The September Full Moon Is in Pisces

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Illustration by Irene Goddard

It’s another full moon, so let’s do the (symbolic) math, shall we?

Full moons are an excellent time to set intentions for letting go. Why? Well, in the coming weeks, the moon will slowly phase out until nothing but a sliver remains. I like to think of it as a mirror for ditching what doesn’t serve us.

As we let go of that baggage, these things take up less and less space in our lives, making room for what we’ll manifest later, in the new moon. This is why astrologers and tarot readers alike draw inspiration from it!

This month’s full moon happens to be in Pisces. If things feel a little messy, don’t panic! That’s because Pisces is one of the most sensitive, emotive signs in the entire zodiac.

I’ll admit I’m a little late to the KonMari bandwagon, but in the spirit of sparking joy, let’s look for what lights your fire — and ease off the rest. Let’s do some emotional decluttering.

If you’re not sure where to start, invite your intuition in, and let’s have a chat with the cards.

Your card: The Fool

Happy Birthday Season, Virgo! The Fool is a wonderful card to pull during this time. Whatever you’re doing, or did, to celebrate another trip around the sun, The Fool has some advice for you: Life is a lot more enjoyable if you let your hair down a little.

I know that’s not really your cup of tea, Virgo, but that’s exactly why I’m reminding you of this. You’re a helper by nature, with a propensity to run yourself ragged, and frankly, these are the types of people who so often forget how to have fun.

Fun is not a math equation, though. So let’s be clear: This is not about what other people consider “fun.”

I’m not talking about what you think you “should” enjoy or what, logically speaking, is defined as “fun.” I’m talking about the last time you had a full belly laugh. I’m talking about the last time you forgot to worry about other people.

When was that, Virgo?

Joy for the sake of joy can be really difficult to practice. We live in a capitalistic society that tells us that everything we enjoy could be a side hustle and everything we do should be productive or beneficial to someone else.

But for the sake of your sanity… can you learn to let that shit go?

Your self-care to-do:

Get a sheet of paper with two columns. In the first column, write out the activities you really enjoy — quite literally, whatever sparks joy for you. In the second column, jot down what about each activity is enjoyable for you.

After you’ve worked on it, go back and reread it. And then cross out anything that you derive joy from because it benefits someone else.

Yes, anything where you wrote “I love making my friends happy”? Nix it from the list. From there, prioritize the activities you didn’t cross out. It’s your season, Virgo, so it’s all about you right now.

Your card: Ace of Pentacles

The Ace of Pentacles is a card of material opportunity and new investments. And Libra, as one of the zodiacs with a deep concern for balance, your finances probably reflect this — you might prefer to be more pragmatic with your money and resources.

The word “splurge” is probably not a recurring word in your vocabulary, and if it is, it has a sidekick known as “guilt.”

Maybe you need to hear this, Libra: Retail therapy is not a crime. In fact, what if we reframed this and called it an “emotional investment”?

I’m not saying you should spend hundreds of dollars on designer Crocs (yes, I’m sad to report, these are totally a thing). But what I am saying is that there are plenty of ways you can invest in your mental health — and you probably should.

I recently bought a shower bench so I could sit at the edge of my tub and enjoy a really nice foot bath while reading a good book. It wasn’t an expensive purchase by any means, but it made my Sunday nights way more relaxing.

This will sound really weird, but taking care of my oft-neglected feet — exfoliating, soaking, and just being present — made me look at other areas of my life differently too.

So think: Is there a new ritual or treat you can offer yourself to boost your mood? What are you neglecting, and how can you invest in your own care?

Your self-care to-do:

Don’t wait for the special holiday bonus or the birthday check that’s coming next month. You don’t need an “excuse” to take care of yourself. You’re allowed to invest in your mental health, however frivolous it might seem.

Sign up for an online course on a topic you’re interested in. Try out online therapy. Treat yourself to expensive bath salts. Buy that vinyl record that boosts your mood every time you hear it. Get a new rug that makes your living room feel a thousand times cozier… these are all 100 percent valid investments to make.

Your card: The Chariot

The Chariot is the card of willpower. You’re in the driver’s seat, Scorpio, in charge of your own destiny. Like, no pressure or anything…

But Scorpio, I want to use this time to talk about impostor syndrome. Because often, when we step into our own power, there’s this mean little voice that tells us we aren’t qualified, we don’t deserve it, or we aren’t competent enough to handle what’s in front of us.

