By Phoebe Trillo
Looking up at the night sky, we can’t help but wonder about the mysteries that lie beyond our planet. Astrology has been around for centuries and has piqued the curiosity of many with its mystique and allure. The practice has even found its way into popular culture, with horoscopes and astrological readings becoming a part of many people’s daily routines.
Monika Anna, author of The Astro-Luna Journal, has made it her mission to make astrology more accessible and understandable for everyone. In this interview, we’ll delve into Monika’s journey with astrology, her inspiration for creating The Astro-Luna Journal, and the benefits of incorporating astrology into your daily life.
What initially got you interested in Astrology? Do you recall the first time you learnt about your birth chart?
Before there was Astrology, there was the sky. When I was a child, I would go to the mountains and camp for a few weeks. We were far from the nearest town or a village, and high enough in the mountains that the city lights did not obscure the sky. And that sky looked magical. It was not the same black sky with few stars you typically see when you live in a city. This sky was silver, bright, and illuminated. There were so many stars that there was barely any space for the darkness in-between them. When I was lying on the ground, looking up in the sky, something transformative was happening in my soul. There was a conversation without the words, and understanding without intellectual comprehension. Those meditative moments changed me, opening me to the vastness of the universe and its magic.
It was much later when I had my first astrology chart read, and that experience was like nothing I had before. I felt fully seen for the very first time in my life. That got me hooked on astrology, but even then I was not considering becoming an astrologer myself. To me charts still looked like too much geometry and maths, and they didn’t seem to leave much space for intuition. It was not until I was in my 20s when I moved to the UK and found a centre for psychological astrology that I discovered how the ancient knowledge of the stars and modern understanding of our psyche intertwined. That was my way into this amazing world.
“When I was lying on the ground, looking up in the sky, something transformative was happening in my soul.”
What exactly is astrology?
That’s a great question and there are so many answers. As the ancient maxim goes “as above, so below, as without so within, as the universe, so the soul”. Astrology is a system that recognises this maxim to be true and understanding that there is a relationship between important events in our lives, like our birth, and the movement of the stars and planets. Astrology shows us that there is a connection between cycles of nature, our personal lives and societal or cultural changes. I am not saying that astrology can recognise the influence of certain planets on making an individual an angry person, but we see a correlation and the resonance between the planet that represents the archetype of rage and anger, and how it shows up in an individual’s life.
Astrology can and was used as a divinatory practice. It was linked with religions and divine timing. Even to this day many established religions use stars and planets to indicate metaphorical timing. For Christians, Easter comes on Sunday after the full moon after spring equinox. Muslims will look up to the sky to see the crescent of the new moon to indicate the end of the holy month of Ramadan. We look up to the sky to see and relate to a different time than we use in everyday life, time that is magical, metaphorical, cyclical and divine. Both ways of measuring time have their place. One tells us about our 9-5 job and weekend, and the other speaks to the cycles within the soul. To me, ritual and cyclical understanding of time is really important, but I personally try not to use astrology as a divination tool.
Richard Tarnas says that astrology is not literally predictive, but it is archetypally predictive. To me, it means that trying to predict events in a literal way (i.e you’ll meet a handsome stranger on 5th March), is limiting. More pertinent questions are: is there a good time or a transit to meet interesting and valuable relationships? What is your relationship pattern? What do you desire and how do you communicate, so you’re ready to get into a new relationship with more awareness, when that opportunity will present itself? To me, astrology is a key to unlock personal potential, give context and understanding of the personal story that we carry on helping us get in tune with that cyclical, divine timing that our soul understands, even if we are told a 9 – 5 career is the only reality there is.
Do you have a favourite sign of the zodiac?
No, I don’t. I have certain signs that I resonate better with than others because of my own natal chart and the planet placements. I resonate well with Aquarians, Sagittarians and Capricornians, I also have a lot of love for Pisces and their dreamy aura.
“There is a fine balance between trying to control divine timing and allowing the universe and life to guide and present us with moments of destiny.”
How do you use Astrology in your own life?
I probably could write another book about how I use astrology in my own life, and there’s so many ways to do so. One thing I’m trying to be very careful and mindful of is not to rely on an astrological answer for every question, decision and move I need to make. Astrology can be incredibly helpful and supportive and the insights that you get can be pretty spot-on, however, like with any divinatory tool, there is a danger of surrendering your own free will and not making decisions for yourself without checking in.
The few levels at which I use astrology: Firstly, it’s the understanding of my natal chart. The more I understand my own birth map, the more I understand myself, my strengths and gifts that I have to offer, my weaknesses and triggers that get me in trouble, when left in the unconscious. I understand my communication and relationship patterns so they can be improved.
Astrology also helps me understand the dynamic of new relationships that I’m coming into. Whether they’re personal or business, it’s good to understand what attracts us to each other and what could potentially be the source of friction.
I also use astrological weather (transits) to understand what’s happening and be able to respond to life with more awareness. For example, when Uranus, planet of sudden change and transformation was at a 60 degree angle to my Sun (sextile) and my 4th house of home and roots, I knew it was a good time to try something new, uproot myself and move to another city. I didn’t make the move because the planet told me so, but when the opportunity for the move presented itself and I was aware of the astro weather, I knew it was a good time to say yes to this adventure. I probably would have been more cautious if there was more difficult transit happening at the time.
I have to admit that I don’t check the timings every time, and the perfect example is my wedding day. I chose the day and the time based on numerous factors like the location, timing of our honeymoon and availability of the registrar, but not once did I check transits of the planets. I had a look at our wedding chart after the event to understand how this commitment would impact our lives. There is a fine balance between trying to control divine timing and allowing the universe and life to guide and present us with moments of destiny. For me, this is where the thin line between fate and free will happens.
