Walking the Margins with the Moon
an Interview with Shuly Rose
Welcome to the next installment of Recent Bedroom’s Interview Series! Today we are speaking with Shuly Rose, an astrologer specializing in the nocturnal sect, magic, and the Holy Guardian Angel. Together, we explore what a lunar or nocturnal astrology looks like, how to begin a relationship with spirits, connect with the moon, and bring magic into your everyday life.
What Shuly calls “nocturnal astrology” is astrology for the “common” people. Astrology for the field behind your house and the spirits that live there. Shuly is one of the most spiritual attuned people I know but a lot of the advice she gives about bringing Spirit into your life are so simple. Get into the body. Feel your feet on the ground. Look up at the moon.
May this interview encourage your own nocturnal self.
And reminder that my books for September are open! Limited spaces before I open up for October so book a reading soon ! Much of what Shuly and I are talk about here mirror how I practice astrology. If you wish to know more or have any questions, drop a comment below.
Quick update: I will be away for the first part of next week so there won’t be a Tuesday newsletter. Regular programming resumes Friday :)
Can you introduce yourself?
I like to call myself a nocturnal astrologer. I am a primarily an astrologer, of course, but I'm especially interested in the astrology of the moon, the body and relationships. Those are all the things I think of as being governed by the nocturnal sect. So that's what I'd say my specialty is.
What does being a nocturnal astrologer mean to you to?
I think a big part of it for me is the difference between public life and private life. If you think about it, it really started off with doing astrology for the royalty, right? And so a lot of how we orient towards the sky has these implications that kind of threads through, that are rooted in astrology being used for royalty, for business, or career. And I think those things are all really important and good to study, but there's definitely a pervasive lack of that embodied relational kind of attitude towards the sky. And so that is the way that I differentiate between a nocturnal versus diurnal approach.
I totally understand the Moon as the body, the every day, the mundane and intuitively I understand its connection to the mysteries and to magic, but could you unpack that more?
One of the things that I like to think about with the moon is that she really is the one who defines our experience of astrology. And I think that when you look at ancient astrology, they'll say things like, the moon governs all beginnings, every start is governed by the moon. And I think that's something that has been lost a little bit. And you can even think of it from like, an astronomical standpoint; every single other thing we see in the sky is almost unfathomably, unfathomably far from us, right? The Moon is right there. We've been there, multiple times, you know?
I think that also speaks to the fact that the enchanted place that us magicians are reaching towards is right here. It is just about tapping into what is right here. How do you facilitate that with your clients?
One of the things that I that I always try to bring to my astrology is this focus towards making the mysteries accessible. That's one of the things that I think is also really important about the moon; she governs the common people, you know? Some people might call them simple, but I think that some of the mystery of the moon is the magic that can be brought out of simplicity.
So how do you make it accessible?
I think traditional astrology is a really valuable resource. It's very rich, but also there's a steep learning curve; you have to get used to the way they communicate. And so that's one of the things that, tangibly, I like to do. Part of this is taking ancient resources and making them comprehensible to someone who doesn't have a grounding in that time period or worldview.
Is there a recent lunar text that you've been loving lately, or spending a lot of time with?
One of the things that I have been really digging into lately is the dodecatemoria [or 12th part] of the moon, one of the main uses being using the 12th part of the moon in consultation charts. I think my resource for that is Herman of Corinthia. The 12th part of the moon is known as having this sort of hidden, mystical, obscured, or occulted sort of lens that we can view the moon through. I mean, you can use that for any part of the chart, but I think it's really fun to use it with the moon, it reveals a lot of depth.
You're obviously a lunar person and so focused on the moon, but you also have your moon in detriment. I say that in part, because, I think that we need to look past essential dignity when talking about our relationships to the planets. But how does the detriment play in?
