You've never met at an astrologer like Chani Nicholas before. In these uncertain and often terrifying times, Chani is here to help chart our path forward. In addition to her radical approach to self-care, boundaries, and letting go, her horoscopes are politically charged and deeply pragmatic. While other astrologers offer tips on the best days to find love or schedule plastic surgery (if only!), Chani nudges her devotees into fraught emotional territory, urging readers to examine their wounds and to confront themselves — their flaws and dormant talents alike. Her horoscopes tell us to do the messy, imperfect work of trying to be better, not just for ourselves but for each other. I will often read the whole zodiac to get my fix, and once you've gotten a taste of her poetic cadences, it's safe to say you will too.
We chatted over Skype recently, and she offered to take a look at my chart, the astrological equivalent of Marie Kondo asking to peek inside your closet. After a revealing conversation about my Scorpio moon (the best explanation I've encountered yet to explain my magnetism to the macabre), we discussed the derision of astrology as a healing art, the most important advice for people practicing creative work, and the necessity of accessible therapeutic practices, especially in this time of emergency.
Elizabeth Greenwood: You got a very early introduction to astrology. How did your study evolve?
Chani Nicholas: I started reading about astrology at twelve years old, and I've studied it since then. It was really difficult for me to have as a profession in my early twenties, when I didn't have enough healing under my belt. It seemed so unprofessional.
EG: What seemed unprofessional about it?
CN: Astrology is as old as sex work and is still looked upon as a non-profession, without history or an academic framework. It's something that doesn't have a lot of deep thought or meaning.
EG: Do you think that's due to how astrology is commonly conveyed, with horoscopes alongside the newspaper funny pages?
CN: I think it's a mixture of what the institution of the church has done to a large section of the world. I think witch hunts are still very much alive and well.We have been taught, by means of death and destruction over the last couple of thousand years, that we should not value the earth-based traditions that we all originate from, most of which contain some kind of system of divination. There's that desire historically to survive and to distance oneself from ancient healing practices, astrology being one of them.
EG: How do you see astrology as a tool for liberation?
CN: I think that astrology is a way of witnessing the self and the societal reality that we're living through. If I have a tool that helps me to reflect and to heal in some way and to contextualize what's happening in the current climate, then I have a chance to understand myself and the world in a context that's greater than me. Capitalism and patriarchy want to keep us separate, compartmentalized, afraid, and alone, and unconscious to our collective power. Astrology helps us to feel connected to something larger.
That connection tells us that we are a reflection of something greater. If that is true, then a lot of things are true. If there's a system that I can access that can help me to uncover that intelligence, then I am locating my own power and my own agency, and I'm able to say, "You know what? I was made this way. This is the perfect way for me to be." Astrology always tells people exactly who they are and what they already know about themselves.
Within capitalism and a white-supremacist culture, healing is only for a certain type of person. But astrology is free, and it's private. It's leveling something in that space. That's what I need to do. To be disruptive in that way. We have to heal.