decolonize your mind with the astroflotus
Astrology tells the story of YOU. No longer must we lament, "why r u like dis?" to ourselves and others. Check the planets, boi. The answer is right there; you just need the proper interpreter to polish your mirror.
Here I Am!
the story of THE First Lady OF ASTROLOGY
When I think about my own birth chart, the story of my life thus far reflects my cosmic blueprint so profoundly.
My super fab femme Leo Rising persona has been known as mizChartreuse for some time, but in true Gemini fashion I have many names. You can call me Char, Chartreuse, Charlotte, ChiChi, the First Lady of Astrology, or simply the AstroFLOTUS.
My ethnic makeup is of Tumbuka & Bemba heritage, and 90% of my relatives live in Zambia today. I am a royal descendant of the line of Shaka the Zulu king of Southern Africa (hello, Leo Rising monarch).
my home is...in my head
I am the FIRST person in the centuries-old genealogy of my branch of the Shaka Zulu bloodline to be born in North America, in a town called Hancock, Michigan. I believe my entering this world in a drastically different location on the globe contributes to me being such an extreme anomaly in my ancestral lineage.
At the very least, I certainly activated culture clash simply by being American-born to traditional Zambian parents. I can't tell you how many times my parents probably wondered, "why r u like dis?" and still do to this day. But I could ask them: what kind of Africans move from equatorial warmth to the upper peninsula of Michigan?
Either way, again: it's all in my chart.
I have a natal Yod, which is an isosceles triangular planetary aspect pattern also known as the "finger of God" or "finger of fate." The yod points to my Gemini Sun, with Scorpio Pluto and Capricorn Neptune as the base of the triangle.
Yods are often found in the charts of people who incarnate to break the cycles and shine a light on subconscious patterning of their bloodline. We odd Yod-folk activate massive change and illuminate the shadows which those who came before struggled or refused to address.
Big Daddy Saturn and general tembo
A classic yod with only three planets may suffer from the classic crisis in timing and mental discomfort, but thankfully for me, my Sun/Saturn opposition turns my yod into a boomerang. This means Saturn is the focus and release point, and is basically the "answer" to all my challenges.
*insert eyeroll emoji here*
In addition to Saturn anchoring down my Sun, my Moon (emotions), Mars (power) and Neptune (spirit) are in Saturn-ruled Capricorn.
I am so Saturn dominant it's kind of ridiculous, and I'm kind of annoyed that big daddy karma will never leave me alone. Get off my back, Saturn! Stop trynna whip me into shape! Can't you see I want to wander?
My 2-year Saturn return is nearly complete, so even though it basically decimated me, I'll be aight soon.
Capricorn represents authority, structure, and responsibility.
Fittingly, I am the great niece of the late Lieutenant General Christon Tembo, an army commander and Minister of Foreign Affairs who also was the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia (hello, AstroFLOTUS). My maternal grandmother, Dorothy Tembo, was also a career politician and a member of the Zambian Parliament, which is akin to the United States Congress.
To this day, Grandpa Tembo is the ancestor who still influences my life the most. As a child, I remembered the care he took with me and his nurturing spirit; always supporting family and bringing everyone together. When I last traveled home to Zambia, he met me at the airport and whisked me off to the VIP dignitaries lounge while one of his staff members waited in the customs line to stamp my passport.
Tembo is my chosen family surname, and is also my daughter's middle name. Given that this world has been ravaged by the spoils of colonization, I sincerely feel that my work in decolonizing the mind using the language of the stars is but an expansion of General Tembo's legacy.
THE self-discovery Journey
I first learned about my Gemini zodiac sign, astrology, and horoscopes in elementary school, and since then I've been a student of anything related to understanding personality, psychology, and metaphysics. Before I was even the age of eleven, I was writing entire novels on typewriters and declared I was going to be an author and an astronaut when I grew up. Decoding the planetary archetypes as they pertain to the psyche is pretty close!
My mercurial self has led me down many roads, living so many lives and taking on so many identities.
I studied psychology, business administration and marketing, and journalism at Northern Illinois University, Harper College, and Dominican University, respectively.
My work history from age 16 includes adventures in retail sales, grocery store cashiering, and freelance copywriting and instructional design for multi-million dollar companies.
the rock star model Life
My favorite job was probably the several years I spent at the Buffalo Grove Sam Ash Music store, which led to so many friendships and relationships with musical artists. During my years in university, I was a pretty darn good acoustic guitar player and was fully immersed in the local Chicago rock music scene. In fact, pulling all-nighters in the dorms and reading guitar tabs was more of a priority than going to actual class, hence my academic dismissal from the first university I attended.
