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Session 289: An Astrological Preview of 2023

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 we prepare for the rest of the year, we’re continuing our annual January Jumpstart mini-series chatting all things astrology with Mecca Woods. Mecca is an NYC-based astrologer and author of, Astrology For Happiness and Success, Your Cosmic Coloring Book, and The Astrology Journal: A Celestial Guide to Recording Your Cosmic Journey. During our conversation we chatted about the major astrological events of 2023 and how to use your birth chart. Mecca set the record straight on Mercury retrogrades, and of course, she shared her favorite resources for anyone who wants to learn more.


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Session 289: An Astrological Preview of 2023

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 289 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into our conversation after a word from our sponsors.


Dr. Joy: We're a week into 2023, and what better way to prepare for the months ahead than using the stars and planets in the sky. That's right, we're continuing our annual January Jumpstart mini series chatting all things astrology with Mecca Woods. Mecca is a New York City based astrologer and author of Astrology For Happiness and Success, Your Cosmic Coloring Book, and The Astrology Journal: A Celestial Guide to Recording Your Cosmic Journey. In our conversation, we explored the major astrological events of 2023 and how to use your birth chart, Mecca set the record straight on Mercury retrogrades, and of course, she shared her favorite resources for anyone who wants to learn more. If something resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtags #TBGinSession or #JanuaryJumpstart, or you can join us over in the Sister Circle to talk more in depth about the episode. Come on over and join us at Here’s our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for joining us again today, Mecca. We're honored to have you back.

Mecca: It’s good to be back. It means I did something good to get the opportunity to come back.

Dr. Joy: Absolutely. So we got so much great feedback based on the episode. People have loved hearing more about astrology and how they might use it in their life. So in preparation for this brand new year, we thought it was fitting to have you back to talk about what we might expect for 2023.

Mecca: Yeah, lots of exciting stuff coming in, some big changes. The planets, they're always moving, they're always busy. It's never “not anything exciting happening,” it's just trying to figure it out and make it make sense, basically.

Dr. Joy: Got it. So for anybody who maybe didn't catch you on your first visit here, can you tell us a little bit more about what you do in your work with astrology?

Mecca: As a professional astrologer, my job is to make astrology accessible to the people. I do coaching by way of astrology, so helping people to understand their birth chart, what a birth chart means, and using that chart to delve deeper into who they are as a person. I help people to figure out like next steps in terms of career, relationships, big life events. There was a big portion of the work that I was doing last year, for example, where a lot of the clients that I was seeing were dealing with a big loss like a death in the family, and like walking them through the lens of astrology. So a lot of my work is really helping people to tap into their own personal power to create the life that they want to be able to navigate the ups and downs that life has to offer. Because even though with astrology, there are things that are in our control, but there's also a lot of stuff that's outside of our control. And as an astrologer, my job is to help people to be able to understand the difference between the two and being able to navigate both.

Dr. Joy: Mecca, I'm curious to know if there's anything about your work that has changed in terms of astrology, based on the pandemic. I'm sure much of your work has been virtual, I'm sure that has changed, but is there anything that has changed about the way that you work with people or what you're seeing in people's birth charts, based on the pandemic?

Mecca: It makes me think about last year was known as the great resignation. A lot of people were leaving their jobs, a lot of people felt that they wanted something more fulfilling. I think the pandemic really brought up a lot of things to the surface for a lot of people in terms of like, what's important? What matters in my life and where do I want to go from here? And I found that a lot of the women that were coming to me definitely wanted to know things about their career. A lot of women were burned out, they wanted to be more fulfilled in what they were doing. And I think that spoke to the sign of the times in the context of like what was taking place on a collective scale.

People weren't interested in just working and just going through the motions, and I guess, kind of sleepwalking through their life. They wanted more fulfillment in it. That definitely was something that showed up a lot. As I mentioned, I also spoke to a lot of clients who were dealing with some sort of loss in their life and in working through that grieving process, that was something that came up often. And I think the other piece of it was the anxiety. Having to figure out, like, what's going on in the world? When is this going to be over? How do I navigate a world that seems to be on the brink of collapse, essentially? Like how do we survive? How do we get through this? So that was definitely a lot of what I was covering in session with clients. And of course, it was very busy. It's been a very busy couple of years because people want answers and they want to know what's next.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I think that will make sense. When people are so anxious, they are kind of looking for answers from somewhere.

Mecca: Absolutely, yeah.

