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Illustration by Irene Lee

Woo Curious is a bimonthly astrology reading, focused on practical self-care for the woo-inclined. Using tarot cards for inspiration, columnist Sam Dylan Finch explores themes of mental health, self-love, and authenticity for down-to-earth advice. If you’re looking for the stars to give a Sign, he hopes you’ll find it here.

Just as new moons are about manifesting and making shit happen, full moons are, predictably, the opposite. It’s time to take stock, let go, and make room for what’s ahead. And I can’t think of a better sign to usher us into this phase than the rebellious, free-spirited Aquarius.

You should know by now that I can’t resist a good pop diva reference. This time around… I can’t help but recall the imitable Kelly Clarkson at her pettiest: “Since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time.”

While this is a breakup anthem, it’s fitting for this full moon. It’s a good time to get honest about what you need to let go of, so you can create the spaciousness you need to breathe.

We’re aiming for that big sigh of relief — that moment when your shoulders drop, your jaw unclenches, and you feel like you can finally be yourself again.

How can we tap into that this full moon? I’ll consult the cards — you should consult your intuition.

Your card: Ten of Swords

Is letting go a little difficult for you, Leo? I don’t mean letting your hair down and having a good time — we already know you’ve got that down. I mean “letting go” in the sense of holding onto grudges and resentment a little longer than you should.

Sound familiar?

One thing that I love about Leos is their fierce sense of pride. But as with most positive qualities, there’s always a flip side. You may also notice a nagging sense of betrayal when others don’t properly recognize your self-worth.

Tough love, Leo: Wallowing for too long isn’t cute. It’s not that your pain isn’t justified, but if you struggle to move on, clinging to that role of “victim” can start to dim your fiery, unique shine. And in many cases, when it comes to the people who want to hurt you, it’s exactly what they hoped would happen.

‘Tis the season, though, to do something deliciously rebellious and a little out of character for you: Let that shit go. There’s a difference between grieving and stewing.

Your self-care to-do:

This time around, I’m going to recommend journaling. Where in your life are you feeling angry or resentful, and how can you begin to release that? Sometimes it’s writing a letter and promptly burning it, or taking a strength-building class to physically release your frustrations.

Underneath our anger is almost always fear, so after writing up an inventory of your frustrations, write about what the underlying fear or unmet need for each might be. From there, you should get a clearer picture of how you might be able to find some closure.

Your card: The Star

Virgo, The Star is a beautiful card. It represents someone who’s truly in tune with their “highest self” — or, put another way, their most whole, well, and vibrant self.

In most decks, it’s depicted with someone holding two containers of water, said to represent a balance between one’s thinking brain and the subconscious mind, both freely flowing.

There’s a lot we can learn from this card, but in the context of letting go, there’s a particularly powerful lesson. Part of the balance that we’re looking for, Virgo, is the balance that comes from releasing some of the stuff happening underneath — the seeds in our subconscious that were planted a long, long time ago.

In psychology, we call these “limiting beliefs.” These are the conclusions we internalize about ourselves and the world around us that ultimately don’t serve us.

For example, if the first time I tried to swim, I wasn’t able to float, I might walk around for the rest of my life utterly convinced that my body isn’t capable of floating.

Some of the most harmful limiting beliefs that we hold are the ones we’ve internalized about ourselves. Virgos tend to be people-pleasers, and a lot of people-pleasing stems from limited beliefs around what makes us lovable and worthy.

This New Moon is a great time to unpack where some of those beliefs might be hiding.

Your self-care to-do:

Have you heard of something called a “swear jar”? We’re going to do something a little similar, except this one is going to be an “apology jar.”

Each time you apologize to someone for something, write down what you apologized for, and put it in the jar. Do this for a week and, at the end of that week, rifle through what you wrote. How often did you apologize just for being human? What does that say about the amount of permission and space you give yourself in this world, and the expectations you have of yourself?

Your card: King of Wands

The King of Wands is an exciting card — it’s the card of sound leadership, long-term goals coming to fruition, and extensive planning that’s coming together brilliantly. This is a King that, despite the risks, committed fully to a vision and got on with it, trusting that he could handle whatever came his way. And? It all paid off (lucky him!).

Libra, you can embody this, too. However, as one of the more indecisive signs, you need to learn to strike while the iron is still hot. While planning is a key part of success, waffling usually isn’t.

