Welcome to Astrology Talks, in which NYLON astrologer David Odyssey discusses the shape of things to come with cosmic visionaries and masters.
When I tell people that I am an astrologer, they often snap into defensive positions. “I don’t want to know the future!” they exclaim, as if I was about to give them a free reading. They explain to me that they don’t buy it, that it’s all too reductive; who’s to say that your sign defines you?
They’re missing the point, and worse than that, they’re missing the fun. Astrology is about containing multitudes, about nothing being set and everything being open to interpretation. Some part of me always knew that to take a stand, to choose a side, was a failure of my duties. It was through the work of astrologer and activist Caroline W. Casey that I learned to embrace ambiguity, and have a laugh with it.
Casey’s chosen archetype is the coyote, the sly trickster who knows to take nothing seriously. She runs the Coyote News Network, mystical activation groups, and even election-year dream councils, all dedicated to using rituals, magic, and the symbolic language of mythos to defend democracy. Her book Visionary Activist Astrology and recorded speech Making the Gods Work for You are bibles for practical astrology — for taking this art beyond interpretation and into action.
It was through Casey’s teachings that I elevated my altar practice and through her creative interpretation of practical magic that I courted love. Her long-running podcast and radio show The Visionary Activist Show brings her mythic wisdom into the crises of the present moment, arming the listener to shape intention into design.
Ahead, Casey discusses the astrology of 2023 and the years to come, her playful reinterpretation of language, and how to confront our inner and outer demons.
How would you describe your group meetings?
We do dream news councils, and soon political election magic councils will resume. The news is a dream; let’s participate and do everything we can. I had a great dream mentor — ancestor now — Donna Graham. In our dream group, people would tell their dreams, and nobody else was allowed to interpret, and she would guide them to retell their dream in which everything was them.
You’d see people getting to [realizations]. There was a woman dreaming about a tornado, and it took her a long time to say, “I dreamt about the swirling, powerful, destructive parts of myself.” I took this in: The news is a dream, and one way to play is that it’s all us. All of it. 2024 is a wild year for everybody to go deep into their participatory selves. Everywhere is the issue of tyranny, freedom, and the death of the Earth (or not). Everything in the world can be imprisoning or liberating, including astrology: our language, our metaphor, so how we tell the story, and how we choose to participate. In the dream news, we experiment without hubris or causality.
How does the group bring these ideals to practice?
For years now in the hot climate of America, part of our dream group has been creating a Neptunian atmospheric mist, to waft over the conflagrations, to cool it out. And comprised of our own creative symbolic whimsy: lavender and psilocybe mushrooms. We have some bigger conflagrations in the world, so we are humble, asking “What can we do?” But we’ve seen some of these things be quite effective. I was on a podcast with a guy who was the police chief of Atlanta, and I asked him if he was worried about a particular circumstance in Tulsa. And I told him that we were creating a metaphorical mist to waft over Tulsa, and he said, “I’ll join in that!” There’s participatory allies everywhere. And may our manner of relating be a liberating blessing.
What I like about astrology is that it’s nonmoralistic. It allows you to engage in a bigger orbit.
Our human culture is not very Pluto literate, so when Pluto stations, to go forward, it’s volatile and explosive in direct proportion to the force of its exclusion. Wise cultures invite demons to dance. In Tibetan Buddhism, when demons are at the door, they imagine a laser beam coming out of their third eye lasering the lock off, going “Come on out, demons.” And they dance. The purpose of art and dance and ritual in all cultures was to metabolize the community’s poison, and turn it into kinship.
Pluto has only begun its flirtation with Aquarius, stationing briefly at 0 degrees in 2023. In that time, the “demon” of AI arrived, and we haven’t danced with it. We haven’t really engaged with it. We’re too afraid.
All stories bring us to all stories. What’s real? This is a huge issue before us all, of bamboozlement, toxic mimicry. Walter Benjamin was a genius Jewish intellectual in the ’30s, who wrote a fantastic piece called The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, before he died escaping from the Nazis. I honor all of our kin. He said that his concern was that art would lose its aura in the face of technology, it would lose its intimate power, and people would be suckered into image; that it would create a culture of visuals rather than intellectuals. They would lose intimacy with the world. Where are we bamboozled into outsourcing our authority, to faux-real or to toxic mimics?
I view this beautiful language as our interior democracy. The planets represent living qualities of intelligence that reside within us and connect us to the world. So, Saturn is how we define things; it’s authority; it’s our capacity to make vows, to insource our own authority to wherever we’ve sent it out. Saturn wakes up and forces us to say “Here’s me; there’s the structure of my life; is it a match?” And to the degree to which it isn’t is important. We have to use our metaphoric agility to know that the not-matching, the discomfort, is a giant grain of sand in our oyster, and we’re going to make a pearl out of the thing.
