Astrol­ogy is hav­ing a mo­ment, and ev­ery­one’s wel­come

ELLE (Australia) - - First Look -

IF THE PAST TWO YEARS have felt like one long mer­cury ret­ro­grade, you’re not alone. But if you’re look­ing for re­prieve, there’s a meme for that. With the help of so­cial me­dia, astrol­ogy is tak­ing on a left-lean­ing, so­cial jus­tice-aware agenda, mean­ing you might not dis­cover what your most star-sig­naligned Tin­der match is, but you’ll find an as­tro­log­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion for why that po­lit­i­cal party you loathe is giv­ing you ex­tra grief this week (call it Saturn in Capricorn) – and per­mis­sion to in­dulge in a bit of self-care to rem­edy it.

La-based Chani Ni­cholas is one of In­sta­gram’s most pop­u­lar as­trologers, ad­dress­ing is­sues like racism, sex­ism and the pa­tri­archy with sassy memes, de­scrib­ing her­self as “an an­gry fem­i­nist who just hap­pens to be into astrol­ogy”. She also dishes up a unique strain of anti-af­fir­ma­tion af­fir­ma­tions (like “for­give your­self for ev­ery time you re­jected your­self” and “this life is a beast and you do not have to face it alone”). She’s struck a chord that res­onates: as sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions in Hol­ly­wood started to roll in and the #Metoo move­ment found new ground, she as­sured her 128,000 fol­low­ers that a new moon in Scor­pio would bring a need to heal.

Ni­cholas noted a “no­tice­able spike” in the growth of her busi­ness after Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, which she puts down to a “need for con­tent that was proac­tive, con­sol­ing, en­cour­ag­ing, grounded, ex­plic­itly po­lit­i­cal, and crit­i­cal in its anal­y­sis of sys­tem op­pres­sion”.

Ni­cholas is cur­rently work­ing on a book, due to be pub­lished later this year. “Right now, there’s a dis­trust among young peo­ple in a lot of things, like re­li­gion and gov­ern­ment, but Chani’s astrol­ogy is help­ing them find a sense of pur­pose and be­long­ing,” says Anna Pausten­bach, her ed­i­tor at Harpercollins.

Astrol­ogy is also find­ing new ground in the queer com­mu­nity, partly be­cause it can be a com­fort­ing and in­clu­sive form of DIY spir­i­tu­al­ity that’s with­out the tra­di­tional value sys­tems of many or­gan­ised re­li­gions. “It’s nat­u­ral for any­one not res­onat­ing with main­stream ways of un­der­stand­ing them­selves to be drawn to a sys­tem that pro­vides a non-judge­men­tal lens,” says Vanessa Mont­gomery, an as­trologer and au­thor of the up­com­ing book Star Power: A Guide To Astrol­ogy For The Mod­ern Mys­tic ($19.99, Quadrille Pub­lish­ing). “Astrol­ogy is a frame­work for self-en­quiry and growth, and so it’s at­trac­tive to those who are used to ques­tion­ing their gen­der or sex­u­al­ity.”

Thank­fully, that means the days when love and com­pat­i­bil­ity read­ings were het­eronor­ma­tive have gone the way of the idea that Vir­gos are vir­ginal. “In my ex­pe­ri­ence, astrol­ogy as a prac­tice and the read­ings them­selves are be­com­ing more queer-friendly,” adds Mont­gomery. “Many of the most suc­cess­ful newer as­trologers are queer, so they al­ready un­der­stand the im­por­tance of speak­ing and prac­tic­ing us­ing a wider frame of ref­er­ence.”

“Astrol­ogy pro­vides an­swers,” says Mont­gomery. “By en­cour­ag­ing us to look within, to our own source of power and in­tu­ition, it’s em­pow­er­ing those that per­haps once felt a lack of power and pres­ence in the world.” Call it an Aquarius-like ide­al­ism, but that sounds like some­thing worth get­ting be­hind.

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