WHY IS MAINSTREAM ASTROLOGY SO WHITE?

When Adama Sesay of Lilith Astrology enquired about writing for The Numinous, she also came with this question: so we asked her to share her views on why mainstream astrology is so white …

Photo: Alice Pollet

I’ve asked myself this question since I’ve started working professionally in this esoteric community. Why are there so few people of color in the mainstream new age movement? And not just in the astrological space—this is a conversation that’s being had across various modalities; most notably in Yoga. And while things are getting better, I believe we still have work to do.

After graduating college, I began working for beauty brands managing digital marketing in New York City. Having loved astrology since a young age, this affinity with all things cosmic intensified during my Saturn Return, and led me to shift gears. Wanted to get out of the city and experience the west coast, I moved to Portland, Oregon and begin working for a well-known Astrology and Tarot website. Looking back, I can see now that what felt like a career curveball was the Universe’s way of introducing me my life path. After all, I didn’t grow up thinking that astrology was something I would do professionally.

Inspired by my time working for this site, I felt a calling to continue my studies, so I enrolled in a series of astrology classes to solidify my knowledge. Fast-forward to today, I founded Lilith Astrology in January 2019.

I see astrology as a way to empower my clients. Understanding your birth chart means unlocking the keys to your life and why you were put on this earth. Based back in New York City, I work specifically with womxn as I feel that all feminine identifying individuals need whatever additional validation we can get in a society still doesn’t see us as equal to men. I also happen to be a 1st house Lilith in Leo—my self-expression ruled by the disruptive and unapologetic divine feminine archetype in the zodiac. But it was when I began to look for opportunities to contribute astrological content to media outlets and I noticed a trend—a consistent lack of diversity and representation.

Which lead me to my question: why is mainstream astrology so white?

I don’t believe the answer lies in pointing blame, or saying it’s racism or discrimination. To me, it points to a lack of awareness. Throughout my career in corporate, I noticed that managers tended to hire people they could relate to, or who they knew through external connections. Most of the time, these networks were comprised of the same ethnicity or race. Entire brand departments would therefore lean more towards one ethnicity, and, as a result, the marketing campaigns and creative they produced would also mainly feature one race.

This is nothing new in America! But, as astrology becomes more mainstream, I see a similar thing happening with what is supposed to be a spiritual and inclusive modality. A practice that helps us see beyond the external and foster an understanding of who we are at soul level. The majority of mainstream outlets (not all) feature mainly white astrologers, while the few “ethnic” verticals include astrologers of color.

As a Scorpio Sun, Mercury and Pluto, I see it as part of my mission to transform this pattern of separation and segregation, and bring visibility to the eclectic mix of astrologers that are flying under the mainstream radar. I believe that the best way to ensure the growth of diversity in astrology (and in the larger world) is through talking about this issue, creating opportunities for astrologers of color, and encouraging mindful inclusion in mainstream media outlets.

YouTube (of course) has helped me discover a plethora of diverse astrologers, practicing both Western to Vedic astrology. Some I have been particularly inspired by include, The Peace Dealer whose Lilith series was one of the inspirations for the name of my own astrology brand. True Brilliance is sheer genius in the way she incorporates mythology into her interpretations. KRSChannel is a widely followed Vedic astrologer who makes the topic easy to digest, dynamic and extremely interesting.

Adama Sesay of Lilith Astrology

My favorite though is the lovely Nadiya Shah. As a seasoned cosmic veteran, she remembers a time when it was only her and black astrologer Samuel Reynolds representing diversity at the NORWAC conference (one of the biggest meetups for professional astrologers). When we spoke, she told me that attending in 2019 as a speaker, she found it extremely refreshing to see a more diverse group than usual, comprised mostly of millennials.

She believes this is partly because younger generations have grown up with a more diverse outlook, so as more millennials and Gen Z’s discover astrology for themselves, we will naturally see an increase in diversity in the space. Nadiya told me, “The world is diverse! I believe that the more individuals who do what is true for them, the more it gives others permission to do that as well. You can’t have Astrology without the Astrologer—and so it’s important to have a diversity of voices and backgrounds represented.”

