feeling a total eclipse of the heart? this astrologer will help
Chani Nicholas is the LA-based astrologer behind your fave no-nonsense horoscopes, positive affirmations and astrology memes.
Image courtesy of Chani Nicholas
If you love reading your horoscope, then you might have heard of Chani Nicholas, the astrologer whose moon phase readings are changing the way we interpret celestial bodies. It’s funny to think that the moon is a big magnet in the sky, controlling the tides, the birds and the seasons. And of course, you. But why would it not? The earth's surface is about 70% water, and by a strange twist of coincidence so are we. It’s that big fat magnet and its relationship with the other moons, planets and celestial bodies floating in space that we're looking at when we read our horoscopes.
Astrology has been used to divine human behaviour since the second millennium BCE, so roughly 4,000 years, when ancient astrologers used to predict seasonal shifts and interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Still now, even with technology so mind-boggling that satellites in space can see an object on earth as small as a tennis ball rolling down the road, who hasn’t looked up at the moon at night and made a little wish for something good or bad.
Chani Nicholas heralds in a new era of Astrologers: long gone are the wizard-y robes, the third eye, the long flowery prose -- Chani’s horoscopes are to the point, positive and powerful. She first started studying astrology aged 12 and it wasn’t long before she was reading other people’s charts. After working her way through a spectrum of jobs -- yoga teacher, social worker, carer -- she finally bit the bullet and put all of her skills -- writing, art and astrology -- into one place. “I always struggled with what I was going to do with my life, it was my biggest burden,” she says over the phone from Amsterdam where she is visiting. “But my career didn’t exist ten years ago. The way social media works and the internet works, and how we live online now, it’s very different than how it used to be. As the world evolves so many of us are discovering all these different things that we can do with our talents,” she continues. “Also I think I had to struggle for a long time to be able to appreciate what I had.”
I discovered Chani’s page on Instagram because my friend shared one of her memes with me, but she’s not all comedy -- her biweekly horoscopes (she publishes them on the lunar cycle, natch) are digestible and smart. “But sometimes, I feel a compulsion and get a meme fever that comes over me,” she says. “They’re kind of doing me a service, they’re like therapeutic coping mechanisms for the people who make them and the people who receive them. If you look at my stuff it’s quite obvious that my work isn’t premeditated, I’m really impulsive, I do what I feel like doing when I feel like doing it. I’m not interested in being something that’s super styled and packaged, that’s just not how I create. Most of my stuff is, in a sense, chaotically seamed together.”
"Astrology is about people, about humanity. So if I’m not talking about the entirety of humanity and human experience, then I’m just not interested in doing the work.”
But in amongst that chaos lies an important message, one of awareness for humankind. “I’ve always been incredibly interested in the roots of colonisation, where did it stem from in human history, that it was anyone’s right to take something from another person. It’s like that eternal existential question. It’s at the root of everything, an abusive dynamic between those that have power and those that don’t. I think it’s the most important question we can be meditating on together and talking about. Astrology is about people, about humanity. So if I’m not talking about the entirety of humanity and human experience, then I’m just not interested in doing the work.”
Most people reading their horoscopes tend to read the sun signs, but there is higher accuracy if you read your rising sign also. "Your sun sign isn't your entire chart," Chani says. She explains that they are just one part of astrology. What it does mean is that everyone born at the same place, at the same time, will have the same chart. We are not, after all, that exceptional. “You’re human, you’re both incredibly unique and not that special,” she says. Her readings are presented as positive affirmations, guiding words to follow, with in-depth readings and a guided meditation provided in exchange for a small sum of cash. “But the point is that the chart is not you. It’s a demarcation of your life. It’s a map of the ways in which you’re going to experience some strength and some weakness. So the chart marks the parts of your life that are going to work well and be easy and be enjoyable and give you a sense of meaning and purpose -- and also the things that are going to challenge you.”
Humans have a need for connection; otherwise how else do we navigate this weird, often painful, unfair life? Everyone suffers from anxiety and difficulties, and talking about it does just make it easier. “I really believe that we need to talk about that publicly as much as possible in order to try to find some way of living. Capitalism makes us so bad, it separates us, and it isolates us from community and connections and that results in pain and suffering,” she concludes. “The counter to that is critical thought and deconstruction of what we live in and also a healing. Healing is normal and something that we need to do.”