I think that this has been a question that's been on my mind ever since I got into astrology, because really, the moon is what brought me to astrology. There's never been a time where I wasn't looking at the moon. And even from a very young age, before I knew anything about my birth chart, I knew I wanted to know everything about the moon. I’m talking, like, folklore and all the lunar goddesses, but also just the actual rock up there in the sky. So I was really surprised when I first started getting into traditional astrology to see that my moon is in a really bad condition, if we want to say it that way. You know, Valens would have would not have nice things to say, going off the moon in my chart.
How do you reconcile your relationship with the moon with what the text would tell you about your moon?
Part of it is looking a little bit deeper in the text. It's one thing to evaluate essential dignity. I think that that can be really helpful for a lot of thing, but one of the things that I've really been internalizing about essential dignity through conversation with a lot of people is that it describes a place where your natural lot falls in a privileged position. And essential debility represents places where your natural lot falls in a non-privileged position. For me, this actually gives me a lot more perspective on the moon. My journey with my own moon, relating to my own moon, has not always been the easiest. That's part of what gives me this eye towards accessibility with a lot of my work. I can definitely talk to someone who has that beautiful waxing Cancer Moon, but I can also talk to that person who has the debilitated moon that I have, for example. I have Moon in Capricorn conjunct Mars in Capricorn and I've been really surprised to find a ton of my clients have Moon-Mars conjunctions. I seem to really attract the Moon Mars conjunction folks.
Obviously, there's a ton of research and prep you have done for these readings, but I also know you as an extremely intuitive and spiritually connected person. What role does your intuition play in a reading especially when astrology can be so technical and it can easily be easy to move away from the intuitive?
I've been really inspired by the concept of two-eyed seeing. My moon is applying to the conjunction with the Sun, very combust, both in Capricorn. And that's one of the traits that I try to bring to my work: looking both with the left eye and the right eye with that lunar kind of lens and the solar lens. What that looks like is holding the tradition as well as my research and prep in one hand, but then equally, in the other hand, holding my intuition, my spirits that I work with— that kind of thing. How I try to lead all of my astrological work is by holding both of those things with an equally strong grip.
Can you talk about your relationship to magic? I feel like the astrology and magic communities are constantly dancing together but they’re still separate. How have you found a way through that makes sense to you?
One of the reasons I found success in navigating the kind of line between those two communities has to do with approaching it from that lunar perspective first. One of the things that I think that the moon can teach us is how to question linear thinking and hierarchy in our work, and so I think one of the things that I see a lot of other folks getting really bogged down in is that if you take a very traditional approach, the tradition contradicts itself. And if you take a loosey goosey approach you're so out of contact with reality that you get lost up there. Going too hard in either direction is going to make it difficult to have a gaze that can take in all of that.
I started off in what Aidan Wachter calls dirt sorcery, which I always really liked, but encourages working with what you have, doing enough learning that you need to get where you need to go, but not doing too much learning that it gets you trapped. And being willing to try it out. Having that experimental sort of playful, mutable fluid attitude towards all of this has helped me navigate a lot of different camps.
I love that phrase “dirt sorcery”. I love when magic brings me back to the body and that feels like such a great foundation for practice.
I definitely got a little bit of a ping just now being like, I think I need to give some credit to the spirits as well. I think that's part of what having that sort of fluid mutable sort of attitude towards everything done for me; it has made me more open to building relation with spirits. My research has been guided as much by my cool nerdy friends and my personal interest as it has been by the spirits that I work with. At this point, if you are willing to be flexible enough to listen to the homework you're given? You can you can get a lot of a lot of stuff done.
For someone who is just beginning and wants some more lunar magical practice, what would you advise to the novice?
