In times as uncertain as these, more and more people are turning to the stars for guidance. As such, astrology is entering our lives every day via apps, memes, and social media accounts. When something goes wrong, we know to blame it on Mercury being in retrograde; when contemplating the best time to ask for a pay rise, we might first consult the planetary alignments; and when it comes to choosing a mate, who hasn’t run a background check on them through some kind of compatibility website?
“Today, astrology has not only become a channel for control and certainty, but also a means to create ritual and rhythm in an otherwise monotonous, disruptive period,” says Sarah Owen, senior insight strategist at trend forecasters WGSN. “It also provides gen Z and millennials with alternate ways to further understand themselves and their place in a mystifying and insecure world.”
Of course, we’ve come a long way since the days of Mystic Meg—the purple cape-wearing, crystal ball-wielding soothsayer who had a regular column in the now-defunct British tabloid News of the World. In 2020, horoscopes are a lot less smoke and mirrors—there are no crystal balls for the modern-day astrologer. But with so many out there, it can be hard to know who to tie your fate to.
To give you a guiding hand at navigating 2021, we’ve rounded up some of the best names in astrology to follow on Instagram now.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Didi Daze’s interest in the stars was first piqued after coming across a book on the Aquarius archetype when he was just eight. Fast forward to today and Daze, 21, has built up a big online following, easing beginners in with his viral content and pop aesthetic.
Kesaine Walker, 35, first got into astrology in her teens in Jamaica. It wasn’t until she moved to New York, however, that she began to take her studies seriously. An energy healer too, Walker’s practice is centred around identifying current planetary aspects that may be holding clients back, and how this relates to their chakras. “I use astrology to enhance my spiritual insights.”
After experimenting with different forms of witchcraft and brujaría in her teens, Marissa Malik started taking astrology seriously as she reached her twenties. Since then, the London-based DJ, music producer, and now astrologer, 26, has been sharing her celestial wisdom through platforms such as Gal-Dem and Sanctuary World. “It can be difficult as a queer person of colour to find your own way in spirituality, and astrology has wound up being the keystone I always needed,” she says. Reinterpreting the cosmos for her millennial fanbase, Malik doesn’t shy away from politics, often finding ways to weave in her socio-political beliefs into her work.
Randon Rosenbohm, 27, first encountered astrology via the horoscopes page in TheTimes-Picayune, in New Orleans, and later through the compatibility tool on the now-defunct gURL.com. Since then, Rosenbohm has buried herself in ancient texts seeking deeper knowledge surrounding the history of astrology. Currently based in Berlin, today Rosenbohm writes horoscopes for Vice. “Astrology, like faith, is mysterious. I don't pretend to know how or why it works. I'm OK with admitting that I don't always have answers.”
Inspired by the work of Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado, Sonia Ortiz, 39, has always been interested in the stars. “I like to view astrology as a wireframe or evolving plan that is never complete and ever-changing,” she says. “Yes, you have a base for your sun, moon, and rising sign, as well as the houses they correspond to, but that is really just scratching the surface. You also have aspects and transits, which are combinations of planets and signs that give you context clues on how to make decisions.”
Gary D McCrear, 31, first got into astrology the way most people do: he was in need of some spiritual guidance. As a queer Black man, growing up in a deeply devout southern family brought with it more than its fair share of challenges. “Astrology came into my life to help me better understand myself, my power and how I could best use it to overcome some of my demons and keep me as grounded as possible as I grew up,” he says. In turn, for the past four years, McCrear has been channelling his efforts into helping others find their own paths.
Leona Moon’s first foray into astrology was through an editorial position at a local newspaper in San Francisco, where she was allowed to write a weekly horoscope. “I started studying astrology and learned more about birth charts and instantly felt seen,” she recalls. “I recognised the profound ability to help others and myself through astrology and have continued ever since.” Motivated by a desire to make astrology accessible, Moon, 31, is best known for her witty memes and pop culture references.
Los Angeles-based Chani Nicholas, 45, had her first astrological reading aged 12, in Canada. “I felt witnessed in a way I never had before and the experience marked me for life,” she says. Since then, she’s been guiding her community, which includes Lizzo and Jane Fonda, via her horoscopes, live shows, private readings and best-selling book You Were Born For This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance (Yellow Kite).
Born in Mexico City, Narayana Montúfar, 41, moved to San Francisco 14 years ago where she landed an editorial position at Horoscope.com. After taking classes in astrology, numerology, crystals and psychic energy, she began doing readings for clients, eventually moving to Astrology.com where she is a senior astrologer and editor. In her readings, Montúfar combines different schools of astrology such as Hellenistic, modern, Vedic, Mayan and shamanism.
Albe Toribio, 23, comes from a long line of occultists. As a queer, differently abled Mexican immigrant living in New York, it was in the world of astrology that Toribio finally found his home. “I'm always happy to share stories about my life through an astrological lens,” he says. “I give people a heads-up on the astrological weather and help them navigate whatever crazy thing the world is ready to spill next.”
Phoenix-born Renee Watt, 33, began her astrology journey about four years ago, after dabbling in various forms of witchcraft. Forced to rebuild her life after a painful divorce and overcoming her battle with addiction, it was astrology that got her through it. In turn, it is these personal experiences that make her the astrologer she is today. “The thing that makes every reader stand out is their personality and view of the world,” she says.
