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Annabel Gat

Astrologer & Horoscope Writer for Broadly

Annabel Gat is an Astrologer and writes the daily and monthly horoscope columns for Broadly. I first stumbled across her horoscopes on Twitter and have been a daily reader of them since. Naturally, I was curious to learn if astrology was Annabel's full-time gig and what the work of someone in such a unique role looks like. Talking with Annabel she's a straight-shooter and her practical approach to astrology is a large part of what I enjoy most in her work. She talks about how she got into astrology, how she landed her role at Broadly and what she loves the most about her work.

What does work look like for you and what does that involve?

I’m the Staff Astrologer at Vice for Broadly. I write both the daily and monthly horoscope columns there. I look at the Ephemeris, which is basically a list of where all the planets are going to be for the coming month or year and I plot them out. Then for each sign, I write about how the placements of the planets and their interactions with the other planets are going to affect what that person feels or experiences. For example, today is Thursday, September 8th and I can see that the moon is in Sagittarius, along with other things happening. So if I’m writing Sagittarius’ horoscope I might say something like, “the moon is in your sign today, so this is going to be an excellent time for you to reflect on your emotions. If you’re a Gemini, the moon is going to be in Sagittarius which is a sign opposite from you in the Zodiac wheel, so it’s going to be all about relationships today.” That’s my job at Broadly, as a horoscope writer.

My other main role is giving consultations to people. If someone’s birthday is coming up and they want to know how their next year is going to be, they come over and we look at their chart together. I call these consultations and not readings because I’m not intuitively “reading” anything, I’m not a psychic. It’s very plain and simple. If you’re a Gemini, certain things are going to be happening for you at certain times and I just relay what for hundreds of years people said these things would mean. I let people interpret that information themselves because someone’s intuition about their own life is going to be a million times stronger than whatever I could come up with.

Typically my workdays involve waking up and trying to write as much as possible in the early part of the day. That’s when my brain works the best. My writing involves a lot of decision-making so I try not to do that late into the evening when I’m tired. I never write the horoscopes at night because that reminds me of writing papers at school— I don’t want to have any homework vibes around the horoscopes! I don’t want them to feel rushed. If I have consultations I’ll usually do them around lunchtime because that’s when people have a break or usually, they are after work hours as well. So I take my breaks in the late afternoons to work around that.

What was your path to astrology like, how did you get started?

As a kid, I always loved Halloween, which meant I also loved witches, vampires, the Twilight Zone, and the X-Files. If it was really weird and creepy, I wanted to have it in my life. My parents are both Geminis, so we had hundreds of books in the house and they had books on everything, including astrology (Geminis love books!) I thought it was pretty cool. The summer before fifth grade I picked up my first astrology book which was a book on the Aries personality. I’m an Aries and as an 11-year-old it was about self-discovery and who I am. I was also constantly taking those personality quizzes in magazines, I just loved that discovery aspect. Throughout fifth grade, I put myself to task to memorize all the symbols for the signs and the planets. As I got older I still liked astrology but I didn’t take it very seriously at all.

Throughout high school, I was actually very skeptical and scientific. In college, I took a class with someone who was extremely religious, and it really annoyed me. I was so frustrated that someone could “believe” in heaven, or that Adam and Eve were the first people— it was preposterous to me. I absolutely couldn’t stand her— especially when she said things that were pro-life. But, I’m glad I had this experience, because I know first hand how frustrating it could be for someone to look at me, and think “how the f&*% could she believe in astrology!” To them I say— I don’t believe in it, I use it and have fun with it! (And I certainly don’t want anyone else to “believe” in astrology either!)

Anyway, it was around that same time in my college years that one of my friends and I got really into going to ghost hunting meetups on Meetup.com. There was such a dissidence there. I couldn’t stand someone coming in talking about Adam and Eve and abortion, but on Friday night after a few drinks, we’d go to ghost hunting meetups [laughs].

Around the age of 20, I was feeling really depressed, life felt kind of meaningless and I was in a very dark place. My mom saw that and took me to a Tibetan dream yoga workshop in upstate New York. I was so zen and so centered there. I picked up a book on chakras and realized that this was what my life needed to be about again, I felt like I could find meaning. When I came back to the city I started going to astrology circles and seeing that people did this stuff for a living. I left school to pursue astrology and just have fun and I always thought that once I figured out what I wanted to do, I’d go back to school. I never ended up going back.

Going back to that anger towards the girl in my history class, again, I’m really happy I experienced that because now, as an astrologer, I completely understand when people get furious about astrology and horoscopes. I completely understand the stupidity of astrology. I get it, but as someone who loved mythology growing up and loved weird things and history—astrology is just so rich with all of that. It’s our oldest science. It’s a science we totally have grown out of, but for hundreds of years, this was how people diagnosed diseases. It’s fascinating. I take it very seriously while I’m writing horoscopes, but once I hit publish I take that astrology hat off. That horoscope is a time capsule, maybe your horoscope isn’t going to come true but it’s a great way to escape your life for five minutes. It’s this amazing science that we’ve created over hundreds and hundreds of years, it’s incredible.

“I never want you to be there reading your horoscope with your lover or your friend and have you think, “It said the same thing, except it said that it would be about money for you, and for me, it said it was going to be about health.” I want it to feel like new information every time you read it with someone.”

How did you end up in your current role at Vice?

I received an email from my editor when they were at the beginning phases of starting Broadly. They wanted a horoscope writer, and I’m so glad they reached out to me! They found me through the occult scene in Brooklyn.

What do you find are the major challenges you face in your work?

