You are here, sentient, an unlikely consciousness in a universe of unimaginably large and distant bodies. You did not choose to be here and you did not choose the circumstances that condition your life, but nonetheless, no matter who you are, you must find a way to make it mean something. How will you do it? How will you, with your unique strengths, sorrows, privileges, traumas, resources, and passions, live a meaningful life?
This question is the beating heart of astrology. However, in the horoscopes I’ve written for you here at Man Repeller over the last two years, this beating heart has been covered over with the superficial tissue of jokes, bits, and cute product recs. Month after month I’ve offered you horoscopes that are heavy on joke-recommendations to bathe in milk and pop yoni eggs into your orifices, while light on serious engagement with the world we live in. I am writing to you today, trying to make a different choice.
Here are some things that I, a non-black person, want to say to the other non-black persons who might be reading this. Right now, we must use every tool at our disposal to demand that those in power confront and answer for the racist violence that has been perpetrated on Black people in America by the state and the people who uphold the white supremacist institutions that constitute the state. The truth is that the genocidal institution of slavery functioned as a vehicle for the expansion of American capitalism and the continued brutalization, incarceration, and disenfranchisement of Black people in this country is the direct result of a system that continues to profit off of the destruction of Black lives. I shouldn’t have to say this.
Black people have been saying it, always. We, you, all of us, must fight for a national reckoning with this truth. To people who have the privilege of looking away from this truth, I am speaking directly to you: this is not the time to look up at the stars, seeking permission to tune out. If astrology has a place in our lives right now, it is as a tool to look inward and immediately identify our unique capacities to be useful to the movement.
I have formed a relationship with many of you during my time writing for MR and I have never appreciated the significance of those relationships as much as I do right now. I want to introduce myself to all of you in a way that I haven’t before on this platform. I am a 26-year-old, brown queer femme living in Alabama, raised by my mother and her mother who immigrated to this country from the Philippines and organized for the rights of the tenants of the i-Hotel, a landmark anti-gentrification, anti-racist movement in San Francisco. I was raised in the tradition of resistance and community-based action. I have worked in community organizing and I am currently a student and a freelance writer who writes these horoscopes to survive month to month and help support my family. I was raised and continue to live mostly below the poverty line. I am a very private person and this is extremely uncomfortable for me to share, but I believe it is necessary to be transparent about where I come from and where I stand.
This personal history, this body, this is the position that I am speaking to you from, and however imperfect this platform is, this is the platform I have available to reach all of you. If I don’t use this opportunity to drive home the point that the reflection and self-awareness astrology affords must aid in the mobilization of our individual talents and opportunities to bring about the destruction of white supremacy, then I have failed you, and we have failed each other.
I hope that everything I’ve said so far is old news to you. I hope that you already feel empowered to act. If you are a white person, if you are a wealthy person, I hope you have gathered the full force of your privilege and access to resources and that you have enlisted your networks and connections to stand alongside you as you do everything in your power to dismantle the white supremacy that benefits you and your family. I hope that you didn’t need a call to action found in Man Repeller’s Astrology section. But if you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed by the magnitude of this moment, I hear you, I feel you, I have love for you, and I believe you have a place in this too. More importantly, I want to help you find your way forward.
Instead of horoscopes this month, I want to help you direct the impulse for reflection and self-awareness, the same impulse that led you to astrology in the first place, toward action. The following exercise is an adaptation of a journaling technique I learned in the course of my work as a community organizer and meditation teacher. The goal of the exercise is to untangle the emotional and mental blocks that keep us feeling helpless and otherwise absolve us from our duty to resist and dismantle the systems that benefit us at the expense of Black lives.
I share this not from a place of expertise, but from a desire to provide you with a method that has been helpful to me and others I have worked with. I hope this exercise will be useful to you as you chart a sustainable path forward, support the work that is being and has already been done, and locate resources to educate yourself, without putting more demands on Black people to explain to us, over and over again, how we can be useful.
You’ll need a pen, paper, and a quiet space.
Start Where You Are: Strategies for Identifying, Organizing, and Mobilizing Your Personal Resources
This method uses embodied grounding techniques and journaling to release judgement around inaction and to develop a manageable plan based on your own personal resources to sustainably engage in the movement for justice.
