The Astro Poets on the modern astrology craze, and why Britney Spears is 'a classic Sagittarius'
In other news, Kanye is 'just so Gemini.'
As you may or may not have noticed, astrology is everywhere. Not just in the night sky, or in the back of fashion magazines, or in an app that sends you sassy notifications — it’s everywhere. On your Twitter feed, on jewelry and candles and trinket dishes, in Keke Palmer’s (a Virgo) “sorry to this man” video, the very current cultural obsession with the ancient art of finding human insight in the stars has reached full volume.
Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky — Twitter’s viral Astro Poets, and a Sagittarius and an Aries, respectively — attribute astrology’s newfound re-popularity to the chaotic moment in which we find ourselves. “It’s interesting to see when astrology in American culture has come in and out of vogue,” Dimitrov tells EW. “It was really in vogue in the late ‘60s and the early[-to-]mid ‘70s, and a lot of times of turmoil, I think, when people are not understanding exactly what’s happening, and why things are happening.”
“Astrology is this way to kind of be comforted by a spiritual world that isn’t dependent on any sort of organization or group,” Lasky adds. “I think that that’s really appealing in this time because we need solace, we need comfort, but we may be starting to be nervous and scared — rightfully so — about trusting larger systems, whatever they are.” She pauses. “This is sounding very apocalyptic,” she notes with a laugh. “At the end of the world, we just do astrology!”
So they do: The Astro Poets have expanded their witty, literate brand of cosmic wisdom from Twitter to their first astrology book, Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac. With a chapter about each sign, describing them as a friend, a lover, a public figure, a texter, a style icon, and in other, more impressionistic capacities, there’s enough to make even the most determined skeptics gasp with recognition. Hitting shelves Oct. 29, the book is a perfect Scorpio (like Drake). “Our book is very mysterious in certain ways and pretty seductive in other ways, and also, it really cares,” Dimitrov explains. “Scorpios care very deeply, about everything.”
“Also, both poetry and astrology are very Scorpio arts,” Lasky points out, and the duo’s devotion to the former sets their book apart from other astro-tomes to come out of the contemporary fixation with the zodiac. Both published poets, Dimitrov and Lasky were inspired by poet and astrologer Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs and close each sign’s dedicated chapter with an original poem. “Connecting poetry to a big audience is very important to both of us,” Lasky says. “That’s sort of at the heart of this project,” agrees Dimitrov. “I don’t think we would have done Astro Poets if it was just astrology.”
It isn’t just astrology and poetry either; the book is packed with references to literature and pop culture, and each chapter opens with a celebrity anecdote that illustrates — often quite hilariously — the character of that sign. “Celebrities are like our gods,” says Lasky (whose Courtney Love-as-Cancer entry is one of Dimitrov’s personal favorites). “I love thinking about the way they relate to their charts.”
“In pop culture, it’s almost cliché how everybody sort of lives up to their sign,” adds Dimitrov. “It’s a way for people to understand how that sign functions very publicly. I mean, Madonna is a classic Leo. Britney Spears, the longer she’s in the public eye, [the more] she’s a classic Sagittarius. She’s basically gone rogue. She’s really just not going to let anyone tell her what to do — but the irony is that she started out being sort of groomed to be this perfect pop star. It’s kind of perfect. Britney Spears is one of the last American rebels.”
And while, yes, “Kanye West really is going to act out and be flippant and then the next day he’s going to entirely change his mind and say never mind, or drop an album randomly, [and] that’s so Gemini,” as Dimitrov rightly points out, the Poets’ guide doesn’t stick exclusively to public figures. Alongside tales of Beyoncé (Virgo), Dolly Parton (Capricorn), and Truman Capote (Libra) are personal stories about Dimitrov’s Pisces ex-boyfriends, the Taurus Lasky almost married, the Aquarius friend who made Dimitrov buy pink underwear for good luck — the list goes on.
“I’m a big believer that the personal is like the universal, so it would be so hard to try to write something very generally, without interjecting stories that really apply to us,” Lasky says. “I think that’s a way to connect with a reader also, because when you tell your story, even though it may be very different from theirs, there’s the universal astrological experience, so that helps them relate.”
Of course, the study of astrology is inherently personal, and the Poets know that people love it not only because it can help them remember Amy Winehouse for her beautiful Virgo soul or look at a Picasso through the lens of the artist’s fierce Scorpio energy, but because everyone wants to better understand the people closest to them. “Not to sound corny — this is sort of my biggest pet peeve, I never want to be corny,” says Dimitrov, a Sagittarius to the core. “But I really hope that people read the book and kind of feel inspired to connect with other people.”
Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac is available now.