By Edwin Okolo
25 August 2023 |
There has never been a time where we were more invested in becoming our truest selves. It is especially true for women, who are questioning everything they have been taught to believe about the world about their place in it. With MCNSpiritGuide, we hope to create a safe space where women can share their journeys to self…
There has never been a time where we were more invested in becoming our truest selves. It is especially true for women, who are questioning everything they have been taught to believe about the world about their place in it. With MCNSpiritGuide, we hope to create a safe space where women can share their journeys to self actualisation and hopefully help others begin their own journeys.
This is why we are delighted to introduce our first guest on the column, HR business partner and practicing mystic, Lola Faleti. Lola has an effervescent spirit and perpetual lightness about her that is hard to describe, so we go her to talk to us about herself, her work and her worldview. It is quite the read.
Hi Lola, Hello, please introduce yourself?
Hello, I’m Lola! By day, I’m an HR Business Partner, but when I’m not participating in startup life, I am coaching individuals (mostly women) on how to know themselves, love themselves, and be themselves better using a combination of spiritual tools and your standard research-backed coaching tools. I grew up near Baltimore, Maryland, but I spent a few years in Nigeria for High School. I lived in New York City for about 11 years after that, and I am now living in California.
I grew up in a very Yoruba, Christian household, and I love to travel and meet new people. I’ve been interested in the esoteric as early as 3rd grade. I also participated heavily on Tumblr from 2010 – 2017, which helped me form my own opinions about how religious systems have been violently used to oppress. I say all of these things to set the stage for how I came to be as open-minded as I am now. I believe that there is so much “magic” in the Universe, and we should all tap in!
If you were at a mixer or an event and you were asked what belief system or religion you identify with, what would your answer be?
I consider myself to be deeply spiritual, but my spirituality isn’t tied to one particular religion. Take a look around you, at nature, at our solar system, at all the wonderful things that can’t be explained away by science…it’s way too vast and spectacular for one religious system to be above all. I view religion as a tool to help us wrap our heads around that. Each culture has its own way of interpreting the powers that be.
What is your personal philosophy about spirituality/self actualisation?
A person’s spirituality should empower one to live their life in celebration and authenticity, not in fear. A person’s spirituality should show that person just how much power lies within them.
Has there been any spiritual or self actualisation practice that has helped you become a better person?
There have been so many, but my top 3 have been ancestral veneration, meditation, and scripting using the law of assumption. As a Yoruba woman, it’s so important for me to honor those who came before me. Meditation is a hack for calming my nervous system and bringing me back to the present moment. Scripting is a form of journaling that involves writing as though the things you desire have already happened, and the Law of Assumption suggests that whatever you assume to be true will manifest in your reality. I can share many a story of how I’ve manifested different elements of my dream life!
Walk us through your journey to discovering astrology and practicing as an astrologer
I have always been fascinated by astrology. I remember being a young girl looking for the horoscope section in magazines at the hair salon! I didn’t fully grasp the depth and breadth of astrology until 10 years ago. My best friend at the time was tapped in through her, and I began to learn the nuances, and I also got into tarot as well. It was more of a hobby at that time. I’d read articles, textbooks, blog posts, etc. I learned how being a Scorpio was only one miniscule part of my chart (and far from the most interesting!), and how each celestial body has its own influence.
It wasn’t until the pandemic hit in 2020 that I began to use astrology for others. Because I was raised as a Christian, I hesitated to get too deep because it was “witchcraft,” but it’s not. The more I used the tool, the more I realized that for millennia, astrological patterns have shaped the world, whether people want to admit it to themselves or not.
How long have you been practicing?
I’ve been practicing for other people for about 3+ years now, but for myself, it’s been almost a decade! I started with tarot, and then realized that there’s a deep link between tarot and astrology and felt like I had to offer that to clients as well.
Do you read for yourself?
Sometimes! It depends on what I’m looking to get out of the reading. I have a few readers I trust, and if I feel I’m too emotionally close to an issue, I will reach out to one of them for guidance. I’ve never been led astray.
If you had to describe astrology to a total newbie, how would you describe it?
Astrology is a tool that tracks the correlation between the movement of the celestial bodies and earthly events. It is not a religion. It is not a belief system. It is a language that you can use to understand yourself, others, and the world around you. Astrology is not causation.
You are not who you are *because* of your placements, but your placements can help shed light on where you may find ease or challenges in your life. Also, it’s great that you know your sun sign, but your chart is so much more than you being a Leo or a Gemini.
