It's no secret to anyone who knows me, that I have a lust for astrology. Like a lot of you mamas (I'm thinking) it was a common topic growing up, something that was spoken about with our mothers, aunties, friends, with so much joy and intrigue, bonding us with our closest friends through the stars. I've always had this sense that to know a person's star sign, gives an instant deeper understanding to their inner/outer workings...a glimpse into their soul perhaps?
When I became a mother, I did initially question the universe's decision to pair my earthy Taurus, with all the fiery Leo that is my daughter. But as time has gone on, turning to the stars to decipher her innate behaviour (alongside my own), has been a game-changer. I can see much clearer the ways in which we fill each others cups, the learning and growth from each of our strengths, weaknesses and differences — bringing yin to each other's yang if you will.
Naturally when I came across Brooke Macqueen of Various Friends (aka 'the astrological poet'), my heart was swept away with the beauty of her words, and I felt the great sense this Byron Bay based, mystic mama of two — creator of treasured birth chart mementos for newborns and children — knew how to indulge my most pressing questions around motherhood and astrology. How can astrology help our journeys through motherhood, and allow a better understanding of our children? How to find harmony within the household, and also on supporting women.
If you haven't discovered Brooke's work as yet, I have a good feeling this interview will illuminate your heart today...
How did you get into or open to astrology, was it an interest from childhood, or an event that occurred at some point which inspired a deeper look into astrology? When did you first interpret a birth chart?
Growing up as a child and to this day my family are very into star signs. I knew what my sun sign was from a very young age as well as what my Brothers, Mothers, Fathers, cousins even my Aunty and Uncles signs were. I read my horoscopes regularly, but it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I dived a little deeper into understanding New Moons and Full Moons.
The birth of my first child, however, was the catalyst into studying astrology and making it a profession. Motherhood pulled the rug out from underneath me and I was no longer the woman I was before. I was so in love with this child, but I was so lonely and lost at the same time. Looking for some sort of guidance I saw an intuitive healer who asked me “what do you love?” My reply was “Astrology." “So, do that." Plain and simple. I also had my tarot cards pulled and the woman said you will end up doing something that isn’t what you think it will be. It will be different, but you will thrive. As you can tell I was at a complete loss during the early days of Motherhood!
So, with this new awareness driving me I looked for an Astrologer to read my chart. I had heard that if you are meant to be an Astrologer it’s in your chart, But I couldn’t find anyone!
Months passed and I tried again, and unbelievably found an Astrologer in my area. They say when the student is ready the teacher will appear... I absolutely believe this. I had my chart read and she said I would love to mentor you and the rest is history!
So, for the past 4 years I have been captivated in the learning of the language that is astrology, and for the record anyone can learn astrology.
Where did the name Various Friends come from?
The inspiration came from a Dallas Clayton artwork. My husband Adam is the artistic genius behind the brand he makes my words come to life, and we both love Dallas's work. He draws these incredible little creatures and he wrote the caption on one of his drawings “various friends" and I automatically knew this was the name for the brand. It is so fitting because we are all different and there are various reasons that make us unique. And we all have various friends!
Who are your inspirations in the world of astrology, esoteric beliefs etc?
My inspirations are very carefully curated to only "inspire". My Instagram feed is full of people that I admire, that I learn from and that I resonate with.
Regarding Astrology these are the people who I feel know their "shit" and inspire me daily.
Also, I'm an advocate for supporting and empowering women. I honestly get so excited when I see other women stepping into their power. The world is a better place when women support women. I believe you should always pay for another women's services. This is our gift.
Therefore, my Women's Empowerment Inspirations are Natalia Benson and Jenna Black.
How has motherhood shaped you as an astrologer? Do you have any specific hopes or ‘life teachings’ around what you might like star-gazing to instil in your children?
To answer both parts of this question is to be self-aware. To lean in with kindness, compassion and empathy. That we are who we are today because of who we have been and at any given moment we can change that. We have free will. So, the more self-aware my children are about their unique needs through astrology and through myself as their mother, the more self-confident they will become.
Has being able to interpret your children’s astrology allowed you to better/more effectively parent? And in what ways?
It has helped me understand what makes them feel loved and safe in this world. How they are so different and what they individually need to stimulate their minds and how to respond to them when they can't communicate what is going on. Children are influenced by their emotions for the first seven years of their life. I know that Banjo has his moon sign (emotional self) in Libra therefore requires balance and harmony within the household to feel nurtured. When Adam and I have a disagreement (we are both Aries, so this does happen from time to time!) Banjo feels this more intensely than say a child who has their moon in Aquarius. Clancy on the other hand has her moon in Pisces therefore is extremely sensitive in general! We actually both have a Pisces Moon and Scorpio rising!
What are the main aspects of reading a birth chart: sun, rising, and moon? And what areas of one’s personality do they each govern?
That’s an amazing start. Reading a birth chart and understanding the language of Astrology is quite complex but so accessible if you want to learn!
