As someone who is officially not Dr. Anthony Fauci, or your mother, or a Virgo, I can not rightfully tell you what you should be doing these days, beyond washing your hands and playing my new favorite game “Everything Outside the Apartment Is Hot Lava.”
To bake banana bread or to document one’s stress dreams on a burner Twitter account? To do a spin class without a stationary bike, just straddling a stool and peddling madly? To decide now is the time for a new eyebrow shape? These are hard decisions. Unfortunately, astrology and I can offer you nothing but a gentle golf clap of permission and support for whatever you decide.
While attempting to get this article cooking, I was hit with a multi-day bout of does anything even matter anymore blues. In that state, I listened to the podcast Staying In With Emily and Kumail, which, if you haven’t heard it, is an absolute joy. The couple that co-created The Big Sick and other stuff (such as Kumail Nanjiani’s abs) chat in a weird and warm way about life in the great indoors and donate all the proceeds to charity. On the pod, they posed the question: Who do you want to be during The Weirds (a.k.a. right now)? And the possible answers were divided into three zones: the Fear Zone, the Learning Zone, and the Growth Zone. My big takeaway was that whichever zone we’re in right now is totally okay, but it is also important to ask ourselves not just who we are right now but also who we want to be amidst the chaos. I find it inspiring to think about how I might learn and grow right now, no matter which zone I’m currently in.
This pleasant taxonomical system for self awareness got me thinking about who I am and what matters to me and of course all of you, and then it hit me like a bolt of cartoon lightning—this system is perfect for astrology because every zodiac sign has Fear, Learning, and Growth expressions! The astrological archetypes are not static: They transform in their expressions as we move through times of comfort and abundance to times of stress and anxiety!
So without further ado, welcome to your horoscope’s special Quarantine Edition, featuring this cute new system for insight and self-acceptance. We (you and I) will be talking about proclivities and possibilities, rather than predictions and dictums. We (astrology and I) are not in the business of telling you what to do or making value judgments during times of widespread planetary chaos, but we can offer you one hell of a behavioral buffet to choose from, according to your sign.
As I’ve said in prior horoscopes, I like to think of Aries as tiny baby Joan of Arcs, galloping into battle with a proportionate baby sword, ablaze with conviction and the confidence of a being who has not yet been battered by the slings and arrows of fate. The first sign in the zodiac, and also the most audacious, Aries are fundamentally individualists (like babies). Life according to these fire rams is generally an “every ram for itself” situation, although they also have the capacity to be excellent advocates, channelling their natural proclivity for taking no shit and leading the pack into the greater good. When Aries is deep in their fear, they are likely to claw their way to the top in the sharpest stilettos they own, eyes alight with the ecstasy of being the ultimate alpha. But when Aries is moving from a place of abundance and gratitude, they are benevolent leaders.
Fear Zone Aries: Hoarder extraordinaire. Aries was the first one at the zodiac’s neighborhood Super Target, toilet paper and Lysol piled into their carts.
Learning Zone Aries: Works on gratitude journaling to cultivate feelings of abundance and ward off feelings of scarcity.
Growth Stage Aries: Gives away an item (or five) to someone (who a fear-zone Aries might have considered a sucker, with just two weeks’ worth of dry goods). Uses their fiery, direct nature to advocate on behalf of a more timid friend.
Capricorn, the sea goat, a mythological overachiever who was not content to dominate the terrestrial realm but needed to sprout a fish tail so as to propel its weird body through the aqueous realm. If you encountered a Capricorn in the grips of existential terror and asked them like, Hey Cap, you’re feeling a lot of scary things right now, huh?
Capricorn would be all like, hahahahaha what are you talking about!! Emotions are a waste of my time and also nothing is even wrong everything’s fine excuse me I have to get back to this workflow infographic I’m designing for my team members who didn’t ask for it!!
In a quest for ruthless optimization, Caps can block out the world and white-knuckle it. But, if someone grabs them by the shoulders and is like HEY. STOP IT. you are a human who requires extracurricular pleasure and meaning, then you might just find yourself with a wave of Capricorns excelling at jigsaw puzzles, capoeira, and competitive cup-stacking.
Fear Zone Capricorn: Work from home just means they don’t have to interrupt their day with silly human rituals like lunch and rest. Also just realized they can send emails while they deep condition, if they put their phone in a plastic bag and bring it into the shower.
