Letter from the Editor: Postcolonial Astrology

Posted by – May 21, 2021
Categories: General New Release Society & Politics Spirituality & Religion Letter from the Publisher

This month, Mercury—planet of communication, language, curiosity, trickery—moves into its home sign of Gemini. Astrologer Alice Sparkly Kat writes, “This Mercury in Gemini I want you to truly believe that the sustainability of your curiosity is the most important thing in the world. I want you to be curious about your experiences, your memories, your histories, and the lives of others. I want you to heal enough that you are able to feel the dissatisfaction of a blunted answer.”

Alice Sparkly Kat’s Postcolonial Astrology: Reading the Planets through Capital, Power, and Labor is, at its heart, an act of radical curiosity—and by radical I mean to the root, pulling at the threads buried under our collective, perhaps even passive understanding of astrology’s symbolic language: unraveling what these planetary archetypes actually mean to us. When we talk about Mars and conflict, what side of conflict are we thinking of? When we talk about Venus and beauty, whose standards of beauty are we talking about? When we assume these tropes are universal, do we think about what universe we’re in?

I’m not an astrologer, but I do have enough Mercury confidence in my chart to talk as though I am in this newsletter, or at least to encourage all of us to take Alice Sparkly Kat’s advice: don’t just accept generic answers, universalizing shrugs. Let’s dig in and get our hands dirty. Let’s be the frustrating kid who keeps asking, why? 

The project of this book is not to tear things down, or to tell us how to do astrology better. It’s not a prescription; it illuminates a process. History and memory are processes, too—formless things we reshape every time we reencounter them, rather than fixed points to visit and study. This Mercury in Gemini, let’s get curious about process. Who’s pulling the strings? What do they want to happen? What do you want to happen?

—Gillian Hamel, acquisitions editor at North Atlantic Books

About the Author

North Atlantic Books (NAB) is an independent nonprofit publisher committed to a bold exploration of the relationships between mind, body, spirit, culture, and nature. Founded in Vermont in 1974 and operating in Berkeley since 1977, NAB has been at the forefront of publishing a diverse range of original books in bodywork and somatics, ecology and sustainability, health and healing, Indigenous cultures and anthropology, psychology and personal growth, social justice and engaged activism, and spirituality and liminality. NAB’s Blue Snake Books imprint is one of the largest sources of internal and historical martial-arts books in the world.