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Session 189: Learning About Self Through Astrology

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

As many of us are thinking about what 2021 will be like and the intentions we might have for the year, I thought it would be great to have a conversation about astrology and what we might learn about ourselves based on astrology. For this conversation, I was joined by New York City-based astrologer, Mecca Woods. Mecca and I chatted about what astrology is, how to find and use our birth chart, how astrology can be used in personal development, what we might expect for 2021, and of course she shared all of her favorite resources for anyone who may want to learn more.

Resources Mentioned

Visit our Amazon Store for all the books mentioned on the podcast!

Find Your Natal Chart

Time Passages

Sanctuary App

AstroGuide by Vice

Astrologers.com

Astro.com

Where to Find Mecca

https://www.mylifecreated.com/

Instagram: @1meccanism

Twitter: @TheMeccanism

Facebook: @MyLifeCreated

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Read Full Transcript

Session 189: Learning About Self Through Astrology

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 189 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. I hope that you had a restful holiday season and are settling into the new year. As many of us are thinking about what 2021 will be like and the intentions we might have for this year, I thought it'd be a great idea to have a conversation about astrology and what we might learn about ourselves based on astrology. For this conversation, I was joined by Mecca Woods.

Mecca is a New York City-based astrologer and author who works to help others create a life they truly want using their natural born gifts. Her writing and astro-guidance have appeared in places like Bustle, Essence, Refinery 29, and on TLC. Her books, Astrology for Happiness and Success, and the Cosmic Coloring Book series is out now.

Mecca and I chatted about what astrology is, how to find and use our birth charts, how astrology can be used in personal development, what we might expect for 2021 and of course she shared all of her favorite resources for anyone who might want to learn more. If something resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession. Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for joining us today, Mecca.

Mecca: Thank you.

Dr. Joy: Very excited that you were able to join us to talk all about astrology. I feel like in recent years, I've just seen much more excitement and much more conversation about how people are using astrology, and it's fascinating to me. I feel like when I was younger, I would like flip to the back of Cosmo and kind of check out my horoscope for the week and it feels like people are using astrology in much more sophisticated ways now. For those who may not be familiar with astrology at all, can you tell me kind of the basics of it? Like what do we need to know to even get started in understanding astrology?

Mecca: Sure. I usually like to explain astrology as being a tool for self-awareness, for self-development. And basically, that tool is made up of a language that we're basically using the stars and looking at them to inform our experiences here on Earth. It's not necessarily the stars are doing anything to us but we're using it to describe what's going on here on earth and give our life some context. And so when we're looking at a horoscope or someone is getting a reading, they are finding out about themselves based on this ancient tool, this ancient language that’s been around for forever.

Basically, what it is, is a study of cycles. We look back in time, where we look at history, and we kind of say like, okay, this is the planetary alignment that was taking place at this time and we know that cycles tend to repeat themselves or history repeats itself. And so we look back in time to inform where we are today and to kind of make an educated guess about where we're going to be in the future. That way, we can learn from our past so that we're not doomed to repeat it.

Dr. Joy: So these patterns and cycles have repeated themselves enough that you can make a reasonable prediction based on the stars?

Mecca: Right, exactly. It's similar to like if you think about economists, they kind of look at trends in terms of the market and they can kind of guess, like, okay, this is where the market is going to go. And that's pretty much what astrologers are doing. We're looking back in time and saying, okay, these are the things that were going on then, the same sort of energy is present here or the same planetary alignment is happening now, this is what we can expect from these things.

Dr. Joy: Got it. And can you tell us more about how you got into this and how you kind of made this your work?

Mecca: Yeah. I have to say that I never even thought that I would be an astrologer, that was not something that I had on my bingo card. It was something that I sort of stumbled on. I had always had an interest in astrology and like mythology and things like that as a kid, I used to read a lot, I used to write my own stories. There was always something that drew me in about like this sort of magical world, seeing how these symbols tied into like real life stuff. But it wasn't until I was in my late 20s that I stumbled onto an astrology book that had a lot to do with relationships and how to deal with people of certain signs and things of that nature. Because I was at a crossroads in my life where, both professionally, I felt really burnt out and wanted to do more. I felt like I wasn't living up to my fullest potential. And then on the other end of the spectrum, I was also just not really happy with my love life, I kept finding myself repeating the same sort of patterns when it came to relationships. And then in between that, I'm also a single mom and when it came to my daughter, even still (even though my daughter's a grown lady now) but even still, I wanted to make sure that the choices and decisions that I was making, which were directly affecting her, I wanted her to be able to look at me and be like, okay, mom, she knows what she's doing.

Astrology was something that after I read the book, I had a few readings with the author and she was able to tell me things about myself that she wouldn't have known otherwise. But she looked at my birth chart–I didn't know what a birth chart was–there was just so many layers to astrology that really got me excited and really got me interested and I was able to see that it was more than just, oh, what's your sign? Or oh, I don't like Leos or I don't like Sagittarians or that kind of thing. I started to see that it was really a tool that could be used for self-development and the thing that really sucked me into it was just seeing how astrology was able to put us in the driver's seat, put me in the driver's seat.