“I wanted to create a journal so people can stop, take a meaningful pause out of their busy lives and record their own feelings and impressions about the archetype.”
When did the idea for The Astro-Luna Journal come into being?
I’ve been carrying The Astro-Luna Journal within me for a while. After experiencing the transformational power of astrology, I wanted to share this knowledge with my friends, family and anyone who would listen. There are wonderful books out there written by incredible astrologers. What I was hoping to do with my journal is to give people a practical tool, so they can familiarise themselves with those archetypes in an experiential way, not just an intellectual one. I wanted to create a journal so people can stop, take a meaningful pause out of their busy lives and record their own feelings and impressions about the archetype. Create and have a moment of reflection on the energies that surround them.
Even though I carried this concept for a while, it wasn’t until a few things in my life aligned, including my home and work, that I was able to create space for this project. It was then that I had time to go to the Thought Bubble comic book convention with my husband for the very first time. Rushing to one of the events I wanted to attend, I literally ran into someone. I started apologising for being so clumsy, when I realised that the person I ran into was one of the co-creators of Liminal 11. It had been a while since we’ve seen each other last, so we both said we’ll catch up the next day. That next day I met the second founder and we chatted about Liminal 11, their vision for the future and next plans. It was then they shared with me their plans to develop some astrological material, and found out that I am actually an astrologer myself. It seemed like the perfect timing. A few weeks later, I pitched my idea for the journal, and that’s how this whole adventure started.
Do you have any online resources you can recommend for finding out the dates of the different moon phases each year and our own birth charts?
Astro.com has a comprehensive library of articles to help you understand astrology. Astro-seek.com is great for Moon tracking. YouTube has tons of amazing astrologers like Adam Elenbass and Nightlight astrology, Pam Gregory and of course my own podcast AstroChat that I share with two fellow astrologers.
“Zodiac signs are not vague, they are vast. They encompass human experience. They speak to a certain archetype, but the expression of that energy can be incredibly unique.”
How do you respond to those critics that feel zodiac signs and horoscopes are too vague and nondescript?
To a certain extent, I agree with them. We cannot put 6 billion people into 12 different types, and expect individual results, but then astrology is not trying to do that. Zodiac signs are not vague, they are vast. They encompass human experience. They speak to a certain archetype, but the expression of that energy can be incredibly unique. Also the unique birth chart does not tell us about one zodiac sign, but about individual relationships between the energies of the planets, the way they can express themselves through the signs they are in, the way they interact with each other, and which area of life they will show up.
Most of the critics that I know are dogmatic people who have never studied astrology and assume that I believe in it. I always say that I don’t actually believe in astrology, as for me astrology is not a belief system. For me astrology is a tool that I’ve tested time and time again, and from my experience I can see it works. I am always open to discussion in the spirit of curiosity and inquiry. I always say, don’t believe me, try it for yourself. What I don’t have, is time for people who have made up their mind and have their beliefs fossilised.
To those that are unconvinced but open to experiment, I recommend a book by Richard Tarnas, “ Cosmos and Psyche”, as well as having a chart done by a good astrologer, and having a look at significant transits from their past to see for themselves how the planets and the events of their life correlate and resonate. I think this can open a line of inquiry and a whole new understanding of the world, cosmos, psyche, and the meaning of fate in their lives.
We are absolutely in love with the illustrations of each star sign in The Astro-Luna Journal by Sibylline Meynet. Do you have a favourite design?
I love Sibylline’s work, and all of the zodiac depictions are so spot-on. I, of course, have my own bias, so Taurus and Capricorn are two of my favourites. I also adore the cover. It’s so magical, gentle and inviting. And, of course, my portrait.
“It was a near-mystical experience […] I felt seen and understood like never before.”
Can you recall your most profound experience with astrology?
They were definitely a few. Two that stand out the most are my very first astrology reading, where I felt understood for the very first time. It was a near-mystical experience, where this person who had not seen me before, just looked at my birth chart, and knew more about me than my closest family. I felt seen and understood like never before.
Most recently I had some interesting transits of planets that were activating either my personal planets or houses. Even though on an intellectual level I knew what this might mean for me, I was still amazed at how accurate those archetypes can be! To get an unexpected call about a new job that you have to move for, could not be more ‘Uranus in 6th house sextiling IC’!
In your opinion, what’s the biggest misconception about astrology?
I think the biggest misconception about astrology is that it’s really vague, that the description of zodiac signs can apply to anyone and everyone. And to a certain extent, when we talk about 12 types that can be true, however, astrology is not about putting people into a specific type. It’s more about the relationships that happened between the planets, the way they express themselves through the zodiac and the way they show up in our lives through the houses.
The most profound understanding of astrology you can get is by looking back into your own personal history or our cultural collective history and see how those specific archetypes showed up, time and time again. To look for examples in your personal chart and where the Nodes of the Moon are, and then track the transits to those points which can point out specific timings in your life that had a profound significance to you. Being aware of that connection between transiting bodies in the sky and those precious moments in your personal life that shaped you can be incredibly profound, and help us understand how precise astrology can be.
And finally, where can people connect with you online?
I’m most active on IG under @modernyaga. My website is a work-in-progress, but you can still use it to contact me: www.modernyaga.com. I also have fortnightly podcast that I share with my two astro friends, where we discuss new and full moons, and astro weather https://www.youtube.com/@astrochatpodcast