Chani Nicholas takes her empowering words of affirmation to the next level, arming us with the knowledge we need to embody the best versions of ourselves.
It didn’t take me long to smash that pre-order button when beloved online astrologer Chani Nicholas announced her first book, You Were Born For This: Astrology for Radical Self Acceptance. I’d first found her horoscopes when I began delving into astrology back in 2017, one of the most tumultuous years of my life to date. Amidst a torrent of personal crises, astrology is what helped keep my head above water as the life I built for myself in my mid-20s crashed and burned around me.
That sounds really dramatic, especially to those who scoff at the idea that the stars and planets actually have an impact on our existence. That skepticism is valid to an extent — the intimate and mystic nature of astrology is a breeding ground for bad faith actors who thrive on taking advantage of vulnerable people. Western culture has also minimized astrology to the point of ridicule, reducing a complex method of storytelling to the basic sun sign horoscopes found in newspapers beside the crossword puzzle. As a result, astrology is generally perceived as a form of superstitious occultism that claims that the position of large space rocks can predict our futures.
Thanks to the current digital landscape, however, astrologers like Nicholas are shifting that perception. Astrology permeates mainstream media, with accounts dedicated to astrology memes, or essays dissecting Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s birth chart. Rather than predicting our futures, astrology has evolved into a self-help tool that encourages personal reflection and growth while allowing us to better relate to one another.
What particularly struck me about Nicholas’s work in 2017 was how she wrote her horoscopes as affirmations. At that time, I was dealing with a toxic workplace while I processed the aftermath of two abusive relationships and my mother underwent treatment for her blood cancer. Nothing in the world except time and therapy could resolve those problems, but beneath the burden of trauma, it felt like my survival depended on finding an immediate solution. I realized that getting justice for workplace harassment relied on completing a bureaucratic complaint process that would take years of my life to resolve. No matter how stubborn I was, my panic and trauma made death seem more realistic. Hello, suicidal ideation.
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In the middle of an especially nasty crying spell at my desk, I opened Nicholas’ website to take my mind off of work with her 2017 New Moon in Libra horoscope. “I trust that I will find my way towards a more liberated work-life,” mine read. It felt like my first breath of air after spending weeks drowning in trauma. She reminded me to trust that everything was alright, that my deep and wise intuitive intelligence would get me through it. Instead of blaming the planets as the reason why my life was falling apart, Nicholas’ horoscopes empowered me to draw from my own innate strength to overcome the immovable obstacles in my path. Astrology was the tool I needed to survive that day, and survive the next.
In You Were Born For This, Nicholas takes her empowering words of affirmation to the next level, arming us with the knowledge we need to embody the best versions of ourselves. To encourage radical self-acceptance, defined as “understanding that we are exactly as we are supposed to be for good reason,” Nicholas points to three key components of a person’s birth chart. They are: the sun (life’s purpose), moon (physical and emotional needs), and rising sign (our motivation for life). In understanding these parts of ourselves, Nicholas hopes we feel our deepest desires and dreams are validated while encouraging us to rise to the challenge of bringing them to life. This kind of self-introspection is how I saved myself over two years ago.
Though I’ve studied my own chart extensively since then, Nicholas’ tight focus on these three major keys helped ground my interpretation by outlining the fundamental “blueprint” of my life. I knew my chart vaguely gestured at writing being part of my soul purpose, but working through it using You Were Born For This outright confirmed it. Not only did I gain further clarity into who I am at my core, but her words resonated with me, immediately reassuring and comforting me on a soul level. After finishing my first session working with her book, I felt energized and inspired; nurtured and seen.
A part of me has doubted both my urge to pursue my human rights cases before the Canadian government and my urge to write about it. I often feel insane for choosing to relentlessly advocate for progressive change, and hold the powers-that-be to task for failing survivors of workplace sexual violence. It isn’t easy going head-to-head with a government institution; it’s an uphill battle that has taken an irreparable toll on my life. Sometimes I wonder if these past five years will be worth it, or if my instinct to fight back was misguided.
There’s a reason why this book is titled You Were Born For This. “After years of doubting the relevance of my connection to astrology and writing in general, I was able to reclaim my energy from lifelong self-doubt and redirect it toward the creative possibilities that were, and are, awaiting me,” Nicholas writes in the concluding section of the book. As I spend more time reflecting on her guidance, I realize that bringing injustice to light, working hard to share my story, and doing it boldly and optimistically is simply part of my existence.
You Were Born For This epitomizes the beauty of modern astrology. Nicholas shares her expertise and insight as our compassionate equal with the intention of bringing out the best and brightest versions of her readers. No longer can Western culture dismiss astrology as a self-absorbed, vapid hobby that simply seeks to predict our material fortunes. Instead, Nicholas proves why it’s an invaluable tool in our personal growth, essential if we want to leave the world around us a better place than we found it.
Roslyn Talusan is a Canadian freelance culture writer and anti-rape activist. Represented by The Bent Agency, she’s working on a memoir documenting her experience with workplace sexual violence. Her writing aims to critique media and dismantle societal beliefs that uphold rape culture. You can find more of her work on her website or follow her on Twitter.