Dr. Joy: So again, just as a bit of a refresher. Can you say a little bit more about what our birth chart is?

Mecca: A birth chart is basically like a cosmic map. The chart is based on the day, the month, the year, the time, and the location of your birth. And so when we plug in those coordinates, basically what we get is a birth chart and that has to do with where the planets are aligned in the sky at the time that you were born. Based on that planetary alignment, we can look at a person's life and see what that life might be looking like. We can go back in time and give some context to certain events or different things that may have been going on in a person's life. We can look towards the future and get some information on what a person might expect or what they might be looking out for, or opportunities that they can take advantage of. Relationship stuff. We can talk about relationship dynamics, we can talk about family dynamics, or basically what a person's purpose is in terms of what they are trying to achieve and accomplish in this life. So there's a lot of different things that we can look at within a birth chart and that birth chart is basically giving us the cosmic map to who we are.

Dr. Joy: Got it. And I think the first time you were here, we talked about the big three placements. My understanding is that they're actually six, so can you explain to us what the six big placements are?

Mecca: That one I was thinking about because typically, we talk about the big three, which is the sun sign, your moon sign and your rising sign. In your birth chart, your placements go all the way from the sun all the way down to Pluto. In astrology, we still consider Pluto to be a planet. I know the science world has something else to say about that but we still utilize Pluto in astrology. The big six would probably be the sun-moon rising, your Mercury sign (which has to do with how you communicate and how you think about things), your Venus sign (which has to do with how you relate to people, and your values.) And then your Mars sign, which has to do with how you deal with conflict and how you might go after something in terms of like ambition or passion or how you might typically get things done.

Dr. Joy: Okay, so all those sound like collectively would be very insightful.

Mecca: Yes, yes, absolutely. When we talk about those placements in astrology, these are what we would consider your personal planets. Personal planets have to do with like how those placements or that astrology directly affects you. It's more about you and your specific life. The outer planets, which would include Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, those planets have more to do with like a generational experience. So typically, you're going to share the same Neptune sign or Pluto sign, or even Saturn sign with people who were born around the same time as you. And that has more to do with like generational stuff. For example, like the Baby Boomers, Gen Z, Gen X, the millennials, like that kind of thing.

Dr. Joy: Got it. Okay. You already mentioned that there's always something going on with the planet. So what kinds of things should we just be mindful about for 2023?

Mecca: I think that's a great question and I definitely have to tell you that it's something that I'm still pondering and thinking about in terms of what things look like. But so far, without getting too in the weeds about it, one of the planetary shifts that's happening next year is that planet Pluto is moving from Capricorn into the sign of Aquarius. Pluto is, in astrology, the planet that's associated with power and rebirth. Since roughly about 2008, we've had Pluto stationed in the sign of Capricorn. And that is what we saw in terms of like the banks collapsing back in 2008. Up until this point, we've seen a lot of greed and corruption and a lot of corporations and government just running unchecked. Like a lot of power kind of running unchecked and that's the dark side or the shadowy side of Pluto. Pluto's job is to show us things that need to be changed. It forces us to really take a hard look at the things that are going on so that we can actually do something about it. And a lot of times the things that Pluto shows us are typically things that aren't so nice.

And so now coming up in March of 2023, Pluto will enter Aquarius and stay there for a few months because it will kind of go back and forth between Aquarius and Capricorn next year, but it will officially make it’s stay in Aquarius in January 2024. But what this basically means is that Aquarius is a sign that is very group oriented, very collective oriented. So if we talk about Pluto and Aquarius, there is very much like a “power to the people” sentiment that comes with that particular placement. But here's the thing about that. I think when we talk about astrology, I always try to stress to people that there's two ways that we can use the energy. We can do it in a way where we are expressing the positive side or we can go down into the negative side—the low vibrational side, if you will. But when we talk about this Pluto and Aquarius story, I think what we will see is like more people organizing and pushing back against the corruption and the injustice and the corporate greed that we've been seeing over the past couple of years that’s just been getting worse and worse as the days go on. I think that we're going to see more people banding together, whether it be trying to form unions in their place of work, or thinking about how they can revamp the legal system. People doing work in their own individual way banding together to create and foster change, which is very Pluto and Aquarius.

