It’s the kindling for all good cocktail party conversations, the reasoning behind a bad day, the foundation for intention setting and the on-the-nose meme that your friends won’t stop sending you, “You know you’re a Gemini when …”
In her October 2019 New Yorker article, “Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty,” Christine Smallwood writes that folks are wholeheartedly embracing the field of astrology with a gusto not seen since the 1970s. “In times of crisis, it is often said, people search for something to believe in,” she wrote, citing a surge of people looking to the stars after the 2008 financial collapse and the 2016 election.
Millennials, especially, have become fascinated by astrology and what Zodiac signs say about a person, their communities and the status of the world at large. “We [astrologers] want you to know that we’re describing energies and themes. You have the choice to work with them,” says Richmond professional astrologer Adriana Simmons. “It’s not defining you.”
While there’s something blissfully affirming about believing that the rotation of the planets dictates the course of one’s life journey Simmons urges, “Nothing is fated.”
Simmons first became interested in astrology as a kid growing up in Idaho. “I would go to the grocery store and instead of picking up candy I’d pick out horoscopes so I could read all about me,” she says, in true Leo fashion. “I thought, ‘I don’t want a Kit Kat—I want to know what’s going on!”
Since late 2020, Simmons has been offering Richmonders professional astrological readings and reports via Zoom. Her readings typically take about two hours, and the report —which comes highly recommended as there is a lot covered in the reading—is a zippy breakdown of key events that have happened (natal or birth chart) or are currently happening in your life and the world.
Where once an unmoored soul may stumble into a church for guidance, 20 and 30-somethings rife with anxiety and low on fuel look to online horoscopes, professional astrologers and popular apps like Co-Star, with more than 1 million Instagram followers, for answers.
On Dec. 21, the first day of Capricorn season, Co-Star posted, “You’re ready to play the long game. The whims you chased during Sagittarius season have run their course. Now the true work begins.”
Knowing and understanding the implications of your Zodiac sign—also known as your star or sun sign—is merely scratching the surface of astrology.
For those who want to know why they yearn for their time in the spotlight (Leo rising), but also experience a deep, seemingly inexplicable shame once they achieve their goal (Scorpio moon), booking a reading with a pro can feel like signing on for an intense therapy session. But while astrology feels increasingly omnipresent—doesn’t everyone know their celebrity astro twin?— Simmons doesn’t view it as a money-making trend or fad.
“When Covid hit, I realized this is my purpose,” she says.
Simmons began her astrological journey at a young age, closely observing her mother (a Libra) and brother (an Aries) and creating “archetypes” for her loved ones. She read about the different Zodiac personalities in her mother’s magazines and began to assign certain traits to the signs she saw in the flesh. She would go on to study with published poet and master astrologer Shari Zollinger in Moab, Utah.
“I have my own ways, and she taught me so much,” says Simmons. “We both practice chart consent and ethical astrology.” This means that during a natal chart reading, Simmons will not tell you that your Leo rising trait of wanting to constantly be in the spotlight is “bad”—it’s simply “unskillful.”
While some seekers may be solely interested in learning the “why” of themselves, many astrology aficionados use the practice to better understand the world around them.
For instance, Simmons says that the stars essentially foretold that the pandemic would happen. Hindsight, of course, allows us to analyze information from a privileged vantage point, and certainly no one could have predicted that a global virus was about to wreak havoc on the world. But astrologers knew something was coming.
“In January 2020 we had a Saturn Pluto conjunction in the sign of Capricorn,” explains Simmons. Capricorn could be said to represent government and business, Saturn represents firmly planted structures and Pluto is life and death. “We knew there was a major shift coming, we knew things were going to lose structure and there would be the beginning of new structures,” says Simmons.
Once Saturn moved into Aquarius in 2020, “all of a sudden we were meeting through Zoom and we were staying connected through technology,” says Simmons, who notes that Aquarius (ruled by Uranus) represents technology and innovation. Think of this planetary move as the “pivot” everyone couldn’t stop talking about last year.
As for this coming year, Simmons says 2022 transits and energies indicate that this will be a year of healing. Starting Jan. 18 there will be a “nodal switch” with the south node moving from Sagittarius into Scorpio. This move into the deeply emotional water sign of Scorpio will bring up dark, mysterious and often-unseen feelings. With the north node moving from Gemini into Taurus, the energies we are moving into are maturing and evolving, with people creating personal security and finding “true grounding.”
“I say Scorpio is the roots and Taurus is the tree,” says Simmons. “Doing all this [emotional] work supports our growth and we’ll be moving into stronger, more stable positions.”
Simmons, who says she had been feeling uprooted for a few years, jumping from Utah to Idaho to Spain—landed in Richmond and started to feel at home, in spite of a pandemic whirling around her. She found her partner, Oro’s Laine Myers, and a network of good friends who share a love of food, wine and astrology.
“I didn’t know where I was going,” says Simmons. “I shifted and pivoted and I landed here. This is where I want to put roots down—and I did.”
Simmons offers the following readings: Solar return readings — book on or around your birthday. This reading will detail the energies of your new year; Transit readings — This reading details how the current planetary cycles are working with your fixed natal chart; Progression readings — This shows where the planets are now and how your chart looks currently; Synastry readings — shows how you and another relate, looking at two charts together.
To book your reading, email email@example.com, or send Simmons a direct message on Instagram @earthtoallastrology.