Many could say that a session with Stephanie Gailing has the potential to be a life changing event and we can account for that statement. For those unfamiliar with the work of the wellness astrologist, think of her as a therapist who taps into your chart and uses it to help you "enhance your awareness and self understanding", while providing you with tools (be it yoga, aromatherapy or dietary recommendations) to help achieve your goals. We were curious about the intersection of these two practices and how Stephanie created a career based on these complementary, but not typically seen combined, passions. Read on to hear her insights on energetics, suggested reading material for those interested in astrology and the three words that most aptly describe each sign.
For those who may not be aware, can you explain your role as an astrologer, including what it means, what you do and how you do it?
I see myself as a guidance counselor, one who uses the archetypal language of astrology — as well as other tools — to enhance people's awareness and self-understanding.
Before I meet with a client, I will cast their personal astrology chart, based upon the day, time, and place of their birth. Reflecting the position of the planets when you are born, the chart is a personal symbolic mandala that can offer you key insights that assist you in better understanding yourself. I feel that this awareness then allows people to know themselves more, feel validated in the uniqueness of who they are, and gain insights that can have them more consciously navigate decisions in their life.
Yet, I don't do astrology "readings" per se; I don't "read" the chart and tell clients who they are and what will happen in their lives. That's not how I relate with astrology. Rather, the chart serves as a foundation to help myself and my clients further explore and understand their personal goals, challenges, and decision-making considerations, whether in their career, relationships, health, finances, or any other realm of their life. The sessions themselves are fashioned as processes of guided inquiry and reflection, where a client gets to explore the life transitions they are moving through as well as the questions and decisions they find themselves facing. Their chart allows me to ask thoughtful questions that can help them access the wisdom that resides within them.
In addition to working personally with clients, I also weave astrology in with my teaching and writings. I love to inform people about the energetics of different period of times through which we are moving; I refer to this as kairos — the ancient Greek term that means the quality, or opportunity, of a given moment. Using astrology to read the kairos allows us to perceive collective themes and patterns that can help to make the world make a little bit more sense, and help guide people as to how to best move through different periods of time with less stress and greater potentiality.
How did you discover your career path and what inspired you to pursue it?
Since I can remember, I have always been passionate about health and healing, and that it was to that aim that I wanted to dedicate my career.
Then, 20+ years ago, I discovered astrology. I had this incredible session with an astrologer in New York City who relayed insights about me that allowed me to really understand myself; it was like being given a telescope into the deep recesses of who I was…all of a sudden I found this incredible level of knowing and peace, this sense of validation and empowerment. At that moment, I knew that I had to study this language. I needed to know it not only as a tool to better understand myself and the world around me, but also as a way to be of greater service to others.
For many years, I wore two different career hats: health educator and astrologer. In the early 2000s, when I discovered wellness astrology, I was able to see how to weave these two realms together as one. And then when my book, Planetary Apothecary, was published in 2009, I was further able to craft this path, incorporating the language of astrology as a means to help people promote their optimal well-being.
Your insights and abilities guide and provide insights to people making choices (both large and small) in their lives. In this way, you become intimately familiar with your clients. What is a common theme you see throughout your work? And, what types of sessions/interactions are the most rewarding?
Clients often come to me when they are facing a transition — in career, relationship, home, family, et al. Yet, I have many clients who aren't necessarily facing an external transition but rather an internal one — wanting to better understand what drives/motivates them and how to galvanize more awareness to be able to live a life that will "fit" them better.
The frequency of my client session ranges; it generally ranges from the once-per-year check-up to clients that I work with weekly or monthly, in a life-coaching fashion. And while I love working with all clients, there is something about working with my more frequent clients that's especially rewarding, as I get to bear witness to the beautiful nuances of the transitions and transformation that they go through. I am so in awe of that and feel so privileged that my clients trust me enough to invite me into their lives and have me help guide them.
What are a few benefits we can all glean by knowing more about our personal sign and the signs of those we love?
