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Illustration by Irene Goddard

Sweet, sweet Libra: the sign of balance, fairness, partnership, and even love.

The New Moon is when we set our intentions for the weeks to come; and with Libra as our guiding constellation, this week’s tarotscopes are going to be focused on finding your personal equilibrium.

Have you listened to the song “Sadness” by Noah Cyrus? Noah drops some serious and very relevant wisdom in this song. “I’m trying to be friends with my sadness,” she sings. “Having drinks with my fears and bad habits.”

“We’re all in this together,” she says of her inner demons.

And aren’t we?

When we think about the people we’d like to become, we often imagine ourselves shedding the aspects of ourselves we’re not happy with. We come from a place of self-rejection, hoping it will bring us closer to happiness.

But what if, instead, we unconditionally accepted the entirety of who we are? (Or, as Noah says, we stop the tears and dance?)

Get familiar with your shadowy sides, babes. This super new moon is the perfect time to harness all that potential and channel it in the direction of unapologetic self-love. Because loving yourself — bruises and all — is the ultimate state of balance. You weren’t put on this earth to hate yourself.

Not sure where to begin? Let’s have a chat with the cards.

Your card: The Chariot

The Chariot is a powerhouse card. Who doesn’t enjoy the thrill of being masterfully in charge, steering your way to victory on a mothertrucking chariot? #Goals.

Here’s the thing, though, Libra… aspiring for balance and prudence are admirable qualities, and they can come in handy! But when it comes to crossing the finish line? Sometimes bold moves are warranted.

If you’ve ever played Mario Kart with someone as competitive as my older brother (coincidentally, a Libra!) you’ll learn rather quickly that you have to keep your head in the game until the very last second. You can’t get comfortable. If you do, the metaphorical shell will knock you back seconds before you were going to cross the finish line.

Adopt that “last lap” attitude. You’re not going to win the race by playing it safe.

Your self-care to-do:

Be BOLD, Libra. If there’s something you really want? Go and get it. Playing it safe makes sense when your milk might be expired or an email attachment looks sketchy. But when it comes to the big stuff in your life? Step up — before somebody else does.

(And if you don’t have a solid day planner yet? Go out and get one. I said be bold, not messy! You can still be tactical about your approach.)

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Your card: King of Wands

The King of Wands is a brilliant leader. But what makes him shine isn’t his intellect or his power — it’s his keen ability to delegate. He knows how to lean on his team and asks for support when he needs it.

You can probably guess where I’m going with this one, Scorpio.

There’s a stigma attached to asking for help, especially when you’re in a leadership role or aspiring to be. That actually makes our King of Wands all the more badass because he’s shown to be a powerful, masculine figure… and yet his ability to be vulnerable makes him a better leader and, frankly, a more resilient person.

Putting your head down and just “figuring it out” can be tempting when you don’t want to come across as incompetent or weak — but Scorpio, that’s a bad habit you need to break.

It’s okay to ask for help when something is challenging.

Asking for help is part of great leadership: Knowing your limits, delegating where needed, and yes, modeling vulnerability so that those around you can do the same.

You can create the culture you want to live in. And I don’t know about you, but I’d like to live in a world where “I need help” isn’t a shameful request.

Your self-care to-do:

Scorpio, where do you find yourself overwhelmed lately? Pick your top three stressors and jot them down. Once you have a little clarity on what’s challenging, think about one simple action you could take to make each area less overwhelming for you.

And, you guessed it: Is there someone you can ask for support in taking a small step in the right direction? Even if it’s just an accountability buddy, you’ll be better off with a team backing you. Trust me.

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Your card: Ten of Swords

The Ten of Swords often symbolizes an abrupt, painful ending. It usually depicts — pretty dramatically, I might add — someone lying down with ten swords in their back. In other words? Worst. Day. Ever.

In my experience, the Ten of Swords likes to make an appearance when something has come to an end, but you’re holding onto your resentment despite the need for a clear break. And to a certain extent, it’s totally understandable that you’re stewing: Everyone needs closure, right? Sudden breakups or breakdowns don’t totally allow for that.

Let me tell you, as someone married to a Sagittarius, a little observation I’ve made: Your philosophical nature often leads you to overanalyze.

This can be your secret weapon, yes, but sometimes it backfires. Believe it or not, dear Sag? Not everything can be “understood,” and understanding does not guarantee you a sense of closure.

I am sorry to report that ruminating over the past will not always provide you the answers you crave. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as “that sucked.” Sometimes, the answer is as messy as “it just didn’t work out.” And in those instances? Your only option is to feel and deal.