It made me feel more empowered, like I had some control over my life and I wasn't just like a victim of unseen circumstances, that I could actually have like a map, or a blueprint to find my way out of challenges or difficult situations or how I could take advantage of opportunities. And it just so happened that in addition to me studying and being obsessed with this new hobby, I was also going through a period at work where things were just really kind of falling apart because I wasn't supposed to be there actually. It was one of those situations where you know when it's time to leave, when things just become really toxic, and you just find yourself becoming really unhappy. And you know that there's something better for you or something else for you but at the same time, you're also kind of gripped by fear and wondering, like, oh, if I take this leap or if I take this job, what's going to happen? And so astrology was the thing that kind of helped me find my courage and find my ability to leave that job.

What had ended happening was I left the job, ended up taking like a side job while I was still practicing astrology, took on a mentor who showed me, like, you can actually make this a profession. Because what it was, was I was talking to anybody who would listen. I was like, what's your sign? Giving free readings for like friends and family and just getting all this practice under my belt, but also noticing that I really had a talent for it. Astrology was also the thing that spoke to me in terms of wanting to help people, because that's always been a big thing of mine, like wanting to help people, wanting to impact people in a positive way, and I was able to do that through astrology. So here we go, 10 years later and here I am, and I’ve made it a full-time thing.

Dr. Joy: Very cool, very cool. It's always so interesting to kind of hear how people got to where they are and their early experiences, that kind of pointing to where you're supposed to be all along.

Mecca: Right, yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Joy: You mentioned something about a birth chart. I also don't know what that is, so can you tell us what is a birth chart?

Mecca: Sure. A birth chart is basically a cosmic map or a blueprint to who we are. A birth chart basically is based on the time, the day, the year and the month that you were born, and the location. And so based on those coordinates, we have a planetary alignment that basically makes up who you are and when we do that planetary alignment, we can see, of course, things about your personality, but things in terms of like what made you, how the world has shaped you, what you can expect to be working on in this life. Gifts or talents that you're bringing to the table, everything from like family history and dynamics, to health to money to love. We can see all these kinds of things about you based on your birth chart and that chart then becomes sort of like your map to who you are and also your map to like navigating things going forward and also figuring out where you've come from as well.

Dr. Joy: So the things that we boil it down to in terms of like our signs, our zodiac signs, are really just one piece of all of this?

Mecca: Yeah, there are so many layers to a chart. Like your sun sign, which is the most popular thing that everyone knows when you're like, oh, what's your sign? Or I'm a Scorpio, I'm an Aries. But there are so many different pieces which is why I chuckle whenever people are like, “I can't stand Scorpios or I can't stand Pisces or whatever,” because we actually have all 12 signs within us somewhere.

Dr. Joy: Hmm?

Mecca: Yeah. We actually have all 12 signs within us somewhere. And it's really interesting because, of course, some signs may be stronger, more present, or more influential than others in a birth chart, but we actually have all 12 signs somewhere in us. And that, to me, speaks to how much commonalities we have between each other and how it is important that we are able to kind of see one another in each other's eyes. Especially when we start talking about like relationships and getting along with folks and self-development and things like that. I think there's a part of astrology that is very tailored and individual and kind of shows us who we are all on our own, but then I think that it also shows us just how much we're linked to each other and how that's important to our growth and self-development.

Dr. Joy: You mentioned that you have readings done for you but you also do that as a part of your work. What does that mean to have a reading? And will you be able to kind of break down my whole birth chart in one reading, or is this something that happens over a series of meetings?

Mecca: Yeah, so a reading is when an astrologer looks at your birth chart and they basically tell you about you and they tell you how your chart factors into the experiences that you've had over the course of your life and sort of what's brought you to the here now. And looking at that chart, we can also look at that chart in comparison to where the stars are currently aligned and where they'll be aligning in the future, and how that will play off of your birth chart. That's what helps inform different opportunities and challenges and experiences and things of that nature.

When we're doing your reading, like for example, lots of people come to me for like the two top things that people always want to know about, which is like career (money) and then love. So what's going on with my love life? Will I ever get married? Am I gonna find the one? Or I'm just coming out of a breakup, how do I get over it? Or I'm unhappy at my job, how do I find fulfilment in my career? These are the kinds of questions that people tend to come to me (with) most often. And so when we're sitting down looking at their chart, I'm telling them who they are in context to these experiences and where they may not be living their full potential, and how they can.

That's essentially what an astrologer is doing. More so is like showing you what has brought you to this point, how you've got here, what you have, what gifts or resources you have available to you, either within yourself or even outside of yourself in terms of things that you can do to accomplish a goal or do a thing. And then talking about a timeline, when you can expect certain things to pop off or when you might want to take a timeout. You know, those kinds of things.

