Oprah’s Astrologist Chani Nicholas says you’re probably reading your horoscope wrong

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that in the realm of self-help and modern spirituality Oprah reigns supreme. Next to the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra, she’s as influential as they get. So when Ms Winfrey appoints a resident astrologist to her O magazine, we assume she’s done her research. Chani Nicholas is just that person; not only having she lent her zodiac know-how to Oprah but also to the likes of The Atlantic, Harper’s BAZAAR and Teen Vogue.

The States-based Nicholas was recently in Australia to launch a collection of horoscope-inspired playlists for Spotify, and she spoke to body+soul about the current zeitgeist surrounding all things astrologically-related, the benefits of harnessing New Moon energy and gave me the most succinct explanation of one’s ‘rising sign’ that I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard a few…).

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Popular culture has gone mad for astrology of late, but you have been a student of it for 30 years. Why do you think it’s so popular now?

I think this is so, for many reasons. Astrology tells us about ourselves, and humans have an insatiable appetite for self-reflection. Astrology is a master of offering us endless reflections of not only ourselves but also our loved ones, celebrities, politicians, and the events we personally and collectively are facing. That coupled with the fact that the internet is probably the most powerful echo chamber we’ve ever had and we have a perfect storm.

Can you explain the astrological importance the ‘New Moon’ phase?

New Moons are a time of new beginnings that we can work with to renew our relationship to ourselves and a certain area of our lives. Because each one happens in a different sign, it impacts a different house in our chart. Each New Moon is an opportunity to use the qualities specific to it (each one is entirely unique given the astrology of the moment) to set ourselves up for whatever success looks like in that moment.

Can you explain the difference between what someone’s birth star sign means versus their rising sign?

In general the rising sign will tell us the style in which we are motivated to live out our life. For example, air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) are motivated to communicate and if you have an air sign as your rising sign you’ll want to be known for your ability to connect with others via your ideas, intellect, and insights. Your sun sign tells you the style in which you shine. For example, if your sun is in a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) you are going to shine while being reflective, attuning yourself to others both emotionally and psychologically.

When reading your monthly horoscope – which is more accurate, your birth star sign or rising sign?

I tend to think reading your rising sign is more accurate because it reflects how the planets are moving through your chart more specifically than your sun sign, but many folks feel like their sun sign is more accurate. The bottom line is that horoscopes are just little notes of inspiration and none should be a substitute for a birth chart reading by a professional astrologer – though they are a good addition! The Cosmic Playlists that I write horoscopes for, and curate with Spotify, are also a great addition to your horoscope because music tends to move us beyond our logical brain, helping us to access our emotional intelligence. Music speaks to the wisdom we hold in our body as well and listening to the Playlists can, I hope, feel like another way to take care of yourself month to month.

How do you use your personal horoscope readings in your own life?

Well, for the most part, I know what’s coming up so I plan accordingly. It’s what I help others do through my New Moon workshops as well. By laying out the astrology of the month together folks can use the best days for them to launch projects, send important emails, and take a moment out for themselves.

To access your horoscope reading and playlist, search your star sign on Spotify or visit Spotify’s Trending hub.