The Practical Praxis of Intersectional Astrology
and the Intersectionality of Astrology, too
Intersectionality + Astrology = ???
Astrology is the art and science of interpreting the correlations and correspondences between the movements of the celestial sphere and life here on Earth.
Intersectionality is an analytical framework that interrogates the impact of systems of power, systemic oppression, and systematized inequality and the political implications for people.
A Brief History of Intersectionality
Intersectionality is a term coined in the seminal paper "Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics," published by pioneering academic and legal professor Kimberlé W. Crenshaw in the the University of Chicago's Legal Forum (1989).
She's a leading scholar whose work on Black feminist legal theory, civil rights, race, racism and the law is critical and groundbreaking. You can click the title above to read her paper if you'd like to learn about the legal origins of Intersectionality.
And/or, you can watch her TED talk, The Urgency of Intersectionality to learn about where she's lead and continues to lead this vitally important work today.
[Please note: the inclusion of this video is not an indication of Prof. Crenshaw's endorses, affiliation, or awareness of Bear's work on Intersectional Astrology.]
The Intersectionality of Astrology vs. Intersectional Astrology
Intimately interconnected, decidedly distinct.
If you ask Bear, the Intersectionality of Astrology and Intersectional Astrology are two different things. The distinctions are important.
The first is something we create
Intersectionality of Astrology
The Intersectionality of Astrology speaks to the ways that the tradition and techniques of astrology by their very form and function interrogate the role of power systems and systemic structures.
The Intersectionality of Astrology recognizes the historical significance of Astrology in the creation, expansion, and maintenance of state, empires, and civilizations. It also recognizes the contributions to the cosmological and cultural inheritances, as well as the mathematical, scientific and spiritual technologies developed over the course of the last 2,500+ years oh human history.
The Intersectionality of Astrology is theoretical framework for approaching the practice and study of the Queen of Sciences – Astrology.
Intersectional Astrology is a practice.
Intersectional Astrology is the astrology practiced by practitioners who understand the systemic nature of oppression, disenfranchisement, and disempowerment. Astrologers who understand the theoretical rationale underpinning traditional doctrines like essential dignity – and, who take the time to distinguish between the inherently un/favorable or de/constructive expressions of a placement or transit vs. the way an individual's embodiment of that expression be interpreted, politicized, and perceived by the othering and marginalizing gaze of dominant / "normative" society.
Intersectional Astrology reads "the Lot of Women's licentiousness" in the source material and, recalling the way that women's sexuality has been repressed, demonized, and vilified for millennia, thinks:
"ah, that must be the lot of women enjoying sexual pleasure!"
Intersectional Astrology looks beyond the formulas provided in modern "interpretation cookbooks" and tomes of ancient astrological instruction alike, understanding that as the product of empire building, conquering, and conquest, Astrology must be read with postcolonial eyes in order to decolonize its use in the present.
A Practice of Praxis
Praxis is the way we do thing.
Practice is the deliberate acquisition of a skill.
To be in a practice of praxis is to intentionally enact the principle or purpose of the thing we're doing in the very way we going about doing it.
Bear demonstrated this with the way he opened his 2020 NORWAC talk: quoting Audre Lorde, and the particular words of hers that were passed down to him orally by the mentors and elders in his activist community. He illustrated what it looks like to #citeblackwomen, impressing upon his audience that the creator of the term and academic discpline of intersectionality is a Black woman. That the origin of the work of intersectionality is Black feminism.
The practice of praxis requires the cultivation of awareness. And a habit of reminding ourselves of the fact that we are still learning. It leads with the assumption that we may never get to a place beyond the need to be receptive to learning.
The practice of praxis seeks to do, rather than explain. To show, rather than tell. It endeavors to put into action the discipline of our convictions in a fashion that reifies the conditions necessary to exemplify them, and in a manner that facilitates the growth of our skillfulness in that domain.
To be in a practice of the praxis of Intersectional Astrology is to utilize Astrology in a way that exemplifies the purpose and mission of intersectional analysis:
to guide anti-racist and anti-oppression actions and activism.
That could look like combating capitalism and classism through attention to financial accessibility. Or, dedicating time to researching and experimenting with interpretive rules concerning gender, sex, sexuality, and family in order to provide more inclusive services and guidance for folks whose relationship to those sphere is too different and too queer to fit inside the narrow cis/hetero-normativy box.
Bear's on a Mission!
Introducing Intersectional Astrology to the World
While the inspiration for this work goes back nearly two decades, Bear's been been cultivating his Intersectional Astrology work since 2018.
From his very first video (shot on a camera purchased with part of the business grant Bear was awarded as OPA's 2018 Most Promising Astrologer)
To his 2020 breakout conference lecture, a talk called: The Intersectionality of Astrology which he presented at NORWAC.
You can listen to Bear's conversation on The Astrology Podcast with one of his teachers, Chris Brennan. Or you can watch their conversation below.
Since 2020, Bear has been continuing his work on Intersectional Astrology through formal astrological study. He's also been privileged to teach his work to each of the graduating classes of astrologers from the Portland School of Astrology.
He's currently researching the way ancient astrologers from the Hellenistic period through the Renaissance exhibited their own understanding of power, privilege, and politics as described by Astrology.
He hopes, with the support of passionate people like you, to examine the other side of the ancient intersectional coin: the use of magic as a mystical and mundane means of redressing repression, oppression, and inequality.
Update December 2022:
Updating and expanding his work on The Intersectionality of Astrology, and introducing new work on the Practical Praxis of Intersectional Astrology is one of Bear's primary goals for 2023 (along with the book).
Look out for articles on the intersectionality of the planets, signs, and houses.
Check this page periodically for new posts, articles and resources on dismantling systems of oppression with Astrology.
Do you want to collaborate in bringing Intersectional Astrology to the world?
Here's how you can support this work and get involved:
- share this page with your astro-peers, family, and friends!
- sign up for Bear's newsletter so you can find out first when early registration opens for the Practical Praxis of Intersectional Astrology live class series!
- register to become a member of this website so that you can comment on pages and posts so that you carry on this critical conversation with other embodied and grounded change-makers just like you!
- consider a premium subscription (or pledge your support through Patreon) to support Bear's research and public speaking
- or you can make a one-time donation to buy Bear a cup of coffee or a book with a button that will appear down below soon