The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 414, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Chani Nicholas
Episode originally released on August 26, 2023
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released September 18th, 2023
Copyright © 2023 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hey, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. Joining me today is astrologer Chani Nicholas, and we’re going to be talking about the difference between the Sun, Moon, and rising signs. So hey, Chani, welcome to the episode or to the show.
CHANI NICHOLAS: Hey, Chris! Thanks so much for having me. I don’t want to jinx it but this has been a lot of years in the making. [chuckles]
CB: Yeah. Well, I think it’s the perfect timing, though. It’s the stars have finally aligned. We’ve been thinking about doing an episode like this but I think this is the perfect time, partially because for me, I’m very excited because you finally just released the Android version of your famous astrology app, right?
CN: Yes. Yes, we just launched it on the Venus cazimi.
CN: Yes. It has been a couple of years in the making, we have put all of our tech team’s efforts towards building a whole new app, and we’re just so excited to finally have it out the door.
CB: Fantastic. All right. Well, we’ll talk about that more later. So, why don’t we set up the premise for this episode, which is, in the 1960s, astrology became really popular with the baby boomers and the hippie generation. And after that point, everybody knew what their Sun sign is, which is like the sign of the zodiac that your Sun is in at birth. But in the past, I want to say five years or so, it seems like maybe almost 10 years, through the rise of astrology apps like your app as well as through websites like astro.com, all of a sudden everybody knows more than just their Sun sign and everybody tends to know their big three, which is their Sun, Moon, and rising signs. Or in some instances, they know that they have an entire birth chart and that those three placements are the most important. So I thought we would talk about the differences between them and things like that today. Have you been just like, as shocked as I’ve been that more people know their Sun, Moon, and rising than just their Sun sign these days?
CN: Since about 2016, I think we had a big push in 2016 because of all of that chaos in the world, and when I say we, I mean astrology, the astrology ‘we’. From that point to this, and especially since the launch of TikTok, I have been floored by the fluency in our tradition and in the astrological system that the general population now has. We see this, you mentioned the ’60s and the baby boomers, but we can go back obviously earlier to the printing press and to the first widely spread horoscopes that started to become something that was in the papers and then eventually magazines. And so that’s a technology, and then with the technology of smartphones and then technologies around social media, it’s just been one kind of boom after another. Facebook was one kind of era, and then Instagram was, and Twitter of course a whole other era, and Instagram. And then TikTok just really… I was shocked at how the things that were going viral or getting a lot of ears and eyes on it were so intricate. And I was like, “Wow, people really want to know this level of astrology?” So it feels like with every advancement, people are like, “Okay, I get it. Give me more.”
CB: Yeah, it’s crazy that there’s so many things, like Saturn returns are pretty well known these days, obviously, Mercury retrograde. This summer, we’ve seen so much talk about Venus retrograde and somebody connecting it with all the celebrity breakups or other relationship things going on.
CN: Yeah, it’s been a big summer for artists. It’s been a big summer for unions, it’s been a big summer for concerts and tours. And especially women in the arts, I think it’s been one of the major leading things. I think probably like you, I was expecting a lot more stuff about LGBTQIA rights. And it’s not over yet, so we’ll see. But yeah, it’s been big. I mean, just look at Taylor Swift and Beyoncé and revenue and what women and artists are doing. Fran Drescher being the head of that conversation, it’s just been wild to watch it all unfold.
CB: Yeah, and the biggest opening, biggest release for—
CB: Yeah, for a woman director in history has been amazing on the Venus retrograde itself.
CN: Yeah, about Barbie. It couldn’t be more Venusian. Yeah, and I do know an astrologer from their marketing team actually did reach out to me because I was like, they’ve got to have astrologers on their marketing team. And she was like, “Yes.” [laughs]
CB: Whoa, that’s big. Okay.
CN: Yeah, and it’s not like one person on the marketing team could make that release happen on that day, but it was just this wild coincidence and so… I don’t know how you feel about this, Chris, but I always feel like in this day of social media, in this day of mass information highways everywhere, we describe the astrology, and then are we also making it? Are we like, “Is it now in this moment where I launched the original version of the app on the great conjunction, and then we launched the Android version of the app on the Venus cazimi?” So we’re using, as a company, always astrology to do things and so we’re also kind of creating it in a way. So I see that a lot and it’s this interesting thing I’m sitting in. It’s like, what happens just organically, and how do we actually use your brilliant election charts to do things and work with the times?
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point. And also for both of us in creating this astrology content and talking about what the weather is on a regular basis, you never know who’s listening and sometimes you find out in retrospect that people were listening that you didn’t realize, and sometimes that was influencing things in interesting ways.
CN: Definitely, a lot of people are listening in a lot of different ways, I think.
CB: Right. Okay, so since it’s your first time, we’ve done a forecast together, I think a couple of years ago, but since it’s your first time doing a major episode, I just wanted to introduce you a little bit to my audience and talk a little bit about your background. How long have you been studying astrology?
CN: I started studying astrology when I was 12 years old on my Jupiter return. I’m many, many, many, many, many years older now, so, like, 30-plus years. Like, my original introduction to it to now. And then there’s been moments of more serious study through my adult life and then, of course, just a full prostration devotion to astrology over the last 12-13 years.
CB: Okay, brilliant. I know you studied with Demetra. You mentioned her in your work that she was a big influence on you.
CN: Always. Demetra George, Demetra George, Demetra George, Demetra George. Yes, always. She is one of the people, the main person that helped me to synthesize everything. She sat with me in individual lessons, painstakingly for years until she fired me and fired all of us that studied with her like that. I missed the first big Kepler College days. I kind of heard about it, but I was like, “I don’t know if I should devote that much to astrology.” I was really kind of hemming and hawing and I missed that whole boat. So when I came around, it was individual classes when I really wanted to study traditional astrology. And then a lot of the supplemental education that I received was from your podcast. It was listening to you and Austin and Kelly, and it was like everything I was starting to read about and then eventually learning with Demetra and then listening to your podcast just gave me this full education and download. So, this podcast has always been a huge part of my learning. Also, I’m not always talking to you all personally, but being in that kind of conversation in the ethers about what everything is and how it works. So, I’m deeply grateful for your work.
CB: Brilliant, and you’ve been writing… That’s amazing. You’ve been writing also horoscopes. You started writing astrology stuff and really leaning into being a professional astrologer in the early 2010s and building up. I was reflecting with Kirah Tabourn in an episode, she was just out here in Denver a few days ago, and we were reflecting on how important it actually is to write things like horoscopes or forecasts or things like that and what that does to you, both as an astrologer as well as a writer. That’s really necessary and a helpful building block for developing some of your tools doing delineations.
CN: Yeah, and I think as Austin says, you’ve got to be a sucker for the grind kind of thing because it is relentless. I call it the bartending of astrology. It’s a never-ending… Somebody always needs another drink, there’s always another week to talk about, there’s always another thing, nothing stays, and it’s just like a meditation. You write it, you let it go, it’s over in seven days if you’re writing weeklies. Or you do these huge readings for the year, I do them also in the app, and it’s just like a massive project and you do it for each sign and then it lasts a year and then you got to do it again! And it’s just like, okay, it’s like this relentless thing that you just give into and let it work you. But I think it’s the thing that really does keep you sharp because you’re doing all this work for it. You’re either writing about, it talking about it, or both, and then you’re watching it play out. And so you’re writing a thesis or speaking it out and then you’re watching to see if it actually holds or what part of it actually works, and then you learn for the next time you do it. So yeah, it’s an amazing teacher in and of itself.
CB: Yeah, there’s something really important about that in the process of speaking and saying what you think it will be based on the symbolism, but then observing. And that empirical element of then, okay, and then seeing each month or year or day or what have you like what actually happens and getting that feedback and learning more each time.
CB: But in getting all that experience writing that eventually seems like it culminated in your book which came out in 2010, which is titled You Were Born for This—
CB: Oh, sorry. Yeah, 2020. Thank you for—
CN: The disastrous year.
CB: Yeah. Well, you got it in just before the pandemic fully hit. It came out January 7th, 2020?
CN: Yeah, it was in those eclipses, in those conjunctions. It was like Saturn-Pluto. And everywhere I went, people were like, “Tell us about 2020, the year. What should we expect?” And I got to a point on the book tour where I was like, “I’m not going to talk about it because it’s not good and I don’t want to scare everybody, and I don’t know how it’s going to roll out.” And at that point in January, I think a lot of us were thinking about global politics and possible wars that might break out. But, lol.
CB: Yeah. Well, you got to do a little bit of a book tour first and I remember it was one of the last major things I remember. I was going out to a Barnes & Noble and buying your book the day it came out in January. So it’s one of my distinct memories of pre-pandemic life doing that. I’m glad you got to get a little bit of book promo in before things, right?
CN: Yeah. Yeah, I actually finished my book tour before because I just did a small one. So, I was happy with that.
CB: Good. All right.
CN: I remember doing one at CIIS and Rick Tarnas was in the audience and that was one of the times I said I don’t want to talk about the astrology of 2020. And he came up to me afterward and he was like, “Right?” [laughs]
CB: Right. Yeah, as the Saturn-Pluto conjunction is happening as you’re speaking, like over probably Rick’s shoulder or something at that moment.
CN: Exactly. [laughs]
CB: Well, the book– I want to mention the book because the book is amazing and it’s one of my top recommended astrology books for new astrologers and it’s on my lists of that book that everybody has to read as one of their first books because it blends modern and traditional astrology just so well, but it’s also approachable. And you can see the years of work you put into it in terms of writing and learning how to translate astrology content to normal people really comes out in the books so that it becomes that perfect intro to astrology book, it seems like.
CN: Wow, thank you, Chris. That means a lot. I don’t know how you… Your book took a decade and some, I think, but writing a book is just like the first one. It’s just like a whole… I was just so afraid. You write this and you kind of go… I kind of went into a place of like, “I don’t know,” and write it all and then you edit it and then you get out in the world and you don’t want to think about it ever again. Demetra once said to me, “Yes, as soon as I’m finished writing a book, I think, well, I would like to rewrite this now.” [laughs]
CB: Right. Yeah, that is the constant state of being a writer or content creator is never being fully happy with always knowing what could have been different or whatever. But nonetheless, amazing book. And that actually gives a nice segue into our topic, which is the book does a really good job of helping to introduce people to the fact that you’re more than just your Sun sign and that there’s a lot more beyond astrology than just Sun signs, while at the same time helping to contextualize and put emphasis on what you call the three key placements in the chart, which is the Sun, the Moon and the rising signs. What do you call those? Or what’s your specific phrase?
CN: In the book? [crosstalk] The three keys to the chart.
CB: Yeah, the three keys to the chart. I just want to make sure I got the exact phrase correct because I thought that was a really good phrase because they really are so important that they do become the three keys, especially early in one’s studies for unlocking this deeper understanding of astrology in the birth chart in general.
