Epic of OP, Miasma, The Golden Apple, and other stories

The Epic of OP

There once lived a king who inherited the O Valley and the P Valley from his father. Seeing that the valleys were side by side, he decided to call his new lands the Kingdom of OP. At first, the people of OP were happy. Although their king was simpleminded, he was hardworking and good. With time, however, he let power go to his head. “Power…,” pondered the king, “what a wonderful thing it is! Subjects to do my bidding, the twin Loyal and Royal scribes to advise me, bards to sing my praises… It’s party time!” The king began to neglect his duties, and his ministers followed his example. King and ministers could be seen wining and dining, and engaging in frivolous entertainment, day in and day out. The King of OP became known as the frolicking king, and his kingdom fell into disrepair. If travellers asked for directions to OP, they were told to follow the potholes.

The people of OP prayed to the gods to transform their king back to his former self. When the gods heard their prayers, they sent their  messengers, the crows, to give them a lay of the land. The crows returned and cawed, “Revelry and devilry in the palace!” So the gods made a plan to send their chaotic brother Op-Maul, god of conflict, to shake the king up. The colossal Op-Maul was delighted with the news. He loved planet earth with its endless possibilities to stir the pot. How he wished he could live there permanently! He jumped up and down with excitement, and he painted red and black jagged lines on his face to look scary.

Op-Maul decided that he would approach the Kingdom of OP slowly, one step at a time, for greater effect. He made the winds carry his words to the palace: “King of OP!  It is I, Op-Maul, challenging you to a fight! Stand up and defend your kingdom! Prove that you are a worthy king!”

The king was luxuriating in a perfumed bubble bath when Op-Maul’s words reached him. Trembling with fear, he called for his twin Loyal and Royal scribes.

“Do something, old chaps! Find a solution!” whined the king as he towelled himself dry.

“But you must fight, Sire, fight and defend your kingdom,” advised Royal as he took the king’s towel and helped him into his bathrobe.

“Are you mad? Can’t you see my skin is as soft as a baby’s bottom? I can’t fight!” cried the king.

“We could go on a retreat to figure something out,” suggested Loyal.

“But the ministers would want to come along, and we have no time to waste!,” said Royal, putting the idea away immediately. He then remembered the king’s father. “When your father was alive, Sire, he would seek the counsel of the Oracle of Embrun in moments of crisis. They say Op-Pollo, god of prophecy, speaks through him.”

“The Oracle! I had forgotten all about the Oracle!” The king danced around with hope. “You must go to him, the two of you, and make haste!”

And so the scribes left the palace and journeyed to the sacred city of Embrun. Along the way, they met a group of people going to seek advice from the Oracle to cure the eccentricities of loved ones. There was a father whose daughter hopped beside him because she thought the ground was a trampoline, and another father whose son looked petrified no matter how much he prodded him to smile. There was a wife whose husband refused to part with a bicycle that was falling apart and being held together with a piece of wood; and there was a husband whose wife copied every movement he made, even when he relieved himself. The most curious of all were a lanky son and stocky daughter being dragged by their parents: The son kept running away to hide behind trees flanking the road so he could spy on people, and the daughter was always trying to stare someone down. The scribes also came across men, young and old, taking their dogs to Embrun to ask the Oracle for help on how to train them to sit and heel and stop chasing squirrels.

When the scribes arrived to Embrun, they saw a beggar sitting by the township gates. They offered him whatever leftover food they had  from their journey. The beggar looked at them with piercing black eyes, thanked them, and said, “Your king is in trouble.”

“Aye,” said the twins, surprised.

The beggar then took a silver coin from a drawstring pouch tied around his waist. He held it up and broke it in half. The coin split into two equal tear-drops. Open-mouthed, the twins saw the image of a tiger appear on one silver tear-drop, and the image of a dragon appear on the other. “Magic!” they cried.

“You take ‘Yin’,” said the beggar, giving the tiger tear-drop to Loyal. “And you take ‘Yang’,” said the beggar, giving the dragon tear-drop to Royal. “Never join them unless your lives are in peril.” Having said this, the beggar vanished into thin air.

“Never speak of this to anyone or they’ll think us mad,” Royal told his brother.

“My lips are sealed,” replied Loyal.

The scribes continued on to the Temple of Op-Pollo and were  greeted at the temple doors by a crowd of people. The temple attendant  rushed them in when he saw that they were the king’s messengers. The twins stood in front of the Oracle and were told to wait until he opened his eyes. When the Oracle opened them, the twins were surprised to see eyes that popped out of their sockets with what appeared to be lust.

“Attendant, why does he look at us in such a lustful way?” asked Loyal feeling very uncomfortable.

“Not lust, sir. He’s in a trance.”

“How do we proceed?” asked Royal.

“Tell the Oracle why you’ve come, why you seek Op-Pollo’s help,” answered the attendant. “The Oracle will then speak the words of Op-Pollo. The words come out muddled through his lips, but I will interpret them for you. Let me close the temple doors to give us privacy.”


 The Oracle by Camillo Miola (Biacca), 1880 (The J. Paul Getty Museum)

Back in the Kingdom of OP, Op-Maul was stirring things up. He was snarling and growling and making quite the show of eating farmers’ livestock. Terrified, the people of OP were leaving the countryside and seeking refuge around the king’s palace. The king had to hold off carousing with his ministers in order to calm his people – help was on the way.

As soon as the twin scribes returned to the palace, they conferred with their king.

“I hope you bring me good news because my world is falling apart,” said the king in distress. “What did the Oracle say?”

“He said one thing but meant another, Your Majesty,” said Loyal. “His exact words were, ‘The possibilities are such that there may be reason to believe that it is possible as possible may be for the reason to possibly exist in all and such possibility.’ “

“I hope what he meant made more sense than that garbled talk!” said the king losing hope.

“This is what he meant, sire,” said Royal clearing his throat, ” ‘A traveller from afar who exudes the aroma of an exotic cigar, and has skin the colour of night will appear the day after the eclipse. He will rid the kingdom of Op-Maul.’ “

“We’re saved!” said the king in relief. “When is the eclipse and what shall we call this traveller?”

“Day after tomorrow,” said Loyal.

“He goes by the name of El Cristo Negro,” said Royal.

“Very well, then. Blow the trumpets when he arrives,” concluded the king and went off to reassure his kingdom that all would be well.

There was a blizzard the day after the eclipse, and the palace guards struggled to keep watch. Although they could discern nothing in the distance, they could smell the aroma of a sweet cigar. Suddenly, a shape loomed into view… a black rider. “Trumpets!” called the guards rushing to help the rider dismount and bringing him into the palace. The king made his appearance in full regalia, and the rider bowed in his presence.