In other words, we try to throw ourselves in front of our own chariot. We might sabotage our own efforts or watch our confidence wither and our spirits shrink. It’s not cute, Scorpio, but it happens.

So I won’t waste my breath trying to tell you that you deserve good things, that you’re fierce as hell (it’s written in the stars!), and that your hard work should be recognized. Those are (true!) platitudes you’ve probably heard before, but right now they’re not necessarily helpful for growth.

Instead, we’re going to entertain the worst-case scenario. What if you are an impostor, Scorpio? What if you aren’t competent, aren’t clever, and aren’t qualified?

Here’s my answer to these rhetorical questions: So what?

You are allowed to learn as you go. You’re allowed to push yourself to grow. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to be new at something, to experiment and fail, to not have all the answers. In other words, you are allowed to be human.

Your self-care to-do:

Have you considered that these opportunities are coming your way because you’re ready to grow into them? Even if you are an impostor, that’s as good a place as any to start from. Sometimes, a willingness to learn and an open mind are the very best ingredients for success.

Trust that you have everything you need and the ability to adapt in the absence of what you lack. Now’s a good time to watch some TED Talks, Scorpio: Get inspired by other people who made things up as they went along and discovered something terrific and unexpected along the way. You’ve got this.

Your card: Strength

When the Strength card appears, Sag, a lot of people tend to interpret it in a pretty literal way. They often assume this means that a second wind is coming and that they’ll experience a surge of bravery that leads to a grand, triumphant victory.

This perception is not unique to tarot, though. I think a lot of people in general misunderstand what strength and courage are.

“Courage does not always roar,” Mary Anne Radmacher writes. “Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

Some of the strongest, most courageous people I know are the ones you won’t find rushing into burning buildings or scaling mountains. They are people who, in the absence of hope, still got out of bed the next morning. They are the people who, in the absence of comfort, found a way to hold on.

I think you know why I’m giving you this reminder, dear Sagittarius.

If you only associate strength with the big, momentous stuff in life, you’ll miss the countless examples of your own courage, leading you through the darkest chapters you’ve faced.

Your being alive is the grand, triumphant victory. Your still being here, facing another day, is the epitome of strength. You don’t need to go looking for that second wind, Sagittarius — it’s already with you.

Your self-care to-do:

Let’s try an experiment, Sagittarius. Take a sticky note and write a message to your younger self, starting with the words “I’m proud of you because…”

Take that note and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Take a moment to savor the words. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that the very fact of your existence means you are, in every sense, enough. Let go of the idea that there’s still something yet that you have to prove.

Your card: Judgement

Capricorn, I know it’s tempting to assume you have all the answers. After all, let’s be real: A lot of the time, you do.

The Judgement card tends to appear when you’re being called to a higher purpose. It’s a beautiful, electrically charged card. Some words to describe this card: A spiritual experience. An epiphany. A wake-up call. A leveling-up. Whatever’s underneath it, Cap, is a big effing deal.

But here’s something interesting about the Judgement card. It depicts an angelic figure blaring the horn while another figure extends their hands outward to receive the message. The operative word here being “receive.”

This time, Capricorn, you don’t have all the answers. This time you’re being called on to receive a message, which requires listening.

This is a time when you hear the testimonies of others and uncover what it is you’re here to do. This is when you sit back, open yourself up to all the possibilities, and wait for the sign.

It’s tempting to assume you’ve got it all figured out. But seeing ourselves reflected in another person — especially where we least expect it — is where some of our most pivotal growth comes from. Sometimes we need a mirror held up to us.

Your self-care to-do:

Right now, it’s time to surrender and let the message come to you. Go to “church,” Capricorn. Maybe not literally, but go where you feel most spiritually connected. Maybe that’s a support group, an AA meeting, or a volunteer gig.

It could be tea with your wisest friend or stopping by the office of a trusted mentor. Wherever that wisdom is most likely to be found, go there. Be still and be open.

Your card: Seven of Wands

Phew, Aquarius. The Seven of Wands is an intense card. If you take a look, it usually depicts someone with a torch-like weapon defending themselves from attack.

For someone who prefers to go with the flow, this defensive position is likely an uncomfortable one. But for whatever reason, something or someone is challenging you right now, and it’s become unavoidable.

Because you’re one of the more humanitarian of the signs, it can be tempting, when you’re faced with a lot of opposition, to concede to the loudest voices. You might even gaslight yourself. “If all of these people say this,” you wonder, “I must be mistaken.”

Aquarius, sometimes you aren’t. If, upon deep reflection, your gut is telling you something isn’t right, it’s very possible you aren’t mistaken at all.