In my late teens and early 20s, I spent a lot of time in the modeling world, doing high fashion shoots, booking commercial printwork, and being a brand ambassador for live events and a booth babe at trade shows.
I've always had a blog, from the Deadjournal/Livejournal days, to Xanga, to MySpace, and many of my own domains.
And as most writers have, I paid my dues in the hospitality industry, hostessing, bartending and serving in various Chicago sports bars, arenas, and fine dining VIP establishments such as the Lexus Club in the United Center.
What a Gemini butterfly life. I swear, I don't even feel old enough to have the resume I have.
The 11:11 Activation Point
2011 was an activation year of sorts for me. There was so much buzz about 2012 A.D. and the 'end' of the Mayan calendar. I was bored of the incessant partying and shallow conversations and started practicing meditation and studying alchemy, metaphysics, and astrology more in depth. 11:11 was always a sign that gave me pause even in childhood ("make a wish!"), but that year, 1111 began showing up constantly. My 8th house Jupiter Pisces was buzzin' like a mug.
Since I was never deeply connected to my nuclear family, in 2012, I resigned from the last corporate job I ever worked and eloped with a man three decades my senior as we went in search of adventure and freedom in Trinidad and Tobago. I had visited Trinidad for Carnival, and once I touched down on the land, I knew that this was the place where I wanted to start my family and create a new life.
Operative word: "start."
Later in 2012, we began building a house from the ground up with a native Trini friend. I have never felt rooted in any place on earth, so to finally have a house of my own was so exciting.
Because of that perceived upcoming stability, in 2013 I chose to become pregnant. At my first prenatal care visit, the nurse calculated how many weeks pregnant I was and handed me the piece of paper with the information.
I nearly fell off the exam table when I saw that my baby's due date was 11/11.
I never had any ultrasounds to determine the sex of the child, but I knew that no matter what, their name would be Eleven.
Trinidad living was beautifully abundant, but something was still off. We were living in a 7-bedroom Rasta mansion in Point Fortin while building the house. While the place was gorgeous and the people were so much fun, the accompanying misery, violence and bacchanal among the family members and neighbors was irking my soul. I studied Queen Afua's Sacred Woman womb wellness book and would meditate for hours every day trying to remain peaceful and not stress out my unborn baby.
This was all during the Saturn in Scorpio transit. It was a preview to my Saturn Return, but in Sidereal Astrology it was my Saturn return.
Due to unclear contractual agreements and my husband's lassaize-faire approach to protecting our investment and outlining the terms with our business partner, our house-building processed reached a stalemate about a month before I was set to give birth. Our partner certainly took advantage of our naivete, openness, and American privilege, and high-converting U.S. dollar$.
I was devastated and sick about it, but the lesson for me was, "Get your shit together and handle business properly, instead of trusting other people with your life. These hoes ain't loyal."
When I gave birth to my daughter Eleven and had to bring her home to the Rasta house circus ring, I was so pissed off.
For living in such a naturally green country, Trinidadians can be superstitious, closed-minded, and easily spooked by ideas of "obeah," or witchcraft. And I am a witch, but not in the way they were imagining. Some of them even interpreted my use of crystal singing bowls and incense-burning altars as demonic activity. One woman somberly asked me if I was going to sacrifice my child to the Illuminati.
They questioned my choice to hire a natural birthing center with midwives and water birthing tubs. They were perplexed by me carrying my baby in a Zambian chitenge cloth wrap close to my heart, instead of pushing her in a stroller. Then when the family learned I wanted to encapsulate my placenta, I was legit almost burned at the stake in a witch hunt of sorts.
It was out of control, and I was just like, "Damn. Y'all are crazy all by yourselves. Can I just be me? I ain't doin nothin to nobody."
It got so bad, and although I'd been complaining for months about needing to get out of there, it wasn't until I blew up and made serious threats that my husband finally got us our rental home, literally 20 minutes after I unleashed the evil bitch on him. I was like, "huh. I just had to threaten to kill someone and I got my house within the hour?" I didn't understand why he didn't do that in the first place when I asked, directly, about a million times.
The Trinidad house debacle was a classic example of my Chiron in Gemini core wound: people don't hear you when you speak, or they question your decision-making capabilities.
With Chiron being conjunct my Sun (personality) and Mercury (expression), getting people to hear that I say what I mean has been a recurring challenge. "Oh, you want to leave because these people are too wild? Nah, you'll be all right, just ignore them."
"You don't want to do this? Well, we're gonna do it anyway."
"You've made this choice? Oh no, don't do that."
I said what I said, people.
Why r u like dis?