CN: Yeah, and I think what I wanted to do is just help locate people’s focus. Like, if we stay focused, if we never lose focus of these things, then we’re always going to come up with something that feels intelligent and integrated and useful. And I think even just through studying those three things, and when people hear those signs, they’re going to think just about the quality of the signs but of course, we’re talking about so much more. But if you are really going in-depth with those three places, kind of plus one plus the ruler of the Ascendant, and how everything else in the chart is or is not in connection with those things, you’ve got such a needy thesis of that moment or that person’s life or the meaning of that astrology chart.
CB: Yeah, for sure. And in terms of keywords, some of the keywords you gave to the three just to give people a very quick synopsis and then we’ll get into more of a deep dive is that you said, “The Sun is your life’s purpose and it’s where and how you shine. The Moon is your physical and emotional needs, and how we live out our purpose in the physical realm. And then the Ascendant and its ruler is your motivation for living and direction your life is steered in.” I know it’s been three years since the book came out, is that still more or less some of your core keywords or are there others in the synopsis version that you would add or modify to that at this point?
CN: Yeah. I think, you know, what’s the literal translation? The Ascendant or the horoscope, the hour-marker, that’s like your yes to life? That’s when you said yes and you were like, “Okay, I’m here! I’m born.” That’s why the Ascendant is so incredibly potent and powerful to understand. Again, not just by quality of sign, but what it’s doing in the chart, what’s there? Is anybody talking to it? What’s happening with the Ascendant? Because it’s the moment of birth, and we just welcomed our first child.
CN: Thank you. And having that experience gives me a whole other relationship with the Ascendant. Let’s just say that.
CB: Okay. Yeah, and that moment of birth. Yeah. So that’s huge, because that brings us to a really important thing, which is that the Ascendant is… There’s a whole timing component with all of this where the Sun will spend an entire month in each sign of the zodiac, the Moon will spend two and a half days in each sign of the zodiac– two or three days in each sign of the zodiac– and then the Ascendant will change every hour or sometimes every two hours. So maybe that’s our first foundational piece for understanding the difference between them is that each of them moves through the signs of the zodiac at different rates and therefore there’s almost different levels of personalization, where it’s like everybody that month has the same Sun sign, everybody within that two or three-day period has the same Moon sign, but only people born within the same hour or a couple of hours has the same rising sign as you, which immediately sets it up so that the rising sign is the most personal point in the chart or is much more personal than the other two.
CN: Yeah, born at the same time in the same location because of also time zones, so it’s not like at that time all over the world or what have you. So it’s very specific to time and place. And that is the moment that you’re born so it is the the inception or the beginning of your life and so that is marked. And then from there, of course, it sets up the entire chart. I think that’s where I usually lose people.
CB: That’s such a great point, though, because that brings us to… Resetting, since we’re talking to beginners, presumably, primarily with this episode or at least not taking anything for granted, that’s good to know that that’s the reason why people have to go ask their mom what their birth time is or have to go ask their birth certificate. Or people, there’s almost this meme going around of people texting their mom to ask what time was I born or something like that. And the reason that you have to do that is because it’s the Ascendant, especially, that is keyed in to the exact time you were born as well as the exact location. So that’s why it’s good to try to figure out the exact time and city you were born in as close as you possibly can.
CN: And what a pain in the ass as a system! What a difficult system. So for astrology to have survived for thousands of years and for it to be conceived at a time where they didn’t have clocks like we do now, and they didn’t have exact minutes that they had to figure out where the Sun was and what that meant for in terms of that day, it’s a really challenging difficult… It’s a high cost of entry, I think, in a lot of ways. And it’s not just, it’s not fair. It’s not like if you have a face, you can do a face reading. Or if you have a palm, you can do a palm reading. Or if I throw some stones on the ground, then I can give you a reading. It’s this whole other thing. It’s like you got to jump through a lot of hoops and not everybody knows their birth time for a million different reasons so it’s also, you know, the Ascendant can be a challenging subject to talk about because of all those reasons.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point. There’s a high barrier to entry to this form of divination or to whatever extent astrology is a form of divination like other ones like tarot or I Ching or other things like that, astrology has this other empirical component where it’s like that happened no matter what, whether anybody was paying attention to it or whether it was recorded or anything else; that you were born at a specific moment in time at a specific place, and that the alignment of the planets at that moment had something to say about the quality of your life and your future. But yeah, it’s like some people have that recorded and other people don’t necessarily.
CN: Mhm, mhm. And you can still look at a chart without that and understand how the planets are talking to each other, you’re just not as specific. You don’t know exactly what areas of life everything is located in or what it’s talking about.
CB: Yeah, so it’s just more… There’s a more personalized component if you have the birth time compared to if you just have the day or what have you. That’s really important. Okay, we’re setting up the difference then and that the birth time is important, that that sets up the entire birth chart itself with all of the house placements once you know your rising sign and you know what houses each of the planets are placed in. And you’ll see that there’s at least 10 different planets, nine or 10 different planets in your chart. So all of a sudden you go from maybe just knowing your Sun sign to seeing that there’s this whole complicated thing that’s going on with the chart, and you sort of have to figure out where to start. And it seems like the starting place for most astrologers for basically the past 2,000 years is looking at the three most astronomically significant things in the chart, which is your Sun, your Moon, and your rising sign.
CN: Right. The other important thing to remember, especially as a beginner when you’re thinking about the Ascendant, especially in our system of thinking of things, it then becomes what we call your first house. And the first house is the only house in the whole chart, there’s 12 of them, that is specifically and only you. And so from this place, it becomes the ‘you’. The Ascendant, the rising sign gives you the you of the chart, the you of your whole system. And then you see how everything else in the sky or in your chart is talking or not talking, is witnessing or not witnessing you, is in relationship with you or is in some kind of weird hidden place. And so you get to see from the Ascendant what you have access to and what might be a little bit more challenging for you to get to, who’s helping you and who might be an adversary. I usually lose people at this place because people don’t understand what houses are. And so the first house is you and then every other house in the chart is every ‘other’. And I mean everything under the Sun aspect of life, you can find it in one of the other 11 houses. But that first house is all you. So whatever is there, isn’t there, is talking to that house, is not talking to that house, is all about how your life and the kind of game or trajectory or map of your life is set up.
CB: Right. I love that, that’s perfect. I’ll throw a chart up. This is just a chart for roughly when we began and it just shows over on the left the Ascendant is on the left side of the chart in late Libra, and that the sign of Libra was rising up over the eastern horizon, which is where the Sun rises each day. And just imagine a certain part of the sky rising up over the horizon at the moment that you were born, and that’s basically what your rising sign is astronomically, right?
CN: Yeah, it’s the place where heaven and earth meet on the eastern horizon where everything comes up. So it’s a marker of life because things are ascending and coming up. It’s where the Sun is thought to be reborn every morning if you’re going by Egyptian mythology, but just even the symbolic nature of sunrise feels like an awakening and a new day. And so anything at that point where heaven and earth meet on the eastern horizon has that quality of ascension and possibility, and you can think of it like a metaphorical sunrise point no matter where the Sun is. But it’s that moment of, “Okay, yes, this is the new thing that’s coming up and is announcing itself is here.”
CB: Yeah, that’s a great metaphor. It’s just like the Sun rises and is reborn every day and emerges from under the earth into the sky where you can see it at sunrise. All of the other stars and planets similarly will rise up over the eastern horizon at some point in the day and are similarly reborn. And you can see them visibly just in the same way that at that moment that you were born, there was a rising sign, the Ascendant was at a specific point, and the sky was emerging out in the view at a specific point. And similarly, you sort of emerged into the world at that specific point in time as well. So you, having a baby recently, you had a much more visceral experience of that recently or got to understand a new level of understanding of that?
CN: Yes, and let me tell you we were so egregiously full of ourselves that we were like, “Oh, for sure, our baby is going to have this rising sign or this rising sign. For sure, we’re going to have them at this time of night or this time of night.” And of course, they came right in between. It was such a… It tripped us– It tripped me out to such a great degree because it means that my child has the ruler of their Ascendant in a dark house. And I was like… Even people that study this forever can become fearful of the thing. And that’s one of the things I start the book out with, is like, “Don’t be afraid of this.” It’s always going to sound worse if you’re looking at a judgment of your life like you only want things to be– There’s a part of our brain that only wants things to be good and we forget the nuances of what is judged good and bad, and what is powerful and not, and the other factors of being a human and that it’s really complex. But yes, I was handed my ass in the delivery room when the rising sign was like, “No, not that one!” And as a human, you get in this place of thinking you can– well, at least I do– thinking I can control things. And then I just felt like our child was like, [laughs] “Let this be a lesson, first of many. This is not about you, this is about me and what my life is about.” So it was wild. It was wild. And a horror, just a total trauma.
I don’t think people really understand until it happens what it means to birth another human. I found this gorgeous quote, was it from Rhetorius, about the nature of the first house and the nature of the Ascendant as it relates to childbirth. This is from Rhetorius the Egyptian, Holden, James Holden. This is how that chapter opens up. “The first house is called the house of life.” This is ancient, it’s not poetic, and it’s not written in the style that we would always write it. But, “The first house is called the house of life; and on account of this fact it is so-called: because after the rising of the house of the Bad Daimon this very sign rises and after the passing of the climacteric it is examined closely and the one giving birth and the newborn, and because they have both gone from dangers and shadows into the light and life.” There’s a little bit of a complex notion but the house above the first house, the first house of your birth and the you and the yes of life, is the 12th house which is a house that’s dangerous and challenging. I thought it was so poetic and on point because childbirth itself, I think for the most part, is a harrowing traumatic life and death kind of moment. And watching one human try to bring another human into the world really brings you into that space of like, you understand this does not seem like an easy way for us to propagate, this is the hardest thing ever. And so I thought it was beautiful in terms of how the houses are laid out, but I’m kind of jumping ahead of us.
CB: No, that’s brilliant. I’m glad you brought up that quote because it’s always one of the most striking. I remember Demetra at Kepler, there was a few years where she taught ancient Greek to a group of astrologers. And I remember my friend Laura Machete sent me a translation of that passage that they had done that I thought was really good. I don’t know how literal it is because Holden tends to translate a little bit more literally, but let me just read their translation really quick because I always thought it was really striking. Again, this is a rough translation but she said… This is for the 12th house, which is the sign that rises in the hour or two prior to the person being born.
CN: You’re thinking about actually laboring, as that sign is like the what’s happening before the baby comes, what’s happening before the life emerges, and so that really challenging time of like, “Who’s going to make it? Are they both going to make it? What’s going to happen?”
CB: Yeah. Rhetorius says, “The 12th place is called ‘Bad Daimon’ and ‘Pre-Ascension’ and ‘Between Worlds’. It signifies things concerning enemies and slaves and four-footed creatures and everything that comes about before the hour that is favorable for giving birth, and to the mother and the child who will be born since this sign has risen before the separation of the infant. The place is called that of Kronos in so far as the fetus is being separated through the pouring out of the waters, and because the birthing mother stands between life and death when she is being observed by Kronos and Ares [according to] the opposition.” Yeah, so it’s just that notion that the mother and the baby that they’re between life and death or at this really crucial in-between stage. And that’s literally what the 12th house is, it’s that hour or two prior to the exact moment of birth where everything is up in the air and there’s this tension and sort of difficulty.
