In honor of her 10th year in the Guardian, a constellation of reader questions for our resident astrologer
PSYCHIC DREAM This month marks 10 happy years of predicting your weeks ahead through the magic and wisdom of astrology, with my weekly Psychic Dream horoscopes . These 10 years have been so much fun — thank you, my beloved stargazers (and naysayers!). In honor of this decade of Psychic Dream, we solicited questions from readers across the zodiac about the fine art of astrology and the intuitive work I do. Below are my answers. XO, Jessica.
Q What's the Guardian's sign?
Jessica Lanyadoo An intense and taboo breaking Scorpio, of course!
Q In terms of compatibility, does astrological compatibility differ for same-sex couples? If I'm looking at my partner and my charts, where should I look for compatibility?
JL In traditional astrology we often see traditional thinking about gender and sexuality. Unfortunately, most astrological texts are written not only for heterosexual couples, but also for people who conform to stereotypical gender norms and relationship styles. This often leaves homos, poly folks, and anyone of any sexual orientation who doesn't fit into classic gender roles straining to find themselves reflected in astrological relationship readings.
Compatibility doesn't differ for same sex couples, but relationship dynamics, values, and expectations can. People are just energy, and astrology gives voice to the ways that our energies run, and the most effective ways to use them, regardless of where we fall on the sexuality spectrum.
So this next part applies to all relationships. What I look for in relationship compatibility is a couple of things. After making sure that the people involved's moons are well aspected so that they both feel safe and loved, I like to look for some healthy friction in a chart. We need difference in order to have sustained attraction and be interested in a person, so one shouldn't be scared away by predictions of conflict. Some of the most successful relationship charts I have seen are riddled with strife! The key is to make sure that whatever problems you see challenge you to become a better, more whole person instead of ones that replay your old patterns. Don't get too hung up on whether or not your Sun signs are supposed to be well matched; we are more than the sum of our Sun signs. Remember, easy is not the same as compatible.
Q How can I make "Virgo" sound sexier to people?
JL One of the worst things that people do in astrology is pathologize others with it. Stereotyping sucks!
Virgo does sound sexy to people, but only people who are excited by smart, contemplative, and complex lovers. All 12 signs of the zodiac are sexy in their own way, but if you don't werque what you've got then you're not using your natural goods to their full potential. Be unapologetic about the sign you are, and trust that whether your spirit animal is Grumpy Cat, K.I.T.T. the talking car, or the Eiffel Tower, there is someone out there who's astrologically perfect for you.
Q How can you spin the negative or challenging traits of your sign into something good? For example, manipulation for Scorpio, fickleness for Sagittarius, etc.
JL Luckily, every sign has its bad and good traits, no spin necessary.
Most bad traits of your astrological sign are only positive qualities that are out of balance. For instance, we know that Sagittarius can be a know-it-all, but that's just an over-exaggerated expression of Sag's awesome enthusiasm and truth-seeking nature. Cancers can be clingy, but that's just the fear-based side of their gift of being able to experience their needs and feelings genuinely. If we stop thinking about the signs as good or bad, and start seeking balance in our nature, whatever our natures are, then we tend to thrive. A simple concept, but not an easy task to fulfill.
Q In addition to astrology, tarot, and speaking to the dead, you say you work by intuition. What can you tell about someone when they walk in the room?
JL I get asked this a lot. I try not to know anything about people when they walk in the room because it's creepy when intuitive people psychically peep on others. I'm committed to respecting others' privacy as much as I can. Also, when I'm not working, I don't want to be overwhelmed by other peoples' personal issues.
The most common misconceptions people have about psychics are that we can read your mind or are Hollywood style fortune-tellers. Your psyche and your life are not like a movie with a well-defined plot line and a beginning, middle, and end. Life is a complex choose-your-own-adventure story, a "Where's Waldo" of happiness, success, and health. Psychics and astrologers can't know all things at once about a person or their life because it's all too complex and constantly shifting.
We all have agency in our lives, and with effort and time we can change just about anything, including the path we're walking on right now.
Q Hi Jessica. Hope you are doing well. I have a question for your anniversary column. Can you see in someone's chart when/how they are going to die — or even any possibilities or hints?
JL Another commonly asked question! I always have the same thought when someone asks me this: why in the world would you want to know how or when you're going to die? How can this information help you, and what if it's wrong? We all die, and we generally don't get to control the when and where of it, so as an astrologer and a counselor I never predict death.
What I do look for is how to maximize your quality of life while you're here, how to make good choices that promote the highest quality of life possible, for the long haul. I believe that living well trumps having a solid When-Am-I-Gonna-Die theory any day. As a medical astrologer and medical intuitive, I am interested in investigating health issues and tendencies, but only inasmuch as it's constructive.
Q Can you say without a doubt, after 10 years, that astrology "works" as a predictive science?
JL I've been working as a professional astrologer for 18 years now and I can say authoritatively that, yes, astrology works!
Nothing is foolproof though; I believe that medical science works too, but I don't know a single person who hasn't been misdiagnosed or mistreated by it on occasion. No system or practitioner works effectively all of the time, or for all of the people, and no system should be used without discernment.
Many people throw away the wisdom of astrology and call it quackery without investigation. Many people follow it blindly. Neither approach is wise. Astrology is not a religion or a belief system. It is a valuable process of divination that when used by a trained and experienced professional can profoundly help people.
I no more encourage a person to make decisions about medicine by reading WebMD than I do by reading a random astrology website. Always consult a professional if you want accurate, high quality astrology information, folks!