Gather ’round, children, for it’s time again to read the stars, seek answers in your cards, and let the things which we do not know be known. So count your cards and lay down the bones. It’s time to come together to seek out the potential in what comes next. We are here to find out what lies ahead and celebrate the future untold.
“The Everglades was the only place on earth where alligators (broad snout, fresh water, darker skin) and crocodiles (pointy snout, salt water, toothy grin) lived side by side.” ― Michael Grunwald, The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise. “It was the only home of the Everglades mink, Okeechobee gourd, and Big Cypress fox squirrel. It had carnivorous plants, amphibious birds, oysters that grew on trees, cacti that grew in water, lizards that changed colors, and fish that changed genders. It had 1,100 species of trees and plants, 350 birds, and 52 varieties of porcelain-smooth, candy-striped tree snails. It had bottlenose dolphins, marsh rabbits, ghost orchids, moray eels, bald eagles, and countless other species that didn’t seem to belong on the same continent, much less in the same ecosystem.” Grunwald speaks to the very distinct nature of this particular place, a place, that just so happens, to be home. Aries, how are you going to speak to your own particular place? How will you define home? Speak to the ecosystem, Aries. Give it place.
You’ve heard of the yellow chickadee, haven’t you? Well of course, my sweets, but perhaps you have not heard their story. These sweet birds are called “chickadees” because of their onomatopoeic and distinctive call of “chick-a dee dee dee.” The sweet birds are also referred to as “titmice,” and just hilariously to American audiences, just “tits” in many other places of the world. According to experts, that name comes from the 14th century: “composed of the Old English name for the bird, mase (Proto-Germanic *maison, German Meise) and tit, denoting something small.” Chickadee or titmouse, however it is you decide to honor the bird’s name, just remember how it is we come to names. Whether through the most obvious, or the fact that good things come in all sorts of packages, how you name those gifts makes all the difference.
On this very day in 1311, the Catalan Company defeated Walter V of Brienne to take control of the Duchy of Athens, a revolutionary crusader state in Greece. Known as the Battle of Halmyros or Orchomenos, it was a shattering devastation to the Catalans, who were set to bring Greece into their own territory, claiming it as a Frankish territory. Of course, to outsiders, this just reads as a bit of historical knowledge, a blip on the map. Yet it remains one of the most violent and bloody battles in all of Greek history, resulting in the deaths of 20,000 of the infantry and the annihilation of the native horses. But that’s how history is, or really, anything is. Unless it happens on your front lawn, there tends to be a little less interest than say, an anecdote, but then again, Gemini, I’m always hoping you’ll be able to get past that niggling paradox. A dual soul, you have the ability to move past your own front lawn. Do so often and do so plenty.
Perhaps you are a fan of The Jungle Book, Rikki Tikki Tavi, or even hate with all your heart The White Man’s Burden. But my favorite Rudyard Kipling bit? A swath of words from an equally morally ignorant and morally good man:
A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.
Cancer, it is difficult to parse out the good and the not good, the inspiring and the embarrassingly dated. However, like Rudyard, you and your fellow humans are just all parts and bits and pieces of similar things: good, not good, ignorant, despicable, and everything in between. Know how and when to wrap it all together, my sweets.
There are many how-tos out there, Leo, but I think you’ll love this particular how-to on how to make a tree-house.
Yes, it doesn’t give directions, yes, it does not give you a step-by-step. But the how-to is based in Michael Cranford’s desire to create a better way. That is your how-to, my dear Leo: passion and determination. Think about it this week when you set out on trying to fix all those little nubbets of yours. You’ll find the how-to is in the how much you love.
Talisman of amazement! Get your talisman of amazement! Yes, indeed. One of my favorite talismans of amazement I have seen this week? A tiny replica of an 18th century decomposed corpse:
The body in this wooden coffin is in a severe state of decomposition. It may have had two purposes: as “memento mori,” a reminder of death, or as a teaching aid. The figure is surrounded by three frogs. Frogs are symbols of rebirth and regeneration because they change so much in their lifetimes.
Virgo, what is your personal talisman this week? The thing to help you keep the faith, the thing that keeps you moving? Find that wax replica of an 18th century corpse and make it the piece of necessity for your survival.
Libra, I felt the need to tell you this news and then remind you of an old saying. As I write to you, it has become apparent that Fred Phelps, founder of the hate-mongering church that might be the largest troll in written history, is dying. According to his excommunicated son Nathan, “He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.”