Growing up in a new-age family in Manhattan (she comes from a long line of Kabbalistic healers), Stardust, 40, has always been interested in the occult. A typical air sign, Stardust likes to make astrology accessible to everyone, often encouraging her clients to decode their own birth charts and astrological transits. She also writes horoscopes for Teen Vogue, to which she adds her trademark humour and wit. “Astrology doesn’t have to be complicated,” she says. “It’s a tool to understand yourself better, so have fun with it.”
A long-time occultist, Kelly, 31, entered the professional realm of astrology seven years ago after launching her celestial dating app, Align. “Astrology is a transformative tool,” says the New York native. “Against the backdrop of the universe, we have enough perspective to see ourselves fully and completely.” She is currently working on her first book, This Is Your Destiny, due autumn 2021.
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Vogue Italia dedicated their May 2021 edition to astrology, the 12 covers feature 12 models interpreting the 12 zodiac signs, all wearing the same look from CHANEL Métiers d’Art Pre Fall 2021 collection. Fashion photographer Oliver Hadlee Pearch captured the covers featuring models Greta Elisa Hofer, Selena Forrest, Amar Akway, Caren Jepkemei, Maty Fall, Anna Ewers, Rebecca Longendyke, Quinn Mora, Loli Bahia, Grace Hartzel, Jill Kortleve, Miriam Sanchez, and Sora Choi. In charge of styling was Charlotte Collet, with creative direction from Ferdinando Verderi, set design by Jean-Michel Bertin, and casting direction by Piergiorgio Del Moro and Samuel Ellis Scheinman. Beauty is work of hair stylist Cyndia Harvey, makeup artist Lucia Pica, and manicurist Anatole Rainey.
In the May Issue of Vogue Italia, we’ve tried to understand why, for many people and at this particular time, there’s a growing desire for the irrational and the mysterious, for holistic practices and alternative beliefs. We asked ourselves what has sparked the grand return of astrology, the unexpected queen of social media. Accordingly, we have written about new rituals and old superstitions, magical numbers, illustrated books and NFT zodiacs, TikTok gurus, philosophers and artists. But most of all we’ve played, starting with our 12 covers, one for each sign of the zodiac. Because this issue is dedicated to everyone who believes in such things. To all those who don’t believe, but never say never. And to anyone who needed to hear that the stars are promising a period of joy, light-heartedness and renewal: it’s going to be summer for everyone. – Emanuele Farneti
Photography by © Oliver Hadlee Pearch for Vogue Italia, discover more at vogue.it
Considering how tumultuous 2020 has been, it’s no wonder so many of us are eagerly looking to the stars for reassurance. Luckily, fashion’s favorite astrologer Susan Miller is feeling positive about 2021. “We will emerge stronger, having gone through this,” she tells Vogue over the phone from her Manhattan home. “We’ll start the rebuilding process.”
Miller, who recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of her website Astrology Zone, has had a difficult few months, undergoing a vital eye operation in November. “It was a real writer's nightmare—I couldn't see my screen,” she says. Despite this, the astrologer has battled on, continuing to write a remarkable 45,000 words every month. “I love my readers so much,” Miller says of her commitment to her job. “I know they depend on me.”
In fact, Miller writes every single day, weekends included, to complete all her columns (including for Vogue Japan) as well as relaunching her astrology app this year. “That's the hard, unglamorous part of this,” she explains. Still, she has managed to carve out some time for herself while quarantining in New York. “I've become Marie Kondo — I’m cleaning closets, the kitchen’s finished, I'm working on my bedroom,” she says. “I’d love to redecorate, but not in a pandemic.”
Here, we catch up with legendary astrologer Susan Miller about why more people are turning to the stars, her predictions for 2021, and her long list of celebrity fans that call her for advice.
Astrologically speaking, were there any signs that 2020 would be such a difficult year?
“The Saturn-Pluto conjunction was something we were worried about because it can signal abuse of power. I didn't see the pandemic coming because I didn't look for it; I had no idea that something like this could happen. When Jupiter and Pluto come together as they did on 4 April, it normally signals prosperity — I didn't know that Pluto also rules viruses. Jupiter also has the effect of expanding anything it touches.
“When I looked up the horoscope for the Spanish Flu pandemic and saw that Jupiter and Pluto were conjunct in 1918, I almost fell off the couch! There was a big outbreak of yellow fever in 1795, and Jupiter and Pluto were also together for that. But I don't want people to think that every time Jupiter and Pluto get together, we're going to have a virus.”
What are your predictions for 2021?
“I think we’re going to be OK after 12 January—by then, Jupiter and Pluto will be further than eight degrees apart. It also happens to be a new moon in Aquarius, which rules all of us. There’s also a grand mutation on 21 December 2020. Every 20 years, Jupiter meets with Saturn; this is very important because it influences the arts, music and entertainment, fashion, the values of the time. Every time they’ve met in the past 200 years, apart from one exception, they’ve met in an Earth sign—this time they're going to meet in Aquarius, which is an air sign.
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