Chani Nicholas, a self-described “angry feminist” who does astrology workshops for around $40 a pop on her website, is also using her platform to fight against Donald Trump’s border wall and help people heal during the #MeToo era.
Nicholas gained her following through astrology posts on Instagram, according to a profile in Rolling Stone.
Nicholas, 42, is transforming horoscopes from generalizations about finding true love and stumbling into financial good fortune to pointed calls to action with a left-leaning, social-justice agenda. Based in Los Angeles, she has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and a blog with as many as one million monthly readers. She weaves activism into the majority of her writing, appealing to a generation particularly interested in issues like racism, sexism and gun control.
Nicholas used last November’s mercury retrograde to urge her followers to contact the FCC prior to its vote on net neutrality. She wrote about the new moon in Scorpio representing the need to heal during the initial wave of sexual assault accusations in Hollywood. She’s posted about DACA and the border wall and has even been promoting an online tool called FreeFrom, which was started by her wife Sonya Passi to help victims of domestic violence understand how to pursue financial compensation.
On one hand, I dislike that this woman is selling supernatural woo to unsuspecting followers and getting famous in the process. On the other hand, she’s using her methods to actually do something good in the world. Plenty of other horoscopes writers don’t bother with that. So does she deserve praise for the novel approach to selling nonsense or condemnation for packaging good points in irrationality?
It’s possible that the false ideas that Nicholas promotes, like “mercury retrograde” having any effect on anything, could actually help reach people who would otherwise ignore mainstream politics. It’s also possible that she could do more harm than good by fostering these false beliefs and taking the supernatural aspects of her shtick too far.
You shouldn’t need psychics and magic and fictional thoughts about the motion of the planets to push people in the direction of evidence-based activism. But if that’s a way to get through to people who have no desire to listen to skeptics like us, then more power to her, I guess.
As far as astrologers go, she could be worse. But that’s hardly a compliment.
(Screenshot via YouTube)