Natalia Benson on Becoming a Successful Modern Mystic
For some, indulging in daily horoscopes and astrology is all fun and games. For our current crush Natalia Benson, it's a OUAI of life. After a bad breakup and a good book, the Phoenix native immersed herself in the mystical while juggling side jobs, eventually allowing her to monetize her passion and become a resident astrologer for Who What Wear and empowerment coach. Ahead, Natalia talks all things tarot cards, crystals, natal charts, natural beauty, and even answers our burning questions about mercury retrograde.
Job title: Astrologer for Who What Wear, OPI, New York Pilates; Women’s Empowerment Coach; Modern Mystic; DJ
Neighborhood: West Hollywood, CA
Tell us how you entered the world of astrology.
I moved to LA when I was 21, which at this point was a decade ago. I had been into yoga and meditation since I was 19. When I moved here, I actually got broken up with and I was super, super bummed out. I was sitting with a girlfriend at lunch one day as I was going through it. She looked at me and said, have you ever paid attention to astrology? And I was like OMG. I never forgot that moment because that was the beginning of my journey. She turned me on to this astrologer [Christopher Witecki] who had a website—wait for it, called Soul Garden—so I followed him religiously. This was back before any of this was very chic. So then I got my first natal chart reading, which is what I do now. A lot of people think astrology is only about horoscopes, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of. Natal chart astrology is what got me hooked on astrology because that’s the most empowering part of it.
What is natal chart astrology?
It’s based on the time, place, and date of your birth so it gives you a really complex picture of what your total personality is and it is the most comprehensive way to understand astrology, and essentially, yourself. I got my first natal chart reading at 22 and I had been following that astrologer for a year before I was privy to all that. Think of it as sitting with someone who doesn’t even know you, who’s telling you the deepest nuances of your personality. It’s super trippy and transformative. Everything I’m doing is based on that reading.
You’re an astrologer for Who What Wear, OPI and New York Pilates; you host astrology classes; and sell subscriptions for digital content downloads and wake up powerful daily text services. How did you go about monetizing your passions?
I just launched a six-week digital course called Build Your Mystical Business. I had interesting attitudes internally, like who am I to show other people how to do this? But then I thought, you’re doing it really well. It was about me owning my power, and wanting to share this with other women. Not to give you too much astrology jargon but—I’m an Aries, we’re a very innovative, leadership type sign. In addition, I have also some Capricorn in my chart, and Capricorns are very business-savvy. That lent itself to me being innovative, listening to no one’s bullshit asking me WTF I was doing, like my parents. I believed in the power of social media and I was so determined to work for myself so I found unique ways to create a livelihood from these things that I loved. Only recently has the monetization of everything I’ve been doing grown and that’s because the market has become so democratized for entrepreneurs. There are so many tools to build your own platform, thanks to Al Gore and the Internet, haha. With that course, I’m looking to help women build their confidence and then their tools to monetize whatever mystical practices they do.
I also coach women and I work on their internal positioning. You have to love yourself, you have to believe in you to bring something to the world. Tina Fey said success is 10% hard work and 90% delusion and I really believe in that. When I first started all of this, Instagram wasn’t a thing. I was a jewelry designer for a long time then transitioned into the mystical stuff. Before that, I ran everything through Facebook. I’ve had my site going only for about two years.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make a living off doing what they love, something it appears you’ve nailed?
I’m hearing different perspectives from different women. My big thing is, first and foremost it’s okay to take your time to build something. The nice thing I had going for me in building all of this is Instagram wasn’t a thing, and on Facebook you got moderate highlight reels. It wasn’t normal yet for people to show their successes yet. I’ve seen the change in the digital climate and what’s become more appropriate to share. Don’t compare your process to others’. If you need to have a job on the side, that’s okay too. Do whatever you need to do, but always do your own stuff on the side—never sacrifice that. I think that’s the part where people fall behind–they have the financial stability but they don’t in addition do what they really want to do. For me, that was my secret ingredient—be able to pay my rent but also do my own thing on the side. I would be awake at 6AM to create content before driving to my corporate job in Vernon. People avoid doing what they want because they think they have to cold turkey renounce everything and fly off the cliffs of their passion instead of balancing both.
