Friday, February 28, 2014

Astro Shite - 2014 Overview

Your ongoing experiment with self-discovery continues this year, thanks to Uranus, the planet of sudden transformations. Explore unconventional practises like fermenting your urine to the sounds of Einsturzende Neubauten in the name of performance art. Jupiter activates Uranus in your sign twice in 2014 (between February and May, and then September to October). The surprises will be colossal, they will be unpredictable, and they will be electrifying. You never thought Clive Palmer and his dinosaurs could be this much fun, did you?
Aries strengths: dynamic, brave, initiating

The action happens in the second half of 2014 with Saturn and Jupiter working together rather cordially. Finally, long held plans for change come to fruition. Jupiter brings progress to stagnant domestic situations, while relationship lessons are best understood with the help of wise Saturn. Adopt a flexible attitude when organising your daily routine. Ditch the Coolendar app and plan your days around your feelings and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Taurus strengths: diligent, persevering, solid

This year’s themes are productivity and apprenticeship. Based on the movements of Saturn and Jupiter, you’ll require sustained effort to get out of bed and put on your pants. Focus on professional planning in the first half of the year by consulting Mark Bouris on how to master a smug and superior attitude. Mercury parks his butt in your sign for an extended stay, stimulating your mind with stimulating peeps on stimulants. Jupiter’s influence clears any writer’s block that may be holding you back, so 2014 should be a productive zine making year for many Twins.
Gemini strengths: multifaceted, adaptable, sharp

If you’ve blown all your cash on Craps and Baccarat over the Christmas period, take stock. This year, a fresh money cycle begins under Jupiter to save you from financial ruin. Personal development is another hot topic. Ouch! Check-in with yourself and see what areas need improving. Return those upper arms to the tuck shop lady, and exchange pies and lattes for Pilates. Don’t wait for external forces to bump you along; be bold and initiate change. David Bowie once said ‘turn and face the strange’, which means he wants you to look at Noel Fielding.
Cancer strengths: intuitive, imaginative, devoted

Jupiter enters your sign in the second half of the year, jump starting a twelve-year cycle of growth and adventure. You have renewed faith in humankind; Scorpios and Virgos think you’re a sucker. 2014 could be the year when you get the hell out of the country before Tony Mokbel catches up with you. Your days of living inside a whiskey barrel will cease when Saturn provides domestic stability. You move into a Kevin McCloud-approved bunker carved into the side of a grassy knoll in Winchester. The second half of 2014 sees many Leos achieving success with major projects. You will be at your most powerful, moving mountains and grassy knolls with poise and ease.
Leo strengths: benevolent, loyal, robust

2014 is like two years rolled into one for the efficient Virgo. The first half of the year will be busy and outgoing. By July, external activities slacken and the remainder of 2014 takes on a reflective tone. Mars activates productivity, so you’ll achieve more than usual, despite the fluctuating external situation. This isn’t the year to chill out in the kidney-shaped swimming pool while listening to Daft Punk and sipping Pepsi. Take on the perzine challenge of our time, which is to create a zine for every day of the year without going crazy. Neptune eases the stiffness in your mind and heart, enabling you to take a soulful approach to romance for a change. Marvin Gaye would be proud.
Virgo strengths: refined, self-effacing, secure

With Mars and the Karmic North Node inhabiting your sign this year, life-changing choices are possible if you are considering reinventing yourself like Jocelyn Wildenstein. Rad! Major events throughout 2014 will have a touch of destiny about them. If you experience de-ja-vu repeatedly, then you’ve been there before. The Gods want you to re-visit lost passions and re-ignite them with bangers and pinwheels. Mars triggers your sign for the first time in over thirty years. Assertive-compliance issues will be on the agenda. Restore the balance between other people’s needs and your own.
Libra strengths: aesthetic, charming, tactful

2014 will be a year of extremes. Fortunately, that’s the way you like it. Anything else would be, well, in between. Mars activates the personal sphere of your solar chart. Achieving mastery over you mind and subconscious actions is a predominant theme. Your professional world expands in the second half of 2014. A job change, promotion, pay rise, or exploring a second career are all possible after July. Distance yourself from superficial relationships, no matter how good they look in latex, and pour your efforts into fundamental concerns. Your actions will determine future success. I guess they always do.
Scorpio strengths: cryptic, erotic, committed