This is a lesson that can be hard to remember. I know I fall into this trap often when the people challenging me appear to share my values, leaving me questioning my own integrity. But Aquarius, you know your truth. And there’s a difference between holding that truth and protecting your ego.

There’s a time and place for digging in your heels and sticking up for yourself. Chances are, the time is now.

Your self-care to-do:

When faced with some kind of conflict, it’s a good time to practice asking yourself, “Is this about my ego? Or is this about my inner truth? What is my resistance in service of?”

This can be an especially useful journaling exercise when you find yourself triggered or angry and unsure of how to navigate your strong emotions.

Give it a try and see what it uncovers for you.

Your card: Nine of Wands

Pisces, what does the word “boundaries” mean to you?

The Nine of Wands depicts someone whose arm is in a sling, visibly injured as they construct a fence-like structure around them. Their expression isn’t one of pain, though. It usually appears as a kind of hopefulness and a trust that, with time, they will endure.

This card, to me, illustrates the practice of learning what boundaries are really about. It’s not that we’ll never be hurt by others — that seems to be an unavoidable part of life — but instead, we know how to take care of ourselves and set limits to ensure we can heal.

It’s not about reacting to pain by shutting out the world completely, as tempting as that might be. It’s a kind of self-care where we create enough space for ourselves to rest, recover, and reset while still being present and engaged with our world.

Boundaries require balance so that we can be a part of the world but apart from the world. Not dissociating from ourselves and our lives but instead disassociating from the behaviors that interfere with our ability to heal.

It’s being able to construct a fence… before we’re so thoroughly injured that we no longer have the ability to protect and honor ourselves.

Your self-care to-do:

Where in your life do you need a fence? Some of the emotions you might look for include being overwhelmed, uncomfortable, avoidant, or resentful.

I’d recommend logging for a week when these emotions come up for you, connecting the feelings to the behaviors that triggered them. The first step in constructing healthy boundaries is recognizing when they’re necessary!

Your card: Two of Cups

Aries, the Two of Cups is the card of fulfilling partnerships — romantic, platonic, professional.

The card usually depicts two people who are super, super into each other, with the kind of shared gaze that suggests the rest of the world has melted away. It’s that electric energy between two people who are excited to have found each other.

Has anyone ever accused you of having unreasonable expectations of other people? While balance is key in any relationship, I want to push back on this idea that you can’t have high standards.

When we loosen our standards in relationships, we may find ourselves in some prickly situations: sustaining relationships out of obligation, settling for people who don’t treat us all that well, or investing in people we feel lukewarm about at best.

Here’s where I want to introduce the “!!!” theory by my lovely (and incredibly wise) friend Melissa Fabello.

You know, the kind of person for whom you’d use a lot of exclamation points when you say, “It was so nice to see you!!!” That authentic excitement about another person is key — and you deserve to feel that way about the people you prioritize.

Melissa shares that she prioritizes relationships that make her feel “!!!” It might be time for you to try that too.

Your self-care to-do:

Who do you feel “!!!” about, romantically, platonically, and professionally? If you’re familiar with Marie Kondo’s “Does this spark joy?” philosophy, it’s very much the same.

Rather than focusing on what you should let go of, think about the people you want to keep in your inner, inner circle. (Of course, also let go of any of the naysayers who suggest you expect too much. Your life, your rules.)

Your card: Knight of Cups

The Knight of Cups is the hopeless romantic, the visionary — someone who operates based on gut feelings and emotion, whether it logically adds up or not.

It’s unsurprising, then, that this knight is also considered one of the most creative cards. It’s easy to access your creativity when you’re emotionally attuned.

One of the qualities, Taurus, that many people don’t associate with your sign is artistry. You can see the beauty in things that many others aren’t so quick to recognize. When this part of you thrives, you soften.

Have you felt disconnected from that lately? As you charge ahead, full of ambition, are you remembering to slow down and appreciate the present moment?

I want to remind you of something: You are allowed to slow down.

You are allowed to smell the roses. You are allowed to simply enjoy wherever you are rather than let your vision for the future eclipse your present. You can just be.

And chances are, if you’re feeling a little bit of emotional whiplash, you need to dial it back a notch.

Your self-care to-do:

We’re calling this game “The Perfect Timeout.” Choose a comfortable seat — and I mean comfortable — because you’re going to be sitting there for a few hours.