CN: Yeah, it brings a whole new understanding to the 12th house. If you have something in the 12th house, especially something that’s really significant like your Sun or moon or the planet that rules your Ascendant, then we know that there’s something important in that very challenging part of life that you might be drawn to or work with or know something of those liminal spaces of not knowing quite if something is going to make it or somewhat in those kind of danger zones, that this is a person that is able to do something in there or, of course, might succumb to those harder kind of aspects of life. Again, a little off topic but we’re getting there.
CB: Yeah, we’re getting there. This is good because this is bringing up a lot of really important stuff in terms of the moment of birth and why that’s so crucial, and why then the rising sign in the first house is so personal to you because that represents where the sky was emerging from the earth at that moment, just like you emerged from your mother at that moment.
CN: Yeah. Yeah, that’s also a beautiful way to see it. That part of the sky is the signification, is the mark of you emerging from that person who brought you here.
CB: Yeah, exactly. I’m trying to think if that brings up any other keywords. I mean, it brings up in ancient astrology that they had keywords of both the body, as well as the sense of self, is assigned to the first house, and other things having to do with personal characteristics and appearance and things like that. Maybe I can show a diagram. This is my usual diagram for the significations of the 12 houses. Different astrologers have different emphasis or specific wording for specific houses, so if you have any that are different, let me know. Usually for the first house and the rising sign, I give significations like self, body, character, and appearance. What are some of your other significations? Or what other things come to mind for you for the first house?
CN: Yeah, as per Demetra George’s teaching, it’s like this is our motivation. When we come into the world and we say yes to life, then we could assume that there’s a kind of motivating factor for that. So that’s more about the sign that is on that, but those are the keywords that I use if you want to talk about who you are. Yes, the Sun, we can focus on that and that’s an easy place to go to. But because the Ascendant is so incredibly personal and a such a sensitive point in time and space, this is really what we want to start with. Whenever I read a chart, I begin there and then I let that lead me through a lot of different things before I even get to the Sun.
CB: Okay, that’s really important to know. Yeah, that’s something that sets apart a professional astrologer, most of the time is they’ll really start by setting up the Ascendant and the rising sign and then the rest of the houses in whatever house system they’re using. And that becomes their oftentimes their starting point or their focal point, especially because of, like you were referring to, one of the ancient names for the first house in Rhetorius who we were just reading is he calls the first house ‘the helm’ or the steering wheel of the ship using this metaphor that the entire chart is like a ship or the ship of the native’s life. And that the first house and the planet associated with it sets up the direction of a person’s life in some sense.
CN: Mhm, mhm.
CB: All right. All right, so let’s see. One of the things you said at the beginning and before I forget it and get away from it that I really liked is you mentioned really early on in the process is you give people some advice that I thought was actually really important, where you had this section about committing to the process, and you kind of mentioned it briefly earlier, but it’s worth maybe drilling in on here, which is that you give people three guidelines as they’re learning astrology. The first is you say, one, “I promise to never give my current understanding of my chart too much power.” And then two, you said, “I promise to never underestimate the wisdom that is woven into my chart.” And three, “I promise to always leave room for learning, unlearning, and relearning.” I thought that was such an important piece that I was glad that you included it in the book. Why do you feel like those pieces are important to state at the outset?
CN: Before I wrote the book, and one of the reasons why I did write the book is I had spent so many years teaching people astrology online. What happens when you begin teaching something is you also start to understand the problems with it, or how it’s received or thought of. And because we’re talking about the nature of your life and we’re talking about something to do with perhaps your fate, so much fear is evoked in us when we start to look. And so I just wanted to start the process with the reminder that your mind is going to think that it knows everything before the wisdom has actually been able to even integrate. And then to remain humble enough to know that you’re always going to be learning that there’s always going to be a new way of understanding your life as it pertains to your astrology chart or your astrology chart as it pertains to your life. Any kind of limited notion of who you are and what you’re capable of or what a sign or omen or signal astrologically means for you needs to be questioned and scrutinized. And I think we need to continually do that. Like me in the delivery room with my child, who am I to think that I know what her chart means, or what that means for the life of this new human? Like, leave my judgment out of it, it’s up to that little human that just came in to show me what that means.
CB: Yeah, for sure. And it touches on a point that I think all astrologers know. Eventually, once you’ve been studying it for long enough or practicing astrology, it becomes almost intuitive. But just the notion that everything you think about a chart based on a placement is sort of provisional and it’s like you have an idea of what this means or what this should mean based on the theory of astrology or based on other empirical observations in the past, but you always have to leave open a certain amount of room for how things might manifest in a way that’s different. Or when we’re talking about challenging placements in a way that’s more productive or more positive, then you might initially anticipate in some way so that people shouldn’t get hooked on negative interpretations of placements and think it has to be that or it has to be the worst-case scenario, where oftentimes there’s a whole different range of how things can manifest.
CN: And I think especially for those of us that are reading these books that are really old because they’re not very nuanced, they’re not very sensitive to your feelings. They’re going to be like, this is horrible, robbers are going to come, you’re going to be bit by a scorpion, you’re going to die at an early age, your parents will be… It’s very intense and it’s not very helpful in terms of being like, “Well, how would that translate to modern day?” [laughs]
CB: Right, yeah.
CN: “What does that mean actually for me? I’m probably not going to be hunted by a pack of dogs anytime soon, hopefully, but, you know?”
CB: Yeah, sometimes the modern translation is something funny. You go on Twitter and you get hounded by a pack of not-great people. And it sort of fits the symbolism, but–
CN: Exactly, but you’re not literally torn to shreds.
CB: Yeah, maybe feels that way.
CB: Metaphorically. Yeah. Okay, so I think that’s really important, especially when talking about difficult placements because that’s just something professional astrologers take for granted but something that maybe we can internalize negative interpretations of our chart placements that we don’t need to necessarily hold on to as tightly as we might think at first.
CN: Yeah, and something that is really painful and symbolizes or crystallizes your understanding of your own trauma in your chart, it’s so important to remember that as we age and as we heal and as we spend time with the things that are difficult, the nature of our relationship to it also changes. And the big bad monsters of our childhood do not stay the same size when we focus on right-sizing them. And so with that, the chart changes and the interpretation of that really difficult part in our chart that just scares us or we feel like it dogs us, that can be liberated from that monster-disfigured understanding into something that feels like it has been repurposed for the best possible use.
CB: Right, I love that. So there’s some kind of delicate balance between because on the one hand, sometimes looking at your chart and seeing the difficult placements early on and then resonating with that and understanding, oh, that that’s actually can be therapeutic, and somehow finding a balance between that, versus overly focusing or adopting a fatalistic attitude about some placement that it can’t manifest in different ways or can’t get better in some ways that you want to find some sort of middle ground.
CN: Yeah, I feel like it’s always a prism. Each planet is a prism, each what we call aspect connection between the planets is a prism. Yes, when you look at it this way it’s terrifying, and then this way, you’re like, oh, that’s different, and so you can keep. It’s like a kaleidoscope. Like, I’m still looking through the same kaleidoscope but it does give me different iterations and different versions of that configuration even though the qualities of it remain.
CB: That makes sense. All right, let’s zoom out. We’ve talked a lot about the Ascendant and some of the astronomical properties at this point. Where does the Sun and the Moon fit into all of this? And even if they’re not the most personal points in the chart, they’re still pretty personal and pretty important, especially when it comes to our personality and characteristics, right?
CN: Yeah. I just want to say, though, like when we see the Ascendant, we get the sign of the Ascendant and we want to know what the qualities of that sign are; what’s the speed of that sign? What’s the nature of that sign? What is that sign going to be oriented towards? And then we want to look to see if there’s any other planets in the first house that are impacting the ways in which that sign is expressed. And then I would go to the planet that rules that sign and see where that is going. That’s just my process. So what I want to do after that, if I’m going to go to the Sun or the Moon, I want to see… Well, the Sun is the life force. If you think about the Sun in the solar system, the Sun’s impact on earth, nothing would grow without it. It is an obvious generator of life and if we didn’t have the Sun, we wouldn’t be here. We would be very different and it’d be very hard. That is true in the chart and Demetra talks a lot about it being associated with the divine mind or a divine kind of spark. So something that is about divinity, is about our spirit, that is about the spark of life that moves through us, maybe it’s not us but it’s that thing that all animated and all sentient beings have. They have a spark of life and we could maybe even see the Sun as part of that. So it’s like this big part of our purpose. And then the Moon is the physical embodiment of it so I see the first house as the body and also the Moon as body, as the conception of life of the body houses, our emotional patterns, it takes stock of everything that ever happens to me and my body has a response to it. So it’s recorded history, my body is the history of this incarnation of my soul and so I can do, when I do somatic work, I’m working with the Moon, if you want to think about it how it translates astrologically.
And because it’s about conception, it’s about the person that birthed you and the person that birthed them and there’s like this understanding of almost genealogy through it. So it’s that feeling of a lineage of people that brought you here and how you got here. All of that is recorded. And without the body, my spirit, my soul can’t live out its purpose. So what we call luminaries are of a different category than the rest of the planets because they are such bright lights. Of course, the Moon waxes and wanes and that’s all part of its myth and its understanding and its signature– and the Sun does in a sense, too, it has its own kind of cycles– but if we think about human history before we even had this system of what we would call astrology, we learned everything and had to map out most things in accordance with the journey of the Sun through the solar year. Also, the journey of the Moon through the lunar cycle taught us so much about time and space and the seasons. And through those two bodies, through the Sun and the Moon and our witnessing of them or our understanding of them grows out, I think most of our religious and spiritual rituals, understandings and meaning. And I think so much can be traced back to those two luminaries. So, they stand out and what some people say is the king and queen are the two sovereigns in the chart and everything kind of gets organized underneath them, they become the leaders of what we call sects in the chart. So, two teams, if you will, and there’s other planets that get organized under them. And so, so much comes from these two bodies and we want to always prioritize them. And of course, they’ve been popularized for good reason but we just don’t want to ever leave the Ascendant out.
CB: Yeah, that’s amazing. I’m glad you use the term ‘luminaries’ because that’s so important that the Sun and Moon are referred to as the two luminaries because they’re the two bodies in our solar system that emit light and they’re the two brightest celestial bodies in the sky, especially the Sun during the day and the Moon at night. And especially if it’s let’s say it’s a Full Moon, the Sun is beneath the horizon, it’s nighttime, the Moon is shining and is… Sometimes if we’re out, like let’s say we’re walking in a dark forest, there’s a difference between if the Moon is full and it’s shining light down so that you can actually see things in the dark versus if the Moon’s not above the horizon and it’s much harder to see. That kind of brings up a really important core point for astrologers in talking about the luminaries, which is just what is light and understanding what light provides to us and what it does, and how that can be interpreted symbolically. I was watching some podcast recently with a physicist and he was presented with this question of what is light? It was funny actually seeing him talk about how… Struggling to come up with an actual definition and what a mysterious concept even the concept of light is to a certain extent. And I was really struck by that, that it’s something that we all take for granted, the difference between light and darkness, but what a core principle that is for all of us. But also what a somewhat mysterious thing it is, just the notion of what is light and where does it come from. And just more importantly, something that we take for granted that’s ingrained in us is such a core thing that’s a requirement for life in some ways.