“Rise, El Cristo Negro; we’ve been expecting you,” said the king. “I hand you these two scrolls: the Royal Contract and Mission Permit. They will allow you to carry weapons in my kingdom so you can defeat Op-Maul.”

“With all due respect, Your Highness,” said El Cristo, “I do not come here as a mercenary, but as your personal trainer. I will not need the scrolls.”

“Blasphemy!” shouted the king. “You cannot expect me to fight! Besides, the Oracle of Embrun foretold that you would rid my kingdom of Op-Maul!”

“I will do that,” said El Cristo, “just not in the way you want. Like Alexander the Great, you will lead your people into battle.”

“I’m not Greek!” yelled the king. “I’m a bit English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, anything but Greek!” and he threw himself on the ground dramatically.

Ignoring the spectacle, El Cristo said, “Excuse me, Your Highness, but I will leave you now to look for lodgings in your kingdom. I will return tomorrow at dawn to begin your training.” With these words, the rider left the palace.

The king was left alone, lying on the ground, pouting and thinking and pouting some more. But then something shifted in him… something changed. Perhaps it was the realization that he was holding on to a life that had become stale of late, with one festivity followed by another and another. Perhaps he could use a challenge after all.

When the rider arrived the following day, the king was at the palace gates ready to train, and so the training began. By day 3 of training, the women of OP noticed a change in their king; he was beginning to look like a little warrior.  By day 4, half the women of OP had joined the training exercises. “This is glorious,” thought the king. “I must be the luckiest man in the world!” By day 7, all the women of OP were training with him. At dusk, while the women and the king rested in the training fields, all the king had to do was wave to a woman who had caught his eye, beckon her to come to him, and he would end up spending the night in her arms. He felt fit and young again!

Word got to the men of OP that their king had all the women to himself, so they started joining the training as well. By day 10, all the men of OP had joined, and El Cristo Negro found himself training an army. He trained them from dawn till dusk, and then retired to his lodgings, leaving the men and women resting in the fields where a lot of waving and beckoning went on. The people of OP began to feel that their kingdom was heaven on earth.

The day Op-Maul’s footsteps shook the palace grounds, the king consulted with El Cristo Negro and his scribes about the best plan of action. He then gathered his people and told them that they would charge en masse and topple Op-Maul over. Hopefully, the fall would knock him out. Everyone took their positions, and with the king leading them, they charged!

Royal had strapped his left leg to Loyal’s right so they would not be separated in battle. As they got closer to Op-Maul, they realized that the people of OP were mere ants about to confront a giant beast. They instinctively took ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ out of their money bags, and the  moment they joined the two silver tear-drops together to form a perfect circle, Op-Maul disappeared.

The king and his army stopped, flabbergasted. They saw that the ground beneath their opponent had collapsed and swallowed him up.

“A miracle!” someone cried.

In ecstatic joy, the people of OP cheered. Triumphant, they carried their king, El Cristo Negro, Loyal and Royal back to the palace to celebrate their victory.

While feasting and merrymaking went on in the palace, the gods descended on earth to haul their brother Op-Maul out of the massive sinkhole.

“How did it got?” Op-Maul asked his brothers as he shook earth and stones from his clothes.

“Seems like the king and his people are getting along just fine,” answered his brother Op-Shiva, god of transformation. “Mission accomplished. Well done, Op-Maul.”

“Thank you, Shiv! I had so much fun!” said Op-Maul grinning. “Let’s eat!”

His famous brother Op-Pollo, god of music, truth and prophecy, sat down to play his majestic singing bowl. As he played it, the bowl filled with enough manna from the heavens to feed all his brothers.

While the gods relaxed and ate, prayers for help from another kingdom reached their ears.

“I’m afraid there’s another king in trouble,” said Op-Shiva tossing and catching a silver coin.

“Me! Send me! Please send me!” begged Op-Maul.

“Before we decide who goes,” said Op-Pollo with authority, “let’s first get a lay of the land…”


File:Apollo black bird AM Delphi 8140.jpg (wikimedia.org)

February 11, 2018



In his purest form, Mars is the planet that gives us vitality and the will to live. His energy wakes us up in the morning and carries us through the day despite setbacks. He makes us work hard, compete, and fight for what we want.

People with strong Mars energy display strength, confidence and courage. They are the ones who actually become what so many children aspire to be: firefighters and police officers.

Like all the planets in our solar system, Mars has its shadow side. It can overpower us and make us impetuous and aggressive, and at worst, a force of brutality.

Everyone ruled by Mars joins in his dance between light and shadow. In essence, it is the dance of being vital without taking the vitality of another. It is the hardest dance of all…

“Clang! Clang! Clang!” (pause) “Clang! Clang! Clang!” (pause) “Clang! Clang! Clang!”

All the planets knew that Mars was in a sombre mood because his sacred bird, the pileated woodpecker, had been drumming all morning – not on wood where there is satisfaction – but on a block of metal. Tired of hearing the hammering blows, the Sun halted his horse-drawn chariot in mid-sky and searched for Mercury. Good god, how could he miss him in that celestial blue suit. There he was standing behind him, rocking to the woodpecker’s beat. “Merc! Go find out what ails your brother!”

“But dad, I’m the planet of communication; I can just call him!” said Merc showing off his mega phone.

“Go to him!” said the Sun with authority.

Knowing when not to argue, Merc donned his winged helmet and flew to Mars. “What ails you brother?”

“Venus threw me out,” said Mars totally depressed. “She says she doesn’t recognize me anymore; that I reek of war; that my belligerent spirit is extinguishing my celestial glow. She won’t let me near her.”

“I know what she means, bro,” said Mercury covering his nose. “You don’t smell like iron oxide anymore. More like… What is that smell…?  Human angst?”

“What do I do?” said Mars. “I need help.”

Saturn rolled by tut-tutting and shaking a finger at Mars.

“Do you have some advice for me, Uncle Sat?” Mars asked him, but Saturn never spoke; he was the kind of elder who let you figure things out on your own.

Jupiter, however, came over to help. “Pluto will know what to do,” he told him, and then asked Uranus to send Pluto an electric bolt so he could come over: SOS Mars.

Pluto appeared in a flash; he was an old man with a long white beard, addicted to cigarettes. “Hiiiiii…” he said, exhaling smoke. “Pee-yew! Miasma all around you, Mars. You haven’t been doing your job properly.”

“What do you mean?” said Mars coughing.

“You’ve forgotten who you are,” said Pluto, taking a drag of his cigarette.