When we say "what's your sign?" we are generally speaking of our Sun signs, the zodiacal sign that the Sun was in when we were born. The Sun sign can tell you about the things that make you tick and what you want to express in this life as well as your style of doing so. It's our creative life force, the Self we express.
And while it can tell you a lot about yourself (and other people), it's only one aspect of who we are. And even for those who don't want to dive into a whole exploration of their chart — where all the planets were when they were born — even knowing about our Moon sign can be so beneficial. The Moon represents what feeds and nurtures us, what has us feel comforted and contained, how we orient emotionally. Knowing our Moon sign thus allows us to know the things that make us feel safe and comforted. If we know that about others, we can then orient ourselves with this awareness so that we can help them to feel more at ease and at home. (You can find your Moon sign, as well as where the other planets are in your chart, by either contacting an astrologer or doing your own chart, which you can do for free on Astrodienst at Astro.com).
Do you have three books you can recommend for those who are interested in astrology (as either an introduction or a daily practice)?
For those interested for learning more about astrology, I'd recommend:
1. The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk. This is the first book I ever read, and while it may not be the only book you'll ever need/read, it is such a great resource because it's so comprehensive. It's an easy way to learn the basics about the planets, signs, houses, and other facets that make up your astrology chart, so that you can incorporate this language into your life.
2. Astrology: A Cosmic Science by Isabel Hickey. This was the second book I read, and it is still one of my absolute favorites. Hickey's perspective is so thoughtful and soulful. It's really inspiring and provides the reader with another level of understanding of the depth of awareness that astrology can offer.
3. The third would actually be a website, the one I mentioned before – Astrodienst (Astro.com). I want to share this because it's an amazing resource for learning about yourself (and others) via your personal astrology. It offers a wealth of information for free, enabling you to cast your individual birth chart, and begin to learn what the different planetary placements mean. You can get first-hand insight into levels of yourself that you couldn't access if you were just focusing on Sun sign astrology. It is definitely much more basic than insights you can get from an astrologer, and yet provides you with so much more personalization than just focusing on your Sun sign.
* Oh, and while I'm not one for self-promotion, if you are interested in the intersection of wellness and astrology, I'd recommend my book Planetary Apothecary: An Astrological Approach to Health and Wellness. In it, I speak about each sign and its orientation to health, and include dietary guidance, flower essences, aromatherapy, yoga poses and many more self-care strategies.
How has your work guided decisions in your own life? Can you share a story of when you did or did not adhere to the preference of your chart and how/if that impacted the outcome of the moment in question?
If I know that a period of time offers certain opportunities, reflects an invitation to learn and grow in a certain way, it usually impacts how I orient in my life.
For example, one of the current phases that I am personally moving through involves the planet Saturn making an alignment with the Mercury in my birth chart. Simply said, Saturn/Mercury connections reflect opportunities to give shape and form to communication strategies, to fortify foundations when it comes to education and/or learning, doing so by focusing on what's important and pruning away what isn't.
I can feel this occurring, as I've been feeling a different orientation when it comes to how I educate and inspire others with my words and writing. I'm finding myself being even more thoughtful with my educational approach — saying committed yeses to projects I feel have a bedrock of soulfulness and purpose while pulling back from educational activities that haven't necessarily provided a great ROI.
If you could summarize each sign in three words, what would they be?
Ooh, a stellar challenge! Here are the first three words that come to my mind for each sign.
Aries – pioneer, warrior, quick-to-act
Taurus – sensual, practical, rhythmic
Gemini – curious, dual-natured, butterfly-esque
Cancer – emotional, nurturing, protective
Leo – self-expressive, creative, courageous
Virgo – systematic, perfection-oriented, resourceful
Libra – gracious, relationship-oriented, diplomatic
Scorpio – passionate, probing, intense
Sagittarius – sassy, adventurous, philosophical
Capricorn – hard-working, no-nonsense, loyal
Aquarius – altruistic, cerebral, egalitarian
Pisces – poetic, dreamy, compassionate
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