CN: Right. Right.
CB: Yeah, so the Sun is our primary provider of light and darkness and it creates that difference between day and between night. And astrologically, we often look to that as the primary source for some of the things that we associate with light, including the intellect or including things like the mind or things like that, the sort of core creative force that everything emanates from in the universe.
CN: Yeah, and the concept of light or brilliance or the emanations that come from then the other planets is also associated with their meaning. So as you start to look at what the other planets are like and how they’ve been kind of situated or ranked in a way, they also have a lot to do with light because the two planets that are said to be the benefics, the good planets, are also the brightest of the planets. So it translates. And so you might be like, well, that’s a kind of… What’s the word I’m looking for? It is a…
CB: Like a core concept or a conditional principle.
CN: It’s a core concept but it also could feel like an unfair judgment in a sense. But if we relate light to literal life and needing the Sun’s rays and warmth and heat, then you can understand where these concepts come from a time where life was so precarious and people died at probably just wildly exceptional rates, didn’t live that long. So anything that was life-bringing or that reflected the qualities of life-bringing was deemed as good, as powerful, as something that you want well situated.
CB: Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. You use the term ‘brilliance’ and another term you use a lot is ‘shine’, that the Sun just wants to shine and that in a birth chart, the placement of the Sun describes where and how we shine in different ways, which I thought was really important.
CN: Yeah. Yeah. There’s this way in which when you’re– I think at least my understanding of it, is that when you’re in a realm of life that resonates well with you, you feel that way in which you uniquely shine. And it’s different for everybody and there’s a different quality or a different experience. And that’s reflected in the birth chart when we look at your Sun, the sign it’s in, the place that it’s in, the house that it’s in, and the planets that it’s in conversation with. And we don’t all want to shine on the world stage, and that’s the beautiful part of astrology is that it articulates that. You and I could probably tell so many stories about people with their Sun in challenging areas of the chart and the kind of work that they do and the kind of ways in which they live their life, and how they shine really brilliantly in those specific realms or industries or ways of working or areas of the world. And so where the Sun is is that portal to you feeling a sense of vitality, I think. This is where we want to have our Sun really fully expressed so that we can feel energized, we can feel our own sovereignty, we can feel our own power, and we can feel like we are our own kind of generating force.
CB: That’s brilliant, vitality, that’s a really good keyword because the Sun is like the center of the solar system and everything else revolves around it and everything depends on it. Especially on earth, all life on earth depends on the Sun and the way that plants take sunlight and transform it into their own food and their own energy in order to live and grow and thrive. And in the same way, the Sun plays that similar role as a central thing that everything depends on in the birth chart as a source of vitality and as a motivating factor that other things revolve around so that it provides a central principle that sometimes we use to motivate our life and our life direction in some ways.
CN: Yeah, yeah. And it is a dominant force so you can also see why metaphorically it’s become a dominant thing that we’ve understood about ourselves. It’s also the easiest thing to locate about somebody’s astrology is that if you know their birth date, pretty much unless they’re born in the day the Sun transitions signs, you know what sign they are and so you know something kind of core about them in a way that’s really helpful when we want to have a mass conversation about the powerful symbolism that astrology holds and has held in the human psyche for so long.
CB: Right. I guess the starting point is the Sun sign and how that becomes a motivating force for each person in terms of how they operate in the world. You focus a lot on the triplicity or the element of the Sun sign and what motivating keywords that gives to each person, as well as the modality in terms of cardinal, fixed, and mutable is giving another set of keywords for that motivating force that’s underlying the Sun sign.
CN: Yeah, I think it’s another good way to locate our attention and to be like, “Okay. I might not understand.” I meet a lot of people and I’ve been like this too, certain signs took me a while to figure out, “How does that sign actually manifest?” There’s some signs that might just feel really far away from you, and that’s fine. So you can kind of let go of the popular knowledge about what that sign is and be like, “Okay, what modality is it? It’s going to be either cardinal, the beginning of a season, have a lot of energy, get started with a lot of things. It’s going to be mutable, a sign that comes in between the seasons, in between at the end of one…” Sorry, cardinal fixed. So, the season begins, the fixed sign fixes it. So people with something in a fixed sign are going to have that quality of being really sturdy and steady and usually give off an air of confidence or movability because that’s the vibe of that sign or of that modality. And then the mutables that come along and be like, “Okay, love, we’re done with that thing. But we’re not quite ready for the next thing and we’re going to be in this transitional space so it’s exceptionally flexible and mutable, it’s able to change.” And so if you know that quality about the Ascendant sign, about the Sun sign, then you’re going to know something really specific about how this person is, if we’re looking at the rising sign, motivated. What are they motivated to do? Are they motivated to initiate things? Are they motivated to stabilize things and to evoke a sense of confidence from other people that they can get the job done? Or are they going to come in they’d be like, “Okay, great, I’m going to do a bunch of different things. I’m going to be multitasking, multifaceted, run two businesses, do all the stuff because that’s the thing that I can do. I can disperse a lot of my energy in a lot of different directions and that’s actually good for me.” That’s rising sign vibe. And then Sun sign is like, that’s how you shine.
So you can have a mutable rising sign and again be motivated to do a lot, to explore a lot, to give out a lot, and then have a fixed Sun sign and do that all with a sense of confidence and a sense of sturdiness, and a kind of robust ability to stay the course and maybe a lot of different things. Then if you look at the elements, the element of the sign is either fire, water, air or earth. And if you think about fires, that creative force that needs a lot of freedom and needs to be able to follow their impulse or follow their desire, they get insight and they’ve got to kind of go with it. Air signs need to be in communication, they need to be in the realm of thought. Earth signs need to be practical, need to make things manifest, they’ll feel sturdy. And then water signs, of course, need to feel and be in the realm of emotion in some way, shape, or form. And then you mix those two things. These are just super astrology basics but when you apply them to these different principles, they give a lot of clarity as to what will help that person feel like they’re shining. Or what will help that person feel like, yes, I’m in line with what I’m motivated to do. And you can do all those different things in different areas of life and everybody has these different combinations so it makes astrology the oldest personality test available.
CB: Yeah, I did a whole series on the zodiac where we did a deep dive into each sign last year and it was great having that reminder and just being half shocked. So many of the dozens or even hundreds of keywords for each of the signs of the zodiac really just come back to those core principles of, you know, what is the element – earth, air, fire, and water? And what is the modality – cardinal, fixed, or mutable? And then also maybe what is the planet associated with that sign or that rules that sign? And then from those combinations, you get hundreds of different keywords. But then also you can see the core motivations of individual people, as well as sometimes it’s funny how different people’s internal motivations sometimes when they’re in alignment with other people, that’s when you get friendships or relationships sometime of just two people when they share something in common sometimes tend to gravitate together. Versus sometimes how you can see when different people have a preponderance of placements in different modalities or elements, sometimes they run into conflict with each other just because they’re not used to doing things the same way. Or they don’t have the same internal motivations. Sometimes it comes off almost alien when they’re dealing with somebody that has different motivational priorities and that sometimes becomes a source of tensions or conflicts between them.
CN: Mhm. And you might know that in popular astrology because this sign does this and the sign does this, but even those memes, they come from this deeper root that is really about the nature of the qualities of these two things. And then when you add in the planet that rules that sign, it gives you a fuller understanding of why that sign has that quality, where that’s from, because it is all, you know? A lot of it, not all of it, but a lot of it’s originated in the planet that rules that sign or has its domicile.
CB: Right, yeah. I have a diagram that can show– like, an old diagram that just shows the signs of the zodiac, the planets that rule them, as well as what the different elements and modalities are. In the older traditions, they also divide it by like… They do gendered assignments of saying odd signs are masculine and even signs are feminine, but I know there’s been a discussion about revising some of those and that’s one where you like to frame those differently in your book, right?
CN: Yeah. Yeah, because the language of it is so limiting and we are in a moment of reclaiming the diverse gender expressions of humans forever. This understanding of human beings falling into two categories of gender and having a gender binary is really new and very connected to colonization and White supremacy, etc. So even if you think about when these systems were created, depending on what region we’re talking about, they also had different and in a lot of cases more expansive understanding of gender. It’s hard to use old language in this moment because we’re also deconstructing gender in a way that makes those terms problematic. I think the important thing is to say they’re in different categories and you can use whatever words you like for those different categories. And also, it’s hard to say sometimes the same words from different eras of human understanding and different philosophies, and they become problematic in new contexts. So just in order to get it across and have an understanding of it, sometimes it’s better to use different language.
CB: And you’d like to use more of a nocturnal or lunar and solar-type language, or what’s your preferred distinction when you’re talking about the odd versus the even signs?
CN: Yeah, I think that helps. We haven’t really covered this but because the Sun has a team and the Moon has a team, not only are different planets on that team, but the different signs we could say are seen to go under those two teams. So we could use that distinction if it’s helpful so that the fire and air signs fall under the solar team and then water and earth signs fall under the lunar team. I don’t think you even need to explain why that is too much. Even if you think of just the Moon and its connection to tides and the Moon as the body and the body is earth, and the Sun is literally a ball of fire and so it’s connected to fire and air.
CB: Yeah, I like that. And it connects it better, that connecting with solar versus lunar or diurnal daytime versus nighttime, also with more relatable modern, even psychological notions of extroversion, extroverts versus introverts and those being different personality types and sort of a more psychological access point like that. Yeah, do you think that’s an okay paradigm in terms of introversion versus extroversion, or are there other relatable keywords there that are useful in terms of that distinction?
CN: I think introversion and extroversion, as long as we are thinking about the quality of the sign, and not necessarily the entirety of the picture of the person.
CN: Because it’s a lot more complicated, but we tend to do one-to-one kind of ratios when we start thinking about this. So, as long as you can hold that with a more complex thing because there’s a lot to the chart, there’s a lot to you, there’s a lot more than just those. If you have so many things that are in water and earth, you might display or you might feel like a lot goes on internally with you or that there’s a need for more introverted time, but you might also appear to the world to be extroverted.
CB: Right, if you have Sag rising or something.
CN: Yeah, like Jupiter in the first house or something that is going to get you to appear to other people or have you motivated to appear to other people in a way that is bouncier, let’s say.
CB: I like that because that really brings up a point that our charts are complicated and there’s many sometimes contradictory indications just like people themselves are complicated and there’s different facets of different people depending on your perspective on them and depending on different parts of the life. And that’s really the first thing that people should come to see and realize, when you look at the Sun, Moon, and rising, is just realizing that with your rising sign, your appearance, how you appear to people may be one thing, your Sun sign, how you shine or your intellect may be another thing, and how your Moon is placed in terms of your body and some of the physical things may be in a completely different sign. And part of the core truth of that is just showing that each of us are complicated complex individuals that have a variety of different motivations and our character is made up of a number of different sometimes competing or even contradictory things, and that’s shown and depicted.