There are some instances in which you’ll have to trust your innate adaptability and get on with the show. Otherwise, this is the surest way to miss amazing opportunities that others were quick to seize while you were still weighing your options.

If you find yourself struggling to let go of hesitation and fear, it’s a great time to build on your self-confidence. Without trust in your abilities and strengths, that fear will bleed over into every decision you make (and especially the ones you don’t).

Your self-care to-do:

Find some self-care activities that make you feel confident in your smarts or abilities.

Do you have any hobbies that make you feel like a champ? Whether it’s shouting all the answers at your TV while watching Jeopardy, scaling a super challenging climbing wall, or catching ‘em all on Pokemon Go, carve out some time to get your mojo back.

Your card: Ace of Pentacles

The Ace of Pentacles is all about new beginnings in finances or career. If I had to guess, Scorpio, change is in the air — whether it’s a new side hustle or a promotion on the horizon, this is the card of material opportunities.

New opportunities are really hard, though. Because to make room for new beginnings, you need to do some amount of letting go. And letting go, even when inviting in something new and exciting, can still be painful.

For example, a few years ago, after leaving an abusive work environment for a new job that treated me super well, the adjustment was emotionally exhausting — I was still hypervigilant, looking for signs of trouble wherever I went, only to find that, yes, things really were as safe and steady as they appeared to be.

I spent those first few months on-edge, certain some kind of disaster was right around the corner. And it wasn’t until I connected with another coworker about past work trauma, hashing out the ways that we’d both been burned, that I could truly begin to heal.

Imagine that a new, totally dreamy opportunity arrived at your doorstep tomorrow. What “baggage” would you be taking along with you? And is there any that you can unpack, sit with, and feel your way through?

Remember: No matter how “trivial” that pain seems, it’s still valid and worth feeling.

Your self-care to-do:

Consider reaching out to someone to commiserate about a past work experience, a failed project, or a fear you have for your future success. Sometimes all you need to do to begin healing is get it off your chest.

Your card: Five of Cups

Sag, I’m going to invite you to reflect on the times you’ve thought something to the effect of “I’m alone,” “I don’t have anybody,” “No one can help me.”

Because sometimes, yes, we mean it literally.

But a lot of the time, we aren’t actually alone. If we want to tackle that feeling of isolation, we need to get more specific about where it’s coming from.

In those instances, what we really might be saying is “It’s too exhausting to reach out.” Or “I’m scared to be vulnerable with the people in my life.” Maybe it’s even: “No one is offering the kind of help that I want/need.”

Here’s the trick though. We can’t get ourselves unstuck from this situation without a little reaching out, even just a little. Let’s let go of this idea that we can’t escape loneliness. Let go of your high expectations of others and make the first moves yourself.

If you’re feeling too exhausted to reach out for support on an individual level, can you compromise by writing a Facebook status, inviting people to reach out to you?

If you’re scared of being vulnerable, are there small steps you can take just to dip your toes in, even if it’s just a meme or dark humor? If you don’t feel connected, can you start just by sending a quick “hello” text to someone? If you aren’t getting the kind of help you need, have you considered asking more directly?

When it comes right down to it, “I’m alone” has more than one meaning. So your homework this time around, Sag, is to brainstorm ways to get unstuck and reconnect.

Your self-care to-do:

Reconnecting with other humans isn’t an all-or-nothing affair. When you feel yourself self-isolating, what’s the smallest step you can take to break the pattern?

We’re looking for C-level work here, so even if it’s sending a heart emoji to a friend when you’d rather shut the world out, that’s still a win in my book.

Your card: Two of Wands

The Two of Wands is the card of decision-making, and true to our Full Moon Feels, sometimes what appears to be a “good” choice still isn’t the right choice.

Capricorn, just because a good opportunity has found its way to you, that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to take it.

You might find yourself wanting to have your cake and eat it, too — and Cap, it doesn’t really work that way. Sometimes you do have to take a risk and let go of great things to invite in even greater things.

But let’s look at this another way, shall we? Practicing saying “nah, I’m good” is an amazing affirmation of our worth. It allows us to flex that elusive muscle known as “setting boundaries.”

And, yes, I do think we attract the energy we put out into the world — and if that energy says, “I deserve more than this,” I believe that the best is surely to come.