Dr. Joy: Got it. Okay, so I definitely think it feels like those are some of the common reasons why people come to therapy to you–like work-related issues and relationship issues–and so can you say more about how you might use your chart for relationship issues? Like, oh, am I ever going to find a long-term partner? What about the chart and where would you look for that to kind of find information regarding your love life?

Mecca: Sure. One of my favorite things to do is love readings and relationship readings. Because I think that astrology really helps us to look at ourselves a little bit under the microscope and kind of can see where we might be running into the same behaviors or the same patterns when it comes to relationships or dating or things of that nature. For example, one of the big things that I tend to look at, when I'm doing love readings or relationship readings, I look at a person's moon sign.

Your moon sign has a lot to do with how you process your emotions and how you respond to stress and triggers, and what you need to feel happy and supported and safe within a relationship. Your Venus sign, which is... Venus represents what we value, including ourselves, so Venus has a lot to do with our self-worth and our self-esteem in addition to how we relate to people. Mars is how we fight and also what stokes our passions and how we go after things. Venus and Mars are also considered the sex planets and like what turns us on and how we express our sexual energy. So those are a couple of places where I look.

Within a birth chart, we have 12 zones called houses and those houses basically house different parts of our life and different parts of who we are. For example, if I talk about the 7th house in a chart, that’s a zone that has to do with one-on-one long-term relationships. A lot of times that will deal with like marriages or it will deal with a long term committed relationship. A 5th house in someone's chart is the place where the initial spark or the initial attraction takes place and that's usually where we tend to find ourselves getting stuck on repeat when it comes to dating the same types of people or running into the same sort issues when it comes to dating.

What I noticed that a lot of what astrology shows is like how much we project onto people, and project in terms of like our worst traits and also our best traits. And how people that show up in our lives are often representations of the extreme versions of those things that we disowned about ourselves and that we need to reclaim or integrate into ourselves in order for us to have smoother connections with folks. When I sit down with people and I go through that and I say like, yeah, you have this 7th house moon, for example. So your moon is in the 7th house and that means that you tend to attract people who need a lot of emotional investment from you, but they don't always have the ability to give you that same emotional investment. And that's because you need to give yourself that emotional investment so that you can then be honest about what you feel and give yourself that self-nurturing so that you can begin to pull in people or connect with people who can also give you the same thing.

These are some of the things that I find myself talking to with people a lot, and so when they ask me questions of like will I find the one or am I going to get married? My response to that is like, yeah, of course. Like, I don't think anyone is destined to be alone but I do think it has a lot to do with how we approach relationships and being aware of our triggers and our patterns and things like that. And that's what astrology can do. It helps us with the self-awareness so that we can make different choices.

Dr. Joy: I just want to be clear and get some clarity maybe. Astrology is not necessarily like reading the future definitively. This is more giving you information based on what you are finding in the birth chart.

Mecca: Right, exactly. When we talk about the future or making predictions, I like to be more suggestive about it. Kind of saying, like, these are things that you can expect or these are things that can happen, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to. Long ago, astrologers were a lot more fatalistic and being like, “Oh, this is going to be wrong. Expect doom and gloom,” and all of that. I'm more of the school of thought that we do have some free will. Even with things that might be coming up for us, if we don't like it, we can change course or we can do something to be able to kind of get a different outcome.

And then of course, too, there are things that might be beyond our control and sometimes you just have to go through a rough patch. Sometimes there are going to be things that come up that are unavoidable but when talking to me, when I'm talking to someone where I see something like that, my thing is like, okay, how are you going to respond to it? Because how we respond to things also dictates how things go and how we experience certain situations.

Dr. Joy: Got it. Have you done any work in conjunction with therapists?

Mecca: I usually refer people to therapists, like if I see someone going through a difficult time. For example, so one of the things that I can see in someone's birth chart are things around health. It could be things around their physical wellbeing or even like their mental health and wellbeing. And if I see something that kind of jumps out at me where I feel like this person would benefit from talking to a therapist or they're going through a really difficult time, I will suggest like, this might be a good time for you to get into therapy or this would be a good time for you to have supports in place that can help you through this difficulty and things like that.

Because I think that therapy and astrology definitely can go hand in hand. I know that there are astrologers who are also practicing therapists and at the same time, I'm also of the mind of like knowing when I'm out of my depth and when someone might need some extra support that astrology might not be able to provide. Because the other thing, I don't want people to use astrology as a crutch. I want them to be able to use it as the tool that it's meant to be and not to like constantly checking the stars and checking their horoscopes and getting readings.

Because, you know, you have people who do that, too. They'll hop from reader to reader to reader because they don't like what they're hearing or they don't like what the reader is telling them. They'll go and pay for a bunch of readings with other people so they can get what they want to hear, instead of actually taking information and actually using it and applying it in the way that they need to.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, that's what I was thinking that it sounds like for people who have had readings. Like they might get some really good information that they could talk to their therapist about, like, “Hey, I did a reading, this came up and it feels like it resonates. I'm wanting to kind of dig more into this area and how I might be able to make some improvements here.”