“I’m Bringer of War,” said Mars, clamping his sacred bird’s beak shut.

“And Bringer of Peace,” said Pluto. “Don’t forget we’re all yin yang planets up here. I’m Death and Rebirth; you’re War and Peace. You’re obviously doing the war part, but not so much the peace part. War accumulates miasma, and peace washes it away.”

“Help me,” said Mars. “I’m about to lose Venus…”

“Go down there and correct the problem. Three Labours of Peace should do the trick,” said Pluto, putting out his cigarette. Before lighting another, he asked Uranus for transport and disappeared in a flash.

Now on a mission to recuperate his beloved, Mars took the form of a man, beautiful and dangerous. He got into his car and turned on the flashing emergency lights.

Merc looked at the lights and said, “Now I know why they’re red and blue.”

“War and Peace,” said Jupiter.

“Wish me luck, guys!” said Mars, and he siren-screamed down to earth.

He first went inside a hospital where a cop was guarding a man in a drug-induced rage. It sickened the cop to hear the man curse and hurl obscenities at everyone, and he could feel anger building in his root chakra. Despite his attempt to control it, the anger rose and settled round his heart. “Not good,” thought Mars, and he touched the cop hoping he’d move away and ask to be replaced. But the Touch of Mars made the anger rush to the cop’s head and he lunged at the foul-mouthed man, ripped the useless sleep mask off his eyes, and punched him. At first, the cop felt relief, but then came remorse.

“What do I do now?” he asked Mars.

“You’re taking an anger management class,” Mars replied.

The day the cop received his certificate and was able to calmly shake hands with Mars, Mars felt a layer of miasma dissolve and a new lightness of being settle on him. He went outdoors and saw Venus in all her glory up in the sky. She twinkled, and he smiled head over heels in love. She had blown him a kiss.

Feeling encouraged, Mars got back in his car and drove around. A young by-law officer whose job was to issue parking tickets caught his attention. He saw how the officer took breaks during his shift to get on the highway and tailgate cars on the fast lane. He’d bully 2 or 3 to change lanes, and then he’d take the nearest exit and go back to issuing tickets. Mars watched him repeat this pattern day after day. He saw that this young man had lost his joie de vivre. Nothing, not even the horn blasts of a fire truck could break his dull stupor; until the day Mars put his foot down. The officer had returned home all sullen and dissatisfied when, out of the blue, a pileated woodpecker flew right at his face with a piercing shriek before veering off to perch on the branch of a tree. Frightened out of his wits, the officer collapsed on the ground and broke into sobs.


Coming to his side, Mars told him, “Kid, you’re going to have to learn a new trade.”

“Wha (sob) Wha (sob) Why?”

“Because you’re unhappy and a bully on the road. Let’s go inside and talk.”

After Mars helped him find a new course of study, he felt lighter than ever. He was recovering his reddish glow and was eager to find his third labour.

He decided to go for a walk and he began to hear the thoughts of a teenage boy in turmoil. His friends were  pressuring him to join their gang. He didn’t want to – he was about to finish high school and his mom wanted him to go to college. He didn’t want to disappoint her, but his friends were making life difficult. Mars heard him praying: Should I, shouldn’t I; god please give me a sign. He had borrowed his mom’s car with the excuse that he had a graduation meeting at school, but he was really giving in to his friends and going to attend a gang meeting. The intersection lights were out and the boy slowed down. Should I, shouldn’t I; god please give me a sign. That’s when Mars appeared in his line of vision signalling him to stop. Mars walked right up to the boy’s car, made eye contact, and placed an open palm directly on the  windshield – right in front of the boy’s face: STOP. Heart beating fast, the boy turned around the first chance he got and went back home.

Mars was now miasma-free and shining brighter than ever. Proudly, he returned to the sky and knocked on Venus’ door. Jealous to see him outshining her, she would not let him in. “I’m busy!” she said. With a chuckle, Mars told her he’d be waiting. He knew that when she’d finally let him in, there would be fireworks… hopefully.


The Statue of Mars from the Forum of Nerva, 2nd century AD

The Golden Apple


Venus is not just about beauty and possessions; she is also about self-worth and the qualities we value in ourselves and others. She helps us find the right friends and the right partner, the right barber and hair salon, and the right painting for our wall. Her dance is a balancing act between giving and receiving.

On this particular day, she had work to do on earth, and she had asked Mars to babysit their child and pick her up at dusk.

There he was in a parking lot by a lake watching the sunset. He was sitting in the driver’s seat holding their child on his lap. He felt cramped so he opened the door and rested one leg outside,  foot firmly planted on the ground. He kept the little one busy, teaching him how to on and off  the headlights – a signal for Venus.

He almost lost his footing when he saw Venus approach the car accompanied by two of his ex girlfriends, the goddess Iris and the goddess Minerva. A mortal man would run away in a situation like this, but he was a visible planet with nowhere to hide.

Mars had been all about war and triumph at any cost until he met Iris and Minerva. The goddesses had changed him and the people he ruled forever. Iris had been his first girlfriend, and she had brought her love of colours and avant-garde communication to their relationship; Minerva had been his last girlfriend before he settled down with Venus, and she had shared her love of poetry and acting with him.

Mars’ exes had given him strategy in war, the Morse code and undercover operations, whereas Venus had complemented him. With Venus, it was like coming home. He had proposed to her in the manner of the ancient Greeks – by throwing an apple at her. She had caught the apple and accepted his proposal.

The three women waved at Mars, and Mars, well, he waved back with a bashful smile, his Adam’s apple jumping uncontrollably.

“Mars, darling, we propose a competition,” said Venus holding a golden delicious apple in her hand.

“An Ironman Triathlon?”

“Not this time,” she replied, shaking her head.

“What’s it about?” he asked.

“Iris and Minerva have been fighting over Amador, a mortal man who works at the Apple store, so I suggested a competition of skills. They will each create a story, and the one you like best gets the golden apple and keeps Amador,” Venus explained.

“I like that. Go for it,” said Mars.

