“Thank you so much for not being the 1,000th person to ask me what sign each Friends character would be,” astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo says with relief over the phone. The current rise of astrology in popular culture, thanks in part to the internet, means that Lanyadoo spends significant time fielding hundreds of these kinds of requests. But on Ghost of a Podcast, where she offers mystical and practical advice to listeners, Lanyadoo often focuses on something else: the state of our country. “Every word out of the President of the United States’ mouth, every word in his Twitter feed…” she says, “I am taking the astrological indicators very seriously.”
Studying the movements of celestial objects and using those patterns to make sense of events on Earth—a practice specifically known as “mundane astrology”—predates sun sign astrology and personal horoscopes. In uncertain times, rulers and politicians have long turned to the stars to council them on when to go to war and when to make peace. Elizabeth I had John Dee, who predicted the end of the reign of her sister, Mary Tudor; the Reagan White House had Joan Quigley to advise on the most auspicious times to give speeches, engage in debates, or even travel on Air Force One.
The political prediction industry took a hit in the 2016 election, as pundits hurried to correct their models after the polls closed. So if we can’t trust the numbers, why not look to the stars? The astrology industry has boomed since the election, as millions pour into astrology start-ups, and astrologers find themselves in high demand. But what exactly does astrology have to do with the rise of excessive greed, militarism, and fascism? And what do the planets hold in store for Donald Trump and the 2020 election?
I spoke to Lanyadoo and two other certified astrologers about what the next year will bring, and they all agreed on one thing: We’re living in precarious times, and things aren’t calming down any time soon. They zeroed in on four major astrological transits to make sense of the state of the world and offer some advice.