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We have this idea of light is good, dark is bad. You know, we’ve had this binary thinking, but really the dark is just the unseen. It’s what’s unknown.
This is a Soulfire production.
My guest today is Rachel Lang. She is a professional astrologer, healer, and psychic medium who has worked for the past 15 plus years with businesses and individuals, including A-list celebrities, tech-startup entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, activists, and students. She also has a master’s degree in theology from Loyola Marymount University and is an internationally recognized speaker on all things goddess, asteroids, solar returns, money and love, astrology, and other topics. In our conversation today, we’re talking all things astrology, retrograde, modern-day magic, and initiation into your dark side, especially as an empath. Let’s get to it.
Sarah: Welcome to the show, Rachel. I am so excited to have you here today.
Rachel: Aww, thanks so much, Sarah. I’m really excited to be here.
Sarah: So we were just saying that we can really touch on so many things in this conversation. I’d love to be able to go into depth with as much as possible and I’d love to kick us off by talking a little bit about astrology since you are a professional astrologer and something that you do is do horoscope readings. And so, I’d love to know a little bit more because I think a lot of people have this really surface-level basic foundation of astrology. They maybe do read their horoscope or follow some astrology accounts. And I’d really out of my own curiosity love to know if we peel back even more layers of astrology and go way deeper than just a weekly horoscope or daily horoscope, what exists in there for us? What understanding can we take from our chart and what is included in our entire chart versus just what we see in a weekly horoscope?
Rachel: Yes. Your chart shows basically a roadmap of your whole life. So you can go so deep, you can look at family constellations and the different relationships with people in your family, you can look in-depth at why you get stuck in the same relationship patterns over and over and over again, you can see what kind of career is most aligned for you, how you make money, which could be different than following your passion. So there’s just, it’s such an in-depth resource for us. And I think you’re right. A lot of people don’t know more than just their sun sign or just their horoscope and that’s a great entry point to astrology. The sun is obviously the brightest luminary in the sky. It’s an energy source on our planet. Everything revolves around it. So sun sign astrology is really helpful and we can see how it functions on a symbolic level too. But every birth chart is so different. Cycles don’t repeat themselves for thousands of years. So you could be born the same day as someone else in the same hospital, that there would be slight variations of your chart that would show little differences in your personalities.
Sarah: That’s so fascinating. And I’m somebody who has never really dug into the depths of what is available within that chart. And I saw something you wrote about also, looking at our businesses and their birth dates. We have our individual birthday and like you said, one of the things that it can peel back for us and eliminate for us is sort of this life path and passion versus how you make money. And I’d love to talk about and consider what does it look like to blend our personal chart in astrology with the astrology or chart of our business? I think it’s fascinating.
Rachel: This is actually one of my favorite things to look at. If you’re starting a business, you can actually hire an astrologer to pick a day for you.
Rachel: And it’s called electing a chart. And I’ve done this for a number of my clients, including really successful startups that have gone on to IPOs. Every moment in time, you can do a chart for. You can do a chart for your wedding day, you can do a chart for anything. What that does; so every chart represents the energies of what’s present at any time you’re starting something or anytime you’re doing something. So your business is going to have its own personality, which is going to be a little bit different than your personality. So I read business charts just a little bit different than I read personal charts because we’re talking about customers and marketing and all of those kinds of things. And so, we take some of the same principles of a natal chart or a birth chart, and we apply them to the business. And what’s really cool is that you can strategize. You can make your long-term plans and you can also strategize what’s going to be the focus for my business this year by looking at the astrological transits for the upcoming year. So you can say, oh, this month is really good for public relations or this month I should just organize.
Sarah: So then I think we’ve also all heard of Mercury in retrograde and I’m curious how, if we lay that over our personal chart and our business chart, what should we be doing and not be doing? How much should we allow Mercury in retrograde to affect us, versus how much does it just affect us in our business? And does that affect us on an individual level? Because I’m thinking about, okay, so we all have these very in-depth personal charts, but then we have these big astrological events or in the case of Mercury in retrograde, a pretty reoccurring astrological event. So does that affect each of us differently or does it kind of affect us as a whole and what to do and not do during that time?