However, the downside of that is that I do think that we're going to have to still keep an eye on that extremism that we've been seeing over the past couple of years. Because one of the things about Aquarius is that it can be group oriented in the sense of like, yeah, let's work together, let's be a community, let's make things happen. But it can also foster the sentiment of let’s tear it all down, let's burn it all down. That sort of extremist or fundamentalist sort of mentality. And so we've already gotten a taste of that already over this past year, especially with some of the domestic terrorism that's been taking place. I do think that's something that’s we're going to have to continue to watch and be mindful of. But I do think that if we are able to continue doing the work that Pluto is calling us to do, which is calling out the corruption and the injustice and the cruelty and all of the things that we've been seeing, I think it will empower us to actually be able to make some deep and profound and lasting changes.

Dr. Joy: Mecca, as I'm listening to you talk, I'm wondering what was in the charts in 2020 when we saw all of the uprising after George Floyd's murder? It feels like that was a huge time for movement work and like banding together and that kind of thing. Are there some things that feel similar, chart wise, about 2023 that we saw in 2020?

Mecca: When we were in 2020, that was a time when we had the big Saturn-Pluto conjunction. Historically, when Saturn and Pluto get together, it typically involves a crumbling of sorts of society as we know it. That's typically the theme behind it and so that's essentially what's been happening. So now that we're carrying that energy over into this new year, into 2023, it's going to be a continuation of working with those themes and looking at ways that we can actually start changing things and also rebuilding from things that we've lost.

Because that's the other thing too, is that we are still I think collectively grieving a lot of the loss. And it doesn't necessarily have to be the death, although there was a lot of it that we faced over the past couple of years. But people losing jobs, people losing a way of life that they've known before. There's still a lot of grief that we still need to address. Which is why I'm one of the astrologers (and people sometimes get upset with me about this) but I really don't like the idea of the spiritual bypassing of like “Love and light, everything's going to be great, it's a new year, everything's going to be so wonderful.” And it's like, no, we still have a lot of work, a lot of stuff that we need to fix here. I think it's important to be hopeful, to maintain and hold on to the hope that things can change, and continue to do the work and showing up the way in which we can or are being called to show up. 2020 was definitely the breaking point and so now it's going to be about the aftermath of that, for sure.

Dr. Joy: Any other themes that you are thinking about or considering for 2023?

Mecca: For 2023, we also have Saturn moving into Pisces. Saturn is the planet that is about responsibility and hard work and a sense of duty. Wherever Saturn transits, it's a place where the foundations of that area of life is being tested in some way to make sure that it's strong. And if it's not, then we need to tear it down or rebuild it, or reinforce it in some way. Pisces is a sign that is associated with compassion, spirituality. And Saturn going into Pisces, I think could be a time when people could actually make some great strides in terms of healing, actually, like starting to heal from some of this loss and the grief and things like that, that we've been feeling. But again, there's no magic pill or magic wand with this. Saturn forces us to do the work necessary. So I think as we think about like, what do we want to accomplish, what kind of world we envision, what we would like to see change, the themes coming up for the new year will actually pave the way in terms of giving us a direction in terms of where we can go, and then it'll be up to us to actually follow through and take those steps.

Dr. Joy: Kind of moving from the collective to the more personal, where do we look in our charts to come up with maybe our own personal themes or intentions or goals for the year?

Mecca: There's a lot. There are so many different places that you can can look in the chart. I have a book, it's called The Astrology Journal, and in the journal, it's a daily journal that you can use to basically chart and kind of map out your birth chart and what's happening day to day, month to month, year to year. In it, I give a bit of an astrology 101 in terms of telling people what to look for. Because even though there's a lot of different things happening in the sky where it pertains to astrology, everybody is going to be affected differently. For example, if you're going through your Saturn return, you may not necessarily be that interested in whether Mercury Retrograde is happening. Because that Saturn is bringing more of your attention to a certain area of your life. Or if you're looking for love but we're in a period of time where Venus is retrograde, finding love might be a bit tricky. So I think it depends on first and foremost, what a person is most interested in.

And then you can look at your chart. There's different parts of the chart that have to do with different areas of your life. For example, if you're thinking about career, you might be looking at your tenth house, which is the part of the chart that has to do with your accomplishments, the kind of career that you have, what you might want to achieve. If you're thinking about, let's say, starting a family, maybe you're going to be looking at your fourth house or your fifth house. The fourth house is more about like putting down roots; fifth house usually marks the arrival of a baby or like a pregnancy of some sort. So these might be things that people might want to look at. If you're thinking about getting married, that might be the seventh house that they're looking at and talking to an astrologer about when's the best time for me to get married? And picking a date for that. I think there's something in the chart for everyone and so I think it just has to do with figuring out what you're most focused on, and then looking for that in the chart. Like I said, in my book The Astrology Journal, I kind of go step by step and teach people how to do that.

