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Frieze Los Angeles 2020

Johanna Hedva casts a Horoscope for Frieze Los Angeles

Astrology is hilarious, isn't it? 

BY Johanna Hedva in Frieze Week Magazine | 13 FEB 20

Illustration by Seb Agresti

So, you’re an eighth house Aquarius Sun conjunct Black Moon Lilith: god’s gift to humanity. Although, when I say ‘gift’, I mean an object of indeterminate and wildly fluctuating symbolic value that navigates an economy built as much on abstraction as on materiality. And when I say ‘god’, I mean a representational construct that has been imbued both with transcendental meaning and with its inverse reckoning of what and who a god is. How’s that working for you?

Aquarius is the water-bearer, symbolically descended from the Egyptian god Hapi: a male deity with large, pendulous breasts and a drooping belly who floods the Nile River annually, ensuring life is sustained. But, since his only (albeit vital) task happens just once a year, and because of his androgyny and otherness, Hapi’s kind of a sad and lonely guy. For the Greeks (who took much of their astrology from the Egyptians and other Ancient cultures), Aquarius is Prometheus, the Titan that stole fire from the gods to give to humanity and was eternally punished for it, doomed to a life of isolation despite having saved the world. What this means is that you’ll never meet an Aquarian who isn’t fundamentally lonely in the middle of a crowd. Yet, the middle of a crowd is the only place they want to be because, with their astrological sign being that of society itself, they are afforded a god’s-eye view of the hoi polloi as they rise, skybound, above the throng. That is: a snob with a cause.

The eighth house is that of death, taxes, inheritance, debt and other people’s money, as well as the kind of sex that is not erotic or loving (those live in the fifth and the seventh houses, respectively) but the kind that annihilates you; it is la petite mort, the little death that binds you to someone else through the debt and loan of orgasm. Death and taxes are the only certainties, this house asserts, but it also asks whether such destructive transformations of materiality might be procreative. In a witchy, sorcerous way, of course; this is the house of witchcraft and sorcery because it’s where Scorpio is from. The eighth house also rules the genitals, murder, indigence and hidden treasure. The Greeks deduced all this to be simply the house of mental anguish. Astrology is hilarious, isn’t it?

Let’s talk about that Capricorn stellium in the seventh house: a conjunction of Venus and Saturn, and a conjunction of Pluto and the South Node. (Thankfully, these are not all conjunct; you lucked out there.) Daddy issues, yes, but deeper: your very ontology is defined by your relationships to others. The seventh house in contemporary astrology is known as the house of partners and collaborations. The Ancient Greeks, not ones to fuck around, called it the house of the spouse and the archnemesis — because, obviously, these are likely the same person. It also rules contracts, doctors, landlords, lawsuits, marriages, duels and, according to Al-Biruni, the medieval Persian astrologer, ‘cheapness and dearness’, ‘dark black’ and ‘death of contemporaries’. These last three would make great titles for sculpture pieces.

Your Gemini Moon in the 12th house is wonky. It’s moody AF, but is it effervescent and oracular or just chaotic and devious? Probably all of the above. The 12th is the house of secrets, sorrows, self-undoing, suffering, institutions of incarceration and slavery. I’ve heard pop astrologers call this the house of ‘behind-the-scenes work’. Bitch, that’s some serious prevarication. Though, no doubt, a Gemini Moon would call such a move a ‘rebrand’. This is where Gemini really is brilliant: the slickest and wittiest of all the signs.

And, lastly, a Mars in Taurus. The French philosopher Michel Foucault had that, too: a power bottom. Yours is extra kinky, conjunct Uranus. (I’m really only into astrology for the Uranus jokes.) So, the planet of desire and thrust meets the planet of sudden spurts of revolution. Call me?

Johanna Hedva is the author of the novel On Hell (2018). Their album, The Sun and the Moon, was released in March 2019.