They only date if their signs are compatible, plan pregnancies and career moves by the zodiac and even reschedule meetings if (heaven forbid!) Mercury is retrograde. Eimear O’Hagan meets the women who won’t get out of bed without consulting their horoscopes.
‘I planned my wedding by the stars’
Every morning when she wakes, Sarah Lloyd follows the same routine: after a few moments of meditation, she reaches for her phone and opens her astrological calendar.
Here Sarah can check her astrological sign, so by the time she gets up she has already formulated a plan for the day ahead – and how it will be influenced by the zodiac. First, it decides what she has for breakfast: ‘I’m a Virgo and we are more prone to having sensitive digestive systems, so I try to eat only nourishing ingredients.’ Then it helps her tackle the day. ‘It steers me in deciding everything – from whether I should send a particular email or if I should book a trip. I’ll postpone things if it’s a day when the stars tell me it’s not a good idea,’ says Sarah, 42, a PR agency owner and author.
It’s not just Sarah’s day-to-day life that’s ruled by astrology – she also consults star signs for major life decisions and milestones. Before she met her husband Karl, 41, she would always ask dates and new friends what their star sign was to see whether they were compatible.
‘When I was planning my wedding, I chose October [Libra’s birth month] because Libra is a balanced sign and, from a partnership perspective, I felt that would get us off to a good start,’ says Sarah, who lives with Karl and their two daughters in Farnborough, Hampshire. ‘In February this year I chose to launch my book, Connecting The Dots, on a date when it would be a Pisces moon, as that’s said to be a time when people are more receptive to new messages and information.’
There’s no doubt that astrology is in the grip of a resurgence, but its new devotees are worlds – or even zodiacs – away from the stereotypical New Age hippies of old. In 2020, professional women such as Sarah are relying on the heavens to help them make decisions on everything from how to run their businesses to relationship compatibility. Charts and constellations are as vital to their lives as their smartphones.
For Sarah, astrology set her on a completely different career path. After suffering from a postnatal depression-related breakdown in 2015, she was prescribed antidepressants but also sought help from a reiki healer who read her birth chart. ‘She explained that my lifestyle – which, as a global PR executive, was highly pressured – was completely at odds with my astrological identity. She told me that because my rising sign was Cancer, my focus should be more on my children and home life. I came away from the reading with a sense of clarity about why I had found motherhood such a struggle.’
After several more readings, Sarah made the decision to become self-employed in 2018 and began to use astrology on a daily basis. ‘I find it incredibly grounding to be guided in this way. I feel prepared for the day ahead – it gives me a sense of stability and certainty in what can be a frantic world, knowing that a higher wisdom is directing me.’ It has also infiltrated her relationships; she admits that she researched her daughters’ birth dates when they were born so that she ‘knew how to raise children with those astrological characteristics’.
‘The zodiac told me when to conceive’
Writer and mother Emma Howarth, 42, took her belief in astrology one step further by planning the conception of her second child according to the stars. ‘When I discovered I was pregnant with my first daughter Lola, now 11, and was given my due date, I was delighted she was going to be a Pisces like me. So when it came to conceiving a second baby, I decided we should start trying on a particular date in the hope that he or she would be Piscean too,’ says Emma, who lives in Kent. ‘My daughter Cleo, nine, was born five weeks premature so she ended up an Aquarius. But I wasn’t disappointed; she’s a classic Aquarian – free-spirited and independent.’
Emma’s reliance on astrology dates back to her teens when she would devour books on the subject. ‘Then, in 2018, I founded my business, the Mystical Thinking Project, which aims to improve life in the modern world using astrology,’ she says. ‘There’s a misconception that using astrology is like looking in a crystal ball. It’s not about predicting the future. Instead, it’s about guidance, giving people additional tools to help make decisions and life easier.’
While her daughters have inherited her love of the zodiac, Emma’s husband isn’t a convert. ‘He thinks I’m insane! There’s a lot of eye-rolling when the girls and I consult our charts.
‘Astrology became my career choice’
Some savvy astrologers are making a career advising others how to use their charts to make decisions. Alison Smith is a professional astrologer who works with women seeking guidance. She typically earns £195 for each consultation, which involves creating a client’s birth chart and a follow-up analysis, all done online.
