INTERVIEW October 2017
We chatted with Madalyn Aslan, a child psychic who went on to get her B.A. from the University of London and Cornell University and her Master’s from Sarah Lawrence before becoming the astrologer for Salon and The New York Daily News. Aslan is also the bestselling author of “Madalyn Aslan’s Jupiter Signs”, “What’s Your Sign?”, and is currently working on her memoir, “Naked Mother”. Here, she sheds a little more light on just how seriously you should be taking that horoscope after all.
How did you first become interested in astrology?
I suppose you could say I was born into it – my mother was an artist and self-proclaimed witch (from a DAR family in the South) who gave birth to me, a love child, in Haight-Ashbury, and I grew up with paganism and astrology and Tarot cards, half in the U.S, half in the U.K. But the deeper truth is it was a fairly chaotic upbringing and I used astrology as a commentary to make sense of it. I found astrology fascinating as a child; I fancied myself as a Nancy Drew astrologer detective. And as a writer, I loved astrology as metaphor. Ultimately, I love how it helps people.
How big of a role does astrology play in your work and personal life now?
It’s a huge role in both. Every day I look at where the planets are stationed and what they’re doing, and this provides a ton of helpful information which informs many of my decisions. For instance, beginning new projects with a new moon, not signing anything when Mercury’s going backwards, and not going on a date when Venus is in retrograde.
Why do you think people are so interested in learning about the characteristics of their signs and about their horoscopes?
For self-knowledge, empowerment, and healing, primarily. The examined life! I think the brilliant psychologist Carl Jung said it best: “If you do not make your unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” It’s a great way to take charge of your life and direct it positively, and consciously, much as therapy works. My clients always say my readings are express therapy, as in ten years of exploration condensed into one hour. I see immediately what needs to be healed and fixed and changed.
How does astrology actually determine someone’s characteristics?
In brief, I’ll put it this way. You are born in a certain environment – which affects you. The Sun and all the other planets are in a particular – and very exact – position the moment you are born. They are “the greater environment.” Millions of miles away but clearly effective, just as the moon affects all water and tides on the earth. The average adult human body is 57 – 60% water, with the percentage of water in infants being much higher, typically 75-78% water. How could a massive ocean be pulled by the moon, but a tiny human not be? And that’s just the moon, which determines your emotions and needs, and even which foods you like to eat. The Sun is much more powerful than the moon.
Usually everyone is most familiar with their Sun sign, but can you tell me a little bit about the other signs in an astrology birth chart and what they mean?
Not only do you have a sun sign, and moon sign, you have a Mercury sign (how you think and speak), a Venus sign (how you fall in love), a Mars sign (what attracts you and whom you attract), and so on. Nine different planets, plus the asteroids. Every single part of your environment – all of these – affect you. No one else is born at the exact same second in the exact same location as you, and that is how a chart is drawn up – it’s like a map of you.
Do you have a favorite sign?
My particular favorite is Jupiter – it’s why I wrote my second book, “Madalyn Aslan’s Jupiter Signs” – and it determines how you become lucky in life. Once you discover that, you’re set! And interestingly, it’s often completely different from your sun sign, which is a little-known fact in astrology.
What is the meaning behind the different houses?
There are twelve houses, each representing a different area of your life. All the planets and asteroids fall into different houses. There are a million combinations but in brief, Sun in your ninth house means you are happiest and most recharged when traveling, learning and expanding your horizons. Sun rules your essential, primal energy, and the ninth house rules all that is outside one’s smaller world, like education, other countries, languages, peoples, cultures, plus law, publishing and belief systems. Moon explains what you need and want, so Moon in your fifth house means your needs in wants would fall in the areas ruled by your fifth house, which are creativity, ideas, romance, play, fun, kids, performing, parties, and kid-like things. With your Moon you have to be careful because it rules needs so much that it can become about addictions. You need to be aware of how much power you are giving your Moon sign and Moon position, or house.
Horoscopes and articles about your sign can be found online basically anywhere. How much of it is made up and how much is legitimate, in your opinion?
As in any profession, there are really good people and really terrible people. I’ve always campaigned for education and licensing in astrology, which is why I taught at NYU and in so many schools. Sadly, it attracts so many quacks because there’s so little education about it. It’s like the wild west – anyone can hang up a shingle and start writing horoscopes. As with psychologists and therapists, there should be testing and licensing. So, it’s not my opinion – much of it is made up, and that needs to change. It should all be legitimate.
I’ve written columns for so many newspapers and magazines, and it all comes down to the editor and how much they know, which is often very little. Fortunately, as more of the general public becomes educated, the astrologers are under more scrutiny, which is a great thing. Just as anyone working in any profession should be held to high standards.
Where do you think people should go to get an accurate and legitimate horoscope and analysis of their sign?
You have to search long and hard. Generally, word of mouth is best. I am wary of any astrologer or psychic who has a publicist or who advertises. I’ve never done either.
A lot of horoscopes can be vague and sometimes seem impersonal. What percentage of horoscopes and readings have turned out to be true throughout your career?
Of my own, I’m told 95 to 100 percent. I certainly had days when I didn’t trust what I was seeing, and when I was very young I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing all the time. But generally I’m so on because I’m extremely psychic as well. Not all astrologers are psychic, so they need to stay within broad lines. I believe in specificity. In my individual readings I do get exact names, people, dates, and so on.
How can people use knowledge of their horoscopes and astrological signs to their advantage in life?
Endlessly. Jupiter for luck and money, Venus for love and partners, Mars for sexuality, and so on with all the planets.
What would you say to skeptics and people who think reading their horoscope or learning about their sign is pointless?
I would say open your mind! Learn more so you can find what’s good for you and what’s not good for you. We have free will and choice and, with more knowledge, we make better-informed decisions.