Cosmic Chat

FEELING MYSELF | Radical Self-Love by sign with Gala Darling


Gala Darling was one of the first bloggers I followed with any regularity when I started The Midheaven years ago. I adored her relentlessly uplifting message - not to mention her fabulous style! At that point I only had a toe out of the spiritual closet, and Radical Self-Love was exactly what I needed.

More recently, Gala has been exploring astrology, tarot, and magic in her Radical Self-Love Almanac and forthcoming Radical Self-Love Coven. This got me thinking - if the first house (a.k.a. ascendant) rules the self, wouldn't you want to tailor your self-love practice to your rising sign? I contacted Gala, and she agrees!

It's an honor and pleasure to host her here today, along with my guide to Radical Self-Love by sign! We had a quick chat about her bestselling book, modern witchery, and how the sacred arts and self love work together. See for yourself!


Sun, moon and rising sign?

I'm a Virgo Sun and a Sagittarius Moon and Rising.


For those who are new to your work, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

My name is Gala Darling and I've been teaching women about radical self love for a decade. It all started on my blog in 2006, and has since evolved to include a bestselling book with Hay House, speaking engagements all over the world, and an upcoming show on Hay House Radio! 


Your new book is called Radical Self-Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dreams. What is radical self-love, and why does it matter?

Radical self love is different for everyone, but primarily it's about changing the conversations we have with ourselves, and treating ourselves like our own best friend. It's important because when you don't like who you are, it poisons everything around you. On the other hand, when you love yourself, you're less likely to stay in a mediocre relationship, more likely to start that business or ask for a promotion, and you won't want to surround yourself with negative people. It's about aiming higher and realising that it's okay to have everything we want. Life is beautiful and once you really grasp that, you can celebrate every day.


What message do you most hope Radical Self-Love conveys to your readers?

I hope that they realise how magnificent they are, and start to behave in a way that reflects that! I suffered from depression and an eating disorder from the age of 13 to 22, and so I understand how incredibly hard that is. I also know -- now that I'm on the other side -- that those issues do not have to be a life sentence. If I can escape their grasp, anyone can. All you need is a handful of tools and a willingness to change.


I love that you've been talking more about modern witchery on your blog! What inspired that transition, and what mystical practices and/or teachings have been inspiring you lately?

I've been practicing magic since I was in my early teens, and I was inspired to delve into it more seriously a few years ago, when my marriage started to unravel. I needed something in my life to make me feel good, and I needed to be reminded of my own power. Once I started paying more attention to it, I realised that my readers would benefit from hearing about it too. I've been so thrilled -- and frankly, amazed! -- by the response. There is a real hunger for this kind of information.

I'm also really excited because my Radical Self Love Coven -- an online school for magic -- is launching in May. Over the course of seven months, students will learn about tarot, astrology, numerology, charms and energy work, and feng shui. It's going to be so amazing, I can't wait!


Do the stars play a part in your spiritual practice? If so, how?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, I'm writing these answers from an airport terminal where I'm on my way to Tulum for the AstroTwins' annual astrology retreat! I always loved astrology but until I went on their retreat last year, I regarded it with a bit of skepticism. After a week learning about my chart, I am a confirmed believer! I'm really a fan of anything which helps people decode themselves and their natural inclinations, so anything that helps to inform people and encourages them to be the best version of themselves is a-okay in my book.


Sadly, self-love and spirituality don't always go hand in hand. There are still so many people can't be open about their practices or who feel guilty caring for themselves. What advice do you have for people who are struggling with loving themselves, body and soul?

That's one of the reasons why I've been talking about magic and spirituality on my blog. The more we talk about it, the less shame or embarrassment we feel. But you don't have to tell everyone what you're up to if you're not comfortable -- just do what feels good to you. As long as your practices are helping you, that's all that matters -- no matter how kooky they may be!


In what ways do you see sacred arts and radical self-love working together?

To me, they go hand-in-hand. Radical self love is a daily practice and it can be fun but it is definitely challenging at times! Spellwork and magic can give us the boost, confidence and power we need to move through the obstacles that face us. 


Are you ready to start feeling yourself?

Here's my guide to Radical Self-Love by sign.



