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More than Horoscopes: Astrology for Self-Exploration and Social Justice

An image of two astrological birth charts sitting on a table.
Capital Dudes from Pixabay
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An astrological birth chart examines the positioning of the planets at the time of birth — and each of those placements has an impact.

Cultures across the world have consulted the stars about everything from agricultural practices and politics to romantic compatibility. Whether you’re a casual consumer of astro memes or intimately familiar with each planet’s position within your chart, digging deeper into astrology can be a meaningful form of self-reflection.

Omisade Burney-Scott is a proud Aries – and for as long as she can remember, she’s used astrology as a tool for navigating her relationships with others and herself.

The regular host of the Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause, Burney-Scott guest-hosts Embodied’s exploration of astrology as a spiritual practice and springboard for personal growth. With her cousin and best friend Cheyanne Headen, who now works as community and de-escalation specialist at A Place at the Table, she traces her love of astrology back to its origins and discusses how astrology continues to serve as a starting point for thinking about parenthood, friendship and work.

She then speaks with two people whose practice of astrology informs and is informed by their social justice efforts. Jessica Lanyadoo, host of “Ghost of a Podcast” and co-founder of Zodiac the Vote, shares how the study of astrology has evolved over the years and the ways it can be used today to promote activism and civic engagement. Zacchary Powell, a Black queer astrologer and former president of the Association for Young Astrologers, explains the benefits and drawbacks of astro memes, as well as the role of astrology in navigating our relationship to identity.

Thank you to Emalydia, Rebecca, Brianna, Mariah, Angel and Katherin for contributing to this episode.

An astrology playlist…brought to you by Team Embodied!

Curtis Mayfield - “Readings in Astrology”
1970
In this ballad, Mayfield sings about being broken up with over a lack of sun-sign compatibility. The lyrics illustrate the danger of using astrology too prescriptively in a romantic partnership.

Outkast - “Aquemini” 
1998
This title track’s name is a mashup of the hip hop duo’s sun signs, Aquarius and Gemini. These air signs are generally considered compatible when it comes to creativity and intellect.

Beyonce - “Signs”
2003
In this track, Beyonce celebrates the strengths each sign brings to a romantic partnership. She has also referenced her own sun sign more recently in the Renaissance track “Virgo Groove.”

Quilla - “Sagittarius”
2019
A Sagittarius herself, Quilla dedicates this song to women in her life who share her sign. The lyrics explore the Sagittarian trait of thinking creatively while remaining grounded in reality.

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Audrey Smith is a writer, educator, and temporary producer of "Embodied" based in Greensboro, NC. She holds a Master's degree in Secondary English Language Arts Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2018) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from Oregon State University (2021).
Omisade Burney-Scott (she / her) is a Black southern 7th-generation native North Carolinian feminist, social justice advocate and creative with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy and social justice.