Doomed to Climb with Johanna Hedva *ZOOM class

Doomed to Climb  with Johanna Hedva


Saturday, February 20, 2021 
10 am PST / 1 pm EST / 7 pm CET
(duration: 2 hours)
$35 full price / $20 scholarship
via Zoom

For millennia astrology was one of the most robust languages humans had invented to articulate what was difficult in life. It spoke of malefics, lesser and greater; debilitated planets; cadent houses; the Via Combusta. There was a house “hostile to future activity,” and a house of “bane and toil,” also known as the “temple of ill omen,” where lived the Malus Daemon (evil spirit). There were ways to account for enemies, misery, prison, debt, disease, adversity, sorrow, and death. There was a gate to Hell—two in fact. 
It’s only been very recently that astrology has come to service a neoliberal discourse of self-actualization, where a natal chart is an image of an individual psyche that can achieve its greatest potential through sheer force of will. Before the invention of the psychological self, a natal chart was instead a depiction of the cosmos, with cycles and forces converging on different scales, the individual simply being one part in many. This shift in astrology toward a capitalist subject has evacuated from the craft some of its most powerful and useful elements. Perhaps one of the greatest astrological euphemisms of our time is Chani Nicholas calling what was traditionally the House of Slavery, the House of “Behind-the-Scenes Work.” This workshop will be in direct resistance to astrology like this.

In this two-hour workshop, Johanna Hedva will get into the guts of this repressed part of astrology, to call it back from the shadows with the intent to learn its wisdom. We will discuss the natal signatures that would have been thought to doom the native, the ones that would have caused a 15th-century astrologer to refuse to read the chart at all. We will look at transits that prophesied total ruin, and indeed, brought it. We will look at illness and death transits. The underlying premise of this investigation proposes that to fear what is dark will only perpetuate a fear of darkness. Instead, we’ll ask what can be learned from these elements that can validate, articulate, and, even if it’s just for poetic purposes, be useful. What of these doomed signatures can be included in a life, a self, a purpose, as meaningful, potent, formative? What do they transform, produce, generate? Rather than following a redemptive, curative, or ableist narrative that insists on finding the “good” in the bad, we’ll simply encounter the bad as it is, and seek to know it on its own terms. What happens when we integrate rather than refuse these places of pain, toil, and doom into a knowledge of ourselves and the world?

Johanna Hedva is a Korean-American writer, artist, musician, and astrologer, who was raised in Los Angeles by a family of witches, and now lives in LA and Berlin. Hedva is the author of Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain (2020), a collection of poems, performances, and essays; the novel On Hell (2018); and a series of essays on ableism and illness that includes “Sick Woman Theory.” Their albums are The Sun and the Moon (2019), and the newly released Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House, a doom-metal guitar and voice grief ritual influenced by Korean shamanism. They have been a practicing astrologer since 2014.