Iris went first. She began to tell her story in an evocative tone, and  images appeared as if projected on a screen…

She was a refugee. The church had sponsored her, given her work and found lodgings nearby. She didn’t speak the language and the church had asked for volunteers to help her out. A police officer signed up and took her out once or twice a week to show her around; he helped her with the language and answered any questions she had about her new country. He realized one day that he loved her. How could it be that after 30 years of marriage, love would surprise him again. He loved her so badly that it hurt when he could not see her because of work or family obligations. He woke up one night, looked at his wife who slept peacefully by his side, and considered leaving her. He saw their life together and understood that he couldn’t wouldn’t do it. He went to the church and saw her waiting for him. He looked at her and knew that she loved him back. He told her he could not continue seeing her. She was heartbroken. He was sorry. From then on, he passed by the church every day with the emergency lights on to greet her. How she loved seeing the red and blue flashing lights reflected on the marble of the altar she cleaned. He found ways to communicate with her: a short siren meant that he was off for a few days, a longer siren that he would be gone longer. But he always came back, flashing lights illuminating her heart. Until he didn’t. She knew when it happened. It felt like something being torn away from her. She knelt down and asked God to confirm it. When she looked up at Him, she saw the flashing red and white lights of an ambulance reflected in His eyes. She wept.

“Tragic,” said Venus with tears in her eyes.

“Yes,” agreed Mars. He then turned to Minerva and said matter-of-factly, “Your turn, Minerva.”

Sensing his mood, Minerva kept her tone lively…

A police officer’s son was in love with police cars. That’s all the little guy thought about and talked about. His fourth birthday was coming up and his mom and dad wanted to make it special. They were taking him to visit grandma, and while they waited at an intersection for the red light to change, four police cars made a left turn one after the other: Look at that, son! One! Two! Three! Four! Happy Birthday!

“Ha ha! That was good!  Perfectly  coordinated!” said Mars joyfully. “She gets the apple!”

The moment Venus said “Catch!” and threw the apple to Minerva, Mercury appeared and caught it. He looked at Minerva intently and offered it to her. Minerva took a bite and they were married.

“Well, that settles things,” said Mars.

“It was fated,” said Venus.

Iris was free to meet  Amador, the colour missing in her life.


The Blue Bird by Frank Cadogan Cowper, R.A., 1918

Bride of the Forest


You probably think I’m ruled by Venus, but I’m not. I’m ruled by Mars. I’m fiercely competitive and a strong athlete – I’m actually training for the next Ironman Triathlon.

When my best friend Gisela asked me to pose for a painting, I was flattered. She’s the one ruled by Venus. Look how she’s utterly transformed me! I’d never wear that colour lipstick in real life.

One evening, after posing for a couple of hours, Gisela asked me to accompany her to a party. She wanted me to meet her new boyfriend. All I really wanted was to go home, shower and go to bed, but I didn’t want to disappoint her, so I went along.

I had always thought that people who spoke about being ‘love-struck’ were airheads – until it happened to me. The moment I raised my eyes to say hello to Gisela’s boyfriend, my heart skipped a beat.

I tried applying mind over body techniques to control my feelings, but it was no use. My feelings overpowered and hijacked my mind. I was in a daze after the party.

Lucky for me, Saturn is my uncle, and every time I’d daydream about Gisela’s boyfriend or consider calling him, Uncle Sat would roll by tut-tutting and shaking a finger at me.

I knew what he was saying: Get a grip, girl, or you’ll do something stupid and lose your best friend.

I started pouring heart and soul into my training, and the more I focused on strength, speed, endurance, the more my feelings abated. If I began to slip, Saturn had my back.

I stopped going out with the excuse that I had to be in bed by eight o’clock. I still met Gisela at her studio twice a week. She had asked me to pose for a new painting, and it didn’t bother me anymore when she talked (and talked) about her boyfriend. I was too busy creating my own beauty. You should see my body now.

I beat Mars in the triathlon. Can you believe it? He came over to congratulate me and to tell me how proud he is to have me in his team. I could see Venus watching us from a distance. Mars held my chin between his fingers and raised my face to his. By then, I had good control of my feelings and I wasn’t scared to gaze into his eyes. My heart did not skip a beat when I saw how beautiful and dangerous his soul is. If it had, Venus would have struck me down. Jealousy is her shadow side. I once went out with a guy ruled by Venus, so I know all about her shadow.

His name’s Amador. He’s different now and coupled with the goddess Iris, I know, but back when we were together, he was a nightmare.

You’d think with a name like that he’d be a romantic, serenading me with his guitar. Not so. I nicknamed him ‘gadget man’ because he collected all sorts of gadgets; he had boxes and boxes of them. He’d be so jealous if one of our friends had a gadget he didn’t have. It was as if his self-esteem depended on possessing the latest gadget. I asked Venus for help and she answered my prayer in a most unusual way.

A magpie, Venus’ sacred bird, built her nest in our home and decorated it with Amador’s small shiny gadgets. Each time Amador tried to retrieve one, she’d peck his hand and chant, “Fool’s gold! Fool’s gold!” Not only that, each time Amador touched a gadget that wasn’t on the nest, she’d perch on his shoulder and chant, “Fool’s gold! Fool’s gold!” Each time he thought about or spoke about a gadget, she’d fly around chanting, “Fool’s gold! Fool’s gold!” Needless to say, Amador had a nervous breakdown.

When he hit rock bottom, the magpie flew to my computer and, with her beak, she typed the name of an ashram in California. I took Amador there and left him in good hands. A year later, friends told me he had come back a Zen man. He was working as a security guard because the job allowed him to practice mindful meditation – the art of being present. His reputation grew and Apple hired him to guard the store downtown. I just heard they doubled his salary because, ever since he started working there, they haven’t had anything stolen.


Bride of the Forest by Gisela Velásquez, 2018



English     Good Morning!

Yin Yang     You open your front door bright and early, and there’s a person standing outside with a big grin on his face.

This short piece about Jupiter is in both English and Yin Yang.

English     Jupiter pays you a visit when you’ve run out of ideas and are doing the same old same old every day. He’s a benevolent and generous planet, but he’s so large that you’ll feel threatened when he shows up – until you hear his jolly good news. “Time to explore and grow! Expand your mind!” he’ll say, and he’ll present you with an opportunity to travel or to learn something new that will make you feel alive again.

Yin Yang     She had been driving on the highway for a long time and was on autopilot, lost in reverie. She noticed an SUV passing her on the left – it didn’t rush past her – but revealed itself letter by letter: E-C-I-L-O-P. When her mind registered the word POLICE, she straightened up and checked her speed. It didn’t matter that the driver of the police SUV was going faster than she was and just as caught in reverie. It was the presence of the word POLICE. It woke her up.

English     Such was the case with Xavier. He had graduated from high school, but he didn’t know what to do with his life, which direction to take. Every day was the same: his parents would lecture him to do this; his friends advised him to do that; neighbours and acquaintances suggested that he do the other. He knew they were all trying to help him, but none of their ideas resonated with him.

Yin Yang     A Canada goose flies out of formation and gets lost. She flies above the trees calling for help: Where’s my flock? Where’s my flock? The ducks and loons answer her calls for help, but the Canada goose does not understand their language.

