Interview with Diego Basdeo | 2020 Many Moons Lunar Planner
The best part of the Many Moons publications is getting to collaborate with one-of-a-kind magic makers. For the July Full Moon of the 2020 Many Moons Lunar Planner, Diego Basdeo gifted us astrological forecasts, musing and more on heartmending. Diego Basdeo is a writer and astrologer in the Bay Area. He believes fiction, memoir, and astrology have provided a space for understanding, transformation, and healing.
Learn more about Diego below:
Hi Diego! Let’s dive right in: you do a LOT. You've got a responsible day job that includes care taking for many vulnerable folks. You've got an astrology consulting business, where you see many clients. AND you are an artist. You’re a writer, and are also working on group projects / art containers with others. What are a few baseline spiritual practices or belief systems that keep you focused and grounded as you do your work in the world?
I believe deeply that everything that has ever been done or will be done is done through relationships. Our connections with other people situate us where we are, reflect who we are, and afford us opportunities to do whatever it is that we've come here to do.
Maybe it's the Bay Area life, but I've been given a lot of opportunities to be in service of things and people I deeply believe in. It can definitely get difficult to stay grounded but because I've been blessed with work that is about investing time and energy in my own communities, I can usually ground myself in the fact that all of the work I'm doing is going into something that is 100% worthwhile and fulfilling. Still, sometimes being passionate about what you do can leave you open to exploitation or burn out. I'm very lucky to have friends and family just as dedicated to doing work in their own communities and we all hold each other accountable to taking care of ourselves. They help hold me down when I'm called to service but also remind me to be obedient to the call of pleasure or rest. I have a spiritual duties to be in ceremony with the people I love a few times a year which often means going into spectacular natural beauty for just long enough that I can leave everything behind and all I can feel is gratitude.
I live in the reality that I am a guest on this land (chochenyo/huichin) and my life and stability in this country are only possible do to the exploitation of Black and indigenous people. Moving through the world with this knowledge helps me see everything as an opportunity to make the small steps in my small world, through work or everyday life, to educate myself or offer reparation for the ways that this system benefits me. This practice reminds me that doing the right thing, when we can, is not very difficult. It's been my experience that avoiding responsibility to my own beliefs is much harder than to obey the call and step up to the plate. Things like Appolition, an app developed by Dr. Kourtney Zeigler where you can help pay the bail for Black prisoners, the Ohlone Land tax, and having a practice of land acknowledgement wherever you get a platform to speak are very simple ways we can contribute according to our means.
Sometimes people feel like seeing their life situated in this way feels like a debt to be paid. I like to remind these folks that debt is a concept that is a part of the colonial dominance that got us here in the first place. Working in the mindset of the systems that are causing these problems is going to make doing the right thing feel awkward, or unsustainable. What if doing this work was a pleasure and a purpose to be fulfilled? It's the idea of immanence, where everything is sacred and the same, and doing things to restore that truth and having the power and means at my disposal to change things, even in small ways, also means that the ways that we are marginalized or systemically shit on is still an agentive place. Regularly working outside of programming of white supremacy helps me imagine a world outside of it, reminds me of my value, and every time I serve my people is one more step towards freedom.
For your July Full Moon Lunar Eclipse contribution to the 2020 Many Moons Lunar Planner, you take us on a time magic heart healing journey. You speak about this moment, and link it back to the roots of chattel slavery, and the rise of cutthroat capitalism, and corporate Christianity by using astrology. Could you speak more about what called you to do this, and how working with astrology in this way can be helpful to our present moment hearts?
There is no other way to put it, the astrology for the next decade is intense—it's going to bring about some deep transformation and change is (at the very least) unsettling. I felt called to write this because I wanted to situate ourselves in a lineage of change. That while this is going to be rapid and challenging, it is not the first time we've encountered this astrology and it won't be the last. I want us to see ourselves, not as victims of our circumstances, but active and agentive parts of it all as a whole.
I don't want to avoid heartache and I don't want to avoid the truth. I want to look at it directly, to feel everything it provokes, and still have room in our lives to imagine something better, to have the capacity and potential feel joy and pleasure no matter what is happening. It can be easy, when witnessing systems crumble and violently scrape for power, to throw our hands up in powerlessness. What I want us to see is that these systems have been impacting communities far long before this acute crisis, and there are people who have strategies, lifestyles, and plans to survive and rebuild, who are just waiting for us to join them.
You've been a contributor to this project for...many Moons! I understand your relationship with the Moon has been intimate for a very long time—that's what first attracted me to working with you as the consulting astrologer on this project. In my experience, doing this work ends up transforming us in interesting ways. I'm wondering if you could share about what having the Moon as your bff has given you?
The Moon is so generous and regenerative! When I first started paying attention to the Moon and witnessing the ways it worked in my life it was nothing short of miraculous. The wisdom and power it brought through my work as an astrologer and in my community totally transformed the ways I was in relationship to my body, to my family, and to my path. Now, so many years later, this magic has become somewhat mundane: it's something that, while still totally miraculous, has become common sense, or a reliable instinct. I'll forget about the cycles for some months and when in reflection - see my decisions and feelings in line with the phases of it all. I love Moon worship as much as the next lunar dude, but I also know that the things we see in it are just a recognition of the things in us.
What are a couple of things that you are excited about? Why?
So many things! My project Home Work is an anthology of home coming, leaving, and returning stories from queer and trans people of color that is wrapping up in the next year. From slavery and plantations to indigenous boarding schools, family dismembering is a colonial tactic for white supremacy to consolidate and hold power.rejection of queer and trans kin is a way all communities touched by imperialism have internalized this method. We believe Black, Brown, and Indigenous queer and trans stories of how they are in relationship to their families hold within them living and breathing strategies to address the colonial violence is being practiced today. We also know that over 50% of generation Z (13-20) identify somewhere outside of cisgender and straight and this issue of family rupture is only going to become more clear. We need these stories, not just for ourselves, but for our decedents.
I also am really excited about continuing the work I do for youth. I work with LGBTQ+ foster youth and I'm working to expand our program to address the needs of the young people we serve. Right now we are working on securing funding to put on intergenerational events so our youth can see and create relationships with queer and trans adults who have lived through the incredibly alienating experience of growing up queer without a supportive family. Right now in 2019 the life expectancy for a trans woman of color is 28 years old. When the young people in our community have trouble planning for their future or making positive and healthy choices for themselves, this is a very real reason why.
Are You A Canadian Moonbeamer? Order your 2020 Many Moons Lunar Planner Here!
International Moonbeamers: order your 2020 Many Moons Lunar Planner Here!