of sofa-carriers, an imp tells you it’s time to transgressively change vantage points in order to truly move the energy behind these stuck perspectives that everyone’s held like prized possessions. 

Your presiding god, Hermes, circulates electric rivers up toward that mountain peak, gifting you with the instantaneous insight, collapsing this summit into gravity. And while at first this induces panic among everyone around you—“but we had made it to the top, and we were discovering finally what to do with everything we held dear!”—you know this as an initiation into the true demonstration of your mobility as you show everyone how to run up the sides of those dirt walls into which everything collapsed an instant ago. Your bodies & perspectives invert, become more agile, and you realize that all the toil of carrying that furniture was only a mock trial as you now flip your scripts willingly, playfully, running up & down without any pretense of authoritatively knowing anything, without deciding the fate of any idea or person before it’s gone on the adventure of its life through you as a conduit.  

This is nonsense spoken by a madman. Say it in plain language!

Well, here’s another way of seeing it: 

*You’re communicating to yourself how you can flip the creative script. 

*Don’t be afraid to find ways to reassess approaches to your creativity in fun, low-maintenance ways with any collaborators, partners or lovers, with an eye toward taking future risks. 

*There’s intensity & sensitivity in the realms of your roots and emotional body. Allow yourself to maintain your mobility, agility and flexibility when everyone else’s rigidity is unraveling them.

“Cruisin’ for a Freakout” by Madeline Manning

CANCER. For someone such an expert at nourishing the family nucleus, your challenge is to let protective containers fragment or expand when the time has come to sprout a new vision of family on different soil. This week, Cancer, some internal earthquakes & intensities in the deep valleys of your roots, and the family tree containers you serve to maintain, catalyze your curiosity about what it means to lean into the intense emotion & shift. What does it mean to stand your own ground when those in your immediate environment take advantage of your empathy? What does it mean to feel the ground break apart around you and yet still proclaim your emotional boundaries? In these valleys that have constructed the frame of your environment & worldview, dragons from another culture greet you. A burning bush in the distance that precedes doctrine compels you toward it. Cyclones whirling in the air bring you into contact with the constantly shifting mythic territory of the places you’ve imagined as a stasis within yourself and your family.

This week provides you with a chance to entertain those strange twists & twisters, the numinous calling to sometimes shift ground, change the floor of the house, and to appreciate the allying creatures & emotions that move you to those different inner & outer shelters. What feels like overwhelming intensity is sometimes really the invitation to see all the previously invisible friends in our DNA, in the hundreds-years-old family house, or in the land where your roots have dwelled for centuries, who help you when you acknowledge them—and when you proclaim your own boundaries against the habitual conflicts that arise within the status quo shelter.

This is nonsense spoken by a madman. I apologize for none of it, but shall put it more simply:

*You feel sensitive this week to what’s right up close in your environment this week; it feels that the geographic landscape or way of seeing your world is completely shifting. 

*You may feel pulled every which way due to the constant exposure of your empathy. Communicate your emotional boundaries amid the shifting landscapes without losing yourself in others’ feelings or information.

“Will a Chemist have Mercy” by Madeline Manning

LEO. In the temple where you explore what your ‘royal’ quality is really all about, this week brings vigorous chanting & intoning to that inner room. All the precious sacred objects, or visions of the future, memories of the past, or dreams you have at night, sparkle and ask that you give a second look to what constitutes vision & what constitutes delusion. There appears an empty throne in this monastery—one on which it would be logical for you to assume your rightful place. What does it mean to see yourself absent on the spot where you’d most likely be seen? All the charged objects & life dreams contained in this room ask you to view the whole space, taking a moment to look inquisitively rather than sitting in that golden chair right away. Singing bowls and brass statues pop into the air spontaneously in smoke. A mishmash of voices, announcing various goings-on, overtake the serene chants. 

What all seems like confusion about how you assume the position of royalty, how you express your creativity in the spotlight, and why, is asking you to lean into its mystery. For what regenerates your sulphuric lion’s hunger to create if not a dose of confusion every now and then? When the tables turn on what you see as royal & dignified, instead of seeing this as an obstacle, it can actually become the cosmic force that rejuvenates your ability to assume your place in the limelight. To see all the reverent shrine offerings explode up toward the tapestries, to hear a choir of confused announcements on top of concentrated prayer, and to do all this recognizing that the throne is empty because royalty needs expression through a fresh pattern of values—all this sparks an opportunity to make your style of owning the room, performing & ruling, much more visionary. 