Rachel: Yes, so Mercury retrograde; all planets go retrograde and it’s an optical illusion really where a planet appears to be moving backwards in the heavens. And for Mercury, it goes retrograde three to four times a year for three weeks at a time. And Mercury is the planet of communication. It’s the planet of travel like your road trips. It’s information, it’s teaching, it’s learning, it’s all of those kinds of things. It’s actually even your thinking patterns and these are the things that it represents. When Mercury is retrograde, it gets a bad rap. A lot of people talk about, oh, here we go, Mercury retrograde. But actually, if we understand the point of retrogrades and what they do or what the significance of them is, is it’s pulling us inward, it’s allowing us to work through some of our shadow aspects; so the things that we might not be aware of in our own psyches.
And so, what can happen is we face some of our biggest communication challenges. The thing that we’ve been holding back that we haven’t wanted to say, suddenly, we’re forced to say it. Or we remember things about our past that need to be integrated, that need to be healed. And so, it can be really intense to do some of that soul work. But then what happens on the other side of the retrograde is that we’re able to just move forward faster without a lot of those inner resistances that can happen from our subconscious minds.
Sarah: Yes, that makes so much sense. And to everyone listening, when this show comes out, we’ll still be, starting today, right Rachel? Starts today while we’re recording, but it’ll still be. Mercury will be in retrograde when the show comes out.
Rachel: Yes, until October 18th.
Rachel: Yes, yes.
Sarah: Take whatever, everything that Rachel is saying, and we can still apply it during this time, or maybe you’re listening at a different date and that’s totally fine as well. But this happens several times a year, and I’m curious how the retrogrades differ from each other. So, like you said, Mercury rules communication. I was having mic issues before we even started here today. What are some of the other themes of different retrogrades? And I feel like Mercury gets the most hype and it’s the most popular, but I’m sure there are still ways that other planets affect us.
Rachel: Mm-hmm. Yes, so you’re right. Mercury does get a lot of hype. And part of that is because it goes retrograde three to four times a year. And Mercury is our communication, but it’s our communication devices as well. So we have glitches. My phone screen likes to crack every time Mercury’s retrograde. But ultimately, the purpose of a Mercury retrograde cycle is that anytime we have one of these mishaps, Mercury is a trickster. It wants us to take life less seriously. And so, if we are stressing out about work, Mercury is going to make our computer screens crack, you know? And so, then we’re kind of forced to take a break. Or if we’re not communicating authentically, Mercury will shut down communication so that we have no choice but to explore what we’re not saying. And so, I think there’s always a gift in it. And some people do their best retreats, their best writing, their best soul searching during that time.
So there are personal planets and there are social planets, which are Jupiter and Saturn, and then there are the outer planets. And the personal planets, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, when those go retrograde, we feel it, think about the word personal, in our personal lives. So our relationships, our money, we feel it where it hurts. And so, when these planets…and Venus goes retrograde every 18 months and Mars goes retrograde about every two years. And so, when these planets go retrograde, we’re experiencing it on a daily basis. Jupiter and Saturn, they move slower and they’re going to go retrograde for several months at a time every year. And these are often when we’re seeing things culturally play out and we’re analyzing our beliefs, we’re looking at what’s holding us back, what’s limiting us.
And then the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, when they go retrograde, the outer planets work with evolutionary processes and big cultural shifts. And so, we see a lot of revisiting old themes that have been playing out in our culture through the outer planet retrogrades.
Sarah: Okay, so now I’m just super curious if the year 2020, and when the pandemic started, if there was some of that evolutionary retrograde. Was there some happening?
Rachel: So there was a lot happening in 2020. The big shifts or the big transits that we had going on had to do with a conjunction between Saturn, which is actually law enforcement. It is systems of economy, business, corporation. It’s kind of like our patriarchal systems. And Pluto, which loves nothing more than to come into a system, break it down, rewrite it, revisit it, then there’s a rebirth process that happens.
My astrology friends had been watching January of 2020 for years saying, oh, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen? And so, we knew it was going to be a big year just because there were so many big cycles starting. And then we had the great conjunction in December kind of ending the year. So we had two big fireworks shows; one at the beginning of the year in January with Saturn and Pluto and one at the end of the year with Jupiter and Saturn. So lots of activity was happening last year and we all felt it.