In your bio, you use the term ‘magic’ unironically. I found that fascinating because there is so much misinformation and negative connotations attached to the term as a Nigerian and just generally. What does magic mean to you?
Yes! Magic is real, and it’s not what Nollywood makes it out to be. It’s not demonic or devilish. It’s that which can’t be seen or can’t be explained away. It’s that light that lives inside of you. It’s that je ne sais quoi that surrounds Rihanna when she’s papped in a new outfit. It’s the way Beyoncé can spark a conversation just by stepping out of a vehicle with her laptop in hand. It’s the way I can be at a Zen retreat in Costa Rica, look at the participants, and know their tea without having met them before (true story!). Each and every one of us have that spark within us. It never dies, but it can get buried and manifest in ways that may work against us. This is why I advocate for open-mindedness. The world is full of mystery.
You are a psychic guide who uses tarot and astrology to offer guidance and insight to people who are looking for answers outside orthodox religion. Can you walk us through what a typical session is like?
Absolutely! Sessions usually last 45 minutes to an hour. If a client were to book my Crossroads Consultation, we’d start the session off by setting the stage. I want to know where they’re currently at, and what led them to booking with me. Then, I’d shuffle the cards, with the intention of revealing any limiting beliefs or roadblocks that might be affecting my client.
I love to use a Celtic Cross spread for this type of reading because it’s really good for exposing issues that are lurking beneath the surface. I’d read the cards like a story – each placement of the cards (and each card) has such a rich meaning and can provide deep insight. Sometimes, a topic will come up that the client didn’t intend to touch on, but the cards really love to drag people! The session is rounded out with action items – it’s not enough for me to tell people what could lie ahead for them. If you come to me, it’s because there is a gap between where you are and where you want to be, and my job here is to bridge that gap by giving practical, actionable steps on top of mystical guidance. If a client has any additional questions, I’ll also use the time at the end to answer them.
How do you become a tarot reader or astrologer; do you study them together, do you get a calling to help others, do you study under a professional and get a certification of some sort before you can practice?
It’s funny that you ask that, because it was never my intention to become a mystic. It just happened, and the path to get there became more aggressive the more committed I became to living as my authentic self. I do study them together, the learning is ongoing and lifelong. I read books, I watch videos, I talk to other mystics and spiritualists. I listen to podcasts, and I create and test theories.
There are even books about how tarot and astrology are linked. It definitely is a calling. Tarot is a lot less structured than astrology, because with astrology you can choose to take courses and get certifications. It’s not a credential that makes a practitioner in this field, though. I believe it’s your experience and how you combine these tools with your intuition and other gifts to really have a positive impact on someone else’s life.
Are there any ethical guidelines that govern your work as a spiritual guide?
Absolutely. I never set intentions to do harm to anyone. I do not do readings to “spy” on other people without their consent. I do not allow my clients to become dependent on me, and I also do not fearmonger. I always find a way to guide people back to themselves, especially if their reading is about relationships. These are only a few of my guiding principles.
What is the link between tarot and astrology?
I’ll give an example! Each tarot card has an astrological correlation. A tarot deck consists of 78 cards, split into the Major and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana starts with the Fool (Card 0) and ends with the World (Card 21.) These cards represent the bigger, overarching themes and lessons, while the Minor Arcana represent themes that come up in day to day life. Major Arcana cards are each tied to one astrological sign, element, and modality. For example, Strength (Card 8), is linked to Leo, which is linked to fire, and is of fixed modality.
Knowing this can help me better share information during a reading. The Minor Arcana is split into suits, just like your standard deck of cards. There are Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. Wands are linked to the fire signs, Swords are linked to the air signs, Cups are linked to the water signs, and Pentacles to earth signs. Depending on the nature of a reading, this link can dictate whether you lean more into the energy of that element or those signs, or whether you watch out for that energy.
What would be the ideal outcome for a session for you and the client?
The ideal outcome is clarity and inspiration. I don’t want the same client coming back to me asking about the same issue multiple times. I want them to be inspired by the light that’s inside them (that I help them uncover in the session.)
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work as a tarot reader and astrologer?
Seeing my clients grow. I love when I have a client who comes back to tell me how the reading manifested in their lives. Stories of people getting jobs, growing their businesses, finding their life partners, connecting with loved ones who have passed…inject it! Another thing is feeling validated in my abilities. I’ve done hundreds of readings for individuals and also for the collective. The overwhelming response has led me to believe I’m heading in the right direction.
What is the least rewarding aspect of your work as a tarot reader and astrologer?