‘The women who come to me usually have something significant going on in their life – from contemplating a career change to buying a house,’ she says. ‘I read their birth chart – a map of the sun, stars, moon and planets at the moment of their birth. Then I’ll do a chart for them of the present moment, because the stars and planets are constantly moving,’ says Alison. ‘By studying both I can advise on the choices available.’
She says it’s a common misconception that an astrologer will tell you what to do. ‘Nothing is fated,’ she says. ‘We use astrology to help guide people to reach the right decision through an awareness of planetary energies and influences.’
‘My stars helped me build my business’
Natasha Tiwari, 31, from London, chose a lucrative career path after consulting a Hindu priest. Natasha was born into the Hindu culture, where it’s traditional when a child is born for a birth chart to be drawn up by a priest, using Vedic astrology (from ancient India) which is more specific in its predictive power than Western astrology.
Eight years ago when she was struggling to make a decision about accepting a place on a postgraduate training programme, a relative recommended that she have her chart read by a Hindu priest. ‘He told me that I wouldn’t complete the two-year programme, which I thought was ridiculous – I had never quit anything in my life! Sure enough, within nine months of the date of his prediction I’d left and gone to work in the City.’ Her interest sparked, Natasha began to study astrology with help from a Hindu priest and shaman.
Now she works as a psychologist and frequently turns to the zodiac to help her get ahead. ‘If I’m planning to make an investment or do a business launch, I’ll consult my chart to choose an auspicious time,’ she says. ‘During Mercury retrograde, when Mercury – the planet that rules communications – appears to us on Earth to be moving backwards due to its orbit pattern, it can be a time of scheduling problems and misunderstandings. I’ll be cautious about plans I make during those weeks. I’ll relax my schedule, scrutinise the small print if I have to sign a contract and triple check that I have everything I need if I am travelling. Recently, my chart told me that, because of the astrological “house” Jupiter was moving into, for me the following week would be big. Soon after, an interview I had with the BBC went viral, and my education company, The Veda Group, signed over 70 new home-schooling clients in a week. A huge week, just as my stars had predicted.’
For Natasha, astrology takes the stress out of decisions. ‘Reading the stars is a total contrast to the technology-driven world we live in. Women are cyclical creatures, and increasingly there’s a realisation that the unpredictable, frantic nature of modern life doesn’t work for us. When you know what is and isn’t good for you, based on your individual psychology and astrological design, your decision making is better.’
However, not everyone is convinced. Approach this way of life with caution, warns therapist Lucinda Gordon Lennox from The Recovery Centre. ‘It may be fascinating and resonate with many, but it’s open to interpretation,’ she says. ‘One astrologer may interpret your chart completely differently to the next, so it’s not a consistent way to come to important decisions. There’s a risk that it’s a way to subconsciously abdicate responsibility by being guided by star signs and the position of the moon, instead of drawing on our own intuition, emotions and characteristics.’ Instead, she suggests ‘strengthening and trusting our inner resources’, which will ‘give us more clarity and confidence in decision making than any chart can’.
But the women who follow the stars feel that they’re all set. ‘Astrology helps and guides me; I see it as a tool to make life and relationships better,’ says Emma Howarth. ‘In a world that is so serious and stressful, it’s a form of escapism too. It’s therapeutic to lock myself away and consult my chart.’
The best astrology apps: your fortunes at your fingertips
This app is an interactive astrological calendar that informs you about the phases of the moon and its position in the signs of the zodiac to help you plan your days according to your star sign.
Powered by Nasa data and based on the exact time, date and place you were born, this app generates personalised astrological charts to help predict daily horoscopes.
Alongside ‘starry-eyed’ pop-culture news and daily horoscopes, the Sanctuary app offers live, on-demand birth-chart readings with professional astrologers.
Astrology & Palmistry Coach
Your go-to for compatibility reports, numerology and palm readings, this app gives you daily, monthly and yearly insights into your career, relationships, family and friendships.
An avid fan of astrology, the pop icon has the Pisces symbol tattooed behind her right ear. She regularly tweets about identifying with her sign’s characteristics, such as feeling emotional.
The actress looks to the stars and planets to schedule key moments in her personal life and career, relying on the Buddhist calendar to plan medical procedures, holidays and even the release dates of her films.
The singer, who is a Sagittarius, often references astrology in her music. Her latest album includes a song titled ‘The Archer’, which is the symbol for her zodiac sign, and lyrics include the line ‘Just twin fire signs, four blue eyes’.