2023 changed me. It rearranged and reconfigured me. I have a new name, and a new orientation to the world. I am me, plus another me.
Last year, Sonya and I welcomed our first child into the world. I am still Chani, but I am now also ima (mom in Hebrew). Mostly this new parent me is gooey-er inside. I’m less cynical and less desirous of holding grudges. I’m more aware of the fleeting nature of time, I have way less FOMO, I am more flexible (a new survival skill), I feel more gratitude for what I have, and I’m much more willing to ignore drama and get on with the immense privilege of enjoying my life. I remember more (about my past) and forget a lot more (about the meetings I am presently supposed to be in). Life is now a joyful chaos.
I didn’t know that Sonya and I shared a soulmate that we had yet to meet until the little cutie got here. We look at pictures of our child every night once they’ve gone to bed. We watch videos of them from a couple of months ago and cry about how much growth has happened. I show photos of them to anyone who is still for long enough. They are both my lock screen and my home screen. I’ve turned into that person.
So, dear reader, this new weekly newsletter comes at a time that finds me re-introducing myself to myself, to my entire life, and to you.
Also, I’m rusty. I haven’t published anything since January of 2022 — and even then, it had been six months since I had written to you. To say that it was challenging to put the writer-to-the-people part of my identity on hold at that time would be an understatement. My career, and this company, were built on the foundation of that part of my work. I wrote to you in the form of horoscopes and New and Full Moon musings for over a decade. You read (some of) it, I listened to (a lot of) how it landed for you, and I learned how to express myself, forgive myself, work diligently, articulate my thoughts about the incredibly difficult collective times we lived through, and stumble through self-doubt and imposter syndrome, and through it all, we had each other. Human to human struggling through this challenging world and life together. It was one of the most satisfying and fulfilling relationships of my adulthood and one of the greatest gifts of my life.
And then it ended.
Well, it’s more that things shifted. We launched the CHANI app and I had begun recording so much for it that the time it took to write to you was eaten up. That and I had to learn how to hire people, run a company, and grow into all that required of me. It was a steep learning curve. I failed a lot. I learned a lot. And I didn’t sleep a lot.
I thought about explaining why my written work had vanished, but I didn’t know when or how I’d come back, so I wasn’t sure what to say. I felt ashamed that I had stopped. Like so many women who run companies, I felt like I should be able to do it all: launch an app; figure out how to run a company; record weekly readings, podcasts, and meditations; write thousands of words to you each month; learn how to get on the godforsaken TikTok train; etc.
In the end, I had to admit to myself that it was unattainable. I handed the horoscope and other astrological writings off to the incredibly talented team of astrology writers that we’d hired and got on with things. But I’ve missed you. I’ve missed us. Now, I’m excited to see how this new exchange will land and grow and evolve.
So, welcome to our new series. In these Monday musings, we’ll be unpacking the astrology of the moment (with a lot more brevity than this — I promise), how it’s landing in the world, and how we might work with its potential. We’ll also be sharing things we love — like what we’re reading, listening to, and working on.
A Full Moon in Leo opposite Pluto in Aquarius
For our first foray into this format, I’m supposed to write about the upcoming Full Moon in Leo, but I’d be remiss not to mention Pluto’s recent move into Aquarius as well. It’s mere game-changing, era-defining astrology, so this should be short and sweet.
While we’ve covered how Pluto in Aquarius will impact you personally in your Year Ahead readings, sign-specific Guidebooks, and Current Sky horoscopes, I want to talk about what I think it’s reflecting back to us in this moment.
Pluto has been dancing between Capricorn and Aquarius for the last 10 months, with its first entrance into Aquarius in March 2023, so this re-entrance is a return to themes we’ve been introduced to already. Because Pluto takes so long to orbit the Sun (about 248 years, give or take), it spends an enormous amount of time in each sign (anywhere from a dozen or so to three decades-ish… it has a very eccentric orbit). This means that its entrance into a new sign is a big deal.
What is Pluto and what does it mean when it’s in Aquarius?
Pluto is, above all, a planet that has come to symbolize the underworld journeys we all must take, both personally and collectively. It also represents the aspects of life that go unchecked, become corrupt, and get obscured or denied. What is subterranean is often hard to deal with and terribly frightening to our egos (and sometimes just plain frightening for good reason). But in addition to the creepy crawling things that live underground, there are valuable resources hidden under the earth.
There’s gold in these hills.
In all underworld myths, the protagonist must face many of their fears in order to reach a treasure — a gem or other valuable that represents their true nature. One ordeal after another must be won or overcome, rendering the main character changed forever. It is the hell we must go through to reclaim some forgotten or unintegrated aspect of self or life. It is the lair of our personal dragons, our shadow selves, and if we are wise enough to take this opportunity for what it is, it is a place that awakens us to our power through a reunification of opposites within.