Dr. Joy: You have tons of great resources so we definitely will be sure to include all of the books because I think it gives people a great place to start. But can you say a little bit about the difference of maybe working through some of this in your journal versus having an actual session with you? What would be different?

Mecca: I think what will be different is that it will definitely be more self driven. It won't be as in depth in terms of like working with me or working with an astrologer because that would definitely be a lot more in detail. But what it could do is give you an idea of how the transits are working in real time. Because sometimes, what I find is that when someone is just learning about astrology or just learning about their birth chart, it could be hard to make it make sense. Because it's like, I hear Saturn and Jupiter and this and that, and it's not until you're able to actually see how those things are working in real time in your life… And I think when we talk about the journaling aspect, I like that because it allows you to sit with it and absorb the information and practice with it a bit more. And because astrology is such a huge field, depending on a person's interest level, they can actually continue to take that a step further if they wanted to, or they can just keep it light. To me, I think the journal is almost like ala carte, if you will. Astrology ala carte! Which I think could be sometimes a less intimidating way to learn about the chart or learn about yourself in the context of astrology.

Dr. Joy: Got it. So I often hear people say things like, oh, now is not a good time to sign a contract or now it's not a time to buy electronics or something like that. What are people referring to when they talk about that? And how strictly should we be using or paying attention to our birth chart?

Mecca: When we talk about transits like Mercury Retrograde, Mercury retrogrades happen about three to four times a year so it sometimes can be difficult not to do a thing if there's a pressing matter that you have to take care of. For example, with Mercury Retrograde, it's just really about thinking or looking before you leap or like thinking before you speak. Because Mercury is the planet that has to do with how we communicate and how we think. Mercury is information and details. So if Mercury is retrograde, it’s not that you have to like run and cower and stay in your house for those three weeks that mercury is retro; it's just about being maybe a little bit more careful or moving a little bit slower.

And that's typically what happens when we talk about retrograde planets in general. When Venus is retrograde, it’s about reevaluating our relationships and our values. When Mars is retrograde, as it is right now, it's about slowing down and reassessing, like our plans or our actions, or even sometimes our relationship to things like anger, for example, because Mars has a lot to do with those themes in our life. So my rule of thumb is that when you're dealing with transits and it sounds scary - not to panic. Definitely, sometimes having some of these more difficult transits can coincide with more difficult experiences in your life. But ultimately, what the planets are trying to do is show you where you might need to slow down or come up with a little bit of a game plan in order to be able to navigate forward. I don't think it's something that needs to be like a sense of gloom and doom or panic.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Mecca after the break.


Dr. Joy: When we told the TBG community that you were coming back, there was so much excitement and so we got some questions that some of our listeners sent in. We asked them for their sign, so we've collected their sun, moon and rising signs and some of the concerns that they have for 2023. We'd love to share a few of these scenarios with you so that you might be able to give them some places to start or things to consider for 2023.

Mecca: Absolutely.

Dr. Joy: Here's the first one. My sun is in Cancer, my moon is in Leo, my rising is in Pisces. I'm 29 years old and I'm in over $20,000 of debt, some credit cards and some debt to the IRS. I'm feeling overwhelmed and trying to ground myself to feel confident in my ability to pay off what I owe and start saving going into my new 30s decade.

Mecca: I can definitely feel for this person. Being in debt is no fun, it can be quite scary. I think when we talk about someone being a Cancer or being a Pisces rising, one of the things that this year I think is going to help her to be more mindful of, is just making sure of not sweeping things under the rug. Pisces is a sign that sometimes when confronted with conflict, we can kind of retreat and be like, I'll put it off, I'll deal with this later. Cancer can be quite a tough sign but Cancer can sometimes also be like I'll just retreat into my shell and worry about the world later. I think when we talk about what's coming up, one big thing, being 29, you're in your Saturn return. So this is your first Saturn return, it’s not uncommon to feel like I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know how to life or adult right now. But Saturn's here to help you with that. Saturn's job is to teach you how to be disciplined, how to be patient, how to take care of responsibilities that you need to take care of, because essentially what you'll be doing is taking care of yourself. So that's just something to keep in mind. When you're going through a Saturn return, what you don't want to do is you don't want to put off your responsibilities because it'll be all the more harder to try to tackle it later.