As the first sign of the zodiac, you adore novelty. Being the first to do or experience anything turns you on, making you a formidable trendsetter. With Mars as your patron, you're also known for your warrior spirit. If you're feeling down, pour your emotions into exercise, dance, or some sort of competition for an energetic boost.

You love yourself by: fighting for your dreams.



With Venus as your ruler, you're driven by a desire for material pleasures. Beautiful sights, sounds, fragrances, foods and feelings awaken your inner love goddess. Surround yourself with little luxuries for best results. Taurus also thrives with a routine, so a daily self-love practice is perfect for you.

You love yourself by: living a sensual life.



As the sign of communication, you love to tell stories. Consider what story you're telling the world. What is your message? Having a clear idea to share with others will feel like a breath of fresh air. Ruled by fast-paced Mercury, you need new stimuli on a daily basis (like music, film, TV, or books), as well as someone to share it with.

You love yourself by: telling your story.



Nestled at the bottom of the horoscope, Cancer is the foundation upon which the rest of the zodiac rests. With Lady Luna as your ruler you're a natural caretaker, but don't forget to take care of yourself too! You appreciate all things cozy, so indulge in cashmere, thread count, an espresso machine, or whatever else makes you feel nurtured.

You love yourself by: taking care of you.



With the sun as your ruler, you're no stranger to letting your light shine! Performing is your spiritual practice, especially when you're in the leading role. No one knows how to mesmerize an audience like you do. No matter what your medium, honoring that creative spirit is your highest calling. 

You love yourself by: stepping into the spotlight.



Virgo is the zodiac's editor, constantly improving the details of their lives and the lives of those around them. Their superpowered focus is impressive, but sometimes this perfectionist quality has a negative side. When you feel like your work isn't up to par, zoom out and look at the bigger picture. You've done so much already. 

You love yourself by: tending to the details (Without judgment).



As the sign of partnerships, your innate sense of balance allows you to bring harmony to even the most hopeless of situations. You're ruled by Venus, so you have a strong eye for beauty. Make sure you turn that eye on yourself and see yourself and as you see others: exquisite.

You love yourself by: seeing the beauty in all things.



Scorpio is notorious for being the ruler of sexuality, so its no surprise that your self-love practice may be a bit more literal than others. You aren't afraid of the taboo; on the contrary, you're comfortable where others fear to tread. Enhance your vibe by embracing your shadow (e.g. intense feelings, intuition, and a little magick). 

You love yourself by: exploring life's mysteries.



Ruled by thrill-seeking Jupiter, you live for adventure. You're constantly traveling from one exotic locale to the next in search of knowledge, experience, and a good party. Philosophy is your strong suit, so consider writing a self-love manifesto to guide you through your healing journey.

You love yourself by: expanding your horizons.



Sitting pretty at the top of the zodiac, you've got the ambition you need to back up your lofty position. Saturn as your patron planet makes you hardworking - sometimes to a fault. It's okay to splurge on something special every now and then, especially since you enjoy traditional markers of success more than others. See you at Bergdorf!

You love yourself by: knowing your worth.



With Uranus as your planetary ruler, you're nothing if not avant-garde. You're at your best when you're swimming against the current and working on visionary plans that are far beyond the current zeitgeist. Channel your rebellious charm into projects that raise awareness for what you believe in and build a better future.

You love yourself by: breaking the rules.



Where other people see ordinary objects and situations, you see magic. Your warm presence and natural connection to all that is radiates a comforting aura; so comfortable, in fact, that personal boundaries might become blurry. Make sure you're clear about what you want in your relationships, because you have so much love to give!

You love yourself by: healing your connections.


Want more Radical Self-Love?
Read the suggestions for your sun and moon signs too!



You can find Gala Darling on:





Buy Radical Self Love on Amazon and B&N.



There's more where that came from.

Join the coven for more astrology, horoscopes, and things witches love!


Cosmic Chat with Rebecca Campbell

As a rule, I've never been the most comfortable with anything too New Age, and I've always been skeptical about the idea of "lightworkers"; however, that all changed when I came across Rebecca Campbell. Her vibrant energy is infectious and uplifting, and I adore her practical advice for high-vibe spirituality. One of my favorite pick-me-ups is her free Instant Guidance online oracle, which is perfect for a little heavenly inspiration if you're feeling blue. 