Your weekly astrology reports go up every Monday. How do you determine reports based on zodiacs sign?
I draft a chart for the moment based on a particular time and date, which is how I do the stuff for all my clients. From that chart I see where the planets are, what’s going on in the houses, how they’re affecting each other and from there determine moments which are viewed differently by every sign.
Speaking of—can you describe each zodiac sign using one word?
- Aries: independent
- Taurus: patient
- Gemini: expressive
- Cancer: nurturing
- Leo: regal
- Virgo: meticulous
- Libra: harmonious
- Scorpio: sensuous
- Sagittarius: optimistic
- Capricorn: determined
- Aquarius: explorative
- Pisces: creatively inclined
You host a Power Babe Interview Series interviewing badass spiritual women, entrepreneurs, and creatives. Do you have any personal favorite podcasts or series?
When I do listen to podcasts, I listen to Amber-Lee Lyons who has a podcast called Chakra Girl Radio. It’s a light, unique play on girl power vibes. I’m really into audio books too. I love The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein, and Untie the Strong Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. I’m very fascinated by relationships and how to make them work so another book I love is Men Don’t Love Women Like You by G.L. Lambert. It reminds you of holding your power, being a goddess, and knowing your worth with men.
What are the best reads for beginner modern mystics?
This book is new age and not religious, it’s called Conversations with God by Neil Donald Walsch, it’s an imperative book for any person to read because it’s a unique take on what universal energy is. It’s funny and touching. That book is what kickstarted my spiritual journey at the age of 19. James Redfields' The Celestine Prophecy is always a really powerful book for people who are just tapping into mysticism. Another book is Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss, which is all about past life regression. If it’s one thing we all need more of it's an understanding of the bigger picture of who we are because that helps us feel less afraid in life, and that book really helped me do that.
You’re not only a modern mystic and life coach but you also DJ?! Tell us more about your spinning skills and how those came about.
I was a dancer my entire life and was always inclined to be a performer. When I was young I did ballet and jazz dances. I stopped for a long time then came back to it when I moved to LA. That’s how I got into DJing and why I created a music alias, Ninth Child (@ninthchild.ix). My dad raised me on music so it’s been a big part of my journey. I got really intro electronic music and dubstep (lol) in my early 20’s going to festivals. I found empowerment through sound. Bassnectar, who headlines major festivals, found me at a festival and ever since I’ve played with him five times. I used to go to all his shows and now we email. Life is so weird. You have to just follow what you want and be true. I feel like I live a double life sometimes. I’m working on an EP right now and I have a really big show in San Francisco with Bassnectar in September.
Okay, we have to ask—what is mercury retrograde, and does everyone’s life actually suck when it's happening?
When planets go in retrograde, it means it’s time to slow down and reflect on how you can do things better. Nobody ever really talks about it that way—they all go on that mercury retrograde hysteria of ‘oh your phone won’t work’ or ‘your ex boyfriend is going to come back for you.’ Watch the way you communicate, reconsider the way you think about life, and reassess your attitude toward things. It’s about reassessing the mind. I always suggest to slow down. Retrograde can be chaotic because we’re not used to slowing down, like our phone not working or our computer being on the fritz or a relationship falling—those are all things asking you to pay attention, be patient and see what the message is. That's what astrology is in its best form—to live our lives with awareness and pay attention to growth and healing. That’s the deeper take on retrograde. Think before you speak, slow your roll and consider how you communicate with other people because miscommunication is a big thing during retrograde. They also advise not to sign contracts, move, or begin a new relationship during retrograde. I always tell people though, don’t restrict yourself, live your life with awareness and that’s where astrology will help you.
