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How Astrologer Yakari Gabriel Sets Boundaries

Once a year, America acknowledges the egregious pay gap in which Latinas earn just 67 cents for every dollar a non-Latinx white man makes. It’s time we interrogate this fact year-round. The L-Suite examines the diverse ways in which Latinx professionals have built their careers, how they’ve navigated notoriously disruptive roadblocks, and how they’re attempting to dismantle these obstacles for the rest of their communities. This month, we're talking with astrologer Yakari Gabriel about putting herself first.
Before she was reading her clients’ stories through the stars, astrologer Yakari Gabriel was telling stories. As an editor at a daily newspaper in Aruba, she wrote articles that spotlighted the lives of everyday people. While she was drawn to their powerful tales of service and community, she felt dissatisfied with her career. If you look at her birth chart, the reason why is clear. 
“Mercury represents writers. If you look at Mercury in my natal chart, nothing is helping my writing. … I was frustrated because I wanted to make a living out of it and couldn’t,” Gabriel tells Refinery29 Somos. “But then when you look at my Jupiter — Jupiter is the natural significator of teaching, of giving people your wisdom — my Jupiter is doing amazing. My Jupiter is receiving help from Mars. It’s receiving help from Saturn. It’s receiving a kiss from Venus. So the minute I started actively sharing what I know with the world, it’s like all doors opened.” 
In 2019, the Afro-Dominican writer opened the doors of her astrology business, Stari Agency. At that point, she had been studying astrology for two years and slowly building her confidence in her astral knowledge. First, she offered her followers tidbits based on their charts; then she began doing readings on any two houses for $20. Eventually, she felt ready to take on full birth charts. That’s when a positive review changed her life. “Some big account retweeted a client experience I had shared on Twitter, and I went viral,” she says. “There has never been a dry day since. Since [about] June 2020, I’ve been fully booked.”
But more than providing Gabriel with a new source of income year-round, astrology has also helped her learn more about herself.
“I had a very complex upbringing,” she says. “I don’t think my story is that unique, but I also don’t think it’s that common. There was a lot I couldn’t make sense of, a lot of gaps everywhere in my identity, a lot of things you lose to immigration. And astrology really, really helped me put it together again.”
For Gabriel, astrology has been transformative. While it’s rarely an easy decision to leave a stable but unsatisfying job to start a business, she took the leap and is soaring. Still, new challenges have emerged while working for herself, fielding astrological questions 24-7, and being in the public eye. From learning to be assertive with clients to prioritizing self care even when there are earnings losses, Gabriel uses her story to offer advice for Latinas building their own professions.
Be unapologetically you. 
Gabriel doesn’t consider switching from journalism to astrology a big leap — it just took some adjusting. She had built up an audience from her days as an editor, and those readers followed her as she changed career paths, partially because of the way she tapped into her culture.
“Most of my followers are Latina, second-generation Latinas, and [mysticism] is so rooted within our culture,” she says. “A lot of us grew up seeing our moms bañándose con agua de arroz, mopping the house with agua florida, and [watching] Walter Mercado. It’s always been in our face.”
But that’s only part of it. She’s also found success because she refuses to dim her light. As a Black immigrant woman, she’s aware of her social position. When she wrote stories that criticized contemporary political and social issues in Aruba, where she lives and grew up, people questioned her place. She learned then that some may agree with her words, but don’t want the message to come from her. But now, she feels more self-assured and won’t let these negative experiences stop her from talking or claiming space in digital astrology. 
“I think my true identity [shines] through my work,” she adds. “I did have to fight a lot for my own talents, fight a lot for people to not exploit me. I have found that a lot of people [will] like the talent, but they don’t like who it’s attached to.” 
Prioritize your needs. 
While Gabriel’s business requires being present for others, she understands that she has to show up for herself, too. 
“I kind of learned that through my clients because I deal with a lot of women who are in the same social position, where we are the breadwinners of the family. We are the gallinita de oro,” she says. “[Well,] I gotta take supreme care of esa gallina.”
In other words, she understands that rest is necessary in order for her to take care of her family. While she has yet to find the right balance between work and rest, she has set boundaries to help her reach that goal. For one, she no longer works on Sundays. While it wasn’t easy at first, she has also become very transparent with her clients about her capacity. If something unexpected comes up in her life and she is unable to take a call or meet a deadline, she keeps it real with them; typically, they’re very accommodating. With such an intense workload, she also demands something from her clients: Be present. If they are unable to give their full attention to her readings because they’re driving, just waking up, or in the middle of other projects, she will reschedule. 
But this level of assertiveness didn’t come naturally for her. It was learned. “As Latinas, we have these cultural boundaries that we have to overcome constantly that the world doesn’t see,” she says. “[We] come from a culture that prepares you to be sacrificial, [but] you can ask for things in return. I didn’t even know I could speak up for myself until I had to. No one taught me this. You grow up hearing, ‘You have to be cordial… You have to be this. You have to be that.’ You can be assertive. You can ask for things in return. That was really, really a cultural chain that I had to break through in order to be able to give better services.”
Don’t limit yourself.
Gabriel is mostly known as an astrologer nowadays, but it doesn’t mean that’s all she is. Writing is still a part of her identity, and her new career has enriched the way she approaches her art.
“Now I’m an even better writer because now my writing is not stressed out,” she says. “My writing is not for trying to pay bills. My writing can just flow out of whatever it wants to flow.” 
She encourages others to use their skills to fund their other interests and to truly examine what avenues are open to them. For Gabriel, this means she can self-publish her own books, and she doesn’t have to persuade a publisher to take a chance on her. 
“I am doing so good with astrology,” she says. “Sometimes, we hold on too tightly. We could be thriving in other areas and exploring other areas of our lives and our identities if we would just let go of that one thing we keep holding onto all the time.”

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