I'm honored to be hosting her here for Cosmic Chat on the eve of her first book launch! Sit down, stay for a spell, and join us as we talk about Light is the New Black, spiritual closets, and more.



Virgo sun, Aries moon, Scorpio rising


Before we start and for those that might be new to your work, can you tell us a little bit about your experience with astrology and the sacred arts? 

I recently had my starts done with Tali from The AstroTwins which was a really cool experience! I’d always known I was a Virgo with an Aries moon but that was about as far as I had gone with astrology. It was so cool because it confirmed the things I had discovered about myself through doing Akashic Record Soul Readings and Numerology… I freaking LOVE that the same soul defining characteristics were mirrored in the stars. Everything really is connected, there are so many ways in… I love that so much!


As a lightworker, I’m sure it’s no surprise that you have Venus, the brightest star in the sky, right on top of your ascendant! What does being a lightworker mean to you?

A Lightworker is anyone who devotes their life to being a bright light in the world. They understand that their actions (no matter how big or small) have the potential to raise the vibration of the planet. A Lightworker soul is awake, conscious that their presence matters and that they are part of something that is bigger than them.

Lightworkers are not just tie-dye wearing hippies and healers with dreads. Far from it. They are teachers and chefs, writers and singers, producers and cleaners, mothers and mediums. They’re at the country club and the nightclub, in the cafe and crèche, the boardroom and the art room.

A Lightworker is someone who makes a conscious decision to endeavour to answer the call of Source (light) over the call of the ego (fear).

Lightworkers turn their light on by following what lights them up and then effortlessly sharing that light with the world around them. They are in tune with the callings of their soul and act on its whispers regardless of fear. 

While some Lightworkers alive right now incarnated with a conscious mission to be of service (and have been doing so for lifetimes), there are countless souls awakening to the call to be of service. Anyone who chooses to devote their lives to being a bright light in the world IS a Lightworker. There are no snobby spiritual tests to pass or assignments to hand in. The only requirement is a desire to connect with your own authentic light and a longing to serve their world. I call it working your light.

Through my Work Your Light Mentoring I have discovered that most Lightworkers fit into two categories: Newly Awakened Lightworkers and Retro Lightworkers. Here’s a vid I created about that.


With water signs Scorpio and Cancer strong in your chart (Author’s note: they’re her rising and midheaven, respectively), you naturally feel your way through life. What advice do you have for fellow intuitives, empaths, and mystics?

That your sensitivity is actually your superpower. You are not alone in what you are feeling. You will find your people by sharing your soul’s voice. When you share your soul’s voice you harmonise the planet with your presence. The Dalai Lama said that "the world will be saved by the western woman". I believe it is through healing ourselves and standing up for what we believe in that will change the planet. And that starts by healing and honoring ourselves, because without doing that we are no use to anyone.


You have revolutionary Uranus in close quarters with Lilith, the zodiac’s sacred feminine rabble-rouser. What one part of today’s spirituality would you like shake up, and why? 

The fear of speaking out and hanging out in spiritual closets for fear of people seeing them as weird. I’d also like to shake up the belief that we can use spirituality to avoid pain. Life is one big learning experience, we are here to grow as souls. Just because you are going through a tough time doesn’t mean you are not spiritual. It’s not unspiritual to get angry/hurt/actually feel what is happening through our experience, in fact, often I believe it can be the most spiritual things we can do.


Good news! Lucky Jupiter and Venus are hovering over your Mars and lighting up your career house for most of 2015. What part of your work do you most want to expand and love up this year?

I’d love for my new book Light Is The New Black to find its ways to as many people’s hands as called for. I’ve got plans to create some juicy online courses and get starting on my new book! But first, book tour! 


Do the stars play a part in your spiritual practice? If so, how?

Well, I believe that many of us Lightworker souls have actually incarnated on different planets aside from this one so they come up a bit in my sessions and when I’m leading mediation. I also work with the Akashic Records which I visualize travelling through the Milky Way to get to in my mind's eye. I’m beginning to get more involved in the moon at the moment to really step into the power of my feminine. There is so much to learn, sometimes I feel like I could spend a whole life just learning one single topic. Maybe that’s why they call it earth school ;)


Light is the New Black is available next Tuesday, July 7. You can learn more about the ideas behind the book and preorder your copy here. Early birds get lots of extra goodies, so make sure you snap yours up before then!