This is utter poetic drivel. Try saying it a little more plainly!

Well, here’s another way of seeing it: 

*You may feel magnetized toward visions, daydreams & mysterious genealogical tugs this week.

*Communication feels strange, and you may sometimes feel invisible. It’s just the weather. 

*Journaling may help so that you can hear your own thoughts, and enjoy the time off stage to recharge your batteries & stay still, nourishing your inner life.

“Night and Day I was a Stranger” by Madeline Manning

VIRGO. Sometimes you don’t realize that your own dreams shower you in confetti, but your sense of shyness or embarrassment makes you feel as a clown when you walk into the great cafeteria of all the friends you ever had and everyone greets you with laughter. It’s a bit like that this week, Virgo, and the key is knowing the spirit of that laughter , the colors of the streamers worn on your sleeve of self-worth, and the intensity you feel with the charge of your goals so close to your heart. A chunk of the great hall where everyone presents their school science projects suddenly falls into outer space, the cafeteria itself open to the starry sky. You’ve been receiving training in making your wishes truly yours, and for a moment you may feel confused by the glimpse of so many comrades suddenly disappearing into a celestial oblivion. 

But that’s not the whole story—when the communing with others becomes too distracting this week, you’re gripped back into the urgency of seeing your wishes in all of their darkness & brightness, and you’re challenged to open yourself to these new tugs on your heart. It’s right at the moment when you let others’ expectations, or values, trample on the posterboard of your ambitions detailing all the work & research you’ve done, when the whole room blows open and you find yourself, too, opened & unroofed. The showering down of partyware calls you into one of your most ancient realms of service: the jester as the irreverent healer & utterer of the sacred message. The opening up of the claustrophobic hall, despite the old validation that it carried while closed (the validation of your winning others’ approval), presents you with a radical reckoning of your soul’s ability to now receive its divine attire from above. You can let others laugh and laugh at yourself as you make space for the revelation of *you* playfully owning how you now wish to serve.

This astrologer is intoxicated on poetry. Put it more plainly!

Well, here’s another way of seeing it: 

*Negotiation may feel as though it’s taking a considerable amount of energy this week, but you’re also aware of your own goals in a potent way. Lean into that tension.

*You have a chance to really tap into your sense of self-worth and to hold a balanced conversation with yourself & others about your financial situation. Reflect holistically on how income connects with your own sense of worthiness, and know that you are deserving of abundance.

“Still Life!!” by Madeline Manning

LIBRA. What do you know about your body? What are the physical blisters that also cover the inner debris, sometimes disguised as knowledge or relevant information? Is there a part of you wearing your enemies on your sleeve like a badge of honor? The aches and pains, and the uncertainty they produce, veil something about the arc of knowledge you’re going toward this week. There’s a part of you all ready to use your juicy eloquence in your finest circles, and another part of your soul in a sanatorium, where spirits come to your bedside asking you what you’ve learned about your talents, body & well-being. 

It’s not about formulating words for what you think you know; it’s about giving some attention to each cut that releases fluid out, and each crumb that you take in. These somatic sources of output & input become inspiration for all corners of your mind in the background, no matter what others say. Facades may be tempting, including the temptation to push forward in diplomacy, but looking downward and at the smaller extensions of yourself reveals that those smaller parts, too, contain infinity, including the momentary pains. 

In plain terms, you madman!

Well, Libra, if I were to state it plainly, what could I say?

*Your attention this week turns toward communication & diplomacy. 

*It’s important you check in with your body & mind regularly in a week when it may feel like an overflow of communication & responsibility is given to you. 

*You may feel magnetized toward appearing in the spotlight or in a role in which you need to act as a caregiver. 

*Take care not to gossip or become a magnet of slander.”

