Black Joy

January is struggle season – we can help! | Black Joy – January 20 2023

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I’mma be for real with y’all: I haven’t started my 2023 resolutions.

I’m drafting my to-do lists and goals on a notepad because I didn’t order my planner until this week. My budget won’t get done until this weekend. But I’m not shaming myself. I’m intentionally easing into the new year.

Some of us found ourselves last month rushing through the end-of-the-year, holiday stupor for the sake of hyper productivity. Societal expectations can cause us to veer away from honoring our own timeline for setting goals.

And according to historians, the new year once started in March anyway. This makes sense considering how the earth awakens from its winter hibernation and blossoms into spring – a season of growth.

If you’re sick of picture-perfect, unrealistic resolutions, the Black Joy team wants to give y’all tools to get back to your authentic selves: Welcome to Black RE:SET.

From now until the end of January, we’re highlighting Black wellness and spirituality. This includes a virtual workshop hosted by Ancestors in Training, where we’ll explore and journal about how to connect with our loved ones in the afterlife and tap into their wisdom to create a more authentic life for ourselves.

Black Joy sis Danielle Buckingham and I are kicking off Black RE:SET by giving y’all a peek at the Black magic to come next week. So forward this newsletter to your friends and fam, and let’s start our adventure of digging deeper within ourselves.

– Starr and Dani

Explore the universe within you

Growing up a preacher’s kid, reading my horoscope on message boards and in magazines felt like biting into forbidden fruit. Now that I know Astrology has African roots, I’ve since shed that shame. So we’re actually tapping into our ancestral knowledge when we look to the stars for clarity and guidance about this, that and the third.

We chatted with folks treading along different spiritual journeys for Black RE:SET, and they dished out a lot of wisdom. One of them is Malorine Mathurin, an intuitive astrologer, spiritual practitioner and owner of Moon Lady Divination in New York City. Malorine uses their spiritual gifts to guide clients towards healing. They believe this method provides a more well-rounded astrology reading.

“All sorts of things come up during a reading,” Malorine said. “I’m also a medium. So sometimes a grandmother might come in, and I’m like, ‘Ok, we’re not talking about astrology. Right now, we’re talking about what your Grandma wants to say.’ And a lot of times it does tie back in with their life purpose.”

You’ll read more next week about how Malorine’s Caribbean great-grandmother helped Malorine discover their spiritual gifts during childhood. For now though, Malorine gave us some tips about examining our astrological birth chart (also called a natal chart), which Malorine refers to as, “your roadmap of what you’re expected to encounter in this life.”

Want to explore your own birth chart? Malorine trusts After you punch in your birthday info and click on the “chart drawing” option, a circular diagram will pop up. Your chart might be a little overwhelming at first with all the lines, symbols and numbers – but don’t worry. We gotchu! Here’s our breakdown:

  • Houses: Everyone’s chart is sliced into 12 sections, known as “houses.” Each house represents a different aspect of your life. For example, the first house represents self, identity and consciousness, while the 11th house represents friendship. Learn about the rest of the houses.
  • Signs: If there’s a sign or two that irks your nerves, I got news for you. It’s in your chart, boo. We’re actually made up of all the zodiac signs in varying degrees, Malorine said. Where those signs land on your chart add nuance to your reading because each sign has its own energy and personality.
  • Planets: The glyphs scattered inside your chart represent planets and other celestial entities. There’s typically a graph on the side of your chart identifying which glyph represents which planet. Each planet has its own characteristics. Mars represents motivation and Mercury represents expression and communication. Here’s a rundown on the planets and their meanings.

Wanna go beyond your sun, moon and ascending placements? Malorine also suggested other celestial placements you should search for in your chart. I placed the symbols beside its description so you know which glyph to look for:

  • North Node: Also known as a True Node, your North Node shows your purpose or what you’re supposed to learn in this life. “Life purpose doesn’t have to encompass a career,” Malorine said. “It’s more about things you need to learn in this lifetime. So, if I’m looking at a chart really quickly, I go straight to that because that gives me an idea when I look at the rest of the chart to see how close are you to that (purpose).” So if your North Node is in Cancer, get comfy with showing vulnerability and asking for help. If it’s in Taurus, release the drama and start prioritizing your peace and growing your gifts and talents. BTW, you also have a South Node, which points to what you already do well.
  • ⚷ Chiron: This asteroid shows your wounds and what you need to overcome. “Tread lightly because it can be very triggering,” Malorine warned. “I say talk to an astrologer about it – someone who can empathize and make sure you get the correct information, techniques and tools to be able to heal this because Chiron tends to be kind of harsh.”

What’s up with the stars?