Another thing that you don't want to do when you're going through a Saturn return is to be too critical or hard on yourself if you feel like you're not at the level that you want to be or that you should be. Saturn is all about taking your time, arriving to a destination when you've taken the time to do the work and then you finally get to a place where you're like, alright, I feel ready to move forward or I feel ready to get to the space. And so when we talk about the money situation, you're going to be having eclipses going through your money zone next year when we get to the eclipses in Aries and Libra, which will be taking place in April and October of 2023. Those eclipses going through your financial zones are definitely going to help you with cleaning up your financial picture. And like I said, the biggest and the best way to do that, because Saturn will be helping you, is taking your time. Don't burden yourself with unrealistic deadlines or unrealistic goals when it comes to this because it will only set you up for disappointment. What you want to do is pace yourself. Even if you could take it small, baby steps, that's totally fine. And the other thing too, if you haven't worked with a financial advisor, this might be a good time to do that.

Dr. Joy: You mentioned that the 29th birthday is a big year. This is the first Saturn return, is that what you said?

Mecca: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Joy: Can you say more about these milestone birthdays? What are some other ones that people should be mindful of?

Mecca: Your Saturn return typically happens every 30 years. You have one around 29, 30, you have another one around 58,59, and then you have another one around 87, 88, somewhere in there. So each stage of Saturn has a stage of adulting that comes with it. And when you're going through your first one, that's usually what we would assign the quarterlife crisis to. Of like, who am I, where am I going? I have all these dreams and things that I want to accomplish but I don't know if I'm on the right path. Saturn's job is to help you to basically get it together. That's typically what Saturn does.

And then around 58, 59, you're having your second Saturn return. That's usually a stage in a person's life where they're kind of like been there, done that, and now they're ready for a different chapter or a new chapter of their lives. Being older and wiser, right. And then coming into that third one, that's usually a time I notice when a lot of elders are kind of revered in their community for the work that they've done or what they've given to their community. And it can also be a bit of a rebirth to some degree too where you might have elders who might take younger people under their wing to kind of pass the torch. That's kind of like how that goes.

And then there's also Uranus transit that happens. Like in your mid 40s, planet Uranus, which is the planet of change, visits. That’s usually kind of equated to what we would call a midlife crisis because you've spent almost a half century on Earth and now you're like, I don't know, I feel like I'm ready for something new or different in my life. But this is more on the extreme side. If they aren't using or listening to that Uranus transit, then they may make more reckless or impulsive choices that have ripples to other areas of their life. Yeah, so there's a lot of milestone kind of birthdays, but definitely Saturn is one of the biggest ones for sure.

Dr. Joy: Got it. Thank you for that. Here's our second scenario. My sun is in Gemini, my moon is in Virgo, my rising is in Libra. I'm 58 years old and in 2022, I lost my younger brother in a motorcycle accident. I'm devastated by the loss and I'm trying to find the strength to move on, while still caring for my mother and managing my business. All while trying to not become angry at the entire world.

Mecca: First and foremost, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss and I definitely wish you much strength during this time. When I was talking about Saturn, being that you're 58 years old now, this is definitely the second Saturn return that you're going through. The thing is, I guess the reality of the situation is that when you are dealing with Saturn, it's hard. It's not an easy transit or planet to experience. The thing is, though, when we talk about Saturn, Saturn's job is to test the foundation of the area of life that it's covering for us. And so when we get to 2023, Saturn is going to be entering your sixth house, which is the zone in the chart that has to do with like your everyday life, your work, your responsibilities. With Saturn entering that part of your chart, so your Libra rising, your moon is in Virgo, whenever I see that mix between Virgo and Libra, I always think about someone who often puts others before themselves a lot. Libra is the sign that often knows how to kind of hold space or make space for other people and Virgo loves to be able to fix and help and be of service in some way, especially when it comes to people that they care about. However, the downside to that is sometimes with the Libra rising, you have to be very mindful of balance. Reciprocity. If you're giving something, you have to be receiving something as well. When we talk about that mixture, sometimes it can lend itself to people pleasing. And what happens is you can then find yourself in a situation, especially like when the chips are down, you're going through a really difficult time, where people aren't showing you that same amount of support that you so readily give. So Saturn being in Pisces next year and going into your work, so your day to day daily routine...