“Downpour” by Madeline Manning

SCORPIO. “Now you see me, now you don’t.” There are emotional tugs on your heart to move front & center, appearing before the eyes of your close associates & sharing what you’ve learned, but it’s all equally shrouded in mystery, and when you try to communicate, there’s a part of you that can’t hear your own words through the water in your ears.  Echoes of what your mother & father would say come through to you while you’re at the remote gatherings, and your words bounce back, others reflecting back to you the side of you that you don’t see & everyone else sees. 

It’s as if there’s a demand to shift from an emphasis on the *content* of what you’re communicating to knowing *that* you’re communicating. The water in your ears and the imagined animosity from rival friends & lovers, those who want to possess your spot in the public glare, is a side effect of how you typically resist the vulnerability of public attention anyway. But you can take it as an opportunity to cut through any illusions about yourself when reflecting upon the leadership roles assigned to you. A theme for the next couple of months: remember that knowing thyself is most important first, so before delivering the emotionally charismatic messages that cut through others’ delusions, make sure you’ve cleaned the water out of your ears by achieving self-honesty. 

Tell us what it all means, you embellisher!

Well, here it is:

*You may feel an emotional test of your knowledge happens this week, or an emotional pull toward study, traveling, or seeking a new source of inspiration. 

*Mercury entering your 12th house can bring the communication of visions & delusions both. It’s important to keep in mind the instruction not to take anything personally—words can be twisted and not make any real sense. 

*It’s a time to capitalize on the intensity of friendships & social circles that energize you.

“Prized Blister” by Madeline Manning

SAGITTARIUS. It may seem this week that out of the underworld spring ghostly demands for you to take care of any unfinished business: crumpled tax return, money secrets and generations worth of papers staled by cigarette ash & tabooed sexual conversations surround you, asking for your attention. The cobwebs of desire, subtext & avoidance, and the threat of those fears linked to the primal foundation of survival threaten to leap out at you. “The ghosts of the past and their bad habit of barfing everywhere” (Hafiz) But this is because it’s a time to hold yourself accountable for dispelling illusions about your foundations, including the foundations of what you share with others. 

If you van view all this not as a hassle but as an opportunity, Sagittarius, you will experience the soaring eagle of emotional confidence, giving you a view of the summit on the path you’re now exploring beyond your wildest dreams. What at first seemed a dead prison of old systemic & genetic injustices now reveals itself as a vessel for you to learn the value of rising, rooted in a faith in your survival free from denial, and the true value of your mobile perspective that soars, dives & explores after doing what’s necessary to rejuvenate its confidence.  

This is nonsense spoken by a madman. Say something direct!

Well, here it is: 

*You may feel pulled into areas of life where you’re merged with others, such as accounts, the intimate bedroom, taxes or inheritances.  

*There’s an opportunity to refresh yourself in engaging the sport of charming & persuading those in your social circles, and to discover how others reflect your goals back to you. 

*The balance of your career & private life feels volatile, so when in doubt, give yourself time to rehydrate and go inward.

“The Garden and the Gardener” by Madeline Manning

CAPRICORN. Split between a cramped office swarming with old parchment, and a ship upon a tempest-tossed sea, you’re confronted with the soreness in your bones that accompanies the responsibility to deliver the message. It suddenly seems that the burden is yours to navigate the waters amid conflicting messages that carry centuries of war, and that you must now step into your calling as the responsible guide. But echoes of the elders within you have questions: that dryness in your chest may remind you of lovers from aeons ago questioning your ability to charm, to lead diplomatically, to seduce. Voltaire’s reminder of the necessity to seduce, as opposed to only knowing how to conquer, rings in your ears, and in your cool reservation the moment may come to confront your insecurity over the elegance & magnetism with which you’re able to deliver difficult messaging. 

But it’s not only a matter of confronting this insecurity; it’s also about cultivating it. The responsibility foisted upon you this week, Capricorn, is an acknowledgement of your expertise in an area for which you’re often not given credit—the sustenance of the scaffolding & bone structure of human security. You’re not here now to fight for a status quo, but to captain the ship as a model of facing the storm with an even keel. As in Keats’ notion of “negative capability,” it’s not your burden to fight for the dominance of conventional, known ways, but to charm that storm, along with the before and after, with your ability to navigate the harsh news over those waters, in the office chair, and in your spine, you as the skeletal container navigating the multiplicity of uncertainties. Your charm is in your courage to tend to the messages of your bones, durable in many environments and in the face of destabilizing news. You show the world, and yourself, how to re-stabilize after destabilizing, rather than insisting on a permanent status quo, by holding an intimate conversation with your own skeleton.   