Cosmic Chat with Sarah Anne Lawless

Sarah Anne Lawless
Sarah Anne Lawless

I've been a fan of Sarah Anne Lawless's blog for a couple years now. If you're already familiar with her work, you know she handcrafts beautiful flying ointments and other herbal preparations for ritual and writes some of the best posts on magical practice available. (If you're not, let's fix that!) I've always admired her refusal to shy away from difficult but oft-ignored parts of spiritual work, instead approaching them with equal parts gravity and wit. Oh, and she shares citations for all her research at the end of each blog post. How's that for raising the standard of excellence in the metaphysical community? Mystics, step up your game.

It's a huge honor to host her here for Cosmic Chat. She's given me a generous look into her astrology chart, and with fascinating results. Enjoy!




Leo sun, Taurus moon, Libra rising



A professional artist, writer, and folk herbalist, Sarah currently lives on the West coast of Canada with her husband, their son, and a fat old black cat. She was born and raised in the wilds and small towns of the Pacific Northwest from Cormorant Island to a stone’s throw from Alaska. Brought up on the folklore and fairy tales of her Irish and Scoto-Scandinavian ancestors, but also immersed in the myths, legends, and traditions of First Nations people, her work is heavily influenced by the lore, flora and fauna of both the Old and New Worlds. An animist and naturalist, her temple is the great old growth forests, her gods are the genius loci and the ancestors, and her familiar spirits are the animals, insects, plants and trees.


Before we start and for those that might be new to your work, can you tell us a little bit about your experience with astrology and the sacred arts?

I first found my way to magic through the arts of astrology, palmistry, and herbalism. Actually, they all kind of flowed together like a wonderful threesome of magical goodness. When I was a teen I didn't have access to books on witchcraft, Wicca, or paganism. I spent hours in the library reading books on the zodiac signs and the planetary associations of the fingers and mounds of the hand in palmistry. I took clippings from gardening magazines that featured any plant folklore relating to planetary and elemental associations. I lit candles on the full moon and asked for blessings for my friends and family. When I was in my early 20s I absorbed Linda Goodman's Sun Signs and used her Love Signs book to help myself and my single friends who were dating. It seems silly now, but I still love those books and her advice was always eerily spot on.

The Farmer's Almanac was also my gateway drug to using astrology in magic. I had old copies that had articles and diagrams on astrology and the body. It taught gardening with the moon phases, the importance of solstices and equinoxes, the dates and times of the rising and setting of the moon, sun, stars, and planets for the year, and so very much more. I still refer to The Farmer's Almanac as a folk magician's handbook and I still buy a new edition every year. This may be why, even after more than a decade of the study and practice of magic, I'm still a simple folk magician and folk herbalist in the end.


What is your favorite part of your birth chart (if you had to choose)?

My grand trine of my Sun, Moon, and Jupiter is pretty awesome. My father did always say I must have a golden horseshoe up my butt because of the ridiculously unfair amount of good luck I have. Like anyone, I've had some bad experiences in my life, but I always seem to come away from them unscathed --if wary and wiser. It's also likely the reason for what I call my "annoyingly cheerful" disposition. On the flip side this can make it seem to others like I've been lucky with my success and had it fall in my lap, when in fact there is a lot of time, hard work, sweat, blood, and tears behind the things I have accomplished.


Is there a part of your chart that you find particularly challenging? If so, how do you work that to your benefit?

I've never had my chart done up by a proper astrologer before, so most of my astrological knowledge is based in folklore and the odd book. One challenge I've never been able to overcome is how people think of and treat specific sun signs. I'm a Leo and not many people or books have much to say about us that is good. I often found myself unwilling to share what my sun sign was because I was afraid of it changing people's opinions and attitudes towards me. If it weren't for the late and lovely astrologer Linda Goodman, I probably would have believed the bad press. She had a soft spot for Leos as well as the oft maligned Scorpio (one of my favourite signs) and gave me confidence to wholly embrace both the awesome and difficult aspects of my personality.


Did you know that asteroid Hekate is exactly conjunct your midheaven? Seriously, she’s within a fraction of a degree!