This has a lot to do with the Pluto in Scorpio generation, born November 1983 – November 1995, coming of age. We have been put on this earth to deconstruct, remove and transform the current systems and structures in our current society. With Pluto in its home sign, we are an extremely powerful group—the first generation with this placement in our charts in over 200 years! Millennials are now just coming into astrological adulthood (post-Saturn return) so now we will begin to see how this energy will manifest.

There are a couple more Pluto in Scorpio Astrologers of color that I love and also want to mention. I recently discovered Corey Randle, a.k.a. The Water Bearer’s Tea. He adds dash of sass and humor to his spiritual enlightenment and guidance that brings me so much joy. The lovely Mecca Woods also brightens up my Instagram feed with her fun-filled and playful take on Astrology.

My goal with speaking out on this issue is to raise awareness and encourage the inclusion of more astrologers of color. To challenge the mainstream media outlets to become more mindful in their discovery and inclusion of more diverse and alternative astrologers. And, not least because the practice of readers of different ethnicities, races, and expressions of gender and sexuality, will have been shaped by their often-marginalized experiences of being human—helping to create a more inclusive, and healing, astrological landscape overall.

Discover more about Adama Sesay and her work at LilithAstrology.com or follow her on Instagram @LilithAstrology

THE NUMEROLOGY OF 12/12

The numerology of 12/12 is a portal to cultivate awareness of how we show up in relationships, says Felicia BenderArtwork: Giulia Bersani

In Numerology, when we experience repeating number patterns it brings meaning and influence. It sets up a certain “vibe” or portal of energy from which to operate on a more evolved and optimal level.

The date 12/12 is no exception.

This combination is an intriguing mix because the energy of the 1 is focused on you—your independence and individuality. While the energy of the 2 brings in the need and desire for partnership, connection, and unity.

The numerology of 12/12 offers the energy to contemplate and make solid changes with how you show up for your relationships. And even if you’re resistant to making changes in this area, this number combination will force your hand. Often a transformation will be driven by forces you consider outside of your immediate control.

The numerology of 12/12 also offers a new start in some sort of relationship—or relationships—in your life. Business, intimate, family, or friends. 12/12 is bringing a frequency of change that focuses on relationships.

The number 1 is all about understanding your sense of yourself as an independent entity and the number 2 focuses on your relationship both with yourself and with others—so the numerology of 12/12 also has walks the path between yin and yang, masculine and feminine. And the harmonizing of the two within yourself and within your world.

So while this day offers a portal of energy encouraging dynamic transformation within one or more of your key relationships, it also reminds us to define healthy boundaries while also asking for and accepting the loving support of others. It’s a delicate balance to be sure, and yet a vital and expansive opportunity for us if we’re open to starting something new and different in the relationship realm.

:: 3 Ways to Optimize the Vibe of 12/12 ::

Get Real. As Dr. Phil might say: “And how’s that workin’ for ya’?” Ask yourself this question about your key relationships and lay yourself bare in your openness to the answer.

Take Action. The number 1 is not about contemplation, it thrives with action. Don’t think about it for too long. Forgo analysis paralysis and do what needs to be done.

Expose Your Heart. The number 2 is all about love, diplomacy, and emotional acuity. The danger is in folding yourself into others’ expectations and losing yourself in the process. So do evaluate your next move with love and compassion. Both toward yourself and toward others.

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: MELINDA LEE HOLM

With her custom jewelry prescriptions, Melinda Lee Holm combines her twin passions for crystals and the Tarot—with the wider mission of awakening her clients to a life of personal evolution…

The Numinous: What card and stone best represent your current life #goals? 
Melinda Lee Holm: The Empress and Pyrite. The Empress rules over a richly abundant world that she has created for herself by caring for everything around her with love and encouragement. She is the giver and the protector of life and she revels in her gifts by beaming love out all around her. I dressed as The Empress for Halloween this year, and am focused on actively working to embody her to create a world where we are all loved and treasured for our gifts and we are all safe and cared for.

This election threw me into despair and leaning harder into The Empress is helping to guide me as I step up to act to protect the rights and safety of women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, Muslims and the poor. And Pyrite is the gas to fuel this action. It supplies confidence, willpower, and motivation and it enhances our innate powers of manifestation. I invite everyone to print out a picture of The Empress and place her in your home as an inspiration and carry a piece of Pyrite!

