Astrology, divination, and “new age” practices are beyond a trend at this point, with more people than ever using esoteric tools to provide guidance and support for their love lives as well as careers. According to The Atlantic, “Astrology is perfectly suited for the internet age. There’s a low barrier to entry, and nearly endless depths to plumb if you feel like falling down a Google research hole.” The generational interest in tarot, astrology, and spirituality spans across age groups, from Gen Z to millennials. But one thing is glaringly obvious – the esoteric community is whitewashed and trying to find Black astrologers or POC esoteric workers is not that easy.
Where are all the Black astrologers?
Google astrology, tarot, or any other ”mystical” content and you’ll find mostly white practitioners recommended to you. Just like the ancient practice of yoga that dates back centuries to India, that now has come to resemble perky white women in leggings, the esoteric community has a very particular face and aesthetic.
In light of the global awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, social media feeds turned into resources for Black businesses and how to support the Black community. During this time, founder of Lilith Astrology and our resident astro expert, Adama Sesay shared how All the Pretty Birds was one of the first online platforms that agreed to collaborate and share her work. Adama says, “Subconscious bias and systemic racism permeates through every facet of our lives and the esoteric space.”
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For Our Black Women: Sisterhood In The Time of Crisis by @thewaywarddaughterblog // Link in bio 🔗✨ Read more in this piece by our talented contributor @thewaywarddaughterblog on sisterhood in the time of societal crisis and unrest. “In the midst of the pandemic, one of our sisters, Breonna Taylor, was killed in her sleep by police officers who were looking for someone who was already in jail, and because George Floyd was killed shortly thereafter, we were asked to again don our capes in the name of justice. The only problem is that while we’ve been playing superwomen for everyone else, we forgot about each other. I always try to make sure that I watch out for other women; especially Black women. We have to work twice as hard to get where we’re trying to go and the last thing any of us need is to feel alone or as if our very own sisters aren’t looking out for us.” . . . . . . . #blacklivesmatter #astrology #selfcare #amplifymelanatedvoices #blackwomenmatter #melaninpoppin #blackwomanhood #intersectionalfeminism #lilith #lilithastrology #blackstoriesmatter #justiceforgeorgefloyd #breonnataylor
Another Black esoteric, Bakang Akoonyatse, shared similar sentiments. Bakang is based in Botswana, Southern Africa, and sheds light on the experiences that Black women face in the esoteric space and says, “I don’t think they’re honestly any different from the ones everyday intelligent Black women face. It’s the same aggression any woman considered “gifted” in different capacities by society would face; envy, jealousy, there’s a lot of emotional abuse and manipulation that people often try.”
Changing the landscape starts with visibility and putting a spotlight on Black people in the industry. Adama mentions that mainstream media websites rarely feature black astrologers or spiritualists. She explains, “An overwhelming majority of the faces are white on their contributors’ page. I didn’t let that deter me but I wasn’t noticed at first when I started reaching out for Astrology writing and work.”
Major publications need to commit to diversifying their content beyond a trending hashtag.
Creating inclusive spaces for Black astrologers
Inclusivity and visibility work hand in hand. Creating a diverse community is the first step towards change, but this often means that Black people are building the space with no additional assistance. Thankfully, the internet offers an opportunity to change that.
If you’re on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen The Hoodwitch, a community for the everyday modern mystic. The business was started by Bri Luna, a woman of color and bruja who learned about witchcraft through the cultural practices in her family.
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It’s #tarottuesday many of you have seen the image of lightening striking The US Monument (shared in IG story) which was very reminiscent of The Tower card. Today I felt called to meditate on the justice card. Justice’s energy is about sticking to your guns, and not being influenced by persuasive talk. Whenever we begin to feel emotional tensions building up inside, I’ve found that meditating on justice cards scales helps to remind us to regain equilibrium. Know Justice, Know Peace✊🏾🔮 Artwork by @bluecollards #tarot #art #tarottuesday #brujasofinstagram #witchesofinstagram #BLM #knowledgeispower #tarotcards #collectivehealing #meditation
Bakang mentions that she read cards for herself for about a year before doing readings for others. She explains, “My intuition developed from there, I’ve nurtured it, truly, and now I offer healing services as well that fall within my jurisdiction and capabilities.”
Adama explains the meaning behind the name of her practice, “In astrology, Lilith is a placement in your birth chart where through life’s challenges you can harness your true power. Essentially through life experience, I discovered my path as a healer and spiritual teacher that can use Astrology to empower women in a society that has been built to disempower them.”
Online community support
Social media has some noticeable cons but the pros include being able to find like-minded people all around the world. We’re more connected than ever before, able to share our experiences and stories.
In this case, social media can offer a necessary platform for marginalized Black astrologers and esoteric workers who can build a loyal following, business, and get some visibility. Bakang talks about the support that online communities can provide and shares, “I’ve been fortunate to have people in my life, predominantly queer Black women, who are also deeply curious, and great thinkers who color the lives they touch.”
The reality is, dealing with systemic racism and bigotry takes its toll on marginalized communities and they are in need of esoteric services like energy healing, divination practices, and beyond. Adama explains, “I have found a wonderful community that is diverse, kind, and gifted! Fellow Astrologers who have referred me for work and I couldn’t be more grateful. That is the power of Black people – even though it may be more challenging for us, we always find a way forward.”
So how can we help?
Open your purse! If you’re wanting to help Black esoteric workers, start supporting them financially by booking their services, sharing their content on social media, or commenting on their posts. In an algorithm-driven world, the more visibility and engagement the better. Actively do your research to find Black and brown spiritualists. Use this time to follow more astrologers, tarot readers, and find their platforms. If you’re an individual with a fair amount of privilege, use your voice.
I find it a lot easier to chat with someone who understands my background with spirituality, astrology, and can use that context to better interpret my reading. As Adama explains, “Start featuring our work, faces, and voices more regularly. I direct this to mainstream media, brands, corporations that tap into influencers like Astrologers and feature esoteric content.”
This also means we need to ask publications about why they don’t have a diverse roster of esoteric professionals and don’t offer insight into other spiritual communities. Adama says, “Being anti-racist means actively reaching out of your network to bring in black voices and stories.”
Interested in supporting Black astrologers and esoteric workers?
Photo by @tinycactus