reflections on community, astrology, healing, and the universe
by Shaunga Tagore
I was born in the sparkle of a Gemini Sun, just as it was setting on the horizon, and the constellation of Scorpio was Rising on the horizon. I was born on the eclipse of a full Sagittarius moon. I was born carrying wounds that ancestors never got to reconcile in their lifetime. I was born to be a storyteller, to create magic out of madness.
In the Fall of 2015, my friend Hisayo and I made a date to drink wine and chat about trauma (because what else would two Scorpio-types do on a Tuesday night?).
We chilled in my old apartment over-looking Wallace-Emerson park in the west end of Toronto; a cozy run-down dwelling that held me during a year of many changes and learnings: a shocking, painful break-up; the weekend I burnt writing from dozens of journals I had been carrying around with me for over ten years; and where I learned to talk to ghosts and cast spells for the first time in my life. As the evening went on, Hisayo and I chatted and ranted about community, relationships, and how trauma and power dynamics impact how we build these things. We talked about whether we found differences between dating people on feminine or masculine spectrums, as well as how we experienced our own genders in relationship to that. At one point I blurted out in a tipsy stream of consciousness, you know, maybe my gender is just actually just Sacred Femininity! Thank you to Hisayo for their wide eyes and finger-waggy encouragement: Shaunga, that is brilliant. You need to write that shit down!
My gender, my healing, my art and my sense of being are all expressed through the Sacred Feminine. This is the place where I ground myself, move forward from, and access my intuition, intentions, actions, and decisions.
Sacred Femininity is my connection to the universe, my relationship with my ancestors, my trust in Spirit. The Sacred Feminine is evident and glistening everywhere around us – inside the memories of rocks, the medicine of plants, the rhythms of ocean waves, the transformation of ocean depths, the surrender in riptides. It is in the wisdom and interdependence of trees, the growth and lessons of mountains, the destruction and creation of volcanoes. Sacred Femininity is in the cycles of planets, the inspiration of stars, the mysteries and unknowability of our galaxies. Sacred Femininity is our universe, our Mama Earth. She is the home that holds us all. Without her, we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t have bodies or breath. We wouldn’t have anywhere to live.
It has taken me 31 years (the age I am now) to re-remember my relationship to this sacred knowing, to Spirit. It’s taken me this long to work through enough trauma related to displacement, violation, memory-loss, and denial that hindered my relationship to spirituality since childhood. Now I am finally able to create a clear channel between myself and Spirit, and honour the Sacred Feminine in myself and around me in a new way, and many old ways.
And I feel like a weirdo. It’s hard to explain to people how and why I live the way I do when conversations about trauma and Spirit are not valued in many queer communities; when they are often seen as separate from activism, justice or politics. Especially over the last year as I have been embracing this part of me more fully, I have been witnessing my relationships changing with people who don’t quite know what to do with it.
Spirit and Femininity have always been the central target of white masculinity (or in long form, the Colonial, Capitalist, Ableist Patriarchy Cis-Tem). White masculinity is confused by Sacred Femininity. Terrified of her. Always in attempt to control, harness, deny, minimize, belittle, erase, suppress, violate, exploit, interject into and mansplain away.
White masculinity’s laws are directly in conflict with Spirit Law embedded in the universe, Mama Earth, and her guidelines of how we should respect the home she offers us. Spirit Law is governed through sustainability, balance, mutuality, consent, self-determination, personal agency, interdependency, collective growth and ongoing change.
White masculinity’s cis-tem is not sustainable or balanced; it creates luxury for some at the expense of others, it doesn’t think about the future, it uses and exploits without regard for the consequences, it takes without consent. It denies our relationship to Spirit, to our soul’s purpose for being here on this planet, to the unique configuration the stars and planets formed the minute we were born and that gave us a story in our bodies to fulfill.
White masculinity knows that if you violate Spirit – our relationship to an awesome life force, our connection to creation, to existence itself – and if you deflate the people on the planet who most fiercely honour and embody this connection, then you can conquer the planet as a whole. This is why colonization has always and continues to centrally target Black and Indigenous women, 2Spirit, transwomen, gendervariant people, women of colour, healers, witches, caregivers, artists, and other channels of the sacred divine, including Mama Earth herself.
When I think about when/how I have been the most hurt in relationships and community – whether romantic, friendship, work, within arts-collaborations, or activist pursuits – these are the times that my own Sacred Femininity has not been respected. When I have not given myself permission to respect the Sacred Feminine within a community, a relationship dynamic or in myself. These days I strive to make my moves and decisions by grounding in Spirit. This means I have been learning to recognize when the universe is talking to me. When she does, I trust the answer before I know the question. In my early 20s I made the decision to move to city half-way across the country in an instant, and now know that was Spirit talking to me. As an artist and creator, I receive visions for my plays and performances and I commit to those visions before I know what all the details look like. What I know for certain is that listening to Spirit never lets us down; the universe will never send us down a wrong path. Of course, none of this is “practical” according to white capitalist masculinity; none of this is “productive” or leads anywhere “successful.” It won’t be taken seriously by white masculine institutions or the people who uphold them. Even amongst community I can be treated like I am “flaky,” “irrational,” or others will attempt to control or devalue my way of being and creating. I’ve come to realize in the building of relationships and community – no matter where other people are at with their own trauma, journey, relationship to power, they need to at the very least accept and respect the Sacred Femininity in me.