That doesn’t make it easy, though. A risk is still a risk, no matter how calculated and sensible the risk may be. That’s why, for your self-care assignment this time around, we’re going to practice rewarding ourselves when we have the courage to say, “Thanks but no thanks.”

Your self-care to-do:

The next time you turn something down, can you think of a way to positively reinforce that? For example, when you reject that job offer or turn down that travel opportunity, can you celebrate that the exact same way you would’ve celebrated it had you taken them up on it?

Whether that’s drinks with friends or fancy gelato for you and a sweetie, treat yourself as much for saying “hell no” as you would have had you said “hell yes!”

Your card: The Fool

Aquarius, this card is one of my favorites — albeit super misunderstood — in the entire deck. The Fool depicts a youthful, blissfully unaware figure trotting along with a friendly dog… headed straight for the edge of a cliff.

Most people might see this card and think, “Oh shit, a cliff! Am I headed off a cliff?” Literally, I’m not a fortune-teller, but maybe stay away from actual cliffs if you’re concerned about it. But metaphorically? Nope, this card is not a warning of some impending disaster.

Here’s the thing about our friend Fool: He’s chilling. He trusts the path that he’s on, and should he get close to that cliff? He trusts his sensibilities, and his ability to reroute and not tumble down the mountain.

His foolishness, in this case, is his lack of planning, but his joy and sense of ease comes from his trust in himself and his ability to navigate any challenge ahead.

Are you lacking that trust in yourself, Aquarius? The universe is filled with happy accidents, hilarious misadventures, great stories, and delightful surprises. But if you made optimal, excellent decisions with every single breath, you’d be unlikely to experience any of those.

Your self-care to-do:

Spontaneous Saturday is the name of this game. Let go of the need to always make the best decisions. Aim for a totally unplanned day out — whether it’s taking a random bus line and seeing where you end up, or heading to that cafe you always meant to try, make a day out of leaving room to be surprised.

You’re free-spirited by nature, and while others may have discouraged this quality in you, that doesn’t make them right. Being carefree can be a strength in a world that’s constantly wired.

Your card: Knight of Pentacles

The Knight of Pentacles is about doing the work that’s certain to pay off. The bad news? It’s going to be hard. And really boring.

As someone with ADHD, I am an expert in being bored. My brain already has “shiny object syndrome” and, for a long time, I kind of resented that. But things took a distinct shift when I realized that, with a brain like mine, my job was to make my life as interesting as humanly possible.

If life is feeling mundane, don’t despair: You can enliven virtually any activity if you’re creative about it. My desk in the office, no joke, is decorated with llamas and cacti, and my 1 1/2-hour commute is the time I spend working on the book I’m writing.

And did you know there’s a subscription services for literally everything you can imagine? Including office supplies, curated “focus” music, and even updating your wardrobe.

Wherever there are pockets of your day to inject a little sunshine or fun, don’t hesitate to embrace them (and yes, let go of the expectation that this isn’t how adults “do work” — you can do whatever the hell you please, including llamas at your cubicle).

It might feel silly at first, but it can really sustain you on those days when everything seems to drag on.

Your self-care to-do:

Pinpoint those moments in your day-to-day where you can make things a little more interesting. Little rituals throughout the day can boost your energy levels, and most importantly, keep you from getting bogged down in “the grind” that bros at startups like to rattle on about a lot. And to be honest, I’ll take my sanity over The Hustle™ any day of the week.

Your card: The Hermit

Aries, when the Hermit appears, the meaning tends to be pretty obvious: You need solitude, introspection, and quiet.

I’ve been reading the book “How To Do Nothing” by Jenny Odell — which I highly recommend — and one point that really stood out to me is the fact that, with so many platforms vying for our attention, we seldom have the very important privilege of simply being.

Because it’s often in that quiet spaciousness — free of alarmist headlines and eerily-specific advertisements — that some of our most creative ideas, important revelations, and peaceful transitions are able to emerge.

This by no means involves completely disconnecting from the world. As fun as it is to run off into the woods, the kind of intentional space you need should be part of the fabric of your daily life.

But being the headstrong Aries that you are, I’d bet it’s not something you’re very used to doing. So in the next couple of weeks, that’s what you should be practicing.

I have rituals for this: Honey lavender soap, a starry night light, and a calming playlist. What is it for you?

