The rise of social media has given new visibility to astrologers, tarot readers, mystics, and metaphysicians eager to create community centered around intuitive practice. While the study of astrology is as old as the world’s most ancient civilizations, its popularity seems to coincide with periods of cultural upheaval — times when humanity feels it has lost its footing within binary manmade systems that clash with the grander evolutionary design of the human spirit. 

The materialistic framework of the west has left people feeling detached from their own relevance, ascribing their personal value to productivity and net gain, resulting in stress, isolation, fear, and a decline in mental health. In the current rat race, developing astrological self-awareness fortifies the health of the psyche by re-establishing connection to the universe and to each other, reinforcing the importance of intentionality and empathy.

Astrology is the study of how the movements of the sun, moon, planets, and asteroids correspond to human behavior and action. Before speaking to a client, an astrologer will cast a birth or natal chart, which is essentially a blueprint of where the planets were in the sky at the time of their birth, relative to the ecliptic (the band of zodiacal constellations). From there, they will weave a narrative using four basic factors: planets, signs, houses, and aspects, which detail the client’s life, their predispositions, and any challenges they might have to overcome. 

Planets correspond to archetypal attributes; they are the what in the astrological equation. For example, the planet Mercury deals with communication and how we share ideas and information. 

Signs work together with the how, denoting the style of the planet’s expression. Mercury in a fire sign like Aries would suggest a person who communicates with intensity and passion. 

Dividing the birth chart into 12 segments gives us the houses. Each house has a meaning like identity, partnership, or career. Houses correspond to the where. If Mercury is in Aries in the 5th house of creativity that could indicate someone who excels at communicating passionately in artistic arenas like script writing or theatrical performance. 

Finally, aspects are mathematical relationships between two planets. They define whether planetary energies work well together or are more prone to conflict or tension.

A reading will inevitably illuminate that problems believed to be out of your control can be championed with some inner reflection and outer adjustment. Similarly, personality traits you might struggle with can be reframed as gifts, rather than flaws

A client might ask how they can be less emotional, but a look at their chart reveals five planets in Pisces, arguably the most empathic of the signs. The client obviously perceives their emotional nature as flawed when feeling deeply is in their DNA. They can, however, take proactive steps to surround themselves with people who appreciate their emotions rather than criticize them, which will then alter their perception of their sensitivity as something that needs correcting. They could channel their emotions into healthy creative outlets, like playing music or painting. An astrologer might also remind them of all the gifts their emotions bring, such as increased powers of intuition.

Astrological guidance validates who you are at your core, which aids tremendously in self-acceptance and psychological wellness. Having a good relationship to your own birth chart is the first step on the road to empowerment. 

In western culture, we’re conditioned to look for answers outside ourselves, because looking inward takes time. When experiencing emotional distress or physical pain, there’s pressure to hurry up and get back to work or risk social or financial penalties for diminished productivity. Making decisions from this place of lack, loss, or fear, robs yourself of agency. You are essentially in survival mode, viewing other people as threats to your safety and security. We cannot have compassion for the planet or others if we do not first have compassion for ourselves. 

Astrological guidance grants permission to center ourselves, revealing areas of our lives that may be out of balance. Our psychological traits can be layered and complex and can’t be solved with repression or avoidance. Without reflection, we will likely continue to perpetuate bad habits. Astrology, however, illuminates a predisposition to certain behaviors and hands over the reigns to your own destiny. By becoming intimately familiar with the Self, you not only open a pathway to healing, but you also awaken to the value of others. In this way, astrology fosters empathy. 

Additionally, astrological study engenders a deeper awareness of the cosmic environment. In a fast-moving world, it’s comforting to know you are in a matrix governed by relatively consistent guiding principles. The cycles of the moon can be used to initiate projects and watch them come to fruition.

Find solace in the fact that you’re not the only one experiencing car trouble during Mercury Retrograde. Living in harmony with these cycles becomes an anchor for wellness and self-care.  

Astrology illustrates that we can better love ourselves by smashing the paradigm of classification that insists we are carbon copies all doomed to thinking and acting exactly the same. Western society commodifies the façade of individuality while supporting none of its most fundamental tenets. Conformity breeds poor self-image and mental health distress, which is why astrology rears its head whenever the mundane threatens to overthrow the beauty of diversity. We must remember then, that the first step towards the celebration of humanity is the appreciation of the Self. 

Nyssa Grazda is a Los Angeles-based astrological consultant, writer, and intuitive. She speaks to planetary transits, magic, healing, and personal empowerment on her Instagram at @neongeometryastrology.

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