Your self-care to-do:

In the spirit of feeling and dealing, I’m going to recommend that you make a playlist. If you were to make a playlist about the event or person that you can’t seem to let go of, what songs would be on it? Make the playlist as petty or dramatic as you’d like — this is your safe space.

And then? If you’re feeling up for it, make a “nest” to settle into while you listen to your playlist. This could be a blanket fort, a cozy corner of your apartment, a hot bath, or your coziest pajamas. Whatever makes you feel safe, go there. And then? Feel it.

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Your card: Eight of Pentacles

The Eight of Pentacles is the card that symbolizes hard freaking work. I’m talking “nose to the grindstone, three shots of espresso in your latte” kind of hard work. And usually, when this card appears, I’d be saying something like “get it!” But you’re a Capricorn, silly. You’ve already got it.

So as you’re hard at work, I want to offer you a reminder instead. Having a skillset is admirable and putting those skills to good use is too.

But Cap, you bring so much more to the world than labor.

Your value as a person does not depend on the work that you do (or could be doing). Your talents and contributions are important, but they don’t determine your worth.

You’ve been given this advice before, I’m sure. You’ve seen it in inspirational memes and anti-capitalist viral tweets.

So while I’m not giving you new information, I’m repeating it (because it can’t be said enough) with the addition of a question: Yes, you logically know your worth isn’t tied to your work, but do you truly believe that? Or is that just the platitude you pass along to your loved ones but never exactly internalized?

I’m not giving you an assignment, so much as giving you a thinking prompt. Instead of turning this prompt into another project for you, I’m going to suggest you get yourself a cup of tea, sit in a chair, and just daydream. No writing, no plans. Just think.

Your self-care to-do:

I want you to imagine that, starting tomorrow, the world has banned all forms of work. And if you have to ask “is X technically work?” Yes, it is. Labor itself is cancelled, rejoice! (Just kidding, I know asking you to celebrate this is a tall order — baby steps.)

Okay, Cap. What’s next? If Work in all its forms is banned forever, what do your goals look like now? Let’s say in this hypothetical scenario that a socialist miracle has taken place, and everyone has guaranteed income. What will your life look like? What is your purpose?

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Your card: Strength

Aquarius, what does strength mean to you? If you’re familiar with tarot, you probably know that the more traditional decks depict strength as a person holding open the mouth of a lion — pretty powerful imagery.

What I love about this card is that strength doesn’t have to be a seen battle. Strength isn’t showmanship and it isn’t violence. Is the person overpowering the lion or are they, in this case, leaning into what scares them, and just… holding it?

You’re allowed to be afraid of lions, Aquarius. I mean, have you SEEN them? I don’t know what metaphorical lions are lingering in your life right now — I just read the cards, not your mind, you know? — but whatever they are, the message here is clear: You’ve got this.

It doesn’t mean you won’t be scared. The world is filled with scary stuff. There are people who put orange juice in their coffee! Monsters do walk among us.

But while you’re allowed to feel fear, your fear shouldn’t be making your decisions for you.

Feel your fear, Aquarius — but when it comes to Doing The Thing, sometimes living your most brilliant life means having the strength to move with fear, rather than away from it. Not bulldozing through what scares you but considering it, holding it. That’s strength.

That said, while I wouldn’t recommend running from fear, you can work on your confidence.

I once set the Rocky theme (“Eye of the Tiger”) as my alarm tone for a week to get myself pumped for a new chapter in my life. While I don’t recommend doing this (the song got annoying really fast), I will say that it’s not a bad thing to investigate ways to make your morning feel more supercharged.

Your self-care to-do:

Are there a few small changes you can make to your morning routine, even just for a week, to get your confidence up? Some ideas to get you started: TED Radio Hour podcast for an inspiring commute, getting yourself some quality coffee to treat yourself, and buying some inserts for your shoes (it’ll give you a spring in your step and less pain at the end of the day).

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Your card: The Devil

Pisces, I won’t sugarcoat it: this card is a doozy. The Devil is most commonly associated with addiction, as shown through a demonic figure that appears to be enslaving some minions for who-knows-what-purpose. In this case, you’re the minion.

Story time, Pisces. “Hi, I’m Sam, I’m an alcoholic.” I’ve said that line in front of large groups of people more times than I can count. And at first, I thought it was a ridiculous thing that we had to remind a room full of alcoholics of what was very obvious.

But one thing I learned through that process was how to let go of shame. There’s so much shame around addiction, and it’s often what keeps us tethered to our vices, often more powerful than the substances themselves. Shame, I found, was the glue that kept me attached to what was harming me most.