Here I come back to the confirmation that healing work is so important to pursuits of activism and justice, to change and liberation individually and out of collectively destructive global patterns. Healing is not about ‘fixing’ ourselves until we are not broken. Healing is about looking deeply inward and accessing the parts of our spirits and bodies that are so powerful, they have never been harmed. They are so divine, so sacred, they cannot be tainted by anything that attempts to destroy us. I believe this exists in everyone – a memory of the constellations that birthed us, a returning to an alignment with Spirit Law, a defiance of human-made cis-tems the universe was never meant to hold. As an astrologer, I learn a lot about this kind of healing, this returning, and about relationships and communities, from the 12 different zodiac constellations and planets. All the signs have different feelings about each other. They have different kinds of conversations: some may be supportive, some may be clashes or arguments, and sometimes signs can speak to each other without actually listening to what they other is saying (and how often do you see that happen in community…)
When I do a reading for someone and analyse their individual birth chart, I see all the complicated and nuanced ‘conversations’ that happen all at once within an individual person. A basic example: we might be super reserved and cautious in new situations (Scorpio Rising, what up!), but playful and bold around who we consider family (perhaps a Leo Sun in the 4th house!). A unique combination of these ‘conversations’ surface when I do compatibility readings between two people, and they are definitely present when thinking about astrology as a whole (or if I were to imagine how community could function as a whole). The fact that the signs of the zodiac make a circle is significant to me. It tells me that in the midst of all these different kinds of relationships (where some signs are best buds, some signs are constantly in drama, some just don’t get each other) – everyone is needed to make the circle whole.
In an art performance showcase, for example, you need all the signs to pull off an amazing show: you need the element of fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) to boldly express themselves on stage, put creativity, passion and beliefs all on display and energize the room. You need the earth element (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) to create physical accessibility and comfort for the space, to make sure there is food backstage and everyone who worked to make the show happen is compensated fairly for their work. You need air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) to create language expressing the politics underlying the event, to create avenues of communication and consent between audience members and performers, and you need water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) to open our hearts to give and receive, to know there is a deeper purpose to why we come together in this way – to feel, to be moved, to be transformed.
In our individuals lives and communities, sometimes we go through times where it is important to be open to abundance and expansion (Jupiter), sometimes to learn about our own limits and boundaries (Saturn). Sometimes we might need to take risks and try something completely new to break free (Uranus), sometimes we are more in tune with our dream world, our hidden emotions (Neptune), and sometimes we transform ourselves entirely by letting go of deeply rooted patterns holding us back from our own empowerment (Pluto). When the lessons we need to learn might not always line up in harmony with our partners, friends, or the people we work, create or organize with, how do we keep room for each other? Respect each other? Be accountable to each other? How do we support each other and love each other while we may react differently in a crisis (Moon), find pleasure different kinds of relationships and romance (Venus), clash in the way we express our anger and sexuality (Mars), have trouble understanding the different ways we communicate (Mercury), and feel like we have really specific and unique purposes for being alive (Sun)? Healing is being curious about all of these questions. It is wanting to know ourselves in our unique story nobody else can tell. It is wanting to respect the divine, the Sacred Feminine in all of us.
The Sacred Feminine implores us to ask of ourselves and one another: who are we in our genders, families, blood lines, ancestors, past lives, future lives, spirit karma? In our relationships to childhood, work, lovers, school, borders, displacement, immigration, police, violence, privilege, power? What are our joys and strengths? What makes us shine the most brightly, what is our best contribution to a good world? When are we doing our best, when are we acting in detriment to ourselves, and how does this impact our relationships and communities? It is having a conversation with ourselves and recognizing: this is a pattern I am stuck in, this is a habit I have, this is the impact on myself and others…and it no longer works for me. I no longer choose this. It doesn’t help me or the state of the world. It keeps me stuck somewhere I don’t want to be, and I am committed to change. Sacred Femininity, healing, community and justice is the opposite of denying our feelings, and hiding who we are from ourselves. It is thanking ourselves for surviving thus far, and wanting something more.
*Parts of this article have been previously published on www.shaungatagore.com
Shaunga Tagore is a performance artist, writer, astrologer, intuitive counsellor, arts-based educator and community organizer; a non-binary tenderqueer superqueero cat-lady magic-making weirdo. www.shaungatagore.com