Sarah: Yes, I definitely felt it. And I’m curious because something you’ve mentioned is in the retrogrades that there’s this opportunity to explore your shadow or embrace your dark side. And I know that’s something you also talk about in your book that comes out September 28th, tomorrow. Based on when we’re recording this. Congratulations! Such an accomplishment. It’ll be out by the time the show comes out and it’s called Modern Day Magic: 8 Simple Rules to Realize Your Power and Shape Your Life. And you do talk about embracing some of that darkness. And I just feel like the last two years and some of the things we’ve been feeling have really been an invitation to dive into the shadow. So I’d love to get your take on shadow work and what embracing our dark side really looks like.
Rachel: In my book, I talk about how we have this idea of light is good, dark is bad. You know, we’ve had this binary thinking, but really the dark is just the unseen. It’s what’s unknown. And so, within ourselves, it is what’s hiding in the unconscious. And very often those unconscious aspects of ourselves are really running the show without our awareness. And so, anytime we’re bringing those things into the light, we’re able to work with them, heal them, and ask ourselves really tough questions like do I want to hold on to this way of being, to this idea, to this belief, to this version of myself that might have outworn its usefulness? And we saw that culturally with just all of the…in here, in this country anyway, in the U.S. with so much…I mean, racism was in the spotlight and we saw it showing itself and rearing its ugly head. And I think some of us who might live in circles, in sort of progressive circles might not have seen all that was there in the shadows.
And so, I think we really got to see culturally, a lot of the darkness and a lot of corruption and ways in which people have abused power. We saw all of that coming to light. And so, now we’re in this process of rebuilding, of healing, of saying what do we want our culture to look like? I like to think that that magic is a part of this because if we look throughout history, every time we’ve seen a rise in women’s spirituality, it’s been in conjunction with movements and social justice. And it’s because magic has been marginalized. It’s been used to accuse people in marginalized groups. Accused them of things like witchcraft and devil worship and things like that. And at the same time, magic is an embodied spirituality. So it is something that allows us to tap into our creative power and that connects us with one another and with the earth, and that we do in small communities with one another, in circles of women usually.
And so, all of this is coming into mainstream right now, more than ever, since I’ve been alive, and I’ve been doing this work for decades. And so, what we’re seeing now is a rise of magic and it’s part of a big cultural shift that’s really a spiritual revolution.
Sarah: Yes, I love that. And I love your definition of magic around at least part of it you mentioned was that embodiment of spirituality or embodied spirituality. And I’d love for you to expand on how we see magic in everyday life and maybe in ways that people wouldn’t normally identify as magic but truly is because I think that there can kind of be this gap or this barrier to entry into magical practices and ritual because people feel like, oh, I’m not witchy enough or that’s too ‘woo’ for me or I don’t know what I’m doing. And I don’t know the way you just described that is so beautiful and so simple and I think it’s something we can all access.
Rachel: Aww, thank you. Thank you. Yes, it is. You’re absolutely right. And my background coming to magic, I grew up in a very evangelical family. So I had a real experience of the Holy Spirit in my childhood. And then when I was about 14 years old, I discovered astrology and that opened my eyes to all of these new spiritual ideas. And so, I started looking into witchcraft, exploring Wicca, and actually practicing it. Then I kind of found a balance with it, of integrating all kinds of spiritual practices into my own spiritual practice or spiritual disciplines into my practice. And so, we see magic, what I call magic, in every religion. So you don’t have to be a witch, you don’t have to be a wizard to practice magic. Everyone can do it. And the entry point to magic is our physical bodies. But we have been taught to judge our bodies. We’ve been taught, oh, let me give all kinds of messages about, and this dates back to Aristotle, we’ve been taught that there’s a separation between body and spirit between our physical selves and the heavens. So what magic does is it kind of makes our bodies walking, living magic wands.
