Letter 60

April 08, 2021

On astrology

In high school, I remember borrowing a friend’s astrology book and staying up late to flip through it, trying to piece together my birth chart and what it all meant. Now I am intimately familiar with my birth chart—and my friends’ birth charts, thanks to Co-star—and follow astrology meme accounts on Instagram. If you ask me if I “believe” in astrology, I think you’re kind of missing the point. I don’t care if the position of the planets actually has any “real” affect on my life. I like astrology as a tool for thinking about my actions and who I am, for recognizing patterns in my life and the world around me, for learning how to make sense of things, for relating to people who also have Virgo in their charts, etc. It’s fun, and sometimes comforting, to read my horoscope or keep track of which planets are in retrograde or compare birth charts with friends. Reading that astrology book in high school felt like a big awakening for me—not just because I finally knew what it meant to have a Scorpio sun, but because I found a new way to look at things.


I started thinking more deeply about astrology when I was in high school, early college; I had friends (like Jillian) who Knew Their Shit and started talking about things I had never known about—moon signs, rising signs, how different placements affect the body. For someone who had always felt like there was something kind of off with their body, with their brain, it was comforting to point cosmologically to how I was feeling. It felt less like explanation and more like seeking precedence, more like an analytical tool to find the truth—not so much blame it on the planets, rather, use the planets to figure out where exactly the core of this is coming from. I never ended up digging as deep as other people I love did, nor did I ever familiarize myself with the full meaning of it all, but it’s something patiently, presently there at the back of my head. I like the reminders to check in with myself if there is a pisces moon, or letting mercury in retrograde remind me bad/frustrating things are not always within my control.


We recommend

📖 Salat by Dujie Tahat

I love chapbooks that use their space & form so well, chaps that feel like they should exist in this form: Dujie Tahat’s Salat is just that. Dujie’s writing is absolutely stunning—the book takes on the form of prayer, and each poem echoes that meditation so well. I read it cover to cover twice through as soon as I got it and have been thinking about it every week since. You can buy it here.


💡 Cherry blossom trees

I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden yesterday to see the cherry blossom and magnolia trees beginning to bloom and it put me in the best mood!!! Please, if you live somewhere that has pretty blooming trees right now, take some time to just go outside and admire them for a while. Take a bunch of pictures. Post them so other people can feel the good vibes. Enjoy!


🎶 Rilo Kiley 1999

I recommended the Rilo Kiley album The Execution of All Things a while back. Their music has been in my regular rotation since that newsletter, basically, but this past week I let them be my main on-shuffle artist and found myself particularly drawn to their self-titled, first album. I’m not great at writing about music but there is something about Jenny Lewis’s voice that just makes me feel in-tune with myself, even if who I am at the current moment is pretty insufferable.


🖇️ Sandalwood incense

Grand Tea Imports has really good tea, and maybe I’ll recommend some of that another time, but I also really like their sandalwood incense. Whenever I want some really cozy vibes, I light a stick of this in my living room and it completely resets my brain—it’s a signal that it’s time to relax for a second. Smells great, doesn’t fill the room with smoke, supports a small local business, 10/10.