Astrologists Prepare for Incoming 2024 Solar Eclipse

The solar eclipse on April 8 will bring an end to the U.S., seeing increased profits in the travel and hospitality industries, and a potential boom across the path of totality from Texas to Maine. But growing interest in the astronomical phenomenon is also bringing greater attention, and business, to a separate subset of the population: astrologers.

Astrology—which studies how the movement of planets, stars, and other celestial bodies influences people’s lives—differs from astronomy, a field of natural science. Only about 34% of Americans believe in astrology, according to the Associated Press. But there are moments like this upcoming solar eclipse when the two intersect, causing a spike in intrigue about astrology, among even those who are only “peripherally-interested,” to watch online content, download apps, or seek other answers online.

“Eclipses are always a really big deal from the perspective of astrology because they both reveal and obscure,” Jessica Lanyadoo, who has been working as a full-time astrologer since 1999, tells TIME. “During the eclipse season, but also during mercury retrograde—which is coincidentally happening at the same time—these are times when people tend to reach out a lot more because in both of these astrological events we’re reflecting more.”

Lanyadoo, who runs an astrology and advice show called Ghost of a Podcast, says that during eclipse seasons, people are more likely to reach out “in a state of more raw emotion.” Lanyadoo does not see clients for one-on-one consultations outside of her podcast, however, she says that this astronomical phenomenon does motivate more people to listen to her work, or watch a video she posts on her social media.

Chani Nicholas, co-founder of the astrology app Chani and an astrologer for more than 20 years, also says she notices greater engagement across her social media pages, blogs, and newsletter during eclipse season. Because of that, she works to increase her “production of free content on the solar eclipse and offers all-access passes to” premium content for 30 days. “This uptick demonstrates the value our users and readers place on astrology as a tool for navigating their lives,” Nicholas says.

Carol Starr, an astrologer and psychic for the past 35 years, says that she has noticed increased demand for birth chart readings during this eclipse season, particularly from people between the ages of 18 through 35. Part of that is likely due to her popularity on TikTok, as she has amassed more than 480,000 followers on her social media page. Nevertheless, Starr says she’s also noticed astrology has become more mainstream in recent years, and that younger folks have become increasingly dependent on astrologists’ predictions to dictate life decisions. “When I go on live on TikTok, I get about 6,000 people and I can tell by their comments how they feel about astrology,” Starr says. “A big percentage of them say to me all the time, ‘Things are so bad for me. Thank you for telling me that [my sign] is going to have a good life now.’”

The industry as a whole is growing larger—Allied Market Research says the value of the astrology market will reach $22.8 billion by 2031, compared to $12,816.7 million in 2021. But younger American adults are also more likely to say they believe in astrology than older folks, according to a 2021 AP-NORC poll. “We’re living in a tougher landscape,” Starr says after touching on how increased cost-of-living is making younger generations more and more anxious about their futures, causing them to seek answers to assuage their fears.

Starr plans on meeting this month’s increased demand for readings by offering a special reading that will solely focus on how people will be personally affected by the solar eclipse. “I know that within the next five days or so I’m going to get an overload [of appointments],” she says.

Cara Villarreal, an astrologer and tarot reader, says that while she mostly works with returning clientele, she has seen some new clients come in—mostly in Libra and Aries placements, which Villarreal says may be experiencing this solar eclipse more intensely.

“Whenever we’re moving through a heavy astrological period like the eclipse what I try to do is, adjust my calendar to where I don’t get five to 10 readings a day, knowing that there’s going to be growth,” Villarreal says. Besides adjusting how many appointments she can take on per day with existing clientele to make room for new clients, Villarreal says that she plans on recording an episode for her podcast, Cosmic Tia, to share an April overview of the eclipse, and other astrological events.

For many, these sessions and online offerings can bring comfort they have not been able to find elsewhere. “A lot of times when people reach out to astrologers, it’s not their first choice, it’s like their third choice,” says Lanyadoo. “[They’re] like, ‘Oh my god, like how do I cope with life? Maybe an astrologer is going to have an insight that other people aren’t going to have.’”