Litscope: Scorpio & Tiny Nightmares

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If you’re like me, you’re in need of a little good news, especially considering the precarious state of the nation. This month, you’re in luck: Two major planets, Mercury and Mars, are finally going direct in November. Mercury, the communication and travel ruler, stationed direct on November 3; Mars, the planet governing fiery energy in all forms (including sexual), turns direct on November 13. After those long retrograde periods, the planets will usher in much-needed forward movement this month no matter what.

As we make the seasonal transition from fall into winter, we’ve also entered the astrological season of Scorpio. This water sign has not one but two planetary rulers: Mars, the forceful god of war that also fuels our sex drive, and Pluto, which governs the underworld of rebirth, transformation, and death. Scorpio is symbolized by the scorpion which, if attacked, will definitely sting. But you won’t have to worry about that because Scorpios are dedicated and loyal friends, adoring both platonic and romantic intimacy.

Now, Scorpios do have an intense side that can occasionally make them a bit obsessive. But hey, that’s a small price to pay considering they are passionate about everything they love and have a long-standing reputation for being experts in the sack! Just beware of Scorpio’s voracious curiosity for bodies and how they work. It’s all fine unless it turns into a preoccupation with the dark side.


Tiny Nightmares editors Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
Tackling traditional genre tropes such as zombies and vampires, the stories also weave in all-important human and environmental agendas, with an enduring Scorpio intensity. 
Celeste Doaks

Speaking of the darker side, the book that reflects Scorpio characteristics is Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Stories of Horror, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto. This anthology of horror contains forty-two tiny fiction stories, each under 1,500 words, that hold a mighty space once you begin reading them. Tackling traditional genre tropes such as zombies and vampires, the stories also weave in all-important human and environmental agendas, with an enduring Scorpio intensity. 

While I won’t have the chance to highlight all of the wildly creative stories by both emerging and established writers encapsulated here, I’ll call attention to a few of the standouts. Rachel Heng’s “Fingers” is a dark and painful examination of nature devouring humans, as opposed to the other way around. In Heng’s story, village parents and children live in houses on stilts because the mud below them acts like quicksand. When the children venture out, they are constantly being pulled down by what they describe as “fingers.” Without spoiling the story, one night the children decide to set out to save their village. Things, of course, do not go as planned, and their efforts are tragically thwarted in the strangest way.

Another story I enjoyed was “Candy Boii” by Sam J. Miller. Readers follow a seemingly harmless digital flirtation on a gay dating app where a sex mate is just a text away. When Candy Boii sends a pic with an “admirable erection” to our narrator, ColbyJack, the recipient admits, “I’m secure and alone on my couch, but my body responds like I’m standing beside a stranger in a bar.” This story’s steamy content would easily satisfy any sexual Scorpio, but in the end, the interaction turns more sour than you could imagine. 

And if you’re passionate about social justice and/or politics, as many Scorpios are, you should read Pedro Iniguez’s “Caravan” and Rion Amilcar Scott’s “Jane Death Theory #13.” Scott’s story is a frightening commentary on how far American police brutality could really go, and Iniguez’s story takes the hunger and devastation of border politics to another level. Both are must-reads.

I must say, as someone who isn’t a general fan of horror, I was impressed by this anthology. It goes way beyond things that go bump in the night, investigating all the profound ways that humans can be fearful of things, both real and imagined. The editors sum it up best when they say in the introduction, “Fear is also, for better or (more often) worse, the dark force that shapes society. Whether it’s politicians spreading hatred to scare up votes or the passive fear that keeps so many of us from risking change in our lives, our communities, and our world.”


Motherpeace tarot deck: Shaman of Wands, Death, Daughter of Cups

For this month’s tarot reading for the collective, three cards emerged from the Motherpeace deck: the Shaman of Wands, Death, and the Daughter of Cups. The Shaman of Wands represents a warm and healing traditionally male energy. With Horus’s falcon behind him, this Shaman will be a positive male ruler. (How ironic is it that mythical Horus was known to be a healer of snake and scorpion bites!) Generally, the male represented in this card is someone who’s a feminist-friend. Next, the Death card. As you can see, the snake in the card is not literally dying, but rather shedding its skin for a new version of itself. Death is necessary and connotes a cathartic change in our collective lives. And lastly, the Daughter of Cups: the youthful and emotive female energy that signals it’s time for a playful break. She basks in the magical mineral waters and sings ever so softly. This is a dive into the beautiful realms of dreams both intellectual and physical.

These three cards—which were drawn before November 7, when the presidential race was called for Joe Biden—make a pretty interesting trio: transformative change sandwiched between two distinctive energies of a warm male ruler and a playful female in touch with her deepest emotions. A yin/yang balance, both before and after a deep excavation, is so vital. As a country, we are struggling to be reborn and will hopefully find balance. Nothing is perfect, but restoring even a modicum of harmony, after such a tumultuous year, would be oh so nice.


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