As a tarot reader, sometimes I get clients who send me weird energy because I don’t tell them what they want to hear. If that man is not for you, I’m not going to lie! As an astrologer, it’s “Pop Astrology” and having to explain to folks that astrology is more than just your sun sign. For both, it’s being misunderstood or judged. Religious people can be so condescending. It’s not my fault I have a direct line to the Universe, she’s on my team!
Esoteric practices like tarot and astrology have seen a resurgence in the last two decades after decades of repression. Why do you think more people are seeking these alternative sources of psychic guidance?
I think the biggest reason is that the world is becoming smaller and more accepting. With unlimited access to the internet in many places, and travel becoming easier and more accessible, people’s minds are expanding. We are also gaining language that allows us to break free of systems and structures that no longer serve us.
And, of course with apps like The Pattern and CoStar, it’s no longer taboo to dive into the more mystical elements of life. Another thing I’ve been noticing is that spiritual practitioners are in the media as authority figures a lot more often. We’re writing books. We’re speaking to magazines.
We’re going viral on TikTok. We have large followings. That is a huge contributing factor.
As a Nigerian born woman who practices astrology, what has the general reception been like with your Nigerian friends and family?
My generation is more accepting. My brothers, my cousins, they’re curious and I’ve read for them. My Nigerian friends are extremely supportive! I answer their questions. I educate them, and through them, I have received many clients.
Word of mouth is powerful! My parents and their generation are another story. I’ve read my mom’s birth chart for her before and she loved it, but prior to that, I remember her telling me, “Ma lo se psychic o!” Look at me now!
I don’t think my parents or my uncles and aunts know just how deep my practice goes, but if you’re reading this, I love you and I hope it brings you joy that I have found a calling that allows me to help people meet the highest versions of themselves and live in their truth. You may be disappointed, but I am secure in who I am and the gifts I have been blessed with.
Many people have strong feelings towards people who practice astrology as their occupation and feel that they are somehow grifting their clients by asking them to pay for consultations. Do you think that assumption has any merit?
People deserve to be paid for their labor, regardless of how that labor is done. I spent almost 4 years at a large consulting firm. Do you know how much consultants get paid for making decks and using data to make recommendations for their clients?
A mystical consultation usually consists of a practitioner essentially doing the same thing. Let’s be guided. Esoteric work is also extremely energetically taxing. I remember getting on Clubhouse back in my early days reading for people, and sometimes, I’d do 50 quick readings back to back for free (sometimes people would tip.) The way I would knock out after those sessions should be studied. Everyone deserves to be paid for their labor, whether it’s a 9-5, creating art, or interpreting energy,
Most orthodox religions preach against the kind of work that you do. Have you had any situations where you have to deal with opposition to your work as a spiritual guide?
Let me spill something really quickly. Most of my clients identify with an Abrahamic religion, and usually, it’s Christianity. The same people that love to talk slick on Twitter or Instagram are often in my DMs asking me questions about my practice. I love it because I’m like “YES! Let me help you help yourself.” I rarely receive opposition, whether online or in person, but it has happened sometimes.
How do you deal with this kind of push back?
I educate if I can, but I also acknowledge that when (religious) people are presented with information that conflicts with their indoctrination, it can be a trigger for them. When people are triggered, their ability to think critically is impaired. I will not engage in bad faith conversations, or conversations where people have closed off the part of their brain that allows for curiosity and the intake of new information.
How has technology helped your practice as an astrologer?
I have access to such a wide variety of information, and how that information manifests. If I read something in a textbook, chances are I can search it on reddit, twitter, or even google and I’ll be able to read personal anecdotes of how that topic translates to real life. It has also helped me gain clients. I started out with people I knew, and they referred people they knew.
Now I have people booking with me who found me on Twitter, through a Google search, or on Instagram. I love it! It’s funny because there’s an astrologer I trust, and when I asked her about my financial future, she told me that I would likely make a ton of money through the internet because of certain placements I have.
If you had to offer a bit of advice to someone who feels curious about your work but unsure of what to make of it, what would you tell them?
If you’re curious, ask questions. The Universe always sends us what we need, and if you want answers, you need to be brave enough to ask those questions first. I am just one channel through which those answers come forth.
What are your hopes for the future as a spirit guide?
My hope is that as humans, we take the steps to know ourselves and love ourselves better. When we know and love ourselves, we can be ourselves unapologetically and manifest the life of our dreams. I also hope that we develop deeper relationships with nature and do better to take care of the Earth. Everything is connected, and how we treat the Earth reflects how we treat each other.
Curious about Lola’s work, then click here.
Marie Claire Nigeria is under the license of The Guardian Newspapers.