By telling rooms full of strangers that I was an alcoholic — and yes, by writing these words to you, here and now — I am repeatedly engaging in a practice that demands that I wrestle with shame. Little by little, I chip away at the guilt and indignity I feel at being associated with alcoholism. I’m owning my sh*t.

I’ve learned to announce my addiction with my entire chest, but more importantly, I’ve learned to be authentic regardless of how others around me might react. If I can’t accept all of me, even the messy parts… who will?

So, Pisces… what secrets are you holding onto?

Your self-care to-do:

There are so many supportive spaces out there in the world, online and off. Have you checked in with any lately? Whether it’s a mental health forum or app, a group text of close friends, a 12-step meeting, a religious community — whatever floats your boat — it can be empowering to be seen by people who know your struggles.

Find a safe group of people to practice authenticity with. What are you ashamed of? What do you wish you could let go of? It will be uncomfortable at first, but I can assure you, it will also set you free.

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Your card: Four of Wands

The Four of Wands is closely associated with the sense of security and safety that we might feel at home. I say “might,” Aries, because it wouldn’t surprise me if you keep yourself so busy chasing that next milestone that you neglect your home, prioritizing your projects over your safe haven.

Have you put your comfort and joy on the backburner, Aries? And if so… why is that?

I’m going to borrow some wisdom from my therapist (don’t worry — I paid for it, right?). When I was struggling in the depths of anorexia, it was only when I’d lost a horrific amount of weight that I allowed myself the luxury of buying new clothes.

I don’t recommend this for many reasons (anorexia or rewarding yourself for it, 0/5 stars on this review), but my therapist said something very astute about the whole thing.

He said that by not allowing myself the joy of new threads until I was very sick, I was betraying the fact that I believed I didn’t deserve joy until I’d “earned” it.

Ouch. That dose of reality didn’t go down easy, but I needed to hear it. Maybe you do, too, Aries?

Your self-care to-do:

Look at the space in which you live. If it could speak to you, what would it say? Is it kind to you? Would it make you smile or even laugh?

I know it sounds silly, but if your home doesn’t truly speak to you, it’s time to revisit your priorities. You deserve good things, Aries — you don’t have to “earn” it. Adorn your safe space in a way that makes your heart sing, even if you start with just one wall, window, or corner.

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Your card: Ten of Wands

A typical Ten of Wands card depicts someone carrying a whole lot of baggage — clearly more than their fair share. If you’ve been feeling bogged down by some extra BS, you might be thinking, “Well, it’s not my first rodeo.”

And you’ve got the emotional stamina, T. You’re hardy, having been put through the wringer on many occasions, and this has toughened you up. One of my favorite (and, IMO, most underrated) qualities of your typical Taurus is endurance.

Okay, now that I’ve buttered you up sufficiently, here’s the flip side: Just because you can carry all that baggage, it doesn’t mean you should.

It can be tempting, when we see someone struggling, to step in and offer to carry the weight. “I’m used to it,” you might say. “I can handle it.” But there are a couple things to consider before you take on additional responsibilities, worries, or projects.

Namely, what is your motivation for doing so?

I’d caution you not to equate your self-worth to how useful you are to others, Taurus, and I’d urge you not to try to earn the love of others by “proving” you can handle anything that they throw at you. Don’t use The Struggle as an easy shortcut for self-esteem. You’ve carried enough already.

Your self-care to-do:

Part of balance is holding space for yourself to breathe, and fiercely protecting that space. So, Taurus, what are you carrying these days? Set a timer for 15 minutes and write about whatever anxieties you’re holding; take a close look at what stressors are leaving your jaw clenched.

Once you’re done writing, go back with a highlighter and highlight anything you can delegate or anything that isn’t “yours.” This is information. Where can you lighten your load, and what self-reflection needs to happen to ensure that you’re not overburdening yourself?

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Your card: The Fool

The Fool is such a beautiful card, brimming with possibility. It’s almost always a joyful, vibrant card — which seems a little ironic, since our Fool is headed toward the edge of a cliff. All with a smile.

But there’s a lesson even there, precious Gemini. It can be tempting to judge our Fool on how woefully unprepared they are for this journey ahead. We might assume, seeing our blissful Fool, that reveling in the present moment is sealing their fate — an almost certain death at the bottom of the precipice.

That would be an assumption, though, Gemini. The world is filled with danger, and some of it is nearer than we ever realize. But if we were to dwell on every possible danger ahead, how would we ever savor the present moment?

That isn’t a balanced way to live. Fear isn’t a sustainable place to live.

Gemini, do you know why our Fool is smiling? They trust that, should they be faced with trouble, they have the resources and sense to course correct.

They don’t spend endless amounts of time trying to anticipate everything that could go wrong, not because they don’t understand the possible dangers, but because they trust their own resilience in the face of what’s to come.