English     It wasn’t that he was lazy or anything like that.

Yin Yang     A woman is unloading potted plants from her pick-up truck and setting them on the ground. A boy passing by stops to help her. When all the plants are out of the truck, the woman begins to load them back into the truck, and the boy stays to help her.

English     He just didn’t get fractions right away. They say that kids who get fractions right away know exactly what they want to do when they grow up. Kids who don’t get fractions right away take longer.

Yin Yang     A man in a wrinkled suit walks down the road scratching his head.

English     He woke up one morning and saw an ominous shadow looming above him. To get away from it, he went for a run. He was a fast runner, but so was the shadow. He tried to outwit it by taking a zigzag course, but nobody outwits Jupiter or his shadow.

Yin Yang     A jeep Trailcat rams through a small town, with Wonder Woman in hot pursuit.

English     He finally collapsed face down on the grass, out of breath. When he felt better, he turned around and saw, to his relief, that the shadow had disappeared. Instead, tourists had gathered around him and were looking at him. “That was quite the spectacle, my dear,” said one of them. “I’m a retired police officer myself, and I never saw anyone run quite like that,” said another. “You were running like a bunny being chased by a fox,” said a third. “Thank you,” said Xavier. He had no intention of telling them what it was he had been running away from. Some things you just keep to yourself.

Yin Yang     A fox in a clearing looking at you.

English     “Say, kid,” the retired police officer continued, “how about giving us a tour? Maybe you could show us where to get some of that local ice cream your town’s famous for.”  All the tourists waited expectantly for his answer. “I’d be glad to,” said Xavier, standing up and leading the way.

Yin Yang     There is a rack of coats on the footpath outside a boutique. A sign on the rack reads “New Arrivals.”

English     Xavier took them to see all the sights and then dropped them off at the ice cream parlour. He said goodbye to everyone and everyone thanked him profusely; he was such a well-mannered young man. “You should join the police service, Xavier,” the retired police officer told him. “We could use people like you. Here – take my card. If you’re interested, give me a call Monday morning and I’ll help you get started.” Xavier took his card and thanked him. He could feel a warm glow envelop him. Jupiter’s light was shining on him.

Yin Yang     Car headlights illuminate a man wearing a fluorescent reflective jacket.



Modern Art for the Yin Yang Soul


August 31, 1966. Full moon in Pisces.

Barnett Newman couldn’t sleep. He felt restless. He told his wife he was going out for a walk to the park nearby. There was a full moon that night and he wanted to see it up close. At the park, Barnett lay on the grass. He rested his eyes on the silvery moon and a sense of tranquility washed over him.

“This is the kind of art I want to make,” he thought to himself. “Fields of pure colour that evoke emotions in people.”

He was lost in thought and he didn’t see the flashing lights of a police cruiser; he didn’t hear a car door slam or a man approach.

“Excuse me, are you Mr. Newman?”

Startled out of his reverie, Barnett took a moment to answer, “Yes?”

“Sir, your wife is worried about you. You’ve been gone for over two hours. She wants you to come home.”

“What do you see up there, young man?” Barnett asked him, looking at the sky.

“The moon, sir.”

“What else?” Barnett asked.

“The sky, the stars?”

“What else?” insisted Barnett.

The officer was about to inquire about the old man’s mental health, but bit his tongue. He had been told that Barnett Newman was a famous abstract artist.

Barnett read his mind. “Don’t worry, I don’t see any UFOs up there.”

They both laughed.

“Can I give you a ride home, sir?”

Barnett accepted the offer and went home.


September 29, 1966. Full moon in Aries.

Barnett Newman couldn’t sleep. He felt restless. He told his wife he was going out for a walk to the park nearby. There was a full moon that night and he wanted to see it up close. At the park, Barnett looked at the moon and the moon energized him. He ran over to the park swings, sat on one, and started swinging with gusto. He hadn’t done this in years!

He was focused on soaring higher and he didn’t see the flashing lights of a police cruiser; he didn’t hear a car door slam or a man approach.

“Hello sir, Mr. Newman!”

Taken by surprise, Barnett almost lost his balance.

“Easy there!”

Recognizing the young officer, Barnett greeted him, “Hello again, son!  Is the wife worried?”

“Yes sir!”

“Hop on a swing and join me!”

The police officer joined the old man and asked him, “What do you see up there, Mr. Newman?”

Barnett laughed. “The last time you came to get me, I saw a moon that made me feel blue. This time, I see a moon on fire!”

“She’s fiery, alright,” said the young officer. “Passions have been running high tonight.”

“You don’t say,” said Barnett.

The officer offered Barnett a ride home. As they walked to the police cruiser, Barnett told the officer that he had been asked to do a painting for Expo 67.

“What kind of painting?” asked the officer, opening the door for the artist.

“Large and vertical,” said Barnett.

Before getting in the car, Barnett looked at the officer’s face painted red and blue by the flashing emergency lights.



January 26, 1967. Full moon in Leo.

When Barnett Newman completed Voice of Fire for Expo 67, he suffered a creative block that left him brooding. To lift his spirits, his wife, Annalee, invited their grandchildren to spend a weekend with them. One night after dinner, Barnett sat on the rocking chair and enjoyed hearing his wife tell the children the story of the 3 little pigs.  They ended the evening singing, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, big bad wolf, big bad wolf.” How they squealed with laughter!

Bursting with love for his family, Barnett sprang out of the creative rut he had been stuck in. He wanted to capture this moment, the feeling of this moment. He wanted to paint the joy between Annalee and their grandchildren.

He got up and told Annalee he was going for a walk to the park nearby. There was a full moon that night and he wanted to see it up close. He put on his jacket and his white magician gloves. Annalee had given him the gloves when he sold his first painting. She said he had magic in his hands.

At the park, Barnett looked at the moon and felt like dancing. He waltzed around and then sat on a bench to look at the moon some more, swinging his legs back and forth like a child.

The wind picked up and he looked down to zip up his jacket. As his magical fingers fumbled with the zipper, he smiled looking at the jacket his grandchildren called “grandpa’s primary jacket.” Suddenly, he knew what his painting would look like. He knew what he would call it.


 Who’s Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue


He was busy arranging the colours in his mind’s eye and didn’t see the flashing lights of a police cruiser; he didn’t hear a car door slam or a man approach.

“What kind of moon is she tonight, Mr. Newman?”

Barnett laughed, happy to see the young officer. “A playful one.”

“Well, she seems to be getting some people in trouble…”

“Bedroom sort?”

The young officer nodded. “Can I offer you a ride home, sir?”

“Not until you waltz with me,” said Barnett, standing up.