CN: Yeah, and can make you yourself cringe. Right. There can be one part of your chart that’s like a super nerd that just wants to go into a library, a study cave and just geek out. And then there can be another part of your chart that again is like, especially one of these three or four things that we’re mentioning that is out in the world and big and loud and noisy and chaotic, and that can make the part of your chart that’s the geeky nerd that just wants to study mortified. But you as the person that is all of these things, you have to figure out a way to give both of those aspects or the many aspects of you time and space and to deal with the consequences, but also to feel like both of those things or all of these things get to live themselves out in some aspect of my life.
CB: Yes, I love that, that’s great. Reminds me of Henry Cavill who’s been playing Superman for most of the past decade. He’s outwardly this kind of hunky super buff guy that’s playing these leading roles, but then privately, he’s kind of a computer game nerd and he has videos or a YouTube channel building a gaming PC and stuff like that. So there’s different parts of a person’s personality and that’s one of our access points for understanding the difference between the Sun, Moon, and rising is sometimes there’s the things that the public sees on the surface versus there’s the private personality, maybe, that is more hidden. And that, again, brings us back to that distinction between light and dark and the things that we can see that we know are there versus the things that we can’t see, or the things that are maybe hidden but are there nonetheless and are playing a role sometimes or are operating in the background.
CN: Yeah, so then if you want to talk about what area of the chart your Sun is in, then there are some places in the chart, there are some houses in the chart that are what we call hidden or because the Ascendant can’t witness them, or they can’t witness the Ascendant, which is the you of the chart. And so there’s especially three houses in the chart where that is thought to be so. Four, really, but three are kind of focused on the 12th house, the eighth house, and the sixth house. Also the second house, but it’s talked about kind of less. But if you have your Sun in one of those places, then you might be somebody who shines in areas that are kind of tucked away. If you’ve got your Sun in the 12th house, perhaps you spend a lot of time in dark rooms or creative incubators, or places that you kind of retreat to, that you go into. Or you spend time with people that are incarcerated, literally spaces that are tucked away or where we shove people or we want to forget about things. That might be an area where you’re like, “Oh, this is my area, this is my thing to do.”
And I think, again, the reason why I’m so enthralled with astrology and want to teach it and want it to go to people that are interested in it, is because it gives you that witnessing. And I’ve never seen it not be totally aligned with somebody’s life. I also know a lot of 12th house placements that are amazing fixers. They go in and there’s a huge problem and you don’t even know they’ve ever been there or that they’re talking to the CEOs or whatever, and they go in and they help everybody fix the problem. They go in and out without you even ever knowing that they’ve done that. And so there’s a lot of ways in which these things can happen but knowing the area of your life that your Sun is in, the house that it’s in, can do so much in terms of liberating you from feeling a certain way about what you want to do with your life or how you want to be. You can be somebody with, say, a Scorpio-Sun, that it might be a little secretive and a little private and be interested in the mysterious things of life but have your Sun in the 10th house or a Cancer Sun in the 10th. You know, they can have these qualities of being maybe a little bit more private or a little bit more reserved, but your Sun is in a public area of the chart and so there you are. You’re in some way, shape, or form going to be thrusted into the public or have to contend with the fact that that has got to be a part of your life and its journey. You might also feel really conflicted about it. But here it is, you’ve got to… I think for me, I’m always like, “You got to do this thing, though.” Like, that is in there and you know it, and so how can you do it in a way that you feel is sustainable for you?
CB: Right. Well, as like the Sun in Scorpio in the 10th house person, for me at least you do it by having really long, intense conversations that go way too long for like two or three hours about things. About dark, not dark, about occult, hidden-knowledge type things. And you do it very publicly four times a month on a podcast. And that’s a really good example because that’s an example how sometimes there’s contradictions between a sign placement versus a house placement, but the person will always find some sort of way to reconcile that or to blend those sometimes opposing energies in a way that’s unique and makes sense and becomes one of the things that we just see around us in the world every day.
CN: Yeah, and your Scorpio-Sun is a fixed modality, so you’ve done 7 million of these episodes and you just keep going.
CB: Yeah. Yeah, consistency and doing, once you find your routine in doing something over and over again, and that that’s something that brings you joy or happiness or vitality to use a Sun keyword that fixed sign people find vitality in what is familiar and doing the same thing that they enjoy over and over again, versus somebody that has a cardinal sign with their Sun in it or other placements in it might find vitality in doing something new and not doing the same thing every time.
CN: Yeah, yeah. Or there’s got to be an area of life where they feel like they are able to start things and keep the energy of initiation in some aspect of their life.
CB: Yeah, I like that you use the word vitality again, though, but that’s where…. The Sun placement is where we find vitality in certain things and sometimes, like you were saying the difference between the dark houses versus the light houses, and sometimes finding vitality in things that are not super obvious or super visible to people but sometimes… Or even finding vitality in helping people or being of service to heal people is a major theme that comes up in some of those houses, like the sixth and the eighth and the 12th and that that can be vitalizing for certain people.
CN: Yeah, and also so complex. Say you’re Leo rising, and that means that you’re motivated to shine and get attention and be a little bit of a performer and do something that that pulls focus, but you’re a Capricorn-Sun in the sixth house. And that means that part of where you shine is in the area of work, and often sixth house people find some meaning– and this isn’t the only place, so don’t take this for the only thing that this is– but often, sixth house people are really amazing support folks. Within an organization, they could be the COO or someone that’s able to be an intrapreneur, which means that within an existing structure, they’re able to do things and– I’m using that word because it’s Capricorn so it’s cardinal, so like, begin things. But it’s within a structure that somebody else or a group of people have already done, so sometimes there can be a conflict with the Leo rising of it all that needs to shine and get attention, and then the Capricorn sixth house placement of it all where it’s like you’re also a workhorse and you’re really good at getting into an existing structure and being able to support from that place. And so again, you have to find a place where you Leo rising can be happy, but you also have to do work that feels really satisfying long-term, and also something that you feel like you can keep bringing new energy into.
CB: Right, that makes sense. And that that can be a source of vitality for you. If some of those things are fulfilled or if you’re able to find a way to fulfill some of those things, it can be a vivifying force that can energize the rest of the chart and the rest of your placements in some way.
CN: Yeah. Yeah, it can bring a sense of goodness or maybe even what you feel is like a fortune into your life, I think.
CB: Okay. So that’s the Sun and the Sun sign, and especially the zodiac sign that it’s placed in and also the house placement showing the area of life where you might shine or where you might have that sense of vitality or being enlivened.
Let’s talk about the Moon and some of those keywords that you were bringing up for the Moon where while we’re associating the Sun to a certain extent more with the mind or the intellect and with the sense of energizing things, the Moon we’re talking more about the body in different ways, right?
CN: Yeah, the physical experience of life. I also think of the Moon as the dailiness of life, where the Sun might be the big like, “Yes! My presence is what lights me up, this is what inspires me, this is like my soul’s purpose.” It’s like, “Okay, well, I’ve got to live that out every day. And every day, I’ve got to walk the dog and get some food and get some sleep and hopefully take a shower.” Like, do the mundane things of life. The Moon is, of course, the closest body to the earth and so because it moves so fast, it’s always in conversation with the other planets or the other luminary in the sky. And so there’s this way in which the Moon becomes thought of as our intermediary between all of this celestial knowledge and energies or archetypes, if you will, and us. Our body is like that intermediary between our soul’s purpose and living it out and so I had to contend with whatever this vehicle is, and this vehicle and whatever happens to it will make me feel a lot of different ways and have a lot of different moods and emotions and changes. The ways in which the Moon waxes and wanes can also be seen as a metaphorical reflection of that. It can be a little harder to understand, well, okay, how would I look at my Moon? I think of the Moon as this is what you have to do in a daily way. This is how you take care of yourself, this is how you can think about self-care, but this is also that big, huge, purpose. It’s too big. How the fuck do you do that? You can’t just go in like, “That’s my purpose, I’m going to go do it.” You’ve got to unpack it in the nitty gritty kind of work of life. And I think that through the Moon, we get to know that that’s how we do it in a rhythmic, daily, and sometimes literal physical way. And it’s, if I want to take care of myself, I’m going to go to my Moon and be like, “What sign is it in? What modality?” Like, what can I do when I’m looking at your chart? I’m going to be like, “Okay, well, what are the components of this Moon, so how can we help to bring the nervous system back down or help this person to feel a sense of security?” And I think the Moon can give us a lot of keys into that area of life.
CB: Yeah, that’s great. I liked that point you made at the very beginning that the Moon is the celestial body that’s closest to us. So it’s much more personal in some ways, but it also brings to mind ideas of immediacy. That the things that you have to do to keep your body going like eating and sleeping are those immediate necessities that you must do, where if some of those things are interrupted or if the things that the body needs in order to operate regularly are interrupted, like if you don’t have like good health, for example, if you’re not feeling good or if you feel sick, that sometimes interrupts you from being able to do other things intellectually; where you might want to be doing like pursuing intellectually your Sun and your life purpose or something like that, but if there’s something that’s happening with the body that’s throwing a wrench in that, it can have a tendency to dominate or sidetrack everything else. It just brings to mind some of those things that we have to do to have the basic upkeep of being physical beings that are incarnated in a body and everything that comes along with that.
CN: Yeah. And then you want to look at the, which again Demetra George does so thoroughly and so well in a lot of different books that she’s written, but you want to look at the relationship between the Sun and the Moon. Because obviously, we’re always in some kind of Moon phase, like the Moon is always doing something and that’s because of the light that it’s reflecting from the Sun which is also another metaphorical understanding of what the Moon is. The Moon literally as a body isn’t a generator of its own light but it’s the reflector of the light. So the body without the soul is a corpse, but the body with the light of the Sun or the light of the soul is animated and can do a lot of really groovy things. And so the connection between the Sun and the Moon, again is archetypally lodged back in the deepest part of our brain and knowing is something that we’ve always been watching and witnessing. It’s also deeply rich with meaning in our chart, the phase of the Moon that you were born under.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point about the phase of the Moon and what its relationship is with the Sun. And also just how the Moon phases change so frequently, where it’s something you can see over the course of the month that the Moon at a New Moon starts out very dark and not very bright and then it just gets increasingly brighter and brighter and brighter until you get the Full Moon and it’s at its full maximum radiance and brilliance in reflecting the light of the Sun. And then it gets darker and darker and darker until it hits the next New Moon. You just have that constant phase of change and things being different from one day to another in the same way that sometimes for each of us, our emotions change and shift and move upwards and downwards at different rates for each person in different ways.
