Reminder! Annual subscriptions to Astrology for Writers are on sale for all new subscribers — take 30% off until 11:59p TONIGHT! (Note: This sale is for annual subscriptions only and does not apply to the monthly subscription.)
And now, let’s talk about eclipse season, which kicks off with a total lunar eclipse in Sagittarius bright and early tomorrow morning. Per usual, your writing prompt horoscopes are at the bottom if you’d like to skip to the end.
My biggest fear in writing a book about leaving the church has been that I’ll become a Christian again.
This is an irrational fear. I say so to my girlfriend, to my therapist, to my writers’ group. It’s been almost ten years since I left the church; I have lived several lifetimes since then. Have been on a journey of intellectually and emotionally deconstructing my faith from which I don’t think there is any true kind of returning to the evangelicalism of my youth (not that I would want there to be). I am not the same 25-year-old barely-out PhD student who thought that there was no God-honoring way out of her marriage except to walk into the Atlantic and never come out. My self-worth is no longer built around a sky god who demands total obedience. I’ve stood under Michelangelo’s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel and admired it for its heresy, not its religious meaning.
But still: when I write about the past, and especially the old beliefs that I once held so dearly, so deeply, for so long, some tightly held spiral inside me threatens to unravel. The beliefs that once shaped my entire self and worldview, and the selves and world views of every person around me inspire a feeling of threat, as if I should duck an incoming punch. But I think what they are also triggering is grief.
I didn’t think it was possible to grieve any more than I already had, but, as any cursory glance of Twitter will tell you, writing memoir’s a bitch. It really does dig up all the bones, even the ones you thought you’d ritually put away, all proper in their place. I’ve already mourned the loss of my faith, I tell myself, even as chapter after chapter unveils new corners I didn’t know were still lingering. That’s the only reason I can write about it. It’s done. It’s over.
But I am coming to understand that this is a kind of loss that just unpacks new layers over time. Apparently, writing this version of the book was what it took to suddenly have a trap door drop out, to discover an entirely new depth to the death of my faith that I did not know was possible.
“Did you not know you were going to be writing about God and religion for the rest of your life?” my writers’ group gently asked me the other week.
Anyway, it’s eclipse season.
This total lunar eclipse (a full moon on steroids) is exact at 5 degrees of Sagittarius at 7:14am ET Wednesday, May 26. Eclipses tend to come in pairs — we’ll have another eclipse in Gemini, Sag’s opposite sign, in a few weeks — and we have two sets of eclipses a year, about six months apart.
Which is to say: eclipses, like everything else in the cosmos, are cyclical. Predictable. Yes, eclipses invite great clearings and also great hunger — life and death, never one without the other — but they are rarely releasing or inviting something that hasn’t already been moving through your peripheral vision.
Eclipses tend to be surprising only for those most committed to the blinders of denial.
Thematically, this Sagittarius eclipse is about what and how we believe. (I wish it wasn’t, but here we are.) Where it shows up for us all will be different (more specifics down below in writing prompt horoscopes), but Sagittarius, archetypally, likes to go on mythic quests. Sagittarius is the religious zealot and the atheist philosopher both — Saul and Paul, the convert and the deconstructor, the ascetic and the hedonist. Sagittarius lives at extremes of devotion, committed to seeking meaning, to living a purposeful life.
This is the third of four Sagittarius eclipses we have had since June 2020; the last one comes on December 4th of this year. It is the last lunar eclipse in this cycle, which is to say, the last full moon style eclipse, oriented towards completion rather than invitation.
What kinds of meaning aren’t working for you anymore? How are you finding purpose in a COVID world? What has been stripped away — and what remains?
There are other book fears too, of course. The writing won’t be good enough. People won’t like the book when it finally does come out, or people won’t even care (this one feels worse than the former, frankly). It won’t be as smart as I want it to be. I’ll finally be revealed as the ex-academic fraud who just couldn’t cut it in my program. Wasn’t smart enough, theoretical enough, etc. etc. My grandmother would tell me that I am borrowing trouble. Jesus would say not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
I spend a lot of time worrying about tomorrow (obviously). Not as much as I used to, but still. Old habits die hard, and all that. A lot of this worry stems from belief: from things I believe to be true about the future, or things I want to believe to be true about the future. It’s very hard for me to apply gentleness and curiosity to the unknown.
One of my all-time favorite movies is Dogma. I’ve been told it’s funnier if you’re Catholic, but I still quite enjoy it. The whole thing is a satiric send-up of everything Christian, and one of the best bits comes courtesy of Chris Rock, who plays Rufus, the “13th Apostle,” left out of the Bible because he’s Black. Rufus posits a Christ who is more inclusive and anti-televangelist in nature and takes issue with the severity of Christian belief:
The whole Sagittarius/Gemini axis could be summed up by this quote — Sagittarius as belief, Gemini as ideas. Our next eclipse, incidentally, is in Gemini. It’s interesting to consider the curiosity of ideas as a kind of remediation to the fundamentalist zealotry that can sometimes accompany belief.
I once spent decades living inside of a belief so totalizing that barely anything else could grow. I am afraid of going back to that, now, in any way. I am afraid that exercising compassion for my old self will inspire me to revisit, rethink, and perhaps even reconsider what she once believed.
It feels less scary, however, if I reframe it as considering my old selves’ ideas. And during eclipse season — and memoir writing, which will continue long after the eclipses are over — less scary is all I’m going for.
