Astrologer Chani Nicholas's CHANI App Was Built for Innovative Healing in More Ways Than One

Astrologer and New York Times bestselling author Chani Nicholas is the force behind the innovative CHANI astrology app—though if you take a peek below the surface, you'll discover it's about so much more than astrology.

The app, available in the Apple Store, brings together Chani's areas of expertise in astrology, meditation and mindfulness, guiding its users through the ups and downs of life while also serving a much deeper purpose. 5% of all proceeds are also given directly to Black, Latinx, native/indigenous, queer and/or trans survivors of gender-based violence by FreeFrom, a non-profit founded by Chani's wife and business partner, Sonya Passi.

The app is helping people build their lives in more ways than one, and we got the chance to chat with Chani herself about her history as an astrologer, why her business model is so important and what big astrological event we should be looking for by the end of the year.

Sweety High: How did you first get interested in astrology, and at what point did you decide you wanted to start using it as a tool to help people?

Chani Nicholas: So I first got interested in astrology when I was 12 and I got my first reading. I got a reading with my dad and new stepmom and stepbrother and sister, and the astrologer gave all of us a reading. I was really thrilled and amazed and wowed by the reading, so I started studying astrology at 12.

It wasn't something that I wanted to do as a career, it was something that wanted me to do it as a career. I tried a million different things, and I always refused it, but eventually, it was the only thing that really stuck and worked for me, so I eventually gave in. And as soon as I did, things started to work out.


SH:  You've pretty recently launched your app and found some great success with it. There are a lot of astrology apps out there, so what do you think it is about your app in particular, that people want to incorporate into their daily ritual?

CN: Well, I don't know! All I know is that I've been doing this work and working with people in this way for years. Everything that's on the app is something that I've been engaged with for a long time. I used to teach monthly workshops and sell them online and deliver them via Dropbox, and now it's the same content that I was always giving, it's just that it's in a much more elegant package. Now I can give it to you on your phone or an app that looks cute. I've spent years working with people day in day out doing this model of business, so it was a very organic process for us.

I am an astrologer, and my wife—my business partner—knows astrology really well. We have a team of astrologers that we work with. This app was put together by astrologers who are really dedicated to the craft. We are astrologers first, and we are a tech company second. We were really interested in giving you the life hack that is astrology and your astrology chart. At this point in time, an app is the most seamless way to do that, and when that changes, we'll change, too, because astrology is the main focal point of our business.

Chani astrology app screesnhots

(CHANI via Chani Nicholas Incorporated)


SH: Your app also incorporates meditation and mindfulness. Do you feel like those things are intrinsically linked? 

CN: They don't have to be, that's just who I am. I was a yoga therapist for a long time and meditation was always a part of my work with people. I've been giving people new moon and full moon meditations for years. I think incorporating a little mindfulness into everything we do is really essential, and to me, astrology is a tool for healing. I think meditation can be also really healing, so they naturally go together to me. That's just my take on how to help people make a ritual out of whatever astrologically is going on and create a meaningful moment week to week. We try to give you the components through the app—how to set up an altar, a meditation, even just a little ritual. We give journal prompts or reflection questions. So try to provide all these different tools and you can use what you like and leave what you don't. I think meditation is really essential to me in terms of self-development.


SH: Speaking of healing and self-development, have you seen an increase in interest in astrology and guidance since the start of the pandemic?

CN: I have—really, since 2016. People wonder what's going on, and why it's going on. Since then it's just been one thing after another. We're in a very important moment, I think, in human history, and I believe that when faced with big challenges—and it's not like they're over by any stretch of the imagination—we need to meet them both externally and internally. I think the spike in interest in self-development and healing and things like astrology is a really positive reaction to adversity. How we find healing and help to create meaning out of our lives or out of moments of adversity is really important. I always encourage people to seek out what helps you deal and what helps you through the difficulty of the moment.


SH: What are the major astrological events we should be looking out for soon?

CN: If you download the app you can learn about all of that, but the next eclipse season is going to take place in November. It's going to be particularly challenging from mid-November to early December. November will probably require a lot of our resources, and challenge us in some ways that feel kind of severe. But we shouldn't fear it—just be prepared for it.

I would not overbook or overwhelm yourself. Look forward to your calendar in November and save some extra time in that month. You'll need it. It feels extra crunchy, and like a lot of stuff will come up. There will be some big obstacles for us to move through. I don't know if that'll be collective or more personal, but it's a good moment of the year to set expectations. It's probably going to be a little bit more challenging, so just mark it off and be a little nicer to yourself in terms of scheduling.


SH: What are your biggest do's and don'ts when it comes to reading into your astrology?

CN: If you're not a professional astrologer, it's really good to be learning about all of these things, but it's also good to know that you might misinterpret something. Remember that human brains love to fear things, and love to think that they know how things are going to work out. Then life always goes, "Haha, you thought it was gonna be one thing, but it's totally the other thing." And if you go to a professional astrologer, they too are human, and they too can get things wrong. Only you know yourself.

It's really about seeing the lay of the land and then very much living in the moment and living with your agency. You have agency—never give up your power to a person or a system of thought or planet or anything like that. Astrology gives us the weather, but it's up to us how we like to deal with it, and what we make of it. Quite often I've seen my chart and gone, "Oh my goodness, this is gonna be a really hard time," and those really hard times are definitely challenging, but they also helped me succeed the most in life. You have to always remember that balance. We don't want adversity—we definitely want good times—but sometimes the adversity is the very thing that pulls out our genius, pulls out our gift or prepares us for the opportunity. Then, when the opportunity comes, we recognize that. It was actually good that we had that challenge. It sucked at the time. It gives us that broader perspective.


SH: What else should people know about CHANI?

CN: I think one of the important things to know about our app is that we give 5% of the proceeds in cash grants to Black, Latinx, indigenous, native, queer and/or trans survivors of gender-based violence. And we do that through my wife and business partner's nonprofit, called FreeFrom. Our app was created by survivors of human trafficking and gender-based violence. Our company also has a unique benefits package. We have menstrual leave for folks with uteruses that need it. We have a wealth-building stipend and a gender-based violence emergency stipend if anybody needs it. We have a tech stipend. We're really trying to innovate the business model so it's more than just an astrology app. We're really focused on working within this model to create something that feels sustainable and generative for both the people who work here and the people that receive the work, and then also through the emergency fund that we do through FreeFrom. It's a really mission-driven company.


Curious about different types of astrology? Click HERE to find out all about vibrational astrology from an expert.