Awakening Osiris is a celebration of all dark aspects of life and the capacity we possess to overcome them. As Ellis stated, we are all Osirises, each with the ability to create ourselves again and again on our path towards spiritual truth. Through years of research, she amassed such a powerful message, one she believed the world should have.Read More
The man told us that this is not his house, but a house he made specifically for his mother, sister, and boyfriend who have all passed. Guiding us closer, he pointed out the poetry on a giant velvet red heart, the center of the front yard. He told us his lover died in his arms, and now he was all alone. He said that he made this for the loves that he’s lost, and he smiled.Read More
Seemingly non-pagan holidays dwell in the midst of winter solstice – their roots are witches. During the darkest part of the year, when the veil is thinnest, we gather for ceremony. This is no coincidence – this is by design. While the days grow shorter and moon light lingers longer, what we really celebrate is not the birth of something or someone, but death. Capricorn season oozes with death. It is covering everything in colder temperatures and frosty layers – it is where things go to die. It is Saturnalia.Read More
BY LISA MARIE BASILE
I don’t care whether you believe it or not, the Scorpio exists. If it’s not a personality carved out by the celestial, then it is most certainly an archetype born out of real-life human beings, the kind—like me—that drinks, breathes and moves about attached to some chthonic place. We are the people who were born rummaging through the dark. We were the kids who weren’t like the others. We were the adults who realized our strangeness is actually power. Grew into our wings.
Scorpios, I’m talking to you here—but if you love someone who is a Scorp, it’ll benefit you too: It is like we cipher what we need from the darkness just in order to make it through the day. It could be that we drain a crowd of its mass energy—taking just a little bit from you there, and you there, and you over there so that no one aches for what went missing, or it could be that we consistently keep one foot in the otherworld, always dreaming, always obsessing, always plotting. It could be that we expertly speak the language of endings. Because we know endings mean something comes next.
Ruled by Pluto, lorded over by death and sex, we are intrinsically linked to the body—the body as sigil, the body as engine, the body as an immutable thing, and, of course, the body as a thing with an end-date. We can’t seem to ever really live here, on earth, in our town, in our houses, in our workplaces—because a part of us always off somewhere bent over in a corner, meddling, whispering, hiding, licking our wounds, or opening them.
Sure, for the secular among us, it could be that the zodiac is nothing more than a tool for suggestion. Like some view Tarot, for example, astrology provides a map for meditation—rather than being a stone-cold, steadfast, set-in-stone reality. (I mean, hello, "13 signs"—no Scorpio is going to fucking budge, no way). When you’re a scorp, you know it. It’s not like the Aquarius who says "Yes, I am eclectic!" or the Leo who chants, "Look upon me!" Or even the dreamy Pisces, who, like the three water signs (Scorp included) is also always attached to otherworlds. A Scorp is a Scorpio is a Scorpia. Even if you don’t want to be a Scorpio anymore, you’re stuck with us. Trying to hide it is akin to being drunk. You might be able to get around, but you’ll never feel quite right.
Scorp might even influence you if it’s in your chart or, say, your moon sign. Either way you know it. You can feel its pincer spread inside you. You can feel its poison push through you whether you want it or not. When Scorp has you, she has you. I can’t tell you differently.
So brings us to Halloween season—scorpio season. This time of year has always been magical for me (surprise, surprise). I was born November 3—right after all the beautiful festivities honoring the dead (were I to be a Halloween child, well, I curse the universe for failing me…). I’ve always felt most alive now, and with all the talk of Scorpio season, I feel at home, like I’m understood, like I’m seen—not just banished to the shadows of scorn and sex and wound and water and darkness.
But the scorpio is more than Scorpio season. And we’re more than the qualities we’re usually defined by. As sexy and intimidating and intoxicating as we seem, I believe that Scorp is, in equal measure, made from darkness and light. Capable of immense transformation and instrospection, this sign—and its wild season—is a time when we can confront the shadow and find good it in. Find a home in it. Become comfortable with our discomforts. Especially around loss, grief, fear, body, desires, and identity. Do not worry that this season will bring out your ghosts and leave you scared and haunted and overwhelmed—because you can harness all of that and use it to your benefit. (And just think: For some of us, it’s always Scorpio Season. If you don’t live in this place in perpetuity, consider yourself, well, lucky?).
But for just this season, transient and ending, you can indulge.
Some of the indulgence tips I include below are therapeutic in a very DIY way. I encourage you to seek professional help if you feel you need it, though. Working through your pain or grief on your own is one thing, but if you feel you need help, do ask for it. The Scorpio would want you to be good to yourself, even if she doesn’t always express it.
Here are some ways Scorpio Season can be curative—if you work it, rather than fear it.