And that's also going to be a zone that has to do with your health and wellness. Saturn is going to show you the importance of delegating, being able to say no without feeling guilt behind it. And also taking care and prioritizing your health and wellbeing because it's going to be really difficult to show up for someone if you're not able to take care of yourself. Therapy might be a part of that story, getting enough rest, self care, learning how to prioritize and put yourself first, definitely is going to be a part of that, especially because those eclipses that I mentioned in Aries and Libra are also going to be landing in your chart. With the Aries eclipses in particular, they're going to be teaching you how to get support and ask for the help that you need so you don't have to go through this alone.

Dr. Joy: Thank you for that, Mecca. Then our final scenario. My sun is in Aries, my moon in Sagittarius, my rising is in Capricorn. I'm 35 years old, I'm single and I don't want to be. I'm looking for love but all I'm finding is situationships.

Mecca: I feel like I definitely can relate to that. Definitely have been there, done that for sure. When we talk about the age that you are, in addition to thinking about where the planets are and how they are landing in your chart on any given day, month, year, as astrologers there's lots of different techniques and tools that we use to kind of figure out what's coming up next. One of the things that we use is something called profections. This is actually something that you can google and find out more about profections or profection years. Basically, what that means is that, given how old you are, there's one area of your chart that becomes the backdrop or gives a lot of context to what's happening for you for that particular year, and then you move around the chart, almost like in a circle. And so when you turn 35, what happens is you find yourself in a twelfth house year, which is usually a time where you're doing a lot of soul searching. And I would say it's not a great time for dating because it's a time for retreating from the world and pulling back, withdrawing, and allowing yourself to rest essentially. It's a time when you can renew or create a spiritual practice for yourself. It's a time for kind of going within, really getting in touch with those kinds of things.

So while you're there, I would say this might be a good time to think about what kind of partner you want and who you want to call in. I will say that eclipses bring change. I talk about the eclipses a lot, but they tend to trigger big changes. And with the Eclipse landing activating your sun, I think part of the story is going to be about the ways in which you show up and put yourself out there. Capricorn risings often have a lot of difficulty with being vulnerable with people. While you're an Aries, you have that Sag moon, your Capricorn rising, you know, very independent, very strong. But sometimes that can give off the energy of I don't want anybody to get too close, I don't want anybody to really see who I am. Even if you may not be actively saying it, it can be a vibe that people are kind of picking up on, which then invites in situationships because there's a certain amount of unavailability that you're giving off.

So these eclipses that are coming in next year are definitely going to help you with switching up your approach to relationship. I think part of it is also going to be learning how to drop your guard and getting comfortable with being vulnerable. And that vulnerability piece I think is going to come through by way of communication because, you know, I've talked a lot about Saturn. Saturn for you, since you’re a Cap rising, Saturn for you is going to be entering your communication zone. It’s going to be helping you to talk about stuff and open up and be able to be a bit more vulnerable so that way you can foster true intimacy and true relationship with someone that could actually be a good partner for you. That definitely I think, is something for you to look forward to. It does mean work because we're dealing with Saturn and Capricorn rising is like it can feel very uncomfortable to have to make that change. But you're not destined to be alone, it's just that your approach to relationship needs to change.

Dr. Joy: Thank you. I appreciate you sharing that about your 35th year because it definitely feels like that is often a year for a lot of people, especially women, where you're kind of evaluating. Like, okay, what's happening in my life, what am I moving forward to? And so you're saying that really is a year for maybe not dating, but a real year for reflection and kind of figuring out what's next.

Mecca: Yeah. It's weird because it's kind of like the halfway mark. You're officially in your 30s but 40 is kind of looming. And it is a period of time where you're kind of like, all right, where do I go from here? And yes, it can be disconcerting, especially for those of us who are used to being very motivated and driven, and just go, and making things happen. Twelfth house years typically feel almost like you're being put on a timeout. But then the timeout is also kind of like, alright, what do I do with this time out? So yeah, if anyone out there who's 35 and feeling this way, it's not you. It's the timing of where you are right now.

Dr. Joy: Got it. More from my conversation with Mecca after the break.


Dr. Joy: Okay, so you’ve used a lot of terminology that I want to make sure the community really gets what you're saying. You're saying things about like houses and placements. Can you give us some definitions for what that means? What does it mean for your astrological placement?