And so, everyone has this experience of feeling butterflies in your stomach right before something special happens or being on a walk and being so present in the moment, a bird will come and land right in front of you. And that’s magic. Magic is it’s bringing spiritual presence into the everyday moments of our lives and feeling connected and feeling a sense of the divine right here and now. And you can do this making dinner, you can do this tucking your kids into bed, you can do this in every moment of every day, just with the right intention. And the intention is okay spirit, be with me. If you use God as a reference point for the divine; God, be with me, be with me. Holy Spirit, be with me. Allah, be with me. Any practice can incorporate magic. It’s not religion, it’s a way of being in this world.
Sarah: Again, I think that’s so beautiful and such a different way of describing some of this that I really resonate with. And I know that there are many members of The Uncensored Empath community who were raised in households where it was not allowed to be able to practice spirituality in the sense that we’re speaking about, or it was taboo in some way, or it was against their religion. And like you said, what you’re talking about isn’t a religion. But I think that in the conversations I’ve had with so many women, there can be this initiation and kind of dropping some of the ways that they were raised in order to find their truth. And along that path, I think a lot of fear comes up and this fear of what if I go there or what if I start doing these practices or what if I leave behind some of the things I was taught growing up, what’s my family going to think of me?
And so, I’d love for you because you’ve had this experience, myself, I was raised with zero religion, just nothing. And in some ways, it was a blessing because then I really had this clear canvas to build my own belief system off of. And in other ways, I felt like I was walking in the world with no foundation under my feet because I didn’t know what to put my feet on. It was just this loss feeling.
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Sarah: I love your take on finding your way, even when maybe I don’t know what your experience was, but if it felt scary for you, if there was any shame that was sent your way, just because I know that there are other women listening who are going through that or thinking about sort of shifting their life in a way that maybe their family might not agree with.
Rachel: Yes, yes. It’s something that I see all the time with my students, even ones who are becoming professional psychics and mediums. And it’s such a common experience. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to write this book is because you’re not alone. If you’re in that place, you’re not alone. There’s a whole community of women and men and non-binary individuals who are right there with you. And for me, I started doing this work in the mid-90s, 1990s and I mean, our communities were these tucked away, little, you know? In the basement of a metaphysical bookstore, we would meet in a circle, you know? And community was really what got me through. I think we have to realize that in the 16, really between the 1100s and the mid-1600s, we had the witch trials. And so, we had people being killed for doing anything that remotely resembled witchcraft, including midwifery, including going out at the full moon and planting your plants. And the propaganda that was used to spur fear and lead to this really oppressive idea of spirituality and religion, it was scary.
I mean, I did my master’s research on this and saw all of these woodcut carvings from the 1500s, 1400s up to the 1600s and they were scary images. So we have all these ideas in our collective unconscious about what magic is and ultimately that was designed. And then you have the indigenous people of the Americas, of Australia, New Zealand, colonists wanted to gain land. And so to do that, they would demonize the spiritual practices of indigenous people. And this happened in Africa with the slaves. And so, we have all of these ideas that have come to us throughout all of this history about what magic is, about dark forces and demons. And when you start really opening your spirituality, you realize that it’s not what it is, that actually anyone who works with energy and who practices magic knows that there are laws of cause and effect, knows the way that energy works. And that is that, that what you send out into the world comes back to you threefold. And so you develop this beautiful, wondrous relationship with the world, with life, with other people that makes it so that the idea of harming anyone or anything feels disgusting in your body.
And so, you talk about being an empath and that really being an empath is being super magical because you’re feeling everything all the time. And feelings, magic lives in that deeply-feeling realm. And so, anyone who’s an empath has magic coursing through you. You have access to power. Magic is power.
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Sarah: I, a hundred percent agree that it’s this magic that courses through us and that within that is this power. And I think where people can feel like being an empath is not so powerful is when they’re actually just afraid of that power. And the way that, especially as women, we have been taught or it’s been kind of slipped in like you were talking about some propaganda, to not be powerful, to hide, to quiet your voice, to shush, to be over there in the corner and don’t make a disturbance at the dinner table or whatever it is. And so, I feel like I’m on this pathway, this revolution to helping empaths see that the big things that they feel in their body equals power and it’s not something that we have to be afraid of within ourselves.
