Jessica Lanyadoo is an international astrologer, psychic medium, animal intuitive and tarot card reader with clients across the globe. She’s the host of Ghost of a Podcast, co-host of TLC’s Stargazing and resident astrologer for GirlBoss and Chatelaine.
She’s been featured in various publications such as the New York Times, Refinery29, New York Magazine, BUST and Mashable. She was also an astrology columnist for publications such as Martha Stewart’s Body and Soul Magazine and Glamour Magazine.
We spoke to Jessica Lanyadoo about her journey as an astrologer, dating, her upcoming book, how to use social media when you’re in a nontraditional career and much more.
Her Agenda: What inspired you to become a professional astrologer?
Jessica Lanyadoo: When I was really young, I always wanted to be a social worker. And then I discovered astrology [so] I started formally studying it in my later teens. I went to an alternative college and they offered astrology courses. When I realized I could formally study astrology, that there were books to read and masters to learn from, I just didn’t give it a second thought. I’m from Montreal, Quebec in Canada [so] I packed my bag when I was 19-years-old and moved to San Francisco to be a professional astrologer.
Everywhere you go, there you are. Meaning, your relationships are always going to reflect what you’re willing to consent to, what you’re willing to participate in and how.
Her Agenda: Did you start out as a full-time astrologer or did you have other jobs leading up to your full-time dive into astrology?
Jessica Lanyadoo: When I first started out, I worked with toddlers and developmentally disabled adults, children, and seniors. But within two years of being full time self-employed, I dropped my side hustles and was just [a] full-time astrologer.
Her Agenda: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?
Jessica Lanyadoo: I think about deadlines. I think about ‘do I have to post on social media?’ ‘Am I behind on a writing deadline?’ ‘How many emails behind am I?’ I’m generally thinking about work and within 10 minutes of my eyes being open, often times less than 10 minutes, I’m working…I would never recommend anyone to be working within 10 minutes of rising as a practice but I feel called to do it at this moment so I’m [seeing] where it takes me.
I think about ‘do I have to post on social media?’ ‘Am I behind on a writing deadline?’ ‘How many emails behind am I?’ I’m generally thinking about work and within 10 minutes of my eyes being open, often times less than 10 minutes, I’m working…
Her Agenda: With your hectic schedule, what does a typical day look like for you?
Jessica Lanyadoo: First thing in the morning, I will try to pour myself a cup of coffee or make the coffee and I will generally be tending to [my] cats.
[Then] I’ll get to work. I’ll try to respond to whatever’s the most pressing thing in front of me, whether it’s a writing deadline, emails, decisions to be made about various projects, or social media. And [with] social media, there’s both posting and engaging with the posts but there’s also DM’s. All those things come through in the morning.
I will then try to do some form of self-care which is generally spiritual work. It might be working the garden or it might be hanging out on the phone with a friend. There’s a lot of different things that I do – some really deep, some not so much. And then it’s more work [which] is generally something like having a conversation with someone [for an interview] or getting to clients depending on the flow of my day. My client work generally goes to about 6:30/7pm.
I [also] have several columns [where] I write astrology articles and a weekly podcast [with] a bunch of [other] projects. My work days span over the course of probably 11 hours so I take lots of breaks as I need but there’s also a lot of structure there [as well].
Her Agenda: What are three items you can’t live without to maintain productivity in your day?
Jessica Lanyadoo: My number one is coffee with cardamom and ginger. WIFI is for sure another. Whenever I don’t have WIFI, it’s really inconvenient because a lot of what I do is connecting with people all around the world.
And then, the third and most important one is clarity of intent. Remembering why I’m doing what I’m doing and not allowing myself to get caught up in FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) [or] distractions; that just makes the work more sustainable and I think it makes it stronger as well.
Her Agenda: With so much on your plate, do you have time to date? If so, how do you balance that dynamic?
Jessica Lanyadoo: Yeah. I never date people who like astrology. *Laughs* That’s one way [to balance]. With my current partner, we’ve been together for almost 8 years now. When we first started dating, I taught an astrology class and I had to kick him out because he didn’t do the homework. And he, to this day, cannot remember all 12 of the [astrological] signs. So that’s how I like it. I’m happy with it. *Laughs*
Her Agenda: You did a natal chart reading with [a celebrity] where you said, ‘from my perspective and the work I do, opportunity and success [are] only a test of how well you know yourself.’ Can you dive deeper into that and how it connects to astrology?
