In the first of a special four-part series about “mystical” careers, astrologer Leslie Galbraith tells Horoscope.com’s Jesse Sposato about quitting her old life to follow the path of her dreams.
Growing up, Leslie Galbraith had little interest in astrology. After graduating from college with a fine art degree, she worked in the art world for years before becoming somewhat disillusioned with it in 2009. One day, a friend called her to ask if she knew anyone who might want his job assisting an acupuncturist and healer. Leslie volunteered herself.
“I literally hung up the phone, went straight to work, and gave my two weeks notice,” Leslie said. She took a huge pay cut and worked only three days a week, which freed up more time for her to pursue her passion for making art. After receiving a reading as a gift, she started studying astrology, eventually taking classes and becoming an astrologer herself. Now, Leslie works with clients at Maha Rose, a healing and wellness center in Brooklyn. She also teaches workshops and has her own practice where she sees people in person and via Skype.
Horoscope.com: How would you describe astrology to someone who knows very little about it?
Leslie: Astrology is the symbolic language; it’s about what the planets and the stars and the signs represent, and understanding and decoding that pattern of energy. So, I really look at the birth chart as an imprint of our energy—just as we have our parents’ DNA, the patterning of what happens in the sky can be used as a mirror to reflect our energetic patterning.
When I look at a chart, I look at the moment you’re born—the date, the time, the location, what happened at that moment in the sky, and then how it is reflected in your patterning. So, I go much more into psychology. I look at the planets as archetypes, like each planet represents a different part of our psyche. And then the sign is the energetic patterning, the characteristics, the qualities.
Horoscope.com: Like, we have a little bit of everything?
Leslie: Yeah! In a session, I’m looking at people, looking at their chart, talking about their strengths, and talking about where the weaknesses are. And it’s interesting with astrology—I wouldn’t look at someone’s chart and say that they’re male or female; I wouldn’t know what their race, color, or class is. There are no indicators of that really in a chart. But I’m going to be able to tell if you have some serious mother issues that you need to work through, or if you have amazing discipline practices.
Horoscope.com: What does it take to become an astrologer?
Leslie: In the United States, astrology still has the foreign term, “entertainment purposes” [associated with it] so there’s not a certification requirement to have a license. In England, it’s much different—there is. But here, there are a lot of different options, just like for any kind of education. There’s an organization, [the American Federation of Astrologers,] you can go through to get a certification. And then there’s also working with mentors, which is what I did.
Each astrologer has their own way, and it’s such a complex subject, I’ll learn forever and never know [it all], but I really try to make astrology very basic for people to understand because right now people really want to know, “How can I help, what can I do? Everything’s a mess.” And it’s like, “Well, you help by taking responsibility for your life—and being kind and not causing yourself or other people harm.” This is our biggest job right now, and astrology is this amazing self-awareness tool that we can all look [at to help us] understand and help us in some ways get a deeper insight.
Horoscope.com: What does a day in the life of a professional astrologer look like?
Leslie: Between people booking at Maha Rose, and workshops, and then my own bookings, it varies. I have an office in my house, so I’m there doing Skype sessions, but the first thing I do is look at the energy of the day, the aspects; and I’m always checking the news because the news is an indicator of how that energy is playing out in the world. And then there’s the preparation for [people’s] charts. So, there’s a lot of going over dates and checking things. There’s also a lot of emailing! I’m very accessible after I see a client—I’m always encouraging them to tell me what goes on [after a reading]. And then there are parts of the day where I listen to a lot of astrology podcasts.
Horoscope.com: Can you see more than one person in a day?
Leslie: I can see about one to three people a day. I pretty much can’t speak after three because I talk nonstop!
Horoscope.com: What do you do to restore?
Leslie: For me, art and creativity is huge. I do a meditation practice before sessions—a grounding, energetic protection before I do appointments because before I was doing this, I was really having strong reactions to people’s energy. And then I have to go to nature every couple of weeks. If I get a little crazy in New York, I have to escape to L.A. I go to Seattle a lot, too, and then down to Mexico. If I’m really feeling burnt out, I need acupuncture or reiki or massage—that always helps me.
Horoscope.com: Any advice to those who are apprehensive?
Leslie: I think astrology becomes very overwhelming and complex for people, and there’s a lot of mystique around it, but I guess the message is that, everything [in the stars] is beautiful. [Astrology is] a powerful tool for self-awareness.
And it’s not an excuse. The planet doesn’t do anything—it’s just us understanding how we react to the energies that are already present. It’s a beautiful confirmation, but it’s not an excuse. And that’s a big part of my mission, to make things simple, make the language as easy to understand as possible in order to create this understanding where people can then empower themselves.
Above: Leslie Galbraith in her studio.