In the introduction to her new book, “You Were Born for This,” Chani Nicholas writes about a childhood mired in neglect, with sleepless nights spent in a makeshift shack at the base of the Rockies. It was there, at the age of eight, that she met the stranger who introduced her to astrology.
“Armed with only my birthdate,” Nicholas writes, “she looked up the location of the planets on the day I was born, looked at me with a glimmer in her eye and said, ‘You’re very judgemental.’
As only an eight-year-old could, Nicholas found comfort in the description, interpreting it to mean she was discerning — a trait that none of the adults orbiting her childhood seemed to possess. “In a situation that obliterated me, someone looked down at a book of symbols and numbers and used astrology to uncover a truth about me that would save my life,” she writes of the chance encounter.
Now in her early forties, Nicholas is hoping “You Were Born for This,” an introductory text to birth charts and astrology, will serve as a guide for others looking for self-discovery. Teeming with easy-to-understand definitions, the January release marks the first book from Nicholas, who has become one of the internet’s favorite astrologers with more than 300,000 followers across Instagram and Twitter. Since 2010, her prominence has expanded to include a popular website, newsletter and a job as the resident astrologer for O, The Oprah Magazine. Last year, she was commissioned by Spotify to create monthly playlists personalized according to star signs. The release of the “You Were Born For This,” she says, is a culmination of her hard work and dogged platform-building.
“I was finally like, I should just write the book that I want to give everybody as an intro to their chart,” she says of the 300-page guide, which includes sample birth charts from strong-willed artists like Frida Kahlo and Maya Angelou. A testament to Nicholas’s adoration, the book is already a New York Times Best Seller.
At the heart of her growing popularity is a subversion of astrological tropes, a theme she continues throughout “You Were Born for This.” Nicholas upends stereotypes of woolly horoscopes, instead offering in-depth insights braided with a commitment to social justice. The California-based author says her philosophy is heavily influenced by her background as a community organizer and LGBTQ+ activist.
“Each human that uses the system of astrology is going to use it through the lens through which they see the world,” she says. “… I am a woman, a feminist, queer. I am someone who is interested in what healing and justice looks like.”
Her aim is now to encourage others to mine whatever skills they have to create a healthier, more empathetic environment for themselves and their community. For Nicholas, that means searching the stars, but as readers of the book will come to know, the astrologer is adamant that everyone has a role to play regardless of their specific talents.
“I think it’s imperative,” she says, “that we use whatever tools we have at our disposal to create space where healing, justice and creative solutions can flourish.”
Carving out that personal and community space has been instrumental to her achievements over the last few years, she says. When asked about the mushrooming success she’s experienced, Nicholas attributed it to having the support system she so often wished for during her childhood. Namely, the relationship she shares with her wife, Sonya Passi.
“She gave me focus and woke up my determination,” Nicholas says. “She gave me a home and a reason to fight for my art. Every success I have is in large part due to her support of me and her faith in me.”
“You Were Born for This” is now on sale.
Top Image: Chani Nicholas, "You Were Born for This."