With Millennials (and Gen Z) gravitating toward apps like CoStar and The Pattern to ascribe meaning to the latter half of a decade that feels like it’s spinning off its axis—or just to check to see whether Mercury is still in retrograde—astrology might be one of the defining trends of the 2010s. As such, it’s fitting that the 2020 election’s most accurate forecasting didn’t come from political pundits or polls, but from TikTok’s most prolific astrologer, Maren Altman.
Admittedly, suspecting that Joe Biden would win the presidency and Donald Trump would refuse to leave office is hardly groundbreaking. However, with her eerily accurate interpretations of the timing of world events and readings of Ben Shapiro’s and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s charts, not to mention hilarious astrology hot takes, it’s easy to see how Altman has garnered half a million subscribers. An NYU alumni and graduate student in philosophy, Altman has fostered a love of astrology since she was a toddler.
“As a really young child, my parents gave me newspapers to show me comics and cartoons as a way of learning to read through pictures. I wasn’t interested in the cartoons and I just wanted to read the words, and the horoscope section was right next to the comics,” she says. When Altman began to pursue higher education, she realized her love of history (she cites the “foundational forms of astrology, like ancient Hellenistic, Greek astrology,” as a good starting point for those looking to learn more) supported turning astrology into a full-time career. “When I got to NYU, I transferred from acting into philosophy and that created a basis for me to not just do something that I was passionate about, but have backing for it in a practical manner.”
Touted as “the new age of astrology”, social media has catapulted the zodiac out of our periodicals and into our phones, making it more accessible—and memeable—than ever. Altman also represents a new type of social media figure linked to the overnight success of TikTok, the app that’s arguably had the biggest breakout of 2020. “I found TikTok like a lot of other people who seem to be a bit older than the prime age of, like, 12, on the app during quarantine. Suddenly election season came and I blew up.”
What spurred the choice to start making TikTok videos about politics? Obviously, you didn’t know it would turn into a viral sensation.
I had been looking at political astrology since I was a teenager, just because I didn’t realize that not everyone was political in all aspects of their life. I was the liberal girl in Houston who was outspoken amidst 14-year-old conservatives throughout high school. I was always very outspoken and naturally, with astrology, that turned into looking at politicians and also realizing that I prefer to look at world events more than I do just people’s psychology. As the election season came and I was aware of the beyond unprecedented astrology of 2020 in a way that was eye opening for astrologers decades prior, I began to put the pieces together. I just felt too astonished not to share. I didn’t know if anyone would care, and a lot of people apparently did.
You called the Biden win, you’ve worked out how Trump’s going to cause difficulty when leaving office—what exactly did you see in their charts that led you to those conclusions?
For longer-term conclusions, I look to a technique called zodiacal releasing, which divides the life into chapters and subsections based on planetary calculations. It lets us know what are the life chapters that are objectively happening. On a more day to day level I look at things called transits, which are planetary alignments that overlay on someone’s natal chart and let us know what parts of the natal chart are being activated at certain parts of life. In combining both the longer-term life chapters that I saw for Trump and Biden and combining the experiences that I saw on a day-to-day basis, I could see that, specifically with Senator Harris, she was stepping up; the next decade would be the biggest prominence of her life. I was astonished by that and it was really her long-term timing that convinced me. I saw Biden stepping up to responsibility and it looked more promising than Trump going through the volatile shit show I see him going into, but it was Senator Harris’s beyond impressive astrology that made me pretty confident from the get-go.
You described Trump’s chart as a “shit show”; what do you see in his future?
I’ve actually just been looking into this leading up to 2024 because some people have been wondering about the possibility of running again. He has pretty great health transits—I think he’s going through some type of health issue right now in terms of his lifestyle, which could lead to some type of chronic issues. I think that is something very heavily going on behind the scenes, and I’ve said that since this summer: it looks like his health is not doing too well. But then I see it improving for the next few years and I see leading up to 2024 some type of huge publicity stunt, like I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his own media network or does something reality TV wise again, where he is still very, very focalized, but I don’t necessarily see an emphasis on political runs.
However, in 2025, he does enter a pretty challenging health and career period, and throughout this I see activations of being connected to foreign countries and possibly hidden by them, which I don’t fully understand. I’m interested in foreign policy, but I don’t have specific situations that I know would make sense. I do undoubtedly see ties to foreign countries and foreign leaders. I have heard rumors of him fleeing to the UAE, and that’s why he’s putting in some loyalists that won’t give him that much trouble for it right now. But I see emphasis on publicity stunts and probably being in a foreign country.
I feel like you’ve stressed that astrology isn’t an exact science and that your predictions are your interpretation of certain events in charts.
Astrology is telling us what is to come, but we’re having to interpret what the symbolism that is to come as signifying. So for example, where I saw the downfall of Trump in an institutional sense, some astrologers who buy into QAnon and Great Awakening theories—which there are a fair amount of because people who tend to be into divergent ways of thinking can sometimes span pretty extreme—and they saw what I saw as a liberation of the deep state and pizzagate being uncovered and things like that because it looked so dramatic for Trump. So it was their interpretation in a different way. I saw Senator Harris getting so much responsibility, and some people saw her being struck down, when that’s not at all what I saw because I did see a challenge of responsibility. So it does come down to with astrology being familiarized with the symbolism, but also having a level headed awareness of the world at any moment so that your context makes sense.
It’s interesting you say that astrology also attracts people who have fringe ideas; on that note, what would you say is the biggest misconception of astrology? Because I think people really are drawn to your videos because they’re so technical and precise in a medium that is often thought of as a bit wishy washy.