Rachel: Yes, yes. So true. I mean, I think if we look at in our culture who is allowed to be angry, who is allowed to be in touch with their desires, there’s such a model of shame. It doesn’t just keep women from trusting their own bodies and trusting their sensitivities and their intuition, but also any group of people that is marginalized. And then I think that this is a real colonial mindset that we’re moving away from right now. This is a white supremacist mindset where some people have access to all of their inner resources and power and others don’t. Magic is part of a really big shift of helping us as women get back into our bodies and in right relationship with our bodies.
Sarah: Yes. That’s a beautiful point. And just thinking about my own journey to feeling comfortable and feeling all the things and all the depths beneath the shadow and the darkness we were talking about, which is really like you said, the unseen, and that process did feel like an initiation in some ways into magic and into spirituality. They kind of coincided for me the ability to accept myself and all the big feelings that I had and during that same time, find my spiritual footing and explore a lot of the magic that exists like you were talking about in everyday life. And I guess I’m just thinking about the person who is still trying to find that full acceptance of the bigness, the fullness, the aliveness, the wildness that is within them but might not quite be there yet. Do you have any advice or recommendations for that person?
Rachel: You know; I think the biggest thing is find community. Find community. You can’t do this alone. If you are opening up to your big feelings and to your sensitivities and trying to balance that in a world that doesn’t feel safe, then create safety nets for yourself. Don’t shut it down. There are millions and millions of people waking up to their own spiritual power and their own spiritual resources and accepting their sensitivities and their intuition. And so, you’re not alone. You’ve got people. And then the other thing I would say is we can easily go into a fear place when you’re picking up on too much energy from other people or when, ah, like the world is just an intense place right now.
And so, I think grounding our physical experiences in pleasure, enjoy things that we love to do when everything feels too much, self-care can be just not working so hard. It can be just today, instead of going to the gym and doing this thing that I feel like I should be doing, I believe in exercise, I love exercise so I’m not anti-exercise here, but maybe there are some days when you’re being pulled to make art or to take a bath instead of doing this thing that you should be doing. I think listening to our bodies is so important and trusting our bodies.
Sarah: Mm, that’s super helpful. And I’m just circling back to something I heard you say, which is the word anger. And it’s so interesting because I think, not by accident, in the last three or four conversations I’ve had for the podcast, anger and sacred rage has come up. We’ve talked about it and how it’s so connected to the divine feminine energy. And I’m thinking about it now in relation to owning all those sensitivities and who you are and I think that as we discover that power, there can also be anger that coincides in that process because you think about maybe all the ways that have been wronged in the past. And so, this anger can be there, but it’s an uncomfortable feeling because we’re so used to pushing it down, ooh, I shouldn’t be angry. And my belief is that it’s sacred and it’s just this beautiful emotion that oftentimes is synonymous with love, actually. And I’m really curious about your take on expression of anger and if there are any planets or astrological input we could kind of draw on here that’s related to anger.
Rachel: Sure, sure. Well as someone…so I’m a Libra and we’re known as the peacemakers of the Zodiac, and I have always had a really hard time with anger. But in recent years, I’ve actually gone into therapy to get in touch with anger. And I think a lot of us do and need to do that because like you said, if a woman expresses anger in a political situation, she’s hysterical quote-unquote. There’s just this whole ideology about anger, but at the same time, like you said, there is a sacredness to it. And we’ve seen that within the last…well, really since 2016, we’ve seen so much transformative anger on a social level, but also in our own personal lives. We don’t want to get stuck in anger just because it doesn’t feel good. We’re not wired to be stuck in anger or guilt or sadness or depression or anything like that. Our bodies don’t even like it, it doesn’t feel comfortable. But if we can take anger and we can move it; so move it through practices, move it through conversations and say, I have to express this, move it into the world, and create some real social change, then anger helps us to move out of feeling like victims and move into feeling like we can shape our own destinies.
Sarah: That feels like a reclamation of power just in that realization as well, kind of circling back to that power we were talking about too.