How amazing! I didn't know as I'd never looked up the placement of additional asteroids or stars in my chart before. I have had a very long love affair with the moon, the underworld, and witchcraft. I'm sure some would take Hekate appearing in my midheaven as an explanation for my fascination with poisonous and entheogenic herbs and their ancient ritual purposes. Studying them keeps leading me back to Hekate and her mythic garden of magical, medicinal, and poisonous plants which mirrors my own. And, you know, there's the whole obvious I'm a witch thing... Methinks it's probably not coincidence.


You’re the first person I’ve ever read for that had a kite aspect pattern. (Author’s note: a kite is formed when a planet opposes one point of a grand trine, and she has two!) How do you feel that alignment working in your life?

I heard from some astrologers that a kite can cause issues with money and I've definitely found this to be true for myself. For a long time I didn't have a good relationship with money as I saw it as the root of all evil. I spent many years intentionally being poor because I thought it would make me happy, but I learned having too little money and too much money can make people stressed and unhappy --what we need to find is balance somewhere in the middle that is right for our individual needs. A friend once told me to see money instead as an exchange of energy, of giving and receiving. I was always better at giving gifts than receiving them. They told me if I had no problem supporting people with my dollars who were doing things I thought were amazing, why wouldn't I let people do it for me? That conversation allowed me to see my relationship with money differently and the change in thought process freed me to run my own business, advertise myself, and be successful without feeling guilt or shame about it.

I don't know a lot about kites, but haven't read anything positive --it's all disasters and blocked off grand trines. If anyone knows the good that can come from having kites in your chart, I'd love to hear your experiences or opinions in the comments.

Author's note: I've always thought of kites as being a Grand Trine with more direction! Whereas a grand trine person can end up resting on their laurels, the opposition at the enter of the kite spurs them on the achieve more than they would have otherwise, even if it's through difficult circumstances. It sounds like once you were able to come to terms with the opposition part, the energy started flowing more easily for you.


Right now, lucky Jupiter in Leo is heading for your Sun, and will meet up with your Venus and Mercury in Virgo later this year. What part of your life would you like to see expand as a result of all that?

My little family is in for some very big changes once the Sun is in Leo and I'm hoping the luck will lead to smooth transitions, happiness, and the closeness of family with the help of the aspects mentioned above.


Saturn is hovering on your Mars all year and will be especially close during his foray back into chthonic Scorpio over the summer. How do you hope that energy will show up in your life and business? (I think this is great recipe for powerful saturnine magic!)

Oh, there will definitely be some saturnine magic going down! The plants in my garden who fall under Saturn's wise gaze and influence have grown exponentially over the past month and will be ready to harvest come July. It has been a few years since I was able to grown them as I was living in an apartment with no room or balcony, so I am very excited to be able to make magical and medicinal goodies with fresh herbs again. They are so much more potent, especially when I have grown them myself and made sure they have happy offerings of bonemeal, incense smoke, tobacco smoke, and blessed water. Growing and working with solanaceae and artemesias makes me stupidly happy. By the end of the summer they will be transformed into herbal ointments, smudges, smoking blends, and an elixir or two --blessed and prayed over.


Does astrology play a part in your spiritual practice? If so, how?

Though I am mainly known for my art and writings, I have also worked for many years as a folk magician and folk herbalist. My use of astrology within these practices is kept pretty basic; paying attention to the phases of the moon, the rising and setting of the sun, what zodiac signs the sun and moon are in, what planets are currently visible in the sky shining over me, what planets and elements are associated with the herbs I am using, and so on. I've also found a basic understanding of astrology is incredibly helpful as a tarot and palm reader. When I do readings or spellwork for people I like to ask them their sun and moon signs as well as their ascendant so I can completely customize the reading and working to them. It makes it more personal, but also gives much better results.

I love to collect rain or spring waters during the full moons in the spring and use them for blessing and healing. I will do prosperity work during the waxing moon and before or during midday when the sun is at its peak. I like to harvest healing herbs and flowers in the morning and banishing and cleansing herbs in the evening. I also prefer to harvest herbs when their planet or the moon and sun is in a favourable position as I believe it makes them more powerful --like harvesting moonwort under a full moon or St John's wort at midday on the summer solstice. The same goes for the rites performed using the waters and herbs I've harvested from nature. To me, astrology is about paying attention to the natural world around you, its ebb and flow, and matching my arts and actions to its cycles so they become syncronized and magic becomes as effortless as breathing.