When I’m writing horoscopes, I’m trying to explain the same astrological movements in an exciting way for 12 different signs. For example, this month we have two eclipses happening. I have to describe those two eclipses to 12 different people and say it in a different way. Explaining how the eclipse will feel to each sign is the easy part— but explaining the mechanics of an eclipse 12 different ways is a challenge.

The last thing I want to do is copy and paste something like this 12 different times: “An eclipse is when a sun and moon are opposite each other in the sky, but the earth is covering the light of the moon, which means things are going to be seen in a new way.” I want to write it in a fresh way for each sign before I launch into what it means for you. Writing about the mechanical aspects of astrology in ways that will be consistently interesting is a challenge. I never want you to be there reading your horoscope with your lover or your friend and have you think, “It said the same thing, except it said that it would be about money for you, and for me, it said it was going to be about health.” I want it to feel like new information every time you read it with someone.

When it comes to giving consultations, the challenge arrives when I have to turn down a client because they confused Astrologer with Medium (someone who can speak to the dead), or a palmist.

How do you know when it's time to take on something new or make a change in your career?

That’s something I’m still figuring out. I never like saying “no” to a project, but I learned the hard way that the only way I can stay healthy is by making time for myself. I know I can take on a new project as an astrologer if I’m feeling excited AND I’m not overwhelmed at all by my other responsibilities. As for making a change in my career? I’ll know it’s time to stop giving consultations or writing horoscopes when people stop asking for them!

I’m trying to figure out how to be more proactive with distributing my energy. I’m grateful to be at a point where I can refuse projects because it sucks to be in a place where you feel like you have to take on everything just to survive. Now I’m at a place where even if it means money is tight, I would so much rather focus on my mental health and wellness. It’s important to remember that something else is probably going to come your way. I’m in a place where I have basic things I can depend on and I’m learning where my limit is past those.

“I’m trying to figure out how to be more proactive with distributing my energy. I’m grateful to be at a point where I can refuse projects because it sucks to be in a place where you feel like you have to take on everything just to survive.”

What are the main tools that make up your workflow?

Notebook - I try to be a notebook person and I fill up the first 2-3 pages and then I buy another notebook by accident. I have hundreds of notebooks now.

Notes/Phone - I record so much stuff into my phone. If I think of a joke or say something funny, I’ll note it on a post-it note or in my phone. I want my horoscopes to be funny, so I try to write everything down and find ways to incorporate it.

Time Passages - This is my software for making charts for clients.

Ephemeris - I have a big thick paperback bound book version but because I’m on the computer and my phone so much I never end up using it much— instead, I often use:

Maynard’s iAstroDaily Calendar - I use this on my phone to get a quick look of what’s happening for the horoscopes and for clients to determine if it’s a good day to do something.

Bonus: My astrology teacher, Anne Ortelee, always kept a lot of crystals on the table when she was giving consultations so that people had something they could fidget with during their session. I’ve copied that and try to keep crystals around. When someone’s sitting with me and don’t know what to do with themselves they can pick up a crystal and play with it.

“My intuition does not play into writing horoscopes at all. I think many people think we’re feeling it out. I’m not feeling it out. All of these planets, when they do something, it’s very literal what their meanings are.”

Are there moments where you feel disconnected from what you love about your work? How do you deal with that and get yourself re-energized again?

Anytime someone emails me saying they really appreciated a consultation or their horoscope—that re-energizes me. The fact that what I do is meaningful for other people re-energizes me. It’s not that I always need people telling me that I’m doing a good job, but it’s so rewarding to know you’re positively impacting someone. I’ve gotten messages like, “This month has been really hard and I read your horoscope and it really helped,” some of those have moved me to tears. I feel so happy that I’ve made someone else happy.

It’s the same with consultations. Someone will write me a thank you letter and I want to say, “No, thank you. Thank you for making me have a purpose in this world.” If I ever felt it was genuinely useless to other people, then I would stop doing astrology. I’ve never gone out looking for clients, I’ve never advertised. They come to me either through word of mouth or other avenues. If that ever stops, I’m not going to go out looking— if I ever needed to, then I would feel disconnected from my work, and I would probably be ready to move on to the next phase of my life.

What's a major aspect of the work that you do that you think would be surprising to people?

People are often surprised that I don’t think I’m directly connected to God or that I’m downloading information from “the universe” and passing it on to them. When I give a consultation, I’m really focused on figuring out what someone’s problem is. I want to know why they came and come up with a solution on how they can solve this problem based on astrological techniques that people came up with hundreds of years ago. I work closely with the chart and I try to be as rational about it as possible, using real astrological techniques, not just my intuition. I use common sense and my knowledge as an astrologer—I want the person I’m working with to use their intuition during the session, not mine! People that do like astrology are surprised by how literally I’m interpreting what the stars are doing and how little it has to do with my intuition. My intuition does not play into writing horoscopes at all. I think many people think we’re feeling it out. I’m not feeling it out. All of these planets, when they do something, it’s very literal what their meanings are. If there’s opposition or confrontation, I’m going to put that into the horoscope. I’m not intuiting.

“The fact that what I do is meaningful for other people re-energizes me. It’s not that I always need people telling me that I’m doing a good job, but it’s so rewarding to know you’re positively impacting someone.”

Who would you want to see interviewed on Ways We Work?

Kristi Collom— Kristi works with dolphins, and we all know that the only thing cooler than space is dolphins. Kristi also works at the Museum of Natural History in New York City, which is fucking rad. She posts a lot of pics of her marine explorations and fun at the museum on her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/archaeoprepona/?hl=en