Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash
Oct 23, 2023
How to make the most of spooky Scorpio season in Brooklyn
The veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest this time of year, and there's no shortage of activities
Of the 12 zodiac seasons we experience each year, Scorpio is the one whose universal symbolism is most widely expressed and understood in mainstream western culture. Encompassing Halloween week and after, Scorpio is a time to ritualize the infinite cycle of life, death and rebirth — the cornerstone of all astrological theory. Scorpio, the eighth sign of the zodiac, arrives October 23 and includes the first three weeks of November. A fixed water sign, Scorpio coincides with the Celtic Samhain, the Aztec Day of the Dead and the Christian All Saints and All Souls Days, all ancient festivals steeped in the belief that the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest as autumn begins to succumb to winter.
Here’s a rundown of seasonally appropriate activities for all you creepy crawlies:
Go to the boneyard
Green-Wood Cemetery, the permanent home to thousands who have crossed over to the spirit world, pays its annual homage to Día del los Muertos by commissioning a Brooklyn artist — this year Cinthya Santos-Briones — to install a large-scale community altar in the cemetery’s Historic Chapel. Santos-Briones’ installation “Mictlan” is open daily to the public, who are encouraged to memorialize lost loved ones by leaving photographs, flowers and lighting candles as is the tradition in Mexico.
While there, you might also want to consider getting tickets to the final night of comedian Ben Wasserman’s “Live After Death” tour, in which he lays to rest a comedy hour he started workshopping after his dad, uncle, grandfather and four friends died within a three year period. Billed as “the world’s most chaotic comedy show about grief and loss,” this show involves heavy audience participation and a ouija board, and the Green-Wood performance takes place in the Catacombs.
Watch a scary movie
Just a haunted hop skip and jump around the corner, you can deeply delve into the themes of Scorpio (sex, death, fear and taboo) at Film Noir Cinema, which offers excellent extreme programming year round, with an emphasis on international highbrow horror and sexploitation flicks. Film buff Will Mulatek opened Film Noir Cinema in a former funeral home in Greenpoint, in 2016, originally offering DVD rentals (now just sales, but his catalog is immense and incomparable and cohabits the Film Noir lobby with an irresistible stash of niche vinyl for sale). Scorpio season at Film Noir Cinema kicks off with classic titles on the calendar such as “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and “Vampyros Lesbos,” lesser known “Terror Terroir” and a mysterious “Halloween Special.” November 16, there’s a screening of recently released documentary “Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel (and Other Rock and Roll Stories)”; Monday night is “Film Noir” night, and Thursday night is “Film Club.” In the meantime, expect titles such as “Reflections of Evil” and “Secrets of the Dead,” if you haven’t already gotten the picture.
If getting down is more your cup of poison, head to Rubulad’s annual Halloween banger “Rubulad Presents: Pet Sematary” on Friday, October 27. Brooklyn’s longest running underground art party promises live music by Undertow Brass Band, Art Grey Noizz Quintet, Vic Thrill and many more, with WFMU DJs and “scads of spooky surprises.” This is a costume party, so only come normcore if you’re regularly freaky. Tickets are 27 bones in advance or 35 bones at the door; 20 bones for the late-night monster mash. Address revealed upon ticket purchase or via DM on the Rubulad Instagram, which will give you more of the evening’s flavor.
On the very next night, Saturday, October 28 — under the full moon in Taurus, which precipitates a Lunar Eclipse — Gemini and Scorpio Loft hosts its own annual Halloween rager, Masquerade Macabre, over on Douglass Street in Gowanus. Here you can pull an absinthe-fueled all-nighter, celebrating the extravagant and grotesque. Catch the Young Fellaz Brass Band, in town from New Orleans, acrobats, life-size puppets and decadent dancers — provided you’re decked out in costume (if you show up casual you will be turned away, by order, presumably, of the Scorpio half of the crew). And if you’re curious about the LGBTQ+ events you may have heard of associated with Gemini and Scorpio parties, these are also the dominion of House of Scorpio, which offers monthly events to vetted community members, including Lip Service, a pan-sexual make-out party, Saints & Sinners, a pop-up strip club, and Sinema Club, exploring sexuality and queerness in film, from PG to X ratings. House of Scorpio also hosts a twice-monthly adult education series entitled Bedroom Badass.
See a medium
If you have a pressing question or a deep personal longing to commune with a dearly departed someone in a non-comedic setting, you may be tempted to consult privately with a medium, a psychic practitioner who is gifted with the ability to deliver communiques across the Bardo and from beyond the veil. Paige Lipari, proprietor of Archestratus in Greenpoint has increasingly felt called to cultivate her latent ability to attune with spirits and help the many who harbor this longing. Lipari’s mother, daughter of an Italian immigrant who had a shop in Brooklyn where he made fresh ricotta every day, was a psychic medium who often gave readings in the line at the supermarket. While Lipari followed in her Nonna’s footsteps as a Brooklyn shopkeeper, she has more recently taken up the mantle as the family psychic medium, too. She offers 30-minute readings, in person or over Zoom. She describes the process as a type of knowing which can’t be explained but which simply exists (and to which she has received a great response). The curious can book a session through Paige’s website.
Stock up on weird wares
As you are probably by now gleaning, Scorpio is said to rule the supernatural and the occult, and while Brooklyn unfortunately very recently lost Catland Books, Bushwick’s long-time spiritual supply hub and purported home base of local practitioners of magick, you can still pick up your esoteric needs such as ceremonial and spiritual cleansing supplies and tarot decks at The Oracle Shop over on Wilson Street in Bushwick. The Bush Doctor Crystal Factory on Flatbush Extension in Downtown Brooklyn is the place to shop for metaphysical books on topics including witchcraft, spells, magic, meditation and … astrology! The Bush Doctor also sells all the tools you’ll need to practice your craft, specializing in a selection of raw and polished crystals gathered from Madagascar, Brazil, Mexico and other spiritually charged locations. While you’re there, treat yourself to a fun, enlightening tarot reading onsite, or pick up your own deck.
Go underground, take a tour
Scorpio is also associated with the subterranean. Pluto, the modern ruler of Scorpio is mythologically the Lord of the Underworld. Brooklynites can engage this symbolism every time we take the subway or a down escalator to one of the lower level Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods on Bedford or Jubilee Market in Greenpoint. You can even have an underground lunch date at the DeKalb Market Hall, choosing from over 30 food vendors. If Scorpio season finds you feeling investigative, take the Brooklyn Underground Subway Walking Tour, where you will discover secret subway stations hiding in plain sight and can catch a Michael Jackson thrill by visiting the subway station where the video for “Bad” was shot.
And if taking a tour tickles your fancy, try Madame Morbid’s Haunted History Trolley Tours for perhaps the most Scorpionic Scorpio season activity of all – travel around Brooklyn in a luxury Victorian trolley listening to spooky stories from the past 400 years and learn where all the bodies are buried, from secret cemeteries to mobster dumping grounds. According to Madame Morbid, spirits are lurking around every corner in Brooklyn.
If you’re curious about which part of your natal chart this Scorpio season and lunar eclipse will activate, I’ll be offering in person astrology readings around Brooklyn throughout the season. You can find me at the Troutman Open Streets’ Trick or Streets Halloween Block Party (Troutman between Irving and Wykoff) offering free zodiac readings between 6 and 10 p.m. on October 31; sign up to receive my newsletter to find out where else in Brooklyn I’ll be this month.
And in the meantime, please enjoy my Zodiac Soundtrack for Scorpio Days and Plutonian Nights.
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