“Astrology is a reflection of you and your life. The whole thing can be seen through the lens of what makes you beautiful and what makes this life of yours beautiful. There's one way to look at your [birth] chart where it's just you and your psyche. And the other way to look at the chart is to see how your life is set up: to see what's challenging, what's going to be easy for you, what are your gifts. What I've learned from being with my chart and living it out and giving myself some decades to really understand what it's about, is that the really challenging parts of my chart have demanded that I develop myself the most. They've demanded that I not be lazy, to not stay in places that are easy for me. What I thought was really ugly or what I was ashamed of astrologically when I first started learning, has actually been the thing carrying me thus far.
[In astrology] there's the rising sign and the first house. The rising sign and the first house is ‘the self,’ so it's how we're seen by the world and what our style, in a sense, will be. And then there's Venus and the moon, and the moon is our body; it's our emotional life and our connection to the person who birthed us. There is a physicality to the moon that it is home to our spirit. Then there's the sun, which is part of our identity and life's purpose and how we shine, and that's also a part of our beauty. Each planet, in relationship to one of those things, Venus or the first house, possibly the sun and the moon, will help to curate the type of beauty that a person walks around with.
I've had a contentious relationship with beauty my entire life. I really resented being harassed in my teens and 20s and 30s. It made me so angry that I wanted to rebel against beauty. It’s a complicated thing, living in patriarchy, because of course beauty is essential, beauty is connective, beauty is to be celebrated, beauty is in so many things, but patriarchy wants to own beauty, and sell it to you. It tells you to devour beauty, and it throws you away the moment you don't hit those standards. Street harassment is one thing, but then there’s also the covert, structural power that diminishes you at every turn in micro ways that are less obvious, but just as threatening. It's a setup, it's a pyramid scheme! And I think we all know that.
Living within the patriarchy, Saturn return is a time for folks who maybe have been able to rely on their youth and the beauty that comes with it, to have a reckoning with the fact that they're not going to be young forever.
I've been really into skin routines lately—toner has been this thing that I'm kind of obsessed with. I use ESPA’s balancing toner. The experience of a good toner is one of the most refreshing things—I feel so clean! It tightens you in the right ways, it cleans in a way that's not too harsh. I'm super into the Chantecaille Vital Essence; it's like water meets a face mask on your skin. Then I use their Lifting Cream very sparingly—it makes you a little sticky in good way. I put it right on my skin so it doesn't get wasted on my hands. It's like makeup for me now. Although I do like some makeup; I'm obsessed with Brow Flick.
I don't do a ton for my hair. I rarely wash it, I'll wet it, it depends. You never know what it's going to be like. Sometimes it looks dry and frizzy and shitty, other days it looks amazing and hydrated and happy, and I’ve done the same things! Sometimes I just rehydrate the ends with a little bit of conditioner. Once in a while I'll do a full scalp treatment. I do oil it. My wife has a nonprofit called FreeFrom, and they work at the nexus of economic justice and gender-based violence. One of the many things they do is an entrepreneurship program for survivors. A bunch of survivors have developed beauty lines, and one of the businesses was started by this incredible chemist who does this special herbal blend of hair oil that I use. I don't think she's packaged it quite yet, but it's incredible and it helps.
I just want every 20-year-old person—especially young women and femmes and queers—to know their 30s are phenomenally rich with creative juice, and a lot of the chaos of the 20s starts to recede.
Saturn is the planet of aging, responsibility, discipline, structure, and boundaries. At Saturn return, it’s a time for us to come into our own as adults. Even if we've had big jobs and big successes in our 20s, there's usually something that happens psychologically around that turning point from 20s to 30s that is us recognizing the ways in which we still might be wanting someone, like family, to take care of us, or the way we might be giving our power over to a power structure. That's the time we're supposed to reclaim that. In the reclamation of that we are defining who we are. If we've just fucked around for our 20s its a real kick in the head.
Living within the patriarchy, Saturn return is a time for folks who maybe have been able to rely on their youth and the beauty that comes with it, to have a reckoning with the fact that they're not going to be young forever. In our youth we get to wear beauty externally because everyone’s beautiful in their youth. As we get older that beauty has got to be internalized. And we've got to be deepening ourselves and deepening our connection to ourselves and our life. Culture is shifting, but for so long anything that was aging was hidden. It's a horror. We're terrified of getting older, we're terrified of dying. The Saturn return is a time to say, ‘I can choose this differently. I can be in relationship to myself in a much different way, and what would it mean for me to be a boss bitch in my own life?’ It's a very transformational time. Sometimes for people it's filled with crisis because Saturn makes things real. We can get away with a lot in our 20s, and that can be really fun and that can be really horrific. We can feel lost or we can feel really lucky, but around 30 we're like, 'how am I actually shaping my life?' Because if I don't shape my life, I'm letting other people or systems shape it. And then it's not mine and that is the nightmare, that we are living someone else's life. So that first Saturn return is a wakeup call. But there's so much creative juice in your 30s. I just want every 20-year-old person—especially young women and femmes and queers—to know their 30s are phenomenally rich with creative juice and a lot of the chaos of the 20s starts to recede, and it gets to work with your creative energy in a way that's incredible.
I wish I would have known earlier in life that everything that I went through, everything that I was interested in, and everything I studied, I use every day. I had this idea that I had to move in a specific direction, and in the end, at least for me, it's really been about an amalgamation of all of those experiences. When I look at my chart, which is part of why I wrote my book, I see it so clearly now. When I was younger I looked at my chart like, ‘Oh my God, what do I do with this?’ And now it's like, ‘Of course that goes there, that goes here.’ The journey of that self-discovery through both my chart and through living life has been such a blessing because I doubted it so much in the beginning. It's been such a wild ride and a wonderfully humbling experience to see how wrong I was, to be proven wrong by my own life.”
—as told to ITG
Illustration by Lucy Han.