CN: Yeah. We do this in the app where we tell you what phase of the Moon that you were born under and what that means. And so when you merge that with the sign that your Moon is in, the house that it’s in, the aspects that it’s making, you get this really rich, deep understanding. I was born under a crescent Moon phase and I remember learning about that. And it just, you know, probably at the time too I was in an immense struggle so it was really helpful. But there’s some of the words that are about crescent Moon is like it’s struggling to get away from the inertia of the past and to reestablish it or to establish itself as a new thing. And that emergence has really resonated with me and I was like, “Okay, this part of my struggle was actually meaningful. It was reflected in the sky when I was born and therefore it is on purpose.” So then it helps me to accept or it helped me to accept that part of me that always feels like it is trying to emerge or come out into something new. And then when you start to mix it with the rising sign and where the Sun is, you start to get this fuller, richer picture of the tempo, the quality of how this person’s life comes into being. Because again, the rising sign is the marker of that life so it’s the marker of life, but the Sun and Moon are also we can say markers of life because if the Sun and Moon are in a challenging situation, that person’s literal lifeforce could also have experienced challenging situations or even near-death experiences, you know? You can really see when you look at people’s charts that have come through major physical traumas especially, or near-death experiences that quite often these places of life can be compromised in some way. Again, not to make anybody afraid if they have something that they read about that seems compromising but also it can be really validating to look and say when you give a reading to someone, like, “Oh, wow, did you ever experience something where you weren’t sure if you were going to make it or something that really compromised your ability?” And again, nine times out of 10 it’s like, “Yes!” And then you talk about it, you start opening it up and unpack it, and how core and essential it’s been to the mark of somebody’s life. Somebody like Frida Kahlo is an incredible, a wild example of that both through her life and her work and her art but when you look at her astrology chart, it’s like it’s right there.
CB: Do you want me to pull it up?
CN: Sure, if you want. You’re just pulling all these things up.
CB: Yeah, I’m quick. I’ve got to be on top of things.
CN: We can see Frida’s Ascendant is Leo, which demands that she does things that are going to be evocative, performative, get attention, possibly wear crowns. It’s Leo, there’s something regal there, she obviously wore many. It makes the Sun the ruler of her Ascendant. The Sun is in the 12th house, which is a very, again like we started out saying, a precarious part of the chart because it’s about that precarity of life and death as we emerge into the world. So we know that there’s something there. She’s got Jupiter exalted, that’s amazing. It’s conjunct Neptune, which makes her incredible visually and creatively. There’s all these themes about Cancer that run through her life, motherhood, childbirth, conception, all of that is very Cancerian in nature so those themes are always there. She’s definitely an emotionally evocative artist. And then when we look directly across from her Sun, we see that Mars — the planet of severing, the planet of a lot of aggression, challenging things — and Uranus, a modern planet but nonetheless one that is all about accidents and disruptions are directly in opposition with her Sun, her lifeforce. And not only is her Sun that divine spark, it’s also the ruler of her Ascendant so it says something about the direction of her life but also the possibility of life, the life force itself. And so this disruptive force of Mars and Uranus that are opposing her ability to live. And Mars is literally something that can cut through, it is the surgeon’s instrument, it is the sword, and she’s literally in her life in this disastrous accident and the sixth house where Uranus and Mars are is a place of accidents. She’s in this disastrous accident where she’s impaled. So it’s a shocking, literal translation. Now, do other people with this placement have this destiny? No. But this is a person who becomes an icon, famous, and I can’t remember who said it, maybe you do, Chris. But oftentimes, when people become– that are icons, they live out their astrology in such extreme and dramatic ways almost to illuminate that archetype for the rest of us.
CB: Yeah, and just the fact that so much of her life was centered around her struggles with health and how that sometimes impacted her life force in different ways but then at the same time within that, she dug within herself and found a way to express herself through her art which sometimes still conveyed those themes is really beautiful.
CN: Yeah. And then if we want to look at the 12th house as a place of confinement, and so because of the accident, she spends years and years and years confined to her bed. Then if we want to think, okay, well, how do we add the Moon and what does the Moon mean? Well, if the Moon is how we unpack that life purpose in a kind of daily way, what is the quality of the Moon? The Moon is up in the 10th house of career, it is exalted in Taurus so it’s in a really good position. And definitely in one way, it’s in a really strong house. So we know that part of how she unpacks her life purpose is through this area of life, is through career in a really consistent way that is relentless in a sense in terms of production. And it’s an earth sign so she’s going to be productive. It is close to the Midheaven, a point of activation and energy, so it feels exceptionally prominent. So you’re like, “Okay, well, how do you express all this difficult stuff?” Well, it’s through the career. It’s in a Venusian sign so it’s connected to art making or beauty or maybe even agriculture or something like that. And then if you want to throw in fixed stars, then there’s an Algol up there close-ish to both the Midheaven and the Mars and definitely there’s that feeling that comes through her art as well. And then again, it’s the Moon which is about conception in the 10th house of career, which is a lot of what she expressed was a lot about family and lack of family and her experiences trying to create family and all of that. So, one little expression of a very complex life that still gets unpacked to this day. The mark of her life has marked the world and marked her industry, and the 10th house is also a place where you might think about the industry that you’re in. If you have a really strong placement there, then you could possibly leave a very deep mark on that whole way of working.
CB: Yeah, that’s really beautiful. She’s such a good example of somebody that just lived her chart in such a literal manner. And that even though part of what she lived and expressed was conveying the difficulties and the hardships that in and of itself sometimes leaves this such major impact on the world, her 12th and sometimes 10th house placements and the interconnection between them sometimes reminds me of an example I use sometimes for that, which is Galileo who did some of his most important work later in life while he was under house arrest. And so he had this sense of confinement or being stuck somewhere but then through that, he was able to dig deep into it himself and find in some ways his life purpose in a really striking way.
CN: What does he have in the 12th house?
CB: He has some interchange, just like she does, between the 12th and the 10th.
CN: We’re saying that because the Moon is the ruler of the 12th, so the 12th house gets pulled into the 10th house.
CB: Yeah, and that it’s… Well, because it’s a similar chart signature where he was also Leo rising and he had…
CN: Oh, in the 8th.
CB: Yeah, these two positions. He has a bunch of planets, a whole stellium in the eighth house but then also Saturn and Jupiter in the 12th, and the ruler of the 12th is the Moon which is up there exalted in Taurus near the Midheaven in the 10th. That’s just an interesting parallel between those two figures in that way.
CN: Yeah. And so when you start to get into how these things are set up, you can start to see why trying to pin everybody’s life purpose and work in life just on their Sun sign doesn’t… Of course, it doesn’t cut it, but I think like Frida Kahlo and Galileo, these examples of well, that isn’t confirmation bias. These are the significations of those planets in these positions and this is what happened to her. And this is what she did with it. That’s not being like, “Well, you’re such a chatty Cathy.” [laughs] These are the actual activities of the life and they are lived out through this person’s life and you can look at them. And I think, in retrospect as always fascinating because you get to see what happened in the entirety of the capsule and then also how the chart still lives itself out.
CB: Yeah, for sure. And that people can do really incredible things with difficult placements sometimes and transform those into something really beautiful.
CN: Yeah, and I think we all have to transmute something in our life. There’s not much of life that is purely easy, right? There’s a lot of difficulty and a lot of challenge in life in all the different ways and so if we come with that understanding to look at our chart, then we might not be so terrified of some of the things we might see or that we do see and be curious about what those difficulties, that sand in the oyster is going to help us to eventually create and leave behind as an offering.
CB: You mentioned something just now that reminds me that you had mentioned earlier on that the Moon can sometimes relate to ancestry or some of our early experiences earlier in life in terms of growing up or things that maybe we come into this life with from earlier in terms of our family history and things like that.
CN: Yeah, yeah. You want to also think about… And it won’t always be for everybody, but is where my Moon is in my chart connected to something that is a literal manifestation in my life. I know somebody who’s part of a family of artists, and the Moon is in Libra in their second house. And so the quality of the Moon being the connection of family and the sign that it’s in is Libra, which is the sign of art and artists is in their second house of how they’re supported. And so there’s this sense of like, oh, there’s a family connection! Are you also an artist? Are you part of the family business? Is there something connected to what people that came before you did that is also part of what you do? That could also be the signature of a family of fisher people, people that do nautical things because the Moon could be related to water. So you want to think about is there a family thing that has been passed down to you. That could obviously be something that’s problematic or challenging that you then take and transmute into something positive in the area of your life where the Moon manifests itself. And if we want to go back to Frida’s chart again, she talks a ton or she painted a ton about ancestry in her work. And so one of the offerings she gave to the world was these images of her ancestors and what that meant to her, and also land and people and the colonization of Mexico and a lot of different layers of that. But the Moon in terms of how it connected to her family definitely showed up in her 10th house of career in which she was able to put out into the world.
CB: Yeah, this is something that she deliberately wanted to center and put the focus on.
CN: Yeah. Yeah.
CB: That also reminds me of how sometimes I read these stories about you have two siblings that are separated at birth or something like that and end up in different families. And then sometimes they cross paths as adults and they find out that they have sometimes similar personality characteristics that are strikingly similar that must have then been some sort of inherited family characteristic that they don’t consciously do in some sense, but it just is part of their personality through some sort of background that goes back before them. I think of the Moon sometimes when I see stories like that.
CN: Yeah, it’d be interesting to do astrological comparisons to what it is that’s the thing, that this might be the genetic thing or the way in which that shows up.
CB: Right. Yeah, by just thinking of those things that are passed on maybe through families, which can sometimes be good things, can sometimes be challenging things, but just thinking about that notion of what was passed on from family connections in different ways, or what was an early environment that you grew up in and how did that shape some personality things for you? In the same way that it’s like the Sun sort of emits light spontaneously but the Moon is receiving light and then reflecting it back in the same way for us. In terms of our Moon, sometimes that can be part of the distinction of the access point.
CN: Yeah, you can think of when you look at your chart and look at your Sun, if you go on the app you can read about it, all the things, where it is, where it’s placed. And then you think, “Okay, well, this is the big ‘Yeah’. The big, woohoo thing, sparkly, shiny thing that I’m here to do. And then the Moon is the way in which I’m able to do it so I got to make sure that I take care of the Moon and all of its significations so that I can actually unpack my life’s purpose.” It can also be a place where we can go to in a daily way to feel like we’re getting those little tune-ups that we need in order to show up for the bigger things in our life. Also, again, the ways in which we might be able to regulate our systems is through the Moon sign, the placement of it, where it is and what to do. So if you have a Moon in the ninth house, you might want to jump on a plane in order to feel better. [laughs] The ninth is the place of travel. Of course, it’s also the place of education so you might want to pick up a book or listen to a podcast from your favorite teacher when you feel a little out of control or you need some kind of self-care. You might need a kind of adventure. If your Moon is in the third house, you might need to go for a little walk around your neighborhood or stop by a friend’s house or do something that’s more local, because the third house is a lot about our local daily environment. Or you can see in Frida’s chart that she would go to career, that she would go to work. That was a way to help relieve some of the suffering or some of the other stuff that was happening, especially through her Sun.
CB: Right. So, what is our self-care? How do we take care of ourselves, and what is that sometimes default thing that we fall back on almost instinctually that then sometimes either makes us feel good or that we sometimes default to when emotional stuff comes up.
