Ripe Podcast: Patterns & Boundaries with Queer Astrologer, Jessica Lanyadoo

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WUSSY is proud to introduce episode three of the Ripe Podcast, hosted and created by Barry Lee. To keep these podcasts as accessible as possible, we will provide you with a transcript of the conversation each week.

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Hey, this is Barry Lee, host and producer of “Ripe Podcast” and I'm breaking the intro format today to say, first of all that we're back after an unexpected hiatus and to also thank you to those so far who have been listening and subscribing and giving me your feedback. I'm incredibly grateful for that. I appreciate all of the support that I've been getting for this podcast so far and I wanted to talk a little bit about where I've been and where this podcast is going as well. So a few months ago, my home basically wasn't my home anymore and it was pretty abrupt and scary. This is a home that I was in for three years and this is a home where I produced a podcast where I held a lot of interviews and it was a very special place to me and to one day just not have access to that anymore is incredibly vulnerable and isolating. I had to halt this show because of that experience. In halting the show, it also really taught me about boundaries with the podcast as well.

It's interesting to me because we all can have passions, we can all have interests and we can love doing something and that doesn't necessarily mean that life doesn't get in the way of those things. When life gets in the way of those things, we have to really recalibrate and there was a part of me that felt guilty for not doing the show for a while, but I also had to give myself some time to reevaluate the structure of the show, who I wanted to interview and the stories that I wanted to share. I started this podcast not really knowing too much about what I was doing. I knew at the end of the day though that I just wanted to share queer stories and I wanted to share queer experiences. What are we doing to preserve queer stories and what are we doing to to share these in different ways besides just social media?

For me, that answer was, and still is, Ripe Podcast. Another aspect of the show was not feeling alone, not feeling alone in my own mental health and depression and anxiety. And so I want to tell you this, you know, it's okay to take a break, take a damn break. The world is going to be there when you return, especially as a creative person. We have so much pressure now to feel like we have to be on the nose and everything. That pressure is just in ourselves. When you really crack that egg open and give yourself the time and grace to reevaluate your life and reevaluate your projects, you can return to it with much more power because this is not a show that I want to half ass. So with that being said, what is the future of Ripe and where do we go from here. “Ripe” is going to start airing in seasons. So there's going to be a couple more episodes left of this first season and then there's going to be a month or two off for me to create new content. And then that way I am not just flying off the seat of my pants every two weeks. Then we'll release another batch. We'll keep going from there. Something I encourage you to do is to take breaks and forgive yourself for taking a break and not to feel guilty about that. Here is the second part of Jessica Lanyadoo's interview that I had with her and if you haven't listened to the first part, please do. Jessica is a fascinating human and I'm just so incredibly grateful for the time that she took to talk to me and also, if you liked this show, please subscribe on iTunes and any other platform and please share this show.

This is how we gain more of an audience and this is how we're going to continue to get great guests. So I encourage you to please share and subscribe and review and all that stuff for the bottom of my heart. Please do that for me. Anyways, here is part two of Jessica Lanyadoo.

“Everything truly intense about a person's nature, like everything intense about our heredity. It comes through family lines or it comes through the culture we were raised in at the time we were raised in. And I think that a simplistic view of astrology is my sun, my identity, my will, but when we get deeper, we can see that you have an desire to idealize people and that runs through your matrilineage and can be traced through every partnership or marriage that came before you. And so when you can see that, you can start to see, ‘Oh wow, so this is more than a behavioral change. There needs to be a spiritual reorientation’ and that refocuses the work different than, I don't want a date a Libra. That's just not going to get you anywhere. It's not going to get you anywhere in life, but being able to understand why you're attracted to certain patterns and how it is related to your ancestry that will get you everywhere you need to go. And that it doesn't matter if they're a Libra or a Capricorn, it really doesn't at the end of the day.

Oftentimes in internet culture, there are jokes about the bad traits of astrological signs in relation to dating them. And sometimes people can simply not date someone based on their astrological sign. So I talked with Jessica about these sorts of mindsets in terms of romantic relationships and astrological signs.

“I just, I have to say this and I'm like, ‘I just want to stop the whole internet and have everybody listen for a minute.’ If you're dating five Libras and they're all a certain way, that shit is on you. That is not because all Libras of the world are a very specific and limited way and they're all conspiring to treat you one way. If you're dating Libras and you're having a particular experience of a Libra that's on your birth chart. And that's the thing that people don't understand. It's dangerous to have just a little bit of knowledge. Talking about sun signs is easy. It's like a low hanging fruit. But the truth is, who you attract into your life, and the way that they treat you is on you. And that's really at the core of my convictions as an astrologer and as a practicing astrologer is that everyone goes through periods of their lives where they're working on different things.  So when somebody is working on, let's say, having healthy boundaries, they're going to date Pisces and Libra. They're going to just attract those kinds of friends into their lives because maybe things are a little fuzzier with those people. Maybe they don't need as fixed boundaries. Whatever, I stereotyped it, but there you go, there I did it. So anyways, the moral of the story is, it's easy to blame others and be like... I mean I once tweeted something about how all Scorpio men are not bad and I got straight up hate mail. People being like, "You're a stupid bitch. You don't know. I will never date a Scorpio man,” and it's just like... that is quit a cross the like hang yourself on. I don't know, it just seems to me like there are millions, maybe billions of each sign.