Mecca: Yeah, absolutely. I've even had clients who have therapists and then they get readings with me. And I won't even know anything about them having a therapist, but I'll be talking to them about something that I see in the chart, and they will be like, “Oh my god, my therapist just told me the same thing.” There's definitely an overlap between, I think, some level of counseling and therapy and the counseling that goes into astrology as well. But I absolutely do support people having both an astrologer and a therapist on hand.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Back to the birth chart, there are people who would likely have the same charts but would we still kind of show up in the world differently? Even if we have the same charts?

Mecca: Yeah. What's interesting about that is that I think that's when we start to talk about societal conditioning and cultural conditioning and things of that nature and how we were raised. I think what astrology does is it presents archetypes in terms of like how certain energies can be expressed or how people can live their lives. There is a big piece of it that does depend on how people were raised.

For example, for me, being a black woman who's also an astrologer, I find that probably about 80% of my clients are women of color, black women. The reason why they gravitate to me is because not only just because of my knowledge about astrology, but there's a cultural similarity there. I speak the same language, I've come from the same place, so you can have some times where you might read horoscopes or you might read from a certain astrologer and they may not necessarily resonate with you because there's something, in terms of the socio economic sort of themes or the cultural themes that just might not hit the way it would if you were listening to someone who came from the same background, like a black woman.

And so I think, yes, there's some nuance there when we talk about how people were raised and how you can have the same chart and still kind of be different from one another. But then at the same time, there are definitely similarities between charts. I've noticed that too, like when I do reading charts for twins, which I've done before, and how that's so interesting. Because you have two people born at the exact same time and the charts will manifest very differently. And it's like, one twin will kind of exhibit one set of traits or things and another twin will have the others, but they're still the same chart. And it's just so fascinating to see how that sort of shows up. And I think that also has a lot to do with, like I was saying, like the free will piece. In terms of how we choose to do things. Some of it is a bit faded, if you will, but I do think that in some ways, we also kind of choose our own fate, too.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. And going back to your comments around your client base being primarily black women or other women of color, I would imagine that it worked in some ways in the same way as therapy, right? There are some things that are kind of descriptive in terms of the stars, but there's also your own background that you're bringing to the reading and the way that you interact with your clients that colors what the reading will look and feel like.

Mecca: Mm hmm, absolutely.

Dr. Joy: You mentioned that some people will kind of like hop from getting one reading to the next; is there a cadence at which you recommend people get readings?

Mecca: Yeah, I usually tell people like if they want to do a follow up reading with me–which I definitely have clients who are regulars–to give it at least six to 12 months. Like a yearly reading or if you want to do like a mid-year check in. I don't really recommend doing readings more frequently than that unless you're working on something specific. For example, there are readings that I do that are not necessarily more geared towards self-development or more towards like project development. And so we're trying to figure out when’s the best timing to do certain things and figure those things out, so that might be a little bit more of a regular reading because it's a project-based thing.

But when we talk about more of the self-development thing, you need to give yourself time to process. The planets also move quite slowly and they need their time to kind of move and, you know, things need time to cook. And so that's why I recommend that people kind of see me at least six to 12 months away from the initial reading, because not only does it give them time, but it also gives them time to do the work that's required. To do the homework that's necessary, as opposed to like, trying to figure out every single step or every single thing that's coming. It's kind of like, be here now, you know. What can you do in the here and now, what do you need to focus on in the here and now instead of trying to think too far ahead? And that's definitely something that I've been talking about a lot this year, because everything has been, you know, so slow and everybody was in quarantine and time just was moving quite differently this year. A lot of the things that I found myself saying to clients across the board was like, all we have is the now. Like, try not to worry too far down the future; pay attention to the now.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Speaking of this year, and I feel like I heard some chatter kind of at the beginning of the pandemic, around astrologers talking about what 2020 would be like. Now, again, we know that there is no future reading kind of thing, but is there anything that you felt like you had information about? That kind of gave you insight into what 2020 might have been like?

Mecca: Yeah, so one of the major planetary alignments for this year that contributed to a lot of the stuff that took place was this alignment between Saturn and Pluto. Each of the planets have like their job or their things that they have charge over and Saturn is a planet that is about manifesting things that are intangible into the tangible. Saturn helps us to build, to create structure, and so when we think about that, that has a lot to do with the systems in place: government, the societal norms, things that keep things smooth and running and that support us. Pluto is a planet that tends to intensify. Not only intensify whatever it is touching, but it's also a planet that has a lot to do with rebirth, like death and rebirth. Sometimes it can be actual death, but also it can be like the figurative sense of death, of something that's being burned away or torn down, so that something new can be rebuilt.

The thing with Pluto, and both Saturn, is that they are not easy planets to deal with. They're not soft and cushy, sweet planets, like maybe Venus which is pleasure and beauty, or the moon which is like getting cozy on the couch, like that kind of thing. Saturn forces us to be very realistic, gives us the cold, hard truth. And Pluto forces us to face things that we've been running from or things that we've been trying to avoid. And Pluto does it in a way that can be very uncomfortable and disconcerting. And so when these two planets get together, it is a time when things are being torn down, when we're forced to confront our demons, when we're forced to really look at the ugly truth of things and say, okay, what are we gonna do from here?