TN: What came first, jewelry or Tarot, and when did you first combine the two? 
MLH: Tarot came first. I grew up in suburban MN and I was 13 when I got my first deck (the Thoth deck), the accompanying book, and a book on witchcraft. It changed my life. When I started doing readings for myself alone in my bedroom, I remember having this immediate access to a meditative, connected state. I would close my eyes and focus on visualizing white light shooting from my third eye and would be physically rocked by the sensation of being flooded with this magical connection. Looking back, I see baby me doing these vibration-raising rituals and I am so proud of that kid. I had a pretty rough childhood and finding this solace helped me survive with my soul intact.

20 years later I had a friend suffer a sudden and tragic loss. I went to my cards seeking guidance on how to help and as I turned over the cards, a strong aesthetic theme emerged. I felt called to make a necklace with natural stones in colors and numbers corresponding to the cards, and with energies for emotional healing and spiritual connection. As it turned out the colors and numbers were favorites of the loved one who had passed. It was incredibly moving. I knew it was the beginning of something great.

TN: Why does every modern woman need a talisman? 
MLH: Because self-adornment is an ancient sacred act. By wearing a talisman, we connect to our lineage of ancestors who adorned and anointed themselves with oils, scents, clothing, and jewelry imbued with magical power and purpose. In our contemporary culture, we are removed from this process and instead offered mass-produced items we have little to no energetic connection with. Wearing a personal talisman is a silent yet radical act of self-assertion and reconnection with the earth and with our ancestors.

TN: What themes are most common among your clients, and what stones do you use to address them? 
MLH: The culture we live in means there are a lot of blockages around communication and balancing work and play, especially for women. So I often use Aquamarine to open clear communication with oneself and others and to soothe anxiety, Green Tourmaline to re-connect with the heart, and Garnet to ignite a passion for building dreams in a realistic, grounded manner.

I also work a lot on balancing the elements, which isn’t something I set out to do. For example, if someone has a ton of Fire and Water going on, but little Earth or Air, they are likely to feel exhausted from a lack of grounding, and frustrated and possibly even despairing that their message is being misunderstood. In this case, I would pay close attention to the elemental attributes of stones. There are so many levels to a reading. It’s what makes my work incredibly interesting and fulfilling.

TN: What’s your favorite way to cleanse and charge your crystals? 
MLH: I’m a huge fan of Selenite, a purifier and spiritual activator that I find to be extremely effective. I have big slabs of it in my studio and every jewelry piece I make gets a nap on the Selenite before it goes home. I also keep a piece with my personal jewelry. My pieces are also blessed with Palo Santo as I ask them to work with the client’s guides, angels, and ancestors to carry their energy to where it is most needed.

For my personal collection of crystals, I do a water rinse once a month on the Full Moon and then roll the cart (it’s a big collection!) over to the window to soak in the moonlight overnight. I also give them a really good smudge when I do my weekly house cleansing.

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
I’m living for everything Michele Alessandro makes for Gucci. If I could buy it all I would, but instead I admire it from afar and buy vintage. I’m crazy about vintage clothing for stylistic and environmental reasons.

Gucci AW16

My shoes
Oxfords and sneakers. I’m tall, I have foot issues, and I’m a HUGE fan of a butch shoe look.

Saint Laurent sneakers, $595, Net-a-porter.

My fragrance
Tea rose oil – opens the heart and smells amazing.

Tea Rose Oil, from $14, Body Time.

My jewels
I’m constantly making myself things depending on what I’m feeling, but I always wear the gold Sigil necklace from my collection, piles of rings, and a piece of Black Tourmaline somewhere to keep my energetic field clear.

Sigal necklace, from $175, Melinda Lee Holm.

My pampering
A soak, a scrub, and a hot stone bibimbap at the Korean spa.

My home
A purple house filled with crystals, art, music, and animals in beautiful Los Angeles.

My food
All of it. Everything. I love food. That hot stone bibimbap at the spa may be my favorite, but it would be really hard to choose.

 

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening 
It’s ongoing. I think we all need to focus on being in a state of constant spiritual awakening until we’re dead. Not doing so assumes we’ve gotten as close as we can or as we care to the Divine. I’m greedy. I want as much expansion and evolution as I can get in this lifetime.