1.Keep a shadow journal.
Here is where you’ll write down all those secrets, all those fears, all that loss, all those people you miss, all that pain. You want it out, and down. You want to sit with it, read it, accept it, and know that these secrets are safe (the scorpio is very secretive, which can make her sick). But mostly, being able to feel a little more comfortable with your wounds can actually lessen their sting.
2. Power your transformation.
If you want to be the person who stops showing up late, or the person who finally lets himself feel loved, or the person who wants to speak up when you think you ought to, scorpio season is the time to make those efforts. With scorpio’s intense transformative powers, this is the time to apply all that energy. You might here of scorpio’s death wish, but really it’s the fact that scorpio feels the need to transmorph, to kill a part of themselves off (give birth to another) and send it to the grave.
3. Talk to the dead.
Scorpio is the sign of the dead, sure. We all know that. And while that might mean Scorpios are busy walking that liminal space, it doesn’t mean you can’t join them. Whether the veils are literally or metaphorically open—because many people and Scorps are secular and don’t really believe this season is really a time of spirits—it’s still a good time to meet grief head-on. (Again, see note above around seeking professional help if you can’t move through grief on your own).
I like to write letters to my dead, sometimes I like to bury those letters, and sometimes I like to visit those graves or places where the dead are and just talk. I took part in something called Into the Veil a few weeks ago, where I recited poetry in a graveyard. The event was produced by Atlas Obscura, and was a truly death positive evening in that it allowed visitors to discover art and transformative ritual around death. The more we sit with it, the more we acknoelege it, the less power it holds over us—at least that’s the theory. It may be hard to stomach (for me, it was), but being surrounded by all those tombstones meant something: Life regenerates, life moves, life ends, memory lives, memories mean something, and that we ought to to live while we have the chance—live for our loved ones who cannot. Who didn’t get a long enough chance. This scorpio season, sit with the dead, or your dead, and just try to find a way to make peace. It’s probably different for all of us, that way, but it can yield beautiful results.
Lisa Marie Basile is the founding editor-in-chief and creative director of Luna Luna Magazine. She is also the moderator of its digital community.
Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Bustle, entropy, Bust, Hello Giggles, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, greatist, Cosmopolitan and The Huffington Post, among other sites. She is the author of Apocryphal (Noctuary Press), war/lock (Hyacinth Girl Press), Andalucia (The Poetry Society of New York) and Triste (Dancing Girl Press). her book, nympholepsy, was a finalist in the 2017 tarpaulin sky book awards.
Her work can be found in PANK, the Tin House blog, The Nervous Breakdown, The Huffington Post, Best American Poetry, PEN American Center, The Atlas Review, and tarpaulin sky, among others. She has taught or spoken at Brooklyn Brainery, Columbia University, New York University and Emerson College. Lisa Marie Basile holds an MFA from The New School. @lisamariebasile
I’m not ready to walk back to the bed and breakfast with my boyfriend and spend time in silence. I want to be elsewhere when I already am somewhere else. I need something to think about besides the headaches that plague me since my mother’s death.Read More
Women’s bodies are so often under the purview of men, whether it’s our reproductive organs, our sexuality, our weight, our manner of dress. There is a freedom found in decomposition, a body rendered messy, chaotic, and wild. I relish the image when visualizing what will become of my future corpse.”Read More
I felt conflicted. Conflicted by my exhilaration for the impending tour and the museum’s haunting artifacts and, yet, simultaneously distressed by the fetishization (both my own and owner’s) of relics of tragedy.Read More
I paused at the threshold of my bedroom, waiting to soak in the emptiness of the one person I would never see in there again. I was greeted with a somber smile that seemed like a hard slap across the face on that November day.Read More
BY PATRICIA GRISAFI
The file name is embarrassing enough: “Sylvia Plath and My Fabulous Genius Paper.” The essay itself is excited, earnest, overblown, quick on impressions - in essence, a typical college English paper written by an enthusiastic fan. But I look back at this sloppy, eager mess of words with kindness and generosity, as it’s probably one of the most sincere documents I’ve ever written - and a genuine attempt at self-discovery.
The actual title of the essay is less mortifying than its file name: “Sylvia in the Lion’s Mouth: Symbolic Transformation and Rebirth in ‘Ariel.’” A long-time Plath reader and budding scholar, I spent hours in the college library making exciting discoveries about her life. One day, I learned that Plath practiced the Tarot. Although I had observed Tarot imagery in poems like “Ariel,” “Daddy,” “The Hanging Man,” and others, I hadn’t known that Plath and husband Ted Hughes used tarot cards, the Ouija board, and divining tools to help foster creativity. So, for my sophomore college poetry class, I decided to write an essay on Plath and the Tarot, specifically lion imagery in “Ariel.”
