Using Astrology to Strengthen the Fight for Disability Rights
Astrology is a powerful tool in understanding our lives both as individuals and the constellations of laws that interconnect us. Armed with the vital stats used to read any event’s astrological chart — date, exact time, and location — astrologers can unpack the inherent strengths and weaknesses of any piece of legislation. Reading a law’s chart offers insight into where our collective energy can be harnessed to work with the best of it, and to identify what needs more work — it even provides insight into the timing of events, and how to make the most of them.
When used in this way, astrology can be a powerful tool for activists and organizers. It’s one astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo was thrilled to use to explore an issue close to her heart, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. This civil rights law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace, school, public transportation, and basically all other spaces open to the general public. It was a landmark piece of legislation that became law on July 26, 1990.
Vilissa Thompson, disability rights consultant and founder/CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, joined Jessica on Ghost of a Podcast to discuss the ADA through the lens of astrology. It was an illuminating conversation, with Vilissa sharing where ADA has helped and where it falls short. This post highlights the insights astrology offers us about the ADA, ideally as fuel for disability rights activists considering how to ensure these civil rights continue to evolve.
The North Node of the ADA chart, or the soul of the chart, is in the fifth house in Aquarius.
Historically, sterilization of disabled people without their consent or even their knowledge was common practice. While the ADA didn’t actually legislate an end to that, the chart suggests a shifting of societal values around disabled people and their sexual agency, which is an important part of body autonomy, and self-governance.
The transits to this chart indicate that there will be more awareness of this topic — the social shift that has been illuminated by The Me Too movement and a greater awareness of civil rights issues in general. The more the populace becomes aware of the oppressive practices of the government, the greater the potential for social outcry. When there’s greater social outcry, there’s pressure on politicians to make shit change.
Looking ahead, in 2021, Uranus will square the North Node and also conjoin Mars in the eighth house of this chart. Because of this, there’s the potential that over the course of 2021 and into 2022, amendments to this law will explicitly advocate for body autonomy and sexual agency within the ADA, making them a more explicit civil rights issue.
There’s a Capricorn Stellium in this chart; We have Uranus, Neptune and Saturn all in the fourth house.
This indicates a couple of things, one of them being that so many people living with disabilities are at home without access to public transit. This leads to an out of sight, out of mind attitude around disability rights. Because these issues aren’t in people’s faces all the time, they aren’t central to civil rights organizing.
Another part of this chart holds a Jupiter, Saturn opposition.
When you see a Jupiter, Saturn opposition or you see a Jupiter, Saturn square, it tells us there isn’t enough money — that the budget is theoretical. We have some great ideas here, but where’s the money coming from to enforce them? It’s reiterated in this chart with a Mars, Pluto opposition in the eighth and second houses — the houses where we tend to see our money. From this chart, it looks like money gets earmarked for the ADA, and then it gets taken away. It’s a constant reshuffling across the board when it comes to implementing the ADA.
Vilissa says public transportation is a prime example of this tension. “There’ve been countless legal actions taking place against the [New York City] transit system to upgrade to ADA. It is really astounding that 30 years later, a system like New York’s isn’t up to code.” She adds that this is an example of the gap between ADA enforcement and government agencies who fight against the upgrades or have to be sued into taking action.
In astrology, Mars indicates land transportation. Having Mars opposite Pluto in this chart — it’s also squared by the sun — indicates the failure of the ADA to create an ironclad law around the need for accessible transportation.
One really positive aspect of the ADA chart: Pluto is forming a trine to the Ascendant. The sun and the Ascendants are both identity points, so this means a focus on the identity of the ADA.
Here we are at the 30-year anniversary of the ADA, and astrologically, it’s a moment that can be leveraged, because the identity of the ADA is coming to the fore. This looks like a really impactful stretch of time lasting two years. When it’s over, Pluto will form a trine to the moon of the ADA. We’ve entered into a period where more care and attention are likely to be paid to the ADA itself. Of course, this is coinciding with COVID-19, where we’re also seeing people distort the meaning of the ADA for their own gain around issues like refusing to wear masks.
Vilissa adds that as we enter a new, uncertain academic year, the ADA’s impact on ensuring disabled students access to education has also become a big issue. “We’re going to see how the ADA will be used to either uplift our disabled students or not, as well as who gets to be uplifted and protected if they don’t adjust well to this new ‘normal’ of schooling,” she says.
The chart shows Jupiter, the planet that governs education, in the eleventh house of community.
The ADA has had a lot of success in making education more accessible. But astrologically, Pluto is unfortunately forming an opposition to Jupiter, which can make things a lot worse within the education system. At the same time, we have the potential to have more eyes on this problem, meaning we also could really transform this movement. The Pluto opposition to Jupiter offers really strong potential for things getting worse, but also for things to get better.
The Pluto opposition to Jupiter and the Uranus transits all indicate a potential to see greater organization now. This could be in part because a lot of students are learning online, making it easier for disabled people to find each other and to band together.
At the end of 2019, there was a Saturn return, which was the opening of a new 29-and-a-half year cycle of the ADA.
The three years following the Saturn return are a particularly fertile time to be thinking legislatively and culturally about disability rights, and to be having public conversations about the reach, impact, and very structure of the ADA. This is really exciting.
In 2021, the ADA’s Midheaven is going to go through a square by Neptune for about two years. Neptune governs media and the power of visual storytelling such as TV and movies. The hope is that we’ll see media becoming more accessible for disabled people while also giving them more opportunities for telling their own damn stories and being at the table for the kinds of stories that get told.
For more information on Vilissa Thompson and the self-advocacy + empowerment movement for people with disabilities, visit Ramp Your Voice or become a patron of Villisa over at Patreon.
Astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo is the author of Astrology For Real Relationships, and host of the popular twice weekly Astrology + Advice show, Ghost of a Podcast. She has lectured extensively and has over 20 years consulting experience. For Lanyadoo, no topic is taboo or unworthy of kindness.