This is the spittle of an eccentric poet. Explain yourself!

“Well, here’s another way of seeing it: 

*what your closest relationships have said to you carries intense emotional weight on your mind this week, so it’s important to withdraw your projections from those you love and take back your power.

*There’s intensity in the demand to travel or to communicate a message in a specific way. Stay grounded and be open to new ways of adapting to the scenery & the news. 

*You may feel on the spot and in the position to communicate, so remember that listening & reading the room is key first.”

“Thirst” by Madeline Manning

AQUARIUS. You awaken into the week as if feeling that all your baggage across multiple timelines have stuck to you for so long that they’re finally ready to wash away. This baggage includes both the resourceful and the cumbersome; not only those possessions and bills of the present, but also what has sustained you & bonded you to others in the past. What comes to light through their sappy, honeyed textures as they cling to your person is how you’ve also felt poisoned by some of the possessions that have insisted on holding onto you or vice-versa. You’re an innovator of “the good,” Aquarius, a visionary of what’s good for humanity, and suddenly it’s as if all the supplements you’ve taken turn black & melt in their bottles. All the precious books shrivel up, withered & dog-eared. The remedies of the past reveal their need for you to allow them to dissolve in order to uncover the more genuine medicine of the present. 

This journey of discovery demands that you allow the negative recognition of what’s “stuck” to you until the great opening of the tides on your inner being yields genuine medicine for you, your partners, friends, and the greater good. It’s when you stand, facing out & ready to commune with the planet’s waterways and rocky paths, allowing the recognition that too much has stuck to you and there’s no need to force the knowledge or medicines of the past to work any longer—it’s at this point that the roaring current opens your tissues. All that’s stuck to the inner linings of your body unsticks, and your great calling as the innovator of the human collective sings its song of freedom & rejuvenation once again. 

This is nonsense spoken by a madman. Say something more plain & simple!

Well, here’s another way of seeing it: 

*You may feel emotionally pulled toward finding a new approach to nourishment, health & the right medicine for yourself & others. 

*There may be a discovery or a step into the need to diplomatically communicate knowledge across global channels.  

*There’s are intense feelings linked to possessions & values. Be sure to cut any disempowering energetic cords.

“Early Still” by Madeline Manning

PISCES. The separation can hurt so much, as becomes apparent on the heart monitor of your daily life, when this week, it’s possible that a part of you feels the pangs of friend or partner traveling great distances—either geographically or psychically—by necessity. All the times you’ve spent your libidinous self-expression at parties, on stages, or during any festivities, come flooding into memory, trying to connect any light-heartnedness of past social connection to the present to bring some balm to the grief of separateness. An arcade or casino of the soul with makeshift fortune tellers & slot machines may appear, promising outlets for the expenditure of that emotionally creative energy & of all that potential to express love. 

These casino temptations both guide the way and lead astray: they carry the addictive potential to numb you to the pain of longing for the Friend, or the Beloved, but they also teach you about all the plugins for your ability to Enjoy. They show you how the cycles of your distances from loved ones teach you, through reflection, about your personal experience of happiness—both with others and while alone with yourself. So this week, Pisces, may feel as a reminder that ties aren’t only happy-go-lucky; close heart bonds also make you feel the sweet sorrow of waterways breaking into a landmass. But what seem on the surface to be separations are actually teachers of appreciation for the delight of communing with your friends & lovers across timelines & geographies—for the reason such a river’s current floods into the earth of your heart is to bring the water of emotion, longing and reflective sharing to your heart connections, initiating you into your work of deepening & transcending distance.  

This is nonsense spoken by a madman. Say something plain & simple!

Well, Pisces, here’s another way of seeing it: 

*there’s tenderness about friends & partners and autonomy or separation within them can show up as a prominent theme this week. 

*Mind your creative emotional energy. Take care not to let it leak toward addictive spending sprees and consider gearing it toward creative self-expression. 

*Honor the rejuvenating capacity of all emotions when you connect them to an artistic channel and communicate honestly to yourself & others.

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