No one comprehends the mind, body, spirit and universe connection better that Jennifer Racioppi. She received a shocking reproductive cancer diagnosis at the age of 18. Not only did it change the trajectory of her life, but also her career. Today she’s a Duke University certified integrative health coach, board-certified holistic health counselor, women’s hormonal health coach, and registered yoga instructor. She’s also one the leading and most in-demand astrologists in the nation. Now Racioppi is charting out how a bit of star knowledge just might play a role in adding to our understanding of what’s going on with our bodies and inside our brains for Books for Better Living.
Books for Better Living (BBL): How did you become an astrologer in addition to all of your health certifications? What led you to it?
Jennifer Racioppi: I had cancer at a young age, which resulted in a radical hysterectomy before I turned twenty. I went into menopause overnight, and this left me without any answers on how to live life post-cancer.
It took a few years to dig out of a deep clinical depression and find the holistic health practices that would eventually help me find true wellness for myself. No matter how many doctors and professionals I saw, I always got the sense that they didn’t see the full picture. Trying to find someone who could help bridge what I experienced emotionally with what I endured physically felt impossible, so I started doing the work myself. I became obsessed with the mind-body connection, hormonal health, healthy living, emotional well-being and SO much more, including astrology.
Timing my life to the phases of the moon changed everything. It grounded me, guided me, and helped me become whole again.
I became obsessed with the moon and her cycles. I began tracking the other planetary cycles too. Astrology helped me unpack why I had cancer, and how to live healthily post-cancer. I’ve been using it ever since.
BBL: So let’s get right down to it. Can your health outlook be written in the stars?
Racioppi: Yes, absolutely—a natal chart (horoscope) reveals a lot about who you are; your potential, your challenges, your inclinations. It describes how you process emotions as well as specifics about what your body may need. The first and sixth house of a natal chart, as well as the location and position of the sun and moon, offer tremendous insight into what a person may need from a health perspective. Further, each astrological sign correlates with a part of the body too.
BBL: Do you see astrology as something that can help boost your mental health outlook? Are there cons or deterrents?
Racioppi: Astrology can absolutely help boost a mental health outlook. Understanding your natal chart is like receiving an owner’s manual to your life. You start to discern why you are the way you are and how to utilize your strengths to your advantage while learning to manage your weaknesses. Knowing your current transits also offers insight on how to activate the potential of your chart. The downside really lies in the interpretation and general beliefs about growth. I firmly believe in aligning astrology with the principles of positive psychology as well as evidence-based behavior change. This ensures a well rounded, non-fatalistic approach is taken that can truly benefit a person’s development. I also believe in resilience as a core tenant and philosophy of life, meaning no matter what you go through, or how hard it is, you cannot only bounce back but bounce back stronger. It’s quite possible to thrive during hardship.
BBL: Can you talk about religious beliefs and the role that looking to the stars plays with that? Do they come together or should they be kept separate?
Racioppi: I personally don’t see a disconnect between putting your faith in God or religion and simultaneously using astrology too. In some cases, like Judaism for example, the religious calendar aligns with the moon’s phases. (I am by no means a religious scholar, however.) Even Christmas happens right after solstice when the sun has its ingress into Capricorn—and there’s a connection. Any calendar that follows seasonal rhythms also follows astrological, and often times lunar rhythms too. I know many religious people who follow astrology without conflict. However, at the end of the day, the choice is always extremely personal.
BBL: What are some intro/basic ways to practice and appreciate astrology?
Racioppi: The most basic way to begin to work with astrology is to actually follow the moon’s phases. The moon travels from new to full, back to new again every month and in the process traverses the entire zodiac. By paying attention to the moon’s phases (and the sign it travels through), you will quickly start to learn some foundational basics of astrology, including aspects as well. Further, paying attention to the sign the sun travels through will help you to understand that sign on a deeper level too. Last but not least honoring seasonal rhythms, especially equinox and solstice, is another simple way to begin to work with astrology in a very basic and practical way.
BBL: How can we best apply astrology to our lives?
Racioppi: I believe success is knowing and being who you are (this is adapted from a quote on leadership by Warren Bennis) and understanding your astrological chart is a wonderful way to access a new level of authenticity within. Further, understanding how to work with seasonal and lunar rhythms provides simple ways to use astrology very practically in your day to day life.
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