Jessica Lanyadoo: Absolutely. That concept for me is very Jupitarian. When you have abundance, at a certain point, it can become a burden or a hoard. It’s our job to stay present with our abundance to make sure that it is abundant for us instead of abundant for other people’s perspectives.
This is a huge lesson I think for all humans whether they’re famous or not which is to be able to identify, ‘Is this good for me?’ ‘Is this a growth opportunity for me?’ ‘Is this just good on paper or a growth opportunity?’ Being able to determine that is a huge part of being able to not just grow in life but to grow in the direction of what you want.
Her Agenda: Nowadays with so many people popping up claiming they can read birth charts or do tarot card readings, how do you deal with competition?
Jessica Lanyadoo: I personally don’t think I have any competition. And I don’t mean that to sound obnoxious. There’s room for all of us. I’ve been doing this work full time since [the year] 2000, so I have a strong base of people that I already serve. So in that way, competition doesn’t impact me because I’m not competing with people on social media. That’s not where the work is for me.
Whether you’re a tarot reader, designing lingerie for full-size figures or a creative in the world, you have to focus on your own work. You might want to inform yourself [about] what other people are doing but you want to do what you feel called to do. Follow your own North star.
Her Agenda: I love that you mentioned social media because you have an amazing brand. How can people in nontraditional careers like yourself build a personal brand that impacts the masses?
Jessica Lanyadoo: I started to build my brand before I knew what the word brand was and before the internet was a thing. I started by serving the communities that I was connected to and that I cared about – queer people, social workers [and] artists. And by supporting that community, they supported me.
In this world of social media where everybody’s trying to get a big following and you can buy followers, having 600 people doesn’t seem like a lot. 600 people is a huge amount of people to care about your work.
[Another] thing I would say is don’t front. Don’t pretend to know something you don’t know. Don’t pretend to be somewhere you’re not. Be conscientious [in] that whatever it is that you’re doing is going to impact people. They’re going to love it, they’re going to hate it [and] they’re going to have feelings about it. Holding space for that without making it all about you makes [your brand] sustainable.
[But] when people are in alternative businesses and their social media presence is the deepest part of their work, that’s not a great business strategy. You don’t want it to be just online. You want it to be in your life otherwise you might be Instagram famous and not be able to pay your bills.
Whether you’re a tarot reader, designing lingerie for full size figures or a creative in the world, you have to focus on your own work. You might want to inform yourself [about] what other people are doing but you want to do what you feel called to do. Follow your own North star.
Her Agenda: What advice do you have for people who want to become a professional astrologer?
Jessica Lanyadoo: There’s a lot of ways to be a professional astrologer. You can be a scholar, you can be a writer, you can be a counselor, you can be a predictor and an oracle. I’ve known financial analyst astrologers and I myself am a deeply therapeutic style astrologer. It’s really important to figure out what you feel called to and you don’t have to pick one thing.
The next thing is to be good at it. That’s really important because if you’re putting out half baked data or if you’re basically reworded what someone else said, not only are you doing a disservice to your reputation but you’re harming other people because people are seeking astrological data and information as a way to self-care.
Her Agenda: I heard you have a book coming out called Astrology for Real Relationships: Understanding You, Me, and How We All Get Along in January 2020. What is the biggest takeaway you want your readers to embrace from the book?
Jessica Lanyadoo: I want them to walk away with a lot of takeaways but probably the biggest takeaway is that everywhere you go, there you are. [Meaning], your relationships are always going to reflect what you’re willing to consent to, what you’re willing to participate in and how. [Remember], astrology is a tool and this book is a tool specifically for understanding your nature and working within your nature to make choices in your life. This book is a tool for really understanding things on a deeper level.
Her Agenda: Awesome and just to wrap up, what is one thing you want us to remember from this interview?
Jessica Lanyadoo: When [you’re] looking at my career, whether it’s my social media, my CV, listening to my podcast or hearing my counsel [and] astrological interpretations, what you’re seeing is the present day result of more than 20 years of single-minded practice. To become or have any measure of mastery over anything takes time, practice, making mistakes and trying. The key is to stay consistent with honoring what’s true for you now so that you build up to where you want to be later.
[Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]