The other thing, too, is that Saturn and Pluto, the last time they got together this way was 30 years ago and that was around the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And these planets are also tied to things that have to do with like epidemics and pandemics and things of that nature. So when we talk about this year, a lot of astrologers were talking about Saturn-Pluto alignment and what that was going to mean.

I don't know if... How can I put it? For me personally, I knew that things were going to be intense; I didn't think that they would be as intense as they are right now but kind of looking back in hindsight and thinking about what these energies mean, it definitely makes sense that, of course, the bottom would fall out, that we would be in this place where it's kind of like, you either have to put up or shut up. Either you fix it or you suffer the consequences.

And the other story to that, too, is that there's other planetary alignments that have been going on that were very similar to back when Hitler took power, back in the 30s. And so that's when we've seen this year in the United States, and even abroad, this rise of authoritarianism. And so that's what I'm saying like before, it's like, you can look back in history and see this is what was going on and so using that historical context, we then look at where we are right now and we use that to infer and inform where we are and what we can expect.

In a lot of ways, yes, a lot of astrologers knew that this year was going to be hard, but for me, it's always a weird thing, too. And this is what I've been struggling with a lot this year, of when to tell people, “Hey, things don't look so great,” in a way that is helpful and informative, that doesn't feel alarmist and that doesn't feel gloom and doom. One of the things that kind of frustrated me as an astrologer was seeing people saying, like, oh, astrologers didn't tell us about this, but we did. But then also seeing people being upset that astrologers were saying things that I guess made them afraid or gave them anxiety or that they didn't want to hear.

Being an astrologer is always kind of interesting, trying to like navigate those two sides of the spectrum of giving information that is informative and that is accurate, but then also trying to do it in a way that doesn't scare the bejesus out of people.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, but I would imagine that so much of that is subjective, right? I mean, kind of going back to your earlier comments about how much in our charts talks about how we respond to people and how we project. Something that may be alarmist to me might be welcomed by someone else, right?

Mecca: Right, right, absolutely, yeah.

Dr. Joy: As we think about 2021 then, what kinds of collective themes might we kind of be expecting or might we see for 2021?

Mecca: Sure. For 2021, I don't think it will be as intense as 2020 was, but I have been telling people there's still lots of work to do. If 2020 was a year where everything really fell apart, 2021 is going to be the year where we start to do some rebuilding. But the thing is that in order to rebuild, there needs to be a complete overhaul of every single corner of the earth that you can possibly think of. From like healthcare to government to agriculture to technology, like science, everything needs a complete restructure, like to be revamped. And in order to do that, everybody... 2021 is really going to show just how much all hands on deck are needed and it can't be just one group of people fighting for justice or fighting for fresh air and clean water, these kinds of things. Everybody has to be involved.

I think what you will see is that there are going to be different factions kind of fighting with each other in terms of how to do that. Which makes sense because whenever you're thinking about a team project or working together, not everybody's gonna see eye to eye. Everybody kind of has their own ideas of how things are supposed to go and so it only makes sense that you will have people kind of like doing some infighting or kind of battling with each other to figure out which direction we're going to bring the community or bring the collective or the people.

But I think the big thing that really stands out for 2021 is change and being comfortable with change and learning how to be flexible and adaptable. “I don't know,” you know, “Let me find out, let me let me investigate, I'll get back to you.” Like these are going to be the things that are really going to help us get through 2021. The flexibility. Not feeling like we have to have all the right answers, astrologers included, myself included. There are some times when I look at things and I'm like, I don't know, we'll see. Like, I guess, you know, we'll see what happens. Flexibility, adaptability, being open to learn, curiosity, these are definitely going to be things that we need. And also being able to communicate and talk to one another, finding commonalities between each other, learning that we have more in common than we don't. These are going to be the things that are going to get us through 2021.

And like I said, I think you're going to see a lot of people who are going to be very resistant to the change and very resistant to this new world that we're trying to build. But like I said, for folks that are looking for things to go back to the way that they always were, that's not happening. We're not going back to business as usual and I think it's important for people to understand that because we shouldn't go back to business as usual. There was a lot of things that were wrong, that got us in this predicament in terms of where we are right now and if we really, really want true change and we really want to fix things, then we really have to dig in and work for it. That's the only way that we're going to be able to get out of the mess that we're in.

And that's why I'm hopeful and why the election in the US kind of made me hopeful in some ways because I think things had gotten so bad to the point where people who weren't paying attention had to pay attention, had to be very involved and engaged and hands on. And so that is my hope for 2021, is that we don't kind of like rest on our laurels. Of course, rest while you can, get the selfcare and treat yourself well, lean on your community, lean on family, have your therapist, have your supports in place. Absolutely. Take the breather, take the time out when you can. Absolutely. But 2021 is really going to require an all-hands-on-deck situation. And if we want to get through these difficult times, then we really have to know that there's work to be done and be ready to invest in that work.

