The Skeptics Guide to Reading Your Sign: A Q&A with Astrology Star Mecca Woods
If astrological signs and birth charts are too “woo-woo” for you, and you think that they have absolutely nothing to do with your path in life, then we ask you, give Mecca Woods a follow first. In her own words, you’ll find "no hocus-pocus, fairy dust, or Wizard of Oz-like gimmicks here. Just astrology—made plain and simple."
Mecca is an astrologist, author, coach, podcaster, and working mom, so, you know, she’s just a *little* bit busy. On top of that, she’s a regular contributor and featured astrologist for some of the biggest women-centric websites—think Bustle, Girlboss, Essence, PopSugar, Refinery29. The reason she’s such a star? Her practical advice and no-nonsense approach resonates with the masses (Just like you! See, we told you this would be worth it!).
We got the chance to chat with Mecca about how she found her path in astrology, how she, a woman of color, helped push forward an industry that is traditionally dominated by white women, and why your astrological birth chart actually has practical uses that can help guide your life. You can thank your lucky stars now, because we’ve got some Mecca Woods wisdom comin’ your way.
The Void: Let’s get right into it. What drew you to astrology as a profession?
Mecca Woods: What drew me to astrology was being at my own personal crossroads. I was always an astrology enthusiast but I didn't really realize how deep it went until just after I turned 30. Basically, I was in a place where I was just really unhappy. I wasn't happy with the work that I was doing, I felt like I should be doing more. My love life wasn’t all that great either. And I was just in this place where I was feeling kind of lost.
I ended up finding an astrology book called The Celestial Sexpot's Handbook, and I was reading about Scorpios, because I was dealing with a Scorpio at the time. I really appreciated what the astrologer wrote, so much so, that I ended up getting two readings with her. She pretty much just blew my mind in terms of, you know, informing me. I didn’t know what a birth chart was, she taught me what that was. And from there, I just became hooked.
I started to research and read as much as I could. And what drew me in even more, was that astrology was empowering. It gave me the opportunity to make choices as opposed to being a victim of circumstance.
TV: How did your friends and family react when you said you were going to make astrology a full-time career?
MW: They were mostly supportive. I do remember talking to a few people here and there about what I was interested in and I would get jokes sometimes, like people would call me “Miss Cleo.” But for the most part, my friends and family have been really supportive. I think for me I have always been someone who has been really independent and needed to go off and do my own thing, so they have always been really supportive in that regard.
TV: Unfortunately, you don’t see a lot of women or men of color talking about zodiac signs. How has that changed over the years since you started practicing? Have you seen a cultural shift in astrology?
MW: I definitely think that there has been a shift since I first started out about 10 years ago. I didn't really know many people of color that were practicing. But I guess the stars aligned in a way because I went to Twitter and started playing around with the search, and actually found a couple of astrologers of color who I connected with. And these individuals are an integral part of my career, both for their friendship and as mentors.
I do see that now, astrology is becoming more popular and it's becoming more accepted. There are a lot of more people of color—they're gravitating towards it, and it's good to see!
TV: You’re a Sagittarius yourself. Have you always considered yourself to be an intuitive person?
MW: Yes and no. I think when you talk about intuition and you talk about the zodiac, usually the water signs get characterized as being the most intuitive. But each of the 12 signs all have intuition available to them. I think for being a fire sign, my intuition comes through flashes of insight, as opposed to a gut feeling or a psychic-type thing. But I definitely think being an astrologer and doing this work has helped me to hone in on my intuition.
TV: Plain and simple, why is it important for people to follow their signs and their intuition?
MW: People should have their chart read because I know it helped me to figure out some things that were lacking in my life and some challenges I was facing both in my personal life and in my career. I see astrology as a tool or a resource that we can use to empower ourselves and help us to make the best decisions. Even when it comes to things that we may not necessarily be able to control, astrology can still show us how to navigate those periods of time.
Another big part of it is also learning how to trust yourself and your intuition. No matter what, you're the final authority on your life, and when I am reading someone’s chart I am just showing them a path or giving them options. At the end of the day, you have to figure out what's the best decision for you and trust that.
TV: It seems there have been so many huge astrological occurrences in the past couple years (it feels like mercury is always in retrograde). Why do you think that is?
MW: I think the best way to explain it is that astrology is really a study of patterns and cycles. You have your own personal cycles in your own life where you have your highest periods, your lowest periods, and your in-between, and collectively , t's part of the same principle. We all have our moments where things can be very good and then we have our periods where things are more challenging. The planets really provide a language for those cycles.
The things that are happening now have happened already in the past. As the planets move, they kind of trigger different movements—shifts or changes within the collective. Essentially, what the planets are doing is highlighting the past. They are kind of saying that you’ve done this before—do you want to change the outcome or make it better? So therefore, it's up to us, as individuals who are leading these lives, to determine if we want to keep with the same path or if we want to change it.
TV: There’s also been a recent resurgence of what some people deem “woo-woo” stuff: astrology, yoga, wicca, occult sciences, tarot, manifesting and things of that sort. What do you make of that?
MW: I think it's a combination of people looking for something different. I think that where we are right now, there is a lot of fear-based media and initiatives that are happening all across the world. In some instances, people want to feel more in control. They want to feel more in control of their lives and their wellbeing. And I think that divination, like occult, like astrology, like Tarot, and other non-traditional practices like yoga, or Reiki are giving people the chance to do so more in the privacy of their own life, as opposed to feeling helpless or feeling like they’re victims of some sort of unseen source.
TV: What would you recommend to a newbie who wanted to start to break down their own personal chart?
MW: Oh, that's a great question. One book I would recommend that I think is really great, and I actually used it when I first started out, is this book called “Astrology for Yourself” by demetra George. It is a workbook that basically teaches you how to read your chart, step-by-step.
The other thing that I always tell people is to get their chart read by a professional, a professional that you trust and will become committed to your wellbeing and growth. Once you've kind of got squared away, a professional can help you really break your chart down in a way that you probably can’t do on your own. It feels good to have that knowledge upfront and then to continue studying on your own—there are a lot of great books out there!