You Were Born For This Book Review
Happy Space Day, witches and weirdos! It's been a hot minute since I posted a review, so I couldn't think of anything better to talk to you about this Freya's Day than my latest cosmic obsession: You Were Born For This: Astrology for Radical Self Acceptance by Chani Nicholas.
Most people know their Sun sign, but this is only a fraction of the information your natal chart holds. There are actually three main factors known as the "Big Three": your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant/Rising sign. In You Were Born For This, Chani explains what each of these keys are and how you can interpret them, in hopes of helping readers cultivate understanding and self-acceptance.
I started with the audiobook after stumbling across it in my local library’s e-catalog and was absolutely blown away. Chani’s story resonated on multiple levels, her wisdom and interpretations made me feel seen in a way I never had before, and her voice made me feel like I was being held by a supportive friend. Then I realized this was a book with charts, parts to skip, and sections to revisit, and I knew couldn't do without my own physical copy. (Thanks for gifting it, Mom!)
Genre: Astrology; Spiritual Self-Help
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Astrology can be an intimidating subject to tackle with all its angles, degrees, glyphs, sections, and ways of interpreting. Thankfully, Chani makes it easier by focusing on the Big Three rather than the whole chart or subject itself, breaking the information into digestible chunks, organizing it into an interactive experience, and providing charts and questions to reflect on.
Because of this, You Were Born For This could easily be read in a single day. However, due to depth of the content and how emotional the work can get, I felt like I needed a break, especially after the Moon section. (It probably didn’t help that I was reading this book during a Pisces Moon, LOL). Coincidentally, Chani leaves an encouragement at the end of this section to take a break and sit with the information.
After sleeping on it and finishing the book the next day, I was left with a book hangover. I felt drained from all the information, the unpacking, and the emotional experience of it all, yet exhilarated, desperate for more.
Luckily, this is not a one-and-done book. While it's targeted toward helping the reader gain a better understanding of their chart and cultivating self-acceptance, the information is valuable to understanding and accepting others too. There's also the fact that you can read it with various interpretations of your own chart using separate House systems if you want a different perspective!
If you're not familiar with the Houses in astrology, they're basically the slices of the pie when looking at a natal chart. Each rules a different area of life, and there are multiple ways to divide up a chart. But don't worry, Chani explains it all way better than I ever could.
Anyways, most astrologers seem to use the Placidus system, while Chani uses the Whole Sign / Equal House system (though you can select another system when downloading your chart from her website). Naturally, my chart was a bit different when using Whole Signs than what I was used to looking at. I was initially offended to see aspects I identified with shifted into different Houses. Then my Placidus 9th House Sun— which loves learning, especially in realms like this— kicked in, and I fell in love with this new way of unpacking my chart.
In some ways, using the Whole Sign system made reading my chart easier and more illuminating; like discovering a new level or a slightly different hue. For example, my Mars sits one degree behind my Leo Ascendant, which in the Placidus system places it in Leo, but in my 12th House. I always assumed this meant I would have trouble seeing or accessing this energy in my life. Yet with Whole Signs, Mars is suddenly in my 1st House, lending its strengths and weaknesses to my Ascendant and Sun. While not every bit about Mars in the 1st House (or similar alterations) resonated for me, it was still enlightening and validating on a number of levels.
I encourage readers go through the book with Chani’s version of their charts, as well as the version they typically use. This alternate version of my chart held extra layers of validation and insight for me (which I am still unpacking), and I am willing to bet it would for others, too. It’s not necessary, though. If Whole Sign doesn’t make sense to you, or you’re a beginner not wanting to get too deep just yet, use what you know and feel comfortable with. You’ll still get an incredible amount of use and wisdom from this book interpreting your chart the way you’re used to.
Reading through the sections specific to my chart felt like someone had removed a fuzzy layer, allowing me to see myself more clearly. Learning about my Sun confirmed so much about who I am, what I like, and career paths that have interested me over the course of my life— writing, teaching, working with other cultures and the occult...
Gaining insight to my Ascendant, and how it doubles the emphasis on my Sun, felt like extra validation, telling me I am definitely NOT weird or wrong for being me.
Astrology reminds us that we are exactly as we are supposed to be for good reason. On purpose and with a purpose that we must live out if we want to feel any kind of fulfillment.
Furthermore, Chani’s words on Leo Rising helped me connect more deeply with it—to appreciate it rather than be annoyed and ashamed for being the stereotypical "dramatic / attention-seeking” sign.
Then as I read about the aspects of my loved ones, I felt as if Chani were helping me see them for the first time, too. I shared some of the information with one of my sisters, who said she resonated with Chani’s interpretations of her chart. This helps me feel I understand her more deeply, and that our bond is strengthened because of it. How beautiful is that?
I cannot praise You Were Born For This enough. Not only is it highly educational, but it helps readers to feel seen by others as well as themselves. There are many bits of wisdom throughout that felt like beautiful gut punches, and the reflection questions are cathartic and enlightening. I can honestly say this book has the potential to be life-altering if readers put the information to use, as it can change the way we view ourselves, those around us, and our crazy fantastic journey called Life.
"When we make the link between the aspects in our charts and our experiences in life, both positive and negative, we can cultivate compassion for our struggle and learn to disrupt the more self-sabotaging beliefs or behaviors that we have acquired. This is where the rubber of astrology meets the road of self-actualization and radical self-acceptance."
I highly recommend You Were Born For This to anyone interested in astrology (beginners or otherwise) and/or subjects like self-help, self-improvement, self-healing, psychology, or spirituality. It is an enlightening, inspiring guide that's worth going back to again and again. I know I will be.