Astrology is experiencing a renaissance of sorts: while its popularity declined after the New Age hippie years of the 1970s, it has found a new audience online with Millennials. Horoscope content is more popular than ever in digital publications, suggesting we’re as into the stars as we’ve ever been. Kimberly Dewhirst, Hong Kong-based astrologer and founder of Star Sign Style, has had an obsession with the stars since childhood—and with the new demand for horoscopes in popular media, has turned her passion into a career. Compare Retreats chat with Kimberly about planet retrogrades, star charts, and how to use astrology for everyday wellness.
For Astrology novices, how would you describe what you do? In very simple terms, I interpret the planetary cycles and the influence of the stars on our daily lives. I look for ways to connect people to the bigger picture, introducing them to the patterns we all experience throughout the course of life. The astrologer’s job is essentially to describe things in such a way that a layperson understands and relates.
What are the basic misconceptions about astrology? That it’s spiritual, that it’s (all) trash, or that it’s an outdated and inferior practice that should be left in ancient times. I know plenty of astrologers that aren’t on a spiritual path, and while there’s plenty of trash astrology—the more superficial and stereotypical observations of the star signs, of which I’m a fan—it’s not all trash, and there’s endless substance for those looking to dive in deeper. Astrology is an ancient system that we’re crazy not to utilise more: almost every culture found meaning in the stars and its only in the past few hundred years that we’ve not taken it into account.
What started your journey into astrology? I was born in the UK and grew up with parents that normalised astrology; many children of the ’60s and ’70s accepted the logic in the stars, including my family. To me it made sense, and as I wasn’t from a religious denomination, nature and its cycles made perfect sense. As soon as I picked up on horoscopes in the newspaper at around six years old I was hooked. I studied professionally in my 20s and have been writing horoscopes full time for a few years now.
What do you enjoy most about astrology and/or reading signs? I love working with clients who are on a journey, and who can connect quickly to their own patterns, personality and evolution. It’s harder to work with people who lack awareness, so when people come to me who are already seeking it’s very rewarding.
How do you calculate when a planet is in retrograde? I use something called an Ephemeris to chart the astrological position and degree of the planets: it’s basically a book of lots of numbers. All the astrological bodies (except the sun and the moon) appear retrograde, at different times and frequencies.
What does it mean when Mercury is in retrograde? How does that affect people? Mercury Retrograde indicates a time when the planet most closely assigned to our communication, commerce and exchanges appears to be going against its usual path, and though it’s an optical illusion from our perspective on earth, it seems to be a time when people are more prone to having to ‘redo’ conversations: connectivity is heightened. The Greeks interpreted Mercury as the messenger of the gods, Hermes, hence he’s often used as a symbol on post boxes or in travel. He moves with the sun, racing ahead a little, then retrograding, then playing catch-up again.
How does a lunar eclipse occur? Is there anything for any signs to watch out for during one? The eclipses occur between four and six times a year, and are when the moon comes into line with its ecliptic path—the nodal axis. It’s definitely a good thing to pick up on, as these are the times when a lot of action starts to happen: life seems to get a bit more full on, with accidents, deaths, births, celebrations, commiserations, break-ups etc. It might not be that there’s literally an increase, but we feel it more during eclipse season.
What about the solar eclipse, and what does it mean for people? We just had two solar eclipses this summer, one in the Cancer zodiac sign and one in Leo (on July 12th and August 11th). These are considered super-charged new moon’s with the potential to amp up your intentions for the eighteen months ahead.
How do star charts work? Your birth chart or natal chart is a map of the skies drawn for the moment you took your first breath. An astrologer will interpret it in its entirety, but you can make a good start getting to know your astrological self by taking each planet as a starting point to explore. For example, read more if you have Venus in Aquarius, familiarising yourself with the traits of that sign and seeing where your own personality seems to align.
In terms of wellness, how can people use astrology in their everyday lives to improve their physical, emotional and mental health? This is a really good question, and there are, in truth, very many ways. Simply knowing what’s going on for the individual can offer great relief and prove incredibly helpful in terms of timelines: astrology can offer meaning and perspective around some of the tougher experiences we endure. Our personal horoscope can give us optimum times to act, to rest, to be passionate and creative, even to go on holiday or cement special partnerships. I live my life by the stars and although we can’t control everything around us it does help in planning.
Astrology popularity is growing, especially with Millennials: why do you think this is? I would say it’s the accessibility of the internet, as astrology—and witchy magic and esoteric interests—are always coming in and out of fashion. It was really huge in the 1970s and was definitely having a revival in the 90s when I was a teenager—I think it will always have a foothold in contemporary culture, it’s just more visible at some times than others.
Have you ever predicted or expected something that was particularly shocking? Friends, family and clients always say “what you said came true” and I’ll often pick up on things, or watch situations turn out in ways I’d anticipated, though I’m never really shocked. I recently urged someone to take it easy around the first solar eclipse of the summer, as their personal horoscope indicated a need for rest and retreat. I’d been mentioning this repeatedly for the past year, which proved to be very helpful during a big event.
What is the most fascinating aspect to you about how the universe around us works? I love geeking out looking at the charts of the full and new moons and moments when the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto) change signs, as these are ‘big’ moments in the astrological calendar. It’s fascinating to look at these times in the broader context, because the more personal planets (sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) can build up a rich story around the transitions, giving more flavour and context to how everything will unfold.
As someone who grew up surrounded by pop culture, I’m also very interested in how we express what’s going on internally on the outside. I created Star Sign Style to explore the nuances in dress and beauty, and am writing a book on Fashion and Astrology, looking at the personal horoscopes of some of the world’s greatest style icons, and how they express their personal blueprint in technicolour. I truly believe astrology holds the key to our life purpose, so it makes sense to express ourselves in ways that align with our inner navigation compass.
Find out more about Kimberly’s astrology reading services on Star Sign Style and join her Full Moon Circle on September 25th 2018.