Sensuous Astrology with Bess Matassa of Mojave Rising: Heaven is Most Definitely a Place on Earth

As a passionately poetic little kid, I first discovered the language of astrology in the glossy, full-color pages of DK’s classic Parkers’ volume. These pages detailed not only each zodiac sign’s energetic and psychological components, but where you could find these energies in the material world. I reveled in my sun sign, Aries, and its associations with everything from the pungency of cayenne pepper to the rough and ready streets of Marseilles, France. This intersection between my internal feeling landscape and the luscious world that surrounded me brought me deeper into both terrains. The world became an ongoing astrological treasure hunt, and I found my fiercely innocent fire energy in the scent of diesel fuel, the exuberant sensations of dance pop music and even, in the saturated magenta of Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow lipstick. 

In the wellness world, we’re accustomed to hearing phrases like “everything is everything,” and “as above, so below.” This phraseology has become almost a free-floating signifier, similar to “surrender,” or “let go of what no longer serves you.” We often can barely grasp the specificity of these seeming platitudes in our daily lives. Where do we even begin? In astrology, however, “everything is everything” is a deceptively specific statement that actually references the principles of hermeticism and the deep knowing that the material world is not merely a symbol for what lives inside of us, but is both an extension of and constitutive of these lives. The answers lie exactly where we are: inside our kitchen cabinets and closets, in the weather that swirls outside of our windows, in the architecture and rhythms of our sprawling city.

Think of the feeling on your skin and in your blood before a lightening storm (Uranian, Aquarian energy of rupture, change, and genius breakthroughs). Bite into an explosively juicy summer tomato or tropical fruit (Solar, Leonine energy of playfully being exactly what we are, in all our over-the-top glory). Or deck yourself out in rhinestones or other prismatic surfaces (Mercurial, Gemini energy of curious reflection, and the breathing in and out of information). These experiences are not just symbols of archetypal energies but are the experiential energies themselves. The world is moving with us, alongside of us, inside of us and we, with it. 

When I first started practicing astrology professionally, I had recently completed a doctorate in urban studies. My research was focused on how people emotionally related to urban spaces and how these spaces, in turn, affected our lives. My first astrological offering, somewhat inevitably, was a service called “Street Signs,” where I offered birth chart walking tours of New York landscapes. From the fierce fortitude and world-building of Lower Manhattan’s Capricorn and Aries skyscrapers, to the shifting, regenerating shores of Coney Island in all its Piscean, Scorpionic flair, I led clients through landscapes that both reflected and constituted the terrain that existed within them. Soon, through Mojave Rising, my company with LA-based designer Cara George, this collision between the external and internal extended to astro collaborations with sommeliers, make-up artists, and perfumers to count a few. We celebrated the smell, taste, sound, and touch of everything that we contained. 

Astrology is not a fated, deterministic, “out there” system that governs our lives. In its highest expression, it is a delicious choose-your-own-adventure, a dynamic language that invites us to discover deep magic and majesty in the seemingly mundane, to partner with the tenderness of the world, and to honor all the places that live inside of us in their full-throttle range of expression. It asks nothing more of us than to become more of what we already are, and to sit down at our own tables for a succulent feast with a deep trust in this life, and in every space and creature and object that surrounds us. 

Join Bess on October 21st for the first monthly installment of Sensuous Astrology, where we’ll usher in Scorpio season with Katy Perry, un-pitted olives, metallic palettes, urban spelunking, and more. 

the COMPOUND COWORK