Get Starstruck: A Beginner’s Guide
I was never that into astrology, because I tend to eschew dogmas of all kinds. It just seemed like an over-simplification to lump people into twelve categories. For years I rolled my eyes at it, except occasionally reading my two-line horoscope in discarded free newspapers on New York subways. Oh, and I wrote the horoscopes in my high school newspaper for a semester. I should say I’m not proud that my first writing “job” was making up predictions about people’s futures, but I am a little proud. I didn’t think too much about astrology until, at age 26, I fell in love with a woman who was really into astrology and I respected her so I let her do my chart (not a euphemism) and teach me things… about astrology. She was a Pisces who broke my heart, and shortly after our breakup I moved to Oakland. That was over two years ago, and since moving here I’ve been getting into astrology for myself, and not because of a
straight-girl-with-a-boyfriend-that-I-stupidly-fell-for girl. I’m still not dogmatic about astrology: I take it all with a grain of salt, but I do find it interesting learning about what’s up with the planets and how it’s affecting us. And I must admit, the more I learn, the more I realize what a classic [stubborn, passionate] Sagittarius I am. Interested in learning a little more, too? Here are five resources to guide you on your hippie-dippy, witchy, magical, skeptical astrology journey.
1. Do your chart
Astrolabe’s website is the most popular free online resource for getting your chart, which is a picture of the sky when you were born. Katie Sweetman (you’ll read about her below) told me my chart is “your map, it’s you made into a diagram.” To get started, you just need your exact time and place of birth. If you don’t know when you were born, call your mom, scrounge up your birth certificate, or guess, I guess. Nah, don’t guess, try to figure it out. Doing your chart is a good starting point on your path to becoming an astrology-obsessed hippie. Among other starry things, you’ll learn about your rising and moon signs, which are important, but I’ll tell you about that in the next astrology installment. Let’s stick to the basics for now. Go do your damn chart.
2. Susan Miller’s Astrology Zone
As you know from my You Know You’re an Oakland Hippie When article, you’re just not an East Bay Hippie if, for you, the first of the month doesn’t mean: “Oh my god I have to see if Susan Miller’s monthly forecast is out so I know how to make decisions this month!” Just kidding, you don’t have to take her that seriously, or even care at all if you don’t want to, but her forecasts are fun. She’s been dealing with health issues for six months now so the monthlies are usually late or truncated, but they’re still interesting, in-depth, and worth waiting for. Plus, it’s very entertaining to watch people freak out on Twitter at @astrologyzone every month when the forecasts are late. Chill out, twitter, the forecasts are free and she’s ill. I tend to like her predictions when they’re positive and dislike them when they foretell doom and/or gloom. Go figure. You can also get free one or two line daily horoscopes from the Astrology Zone app, which is a great way to pass a minute every day.
3. Katie Sweetman of Empowering Astrology
Katie Sweetman, an intuitive, therapeutic, and healing astrologer in New York City, runs Empowering Astrology. She offers one-on-one consultations over the phone, and I highly recommend them. Last January, I purchased a consult with Katie and we spoke for a half hour. She told me about the next few years ahead and taught me about my upcoming Saturn return and the difference between my South and North nodes. Katie knew all about me before we spoke, just from reading my chart. Her analysis of my chart was spookily accurate and I may or may not have cried at points (I definitely cried). She even records your consult for you so you can listen to it over and over, and maybe take notes in your special ritual journal, like I did. She is an astrology expert, and also humble, warm and empathetic. Check out her website to set up a consult or to read her insightful articles and horoscopes.
4. Chani Nicholas
I love this website, and specifically Chani Nicholas as an astrologer, for so many reasons. Her forecasts are impassioned and her weekly horoscopes include affirmations for new moons and eclipses. Her predictions and affirmations are grounded in self-care, self-empowerment and hard truths, or at least mine always seem to be, so maybe that’s just what we Sagittarians have needed this year. After reading her predictions I tend to feel a little better and a little stronger, even when they predict rough stuff ahead. In addition to being an astrologer, Chani has a degree in Feminist Counseling and is a certified Yoga Therapist and Reiki practioner. So basically she’s a badass who is all about healing and you should absolutely read her horoscopes and affirmations for some stellar grounding and insight.
Hey, I included a male astrologer in here! See? I don’t hate men! I don’t keep up with Barry Perlman as much as the other astrologers I listed, but I do really like his horoscopes. He offers weekly horoscopes on his website, along with weekly articles about the current state of the planets. I appreciate his laid-back, upfront approach to astrology, like when he says, “Astrology is a great tool for self-discovery, but it’s not all there is. I don’t pretend to have the answers that solve all your problems or bring eternal happiness.” Plus, he lives in San Francisco and we all love supporting our Bay Area brethren, don’t we? I say, if you’re gonna eat local food, you should also read local astrologers. Okay, I’ve never said that, but this guy is good.