Aliza Kelly Faragher
Though I have few memories of him, my late uncle Jeremy West was a gifted student of the stars. When I was born, he plotted my natal chart by hand and informed my mother about Pluto’s strong influence on my Midheaven. Like any proficient astrologer, I’m sure he also noted my eighth and twelfth house stellia, sun, and south node conjunction, and full moon in Pisces.
For readers not fluent in astrospeak, an interpretation of my natal chart reveals a deep fascination with the occult, supernatural, and other esoteric traditions. Haters may say it’s photoshopped, or a self-fulfilling prophecy, but those who know me best can confirm I was a spooky child years before I became aware of any celestial legacy. Turning sleepovers into seances, binging on Alfred Hitchcock films, romanticizing cemetery picnics … yes, I was that kid.
If the above macabre fascinations resonate, you may also agree that a “dark side” is more than just kitschy horror movie trope. Having lost a number of friends in adolescence, I became paralyzed by death’s looming inevitably; I was painfully aware of human mortality and the overwhelming cruelties of life.
Though I did my best to cope with these experiences, I had an insatiable urge to dig deeper; I wanted to understand my emotional complexities. Should inner darkness be fought or embraced?
After graduating college, I co-founded Bushwick’s own Outlet, an art gallery I operated for a year before moving to Los Angeles. While on the left coast, my best friend Helen Grossman and I founded Align, an astrology dating app. At the time we had a very rudimentary understanding of astrology, but were interested in exploring the intersection of technology and spirituality. As we continued building the platform, we soon discovered that our otherworldly interests were greater than cosmically calculated swipes.
We worked to scale Align from a mobile dating app to a comprehensive astrology network. We sought to mirror the expanse of space within a digital experience, creating an entire astrological universe on a smartphone. The app was fully-immersive and the content was compelling… but unfortunately, no one ever saw it. After an extremely challenging year riddled with investors and lots of false starts, we made the difficult decision to close Align.
Those less familiar with astrology may be surprised to learn that it is a deeply academic practice. Studying astrology is like learning a new language, complete with unique words, symbols, and allusions. Based on the Hermetic axiom “as above, so below,” planetary activity directly influences the events on earth. Great astrologers don’t just know *what* is happening in the sky, they know how to translate galactic activity into a comprehensible language.
This contextualization is the reason that, until very recently, the look and feel of astrology was associated with a “groovy” vernacular. Astrology experienced a massive revival in the 1970s, and astrologers of the era used contemporary language to appeal to youth culture. However, when astrology was no longer en vogue (the mainstream popularity of spirituality and occultism always waxes and wanes), few people were interested in modernizing astrology’s voice.
Astrospeak was stuck in the 1970s for almost forty years. I’m more of a Morticia Addams than a Marcia Brady, so it was critically important for me to untangle astrology and flower power. Through Align, Helen and I gave astrology a facelift. We used technology to communicate the nuances of this ancient practice: We started an astrology podcast, created astro memes, and manufactured affordable zodiac products designed specifically for our generation.
Following the five brutal retrogrades of 2016 (that year was a celestial nightmare), we closed Align. I moved back to New York, and continued studying under the auspices of Align’s former advising astrologer, Annabel Gat.
I soon built a private practice. I currently write weekly horoscopes for Allure, host monthly workshops throughout the city (upcoming at Bushwick’s Catland on November 11!), and offer private sessions in person and via phone.
I now spend most of my days communicating in astrospeak, seamlessly integrating the language of the stars into my daily life. This fluency allows me to continue to explore my greatest passion: deep diving into the incredible vastness of our emotional worlds.
Astrology satisfies my urge to soul-search, and I now look to the stars professionally as I help others unpack their own strengths and weaknesses. Through astrology, one can safely explore their trauma and pain, as well as their innate talents and joy. In distant galaxies, darkness and light coexist harmoniously, reminding us that these two modalities are simultaneously reflected within each of us. To understand our complexities—our fears, hopes, and dreams—is to celebrate both our wildly unique journeys, as well as the celestial connectivity that binds us all
As above, so below.