“Me, sir?” said the officer. “I can’t… never have…” he stammered.

“You’re getting married some day, aren’t you? Might as well learn,” said Barnett, bringing the young officer next to him. “Now imagine a square on the ground,” he said, tracing a square on the yellow and brown winter grass with his foot. “Stand here in the bottom left hand corner. Ready?”

“Yes,” said the officer, wanting the earth to swallow him up.

“Step forward with the left, then to the side, and close. Step back with the right, then to the side, and close,” said Barnett.

When the officer got the hang of it, he had the privilege of waltzing with Barnett Newman humming the tune of the Beautiful Blue Danube.



May 23, 1967. Full moon in Sagittarius.

Not everybody understood Barnett Newman’s Voice of Fire at Expo 67.

People expected spiritual paintings to be tied to religious themes – like the Madonna dressed in red and blue. But Barnett had reduced a spiritual painting to the raw experience of red and blue, and not everyone was open to new explorations in art.

He couldn’t sleep, and he told his wife he was going out for a walk to the park nearby. There was a full moon that night and he wanted to see it up close.

At the park, Barnett sat on a bench and looked at the moon, and the moon gave him a renewed sense of hope. He felt hopeful that, if not now, one day people would see the value and beauty of his work.

He could smell spring in the air and he looked around and saw the flashing lights of a police cruiser. He heard the car door slam and he saw the young officer approach.

“Good evening, Mr. Newman,” said the young officer, sitting beside the artist. “I was in Montreal yesterday and went to see Voice of Fire.”

Barnett looked at him. He wanted to see the truth in his eyes when he asked him, “Did you like it?”

“Very much. I saw passion and tranquility playing with each other. Passion trying to break out and tranquility keeping it in check.” He laughed.

“You understood it!” said Barnett joining in the young officer’s laughter. “Means a lot to me, son.”


Madonna of the Meadow by Raphael, 1506, and Voice of Fire by Barnett Newman, 1967


April 13, 1968. Total lunar eclipse in Libra.

When the Expo in Montreal ended, the Newmans left Ottawa and returned to New York. Barnett was back where his art was fully embraced. He was in high demand artistically and socially.

On April 13, 1968, he and his wife were guests of honour at the car show of the year. Barnett was asked to choose a winner among the latest models. He narrowed his choices down to five cars: the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro, the Plymouth Barracuda, the Pontiac Trans-Am and the Dodge Charger, but he could not handle the stress of choosing one among them. He asked Annalee to take over, and she, of course, chose the Camaro.

That night, Barnett had a dream that felt prophetic. A pick-up truck with blue and yellow stripes led his 5 car-show choices to a pow wow of sorts. To his amazement, the cars performed a dance for him in his dream – a harmonious dance. When the dance was over, the pick-up truck turned its bright amber warning light on and drove all the way up to him, blinding him. He woke up with a start and rushed to his studio. He set to work on a piece he called Yellow and Blue.


May 12, 1968. Full moon in Scorpio.

Barnett Newman shared his dream with his friend Mark Rothko, and Rothko told him that he had had a yellow and blue dream as well – what a coincidence: First it was daytime, and he could see a guy in a bucket truck working on a light pole. Then it was nighttime, and the bucket truck was gone. Suddenly, the light pole turned on and his dream was illuminated in both yellow and blue. He woke up inspired to make a painting in those colours and he called it Untitled (yellow and blue).




June 29, 1969. Full moon in Capricorn.

Barnett Newman couldn’t sleep. He felt restless. He had seen a portrait by Frank Brooks that day that made him question his art. He knew he lacked the extensive training and talent that painters like Brooks had to create such an exquisite illusion of reality: the watery eyes, the sparkle of gemstones, the texture of fabrics. Even photography could not capture what Brooks had captured with oils and a paintbrush.

Barnett reminded himself that his art was based on ideas and not on reality – he didn’t need to master the techniques of the past.

He got out of bed and went to sit in his balcony. There was a crystal-clear full moon that night. Incredible to think that men would soon walk on her surface. Times were changing. Art was changing and, for better or for worse, he was leading the way.


H.H. Bhagvat Singhjee of Gondal by Frank Brooks (1888)

July 29, 1969. Full moon in Aquarius.

Barnett Newman visited Chartres – a Gothic cathedral built in the 1200’s by the people, for the people. He found it magnificent. The stained-glass windows told the story of the bible from the creation of Adam and Eve to the Apocalypse. Wherever he walked in the city of Chartres, he could see the cathedral spires directing his vision up to the skies.

He wanted to paint Chartres. He chose a triangular canvas to denote the spires, and red, yellow and blue stripes to capture the essence of the stained-glass windows.

Such simplicity.

We wouldn’t even know it was fine art if it were not under the roof of an art gallery giving it protection and authority.

Such simplicity and elitism: the contradiction of Aquarius.


Chartres by Barnett Newman, 1969, oil on canvas, 305 cm x 290 cm, private collection

September 11, 1969. New moon in Virgo.

Barnett Newman had his followers. However, only those who brought innovation were allowed to display their work next to his. Such was the case with minimalist Dan Flavin who had the audacity to use colours available in fluorescent lighting as his palette.

When the National Gallery of Canada organized the first major exhibit of Dan Flavin’s works, the Gallery and Flavin asked Newman if he would introduce the exhibition on the day of the official opening. “Gladly,” said Newman, and he and Annalee travelled back to Ottawa on September 11, 1969.

Newman went to see the exhibit on his own to prepare his remarks for the opening. When he saw Flavin’s Untitled (to Barnett Newman), he felt flattered. A moment later, doubt settled in. Was the work really a compliment or a mockery?

“It is what it is and it ain’t nothing else,” said Flavin.


Untitled (to Barnett Newman) by Dan Flavin. Installation with red, yellow and blue fluorescent lights

October 25, 1969. Full moon in Taurus.

After the opening of Flavin’s exhibit, Barnett was invited to give lectures to young artists in Ottawa and the surrounding areas. Barnett agreed to stay, and he and Annalee rented the same place they had in the fall of ’66.

On October 25, Barnett received news that his work would be included in the revised edition of an Art History book used to teach Intro. to Art History in universities across the United States. He had been canonized into the History of Art. This piece of news gave him a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

But the feeling of well-being dissipated during the night. He felt restless and couldn’t sleep. The thought of preparing his will and giving Annalee the rights to his property pressed him. He told Annalee that he was going for a walk to the park nearby. There was a full moon that night and he wanted to see it up close.

At the park, he sat on a bench and looked at the moon. He relaxed and felt reassured that he would have enough time to prepare his will once he was back in New York in the new year.