When Pluto pulls focus, like it does when it changes signs, we know that we are going to be challenged by the complexities of the subterranean worlds we’ve been called to enter — but we also know there is a power there to reclaim, and that is our crucial task.
The horrors of abuse, abandonment, and neglect that we’ve experienced, been part of, been complacent to, or been ignorant of must be met and witnessed, and their meaning integrated if we want the gold (spiritual and psychological renewal) awaiting us in the underworld.
In Aquarius, Pluto reflects the power of the collective. It brings technological advances that impact us as a whole and change the nature of how we live. If we rewind 248 years or so to the last time Pluto was in Aquarius, we find a world in revolt and a groundswell of people demanding a new world order. The American and French Revolutions were underway and the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. Social upheaval was the order of the day, as was a reckoning of who had power and why.
Think of the signs as the style within which the planet does its job. Aquarius’ style is to be forward-thinking, innovative, detached, and visionary. It is a sign that is focused on the collective rather than the individual. Ever the intellectual, Aquarius likes to be the outsider, the anti-celebrity. It would rather be on the margins than at the center. Its power lies in its ability to understand the systems of the world it inhabits. It is a sign that has a remote and detached approach to life. Gaining perspective from the issues it wants to understand is its talent.
The spiral of Pluto’s dance has brought us back to the same part of the zodiac that it was in in the late 1700s, but we are (hopefully) different. The world seems once again ready for revolution, but whose revolution will it be? While masses of people have been part of an uprising that is unwilling to accept settler colonialism’s illogic and inhumane conditions demanding (as a first step) a ceasefire in Gaza, many too are rallying around a wannabe dictator here in America.
The death toll in Gaza continues to rise to unfathomable heights and experts believe that more Palestinians will die from starvation and disease than airstrikes in the coming months. The scale of the humanitarian crises, let alone the spiritual and moral deficit that this genocide will result in, is untold.
As Pluto settles into Aquarius, these collective tensions will mount, no doubt. Not because the planets make things happen, but because they mirror the part of the story that we are in. And while we don’t need the planets to tell us that we are in an incredibly important part of our collective story, the context is somehow calming.
Enter the Full Moon in Leo.
Alongside Pluto’s re-entrance into Aquarius, we could say that the Full Moon in Leo on January 25th is an exceptionally minor astrological event. However, it happens a mere five days after Pluto’s shift, and in the sign opposite Aquarius. In many ways, this event (although momentary) gives us the other side of the polarity. Where Aquarius dons the style of the freak on the periphery of society, Leo takes center stage.
This Full Moon is in a close opposition to Pluto, meaning the tension between the collective and the individual is heightened, along with the need for the ego to serve something bigger than itself and our need to reckon with the fact that we live in a world that promotes cycles of perpetual violence.
The light of this Moon will spotlight the depths of Pluto’s underworld, and with it, we’ll get a glimpse of how our individual illumination can expose the ills that metastasize there.
How do we find our way through the labyrinth of all the unintegrated aspects of the human psyche that litter the halls of power? How do we shine our light so it can expose the evils of this world — not only how they manifest outwardly, but also how we too become a part of their function? How can we both condemn and interrupt what is inhumane, but also restore the energy spent back to a valuable state? Who or what could be the bridge to a more integrated, less fragmented sense of who we are as a collective of humans?
Surely participating in or standing by and watching genocides take place is not who we aspire to be.
We cannot be naive to the work that this kind of shift entails. It takes an incredibly sturdy sense of self to look at the world’s hellscapes and refuse to dehumanize anyone within it. No fragile personas can withstand the pressure cookers that this alchemy requires. No flimsy, hollow sense of self can survive the humiliations that these life lessons serve up. No love-and-light or hopes-and-prayers politics will get us there. When we live shallowly, we buckle under societal pressure. We blame and shame others because we can’t handle the fact that we have within us the potential to be all of it — a blessing and a curse to the rest of the living world.
An immediate and permanent ceasefire must be enacted, aid must be brought to the suffering, and Gaza must be given the time, space, and resources to heal. And so much more. And there is deeper work here that many of us must do in order to actually end all occupations, genocides, and apartheid states, physically and psychologically. The transformation cannot be surface level, it cannot remain a slogan, it cannot be optics, it cannot be a rebrand. The revolution we need has to be internal as well as external in order to end the devastation that all systems of supremacy lead us toward.
This is the time to take seriously the cultural shifts we want and need to be a part of, and commit to the work of sticking with the process. It won’t be pretty or easy, it won’t be simple, neat, or concise, but it is what the world needs from us now.
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