Gather up everything you’ll need to enjoy your “timeout” and have it within reach. A good book, snacks, a manicure set, a soft blanket… whatever brings you pure, uncomplicated joy. Set a timer (I’d recommend 3 hours, but you do you!). Until it goes off, you aren’t allowed to move from that spot.

Settle in and relax. The rest of your life will still be there when you’re finished.

Your Card: Page of Cups

Gemini, if this full moon is any indication, some old feelings have caught back up with you.

You probably have a talent for outrunning your emotions, but unfortunately, you can only do that for so long! If you’re experiencing a sense of overwhelm right now or suspect you’re overdue for a good cry, don’t fret: The Page of Cups has some wisdom we can draw from.

The Geminis in my own life often found that channeling their emotions creatively kept their world in balance. But when you’re overwhelmed, accessing that creativity can be a challenge.

The Page of Cups is a wonderfully creative card, because our Page has a secret weapon: They have the uncanny ability to access their inner child. If you’re looking for a creative spark, your best avenue might be to take a look into your past.

There’s a certain kind of magic in the carefree delight that seems to come so naturally to kids. That’s why, for your self-care assignment this week, we’re making this full moon a throwback.

Your self-care to-do:

I want you to write down some of your favorite activities, places, treats, and movies from your childhood. You’re not looking for anything in particular yet — just create a list of what would’ve sparked joy for your younger self.

Once you’ve brainstormed this for 15 minutes (set a timer!), highlight five things from your list that you could incorporate into your adult life. Is there a movie you could rewatch? A favorite candy you could enjoy? A hobby you could pick up?

Channel some of that playful energy and see what you shake loose energetically when you open yourself up to be delighted.

Your card: Two of Wands

The Two of Wands is often thought of as the “planning” card. It often appears when an opportunity has presented itself or a risk could be taken and it’s time to explore the options in front of you.

I would actually call this a spork in the road, because in this case, you’re not choosing between two distinct paths — you’re choosing between playing it safe and taking a leap of faith.

Cancer, I love a good leap of faith. But in a culture that tells us to hustle, take risks, put our noses to the grindstone, and always be “on,” there’s also something to be said for playing it safe.

If other people have ever interpreted your fiercely self-protective Cancer self as being risk-averse, I’m calling bullshit on that: I think honoring your instincts is incredibly brave.

You know to wait and strike when the time is right and not a minute sooner — and while others might not understand the pace at which you move, they don’t need to. You don’t have to answer to them, ever. As Yoko Ono says, “My religion is to trust myself.”

If you’re worried that the people around you are making progress faster than you or are “further ahead” in life, I want you to challenge that self-judgment. Consider this, Cancer: You are exactly where you are supposed to be. I promise.

Your self-care to-do:

I wouldn’t usually advise playing with fire, but this occasion calls for it. Self-judgment is likely to cloud your otherwise sharp intuition, so it’s time to burn it down.

Write down some of the things you judge most harshly about yourself. For each scrap of paper holding that judgment, say aloud how that “defect” could actually be a strength, and then (safely) set that paper on fire.

For example, “I’m too emotional” could become “I’m deeply in touch with my emotional reality.” You might be surprised to find that the things you’re most critical of are gifts in disguise.

Your card: Three of Pentacles

Leo, I know I tend to be a little tough on you, but the cards tell me that this week it’s needed. You’re getting in your own way, but there’s an easy fix if you’re willing to hear me out.

Did you dread group projects in school? I know I did. Usually it was because I wound up doing all the work while my classmates sat back and watched me scramble. Or at least that was the story I told myself about how it went.

If I’m honest with myself, though, I wound up doing all the work myself because I wanted things done a very particular way while lacking the patience to collaborate, receive feedback, and allow others to show up with their own unique contributions — even if their contributions weren’t the “best” way of doing something.

Sometimes, my attitude toward group work became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wanted things done a particular way, but I wasn’t willing to teach others how to do it. I wanted the best possible project, but I wasn’t willing to consider that others might have a better way.

And I say this as someone with Leo as their rising sign: Even now, as an adult? These patterns can repeat themselves from time to time. So as I’m calling you out here, I’m calling myself out too.

Your self-care to-do:

Leo, we already know you have the natural charisma to be a leader. But leadership is also a skill, and it’s a practiced skill — you can’t rely on charisma alone.

Can you think about the best managers or mentors you’ve worked with and jot down what made those experiences so positive? Reflect on how you can emulate some of those qualities.

Because while it would be nice to be a one-person show, the unavoidable reality is that some things really do require a team approach.

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.

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