Since I was young, I have always trusted myself, but the doubts, ignorance, and fears of others are often projected on to me. My thing is, even if I make a not-so-good decision, I will always learn from the experience and self-correct. Doing something just because someone else wants me to do it has never worked for me.
Re-read, re-write, redo, undo...
The Trinidad drama set the stage for us to come back to the United States with baby Eleven, which was depressing AF because who wants to bring a golden-skinned, coconut-oil bathing, tropical-born bundle of joy into the thick grey pollution of Chicago? But here we were, back in America with all of $100 in cash to our name. What. I knew I couldn't trust my partner to handle business, and I was too anxious to have an infant and not be able to provide for her, so I had to see what I could figure out.
I hustled and manifested a retail shop in Chicago within four weeks.
So every day I'd be up in the center of Hyde Park running a store with my 6-month-old baby wrapped on my stomach or napping in my Ergo baby carrier on my back. It was a great time and very lucrative, but after a year, once again, our so-called family and business partners decided we were making too much money and essentially ousted us from the space so they could open their own crystal shop and keep the profits.
Again with the redirect.
We moved our business operations to our home. We rented another apartment in the ghetto penthouse building we lived in, rehabbed the hell out of it (which was putting lipstick on a pig), and got back to business. I would have astrology clients over to my office every day. We'd host massive new and full moon meditation gatherings twice a month, book release parties, and so much more. I was writing columns for astrology and numerology websites, and doing the most.
Until I basically collapsed from the pressure.
It was after a particularly intense new moon party in January 2016 where I had read 22 charts in one night. All the guests had left except my small circle of best friends. I was like, "Fuck all this. It is killing me. I'm a new mom, I'm hustling too much just to make money, and all my energy is being expended on supporting my husband's jewelry creations and I'm NOT focusing on my writing. If I do this any longer, I will combust." I fell out on Monique's lap and was just. Done.
Over the following year, I basically rage-quit my life of service to others at the expense of myself. I was putting out so much, but where was my support? It always seemed to evade me, since I was constantly showing up as the overly capable one who could do everything.
I threw caution to the wind, and began doing wtf I wanted to do. I started dating a woman, and stopped running my husband's business. My marriage crumbled, my husband left Eleven and I to go to Colorado, shit got crazy, and I went through my dark night of the soul.
The Aries North Node: Cultivating My Own Identity
In this lifetime as an 11th house Gemini, I've lived many lives and done all of the things, and the above is the abridged version, believe it or not. From collaborations and creative partnerships and serial monogamy and unity consciousness and "recognizing the ONEness in every day life" (the subtitle of my last website, Age of Eleven), I have always preferred partnering, in every sense of the term.
But that is not my prime directive in this lifetime.
The North Node in astrology shows what you must do for your soul's evolution in this incarnation, and it will always be something beyond your comfort zone.
Perhaps my lifetime of going from partner to partner, collaboration to collaboration, and place to place is because I've always clung to the hope of someone else supporting me out of a fear of going it alone.
But I have an Aries North Node in the 10th house. Aries is the sign of independence, identity, trailblazing, and being focused on developing the SELF. The Capricorn-ruled 10th house is the area of your career and public platform.
This means that in this lifetime, I will have to go outside of my Cancer-ruled 4th house Libra South Node comfort zone which desires that connection, the family dynamic, and taking care of others at the expense of myself.
There's good reason why none of my attempts at connection have panned out in the long run, whether it was a business collaboration, relationship, marriage, or community partnership endeavor.
I could be angry at everyone in the past for their betrayal or rejection or abandonment, but when I look at my birth chart, it is SCREAMING at me to focus on my SELF. Everyone I have worked with has been a teacher in some way, propelling me forward to finally figure out that it's all on me.
In order for my soul to truly gain its wings, my expression of self has to be selfish, or as Iyanla Vanzant put it, "self-FULL."
I have to stand on my own, speak my truth, and build what must come of my own power and volition. Not a website split between my blogs and my husband's products, or hoping that a collaboration with another astrologer will catapult my career.
It's got to be me. I've always been capable and honestly usually feel like I'm doing most of the work anyway (6th house Capricorn stellium), so why not just continue to do the work and drop the dead weight of other people with their own agendas?
So this is how this website and my expression as the AstroFLOTUS has come to fruition.
Free Yo Mind and the Rest Will Follow
As I said, astrology decolonizes the mind.
I have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. My Saturn return has sincerely stripped away everything that I am NOT, and here I stand, completely able to see the bigger picture thanks to the framework of astrology.
As an author, entrepreneur, and thought leader, my work is to bring the message of integration: transforming our core wounds into our true strengths.
When life takes us low, we can still go high: the answers are written in the stars.