He was lost in thought and didn’t see the flashing lights of a police cruiser; he didn’t hear a car door slam or a man approach.

“Mr. Newman! It’s been a long time!”

“So it has, young man. What’s new in your life,” Newman asked him.

“I think I’ve met the woman I’m going to marry,” answered the young officer.

“Ah; you just know, don’t you. I remember meeting Annalee and knowing she was the one. It wasn’t about the details, the eyelashes and such. It was-“

“An immediate impact,” said the young officer.

“A total reaction in which two entire personalities make contact on a metaphysical level and know they are meant for each other.”

“Soul mates.”

“Yes,” said Newman.



November 23, 1969. Full moon in Gemini. At the park nearby.

“What kind of a moon is she tonight, Mr. Newman?” asked the young officer.

“She reminded me of a story I once read. About a woman in love with two brothers and having to choose between them.”

“Could you tell it to me?”

Nodding yes, Newman continued, “She wanted to see a peacock, and the brothers took her to a  forest where peacocks lived. She spotted one and went towards it, but she stopped when she saw two wild dogs in the vicinity. The brothers saw the dogs as well, but they went after the peacock anyway. I wish I could remember the brothers’ names…”

“Yin and Yang?” suggested the young officer. “My girlfriend’s into Feng Shui.”

“That’ll do,” said Newman. “Yin came back and told the woman that he hadn’t been able to approach the peacock because the dogs were guarding it. Yang came back and told her that the dogs had caught the peacock and were eating it. Yin told her that wasn’t true – the dogs were protecting the peacock.”

“Who did she end up marrying?” asked the young officer.


“She liked his version better.”

“No. She believed in him,” said Newman.


Young girl with peacock by Edmond Aman-Jean, 1895

December 23, 1969. Full moon in Cancer.

Luckily it had stopped snowing. The Newmans were going back to New York that night. From the car window, Barnett could see the moon. He thought of his grandchildren and of the primary colours. Primary colours belonged to everyone except modern abstract artists. All because of his series of works entitled,  “Who’s afraid of Red Yellow and Blue.” He had made different versions for each of his grandchildren.

What a catchy title. Because of it, every artist who used the primary colours side by side – including the Canadian Jack Bush – couldn’t help making a direct reference to that catchy title. They defied his question with a statement of their own:

“I’m not afraid of red, yellow and blue.”



Sans titre by Jack Bush, 1967

1.  Follow your heart


Cancer felt like throwing a party. She checked the calendar and saw that the full moon was on Wednesday. “Wednesday it is!” she decided, and she emailed her friends.

Aries came from a very traditional family. She wasn’t married yet and was still living at home.  She knew her parents wouldn’t be happy about her going to a party mid-week, so she didn’t tell them. When they were fast asleep, she put pillows under her bed-covers, snuck out of the house and called an uber. “Freedom,” she thought.

Libra was at home busy weighing the pros and cons of going to the party. He was so engrossed in this activity that he didn’t hear the banging on his door. He only paid attention when he heard Aries shout, “Quit playing with your scales, Libra, and open the door! You’re going to the party! Hurry up! I have an uber waiting!” There was no saying “no” to Aries.

When they were on their way, they saw Leo jogging down the road; her ponytail blowing in the wind. She was chasing a –

“Is she chasing a butterfly?” asked Libra.

“Looks like a heart with wings,” said the uber driver.

Aries asked the driver to slow down. She rolled down her window and called, “Hey Leo! Whatcha doing?”

“I’m following my heart!” she answered happily.

“Is it taking you to the party?”

“I think so!” she said.

“Okay! We’ll see you there!” Aries rolled her window back up and asked the driver to speed up.

“I can’t,” said the driver. He pointed to the right, “Cops in the parking lot.”

“Who are those two?’ Aries asked Libra.

“Probably Capricorn and Scorpio, drinking milkshakes,” answered Libra.

Capricorn was having a vanilla milkshake and Scorpio was having a strawberry one. They were chitchatting, their cars parked facing opposite direction, driver-side windows lined up.

“I know you’re not going to tell me what’s on your mind, Scorpio, but hey, what’s on your mind?” Capricorn asked.

“What’s on your mind, Cap?” answered Scorpio.

“I think I’m going to skip the party. Aries is so boisterous; she really annoys me. Libra can never make up his mind about anything; he drives me mad… Maybe I’ll stay home and read a good book.”

“You’ll disappoint Cancer,” said Scorpio. “She likes you.”

“You’ve noticed?”

Scorpio nodded.

“Okay, I’ll go. How about you, Scorpio?”

“I’m going,” he said.

“Do you like anyone?” Cap asked him. Scorpio thought of someone but he didn’t respond. They finished their shakes in silence.


The Three Candles by Marc Chagall, 1940

Cancer had spent the whole day in the kitchen and things were going smoothly – until she burned the couscous. She was about to burst into tears when Virgo and Pisces walked in. “Thank god you’re here!” Cancer cried. “I was going to make a couscous salad and I just burned the couscous!

While Virgo spooned the burnt couscous into the garbage, Pisces told Cancer to breathe. “Breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe in…. Breathe out… That’s my girl.”  Virgo interrupted and asked Pisces to go put some music and light some candles. She told Cancer to go upstairs and get ready. She’d take care of the kitchen now.

She went to set the table and called Taurus. “Virgo! Save me!” Taurus pleaded. “Gemini has been eating my ear off telling me all about the features on his new phone-“

“Put him to work,” said Virgo. “We need a couscous salad for the party.”

“You called the right guy!” said Taurus. “I’m a couscous magician! I’ll have Gemini chop all the veggies… See you later!”

The moment Cancer walked elegantly down the stairs, the front door burst open with exuberance. In came Aries and Libra, followed by Leo who was famished. “Let’s eat!” she said. Capricorn and Scorpio came soon after, feeling a bit self-conscious, but a glass of wine would soon take care of that. They heard chatter, and in came Gemini followed by Taurus holding his culinary masterpiece. Virgo and Pisces came out of the kitchen, and they were all greeting each other when someone said, “We’re missing Sagittarius and Aquarius!”

Just then they heard a motorcycle approaching. “They’re here!” said Gemini.

Sagittarius walked in carrying a karaoke machine. “Sorry I’m late guys, but I had to pick up the star of the show!”  In walked Aquarius dressed in a crazy jazzy outfit that made everyone laugh.

They all helped Sag set up the machine; they got comfortable and waited for the show to begin.

Aquarius turned the music on and took the microphone. He ran his hand through his hair and started singing…

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius



“What a great performance, Aquarius,” said Leo, walking up to him with a plate heaped with food.

