“If you’re dealing with mental health, wellness issues, one of the solutions that you’re given from like your mother, grandparents and so on and so forth is always go to church,” she tells ESSENCE. “I would feel anxious. I would feel overwhelmed. I would have worry, I would have fear and I would get told things like, ‘Well, just pray about it.’ Or ‘These things aren’t of God.’”
But Antoinette needed more than that. “I knew that our traditional way of doing things as a people was not serving me,” she says. “It takes a certain type of audacity to try something new and different.” She was not the only Black woman interested in alternative wellness. She located others by founding Black Girls Healing House after learning to prioritize “the mind, body, soul connection” through the assistance of crystals, reiki healing, yoga, meditation, and even astrology. The Facebook group of over 61,000 became a web platform to bring users wellness resources, including referrals to mental health professionals who use astrology and digital astrological tools to support clients.
“One of the things that we’ve noticed within our community is the need to find therapists who have a background in astrology,” Antoinette says. “There are therapists out there who use astrology as one of their tools to help you heal.” Merging astrology with traditional approaches is becoming more popular.
Licensed professional counselor Kierra L. Foster integrates astrology into her work.
“I usually use it in the sense of being able to allow my clients to get deeper insight into who they are,” she shares. “When I started my private practice, I wanted it to have a key component of combining spirituality and mental health.”
“Astrology has always been there, but how we incorporate it and how we’re allowing people to show up in therapy, I think that that is shifting, which is a beautiful thing,” she continued.
Foster helps clients identify potential challenges in their lives through astrology. “By delving into our sun and moon signs, we can develop coping mechanisms that are better aligned with our unique personalities.”
Antoinette considers the practice useful for the “shadow work” she says therapy requires.
“Astrology is an amazing tool for not only identifying your strengths [but] identifying your weaknesses, identifying your gifts, your destiny,” she says. “It’s also a great tool to uncover those generational traumas that may be present within your ancestry.”
She believes information about birth charts and transits can be useful in developing treatment plans. Birth charts, also known as natal charts, utilize the time, date and place of one’s birth to pinpoint what the sky looked like when they were born. Transits refer to the passing of a planet through the route of a birth chart or another significant event in one’s life.
“If it’s in your heart, it’s in your chart,” says astrologer Lisa Stardust. “If you’re going through the motions, you can find it in the birth charts somewhere. If you’re having a transit, that’s triggering something.”
“Once you have that better awareness of it,” Antoinette says, “you’re able to utilize the tools, utilize the energy in order to elevate into and blossom into the person that you’re meant to be.”
She found insights into her own struggles by exploring her chart in detail. “I also have some placements within my 12th house, which is like the house of the subconscious, and that’s a house where you would see a lot of struggles with mental illness anxiety,” she says.
Foster notes that astrology could offer patients insights into hidden parts of their personality. As for Stardust, they have met with their clients and their doctors to discuss transits and “provide insight about points that it’s triggering in their life.”
Antoinette thinks this type of “holistic” approach to healing is more beneficial than the “restrictive” methods of the past and loves to see other Black women taking their health seriously in a healthcare landscape that focuses more on emergencies than maintenance. “This is supposed to be a regular way of life that’s supposed to help restore us, bring us balance, bring us harmony, and put us in a position where we can have this thing called a soft life,” she says.
Foster agrees and would like to see more practitioners adopt methods respectful of their client’s beliefs in astrology.
“Therapy is meant to be a safe space, and I don’t really think that there should be any confinements. If you are on a spiritual journey and astrology is resonating with you, therapy should be the place where you can explore that more,” Foster says.
“It is starting to become a little bit more accepted,” she adds. “But I would love to see it grow even more.”