Mecca: Your placements basically mean your planets and where they're positioned in your chart. Like if you have where your moon is or where your Venus is or where your Mercury is. Like where they’re positioned, like the sign that they're in, in your chart and the part of the sky that they were in at the time of your birth. So when we talk about houses, for example, it's just how we divide the sky up. And when we talk about that in terms of someone's birth chart, those pieces or those components, if you will, those houses, will highlight the different areas of a person's life. So if someone is dealing with let's say a health scare, that might be a sixth house thing. If they've just purchased a house for example, that might be a fourth house thing. If we talk about houses, the houses just basically demarcate the different areas of a person's life. But the placements have to do with like where the actual planets are in the chart.

Dr. Joy: Got it. And how many houses are there?

Mecca: 12, there’s 12 houses.

Dr. Joy: And can you tell us what each one is connected to in terms of like the area of our life?

Mecca: Sure. The first house is essentially your rising sign or your ascendant. The first house has to do with your image of yourself and the image that you sort of project out outwardly. The second house is about your income, money that you earn. It can also be your relationship to things like pleasure, your values. Things that bring you pleasure, that will be second house. Third house is communication and also to some degree like learning, writing, language, those kinds of things. Fourth house is your home, your physical home. How you were raised, where you come from, your family, your roots, your history. Fifth house is the house of romance and sex and fun. That's one of the houses I like and enjoy.

The sixth house is your day to day routine, your work life. It's your responsibilities, including your health and your wellness. Seventh house is partnerships, specifically committed partnerships, like a business partner or a marriage or a committed partner. Eighth house has to do with like money that you might owe like taxes, debts, or even money that you might get through a partner or a partnership. The eighth house also sometimes has to do with emotional crisis, especially where it pertains to loss of some sort. The ninth house is growth and expansion, opportunity. It’s typically associated with traveling or a philosophy on life. Tenth house typically is associated with your career and your reputation. Eleventh house is your friendships, your communities, but it also can highlight your dreams for the future. And then your twelfth house, last but not least, is the zone in the chart that has to do with rest, retreat and kind of being away from it all.

Dr. Joy: Nice, okay. That sounds like a lot of great information. I'm guessing as a part of what you do with the sessions you have with your clients, you're kind of going through these houses and which ones will maybe be most prominent for the year.

Mecca: Right. Typically, what I notice is that when someone is coming to me for a reading, their birth chart is going to be highlighting what they need to be focusing on for that particular year or that time. I usually find that, in session, I'm never really telling people anything they don't know unless they're just really like brand spanking new to astrology, but more so like confirming or validating something that they've already been feeling. Because chances are, if it's in the air, if it's in the ether, you're feeling it. It's showing up in the chart and my job is to be like, “yeah, that's right. You're feeling this. Alright, this is what we're going to do from here.” That's typically how that goes.

Dr. Joy: Got it. You've talked before, on the podcast but also today, you talked about this Mercury Retrograde which people talk about quite a lot. I think that is the one that most people are attentive to. Are there any themes for the Mercury retrogrades we can expect in 2023?

Mecca: For the Mercury retrogrades coming up in 2023? That's a good question. I'm not even sure if I’ve thought about that. The reason why is because I guess I've been focusing a lot more on some of the bigger like collective stuff. Because the thing is, it's not that Mercury Retrograde isn't important. It's just that what I find, regardless of what Mercury is doing in the sky, it all boils down to communicating, making sure you're on the same page with everyone. Especially like I think over the past couple of years, there's been so much trouble with misinformation. With Mercury retrogrades, it really is about fact checking and verifying information. I think one of the things that's going to be coming up in 2023 is like… We've already been kind of seeing this year, but the issue of online privacy. And I think that when Mercury goes retrograde, one of the things I tell people is like change your passwords, double check that everything is secure, because that can be a time when people get a little spicy and put their hands in things that they shouldn't be. You know what I mean?

So, yeah, these are probably going to be some of the things that you might want to think about over the next year in terms of verifying information, fact checking, making sure you're on the same page with everyone. I told myself I wanted to bring this up while I was talking to you because this was something that I was having a lot of trouble. And not only me, a lot of tarot readers, diviners, astrologers, we were all collectively going through this over this past year. There are a lot of scammers going on Instagram and social media, copying our pages and then following people and DMing people pretending to be us and being like, do you want a reading? And then scamming people out of their money. I've had to make my page private just to keep that from happening because Instagram has not been helpful in trying to fix that situation.