“Thanks Leo. Glad you liked it.”

“Are you going to grab some food?” she asked him.

“Did you leave him any?” Scorpio intervened, eyeing her plate.

“Scorpio! I probably ran ten kilometres to get here!”

“So what. We run more than that every day,” said Capricorn.

“Leave her alone, guys. There’s plenty of food,” said Libra.

“Not anymore,” said Taurus, walking up to them with a plate heaped with food himself. “This is so good, Cancer. You’re a terrific cook!”

“So are you, Taurus. Great salad,” Cancer replied. “Cap, are you hungry?”

“How come you’re asking him and not me?” Scorpio asked her.

Before Cancer could feel awkward, Aries walked up to the group with two plates of food and offered one to Scorpio, “Hungry, Scorpio?”

“Thanks, Aries,” he said, taking the plate and blushing.


Portrait of a Man by Gilbert Stuart, ca. 1782-9

Across the room, Pisces made her way to Virgo. She gently touched her arm and said, “Caught you daydreaming again, Virgo. Who’s it about?”

“No, no-” Virgo started defending herself when Gemini butted in.

“I hope it’s about me,” he said, winking at her, “because you and I would make a great couple Virgo, I’m telling ya.”

“Shut up, Gemini! You’d drive me mad,” laughed Virgo, and Pisces thought she saw her glance at Scorpio.

When Gemini left to get some food, Pisces held Virgo’s arm firmly and said, “Just so you know, I’m pretty sure Scorpio has his heart set on-” Before she could finish her sentence, she saw Scorpio looking at her intently.

“What’s wrong Pisces?” Sag came by and put his arm around her. “You seem flustered. Can I get you a drink?”

“No, no-” said Pisces, totally flustered. “Actually, I could use a drink, thank you Sag.”

“What happened?” Virgo nudged Pisces.

“Nothing,” said Pisces.

“Tell me later,” Virgo whispered when she saw Sag coming back with drinks.

“Tell you what later?” asked Sag handing them drinks.

“Sag, do you think Scorpio can read minds?” whispered Pisces.

“Nah. He probably has this place bugged.”

“I’m not so sure,” said Pisces, taking a sip of her drink.


Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1881

2. Talk in Silence


Scorpio and Pisces were parked side by side, facing the same direction. Scorpio had rolled down his passenger-side window so he could listen to Pisces talk. She was going on and on about how this job didn’t feel like an adventure anymore.

“I don’t know how long I can do this for. It’s become such a drag; I hate the hours and I hate all the paperwork. Maybe I’d still find it exciting if I got hunches like you do, but I don’t. I mean, how do you know we’re going to get this guy today?”

“It’s a hunch.”

“See? I’m missing your sixth sense. Maybe I should quit. Maybe I’m better suited for something else, but the problem is, what if I find out  there’s really nothing else for me? Or what if I find something, and it becomes a drag like everything else? Then I’d be back to square one, and the worst part would be that I’d miss you guys – well, not all of you, but I’d miss-“

Scorpio had had enough. He got out of his car, slammed the door, walked over to her car, opened the passenger-side door, sat next to her, and slammed the door shut.

He looked at her.

Took her in his arms.

Embraced her.

“I thought your heart was set on-“

“Still is. Just relax Pisces.”

She sank into him, not allowing herself to think.

They heard a car speeding on the main road and they pulled away from each other.

“That’s him!” he said, putting his seat belt on.

“Let’s go get him!” she said, stepping on the gas pedal.


The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, 1908

3.  I want what I want


“You hugged Pisces!” Aries was yelling on the phone. “How could you!”

Scorpio was baffled by Aries’ reaction, but he still explained. “She needed comforting,” he said.

“I can’t stand it, Scorpio! I want to be the only woman in your life, the only woman you ever think of, the only woman you ever hug!”

“What! I just gave her a brotherly hug,” he explained again.

“What about me! My feelings! I’m so jealous! I’m furious! I can’t stand it!”

That was enough for Scorpio. He hung up.

Aries’ dad walked into the living room and told his daughter, “You can’t go around trying to control people  like that, Aries.”

“Dad! Don’t interfere!” she yelled, and she tried calling Scorpio again, but he wouldn’t pick up.

“You should call Libra,” her dad told her before leaving her alone.

Sobbing, she called Libra.

“What’s going on, Aries?” Libra asked her.

“Scorpio hugged Pisces.”

“So what? Scorpio can hug whoever he wants. He’s not going out with you.”

“But he accepted the plate of food I gave him at Cancer’s party, remember? I couldn’t find an apple in the kitchen, so I offered him a plate of food.”

“Aries! This is not ancient Greece! You and Scorpio are not a couple just because he accepted a plate of food from you!”

“But it worked for Cancer. She and Capricorn are now a couple.”

“But not for you! Maybe the way to Capricorn’s heart is through his stomach, but Scorpio has no idea!”

“Oh no! Have I made a fool of myself?”

“No, no. Just don’t call him again, and when you see him, act as if nothing happened.”

“Okay. Thanks Libra.

“No problem.”

“I feel much better.”

“I’m glad.”

“Do you want to go see a movie?”

“Whatever you want, Aries.”


The Therapist by Rene Magritte, 1937

4.  Follow your heart with me


Scorpio went for a run before sunrise.

He waved at Sag and Aquarius who were out on their balcony. They were looking at the sky through their telescopes.

He ran past Taurus’ house and saw him open his front door and walk Pisces to her car. He heard Taurus ask Pisces to move in with him and hoped that she would. Taurus would give her the stability she needed.

He saw Leo running in the distance and caught up with her.

“Hey Leo!”

“Hey Scorpio!”

“Following your heart?”

“Yes!” she said happily. “Wanna follow it with me?”

“Yes I do!” he said laughing.


5.  Sunrise


Gemini and Virgo were in a parking lot, cars parked in opposite direction, driver-side windows lined up.

“So Virgo, you really think that stars and planets affect us?”

“How could they not, Gemini? We’re sitting under them.”

Gemini stuck his head out the window and looked at the sky, “Yeah… you may have a point there… What about zodiac signs? Do you believe that some signs get along and others don’t?”

“I’ve read rules about that, but I’ve come across so many exceptions that I don’t believe them. Do you?”

“Don’t really know much about it.”

“You know, what Barnett Newman said makes more sense to me; that when two people meet, regardless of their sign, their entire personalities make contact on a metaphysical level and there’s an immediate reaction-“

“Like when you meet someone new and you just know whether you like them or not.”


“I liked you the moment I met you.”


Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, 1889

The End