My sign
Cancer Sun, Virgo Ascendant, Taurus Moon, year of the Fire Snake.

My mantra
“This time will pass”—it works to soothe during the lows, and as a reminder to really be present and soak in the highs. It relates very closely to the Wheel of Fortune card, which offers an additional comfort of being looked after by the Universe.

My healer
As with all of us, ultimately myself—with and assistance from guides here on Earth and in the Spirit realm.

My reading
I always go back to Angela Davis, Joseph Campbell, and many, many metaphysical texts.

My mission
To empower and inspire as many people as I can to commit to a life of constant personal evolution.

Discover more about Melinda Lee Holm and her work, and schedule a Prescription Adornments consultation at Melindaleeholm.com

AQUARIAN ALCHEMY: NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NOW AGE

In the Age of Aquarius, your New Year resolutions are about accepting your role in working towards a new Earth, says Fern Olivia. Artwork: Christine Belanger

“The Age of Aquarius will be the Age of experience, in which people of experience will be liked, respected, worshipped, talked to, and understood.” – Yogi Bhajan, Sensory System of the Aquarian Age, August 1, 2000

The Earth rotates on an axis and the line going through the center of the earth has a slight wobble to it, which happens about once every 24,000 years. “This cycle has been broken into 12 parts associated with the 12 astrological signs, based on which constellation the axis is wobbling towards. From 0 A.D. to the present we have been in the Age of Pisces. For the next 2000 years we will be in the Aquarian Age. We have been in the transition from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age for the last 50 years. The official beginning of the Aquarian Age is November 11, 2011.” – 3HO

And every person on planet Earth has been and will be affected by this shift.

So what does this mean for us and our New Year resolutions, Numinous beings?

During this time, our life lessons and assignments will test the development of our sensory system, which essentially is the development of our creative self. As my teacher Guru Jagat explains it, to connect to “the sublime sensory self concept” in the Aquarian Age, we need to fully understand both our abilities and our strengths.

Think about the sensory system as an open circuit; open enough to circulate energy through it and experience the world. Being “open” allows us to move through the world in an inspired way, but also as a Warrior Saint – so we’re not just being open and loving, but living with the conscious intention to be brave and stand in our highest truth.

Seen in this way, the Aquarian Age is asking us to lead and inspire and develop ourselves in a way that will blaze a trail for the next evolution of humankind. And having been birthed at this moment in time makes this our divine destiny.

As such, we have all been given assignments of the Aquarian Age, designed to help make our lives more easeful. Accept these assignments, and we will excel in our work and our relationships, and manifest everything meant for our destiny, so we can play our part in healing the suffering on this planet.

In my work with clients on lifestyle design and conscious communication, I have noticed three main assignments that keep showing up. I’ve also accepted these assignments in my own life and have done years of work – deep introspection, kundalini yoga, and meditation – to strengthen my sensory system and radiant body.

The result: Magic. Miracles. Manifestation.

The sooner we all recognize these lessons and stop the patterns of self-sabotage that may have been deeply engrained in our subconscious, perhaps even handed down through our lineage, we can move forward and live a beautifully radiant, Numinous life.

:: THREE KEY ASSIGNMENTS FOR THE AQUARIAN AGE ::

1) Embracing Self Love, Self Worth, and Self Respect
“The fact is, there is nothing more beautiful, more worthy, or more conscious than you. The time has come for self-value. And the question is not: ‘To be or not to be.’ The statement is: ‘To be, to be.’ ‘I am, I AM.’ – Yogi Bhajan

For years, I struggled with an autoimmune hypothyroid condition that resulted in chronic fogginess, weight gain, puffiness and all-over yuckiness – and as a result, felt broken, unsexy, unworthy, and insecure in my relationships and in my career.

Finally, my mentors and dear friends Elena Brower and Donnalynn Civello asked me: “Why are you sabotaging yourself? You are pure light. If only YOU could see you like everyone else sees you.”

BOOM. That hit home for me. I realized I had to stop giving up my power by calling myself “broken” and acting “insecure.”

In any situation, we have the ability to respond in two ways.

A. With fear, judgement, and self-doubt
B. With self-love, self-worth, and fearless creative expression

We absolutely need to choose the latter.