Are we really going to condemn them all? And do you really believe that your experience of a pink hat is the defining experience of what a pink hat is? You know what I mean? It's really about your perspective. I Love Pink. So for me a pink hat is great, but if you don't like pink then maybe you don't like pink hats. Neither of us are defining the value of a pink hat. We are more talking about our personal preferences and what works for us. I think that this like little bit of knowledge that people have becomes this terrible thing. And we saw this in the 1970s where astrology was also really popular. Less so because there was not this digital decimation of information but it was the same thing. And you know, we look back at the 70s as being the silly astrology time. I worry that the same thing is going to happen here because there's a huge population of people who have a very limited amount of information and they've got megaphones, and again, I'm not mad at it. I want a huge amount of people to be into astrology. But I also want those people to know that there is more than the sun and if you're attracting Libras, that shit is on you.”

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Jessica discussed with me her own relationship with queerness and the boundaries that she creates in her own romantic and platonic relationships in regards to a profession that is rooted in personal self-discovery.

“I am quite lucky in that I'm from Montreal, which is a very, a feminist and queer positive place. When I came out to my mother in the early 90's she was like, "And you think, I didn't know? She was just very whatever about it. Not every member of my family was chill, but I had already decided I was going to be an astrologer. The deal was done, you know what I mean? I wasn't seeking acceptance already. So it was not a big deal to me and I moved to California, to San Francisco, which in the 90's was a Queer Mecca. It was a great place to be a lesbian. And so it was just kind of this very easy transition for me and my life has in the last, maybe since my later thirties has become a lot more mixed and integrated, but before that was pretty much exclusively gay and so my world has been very queer and very gay. And yet my work, of course I work with lots of straight people. So I've had this great kind of experience of being in a highly, I don't know, I wouldn't necessarily say highly politicized. Well maybe it is a highly politicized queer background, I guess. My community is full of artists and activists and helpers and so I feel very, I feel very proud and happy to be queer. I feel very proud and happy to be queer. I also am from refugees and immigrants and so I... and I have this much more very light immigration story myself. I was born in the U.S. And then raised in Canada and then moved back to the U.S. so I have a tiny little experience with my own immigration.

It's not like my father or my grandparents or whatever... Because of that and because of... I'm Jewish and I have kind of a mixed background in my own ethnic kind of identity. And then I was raised around a lot of skinheads. Skinheads were very active when I was growing up. So all of these things kind of inspired me to research immigration, ethnicity, religion, and race and class from the scope of astrology. And it's a big part of my practice. I am very out and very comfortable being out, all of that. While that's all kind of something I've had the opportunity to share, I've had a little bit less opportunity to, in public forums, share this other components to my work. It's something that comes up in my one-on-one consultations all the time.

But all of this is really important to me because for those of us who have melting pot identities, for those of us who are from immigrants or refugees, our experience of being in North America is really unique and also it's part of a collective. I was with somebody for almost eight years and she's still a good friends and she absolutely doesn't like astrology at all. Super not into anything [inaudible 00:13:40] at all. And my partner now who I've been with for, as I said, just over seven years, seven and a half years or whatever. Yeah, he doesn't know what all the signs are, there's 12. You'd think he'd know, but he doesn't. He doesn't know at all, and he is a very spiritual person and we have a lot of spiritual values shared. But that is unique and unusual for me in what I've dated. And perhaps that's in part because I never want to date somebody who's fangirling on my work because then they're not actually getting to know me. I'm a pain in the ass. I don't want to be a disappointment. So it's easier to start with people who aren't like, "Oh, you're like a positive person", because they will be sorely disappointed. I am not.

And over the years when I was in the first years of my practice, sometimes people will be like, ‘Oh, I want to be friends.’ And every time I would figure out a way to transition people into friends. It never worked out. And it's because you can't shift gears so easily. And to be fair, I'm a counselor, right? So there's a special reason for that, But I think that it's important. It's important for me to have some friends who are into astrology and spiritual stuff. But even that, I only started doing in my forties maybe my late thirties. Most of my life, most of my friends were not into any of this kind of stuff. And to be fair, most of my life astrology wasn't very popular.

So, I recently, in late 2018 I believe it was. Yeah. I lectured at the San Francisco Astrological Society and they were all these young people who came. I've been lecturing there for like 15 years. This was the first time there was any young people there, people in their twenties and thirties. Never saw it before and it's just like all of a sudden people are into it, which is awesome, but that's the world changing, not really me changing.”

Illustration by Barry Lee

Illustration by Barry Lee

Astrology can bring us awareness of various things in our lives, but awareness doesn't necessarily solve problems for us. It is ultimately up to us to work with that awareness to help us achieve more. Again, I also just wanted to remind you that it's okay to accept that you don't want to do anything due to depression and anxiety. It's okay to take breaks. Maintaining self-care routines are so important, but what is equally important is to forgive yourself for missing those routines. Forgiveness in regards to mental health is tough, but possible. If you're interested in hearing more from Jessica, you can check out her weekly podcast, Ghost of a Podcast. It's a show that is honest, caring, and thoughtful. Much like Lanyadoo herself. I wanted to, again thank Jessica for being a part of the show. If you're interested in being a guest on Ripe Podcast, you can email me at ripepodcast@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Instagram at Ripe Podcast, and I wanted to thank Wussy Mag for always hosting the text translations of these podcasts so that we can make sure that this show is as accessible as it can possibly be. I hope that you have a great rest of the day and thank you so much for listening.