Sep 12, 2016 3:47PM

Meet IRL Astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo

All I see is signs.

Our resident astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo is one cool chick. A full-time star reader, psychic and medium, Jess uses her good vibes to help other people live their best life. We called her up to chat about astrology before the internet, hating high school and being in touch with the other side. Get educated below.

Name: Jessica Lanyadoo

Nickname: I've never had one that stuck; (but my last name is pronounced Lan-yeah-doe. Just FYI.)

Star sign: My Sun, Moon, and Rising sign are all in the sign of Capricorn. #GoatLife

Where are you from and where are you currently living?
I'm from Montreal, Quebec, and I currently live in Oakland, California.

What were you like when you were in high school?
A humongous nerd with crap self-esteem. That's until I hit the first day of my last year of school; I got so fed up with my terrible HS that I found an alternative school called M.I.N.D to attend, and was registered by the end of the week. It was there that I learned about feminism, accountability, and felt like I met hella freaks and free thinkers that made it feel OK to be my self. Overall it was the worst phase of my life, and one I rarely think about. "It gets better" is a total understatement.

Have you changed since then?

When (and how) did you realise you had an aptitude for intuitive/psychic stuff?
Looking back, I suppose it was always there, but I only really accepted it in the past seven or so years, after countless experiences with clients where I found that I knew things that made no sense to know. I tried to explain it all away, because even though I'm hella woo-woo, I'm also someone who doesn't easily believe in stuff. The more grounded and self-referential I got, the clearer my channel became. I'm still learning about new skills that I have, or new ways to use what I've got.

As a kid I thought that being psychic or "reading minds" would be the sickest thing; now I know it's more complicated than that. I try to only use my perceptions for clients and never act as a psychic peeper. I'm a private person and I respect other people's privacy. It takes constant work and attention, to block out others' energies and issues, but it's really important for my own happiness, and to stay in integrity with my values. Knowledge is power, and that makes it easy to be a dick without realising it, which is something I'm committed to avoiding.

How did you first get into astrology?
I was always into it! When I was a little kid I would tell people about their star signs, and so for my 12th birthday my mother got me a cheesy astrology book (this was in the 80s and way before the internet made astrology super accessible). I studied that thing like it was a bible! When I ended up at an alternative college in my late teens, I got a proper Jungian astrology teacher and found that I excelled in the topic. After two semesters of that, I packed my bags and headed for San Francisco to do what I knew even then was my life's work. I'm happy to say I've never looked back.

What do you find compelling about it?
I like the math of why we are the way we are. The thing that a lot of people don't realise about astrology is that it's a bunch of math; you're following the movement of the planets and looking at their physical relationships to understand why your mom drank too much or why you only date guys who smoke clove cigarettes. There's a broader context to our nature and to our lives, and that's calming for a misanthrope like myself. I believe passionately in free will, but astrology allows me to see the context in which we can use it, and the blind spots and resources that we have to make the best use of our choices. It's rad.

You're also a medium. What does that involve exactly?
Being a medium means that I have the ability to communicate with dead people; I can hear, see, and feel the dead. It's not scary, though — it's more like Ghost with Whoopi Goldberg (when she's not scamming people) than it is like Poltergeist. My job as a medium is not to track the dead down to ask them what they're doing "over there." It's just to talk to them, to try to help them out, or to facilitate a conversation between them and the living. They'll often show me how they felt when they died or how they looked at their happiest times. Talking to dead people is way more mundane than you'd think. Sometimes it's chill, and sometimes it's super deep. It's really just talking to people without bodies though; the best way I can explain it is that I see and listen with my whole self instead of just my eyes and ears.

What is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
That being psychic means knowing all things, all at once. Life isn't a movie with a tidy beginning, middle, and end. It's a "Where's Waldo" choose-your-own-adventure, and there are so many ways it can go. It's like, just because you have a computer with a solid internet connection doesn't mean that you're on all the websites, and have ingested all of the data of what you have seen.

Being psychic is a skill, and like any other skill it has limitations, and it has to be developed and honed. Being a good swimmer doesn't mean you're not a dick (I'm looking at you, Ryan Lochte), and having clear intuition doesn't mean that you listen to it, or interpret it accurately, or use it wisely. IMHO being a venture capitalist is weird; being a psychic who help people live well is lit AF.

What's the coolest part of your job?
For sure it's helping people reach ah-ha moments. I have the weirdest, most intimate connections with people, where I get to know them really deeply and get to be present for their realest pains, fears, and joys. It's imperfect and messy and gorgeous.

Who do you admire?
So many people! Also cats. Mainly cats.

What songs or albums are soundtracking your life right now?
Blonde by Frank Ocean, on repeat. I'm totally obsessed. Also I can't get enough of A-WA and Noname.

If you could only hang out with people of one star sign for the rest of your life, which would it be?
I have an odd habit of dating people with strong Scorpio/Gemini dynamics in their charts. That said, I love my own sign, and if I had to choose only one sign for the rest of my life, it would have to be Capricorn.

Life motto?
Change or be changed.

Photography: Catalina Havlena

Nadia Bailey