I think the misunderstanding comes from not understanding correlation and causation being different things. I don’t get this that much from valid people, but I see it in 14 year old conservative boys sometimes trying to leech off of dueting my video on TikTok, and they’ll be like, “the stars aren’t making this happen”. And it’s like, “Yeah, no shit, it’s not causal, it’s a correlation, like how the clock on the wall isn’t making it 3:00 PM, but it’s telling us that it’s 3:00 PM”. So that’s the first thing is, and I think that the straw man argument that obviously the moon is not shooting down a ray to make someone act a certain way, that’s not a valid argument against astrology because astrologers, if they’re well articulated in the study, aren’t going to claim causality.
And then the second misunderstanding is also that it is subject to the Barnum effect of being applicable to everyone, where there’s absolutely no way that a rigorous approach to astrology is going to be only focused on one sign per person or whatnot. The thinking that tabloid astrology is representative of astrology in general is like thinking that a Fisher-Price toy car represents Tesla.
You’ve also predicted a pretty successful decade for Kamala Harris in general. Can you elaborate a bit more on that?
She’s going into a period this December called a peak period for the next 10 years, and that represents an activation of prominence in the natal chart that isn’t necessarily positive or challenging, but is extremely active and busy. Her chart itself is very eminent, so we’re activating prominence in a chart that’s already prominent—I was pretty wowed. And because it’s over the next decade, I said that it would make sense for her to either step in for Biden if his old age calls for that, or to run herself in the next decade. Frankly, it would make a lot of sense for some kind of back-to-back presidency if that did come to be an option.
I wanted to ask about Melania, especially because you’ve said that she has a very difficult chart between 2018 and 2025.
Since I don’t have an exact birth time for Melania, I don’t know the area of life that this is showing up in, but she has the planet Uranus, the planet of rebellion and upheaval and shock, crossing her huge Taurus group of planets in her chart. No matter what area of life this is happening in, this is massive midlife crisis rebellion time. This is the kind of thing where we see people leave a corporate job, move to Bali, or divorce their wife. Because she has so many planets in Taurus that are getting crossed by Uranus right now, it’s overwhelmingly obvious that even if the rumors that we see about divorce or her moving out aren’t the real thing, there is so much going on in the next few years that I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a lot of breaking free. Because I don’t think she signed up for this, frankly. I think this is not what she intended.
You also read particular countries’ charts—you’ve done the United States’ birth chart recently. What particular change is the US going through right now?
The US is experiencing something called a Pluto return, which happens around every 250 years. This is how long it takes for Pluto to make a full orbit around the solar system and therefore return to its place where it was when something started. Pluto returns involve a literal death and rebirth and a new chapter of transformation, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. It also coincides with how empires usually don’t last more than 250 years because the death and rebirth involve a new identity. Particularly, it’s happening in the United States’ chart in a sector around finances very, very heavily, which will become more intense ’22 to ’23. I am expecting a massive breakdown and a reconstruction of the financial system leading into the next few years.
Can you explain why 2020 has, just in general, sucked so much?
The major alignment was the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn that happened in January: Jupiter is the planet of expansion, Saturn is the planet of challenge, and Pluto is the planet of massive atomic scales. We had all three in a sign that’s associated with the darkest, most death-oriented time of year—Capricorn season of December and January. Astrologers had been looking to that for decades thinking that the planets together highlighted a spread of something mortal. Some astrologers thought it would be a pandemic, some that it would be a terrorist attack, and in some ways, it kind of combined to both, because this was more mortal than just a one-off terrorist issue. It was just so abundantly clear that there was something that, especially in the way that it played into the United States chart, was deadly.
It’s funny because there were a few pop-culture astrologers who aren’t technically based, who were saying that 2020 was a year of love and light and making 2020 into some kind of excitement. And the research-based astrologers were like, “Why is there publicity happening on this? This is embarrassing, we’re about to go through something.” That happened in January, and that was obviously when the pandemic took off—that alignment has been going back and forth between exact and then separating and then going exact, coinciding with the exact waves of the virus in April, June, and now, this week. It was an absolute breakdown kind of year. It was not a mixed bag, like most years are.
You’ve also mentioned the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction on December 21st a few times in your videos. What does that mean for 2020 and for 2021?
Jupiter and Saturn are moving into Aquarius; Jupiter is in a poor position in Capricorn. Jupiter, the planet of optimism, is in a sign, Capricorn, that doesn’t really allow for that, so it indicates growth of something that we don’t want. Saturn is the planet of structure and limitations, so when they combine every 20 years it marks a bit of an epoch and an era. But this is the first time in 200 years that they’re marking a new element where they’re moving into air signs. Together, it symbolizes a new 200-year cycle of a more growth-oriented reality that’s still very serious, but it’s beyond a breath of fresh air. I mean, hearing Biden call his campaign Build Back Better was kind of startling to astrologers, because that’s literally what this indicates for the next 200 years.
What advice would you have to people looking to get more into astrology?
Instead of learning facts, learning principles will save people a lot of time, a lot of headaches and a lot of asking questions, because until about 20 years ago, there was a loss of a lot of translations of older texts and there had to be huge projects to retranslate the ancient rationale behind things. So I would tell people to just Google Hellenistic astrology, and even if you’re not interested in nerding out with the ancient texts themselves, reading blogs or listening to podcasts that go over the foundational concepts will save people so much time in understanding why things are the way they are.
What’s your favorite astrological “unpopular opinion”?
My favorite unpopular opinion is that Capricorns are much more threatening than Scorpios, because Scorpios are guaranteed to always have feelings. For Capricorns, there’s an off button—and that’s much more threatening, in my opinion, as a Capricorn rising myself.