"The soul has no gender," astrologer Colin Bedell tells Refinery29. "We have to move beyond body and sexual identification if we're going to be integrous with this spiritual system." The creator of the site Queer Cosmos and self-described gay Gemini Twin seeks to destroy the binary that most horoscopes perpetuate — and make it clear that astrology is for everyone.
Bedell mentions that, growing up, he didn't know of any astrological space that offered insight into the compatibility between two men based on their signs. So, the first things to go in his own 'scopes were the assumed pronouns and exclusively heteronormative predictions: "I don’t talk about marriage as the only relationship mountaintop," he says. Next came the signs themselves.
Rather than completely doing away with the idea that the signs have "gendered" qualities (Cancer, for example, is associated with feminine and maternal traits), Bedell challenges the limits placed on the signs' expressions of gender. A sign's "masculinity" is not exhibited in its desire for confrontation or macho posturing — it comes through in the dynamic, adaptable energy it harnesses to move through life, he says. Meanwhile, "femininity" does not translate to being passive-aggressive (as Cancers are often characterized). Instead, a "feminine" sign is one that's particularly giving and protective of its family and home.
"Both are strong," he says. And, as he reminds his readers, anyone can possess those traits, regardless of their gender identity.
"My primary reader is somebody who identifies as queer and is trying to use the universal spiritual themes in astrology to liberate themselves from patriarchy and gender binary norms," Bedell says. However, he's quick to add that astrology should also aim to capture the larger, shared experiences that exists among all people. "I think there is something to be said about allowing heterosexual people to go, 'Oh, holy shit, I didn’t know I had so much in common with these people.' Hell fucking yeah," he says.
Bedell stresses this point: Astrology can speak to both the individual and the collective. We are all subject to the celestial bodies' movements to the same exact extent — Mercury retrograde will throw your life into chaos regardless of your gender, race, or class. Astrology, he explains, "gives everyone a seat at the table. Everyone’s special, and no one’s special."
Viewed this way, astrology is sort of an equalizing force, despite the messages we got from whatever get-the-guy horoscope we grew up reading. "A system like astrology can give you an opportunity to identify your blind spots," Bedell says. Learning that you're talking to someone with the sun in Pisces, the moon in Scorpio, and a Taurus rising — and not just someone who's different from you in some way — can give you a chance to connect what you'd otherwise miss out on. If you're already using astrology to understand yourself better, why not use it for others, too?
"If we do not seek to identify and talk to people who disagree with us, instead of living in these echo chambers, we are in big fucking trouble," Bedell concludes. "Please build a community with [astrology] — not an echo chamber." There's a place for everyone in the cosmos.
Gender and sexual orientation are both highly personal and constantly evolving. So, in honor of Transgender Awareness Week, we're talking about the importance of language and raising the voices of the LGBTQIA community. Welcome to Gender Nation, where gender is defined by the people who live it. Want to learn more? Check out our Gender Nation glossary.