It is our responsibility (ability to respond) to show up and step up, to open ourselves up to receiving abundance and prosperity (pro spirit – living in alignment with our spirit). We can only live in this way when we fully accept ourselves and get out of our own way.

It is our responsibility to this planet.

2) Living with Integrity and Authenticity
“Those who hustle and hassle and move and want will suffer. They will not get what they want. Now the time has come that we will have a meditative mind to wait and see what comes to us. Our minds will direct us to work toward the right channels. And we will meet the right people.” – Yogi Bhajan

Our work will thrive when we are in alignment with our divine truth. When we lead with our purpose, our dharma, inspiring people, positive experiences, and abundant wealth will naturally flow to us.

I learned this lesson when I was working in finance and my health was suffering, as my Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid symptoms were at their peak. I felt like a zombie sleepwalking in a life that wasn’t mine. It was a low vibration situation, and the people I attracted in my life were on a similar path – everyone around me complained about the hamster wheel they were on, yet no one was consciously leaping off.

I knew I had a bigger purpose on this planet than entering data into spreadsheets, and I was ready to change; I was fed up with the constant complaining, the toxic, superficial conversations, and widespread scarcity mindset.

When I left my corporate career and began my spiritual path as a healer, I found the transition to be easeful and seamless. Everyone around me was utterly shocked – but I was not surprised. I have been guided by my intuition, so it feels natural that opportunities just seem to magically show up around me. I have a daily meditation practice where I don’t simply silence my mind. Instead, I listen, I download information that guides me on my path and leads me to prosperity. I am guided.

We all are.

When it feels like we are continuously hitting walls, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves whether we are truly doing what feels authentic. Anytime the answer is “no” (be honest!) we must re-evaluate our situation and project forward with integrity.

When we recognize patterns of jealousy, competition and scarcity, we immediately acknowledge these feelings with the ability to reprogram our thoughts, shifting to compassion and gratitude.

When we lead our lives with truth and dignity, the Universe shows up with offerings of wealth and abundance. We no longer have to be victim to the scarcity mindset that there will never be enough. There is always enough for those who are doing spiritual work, for those living in alignment with their true purpose.

In the Aquarian Age, it can be no other way.

3) Communication and Self-Expression in Relationships
“We will master ourselves through our service, through our character, through our commitment, and through the most powerful thing that we have—our grace. Our individual grace is the most wanted quality today. And our projection, which will give us satisfaction, fulfillment, and exaltation, is our nobility. We will act nobly, graciously, kindly, and compassionately. These are our essential features.” – Yogi Bhajan

Being a Sensory Human in the Aquarian Age will affect all of our personal and professional relationships. In this Age, we are tested to recognize patterns of co-dependency, insecurity, and mistrust.

For six years, I was in a relationship with a man whom I loved very deeply, but our relationship could not work because we weren’t evolving together and I found myself scared to speak up and communicate what I needed in the relationship.

I never told him how I was feeling, or how his words or actions hurt me, until finally they weighed me down so much that my body got very, very sick. Why? I was simply too scared to speak up. Frightened to the point where I would sacrifice my own needs because I didn’t want to risk rejection, judgment, or an argument.

The fear of asking for what I needed in relationships, essentially holding my fear inside, brought stress to my whole glandular system, and when I don’t release that stress by speaking freely, the blockages bring up my autoimmune hypothyroid symptoms.

I thought I had a pattern dating “emotionally unavailable” men. It was not them who were unavailable, however. It was my OWN voice, which I was too afraid to speak. I never asked for what I wanted – when it came to intimacy, emotional support, or simply what I needed in order to feel heard and loved.

Energetically we are so aligned with our emotions that our physical bodies can either hurt or heal depending how we are living our life. Just think about how chronic stress can affect our health. The same concept holds true for the inability to express ourselves – creatively in our work, honesty with our business partners or clients, or in our relationships.

When Sensory Human beings meet, the attraction is timeless, limitless, and forever. Relationships that will thrive in the Aquarian Age are productive and free of guilt. These are relationships formed and sustained with sincerity, with conscious communication, with integrity.

Our work in the Aquarian Age is deep.

We must remember our worth, our responsibility to our integrity, and communicate consciously with all we come into contact with.