Ritualize your lunar return, that is my biggest bit of advice. A lot of people do different spiritual work on the full and new moons (and that can be really powerful) but I think as anyone who has studied astrology in any depth could tell you, sometimes the Full Moon is not good. Maybe don't set your intentions under that malefic Full Moon on Algol. But that's what I think is so beautiful about the lunar return: the lunar return is personal to you no matter what. So even if you have a bad lunar return, ritualizing it or not isn't going to change the fact that you have a bad lunar return. Sometimes you just have a bad month, but I think that building a relationship to the moon through your lunar returns can be really powerful in working through the ebbs and flows of your life. And if you have a good one, then that's going to help push you further. You can come at it in a very basic sense of just, say your moon is in Aries. Whenever the moon is in Aries, you usually have two or three days to pick from, any old time is fine. You can get really advanced with it, with the moon on the ascendant and her hour, but at its base even just acknowledging the moon during your lunar return by sign is a great place to start.
And so, speaking of the spirits that you work with, if you want to say how you first began getting contact, or even getting to the place of believing that such a thing as possible, because I mean, even for people in this sphere, I feel like there can be something so distant about this sort of context, or it's only for certain sorts of people with certain sorts of abilities.
I mean, first off, I definitely want to affirm that what you're observing. And I'll say that my relationship with the spirits around me started long, long, long before my interest in astrology. And so I think for a lot of folks going straight to the astrological spirits, it can be good, but I do think that there is a level of distance that can make it feel a little bit more difficult. The moon being maybe an exception because she is the closest to us, but even there, the moon is very far away. So I would love to shout out the group of spirits that helped initiate to me to this work. They were the spirits of the Shoal Creek tributary of the Colorado River. And that's always my advice for folks who are really on that journey to relating to spirits is communicate with the spirits who are more like you. We are sublunar beings, right? We exist on this plane underneath the moon on this earth and physical bodies that are governed by the four elements. And there is a huge group of spirits who are very similar to us, they're kind of our siblings in a lot of ways. Some cultures call them jinn or the Fae, but wherever you go, if there's nature (which there is everywhere, even in the city) there's going to be nature spirits floating around. I think that they're easier to relate to, and, this might be my lunar self speaking, I think they’re also a little feral, a little chaotic. But building up a peaceful and respectful relationship with even just the spirits that live around you in your neighborhood, or the spirit of your home, can be a really powerful way to kind of begin that practice. And that's what it looked like for me living near the river or going down to the river, speaking to the river. Yeah, the spirits come.
I love that. Do you have any advice or tips for people who want to initiate with spirits, especially knowing that going into the spirit world can be kind of dicey.
I definitely think the easiest and fastest thing to do is to get a candle, some incense, and some cool water. Depending on where you're at, maybe even some ice cold water if it feels like a pretty warm area. Make a small altar in whatever the central part of your home is. If you live alone, or with a supportive partner or family member or friend, that might be the kitchen as the central heart of the home. But if you live with roommates, then maybe that's just in your bedroom. I think for a lot of folks it can be really powerful to connect with your home that way and feel the nature of the spirit of your home.
And on the other hand, I think that it can be really powerful because we, speaking as an American, we don't as a whole have a very healthy orientation towards the spirits of the land. I think you can see that a lot of different ways and one of the effects of that is that a lot of the land spirits around you are probably really hurt. That's always what I advise to folks, like, don't grab a Grimoire and start summoning spirits out of there. Focus on the spirits who are around you because you need supportive friends, and the spirit of your home can be your first supportive friend very easily. The other thing I often recommend is engaging in some kind of ancestor work. That's definitely a super complicated thing for a lot of folks and depending on your background and relationship to your family that could be a lot to recommend., but if that's something that feels accessible to you, it can be a really great place to start, following the same idea of some cool water, incense, a candle and prayers of appreciation.
And, obviously, all of us on America are on stolen land. But, regardless, by inhabiting this area, we are in some way stewards. And we are some ways inheritors of the land that we're on. And so feeling that kinship, that's so immediate makes more sense. But that's more accessible than digging way back into like, a whole can of worms that is all of the ancestors that came before us.