Learning Zone Capricorn: Wonders if those “30 days to the best ass of your life” challenges actually work. Schedules time to put the claims to the test.
Growth Zone Capricorn: Chanels their drive for success into a passion that no one wants to see on a CV or in a bikini; it simply gives their life joy and purpose.
Aquari have a heart full of benevolence for humankind, and in times of duress, they tend to worry about the world’s suffering until they collapse in on themselves like a dying star. This is totally understandable and also fundamentally unsustainable—like, do you know what happens when stars die?! (Turns out, the answer is lots of stuff that doesn’t work with this metaphor but does make for a super fun read if you’re into stoking intergalactic mortality dread). Anyway, Aquari can also work to separate the world’s pain from the fear and distress that it triggers in them personally, and then processing that more human-sized sadness.
Fear Zone Aquarius: Deep dives into conspiracy theories and/or spends all day reading the news while biting their nails.
Learning Zone Aquarius: Sets timers for how long they will read the news, journals about how the news makes them feel, and considers what those feelings require—maybe just a glass of water and to rub their own belly while whispering you’re doing so good lil angel.
Growth Zone Aquarius: Picks one way to use their skills or resources to alleviate someone’s burden: knows how to build a website, hits up a local business that has a trash website, and gets it cleaned up a bit and more prepared for online orders.
Libra, the sign most likely to be featured in a highly rated episode of Cribs because of their stunning shoe closet, the sign most likely to guess which perfume you’re wearing from the scent alone, the sign most likely to actually have a fainting couch and actually use said fainting couch to faint upon when receiving startling news. Libras are intellectual aesthetes given to decadence. They love a good stress nap, or a joy nap, or a post-nap nap. These tendencies toward beauty and indulgence makes them excellent cuddlers, superb charcuterie curators, fantastic interior designers, and probably great kissers, but they’re also prone to dealing with unwanted emotions by avoiding them altogether (by way of delights such as milkshakes, makeup tutorials, and weed).
Fear Zone Libra: Paralyzed by inertia. Sighs around the house like the heroine of a lesbian Victorian romance who is forlorn about her doomed romance. Spends government stimulus check on dank indica and a vibrator that doubles as a statement ring.
Learning Zone Libra: Tries their hand at watercolor-painting a self portrait that expresses their emotional sense of self while in a semi-reclined position, à la Frida Khalo.
Growth Zone Libra: Picks a bouquet of flowers that they find on public bushes in front of businesses on their daily walks. Starts birdwatching. Sends artfully curated gift baskets to their loved ones.
Pisces is probably really going through it right now. I haven’t seen The Shape of Water, but I feel like I get it from seeing the trailer, and I feel like Pisces is like that fish dude who appears (from the trailer) to really need a hug. As the most empathic and intuitive sign, Pisces can tend to become overwhelmed with emotionally trying situations. They also often struggle with boundaries, specifically in making the differentiation between their own feelings and needs and the feelings and needs of others; this can spiral into a cycle of anxious, preoccupied clinging, followed by avoidant, withdrawn self-isolation. Me and astrology are here to say: It’s okay, lil fish, the universe doesn’t care if you’re good or bad or needy or hermetic. You’re just doing your best out here, and we all need each other now more than ever.
Fear Zone Pisces: Is inappropriately intimate and excessive in the office group text. Obsessively thinks about their crush and lets their crush know about these thoughts. When said crush responds with “oh that’s sweet of you!” instead of an equivalent outpouring, Pisces feels humiliated and rejected, deletes crush’s contact info, and re-activates Tinder.
Learning Zone Pisces: Notices when they are in a thought spiral, makes a conscious decision to process feelings in their journal before texting anyone about it. Decides they want to Facetime their best friend for lunch.
Growth Zone Pisces: Is out here offering a virtual shoulder to cry on to friends and acquaintances. Is the best listener anyone could hope for and offers a compassionate ear to those who really need someone to talk to (just like a certain fish guy and cleaning person apparently do for each other in that movie I haven’t seen).
(Content warning: This astrological profile is actually just Harry Potter Fan Fiction featuring actual Harry Potter Virgos. Please read in a posh British accent.)
Virgo at their best is Hermione Granger: dedicated, clever, helpful, and annoying in an admirable way. Virgos at the top of their game are the glue that holds together an improbable mission to stop the Dark Lord. They might use their smarts and their eye for details others would miss to propel a ragtag bunch of Hogwarts troublemakers to the save the wizarding world. However, a Virgo living into their stress-personality shadow-self is Dolores Umbridge, a control freak to the point of villainy and sadism in a neatly pressed polyester skirt-suit. Don’t give in to the temptations of ultimate power and unlimited access to kitten-themed decor! Be the Granger you wish to see in the world.