And as we strengthen our sensory system, our full expression of our creative self, we can ease the suffering on this planet. So we create a new society, a new humanity that is filled with love instead of fear. Ease instead of worry. Abundance instead of scarcity.

Connect with Fern Olivia and receive your Radiance Blueprint, a guided meditation journey at FernOlivia.com

COMING OUT OF THE SPIRITUAL CLOSET

Sushma Sagar pursued a high powered career in fashion, but always practiced reiki on the side. She shares how she finally found herself coming out of the spiritual closet at work.

 

“I’m a closet hippie” I used to jest to my close friends. “She’s doing her witchy stuff again” they would say, all tongue in cheek, making a silly joke. It was no joke.

I’ve been practicing reiki healing on the sly for around 16 years, and only now do I feel like I can admit it freely. It’s not the middle ages, I’m not going to get burned at the stake, so why has it taken so long to come out?

Of course you must always look back to look forward. As a kid, I played with the other children and got along just okay, but was always a bit on the outside. A little misfit who would hang around with other misfits to fit in. Fitting in, being what you thought others wanted, was what you did. A child of Indian doctor immigrants, with success and achievement drilled into us from an early age, assimilation was the most important thing.

Childhood passions were quashed one by one – dance, theatre, art, textiles- and I grew up to find myself working in marketing for well-known fashion brands like Diesel, Ted Baker and Ben Sherman. It was fiercely competitive, and as for fitting in…well that goes without saying. I was so desperate to prove myself and to get along, shape shifting became natural.

But quietly, outside of work, I was developing other interests. The catalyst of heartbreak saw me visit a healer who used acupuncture and reiki to calm my heart and make me smile, when I believed I could not. Astonished and intrigued, before I knew it I had done a course and had been initiated into this, then secret, world.

And as anyone who’s experienced their reiki initiation will know, once on the path, it slowly changes you; your trajectory shifts and, whether you want to or not, you move towards your personal truth. As did I…but on the weekends only!

So my double life continued. By day, corporate world, shallow dreams, and fickle desires. On evenings and weekends, I was back to my private world, filled with magic, loving energy, and heart opening activities. As far as I was concerned these worlds were mutually exclusive, and I felt more comfortable keeping them that way too.

But then holistic therapies began to gain interest; LA’s healthy living and New Age thinking was becoming popular in London. Celebrities and their holistic entourage were being reported in the press, spa and yoga retreats were all the rage. I ploughed on, reading and practicing until I finally completed my master reiki training. Simultaneously, my corporate life was also going from strength to strength.

And all around me, I could feel attitudes changing, judgments becoming less harsh, and ideas about “alternative” healing finally entering the mainstream. By now I had also joined a wonderful fashion brand, that celebrated interesting women. And yet still I didn’t let on to anyone about my “interesting” side.

But then, heartbreak yet again, and some serious healing was needed. I called in the big guns and found a shamanic practitioner in London. Together we journeyed back in time, healed some karmic contracts and made my soul whole again. Delighted, I trained with him to learn these skills for myself. As a result, I now felt so fully and completely me, that hiding “myself” seemed impossible.

Life was improving fast now on every level. My heart was healing after all I’d come through romantically, and I felt whole, settled and happy in my skin. I got promoted at work, felt inspired again, and began working on all the creative side projects I’d been afraid of starting.

The last piece of the puzzle was to find a way to bring my two separate worlds together. To cause a synthesis of my spiritual self and my life in the fashion world – something I’d never felt a need to do until now.

Then, when I was invited to give reiki taster sessions to professional women on a retreat hosted by a friend, the fact I understood their life turned out to be an empathetic advantage. I realized you can have one foot in the material and one in the spiritual!

Monday morning at the office following the retreat, the conversation began as usual: “so what did you do last night?” asked my boss. Me: “OH, I did a healing exchange, I gave a friend some reiki and he did some energy work on my knee.” “You do reiki?” she cried, “That’s amazing, you never said.” Me: “Didn’t I? I’ve been doing it for years, I must have mentioned it. Anyway about that budget…”

And just like that, I came out the spiritual closet. I haven’t looked back.

To book a shamanic reiki session with Sushma contact [email protected]l.com

How did you come out of the spiritual closet? Share in the comments below!