Without writing an essay I will briefly touch on some key details of a chart. Your chart is a 360-degree wheel, a snapshot of the sky of where the planets were located at the exact time of your birth. It is divided into 12 houses and we look to the houses to see the themes that play out in your chart. Each house represents an area of your life. We see where planets are located and what sign they reside in along with what aspects are being made to one another. You still with me?! We have our luminaries which are the Sun and Moon. Your Sun sign which most people know as their Star sign is your life force, personality and intrinsic character. It also represents your father in your chart. Your Moon sign is your emotional self, your intuition and how you feel nurtured. It also represents your mother in your chart. Our Rising sign or Ascendant is the personality that others in the surrounding world see initially. How you spontaneously approach your surroundings and the manner in which you approach something new.
The inner planets also known as the personal planets are Mercury which governs your mind, intellect and communication. Venus rules all that you value such as love, beauty and money. Mars is your fight, your strength of will and how you assert yourself. Plus, your sex drive! The outer planets move slower than the inner planets therefore how they influence us can be seen as more generational as they can take up to 15 years to complete a transit but none the less, they are still important when looking at a chart. Jupiter handles matters of luck, growth, expansion and wisdom. Saturn aka Grandpa governs life lessons, structures and discipline. Uranus embodies freedom, eccentricity and the revolution. Dreamy Neptune is the veil between our subconscious. It rules our dreams, illusions, spirituality and intuition. Pluto is your deepest transformation. Your death and rebirth. Throw in Chiron which is the wounded healer then your South Node which is your past life tendencies and the North Node which is your soul journey and your direction in this lifetime, and you have the basis of a birth chart!
Your work has you looking away from Earth for guidance — you’re essentially bridging the gap between our human emotions/interactions/behaviours and the greater, far more complex workings of the universe — does this make you feel more connected to Earth, the universe, human beings, or maybe sometimes floating between in a void space?
As above so below. Meaning there is a direct relationship between the activities of the planets and human activity on earth. Therefore, I always look to myself first for guidance. I’m talking about my emotions, my intuition my feminine strengths and my vulnerability. I believe the answers are always within you first. If I feel like the world is ending or I'm overwhelmed by the never-ending duties of motherhood, I sit with myself to see what is really going on. I then use the energy of the planets and the Lunar cycles as way to work with the natural rhythms of the universe. I use Astrology to understand old behaviours and to set clear and realistic intentions by understanding myself first. This is how I feel more connected. And on the mundane level walking barefoot on the ground or sand is really powerful!
“May the sun kiss your skin and the moon touch your heart” — reading your beautiful captions like this one, it’s no surprise you’ve been dubbed ‘the astrological poet’.
Speaking for myself, and I think for a lot of your readers being mamas, particularly when you’re deep in the trenches of "mumlife", or perhaps simply with the knowledge that the current planetary alignment is not looking so favourably down on you — I find your words come attached with so much heart-lifting love and light and positivity, no matter how grim your stars prediction might seem ie: mercury is retrograde (once again ha!)
Being a female, the naturally more creative and emotional of the genders, how do you see this as shaping the interpretation of the stars and their reflection/effect on our overall beings (as opposed to a male astrologer's perspective) if any?
I am totally speaking to women especially mothers. I want to be the wisdom that was missing when I was in my 20s or when I first became a mother. In all honesty, I can thank my birth chart for this. I have my Moon (emotional self) in Pisces which is dreamy, creative, feminine and intuitive conjunct my Mercury which is the planet of communication in Aries. This aspect means I can interplay thought and feeling, understand and interpret emotions. Expressing dreams and the teller of fairy tales. To me it is a healthy common sense, to explain the emotional depths in an imaginative yet realistic way. The dysfunctional side to this is that I can be childish with my wishful thinking and extremely emotional! Also, prone to babbling... have you heard the term babbling Brooke? All I'm doing is adding lyrics to the melody and the melody being the cosmos. My art isn't perfect, but I’ll keep working on it for the rest of my life. As I grow and evolve so does my craft. I find that very exciting.
Your astrological birth charts are a truly unique gift idea for newborns and children — who or what gave you the idea to create these for other people’s children, and what do you hope to be ‘gifting' mothers with these specially created charts?
My Astrology coach gifted me Banjo's chart when I first started learning Astrology...it moved me in such a way that I wanted to share this with every parent. Motherhood will test you time and time again, with your child's chart under your belt you are armed with the best manual possible, in my opinion. I think this response from one of my customers sums it up perfectly! "thank you so much for creating such a beautiful way to share the knowledge of the stars that allows us parents to gain insight into our little loves true beings and how to best nurture and guide them. Everything was so spot on throughout the book. I cried whilst reading it as it was a sort of confirmation what I have been navigating intuitively for him."
What is your greatest takeaway from being involved in the astrological community? And what do you hope to further contribute?
To give people that spark to become more self-aware. That universally we are all feeling the same things and that you aren't alone on this journey of life. To use astrology as a tool to support, empower and to show you that you are made of magic. I'm in the process of creating my biggest contribution thus far so stay tuned!
You can follow Brooke's work on instagram here, and visit her online here.