Image: A photo taken from a recent hike near Ithaca NY
Whenever I go hiking or hang out with my friend Cassie, an anthropologist, we ponder this miasma of misinformation, conspiracy theory, and hyperpartisanship that we are all feeling our way through these days. I love these conversations, in part because it’s delicious to connect with someone intellectually, and also because they have been helping me understand my work as an astrologer, and what I can do to be a loving, helpful participant in the world as it is right now. You see, perhaps the best part of these conversations is the tension between our roles. Cassie is clearly watching something happen as an academic, whereas I am participating in the problem that we are talking about by creating web content and social media posts about a worldview and a system of knowing that some people, perhaps including Cassie, think of as misinformation. This is a great opportunity. With Saturn, the reality principle, hanging out with gauzy Neptune in oceanic, interconnected Pisces, there has never been a better time to test what you think and believe by putting it into respectful, just slightly skeptical, dialogue! And this is very hard to find right now. Instead, we all seem to be shrinking into our algorithmically generated “truth” bubbles a little bit more every day.
I leave these conversations curious, worried, and charged with tasks–I need to better understand the harm I could be causing, and better articulate what a useful, prosocial astrology practice could look like right now. I consider what content is helpful and generative, and what is unintentionally stoking anxiety or hooking lonely or desperate people. And since I am an astrologer, I think this questioning has a timeframe and a specific symbol set. What I am really asking myself is how to be a good steward of this long Saturn Neptune copresence that will continue to dissolve truth into many algorithmic “truths” in Pisces and then probably lead to fighting for these “truths” in Aries over the next five years. The rest of this essay is really a set of guiding principles for what I feel is the most responsible use of astrology at this time, which seems to be a period of waiting for the way we used to consider truth and reality to dissolve.
First, I think any astrologer that is using web content and social media as part of their marketing and outreach has a responsibility to own the fact that they are using the same powerful tools and strategies as people who are selling bogus wellness products while decrying the effectiveness of evidence-based medicine; inexplicably declaring that sunscreen is bad and sunburns are good for you; and promoting methods of interpersonal and spiritual work like Byron Katie’s “The Work” or Marianne Williamson’s Course in Miracles that seem okay at first, but that use power in nasty ways, and can absolutely be used to control other people rather than arrive at right action. I also believe that astrologers should be open to the idea that astrology is having such a moment because it is increasingly difficult to know what’s real and true. I am by no means suggesting that astrology is unreal or untrue. It’s more like we are in a long moment in which Saturn, or what is real, is being loosened, dissipated, obfuscated, or relaxed. That could manifest for some as letting new information in and letting more real things be considered real. It could also lead to many folks believing that vaccines are killing more people than covid, or that the real problem is 5G, or whatever it is people are saying about chemtrails.
What I am saying is that many astrologers are going to find themselves in the trenches of this reality war, if I may forecast ahead to Neptune and Saturn conjoining in Aries in late February of 2026. For this reason, it is a very good time for astrologers to define for themselves why astrology is a helpful way of looking at the world, even to the point of momentarily stepping back from its popularity as a coping mechanism. I can say this more clearly. Astrology is currently on social media because lots and lots of people want something to hang their shitty day on. But astrology should be on social media because it offers a clear, living alternative to the disenchanted, extractive, rational worldview that is killing us. Astrology posits an ensouled, animated Universe that we are living in deep, interconnected relationship with–so much so that it can tell us the basic contours of what happens to us over an entire lifetime. It presents daily evidence that we are not in control, nor are we empowered to take what we want and dump what we are finished with. It reminds us that we are a small part of something bigger than ourselves that we do not understand.
The present is bleak because we value small things; because we lost our ability to experience awe. The antidote is clearly to value vast stuff that reliably induces awe.
When I reread those last few sentences, I feel “Saturn in Pisces Strong.” I feel like I can defend these sentences to the death. I don’t know why astrology works, and I don’t have to! I just have to believe in what I am doing with it. I think astrology works because of the animating force that we typically call “god,” but even if astrology turns out to be nothing more than my own pattern seeking mind, I am okay with that because my pattern seeking mind will be putting me in an ethical, abundant, sustainable, and loving relationship to the rest of the world. If my pattern seeking, confirmation-bias inducing mind is making me less important as an individual, and making me accountable to everybody and everything else I share this planet with, then who cares if it’s a mental trick and not god? The spiritual work is real, as is the joy that comes out of knowing that life is not all about you. The relationship with the world that this view of astrology creates is real and sustainable. That, fundamentally, is what matters. Or as my man Linji Yixuan would say, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” It is a good time for astrology practitioners to center themselves in uses of astrology that they can “kill” in exactly this way, because everything is going to be increasingly up for debate. And that debate is likely to be increasingly volatile.
There are already great examples of astrologers who are centering themselves in these greater uses of astrology–who are acting as anti-influencers who care more about magic and nurturing a sustainable community of belief than how many likes they can get on a tweet. There are already great examples of astrologers asking their audiences to pay closer attention to how they feel when they consume astrology content; paying more attention to being positive and helpful themselves; or writing about the problem of astrology-induced anxiety. This is all the right first step because it is fundamentally helpful and loving, even though being unhelpful would generate more short term gain. Fearmongering, this-will-transform-everything astrologers get a lot more likes and retweets and reach than people who are preaching nuance or even a decentering of that anxious, illusory self that is dying to know what is going to happen to them. And it is important for consumers of astrology content to discern this and support the folks who aren’t just telling you that every transit will change your life, or preaching doom and stoking anxiety.
Here’s why. We will relearn what is real and true over the next few years by first losing our sense of what we thought was real and true, and through conflict, coming to a different understanding of what reality and truth mean moving forward. That means there’s an opportunity here. Right now, it looks like scaring and bullying people into believing all kinds of untrue things is the way to go, and there are astrologers, wellness gurus, yogis, parenting influencers and on and on doing just that. But what I am betting on is the way the astrologers who have been slowly building real relationships that serve a greater purpose, inspire awe, and do the work to train us to value different things are going to still be there after all the social media gaslighting and doomscrolling and reality warring is over, much in the same way a good friend just kind of stands to the side and is patiently available while you go through your terrible on-again-off-again relationship that eventually runs itself into the ground.
My own prayer to myself over the next few years is that I can still myself enough to be that patient and consistent friend. I pray that I keep making real, accountable relationships one at a time and value those relationships over any kind of distorting engagement metric. My prayer to my colleagues is that they continue to model such great stewardship of this moment because I need to stand in community. And my prayer to folks who are reading astrology content is that they continue to ask themselves how astrology content makes them feel, whether or not it is legitimately helpful, and what its larger aims are, and to value the way astrology makes life less about you, not more about you.