Rachel: Mm-hmm. I think for people who feel like life isn’t working out, like victims of circumstances, or they feel like… None of us want to be a victim and at the same time, sometimes it’s easier to be that than to think of ourselves as being violent, as being mean, as being bad people. And so, this is, you know, we talked about that chapter, the dark side. And to get in touch with our dark side, we have to admit to ourselves what lies in the shadows sometimes is the fear. That is the reality that we have the power to hurt and we have the power to heal. We have the power to help, to love, and to destroy both. And when we can come to terms with that, so often what happens is we are like, oh my God, I’m not a bad person. I don’t want to hurt anybody. Maybe we’ve been hurt and it’s like, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to be a perpetrator. No.
And so, then we go to the opposite end of the spectrum which is nothing works out for me, not really owning all of our power. But if we can bring out from the shadows, our inner saboteur, our inner destroyer, our inner warrior, and obviously we have consciousness in terms of how we act and we don’t want to hurt other people and we don’t want to do things that create challenge for other people, but if we can bring to the light, that inner warrior who really is just an inner protector, then we don’t have to project that image out to some bad guy out there. Then we can say, no, actually this is not okay. I’m setting a boundary. And so, I think that you’re right, owning all of our power, getting in touch with the anger, getting in touch with the potential we have to harm and to hurt, helps us to get in touch with all aspects of ourselves, integrate all aspects of ourselves. And we can do that without ever verbally attacking someone. We can do that just within our own awareness.
Sarah: I love this conversation so much. And it’s reminding me of, again, what we were speaking about a little bit earlier and really opening up the conversation for more non-binary or this ‘and’ situations in life versus black and white, this or that, and owning our dark and our light, this archetype or that archetype that seemingly butt heads are in conflict with each other or oppose each other, but co-exist within us. And it’s okay for both of those to be there like you were saying. It doesn’t mean that you have to act out or be violent in any way, but to be in communication and in relationship to that power and the capability that exists within you, which is uncomfortable sometimes, right?
Rachel: Yes. Yes. Yes, and like I said, especially if you have been hurt by other people.
Sarah: Then I’m thinking of the people-pleasers too like the super heart-centered, kind, sweet, people-pleasing souls of the world who are like, I am not that. I will do everything I can to not be that. Yet you are that. We are all of these things, right?
Rachel: Uh-huh, uh-huh. Yes. And if you are not that, if you deny any part of yourself, that part of you is going to show up in other people in the world. You’re going to see it reflected back to you in a mirrored way to where if you say, I am not a narcissist, I’m always about other people, then you will attract narcissists in your life until you say, you know what? I can be selfish. It’s okay for me to be selfish. I totally want to be selfish. Yes, I want this. And I think, you know, this awareness came to me just exploring, doing astrology for so long and seeing that we always attract into our lives…the things that my clients would talk to me about were the same story over and over again about someone who hurt you or someone who did something. And I would look and I would say, where is this in your chart? And I would see that this is a point that’s either in the shadows hidden in a house that’s not as powerful or that there’s an opposition in some way in the chart. And so, you can actually look at your chart and see what are those shadows, what are you afraid of integrating and bringing into your awareness?
Sarah: I think there’s so much to take away from this conversation and so much for people to sit and reflect with and possibly even sit with in a little bit of an uncomfortable or discomfort way. But in a way that really does allow us to, I’m thinking about even the subtitle of your book, ‘Realize Your Power and Shape Your Life‘ and see how you can take all of this and start to shape some of your existence and your reality and the path that you choose in this lifetime. So I just want to say thank you so much because there is so much to reflect on. And before we start to wrap up, I’d love for you to let everyone know a little bit more about the book, where to find it, or any other ways to work with you, Rachel.
Rachel: Great. Thank you. So it’s Modern Day Magic and it’s available at any of your favorite bookstores online. You can also come to my website and see. I have a whole bunch of materials and it’s rachellangastrologer.com. I have a monthly membership that is just we get together and we talk and we do rituals and things like that. And I’m also teaching a couple of different classes and obviously, one-on-one sessions is the biggest aspect of my work. So lots and lots of different ways to work with me.
Sarah: Awesome. We will link all those in the show notes. And I just want to thank you so much for being on today.
Rachel: Thank you. It’s really been great, Sarah.
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October 25, 2021