Fear Zone Virgo: The nit-pickingest nit-picker that ever slid into your DMs to police your punctuation on a heartfelt Instagram caption, in which you incorrectly used a semi-colon.
Learning Zone Virgo: Instead of berating others for their inferior command of being a human, learning Virgos take their thirst for order and apply it to organizing their own lives and downloading a host of health-tracking apps. Also probably trains their cat to use the toilet like the internet says is possible apparently.
Growth Zone Virgo: Is the unofficial organizational mastermind for the apartment building. Slips surveys into everyone’s mailbox with check boxes for things they need. Organizes a beautiful, minimalist website where people can volunteer to help each other out. Is well-loved.
Scorpio is a water sign with all the benthic chaos of those deep sea creatures that come in shapes hitherto unthinkable in the terrestrial world. A Scorpio at their most stressed out and paranoid is like an anglerfish. Hear me out: Just like a Scorpio who uses their well-documented sex appeal and passionate appetites to make weird and sneaky choices, these lil monsters are named for the fleshy, bioluminescent growth protruding from their heads like a floating lantern, which they use to lure prey into the horrorshow of their gaping mouths. Scorpios in their secure, balanced state, are like perfect angel dumbo octopuses, who look like they belong in Totoro and are just deeply feeling, mysterious miracles, hanging out at the bottom of the ocean. Dwelling in the depths, but remaining transcendent squish-babies that anyone would love to engage in a trusting, long-term relationship.
Fear Zone Scorpio: Divides their time monitoring the many internet fights they are waging in myriad comments sections and texting their ex erotic videos of themselves peeling and eating clementines.
Learning Zone Scorpio: Creeps on all their enemies from burner accounts but does not actively engage in malicious or petty schemes.
Growth Zone Scorpio: Makes it their mission to go through all their friends’ social media accounts and leave elaborate affirmations and encouraging comments on shit they posted two years ago. Eats clementines privately, for their own pleasure.
Captain of every ship, pilot of every maiden voyage, zodiac class president who as a kid went to summer camp every year. A Sagittarius in their happy place is the leader of any given pack, happily ensuring that everyone has a great time. They are effortlessly magnetic and can capture and hold the attention of any room. A Sagittarius who is cooped up for weeks at a time, with no social situations to excel at, however, can become a dictator du jour, dominating the Slack channel, designing overly ambitious, no-screen no-sugar homeschool plans for their children, and generally being a micromanaging tornado of pent-up energy. Basically, the difference between a balanced, grounded Sag and a stressed-out repressed Sag is the difference between a border collie on a sheep farm, joyfully wrangling stinky fluff ball sheep, and a border collie in a 550-square-foot New York apartment with zero sheep.
Fear Zone Sagittarius: Wakes the household up with a bugle, wears a whistle, will use the whistle. Shouts corrections to strangers on the street who are 4.5 feet apart rather than the requisite 6.
Learning Zone Sagittarius: Designs indoor scavenger hunt. Turns all the bananas that were originally meal-prepped for boring oatmeal into extra sweet and fun banana bread.
Growth Zone Sagittarius: On Instagram Live every night telling yarns and leading virtual dance parties.
Taurus is deeply in touch with the pleasures of the material world. A Taurus at their best is that friend of yours whose house always smells like incense and/or like someone just got out of an expensive shower. They are the friend who actually knows which wine to pair with the discount wheel of brie and semi-fancy rosemary crackers you brought over. They are the friend who had an abundance of healthy, joyful plants even before Instagram told us that plants are what we all need to silence the metronome inside our heads, counting down the moments of our lives as we realize that no CBD facial treatment can ward off our own imminent mortality. When Taurus isn’t doing great, that house becomes a pleasure sty, decorated by a mountain of takeout containers and littered with overpriced candles they don’t need and can’t afford.
Fear Zone Taurus: Takes five naps a day and instead of cooking any of those dried beans they bought, they’re single-handedly keeping their neighborhood restaurants afloat. The hitachi is worn out and all of Netflix is now considered “recently watched.”