Our birth chart looks at how the stars and planets aligned at the time of our birth. But what about the present? For Black RE:SET, Malorine tells us what the Universe got going on right now and how we can align with that energy:

  • New Moon in Aquarius: We’ll be soaking up the Aquarius energy during the new moon on Saturday. And according to Malorine, the mood is experimentation. “We’re now stepping into Aquarius energy, which is really going to help us think outside of the box,” they said. “A new moon is all about new things. It’s like a reset. Just for me and my own practice, I don’t start many things in January because I work with the elements of the earth. And for me, springtime is when you start something new because that’s when things are becoming. You don’t start things when it’s still cold out and things are frozen. So this time is more spent observing and contemplating. This is a time to just kind of feel things out.” (Quick note here: We didn’t plan for Black RE:SET to fall near a new moon. Look at the universe aligning with us! 🙌🏾)
  • Uranus going direct in Taurus: Mercury isn’t the only planet that goes into retrograde. Uranus retrogrades every year for five months and has been in retrograde since August. The planet of change and innovation will be coming out of retrograde, or as astrologers call it “going direct,” on Sunday in the earth sign of Taurus. Uranus is also the ruling planet of Aquarius, a sign that reflects the planet’s innovative traits. “If you’ve been feeling stuck for a while since Uranus has been retrograde, maybe you’re going to start feeling like you have some projects in mind as it goes direct,” Malorine said. “Maybe you felt a bit stuck in Capricorn season last year. Things will start to finally piece together. Maybe people are starting to call you now. Things are kind of making sense now.”
  • Venus enters Pisces on January 26th: It’s more than just love when it comes to Venus. It’s also the planet of business and finances. “Venus in Pisces is almost like giving your money to the river and just letting it flow down,” Malorine said. “So being a little bit cautious about how you spend your money, and being a bit wary of your online dating. Don’t swipe right and say yes to everybody, you know. Be a bit discerning. Don’t give your heart to everybody. Like I said, the whole thing is kind of going to flow more and kind of just easing into it rather than jumping full speed.”

Thanks, Malorine! Astrology is just one of the tools you can use to get more aligned with your best self. Handing the mic over to Dani to chat about tarot.

Everybody plays ‘the Fool’ sometimes

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another. - Toni Morrison

My first brief introduction to tarot was through Carmen: A Hip Hopera, a 2001 musical romantic drama featuring a young, starry-eyed Beyoncé. In the movie, Beyoncé's character, Carmen, gets the Death card in a tarot reading, which foreshadows her being killed at the end of the movie (side note: the Death card doesn’t actually mean literal death and isn’t necessarily negative). Anyway, I was about 8 or 9, and I barely remember the film’s premise. But I never forgot that scene.

Fast forward to 2017. I’m in my second year of graduate school and connecting with another graduate student who was into all the “weird” spiritual stuff I was beginning to explore. Our meeting seemed destined, and soon we began hanging out regularly. During our first coffee date, she brought her tarot cards, wrapped in a cloth, and asked me if I wanted a reading.

Much of my relationship to tarot now was in part shaped by this person. In her personal practice, she used them for reflection and guidance. But aside from that, it was also a fun hobby for her.

Eventually I would collect my own decks, and fumble my way through listening to and learning from the cards. One of the big misconceptions about tarot cards is that they predict the future. A fixed future that will come to be no matter what. And while the opinion on that may change depending on who you ask, I can only speak from my experience.

The cards simply make recommendations and give you a sense of what could happen if you make a particular choice. Keyword here: could. Tarot provides a guide on how to shape your future. The outcome is based on whatever path or paths you choose. But that can get tricky.

Time nor the future is linear. And beyond our choices, unpredictable things happen that are sometimes out of our control. This too can change the trajectory of your life and any message you received from the cards.

My motto is the cards don’t lie. We lie to ourselves. This has come from years of learning the hard way. No amount of shuffling and reshuffling is going to change what the cards are telling you.

The card guiding me through 2023 is “The Fool.” In some interpretations, the fool is reckless, naive, and impulsive. But the card can also represent risk-taking, breaking norms, and freedom.

For me, it represents all those things in conversation with one another. It is calling me to stop trying to follow outdated rules on what success looks like and to break down the self-imposed walls I’ve built around myself. It also reminds me that it’s okay not to know, it’s okay to explore and imagine a fulfilling life and existence.

If you decide to use tarot as a means for self-care, reflection, or spiritual guidance, get to know them. Look at each image and draw on the feelings it brings up for you. This strengthens your intuition and your relationship to the cards.

In the meantime, stay tuned for Black Joy’s monthly tarot card pull beginning in February.

Keep your heart and mind open so Black joy can flow from you! See y’all next time!

Jonece Starr Dunigan

Jonece Starr Dunigan |

Jonece Starr Dunigan (She/her/hers) is a journalist who gives the microphone to communities that are often ignored by mainstream media. Guided by empathy, her reporting centers the stories, movement work and voices of Black, brown and queer people. Her writing strives to amplify and empower readers instead of exploiting them of their traumas.

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