Writing Prompt Horoscopes for the Total Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius
This Sagittarius eclipse is ruled by Jupiter, the healer-teacher of the cosmos. Sagittarius is the fire sign that Jupiter rules, all action and heat and blaze. But Jupiter rules another sign, too, one that is much more fluid, more focused on healing, on connection. That sign is Pisces, the sign that Jupiter moved into a few weeks ago. So here we have a fiery eclipse being ruled by Jupiter, which is currently in its other, more watery domicile. This is a curious blend. The eclipse itself is a clearing, but there is grace to be found along the way in Jupiter’s gifts.
As a note, I would not recommend “working with” eclipses unless you are an accomplished practitioner with a particular working in mind. Historically speaking, eclipses were generally considered to be malefic, and were consequently used as times of rest. Not every astrological period has to be for capitalist doing; for everything, its season.
Aries & Aries Rising
What did you begin considering or reflecting on — about publishing, higher education, or even belief — in or around June 2020 that is now reaching culmination? What, perhaps, is requiring some kind of contraction or release? Is spirituality or past religious commitment involved in some way?
Jupiter in Pisces brings some medicine to your behind-the-scenes projects. This also significantly aids your unconscious life and any therapy or mental health work you’re personally invested in.
Taurus & Taurus Rising
What did you begin processing in or around June 2020 that is now starting to reach its culmination? What griefs, losses, and incumbent components of mental health are being released, composted, and cared for? What resources are you realizing you sometimes need to keep for yourself?
Jupiter in Pisces highlights your communities and friendships, which are buoyed with an infusion of connective optimism, abundance, and healing. Consider where you want to put your energy.
Gemini & Gemini Rising
What relationships and deep commitments to folks have you been shedding since June 2020? What patterns in partnership, and ways of relating to others that worked for former versions of yourself worked for old versions of yourself, but not this new one? How are you making room for new growth to come in?
Jupiter in Pisces brings an extra infusion of healing through your career and long-term projects. Spirituality may play a role in supporting your work, or in its nature. A teacher or mentor may be important.
Cancer & Cancer Rising
What unconscious patterns have you been releasing and recalibrating around your daily work and health since June 2020? What daily routines have required some fine tuning? How are you learning to manage your physical well being in ways that are supportive and aligned with your emotional, spiritual, and mental selves?
Jupiter in Pisces offers healing and abundance through teaching, publishing opportunities, travel (depending on where you are in the world), and perhaps even a new relationship to your belief system or spirituality.
Leo & Leo Rising
What is up for revision when it comes to releasing, rewriting, and even letting go of old passion projects and creative ventures that have been on the back burner for years? (Since June 2020, to be specific.) What feels potentially freeing about being honest with yourself about where you are in the process?
Jupiter in Pisces offers a dose of optimism, abundance, and extra faith via your collaborations and the resources you share with others.
Virgo & Virgo Rising
What have you been learning about old patterns from the past since June 2020, particularly as it relates to home and family life? What investments are you reframing and even releasing around cultural heritage and roots? How are you redefining these concepts for yourself and rewriting your own boundaries?
Jupiter in Pisces brings a powerful dose of healing through committed partnerships. Whether these relationships are personal, romantic, or professional, something feels deeply medicinal about what you uncover through connection.
Libra & Libra Rising
How have you been clearing out old writing projects and ideas since June 2020? What has been entering your energetic field since then, taking its place — and how has this been renewing or, alternately, perhaps difficult? What has felt energizing, but also perhaps mournful, about this process of recalibration?
Jupiter in Pisces brings a helpful dose of healing when it comes to your daily work life, making responsibilities feel easier and connections with colleagues feel more emotionally abundant. Your relationship with your body and wellness also gets some extra love.
Scorpio & Scorpio Rising
How have you been shedding old ways of money-making since June 2020? What financial and material patterns that don’t serve you when it comes to value have you really been clearing out? What, in turn, have you found to be more expansive than constricting, more helpful than harmful?
Jupiter in Pisces brings healing medicine that helps bolster your efforts via your creative life and the pleasures and play you’re investing in. Important children, your own or others’, may be a factor.
Sagittarius & Sagittarius Rising
What did you begin learning about yourself in or around June 2020 that is reaching culmination? What parts of your identity are in the process of being shed? What aspects of self are demanding your attention in this moment — and encouraging your freedom?
Jupiter in Pisces supports you in this moment by offering healing through the home and family you’re creating for yourself. Whether natal or chosen, the people you purposefully surround yourself with bring medicine. The physical space you create for yourself offers sacred respite.
Capricorn & Capricorn Rising
When it comes to the beliefs you’ve been holding onto, however subconsciously, what are you clearing out? What really started coming up in and around June 2020, forcing itself to consciousness in a way that required a more intentional processing and release? How are you integrating these lessons?
Jupiter in Pisces helps you process by offering its healing medicine through your writing life and the projects you’re working on every day, which feel particularly supported and buoyant.
Aquarius & Aquarius Rising
How have your relationships with friends and greater organizations shifted since June 2020? What group commitments are you ready to let go of? What communities do you really believe in and want to be a part of?
Jupiter in Pisces brings a healing infusion through income streams. If you show up with boundaries, your bank account benefits. (As does your general relationship to money and the concept of value.)
Pisces & Pisces Rising
What career changes have you experienced since June 2020? Have your public roles or reputation undergone a renaissance or a reckoning, like a snake shedding its skin only to emerge shiny and new? What beliefs are you letting go of in order to move into your power long-term?
Jupiter in your own sign of Pisces brings a healing infusion where the spotlight is on you — and your power.