And depending on your orientation, it's kind of the same thing. A lot of framing of the spirits of the land describes them as the spirits of deceased and deified ancestors. Not everybody thinks that but I think that is a common cultural thread. And if you think about it, most people, when they are done with their body, the carbon that they've been borrowing from the earth is returned to the earth. The spirits of the land and the ancestors are often the same folks. And I definitely think that your point about that the fact that we're all living on stolen land is really important to consider as well there. If your ancestors were colonizers, perhaps the land spirits are gonna want more from you than just lighting a candle to be your ally. That's also one of the things that I often recommend to folks, looking into things like mutual aid as a way of initiating yourself into the pattern of the land spirits. Because, in some ways, our unhoused family members are also our displaced family members. And so that's one of the things that I like to focus on is building a spiritual ecosystem based off right relation with other human beings with the spirits around you as well.
What other ways do you feel like magic has changed your life?
We've talked a lot about kind of the sort of personal, spiritual growth element of magic, but I do think that using magic to improve your life in a material way is a perfectly noble pursuit. People call it sorcery, you know, the magic that helps you get a job or attain more stability in your life. And so that's been a huge part of it for me, too. I think that in some ways, that is what my debilitated Moon means. Magic has been a huge part of me attaining stability because my base starting point was a very, very unstable one, if it's not obvious from that Moon-Mars conjunction. I mean, a lot of the work that I started with the river spirits helped me find a job where I feel safe and I'm not in physical danger every day, things [you have to face] as a trans person coming out young. There's a lot of structural instability that we're forced to deal with. And so Magic's been a huge part of me literally surviving through that experience.
That's so beautiful. I'm interested, if you want to or feel comfortable speaking more about your transition in relationship to magic.
I think gender has been a big part of this whole journey for me. I mean, it's not a mistake that all trans women are witches, for example. Even really basic things like health care access have been facilitated by magic for me. I see gender as kind of a initiatory portal for a lot of us into the mysteries. I think it's very true for trans women in America, but also other third gender people across other cultures. Even for cisgender people, gender can be a portal to experiencing mysteries.
I'm very affirming of all identities but I'm not someone to say that we could never apply gender to magic or to astrology. I think having that sort of “gender blind” approach denies the reality that most people have of gender as a huge part of their experience of how they navigate the world. I think that's something that should be affirmed and can be affirmed through through magic. And that comes back to the body, right? Gender is a very physical thing. Healing your relationship to your embodiment, I think for a lot of people, looks like healing your relationship to your gender. For everybody of any background, we live in a society that is really violent with regard to gender and I'll put it that way: I haven't met a person who didn't need to do some healing of the gender implications of their embodiment, you know what I mean?
Right, like in a different world in a different context, it wouldn't be women, it would be something else, right? Anyone who's vulnerable in some ways, or has been left out of this sort of solar ascent to centrality or whatnot, those who are not represented that much, or seen as the hero of the story.
The Moon governs the margins, you know? That's another one of those places where the Moon and Saturn share this kind of peculiar rulership of time, and part of what it’s about is time as a margin or a divider. The people who are pushed out to the periphery are the people who are ruled by the Moon and Saturn. I think that navigating the ways that hierarchy like racial hierarchy, class hierarchy, gender hierarchy show up in our engagement with our bodies and other people's bodies around us is really important. Bodies are the battleground where all of the thoughts that surround us play out and so often the body is where a lot of the pain and hurt can be held from that battle of ideas that we're all in.
How do you encourage your clients to connect with their body?
I'm letting you in on this the secret juice. My favorite thing to do is to tell people to find some way to introduce moisture, stillness, care, tenderness to the body part ruled by the sign of your natal moon during your lunar return. And so that can look a lot of different ways depending on where you are in your life. Sometimes you have to be a little creative. You're like, okay, Moon in Capricorn. Do I do my knees? But some of them are a little more obvious, like doing a hair mask for your Aries moon, for example.
How are you feeding your moon this weekend? Let me know in the comments below 🌙
Chaotic Witch Aunt @AuntChaoticGenuine question for the witches - why do we manifest on the full moon instead of the new moon? Wouldnt it make more sense to set intentions you want to grow on the new moon so it grows with the lunar cycle?
Until next week,