Dr. Joy: Got it. Yeah, and it kind of feels like it makes sense. Like if 2020 is the year that everything falls apart, then 2021 is kind of the beginnings of building something different and hopefully better. And, like you said, being very flexible and kind of open to changes.

Mecca: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Joy: So that's collectively kind of like the theme–flexibility and changes. Where can we look in our chart maybe for our own personal themes? Like there’s the collective work that needs to be done, but maybe some personal work that needs to be done, so where might we look for that in our own charts?

Mecca: I would say, if you look at your chart and you look at anywhere that Gemini and Sagittarius sit in your chart... All of us, like I mentioned, in our birth chart, we all have the 12 signs somewhere in our chart. That can show up somewhere with the planets, but more so with the houses, like we each have 12 houses in our chart that basically house different parts of our life. And those 12 houses are ruled by a particular sign, each of the 12 signs, based on how our chart is configured–on the time that we were born and the date and all of that.

So if you get your chart, you can actually get your chart from a place like TimePassages which is an app. There's a website called Astro.com, these are some places that you can get your chart for free. Wherever you have Gemini and Sagittarius falling in your chart, that's the areas of your life where you can expect a lot of change and where you want to be the most flexible. For example, if you have Gemini sitting in your 7th house, that's a place in your chart where you can expect to be open to new relationships, open to new people, open to collaborations and teamwork.

Sagittarius is in charge of your career zone, your 10th house, that's a place where it might be time to switch careers or to go in a new direction when it comes to your career, going into a direction that's more fulfilling, those kinds of things. These are the kinds of things that I would say people would want to investigate in terms of their chart because the Gemini and Sagittarius, like this is where we're going to have the eclipses falling in these areas of our life between now and the end of 2021.

Eclipses are super, super powerful new moons and full moons that happen every six months and depending on where they're activating in our birth chart, it usually coincides with big life events or changes. Like getting married, getting divorced, having a baby, moving out, starting a business, leaving your career, like those kinds of things tend to coincide with eclipses. With Gemini and Sagittarius, those two signs are known for being very flexible, very adaptable. Gemini in particular, very curious, lots of information coming in and needing to process and sit with the information before making any decision. These are the places that I would say that people should pay attention to.

Dr. Joy: I'm glad you brought up the whole idea of eclipses and full moons because I definitely see lots of people talking about when those things happen, like, oh, now is not a good time to make big decisions. Or, oh, you might not want to buy any electronics right now because these things are going on. What are people talking about when they say those things?

Mecca: Transits are basically the movements of the planets. When you think about transits, you can think about each of the 12 signs being like train stations and the planets themselves are like the trains. Any time a planet moves into a station or moves into a sign, that planet is then taking on that energy and kind of activating different things. So, for example, Mercury retrogrades. Mercury goes retrograde three times a year–at the beginning of the year, the middle of the year, and the end of the year. Mercury is a planet that is associated with communication, the intellect, transportation, anything where things are kind of just going like back and forth and we're trying to find the shortest route possible to get that information or to get that thing back and forth. And so when mercury goes retrograde, retrograde planets, basically, it's like they're moving backwards.

We think about retro, we're sort of, in a way, sort of moving backwards, and it's a time for reflection, reassessment reevaluation, kind of looking backwards as opposed to trying to move forward without too much thought. That's why when people talk about Mercury Retrograde when it's happening, how things get all cuckoo and a lot of miscommunications and delays and things of that nature, it's because it's a time period when we're supposed to be taking our time and moving very slowly.

With moons, the lunar cycle is one of the quickest cycles that we experience when we talk about astrology because the moon basically goes through a cycle every 29 and a half days. As the moon is cycling through, the moon is going through each of the 12 signs and then each month, we have a new moon and then we have a full moon as well. A new moon is usually a time during the month when we are implementing or starting something fresh, when we're hitting the reset button. When we get to the full moon, that's usually a time when things that were initiated around the new moon are sort of coming to some sort of completion or culmination or sometimes it can be a time of ending things or closing out a chapter.

The period between a full moon to the next new moon is really a time when we're kind of like going through the disseminating of that full moon energy. Because usually when we're on full moons, we tend to be more excited and the energy is really high. New moons is when things tend to be a little bit more like low energy, low key. And so between the lunar cycle, there’s usually the time when we find ourselves kind of cycling through our emotions, too, because the moon is associated with emotions.

That's one of the things that I encourage people to do: watch the lunar cycle, kind of see like how the moon affects you from day to day, because that can also give you some really in-depth information in terms of your own selfcare and your mental health. Because you might find that there might be certain times when the moon is in certain signs and that could be a really stressful or triggering kind of day for you. Or you know that when, for example, the moon is in Virgo, you might have more anxiety that day. Or if the moon is in Capricorn, you might have bouts of depression. It's really important, I suggest, for people to kind of track their chart in context to the lunar cycle, because that's one of the easiest and quickest ways to kind of figure out how astrology is directly affecting you.

