We’re excited to have our first in-house astrologer for our annual benefit SOAPBOX. Find out more about Alice Sparkly Kat through our interview with her, and be sure to buy your tickets to SOAPBOX 2017 to get an astrology reading with her:
What is your bio in six words or less?
What’s your favorite sound, texture, or color?
I like the color blue because it is my first name and maternal lineage name in Chinese.
Who are you are in community with?
A lot of mismatched individuals from all walks of life. A lot of them queer, a lot of POC.
Can you tell us about your relationship with your neighborhood and how it may have shifted over the years?
I first moved to Bushwick 6 years ago. I still don’t feel like I should be here or that I’m supposed to be here. I remember China as a hot, smelly home for a different me, Iowa as a cold, isolated home, and think about Brooklyn as a home where I can be much more in control of myself than I have been in the past.
Please tell us about an astrologer, artist, activist, or project that has influenced you.
Doelow da Pilotman from Flight Astrology. Donna Cunningham. Dane Rudhyar, of course. Marc Edmond Jones is another great astrologer. I’m really inspired by projects like Multientry (Christina Xu), Powrplnt, BUFU, and YLC for leaving the academy behind when entangling possibilities. Mitra Abbaspour. I love the mangaka Kaori Yuki. She appropriated Catholicism to create a great queer franchise.
This might be disturbing but Jesus of Nazareth as a Neptunian symbol and performance artist has affected me a lot. By performing healing, he totally affected politics. Jesus was a poor, black refugee who had his most intimate relationships outside of heteronormative marriage and owned no property and all he did was literally use magic to avoid oppression. Of course, he is the ultimate Piscean image of perfection and, like Roxanne Gay says in Bad Feminist, none of us can ever be perfect but I ask myself all the time, “What would Jesus do?”
What inspires your practice as an artist and astrologer?
Every person I get to meet and reading I get to have.
What I mean by this: I remember talking to a very young person who was lost in a lot of relationships one day and then a much older person who had an important position in a large company the next. They both brought up the same problems around value. This experience made me realize that a lot of the time, things we perceive as our problems don’t belong to us at all. This is just one example of how doing the readings has made me grow. I try to talk much less and listen more now because I’ve realized that the readings are a learning and building exercise for both the client and me. Because of this, I feel that each one is as much a failure as it is a success. Trying to find a way to be there as an astrologer to help people heal themselves is very hard but it is the process of trying to do it that motivates me.
You recently did an event on decolonizing astrology. How do you see your work as an astrologer aligning with creating sanctuary for QTPOCs, especially in the current moment?
A lot of our present day language around healing, because it takes its roots from colonialist, patriarchal analysis is in line with the diagnostic language we use to supervise our experiences. While this language is powerful, it strips trauma of its meaning, supposing that there is a tabula rasa we can all access. It supports whiteness as default in this way. Astrology works the other way. It turns our traumas, whether personal or historical, into symbols. That it how it gets its power. This method ultimately depends on the ecosystem of empathy we reside inside of.
Astrology is kind of a funny system because it is so abstract but makes people regard themselves as authentic. What it does is create room. The room is there so people can take a breath and talk about being a body in the world. Sometimes, we are so squeezed tight in between tight systems of how other people navigate our identities that we need another, even most abstract system, to try to talk to ourselves.
Astrology has the potential to talk about cultural significance in a new way because it’s been forced to be kind of esoteric. It has its roots in cultures of color, has been colonized, and itself has a diasporic identity. Mapping astrology is literally trying to map culture. This is also why I would like to continue working with the collective in the future. Astrology is not about a singular narrative.
Free-association—tell us the first word that comes to mind:
Alice Sparkly Kat is a queer, PoC astrologer. Her lectures and workshops, writing, and other astrological work has appeared at Hauser and Wirth, BHQFU, Dixon Place, Ars Nova, POWRPLNT, and other venues. She is the in house astrologer for Little Skips! coffeeshop, GO Magazine, and Selfish. Alice uses astrology to re-chart a history of the subconscious, redefine the body in world, and reimagine history as collective trauma. She’s friendly, located in Bushwick, and available for readings in person or by phone at www.alicesparklykat.com