Your self-care to do:

Noah Cyrus proposes that we have some drinks with our fears. So what would that look like for you, Gemini? Rather than judging your fears, pushing them away, or trying to solve problems that haven’t yet arrived, how can you learn to move through fear rather than away from it?

What if — hear me out for a second — you drew your fear in the form of a monster? Give it a face, a body, a shape. Humanize it; learn to approach it with curiosity and compassion. Strike up a conversation. Lean into it. Ask it, “What do you feel, and what do you need from me?”

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Your card: Queen of Pentacles

The Queen of Pentacles has sometimes been characterized as a “working mom,” who seems to juggle an infinite number of responsibilities all to provide for those she loves. She’s devoted to her people, and she expends an enormous amount of time and energy to make sure they’re taken care of.

Yes, this kind of “selflessness” can be super admirable. But I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about the people in my life who resemble this Queen: sometimes, their drive to serve others is often an extension of how out of control their own lives might feel.

A mantra I’ve heard from a lot of parents and parenting-types in my own life is “If they’re okay, I’ll be okay.” Rather than digging into what they’re struggling with, their struggle is projected outward, and they go looking for ways to help others. The hope is that taking care of everyone else will magically resolve the turmoil within themselves.

Cancer, your selfless nature is a beautiful thing. I never want you to lose that. Instead, I just want you to balance it with deep self-consideration.

Rather than compulsively supporting others and waiting for resolve to come, I want you to be cautious about your generosity. Can you tune into your motivations for supporting other people, and before you dive in, make sure you’re taken care of, too?

Your self-care to-do:

Get you in touch with your gut and your body. This will help bring more awareness to when you need to care for yourself.

Is there a form of mindful movement that feels approachable to you? It could be restorative, gentle yoga, or stretches that help you feel at ease in your body. It could be a guided meditation or a warm bath. Maybe it’s a form of dance?

Whatever it is, getting grounded and present will help alert you to those moments when you’re using your helpful nature to avoid what’s really going on underneath.

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Your card: Ace of Swords

The Ace of Swords is the card of intellectual breakthroughs — it’s discovery, experimentation, and creativity. This card is a rush of brilliance… as long as you take advantage of it.

And why wouldn’t you? I’ve got a few guesses, actually. Leo, while you might be keen on the spotlight, this is a double-edged sword: when eyes are on you, it can be scary to make mistakes.

But Leo, you weren’t put on this earth to play it safe.

Think about where you’re holding back, Leo. That’s where your breakthrough is hiding. If you’re going to step into your brilliance, a willingness to mess up — yes, even when others are watching — can offer important lessons in creativity and humility.

Perfectionism is an understandable reaction to being seen. But is it truly serving you?

Your self-care to-do:

You’re going to cringe at this assignment, but that’s exactly why I want you to do it. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but hesitated because you thought you wouldn’t be any good at it?

Standup comedy? Modern dance? Watercolors? Throw yourself into something that you know you won’t be immediately awesome at. Bringing this kind of openness to your approach will work wonders on the rest of your life, I promise.

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Your card: Queen of Cups

The Queen of Cups is a queen I envy — a lot. She is emotionally attuned, benevolent, but most importantly, she has unwavering intuition. She trusts herself. When self-doubt creeps in, she waves it away without a care in the world. Trust.

Virgo, how often do you defer to others, simply because they exude more confidence than you? How often do you let someone lead you astray just because they’ve pushed their way to the front of the pack?

Virgo, let me tell you a story. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for a few years now. As you can imagine, it’s an area that I know particularly well. And yet, whenever I have visitors and we decide to walk somewhere? I find myself following them.

That’s fine, except they don’t actually know where they’re going. Predictably, this has led to confusion on more than one occasion. I’ve found myself questioning if I know where I live — simply because a friend seemed so very sure of the direction we’re headed.

The moral of the story? Trust yourself, Virgo. Start with what you know — and watch what happens when you do.

Your self-care to-do:

Get a piece of paper and a writing utensil (yes, gel pen is acceptable). Set a timer for 10 minutes. I want you to write a list of topics you have “above average” knowledge about — stuff that you can speak to in a way that’s a little more insightful than your Average Chad.

This list is now a list of topics that you won’t self-silence yourself on — and it’s non-negotiable. If Chad starts ‘splaining about American History and that’s your jam? Chad is going to have to play nice as you “well actually” your way back into the conversation.

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Sam Dylan Finch is a writer, editor, cat dad, and Professional Internet Gay living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Say hello on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and, if you can find it, a really old Ello account that he still doesn’t know how to delete.