Algorithms ruin astrology, stick to tarot for spiritually

Tales of suns and moons determining how you love, hate and live sound like something that comes from fairytales and myths. But it seems nowadays you can’t enter a room without hearing the question, 

“What’s your sign?” 

Astrology is a system of beliefs that the positions of the sun, moon and planets at the time of someone’s birth has a direct influence on their character.

Although I was raised in a Catholic household, we never went to church or did anything religious or spiritual. Because of that, I find myself disinterested in the topics.

I’m a Virgo. According to astrology this means I’m methodical, tender and hardworking. No one wants to say the readings are false, no one wants to say they’re lazy instead of hardworking, to say they are disorganized or chaotic instead of methodical. The natal chart that Co-Star, an app that produces personalized astrological readings, felt like it was almost a one-size-fits-all explanation. 

 I decided to take another spiritual approach and had my tarot cards read by Alisson Sanchez Mena, a former SF State student, who developed a passion for tarot while searching for a spiritual awakening when she was in search for guidance.

“I always felt the most grounded when I was meditating or doing something spiritual,” said Sanchez. “At first I started seeing numbers, I guess synchronicities.”

Synchronicities are meaningful coincidences such as double or triple numbers, almost like the universe is trying to communicate with you. Sanchez also explained that it is believed that numbers are the easiest way to communicate in this realm. 

Sanchez found that tarot was a way to get a clearer message and a better understanding of these synchronicities she was experiencing. It’s very clear to a reader when certain cards keep coming up, or some cards fall out of the deck.

The reading started by purifying the room and ourselves with sage, then we used a Tibetan singing bowl to clear the energy field through sound. Sanchez used a clear quartz to cleanse her energy from the tarot cards.  

Spirituality such as astrology and tarot are meant for people to tune more into themselves. It doesn’t have to be something like tarot or meditating; it can be just hanging with your friends and being part of a community said Sanchez. 

“Being tuned into love, that’s all it is and feeling safe and grounded. That’s spirituality,” said Sanchez. 

I was directed to draw three cards, each associated with a number. The first card I pulled was the seven wands, a card associated with the air element. The second card, the seven of pentacles, a card associated with fire. The last card was the chariot, another card associated with the number seven. 

Sanchez read the meaning of each card intuitively and its definition from “The Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook” by Kim Krans. 

 The chances that I pulled all sevens, the number associated with luck and spirituality, baffled me.  

“There are people out there that are just looking for money and to scam…but if something really connects with you, and you feel it inside of you, and you say like this makes sense. Like this is for me, like why second guess it?” said Sanchez. 

  Ysabelle Deleon works at her grandmother’s store Botanica Yoruba, a storefront for spiritual products used in Santería, an Afro-Cuban religion. Although Deleon does not practice the religion herself due to the large amount of dedication it requires, she has been surrounded by the religion since the age of seven and has worked at Botanica Yoruba for six years. 

“Santería is a religion that is like no other,” said Deleon. “There’s candles for school, there’s candles for open doors, there’s candles for everything.” Like many spiritual practices, including tarot, Santería is fully faith based. 

“You can’t come into a store like this, lighting a candle and expecting it to magically work right away,” said Deleon. “You have to have faith in it and light it multiple times.”

Similar to Sanchez tarot practices, Santería practitioners see it as a way to grow and better themselves.

“People come in here because it’s part of their healing…this is how they cope,” said Deleon. 

After experiencing different forms of spiritual practices, astrology readings through an algorithm doesn’t feel spiritual to me. I now understand how more personal and direct practices such as tarot and Santería can help people to feel more spiritually connected with oneself and the universe around them.