“With Pluto in Capricorn, we’re all getting cooked.”
In 2024, Jupiter is going to be going into Gemini, the sign of duality, which brings up issues of projection and inner blind spots. What can’t we see in ourselves? Where does reactivity cover up for pain?
Just to put freedom and tyranny on the table: to react to anything is not free. The language of Jupiter in Gemini is about exploring everything, all the habitual words. There’s no prison for the unexpected. Any habit word, any brand word. I feel that the reality police have conditioned people to think of the word vulnerable as a relationship virtue. Vulnerable is a war word: It comes from the battlefield; it means woundable. What would you replace it with? How about: available. I expose the available parts of myself. That’s much more Jupiter in Gemini, as opposed to “I’ll hurt you and you’ll hurt me.” We’re facing some big things for which we want to call in help. Can we kick our addiction to having an enemy?
Tyranny runs on fear. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Grievance must have an enemy, and it suppresses grief, which is really love. It’s anguish, but it’s love. Grievance is hatred. We really want grief rituals, global grief rituals, and the community of the grieving to extend beyond the betrayal of leadership.
When Jupiter was in Aries in 2022 and early 2023, there was a rising trend on TikTok of so-called boundary experts telling people to cut toxic people out of their lives. It felt like the defensive reaction to unprocessed grief you’re talking about. How will this continue as the planets enter Aries?
Neptune will be in Pisces through this wild year, not in Aries until 2025. What happens with Neptune in Aries is that what we do now, in the Piscean realm, is brought alive. It’s personal collective responsibility for dreaming the world into being. Anytime we see something in our own lives, we ask “Is this the most beautiful and possible vision?” The way I’m working with astrology with people is that there is no certainty. Not “What’s going to happen?” No. What’s available with which to participate. And we are blessed with so much opportunity for miracles.
“We need ingenuity, renaissance, cross-border cooperation, who brought what. Anything that is expected is a prison.”
As a practicing astrologer, I give myself a lot of guilt when I don’t see things coming and when I can’t always comfort clients about the future.
Saturn is dedicated to the what. When we burden it with how, we download generations of futility and depression. Saturn’s job is what. That’s it. Jupiter and Uranus will bring them into play, and say “We will do how; you tell us what.” To start with the desirable vision opens up avenues that aren’t apparent at the beginning. If we start with what’s realistic, we’re doomed.
Chiron’s been in Aries for a while, so its lead, the whole dance is cumulative. Chiron is a little planetoid, which some astrologers insist on calling “the wounded healer.” Chiron and I are tired of that. It’s just modern psychotherapeutic nonsense. It’s true he could heal where he was wounded, but he never used that as an identity. He’s the first mentor, a centaur mentor from 2,500 years ago. He lives in a cave, but he’s the kindest and most modest and cultured of all beings. He represents the right relationship with wild nature. We need to completely redesign the human cultural interface with nature. Chiron is really about that.
When you talk about the planets entering Aries, it’s about the instruction to take very old things and bring them alive in a fresh new way. When you say Jupiter is entering Gemini, we can cook it back to Gemini is conversational vernacular, conversational accessibility, so the assignment is to take guiding principles and smuggle them into culture in accessible vernacular. Take what you love of profundity and bring it alive in a fresh, new, accessible, provocative, and playful way, but from fundamental blessing, right?
What do you make of our last days of Pluto in Capricorn?
With Pluto in Capricorn, we’re all getting cooked. Pluto dipped into Aquarius for the spring of 2023 and went, “I’ll be back, but I’m heading back into Capricorn to stress all systems.” Anything not built on biomimicry, on nature’s guiding principles, will collapse. Condos built on sand, health care systems, anything that’s not included becomes demonic. It stresses infrastructure, bridges, stewardship, and maintenance for collective well-being. We are wealthy with ingenious solutions to the horrific rudeness our rogue species has imposed on the Earth. We just need the leadership to implement it and to see that.
Look at the glyph of Uranus. It looks like an archaic jail key. Our mentors have handed us many keys, over all the different chapters of our lives. Now we want to put the key into the lock and turn it, and go: What would it mean to practice participatory animism? Everything is alive! This is a design thing. Pluto in Capricorn says anything not based in nature’s design will collapse. We need ingenuity, renaissance, cross-border cooperation, who brought what. Anything that is expected is a prison.
That’s very Jupiter in Gemini.
Part of the big assignment for us all is to see deeply how horrible things are with a kind heart. I like redefining the word forgive. I’m redefining forgive to mean let’s give energy for change. For using a Styrofoam cup, for small or cruel acts, I give myself energy for change. That’s Saturn. How do I want to hone inner connection, strengthen my outward signal so that we’re more likely to be danced into a place where beautiful and impossible things can happen? It’s bound to be surprising.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.