CN: Right. A Moon in Virgo might get super picky, but maybe cleaning the silverware drawer will make you feel better. You can be nitpicky but not at another person or yourself. Or a Moon in Libra, when they’re off-center, might get super people pleasey or very indecisive. And that’s a challenging way it could manifest but a way for them to rebalance might be to go see some art or do some art or take in something that feels beautiful or pleasurable or rebalancing in some way.
CB: Right. That can also be characterized, to some extent, some of those emotional responses by aspects of the Moon and what the configuration of the Moon is to different planets in the chart as being core emotional signatures for each of us.
CN: Yeah. Yeah, if your Moon is connected to Saturn, maybe you need to do something disciplined but not too self-flagellating. So it’s like understanding of the nature of the planet and the helpful manifestations of it and when it goes too far into another direction. But that, you know, if Saturn’s in the picture, you’re going to need to say yes to a commitment, be disciplined in some way, do something that over a long period of time is going to make you feel good. But it’s about consistency and that staying-the-course kind of feeling. If that’s connected to your Moon, maybe that can be a portal for feeling like, “Okay, I feel like I’m back in my integrity or I feel like I’ve done something today so I’ve earned my right to feel a little better about myself.”
CB: Yeah, as well as what some of our emotional triggers or things that might trip us up are. Like, if you have more of a connection between Saturn and the Moon like a tendency because Saturn is cold and slow towards more melancholy or feeling depressed or something like that. Or if we have more of a connection with Mars, maybe we have more of a feeling of anger sometimes that comes out. And learning how to moderate, let’s say, emotional extremes in either instance.
CN: Mhm, mhm. And even if Mars and the Moon are connected, then we want to think about, is there heat trapped in the body, which might manifest as anger but it can also manifest as a rash or as something that maybe shouldn’t have so much hot sauce today. If you feel inflamed, maybe do things… Have some cucumbers, take an ice bath. I don’t know, not prescribing anything but there might be things that you can do to offset those significations. So like Chris was saying, Saturn is colder so it can be more constricting. And when you feel cold, you might feel tensed up. And Mars is the heat so when you feel overheated, you’re annoyed or flustered or kind of out of it because there’s too much heat. So when you look at the Moon, you might also want to think about those qualities of the planets. And of course, we’re getting kind of in the weeds, but it’s fascinating how literal and practical those things can be. My wife has a very, very, very powerful Mars and she used to just douse things in hot sauce. We usually just had like 17 hot sauces at all times. And then of course, she had some side effects from it and someone– an Ayurvedic practitioner was like, “Let’s just not do the hot sauce,” and she stopped doing hot sauce and all of her side effects went away. [laughs]
CB: Yeah. Well, that’s such an important point because there’s ways that each of us can channel or mitigate almost every placement in our chart. And sometimes during the course of learning astrology and during the course of our lives, we learn how to sometimes lean into our placements and other times to find a way to almost counteract or balance them since sometimes balancing things out is the way to maintain health in some ways, whether that means physically or mentally or emotionally or what have you.
CN: Yeah, yeah. Again, you can have all these different types of combos. You can have Sun in Mars and Moon in Venus, and those two situations are going to manifest themselves really differently but you’ve got to probably contend with both at some point.
CB: Right, for sure. One last point I wanted to make sure we got to is just the role sometimes of sect of whether the difference between day versus night charts and how sometimes that can alter the Sun-Moon combination and put more emphasis on one or the other in a way that is easy to overlook but I think is really crucial. Is that something you use as well?
CN: Yeah, I start with the Ascendant, I note the quality of the sign of the Ascendant and how that’s part of the motivation for that person’s life. I notice if there’s any planets in that first house that are going to color or vie for power or attention or however you want to think about it. And then actually before I’ve done that, I’ve noted if the Sun is above the horizon or below. If it’s above the horizon, it gives us a day chart, if it’s below, it gives us a night chart. And from there, you get to categorize everything, which is just such a helpful delineation. I have a very strong Saturn so I love categories, I love boundaries, I love like, “This is didactically how you divvy everything up.” And so what I would do is after going through the rising sign. any planets in the first house, then I would go to the ruler of the Ascendant, talk about that. But immediately, I’m like, is that planet on the day team or the night team? And that is a whole story and quality in and of itself. Then I would go to either the Moon or the Sun because if it’s a night chart, I’m going to go to the Moon first. Not that the Sun isn’t important, but I want to talk about that Moon because it’s what we would call the light leader. So, the luminary in charge more so than the other one. If it’s a day chart, I would go to the Sun and then go to the other luminary. Through that, you’ll probably talk about every other planet in the chart. That’s not the only thing, obviously, but that’ll take you an hour for sure. Most of the time. [Laughs]
CB: Yeah, that’s crucial because if a person was born during the day when the Sun was in the top half of the chart, then it’s a day chart and the Sun is going to be the luminary that’s providing light during that part of the day and so it’s going to tend to be more dominant. Whereas if a person was born at night when the Sun is in the bottom half of the chart, then in some instances the Moon will actually be more prominent because especially if it’s above the horizon, that’s actually the luminary that’s providing light at that point. And sometimes you’ll see the Moon in night charts playing a more dominant role in terms of describing the person’s personality and some of their motivations and their intellect and different things like that.
CN: Yeah, and also the activity of the person’s life, like the kinds of events that are likely to happen. I know somebody with a night chart and they’re also born at a Full Moon. So if you’re a night chart and you’re a Full Moon or born in the Full Moon phase, then that’s going to be this extra obvious example. And the Moon is above the horizon so it was literally the brightest, boldest thing in the sky. I also say this a lot when I open up a reading. So like, the moment you were born, this is what the sky looked like. And if it’s a day chart, probably you can’t see anything but the Sun anyways. But if it’s a night chart, you can get some really interesting– Or if it’s around dawn or dusk, like, oh, wow, Mercury was this beautiful morning star, evening star. Those are also really important qualities to note, the visual appearance of things. Or even that evening or that morning. So I know somebody with the Full Moon night chart, it’s up in the sky, obviously. And so there’s so much that constellates around the placement of the Moon and their life’s work. And the problems they encounter, the gifts that they have, and the prominence of the sign placement, it’s by a fixed star, the house placement… It’s just like that’s what people feel from this person, that’s the kind of work that they do, that’s what seems to be such a major motif. And it’s not that their Sun isn’t important because they’re such a whatever their Sun sign is and their work also is so connected to that, but you cannot forego the power of that Moon and what it’s doing and all of the issues that come up around it, all the events that come up around it.
CB: Yeah, for sure. There’s something that’s almost more visible about the Moon placement in night charts sometimes, where that’s almost the more obvious personality characteristics in some ways for some people when the Moon is prominent in that way in a person’s chart. And it’s an important thing to take into account when you’re looking at the Sun, Moon, and rising, which luminary is actually providing light and shining at that point when the person was born.
CN: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and if it’s a night chart and it’s a New Moon, or if it’s a Balsamic Moon and you can’t see the Moon, that’s also a ton of information that you can spend almost the whole session talking about.
CB: Yeah, for sure. Okay.
CN: Did I say that in the app, you can also… It’ll tell you if you were born in the day or in the night, if you have a day chart or a night chart.
CB: No, that’s really good. That’s really important.
CN: Yeah, if you’re like, “I have no idea, what are they talking about?” You can go to the app, the CHANI app, and it’ll show you. It’s right in your chart section and it’ll be like, “Oh, you were born in the day.” And so there’s people that if you notice her Sun is in the first house or the seventh house, you might be confused about if you’re a day chart or a night chart because that’s where the horizon is. And so we do that math, so to speak, for you.
CB: Good. Good. I’m really glad to hear that because a lot of people get tripped up on that, especially when using whole sign houses and not sure if the Sun’s in the seventh but it’s not above the horizon or what have you. That’s excellent. Okay. So the final thing just to bring everything around and wrap everything up and just to reiterate some of your primary keywords, so the Sun being your life’s purpose where and how you shine, the Moon being your physical and emotional needs and how we live out our purpose in the physical realm, which can mean a number of different things. And then finally, the Ascendant and its ruler being your motivation for living and the direction your life is steered in. Just to come back to that again one last time, you really put a lot of emphasis on the planets in the first house because they’re at the steering wheel of the ship, so they’re playing a more dominant role being right there steering the ship or having a hand in it. And then you pay attention to the ruler of the Ascendant, the planet that rules the rising sign, and it’s sign and house placement as being the steersman that is directing the life in a specific direction.
CN: Yeah, like, “We got to go there, that’s a non-negotiable. This is where the direction is going.” And it can be supportive to what the Sun and Moon are doing or it can be totally different. Again, that will give you so much information. I think when we first start looking at astrology, we want it to make sense in the ways in which we’re thinking about it. And when it doesn’t go into a little code that we’ve set up, we’re like, “But that doesn’t make sense! How could the steersperson of the ship be in the 12th house but everything else is in the first house, the Sun and Moon are in the first house?” And you’re like, “Yeah, exactly.” Because our lives are so paradoxical and so complex that we’ve got to figure out, how does this actually manifest? How can we comply with both of these placements and find the most generative, expansive, interesting ways in which to live these multiple things out?
CB: Right. Sometimes we’re pulled in different directions based on our placements, but ultimately during the course of our life, we sometimes find a way to manifest all of them and to create a unique combination that works for and suits us as an individual. That was something I loved about the introduction of your book, when I was rereading it the other day, is you talk a little bit about your own life story with astrology and how you were pulled in different directions based on your different interests and different things that you thought for yourself were possible or that you wanted to do versus what you didn’t want to do, but you sort of found yourself pulled in this specific direction repeatedly until eventually you just realized that that’s what you wanted to do with your life.
CB: Right. Yeah, I didn’t want to say submitted, but I wasn’t sure how–
CN: No, it was like a submission. [laughs]
CN: I had dreams. The planets would come to me and yell at me. After that, this is very personal, but after the UAC conference in 2012, that was my first big astrology conference that I went to and met people my own age. And I was like, “Oh my God, this is a whole world that I didn’t know about.” It was like the voices that I would wake up to got so loud and so domineering and honestly kind of frightening that I was like, “Okay, let me give this a try.” But I will say the ruler of my ninth house of astrology is in my 10th house of career. That doesn’t mean that that is so for everybody but you can look at that and be like, okay, that’s a thing. And then the ruler of my Ascendant is in my third house, which is also a place that you could say is connected to divination and to obviously daily rituals. And what do I do? I have an app, all my stuff has been about how to understand the Moon, it’s the temple of the Moon, that’s what the house is called. You know, we work with astrology in a daily way. I’m in people’s lives on their phones, I’m in communication with folks in a lot of ways.
CB: Yeah, communication. It’s literally the first keyword of the third house that every astrologer goes to first, and you have a dominant placement in the third house and that’s literally become your life’s work, it’s communicating. And you’re communicating something very specific, which is astrological insights, but first as a writer and writing your horoscopes, and now as somebody that actually speaks and talks and presents that verbally. You’ve manifested that placement at this point in your life in a pretty straightforward way.
