I wrote this profile on my favourite astrologer, Amber Khan, for the New York Times
Hometown: Morningside Heights, Manhattan
Now Lives: Ms. Khan splits her time between a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, a few blocks from her childhood home, and a three-bedroom house in Ebeltoft, Denmark, where her son lives.
Claim to Fame: Ms. Khan is an astrologer and tarot reader with a YouTube channel that has about 115,000 subscribers. Her practice draws from her Muslim and Pakistani heritage, as well as her childhood trauma, which includes witnessing domestic violence in her extended family. “I’m really good at being able to pick out where a person’s pain is because I lived with people who were full of pain,” she said.
Big Break: In 2016, after decades of giving private tarot readings, Ms. Khan decided to start her own YouTube channel, the Quietest Revolution, where she broadcasts monthly readings for each astrological sign. She has had many notable clients but declined to list them (“an astrologer never, ever name drops”). “An astrologer is like a priest: We have access to the most personal details of someone’s life. That’s just disrespectful.”
Latest Project: Ms. Khan is working on a self-published book, “Vector Equilibrium: Journey Through the Major Arcana,” to teach others how to read tarot using characters that represent ancient archetypes. “Your intuition is a lot better than you think it is,” she said. She is also designing her own deck of tarot cards. “I like arming people with enough insight into themselves that they can understand whatever is going on with them,” she said. “Mythologies are necessary, we need them to understand ourselves.”
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Next Thing: Later this year, Ms. Khan is filming a documentary at Ted’s Shroom Boom, a psychedelic mushroom farm in Negril, Jamaica, about psilocybin and the “fundamental changes it can make in the neuroplasticity of the brain,” she said. She will work with trauma survivors “in the warm water of the beach, letting the tears come, and the laughter come, and walk away changed.”
Self Care: Ms. Khan is used to skeptics and having her work seen as a gimmick. “It’s not as mystical as we think,” she said. “Pharmacology is failing us. People are scared to go to the psychiatrist. Everyone out here now is trying to become their own shaman, to heal themselves.”