Sarah has been on a much needed vacation for the last few weeks, but her online shop opens again on Sunday, June 7. Mark your calendars! I know I'll be there.

Cosmic Chat with Benebell Wen

Yes, you read that right. Cosmic Chat is back!

Confession: when Benebell Wen's Holistic Tarot arrived on my doorstep in an enormous box, I was confused. I didn't remember ordering anything that large! As I opened it, I realized that her newly released tome was not your average tarot book. It's encyclopedic both in size and scope, and in the best way possible. My copy already has a few creases in the spine, and I expect I'll be referring back to it lots more in future tarot work. 

Benebell Wen is a rising star in the tarot community, and for good reason. She's whip smart, and a consummate professional (literally, she practices corporate law!). It's an absolute pleasure to host her here for the return edition of this feature.


You have Mercury, Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn all in Libra (and your eighth house)! How do you see this alignment playing out in your life?

Yeah, I have my sun, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto, and Mercury all under Libra in the ninth house (per whole signs; or eighth house per Placidus). I suppose that renders me an elitist snob with pompous tastes if we’re assuming ninth house or neurotic, misunderstood, and likely to go through a mid-life crisis if we’re assuming eighth house. To be fair both sound about right.


What is your favorite part of your birth chart (if you had to choose)?

I find the party of planets going on under Libra’s watch in my ninth house (per whole signs; eighth house if we’re using Placidus) to be quite amusing. That Libra planet party situation (in particular Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn) is probably how I ended up practicing corporate law, even though I’m an Aquarius rising.


Is there a part of your chart that you find particularly challenging? If so, how do you make it work to your benefit?

Having a “bowl” chart pattern means I feel like there is something missing or lacking in my life and so instead of enjoying what I have, I’m consistently dissatisfied with the “have not” part, and strive compulsively to fill what I believe to be a void. I do see myself falling into that trap characteristic of those with “bowl” chart patterns. However, ultimately I suppose it does work to my benefit because it is what gives me drive and motivation to accomplish more.

My Scorpio Midheaven sign confuses me. Having Uranus sidled up right next to it is also confounding. Knowing that shines a beacon toward my so-called life purpose and knowing that my present actual life doesn’t reflect a Scorpio Midheaven conjunct Uranus is also challenging to me on both a spiritual and intellectual level. I’m not sure I’ve quite figured out how to make it work to my benefit yet!


This year, lucky Jupiter will get cozy with your Mars and moon. What part of your life would you most like to see expand, and how?

I would love to see my creative writing career expand and become something I can depend on financially. That would be very cool.


In Holistic Tarot, you talk about the astrology of tarot and how you can incorporate the zodiac into your tarot readings. Does astrology play a part in your personal tarot practice? If so, how?

Yes, as I learn more and more about Western astrology, more of it gets integrated into my personal tarot practice. When doing tarot readings, I often incorporate analysis of the client’s natal chart, though not a comprehensive natal chart reading. Instead, I’m looking specifically for facets of his or her natal chart that are relevant to the question at hand. I also like to dabble in horary astrology and see how the results there compare with the tarot reading. So far, every single time, the two align. That “as above so below” thing is no joke.

In my tarot practice, I use signifiers (aka significators), and I typically select a client’s signifier based on either the sun sign or ascendant sign. My “workhorse” professional reading deck also has the assigned decans and the corresponding astrological glyphs hand-written onto the corners of the cards, so I’ll often incorporate analysis of the decan correspondences into my tarot reading. When reading the cards for timing issues, I will incorporate astrology.


What message do you most hope Holistic Tarot conveys to your readers?

This is a tough question to answer. I don’t know if I have intentions for any one singular message. To those who start the book with no prior knowledge of tarot, I hope the book conveys to you that tarot is a tool for facilitating creative and intuitive thought. It’s a tool for tempering and reconciling otherwise disparate parts of your mind and helping you make enough sense of it to advance progressively in your life. To those who pick up the book as tarot enthusiasts who already have years maybe even decades of experience under their belts, I hope you will find the book to be a positive marker of where tarot practice is headed in the 21st century.


You can find Benebell through her website and on Twitter. Order a copy of Holstic Tarot here. I highly recommend it!