A mid-year shift by Jupiter brings action, adventure, and that ring of confidence often found in toothpaste commercials. Financial matters are a priority until July. Sorting your pecuniary dramas ensures that you’ve got time and money to play with later in the year. Your career zone will be one of your least active, which is a blessing considering the flying trapeze routine you’ve been trying to perfect since Christmas.
Sagittarius strengths: sanguine, animated, adventurous

Every eight years, Venus extends her stay in your sign. This cycle gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the Love Goddess and enhance the romance in your life. Overhaul your appearance so that the outer reflects the inner you. Sorry, but turtlenecks and wombat sleeves are definitely *out* under this transit. You’ll spend ample time in the public domain thanks to Mars and the North Node, so you don’t want to prance around like a Frank Thring wardrobe disaster.
Capricorn strengths: dependable, pragmatic, sagacious

Life gets busy for the Water Bearer from July onwards. A new cycle in love and relationships begins under Jupiter, while Mars and Saturn combine to help you power forward professionally. Overall, 2014 is shaping up to be a sound year, and there isn’t more I can add to that.
Aquarius strengths: unique, unconventional, gregarious

That cliché ‘your health is your wealth’ will apply to many Pisceans this year, now that Jupiter asks to focus on well being. Uranus, Mars and the North Node combine to help reshape your finances in unconventional and innovative ways (think bitcoin). The Universe throws you in the spotlight for most of 2014. You’ll crave excitement and danger where work is concerned. Admiring your office furniture and developing ‘computer shoulder’ are not part of the script. Get involved in physical action like tree lopping or garbage collecting. Have the courage to follow your instincts on leads that are thrown your way.
Pisces strengths: psychic, gentle, tolerant

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tarot Magic

My recent trip to Melbourne for the Festival of the Photocopier included a visit to Sticky, located in the Flinders Street tunnel under Degraves Street. Visiting the shop in person, as opposed to online, is a far more valuable way of keeping abreast of new titles and zine news. Unfortunately, I have to travel all the way from Sydney to do it. It was worth it though, as the amiable Fulsome Prism (who staffs the shop) introduced me to some choice zines, one of which was Bastian Fox Phelan’s latest offering, Tarot Magic.

Naturally, I got excited about the existence of an esoteric zine that wasn’t mine. I’m unaware of other DIY titles that cover arcane subjects, so discovering Tarot Magic was a bit of a revelation. As the author expresses in the opening page, ‘this zine is an unapologetic love letter to the deck of cards that helped me become my own best partner’. Tarot Magic is a tarot reading in itself, and documents Bastian’s adventures with a pack of cards designed and printed by The Collective Tarot, a creative/esoteric co-op based in Portland, Oregon.

The Collective Tarot uses images loosely based on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. Interestingly, it contains the Suit of Bones, which I feel represents the Earth element and our questions concerning structure, support, and finding ground in a wobbly world.
Tarot is Bastian’s preferred method of engaging in healthy dialogue with herself. It’s a self-care ritual where she can safely process negative emotions and experience the ‘thing’ that has many guises – magic/intuition/instinct/gut feeling/insight/sensitivity/sixth sense/divine guidance/Universal consciousness … call it what you will. Unfortunately, there isn’t much room for magic in Western culture. Many health care workers treat magical thinking as a character defect that needs correcting, yet magic can provide answers to questions that remain unresolved despite mainstream approaches to problem solving.

Tarot, like astrology and other divinatory tools, is a creative way to check-in with yourself and re-connect with suppressed feelings. It’s an opportunity to pause and ask: ‘What am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this?’

It’s refreshing to see another esoteric zine bobbing around the sea of perzines and artist books that defines twenty-first century DIY culture. I don’t feel like the maverick so much. It requires a certain amount of bravery to produce a zine like this, so I commend Bastian for taking it on. Tarot Magic is an enchanting read, and the fact that one of our finest zine makers has created it is reason enough to go there.