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Chani Nicholas on Her New Book, Horoscopes as Self-Care, and the Universe’s Radical Truths

I first encountered Chani Nicholas’ horoscopes online during a mentally draining day job. While other astrologers prophesied the doom and gloom of an upcoming eclipse, Nicholas wrote with a clarity that cut to the core. She didn’t catastrophize about what the lunar event would mean; she seemed to have a sense of calm. With the right preparation, it would be OK.

Here was a writer who spoke to readers not to frighten them, but to empower them. “The nature of eclipse season is rapid endings and beginnings,” she wrote at the time. “Openings and closings. Release and renewal. Shadow and light.”

“The unknown is revealed and we might not always be ready to incorporate the information,” she continued. “But eclipses don’t wait for us to be ready. They ready us whether we like it or not.”

So when I learned within hours of that scheduled eclipse that my position at work had been eliminated, I wasn’t surprised. My bosses offered me the option of a lateral move to a different department or severance. I remembered what Nicholas had written, took a leap of faith, and left. I didn’t need to react to the universe’s whims from a place of terror, Nicholas seemed to advise. So I didn’t.

Nicholas was exposed to the planets as a child; she received her first astrological reading at age 12. The medium encouraged her to explore new sides of herself. As a child raised with “a lot of different parental setups,” Nicholas explains to me now that she found horoscopes at a moment when she was “yearning for something to be in conversation with me about who I was or what my potential might be.” Over time, the medium became something that, as she puts it, “was like a parent to me or became a really good friend.”

Chani Nicholas published her first book in January 2020.

HarperOne

Her interest in the stars grew as she got older. She became an astrologer herself, amassing fans via social media and her own newsletter. Now Nicholas has over 300,000 followers on Instagram. She partnered with Spotify on a celestial playlist. She is OprahMag.com’s resident astrologer. Earlier this month, she released You Were Born for This—her first book. Fashioned as a guide for beginners, You Were Born for This comes at a time when astrology has leapt from the fringes to the mainstream as popular apps like Co-Star and The Pattern alternate between frightening and exciting their users.

The book builds on a growing movement. For centuries, astrology has functioned in part as means for self-improvement, but the internet has democratized it and emphasized its relevance. People don’t just look up their signs in the back of fashion magazines. Entire websites are devoted to unique chart interpretations. Push alerts keep users posted on changing moons or upcoming eclipses. The website ismercuryinretrograde.com answers just that question, at all hours—right now it reads, “No. Something else must be bumming you out.”

The demands of life in 2020 are overwhelming, but astrology is simple; it offers a straightforward approach to understanding and caring for ourselves and for the world around us. And Nicholas—who customizes her readings for the 12 signs and around major astrological events—writes like a friend.

In one Instagram caption, she writes: “Buy all the optimism you can afford! Invest in your happiness by getting wild with it! There is no time to waste!” (Among other exhortations.)

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