We can’t move forward until we have a firm grasp of where we’re starting.
Begin by sitting comfortably. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths, making your exhale a deep sigh. Then, begin the 4-7-8 breathing technique to calm your nervous system and quiet your mind. It goes like this:
Inhale softly through your nose while counting to four. Hold your breath in without tensing your muscles while counting to seven. Exhale through your mouth, making a wooshing sound, while counting to eight.
Repeat the full cycle at least five times.
Then, let your breathing return to normal with your eyes still closed and ask yourself: How do I feel mentally? How do I feel physically? How do I feel emotionally?
Without straining, let the words for your experience right now rise to the surface.
Write down those feelings and acknowledge without judgement what you’re feeling right now. Next, we’re going to train our attention on developing a full picture of what tools we have to move forward.
Journal for five minutes without stopping in response to the question: What is keeping me from getting involved?
Try to write faster than you can censor yourself. Just keep your pen moving. It may seem obvious or embarrassing at first. That is part of the exercise. If you get stuck, keep asking, why? Why do I believe this? Why do I feel this way? Just keep going.
Now, you have a portrait of your inertia. You can look frankly at the beliefs and feelings that keep you from committing to a course of action. For many who feel stuck, it comes down to some form of I don’t know what to do or I’m afraid I’ll do the wrong thing. It’s important to confront our own limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in order to dismantle them. There is no barrier to action that can’t be overcome with honest reflection and strategy.
What Do You Have to Offer?
Now, you’re going to create a full catalogue of your strengths, passion, networks, resources, and abilities. Push yourself to think outside of the box about all the things you have to offer right now.
Write for five minutes, trying to write as quickly as you can.
After you’ve completed that list, go back and add specifics.
If you have time on your hands, how many hours a week can you realistically offer to support the movement? If you have financial resources, how much can you realistically plan to redistribute? If you are tech savvy, what specific skills can you offer? If you are a highly organized person, write down the specific programs or skills you use to keep things in order.
Can you add to your list of networks? Consider:
Social media following
Take One Step Forward
Look at your portrait of inertia next to your catalogue of resources. Side by side, you will see that your resources are greater than the sum of your inertia. Look at your resources and see if there are any obvious connections between what you have and what is needed.
This is an excellent list of ways you can contribute.
This is a list of resources on the Black Lives Matter website. The list includes the “Trayvon Taught Me Toolkit: For Black and Non-Black POC Organizers” as well as the “#TalkAboutTrayvon: A Toolkit for White People”
There are SO many more. Again, I am not the authority on this. Actively seek out the information by Black organizers and platforms that center Black life, about how you can contribute to the movement.
Once you’ve identified a way to leverage your skills, make one step forward today. Maybe you can make a donation, maybe you can send an email to someone who can make a bigger donation. Tap into your networks, ask for favors, spend your money, and spend your social capital. Look for access points that go beyond what is most immediately obvious to you.
In addition, no matter what resources you have, you can educate yourself, your friends, and your family. Do not read alone. Organize a reading group among people in your network.
This is an anti-racist reading list compiled by Layla F Saad
This is a list of anti-racist resources and books for all ages
This is an online library of free texts from Black women across the diaspora collected and made available by Bilphena Yahwon, a Baltimore-based writer and abolitionist.
Please add contributions to this list in the comments section so we can share with each other and amplify more of the work that is already underway by Black activists and organizers to educate and mobilize.
This movement does not end when the TV cameras stop filming it, it doesn’t end on election day. The struggle ends in liberation, in reparations, in the abolition of the carceral state, in the redistribution of resources, and in a public reckoning of the atrocity of slavery and its legacy.
After you have sent the email, gone to the protest, donated to the bail fund, whatever it is you did today, take a moment to reflect on how it felt. There may be feelings of inadequacy, or maybe self-congratulation. Whatever it is, take note without judgement. It is important to have a record of this process so that you can refer back to the experience if (when) you get discouraged.
Then, commit to another action on your list.
Write down the steps you need to take to accomplish that action. Remember to break each step into a small, manageable chunk. Finally, give yourself a deadline for each of those steps. In this way, you can hold yourself accountable to continued contribution. If you are in this, then you are in this until we see justice for Black people, or you were never really in it at all.