Perched on my desk chair like I imagine Beethoven at the piano - crazy-eyed, hair flying - I pounded out what I thought was the most incredible essay on Sylvia Plath. Not only would the language impress my professor, who was one of those serious, sweater wearing, name dropping kinds (“We had Robert Pinsky over the other night for tea”), but my argument would be wholly original. Surrounded by seven beta fish all named Rasputin, piles of books, and my Tarot pack, I worked deep into the night.
I’m not very spiritual, and I don’t practice the Tarot anymore. But at the time, I was entranced by the cryptic images of the Raider-Waite deck and consulted the cards constantly. The card I was most interested in was Strength.
Even though I remember my sophomore year of college as a time of discovery, fun, and experimentation, my life leading up to that point had been somewhat troubled. For most of my adolescence, I suffered from unchecked depression and anxiety and often felt powerless, invisible, and misunderstood. I would meditate on the Strength card, transfixed by the calm expression on the woman’s face as she nonchalantly pries open the lion’s jaws (looking at the card now, she seems to be merely petting the lion’s snout as he looks lovingly at her, and I wonder why I saw such violence when currently I see none). I read deeply into the struggle between the woman and the lion. Like most burgeoning academics, I tried to work out my own psychodrama through literary analysis. Here’s an excerpt from my bad college essay:
“God’s lioness” (4) is a loaded image that describes the horse and the poet as they become one during the ride. Merged with the animal, the speaker obtains a sense of power and strength not previously apparent within her. In the Tarot tradition, the “Strength” card depicts a woman wrestling with, prying open, or closing the jaws of a lion is usually depicted. This is an act of brute force; the woman’s intention is to elicit cooperation from the wild beast.
The “Strength” card symbolizes inner spiritual strength and fortitude, overcoming obstacles, and victory against overwhelming odds (Hollander 64-65). More so, the lion is also symbolic of desperate boldness, the fire within, the ‘beast within,’ fear, passion, and loss in surrender. Through rebirth, the speaker wishes to gain all of these qualities. She surrenders, losing the psychological battle but winning the creative one.
As a college English teacher, I would be quite pleased to receive an essay with a section like this. I might turn to my colleagues with a silly smile and declare that we’ve won ourselves a new Plath devotee, as if we ran a secret club. We might laugh about the essay’s pretensions, the lack of evidence, the sprawl of it all - but I think we’d identify the student as a kindred spirit.
The date on the paper is October 28th - one day after Plath’s birthday. When I think of Sylvia Plath around her birthday, I think of her devastating poem “A Birthday Present,” especially these lines:
I do not want much of a present, anyway, this year.
After all I am only alive by accident.
I would have killed myself gladly that time any possible way.
Now there are these veils, shimmering like curtains,
The diaphanous satins of a January window
White as babies’ bedding and glittering with dead breath.
I also think of this quote from Al Alvarez, who maintains that Plath’s occultism consumed her towards the end of her life:
“I hardly recognised Sylvia when she opened the door. The bright young American house wife with her determined smile and crisp clothes had vanished along with the pancake make-up, the school-mistressy bun and fake cheerfulness. Her face was wax-pale and drained: her hair hung loose down to her waist and left a faint, sharp animal scent on the air when she walked ahead of me up the stairs. She looked like a priestess emptied out by the rites of her cult. And perhaps that is what she had become. She had broken through to whatever it was that made her want to write, the poems were coming every day, sometimes as many as three a day, unbidden, unstoppable, and she was off in a closed, private world where no one was going to follow her.”
Plath would have turned eighty-three this year. It’s not difficult for me to imagine her at this age because my friend and I ran into her doppelgänger at the Merchant House Museum the other week. Our docent, an elderly woman with a stylishly retro hairdo and a dirndl skirt, lectured in a thick Boston accent on the social customs of family life in turn of the century Manhattan. When we left, my friend and I turned to each other and grinned: “That was totally Sylvia Plath, right? That’s exactly what she would look like now, isn’t it?” The idea of Sylvia Plath living, being a docent at an infamously haunted museum, and teaching us about Victorian gardens, seems much more beautiful than the terrible reality of her suicide.
I’m not a particularly sentimental person, and I don’t tend to save things - especially essays written in college. But I keep “Sylvia Plath and My Fabulous Genius Paper” around. I transfer it to each new computer and place it in a file called “College Writing” (which is filled with bad poetry, but that’s another story). Every year around Plath’s birthday, as I’m fluttering about the apartment stuffing foam brains into faux-bloodied mason jars and arranging knobby gourds in a battered basket, I imagine Plath fixated on her Tarot pack or hunched over the Ouija board. I wonder what she was looking for.