Dr. Joy: Is there some kind of like planner or app that would help you to know when this stuff is happening so that you can kind of track it?

Mecca: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. As I mentioned, there's an app called TimePassages that's really great that you can download. There's another app called the Sanctuary app, there's TimePassages, there's another one called Astro Guide by VICE that's also really nice. You can also, if you read horoscopes from various astrologers, we're always telling people, when they can expect new moons and full moons and things of that nature. So if you want to know like, when's the next new moon or when's the next full moon and what should I keep an eye out for during these times? Definitely following your favorite astrologer will also help you to do that.

And then you can also go to Astro.com, like I said. They have a lot of great articles there that you can read and find out more about your chart in general and also just like astrology 101 stuff. Those are kind of like where people should start. There's also books and resources too, that I suggest. There's this one book called Astrology for Yourself and it's actually a workbook and it's a book that people can get their chart and kind of figure out how to read their own chart and kind of figure out what the pieces are and how to look at that. And then there's another book called Astrology for Real Life that is also a bit of a workbook, that also kind of teaches you like the basic astrology 101 stuff if you want to get more familiar with your chart as well.

Dr. Joy: Perfect. And I know there are also apps that people use, but I don't think they're for the same things. Like Co-star and Pattern, it feels like, are more of a shorthand kind of thing?

Mecca: Yeah. What's interesting about The Pattern is that it's astrology-based but they don't say that it's astrology-based, which makes it a little bit confusing. I've used The Pattern. To me, they seem to be more geared towards compatibility and learning like how your astrology or how your chart fits with a friend or a romantic partner, like those kinds of things. With Co-Star, Co-Star is a little weird for me because the way that they present the birth chart visually doesn't really coincide with how astrologers tend to look at charts, which can get confusing for people, I think. And then I also get a little apprehensive with Co-Star with their notifications, because it kind of comes across a little bit mean at times. I know that astrology can be humorous and you have like the memes and things like that, that pokes fun at like the signs and their stereotypical behavior and things like that, but I don't like when astrology gets mean to the point where you make people feel bad about themselves and I think that I would definitely kind of invite people to be a little bit mindful of.

Dr. Joy: Got it, thank you so much for those. If people want to have readings, is there a place or something they should be looking for in terms of somebody's website or certifications, to let them know that this is somebody who's reputable and approved, so to speak, to be able to do a reading?

Mecca: Yeah, so definitely when you’re looking for certifications, there are different institutions that actually provide certifications for practicing astrologers. An astrologer who is certified will usually put that somewhere on their website or by their name and they'll say “certified by so and so” like ISAR or NCGR, these are just some of the entities that certify astrologers. You also want to see like how long the person has been practicing. Unfortunately, now because astrology has become so popular, you do have people who haven't really studied much and have kind of like hung out a shingle and they're like, “Oh, now I'm an astrologer and I'm giving readings,” and they don't really have much training.

I would say kind of look at their resume. Like are they certified? How long have they been practicing? Are they endorsed by other reputable astrologers? What is their tone when they're talking to people either on social media or on their website? Do they present the information as if they know it all and they’re some “all-seeing, all-knowing entity and you know nothing” and they're kind of like condescending? Or are they dragging people? Because, again, I like astrology to be presented in a way that is helpful. It can definitely have moments where you might kind of get thrown back a little bit like, oh, wow, I really kind of had a breakthrough there. Or I really wasn't paying attention to that and now I had a bit of an awakening or an epiphany, and now I see this in a totally different light.

And you have your moments when you get called out a little bit in a session, but it should feel supportive, it should feel constructive, it should never make you feel like you aren't the best judge of your life. It should never make you feel like you should be dependent on this person and their advice or like everything that they say is right and you're in the wrong. It should be empowering, basically, is what I'm saying. It's really important that you take some time to kind of get to know this person's voice and kind of see their resume and also, like I said, how they interact. Like, if they do have a social media presence what does that energy look like and how does it feel? Does it make you feel good or does it make you feel intimidated and bad about yourself? Because that's what you want to avoid.

Dr. Joy: Got it. Thank you so much for that. Yeah, I definitely think... Especially, like you said, since there has been such a rise in popularity, it is very easy for people to kind of maybe buy some of the books that you've talked about and then call themselves an astrologer.

Mecca: Right, exactly. Yeah, totally. The good news in that regard is that we'll start to see more of a push for more ethics and standards within astrology. I have some things that I'm working on behind the scenes that are going in that direction in terms of like best practices and ethics and what people should keep an eye out for and things of that nature. If you are looking for an astrologer, I would definitely say go with a person that makes you feel comfortable, that gives you a sense of you're going to be supported and that you're going to actually get something useful there. Versus, like I said, memes and dragging and kind of like a mean girl sort of energy. Just be very careful of that. Take your time to do your research and ask around because chances are people have had experiences, especially with the more popular astrologers with popular accounts, and they can kind of tell you who's who as well.

Dr. Joy: Got it. We'll take a quick break and we'll be back with our Press Pause moment.

