Chani Nicholas on Writing (and Astrology) as a Response to Trauma
In Conversation with Mira Jacob on Thresholds
This is Thresholds, a series of conversations with writers about experiences that completely turned them upside down, disoriented them in their lives, changed them, and changed how and why they wanted to write. Hosted by Jordan Kisner, author of the essay collection Thin Places, and brought to you by Lit Hub Radio.
In this episode, guest-host Mira Jacob talks with astrologer and author Chani Nicholas about being the child at the party, how Chani found her voice, and the question of who heals the healers.
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From the conversation:
Chani Nicholas: I have a really hard time being anything but who I am. That’s a very fortunate and very unfortunate quality about me. If I’m going to do anything, I’m going to be really honest about it. When I started writing, it was because I saw things in the world that were reflected in the astrology, and I’ve always been a person that’s really interested in the world and also in injustice.
And because I grew up in the way that I did, where no one wanted to see the truth, my whole being is bent towards “But look at this thing! This is where the suffering is. Why don’t we look here and solve it?” It’s my way of being in the world, because I was trying to deal with my own trauma.
There are a lot of similarities between growing up in a family system, which most of us do, that you’re like, oh my god, I can’t believe the whole family is ignoring this thing. And looking at the larger system and how brutal it is and saying, how do we live like this? We could fix this.
And that frustration I had—and a lot of us have as kids—is we grow up and we’re like, okay, I’m going to try to do something about this. That was how I got into writing. I was like, well, my lens is astrology, but I’m looking at all this other stuff and they match in this really specific way that I found interesting. I think it was just always part of my own therapeutic process—to talk about what is not working and what could be.
Chani Nicholas is a Los Angeles–based New York Times bestselling author of You Were Born For This and astrologer with a community of over one million monthly readers. She has been a counseling astrologer for more than twenty years, guiding people to discover and live out their life’s purpose through understanding their birth chart. Her app, CHANI, offers users a personalized, daily understanding of their birth chart. She has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and on Netflix.