Learning Zone Taurus: No naps during the day. Makes a concerted effort to tire themselves out with Pilates and chores rather than marathon hitachi sessions, in order to go to sleep and wake up at reasonable hours.
Growth Zone Taurus: Applies sensuality and genius for delight into many areas of their life. They cook with new spices, they listen to a live recording of their favorite artist beginning to end, they iron shirts—not because they will wear shirts that require ironing, but because they discover that they love the smell of hot cotton.
Geminis like their cups the way they like their dance cards: full. I want to confess to you that I was thinking of a significantly more vulgar simile here, but now that I confessed that, I’m sure you can fill in the blank with your own human-contact-starved sex-monster brains. Anyway! A Gemini at their most self-actualized is flitting from engagement to event to soirée and back again like a beautiful songbird, tittering away and bringing delight to all whom they encounter. A Gemini without focus, who feels insecure and ungrounded, falls into a high-risk category for waking up frantic, starting a bunch of different projects, somehow finishing nothing, and ending the day utterly adrift with a palmful of melatonin, praying for the sweet oblivion of sleep.
Fear Zone Gemini: Wins award for most time glued to their screen in a haze of unfulfilling scrolling and shitposts. Beats out teenagers, TikTok stars, and Donald Trump for said title.
Learning Zone Gemini: Still on their phone a lot, but keeps a little notebook so they can jot down the brilliant ideas that come to them as they scroll.
Growth Zone Gemini: Recognizes this as a moment when inspiration is not only enough, but is a gift. Revels in their capacity for big ideas. Does not punish themselves for failing to follow through. Takes email notifications off their phone.
Leo, you are the sun, and we are all but heliotropic flowers that turn our blossoms toward your dazzling light. At peak Leo, you can catch these superstars crushing an Alicia Keys classic at karaoke, teaching the whole room how to dougie, and coming home to be a stable, supportive, inspiring partner to their friends and to the people with whom they like to make out (non-exclusive categories) When a Leo feels threatened or ignored, they have the capacity to wreak absolute havoc. All of that vitality and power can easily shift into jealousy, arrogance, and maybe even a touch of megalomania. A chilled-out and secure Leo is the Uber driver who emanates such a positive energy that when they ask you how you’re doing you actually tell them, and when they respond with wisdom, humor, and grace, you feel as if you’ve truly made a human connection and that perhaps there is hope for us all in the smithereens of analog intimacy left over after the atomic blast of late-stage digital capitalism. A Leo gone bad is the solipsistic Uber driver eating a pungent curry and smoking a cigarette while telling you to smile more before launching into a monologue about how white men get a bad rap these days.
Fear Zone Leo: Ignores social distancing guidelines because they feel like it and because no strangers have stopped them on the street to compliment their shoes since February and they WILL NOT BE IGNORED.
Learning Zone Leo: Does their best with social distancing, stages avant-garde tableaux vivants in their window to attract the gaze of passersby. Hopes to be featured in a New Yorker article for their efforts.
Growth Zone Leo: Repeats self-love affirmations throughout the day to develop a more robust capacity for internal validation. Tries their hand at a new type of performance. Launches a stand-up career on Instagram Live.
No one who’s ever met a Cancer would be surprised to hear them described as one of the most sensitive varieties of human. The star crab navigates the material and the intuitive world with dexterous aplomb, reading the energy of a room and responding in kind with ease. Due to this sensitivity to their environments, I bet that there are a lot of Cancers out there who have scuttled back to their favorite rocks, contenting themselves with hiding beneath said rock fortress until salvation or the end-days—either way, you won’t be able to get them on the phone for a while. A Cancer who is scared or overwhelmed is likely to withdraw, not just in the social distancing way, but, like, in the way where they pretend they dropped their phone in water and came down with a rare form of blindness that impacts their ability to read emails. However, a self-soothing and balanced Cancer is the role model we need right now. Adept at staying inside and only talking to three people, they could really contribute by hosting Zoom lectures on how to stay your ass at home.
Fear Zone Cancer: No one knows. We haven’t heard from them in weeks. We know they’re doing okay because we’re still logged on to their YouTube account, and they are watching a steady stream of Bon Appétit videos and listening to hours of binaural beats.
Learning Zone Cancer: Will text you back if you’re sad.
Growth Zone Cancer: Leans into their nurturing side and checks in on their loved ones regularly. Listens to music with lyrics sometimes because they are stable enough to transition away from ASMR videos and would like to experience joy again.
Graphic by Lorenza Centi.
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