Leah Wellbaum is a musician, artist, and writer living in Los Angeles, CA. She is the principal songwriter, guitar player, and unrepentant aesthete of the band Slothrust, and also has a side project called ANMLPLNET. On the upcoming Slothrust album, Parallel Timeline, Wellbaum constructs a luscious, ethereal cosmos perforated with wormy portals and unexpected magical iconography. She is a lover of all things mystical and absurd. When she isn’t on the road, she offers lessons in music and creativity. You can find her art at www.leahwellbaum.com.
Scorpio season hath descended upon us. This is one of my favorite times of year — the temperature drops and the darkness settles in earlier than in the weeks prior, fostering introspection and honesty. It is a time of year in which we are forced to sit with our feelings. Scorpio season is about embracing the darkness and moving through it with grace. It is a time for revealing shadows and exploring the perpetual night that quietly lives inside all of us.
I just finished the Netflix tv show You and wow, that show is riddled with Scorpio energy. The two lead characters, Love (played by Victoria Pedretti) and Joe (Penn Badgely) are both obsessive, highly sexual, and unafraid of the dark. If they aren’t Scorpios themselves, they certainly have a ton of it lingering in their chart. Scorpio is a sign that is both exciting and terrifying. Although scorpions do not have teeth, the people who tout this sign most certainly do, so my advice would be not to fuck with them if you can avoid it.
This sign has always felt a bit out of my element despite my soft-goth past. My first attempt to draw a scorpion looked like a malformed lobster. But after looking at a couple more reference images, this is what I came up with. Welcome to it.
Despite Scorpio being a sign with a slightly frightening reputation, it also offers up a crucial energy for dealing with the pricklier parts of life. Winter has a propensity to bring these things up, as the cold weather encourages a special type of forced-solitude in many places. Lots of us do our best to cast away troublesome feelings, preferring a tepid state of denial over confronting the dark tangles that perform a sick version of the macarena in our psyche. Especially when the tangles are not tended to. Scorpio is not afraid to dwell in these shadows and pull out the big boy brush to comb through the intimidating mane that is our pain and suffering. Many psychologists and philosophers believe that embracing and integrating the shadow is the key to true self-actualization — we cannot always be the light, much to my dismay.
As I’ve expressed, I am a Leo and I love the goddamn sunshine. I want to glow and spread light. I desire to live in a constant joyful state, one of constant symbiotic energetic exchange with the universe. But that’s not always realistic. I came across a saying several years ago that has always stuck with me and it feels more relevant than ever for this Scopio season: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” The thinking behind this is that the essence of suffering is pain in combination with resistance. Suffering = pain x resistance. And our resistance to the darkness is what creates suffering. Scorpio encourages us to transcend suffering by embracing the darkness and creating a space where it can be transmuted into something more tolerable, or even beautiful. As much as Scorpio is about the dark, it is also about healing. It’s a classic “the way out is through” situation. This song is one I listened to many times over my junior year of college; Nine Inch Nails might be the most Scorpio band ever. This song takes a minute to get going, be patient.
The fruit I am choosing to pair with Scorpio season is the black plum. This is one of my favorite fruits aesthetically. It is dark, spooky, and sexy, just like Scorpio. The skin has just a little bit of stretch to it, but it ruptures easily and offers a delightfully bitter taste. It juxtaposes satisfyingly with the sweet colorful flesh that lives inside of it. I leaned into plums for the creative direction of the last Slothrust record, The Pact.
This video is special to me for many reasons. One of them is that it is the final video we made with our long time collaborator, Nico Gogan, before he suddenly passed away during Scorpio season of 2019. Something I loved about Nico is that he encouraged the darkest parts of my freak flag to fly as well as those covered in glitter. Writing videos with him made me feel free and creative, and there was a deep sadness in me making Parallel Timeline knowing that I would never get to share it with him or directly collaborate on any of the accompanying videos or photos.
As someone who shys away from the darkness and avoids feeling fully, coping with the surprising and confusing death of someone so close to me was a challenge and still is. The word “grief” has always bothered me. That’s a pretty clear clue as to something I need to work on. But if I can’t feel into certain pains fully enough to transmute them, I can at least be honest about that and create a space where that dynamic might change. Perhaps I am due for a dose of Scopio medicine this fall. We’ll see!
For your listening pleasure, here is a Scorpio-themed playlist.
Wishing you the best of luck in facing that which frightens you. Until next time!
Your freaky fruit friend,