Now before we jump to anything, my dear Libra, as easy as it would be, let me remind you of a little ditty, from a very wise man.
“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”
Keep that in mind this week, dear Libra. It’s easy to wish a man dead. Too easy. I’d advise you to err from that action and instead take great pleasure in obituaries to come.
Ever heard of the The Priestley Riots? Also known as the Birmingham Riots of 1791, the riots took place in July, with rioters targeting religious dissenters. According to sources, “Both local and national issues stirred the passions of the rioters, from disagreements over public library book purchases, to controversies over Dissenters’ attempts to gain full civil rights and their support of the French Revolution.” Scorpio, what is the act of revolution you will need to do this week to gain those simple rights that can so easily be taken for granted? Act out of courage and bravery, and riot, riot, riot, ’til the break of dawn.
Of course you know the vanilla bean, my dear sweet Sagittarius. But do you know about it? Known as Vanilla planifolia, the sweet bean is native to Mexico, though it now widely grows throughout tropical environments. Its more endearing fact is that it grows as a vine, climbing up existing trees, poles, or other forms of vertical support. The vanilla will go as high as it possibly can, and every year, “the growers fold the higher parts of the plant downward so the plant stays at heights accessible by a standing human. This also greatly stimulates flowering.” How will you grow as equally high to produce as equally sweet things? Think long and hard. And in the meantime? Grow. Reach. Go as high as you possibly can.
Capricorn, this is for you. I just want you to let the words seep on into to your soft brain, and take away what you think Tim Dorsey really, really, means.
I am the native and this is my home. Faded pastels, and Spanish tiles constantly slipping off roofs, shattering on the sidewalk. Dogs with mange and skateboard punks with mange roaming through yards, knocking over garbage cans. Lunatics wandering the streets at night, talking about spaceships. Bail bondsmen wake me up at three a.m. looking for the last tenant. Next door, a mail-order bride is clubbed by a smelly man in a mechanic’s shirt. Cats violently mate under my windows and rats break-dance in the drop ceiling. And I’m lying in bed with a broken air conditioner, sweating and sipping lemonade through a straw. And I’m thinking, geez, this used to be a great state.
“You wanna come to Florida? You get a discount on theme-park tickets and find out you just bough a time share. Or maybe you end up at Cape Canaveral, sitting in a field for a week as a space shuttle launch is canceled six times. And suddenly vacation is over, you have to catch a plane, and you see the shuttle take off on TV at the airport. But you keep coming back, year after year, and one day you find you’re eighty years old driving through an orange grove.”
Let it soak right on in.
“My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her,” says the nameless character in Karen Russell‘s St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. “Some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather. One such melting occurs in summer rain, at midnight, during the vine-green breathing time right before sleep. You have to ask the right question, throw the right rope bridge, to get there — and then bolt across the chasm between you, before your bridge collapses.”
Aquarius, what are the kingdoms that only you have access to? When is it that you can go to those places? And most importantly, what are you doing to ensure that the bridge to there doesn’t collapse ?
Pisces, I’m passing on a famed recipe from Bert Christensen, master of cuisine d’originale. This week’s recipe? Whole Stuffed Camel.
1 whole camel, medium size
1 whole lamb, large size
20 whole chickens, medium size
12 kilos rice
2 kilos pine nuts
2 kilos almonds
1 kilo pistachio nuts
110 gallons water
5 pounds black pepper
Salt to taste
Skin, trim and clean camel (once you get over the hump), lamb and chicken. Boil until tender. Cook rice until fluffy. Fry nuts until brown and mix with rice. Hard boil eggs and peel. Stuff cooked chickens with hard-boiled eggs and rice. Stuff the cooked lamb with stuffed chickens. Add more rice. Stuff the camel with the stuffed lamb and add rest of rice. Broil over large charcoal pit until brown. Spread any remaining rice on large tray and place camel on top of rice. Decorate with boiled eggs and nuts. Serves friendly crowd of 80-100.
Pisces, I give you this recipe because I think you need the challenge of making a dinner for a friendly crowd of 80-100. Stuffed camel or no, humbling yourself to the tastes of the masses is always a good way to endear yourself to the universe. Have fun, my sweets.
ADVISEMENT FOR ALL THE SIGNS THIS WEEK: This week, I think the universe, or really, a generated algorithm should let you know what to do. Have fun with that, my sweets.