“Astrology for Black Girls ”is a book for middle school-age readers interested in learning about astrology. Written by local writer Jordannah Elizabeth and illustrated by Chellie Carroll, the book takes readers on a beginner’s journey through the stars with colorful illustrations. Published by Running Press Kids, the planned release of the book is Sept. 13.
Astrology is a discipline with several interpretations and uses. Elizabeth distills astrology into foundational terms and concepts so that young people can feel empowered to begin their own astrological studies. She advises readers to use astrology relationally.
“Knowing other people’s birthdays will help you study and understand your personality traits and how you will relate to others’ personalities according to their signs,” she writes in the book.
The relational aspect of astrology is not often discussed in beginner books. Other books written by astrologers (Elizabeth is not a practicing astrologer), like “You Were Born for This” by Chani Nicholas, are written with adults in mind and usually focus on introspection and self-empowerment. Elizabeth understands that young people don’t have the same needs as adults. The curiosity and excitement of learning a new skill is the pull for young people interested in astrology; rarely are they searching for the meaning of their young lives.
The book gives young people a shared language with other astrologers, breaking down signs, houses and planets. A natal chart, or birth chart, is a snapshot of the astrological sky at the time of birth. Natal charts include every sign of the zodiac, each planet (including Pluto) and some other celestial bodies which are situated within houses. A chart is a full circle and each house in it is like a slice of pizza.
Practicing astrologers use different methods to situate the earth’s sphere within time and space to create these charts. To differentiate between these systems would require a lesson on physics, spheres and looking at a sphere within a 2-D field. Suffice to say, some house systems make each house a different size that could include multiple astrological signs (each sign is 30 degrees).
Elizabeth’s book keeps the process simple by using Whole House systems in which each house is the same size (30 degrees) and contains one astrological sign, giving basic horoscopes for each sun, moon and rising sign. These horoscopes often feel a bit simplistic, but they open the door for readers to interrogate why certain planets are masculine or feminine. For a book written for younger audiences, it gives a detailed explanation of each house.
Most basic astrology resources will momentarily mention houses without describing each in detail; Elizabeth breaks that norm. Elizabeth and Carroll work together to describe each house with its own page, description and illustration. Each house governs a piece of one’s life. For the fourth house, which is focused on family, Carroll illustrates a Black family smiling and embracing. In the description of what a Sun sign means, a Black girl jams to music in her headphones with her hair mimicking the sun rays. Understanding the house system in astrology gives readers a firm grasp on an intricate concept.
For young people, it’s important to let them know changes are the only constant and that life should be enjoyable and fun, Elizabeth believes. Elizabeth extends this ethos to astrology by walking readers through the fun and excitement of learning a new skill. As she continues writing for young people, some hope there will be a move toward more gender-expansive language and illustrations. Elizabeth’s books fills a void in the astrology space, but said “Astrology for Black Girls” can easily translate across genders and ages.