Your self-care to-do:

Create a ritual — like an indoor hammock and meditation app, a specific park bench and good novel, or invest in a nice reading chair for when you page through trashy magazines. Make this retreat a regular part of your routine, with zero distractions, devoted entirely to your well-being and being at ease. Where can you create this space, and how will you use it?

Your card: Two of Pentacles

If you take a look at the Two of Pentacles, you’ll usually see someone carefully juggling two objects. While they seem to have it under control, it’s pretty obvious that the balance is still precarious, easy to disrupt with a misstep or failed calculation.

It’s a human tendency that, if things are “working” — assignments are getting done, ducks are more or less in a row — we don’t examine the balance of our lives until it’s thrown out of whack. This makes sense! Why fix what isn’t broken?

But counterpoint, my friend: If we’re assessing the balance of our lives regularly, we can thwart potential disasters before something is dropped or breaks into a million pieces. Things can be going well (or just “good enough”), and yet we can still benefit from a check-in.

You can probably guess where I’m going with this: It’s a good time for that check-in. I’m going to invite you to slow down with a little trick known as “New Year’s Day.”

I want you to pretend that this week, the year is turning over early. Put on your aspirational hat, and take a look at how things are going.

Your self-care to-do:

If January 1st, 2020 were starting tomorrow, what’s getting in the way of you living a more balanced and fulfilled life? I’d recommend cracking open a journal and writing about it.

And if you’d like, you can even turn it into a New Year’s toast with champagne or a nice mocktail (my favorite lately is lime sparkling water and a splash of lemonade). Cheers!

Your Card: Nine of Swords

Are you having trouble sleeping at night, Gemini?

The Nine of Swords seems to think so. This is a card about obsessive worry — the sort that likes to creep in at night, reminding you of what hasn’t been done, what you should or shouldn’t have said, or the worst case scenario: what is supposedly most definitely, 100 percent, absolutely going to happen.

Worrying can be helpful to a certain extent. It helps us anticipate situations and plan more effectively before stuff goes down, which can be useful.

However, this isn’t the kind of worry we’re talking about, Gemini — obsessive ruminating is definitely not serving you… and neither is sleep deprivation.

My advice to you, Gemini, is twofold. First, sleep hygiene.

I know it’s annoying to be told to pay attention to the temperature of your room, to get some lavender essential oils, to try melatonin or CBD, that whole deal… but I’m going to be annoying and remind you that people rattle off that advice for a pretty good reason. Namely, because it’s helpful.

And even if you aren’t having trouble sleeping? You can still experiment with these things to see if they help you to have a more restful evening. There’s literally never a bad time to look at your bedtime routine!

As for the anxiety piece, there’s homework for that, too.

Your self-care to-do:

Create a worry box. Yes, this sounds like something a fifth-grader would do, but hear me out. Create (or buy!) any old box, and before bed, do a five-minute “anxiety dump.”

Write down everything that’s stressing you out, and then say aloud, “And it’ll still be there tomorrow. Now I’m going to rest.”

Put your worries in the box, and then ease into that sweet, gentle bedtime routine. Try it for a week and see how it feels. If it’s not for you? That’s okay — but you can’t say that if you haven’t tried it yet.

Your card: Eight of Pentacles

The Eight of Pentacles is the card of Hard. Effing. Work. The appearance of this card means you’ve either been chipping away at a big project, or you’re about to go “heads down” on something that requires a lot of sustained attention.

The key word here being “sustained.”

Tough love time, Cancer: A lot of us — myself included — think the solution to “I can’t focus” is pretty much always “more coffee” or “be rude to myself in hopes that it’ll motivate me.” And while quick fixes are the easiest route, they’re not always the ideal or most sustainable route.

Your 3 p.m. caffeine fix, or your 1 p.m. “Oh my god, why am I on Facebook AGAIN” shame monologue, might produce some results… but are they the results that will carry you through for the long haul? Juuuuust wondering.

Sure, by all means, get your Starbucks in the afternoon — but can you turn that walk to the cafe into a walking meditation? (There are apps for that, you know!)

Instead of a shame monologue, can you learn a new technique (Pomodoros = life) to get yourself back on track? Now’s the time to let go of what’s no longer serving you.

Your self-care to-do:

Do some research around “executive functioning.” There’s a great book about brain hacks by Lara Honos-Webb, if you’re curious.

What new strategies can you try to increase your focus and attention — without shaming, blaming, or over-caffeinating?

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.