CN: But it was like working with Demetra when she really clarified how important the ruler of my Ascendant was and the placement of it, because I always wanted to be a writer but I was like, I can’t be a writer. And that clarification, even though I had studied astrology for so long, I just didn’t have that, like, “You have to do this thing, this is where… The life is directed here. If you don’t do this thing, it’s not going to feel fortunate, it’s not going to feel successful.” And there’s a list of things that are connected with that house so I didn’t have to do the writing, but it’s such a dominant thing in a lot of different ways in my chart. So when I finally said yes to allowing myself to pursue it, that’s when my life started to work for the first time ever that I felt.
CB: That’s brilliant. And then everything fell into place when you found that thing that sort of matched your chart partially because what your chart was saying were the things that would be the most authentic to you. That’s actually the subtitle of your book, is “Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance”. And that, for you, that’s part of the key to astrology is self-acceptance depending on what that means for each person.
CN: Yeah. Yeah, some people have a really easy time. They’re like, “Yes, these are my gifts and this is what I do,” and that’s great for them, they might not need astrology. But for a lot of people, it can be harder to be like, “These are the things that I want to do. I don’t know if I can believe in it,” or “This is the gift, I don’t know what to do with it.” I feel like as soon as I accepted okay, this is the thing, then I just let myself get on with the work of it. It didn’t matter how I felt about it, it was like this is the formula and I feel that has always been internally what I wanted, and then it’s externally printed out on the screen or on a piece of paper. They match, so why not just take that as a sign, take that as some kind of truth and just put the work in and get to it? As soon as I was able to make that decision and just be like, “Okay, great.” And I think that anything you do that is connected with those house topics will get you there. Might not be the first one you try, but it’ll connect into something else there. And so I just feel like astrology of your chart is the most practical tool to work with, especially if you feel like what is my purpose, I don’t know what to do, I feel lost. When you’re in your 20s and maybe you’re… Like me, I was in my 30s, I still felt so lost. This was just such a phenomenal tool and it’s been such a phenomenal tool for everybody I’ve worked with. I just think it’s one of the most practical things that we can do is understand these core concepts about our chart so that we can just get on with the business of living out our purpose and hopefully be of service to a world that is in desperate need of service. And so I think the quicker we can show up to it, the more bounty and fortune we’ll experience, and therefore, maybe even happiness, maybe some joy, maybe some feeling of being in alignment with our talents and the gifts that we’ve been bestowed.
CB: Yeah. Well, I guess I tried to think of the opposite. What is the opposite then? It’s like self-denial or rejection of oneself. I would feel like that would in most cases at least lead to less happiness rather than more versus recognition and finding yourself and then being who you are and who you’re meant to be in some ways, and finding the healthiest version of that. That is a great path for many people to finding happiness in some ways.
CN: Yeah, yeah.
CN: And my main thing is being of use in the world. Being of service to something greater than yourself in the world.
CB: Right, finding some way to actually improve the world or do something here that improves the lives of other people.
CN: Yeah, that’s my bias, though.
CB: Sure. Well, that’s a great… I mean, in terms of things to do with one’s life, that seems like a good goal to set in order to, you know, because we’re all just trying to figure out what we’re doing here and what our purpose is, that seems like a great purpose to have set in terms of finding yourself.
CN: Yeah, I think all of our purpose here is to be of service and to help each other and we each have very individual unique ways of doing that. And when we accept those and move into them, that’s when it can be fun and interesting and wild and formative and deep and profound and a really great journey. Because that’s all we’ve really got.
CB: Yeah, I love that. All right. Well, I can’t think of a better note to end on and wrap things up other than that. I did want to mention, because I’m an Android person so unfortunately even though I knew about the app and I would have to borrow a friend’s phone to check it out every once in a while, you launched your app, the CHANI app way back in 2020. But now after lots of development, because I know developing for Android is very difficult, you’ve launched the app just recently here in the middle of August. And now Android users can finally use this amazing app that you built over a number of years.
CN: Yeah. Yeah, it’s an app that’s built in a traditional astrological type of way. So, it’s with the principal. I’m sure if you’re listening to this podcast of Chris’s, then you know what that means. But if your chart looks a little different when you pull it up because your planets are in different houses than you’re used to, it’s because we use whole sign houses. The recommended podcast that I tell everybody to go listen to is Why Whole Sign Houses is the Best. [laughs]
CB: I mean, the original title was–
CN: And you want me to recommend something else.
CB: Yeah, the original title was Literally the Best System of House Division Ever but that was kind of tongue in cheek. And one of the things I appreciate is that you say clearly in the book and in the app, I think, that this is our approach and this the approach that works the best for me. But that houses, like people, everybody has to find what works best for them and their chart and what matches their life the best. And if you do that, it’ll kind of work either way.
CN: Yeah, yeah. There’s a lot of different astrologies and there’s a lot of different ways to see the sky and there’s wisdom in all of it, and there’s not one great way but that is the podcast that I tell people to listen to.
CB: Okay. I do appreciate that this is the one app because most apps don’t default the whole sign houses, whereas this does. So this is definitely the app that for me at least matches my approach as closely. If I was to make an app, it would look similar to this just in terms of the basic technical things since you and I have that similar background of we’re this weird generation of astrologers who came up studying modern astrology and then studied traditional and then blended them. I think that’s going to be a unique thing in the future because now there’s a lot of people that are starting traditional and then learning modern or learning some mix right from the start. But it just gives us a unique perspective generationally that you and I share with people like Demetra, who was both of our teachers, but also people like Austin or Kelly or what have you. I love that the app reflects that approach and kind of sets the standard for what astrologers like myself would recommend as an app because that is the technical approach that we sort of take.
CN: Yeah, thank you. It’s been an amazing time to be an astrologer, obviously, to be able to reap the benefits of all the people– yourself included– that pour over ancient texts and are able to boil them down to something that is cohesive and coherent and something that you can understand in real modern terms, since it’s just a panacea of information of reconnection to something that was lost for so long.
CB: Yeah. Well, and seeing the way that you specifically articulate some of those things in that blend of ancient wisdom with modern insights is really important and is really striking because you’re finding the right way to articulate some of those ancient insights in a way that’s modern and is approachable and also takes into account the great diversity in our field and what contemporary language is like and different things like that. So it’s such an interesting and important blend that I feel is setting the standard for what the next generations how they’re going to talk about astrology. And I think that’s one of the points that’s the most interesting and the most cool about it.
CN: Thank you, Chris.
CB: Yeah. All right. Well, where can people find more about you or about the app and your other work like your book?
CN: Yeah, just chani.com has everything. Or C H A N I in the App Store or the Google Play Store will give you the app. Or Chani Nicholas on any of the social media channels, and C H A N I, Chani, for the company, on any of the social channels as well.
CB: Cool. What do you have coming up in the future? Are you going to do any more books or anything like that? Or do you have any major things on the horizon?
CN: Do you notice that when you publish a book, everyone’s like, “So, what’s the next book?”
CB: Right. Yeah. “Yeah, I spent years of my life working on this one.”
CN: It’s cool. Cool, cool. I mean, we’ve got a lot of stuff planned for… Now that we have Android out the door and in the world, now we can go back and do stuff to the app that we wanted to do for a long time but we couldn’t. Because what you have to do when you build another version of the app is you have to freeze the first version of the app. You actually can’t make updates to it because you have to replicate it in the next one, and then you kind of join them and then you can update. So there’s a lot of really exciting stuff we’ve got planned for the app and yeah, some podcast idea stuff. I’m always, I don’t know if you feel this, but I’m always like, I’ve got to write. I’ve got to write, I’ve got to write, I’ve got to write the next book or whatever. But I’m in that process of not quite knowing what it is or what is the next thing. Well, and I’m also just learning how to be a parent and a human and a business owner and all those things so it’s been a wild ride but really full of a lot of joy and a lot of sweetness.
CB: Yeah, you found your life purpose and you’re doing it. That’s been so amazing to see your rise as an astrologer and all the things that you’ve done over the past decade has been really cool. And I think everybody in our generation has had that experience of just watching the other astrologers in our generation have success and find themselves and find their place in the world. And especially with you, I can think of no better example that everybody just universally has that feeling of like, oh, that’s so great. That makes sense also. Because nobody’s surprised, everyone’s like, “Yeah, that makes sense Chani found her place and is flourishing.” And that’s what we all kind of expected, but to actually see it happen has been really heartening over the past decade.
CN: That’s so sweet, Chris, thank you. I’m also going to [pft pft pft] extra, evil eye, Jewish about it but thank you. [laughs]
CB: Yeah. All right. Well, thanks a lot for joining me for this episode today, this was really great and I appreciate it.
CN: Thank you. Thank you for having me. Can’t wait to come back.
CB: For sure. All right. Thanks, everyone, for watching or listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast and we’ll see you again next time.
Special thanks to all the patrons that helped to support the production of this episode of the podcast through our page on patreon.com. In particular, shoutout to the patrons on our Producers tier, including Thomas Miller, Catherine Conroy, Kristi Moe, Ariana Amour, Mandi Rae, Angelic Nambo, Issa Sabah, Jake Otero, Mimi Stargazer, and Jeanne Marie Kaplan. If you appreciate the work I’m doing here on the podcast and you’d like to find a way to support it, then please consider becoming a patron through our page on patreon.com. In exchange, you can get access to bonus content that’s only available to patrons of the podcast, such as early access to new episodes, the ability to attend the live recording of the monthly forecast episodes, our monthly Auspicious Elections Podcast or another exclusive podcast series called The Casual Astrology Podcast, or you can even get your name listed in the credits at the end of each episode. For more information visit patreon.com/astrologypodcast.
If you’re looking to get an astrological consultation, we have a list of recommended astrologers at theastrologypodcast.com/consultations. The astrologers on the list are friends of the podcast that have been featured in different episodes over the years, and they have different specialties such as natal astrology, electional astrology, synastry, rectification, or horary astrology. You can get a 10% discount when you book a consultation with one of the astrologers on our list by using the promo code ASTROLOGYPODCAST.
The astrology software that we use and recommend here on the podcast is called Solar Fire for Windows, which is available for the PC at Alabe.com. Use the promo code AP15 to get a 15% discount. For Mac users, we recommend a software program called Astro Gold for Mac OS, which is from the creators of Solar Fire for PC and it includes both modern and traditional techniques. You can find out more information at astrogold.io, and you can use the promo code ASTROPODCAST15 to get a 15% discount.
If you’d like to learn more about my approach to astrology, then I’d recommend checking out my book titled Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune where I go over the history, philosophy, and techniques of ancient astrology, taking people from beginner up through intermediate and advanced techniques for reading birth charts. You can get a print copy of the book through Amazon or other online retailers, or there’s an ebook version available through Google Books.
If you’re really looking to expand your studies of astrology then I would recommend my Hellenistic astrology course, which is an online course on ancient astrology where I take people through basic concepts up through intermediate and advanced techniques for reading birth charts. There’s over 100 hours of video lectures as well as guided readings of ancient texts, and by the time you finish the course, you will have a strong foundation on how to read birth charts as well as make predictions. You can find out more information at courses.theastrologyschool.com.
And finally, thanks to our sponsors, including The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, which is a quarterly astrology magazine which you can read in print or online at mountainastrologer.com.