But yeah, that's another thing. With all the things that are going on right now, it could be really easy to find yourself in a space where you're like, I want a reading, I need a reading, I need to know what's going on. But please do your due diligence. If you're not coming to me or if there's someone else, another astrologer that you're interested in, or a tarot reader or a diviner, please do your due diligence in figuring out if that person is the real deal, if they're ethical, if that's someone that you actually want to work with. Please don't send anyone money through DM, online, without making sure that they are who they say they are. Because this thing is a really big issue and I really hate to see people getting harmed and taken advantage of because someone is like, okay, I'm just going to jump on this trend and take advantage of folks. So that definitely is something to keep an eye on as we go into the new year for sure.

Dr. Joy: My understanding, Mecca, is that people who are doing this work ethically will typically not reach out to people to say, hey, do you want a reading? It usually is upon the person to initiate the reading or whatever it is going to be?

Mecca: Right, abolutely. Typically, those of us who are doing this work, we already have a very full roster, which makes it almost impossible for us to chase people down and be like, hey, do you want a reading? But the other thing is that the work that we do, as diviners, as readers, is very intimate. And when you're doing work that is this intimate, you can't really just cast a wide net and try to reach anyone or talk to anyone. There has to be boundaries. And you have to make sure that the person that you're talking to, you want to talk to, or is actively seeking you out, right? Just please, y'all please be safe on these internet streets because, unfortunately, there's a lot of shenanigans going on and a lot of bad actors out there. My rule of thumb is treat it the way you would if you were looking for a hairstylist or looking for a lawyer or looking for a therapist. Really take your time to do the work and make sure that the person that you're looking to connect with is the real deal.

Dr. Joy: Thank you for that, Mecca. One other term that you use that I want to make sure that we have some clarity around is transit. What do you mean when you say like the planets are transiting?

Mecca: Yes. Transit basically means where the planets are moving on any given day or month or year. It's kind of like if you can think of each zodiac sign as being a train station and the planets are trains. So as they are moving, each planet has its own cycle. Some are much quicker, I think the moon is the fastest, but then you have like the slow outer planets, like Neptune and Pluto that take… We would never be alive for them to make their complete cycle. But basically what happens is, as the planets are moving, going through their cycle, they are taking time in each sign, and the timing has to do with the length of the cycle. But basically, they are stopping at each sign. So when we talk about a transit, it has to do with where the planet itself and what zodiac sign it’s stationed in. And then once it's done with that sign, it moves on to the next.

Dr. Joy: Got it. The analogy of the buses and the bus station is super helpful. Thank you.

Mecca: You’re welcome.

Dr. Joy: You’ve already talked about your books, which were incredible resources. And I know the last time that you were here, you mentioned a great website that you typically suggest to people if they want to like do their birth charts. Can you give us that website as well as any other resources in addition to your books that people might find helpful?

Mecca: Sure. is a great resource in terms of getting a birth chart for free. They also have tons of information and articles on their website. They have it for different levels, whether you're a beginner or intermediate or more advanced. is definitely one of them. I like the app Time Passages. Time Passages is a great app for not only learning more about your chart and also astrology, but it also is good for tracking transits. There is a great book called Astrology For Yourself if you're super nerdy like me and you like writing and workbooks and that kind of thing. Astrology For Yourself is a great workbook and you can move at your own pace. I also have an online course on my website that also can teach you some of the basics in your chart, step by step as well.

Dr. Joy: Perfect, lots of great resources. We'll definitely be sure to include those in addition to the ones that you shared with us the first time for people who want to do a little bit more digging after they check you out on the podcast. Where can we stay connected with you, Mecca? You've already mentioned we probably cannot get on the calendar, but if you by chance have some openings, where can we stay connected? What’s your website, as well as your social media channels?

Mecca: You can find me at my website, I'm on Instagram @1meccanism and you can also find me on Twitter @TheMeccanism. If you go to my website,, that's where you will find everything from me.

Dr. Joy: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for joining us again, Mecca. We really appreciate it.

Mecca: Thank you so much. It's always a pleasure.

Dr. Joy: Thank you. I'm so glad Mecca was able to share her expertise with us again today. To learn more about her or to grab a copy of her books, visit And don't forget to text two of your girls right now and tell them to check out the episode. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, check out our therapist directory at And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at This episode was produced by Fredia Lucas and Ellice Ellis, and editing was done by Dennison Bradford. Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

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Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here