PRESS PAUSE

Dr. Joy: When we can, we like to offer our community a press pause moment where our guests share an activity or something meaningful that the community may want to engage with after they listen to the episode. Do you have a press pause for us?

Mecca: Yes, I do. I thought it would be nice to read a small chapter from my book, Astrology for Happiness and Success. In this book, I have a section in here for all 12 signs and there are sections there for affirmations and journaling exercises and Feng Shui and all those different things. But I thought it would be nice, since we're beginning a new year, to read the journal exercise that I wrote for Capricorn. And the reason for that is because Capricorn is the only sign that both ends a year and begins a new one. And it’s usually during Capricorn season, when we are looking back at the year that we've just completed and kind of making a checklist of all the things that we've done, but then we're also looking ahead at the new year and making a list of goals that we want to tackle and accomplish.

The thing though, sometimes when we talk about Capricorn, not only just the Capricorn as a sign because, again, we all have Capricorn somewhere in our chart, not just people who are born under the sign of Capricorn. When we talk about Capricorn, we also have to talk about the planet Saturn. Saturn, as I mentioned earlier, is a planet that is about work and responsibility. It's the planet that helps us to make our visions and our dreams and our goal into something real. It’s the planet that helps us to manifest things. And while on one level, that energy can be super helpful in terms of being goal-oriented and hitting our accomplishments and being self-sufficient and all of those kinds of things, Saturn can also be associated with fear. A lot of times the fear is the fear of failure, fear of vulnerability or asking for help, and it can also be a place where we can be incredibly hard on ourselves. These are just a couple of questions that I thought would be good for people to kind of think about, as they're thinking about what's transpired over this last year and thinking ahead for the new year in terms of career and goals and things of that nature.

The first question is: What do you think you could achieve to let your heart lead the way forward? And the second question is: When it comes to your failures, in what ways could you stand to embrace your flaws? And then the third journal prompt here is: Spend some time tracking your thoughts, make note of any time you think negatively or criticize yourself about something, replace that thought with something self-affirming. How do you feel each time you do this? Do you notice a positive shift in how you think or feel?

I thought that would be some interesting things for people to kind of journal about or to think about after coming out of this year and thinking about the year head. And just kind of rethinking the way that they see failure, reprogramming the way that they think, especially when it comes to self-criticism and things of that nature. Also, just thinking about if you had the opportunity to choose differently when it comes to like a goal or a career, what would it look like if you allowed your heart to lead the way instead of trying to play it safe or sticking too closely to what you know?

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for that, Mecca. I think a lot of people will appreciate that because I've heard lots of conversation just about how people have gained new perspectives in 2020 and kind of thinking like now I feel like I want to maybe move somewhere different. I definitely feel like 2020 just showed us a lot, just in terms of our priorities and values and different things. So I feel like those questions will be helpful for people to kind of do a little bit of a reset.

Mecca: Yeah, absolutely. Especially over this past year, how we've kind of basically all sort of like hit a rock bottom in certain ways. And when I think about that rock bottom, it's like the old adage of “There's nowhere else to go but up.” So now it's kind of like whatever has been swept out or cleaned out, now we have the chance to replace it with new things. And so I feel like this year, even though it's been fraught with a lot of discomfort and pain and things of that nature, I do think that one of the positive things about this year is that it’s helping us to be more intentional about how we use our time and what we are choosing to fill our lives with. And I think that going into the new year, there will be opportunity to fill our lives with some new and better things.

Dr. Joy: Wonderful. Well, Mecca tell people where they can find you. Are you available for personal readings still?

Mecca: Yes, I'm available. I actually am all booked up for January but February is available now. If you want to find me or book a reading with me, you can find me at my website, MyLifeCreated.com. I'm also on Twitter at @TheMeccanism, that's my name and N-I-S, TheMeccanism. I’m also on Instagram at @1Meccanism as well if you'd like to connect with me there.

Dr. Joy: And we will be sure to include those in the show notes as well as links to your books. So you have Astrology for Happiness and Success and also a coloring book series.

Mecca: Yes, yes. I have my Cosmic Coloring Book series, so there's a coloring book for each of the 12 zodiac signs and I have a bunch of the copies here and at home. They're really great for just kind of tuning out and decompressing.

Dr. Joy: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for all of the information, Mecca, I really appreciate it.

Mecca: Thank you so much, Dr. Joy.

Dr. Joy: I'm so glad Mecca was able to join us for today's conversation. To learn more about her and her work or to grab one of her books, be sure to visit the show notes at TherapyForBlack Girls.com/session189. And please text two sisters right now and tell them to check out the episode. If there's a topic you'd like to have covered on the podcast, please submit it to us at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/mailbox.

If you're looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out the therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory. If you want to continue digging into this topic and connect with some other sisters in your area, come on over and join us in the Yellow Couch Collective where we take a deeper dive into the topics from the podcast and just about everything else. You can join us at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/YCC. Thank you all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all, real soon. Take good care.