So then what's a New Moon?
The New Moon cycle has to do with a new beginning. You can’t see the moon in the sky so it’s a fresh slate. This is a great time to start a new project, renew your energy and set new intentions. Manifesting is obviously a big buzz word, but if you want to tap into yourself, a New Moon and full moons are amazing for that.
What are tarot cards and why should I care about them?
Tarot cards are tools for self awareness so when you understand the symbols on the cards, you can gain a new perspective of looking at something, be it relationships, jobs, where you’re at in life, etc. They’re magical advice-giving tools but they’re not meant for fortune telling. In my Mystic 101 course, you can learn everything from tarot, astrology, essential oils and meditation then use those tools to connect with yourself better.
What’s the purpose of crystals and what are your favorite places to buy them?
I tell people that I’m the most skeptical spiritual person you’ll ever meet. I need proof in the pudding, so for me I’ve always been drawn to crystals because I think they’re beautiful, but only this year was I like holy f**k these things really work. There’s so much literature on them too so it’s like duh, if there’s a lot of literature on something over so many thousands of years, there’s obviously something to them. Crystals are little energetic companions that work with the energy system of the body that can be utilized for feeling tools to help work on our love life, finances, relaxation, anything. Keep them in your purse, car, bath tub, even your bed. For example, for love vibes place rose quartz in the bedroom, your place for partnership, because it’s a gentle stone that won’t keep you awake; or if you want to attract more opportunity, put citrine in your wallet; crystal quartz is good for baths because it can cleanse your energy. Some stones are water soluble so make sure they’re not otherwise they’ll evaporate.
My favorite place to buy them is a chic, minimal store my dear friend owns, Open Eye Crystals on Pico. She’s a Virgo so she has the most incredible taste in crystals that are amazing quality.
Crystal Bliss by Debbie Brown is a great, straightforward book about specific crystal usage for people who don’t know anything about them. For example, she says watermelon tourmaline is for a joyous attitude, turquoise is for creating wholeness, and fluorite is for activating the mind and enhancing your focus by clearing confusion.
What’s one thing someone can do to incorporate more spirituality into their life?
Keep it simple. The best place to begin and bring peace into your life is meditate. My favorite app is Calm. That app is life changing. For the modern person who isn’t familiar with meditation, this app is for you. Download it and watch the difference it makes in your life.
Okay, shifting gears—break down your everyday hair routine for us.
So it's actually quite minimal! I use the OUAI Hair Oil at the bottom on my hair because it can get very dry. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo is basically life because I have extremely straight fine hair so the more volume and texture I can get the better! I also love the OUAI Soft Mousse, I put that in for volume and vibes. Other than that I basically let my hair do its thing! I am not even sure I know how to use a curling iron or blow dryer anymore (kind of embarrassing).
Do you have any favorite natural/vegan hair or beauty products?
Break down your skincare routine for us.
I really believe that glowing and beautiful skin starts from the inside out. I am really conscious of how much water I drink and eating extremely clean and I credit much of that as the foundation of my skincare routine.
As far as products, I love everything from Youth to the People (their Hydrating Moisturizer is heaven); Bliss Makeup Melt Cleanser, I need stuff that's really gentle and this is somehow so good on my skin but also extremely epic at getting off eye makeup!
I only cleanse at night or after a workout then use a spritz of Honest Beauty's Elevated Hydration Mist, Moon Juice's Beauty Shroom Plumping Jelly Serum (IT'S INCREDIBLE), and top it off with either the Youth to the People Moisturizer or the Mara Universal Facial Oil which smells like heaven and utilizes algae and Moringa in its blend (my bestie Nikki DeRoest turned me onto it).
Who does your cut and color?
Her name is Meleesa Luna, she is a genius with blondes and has helped me maintain a gorgeous shade of icy blonde that looks beautiful and natural.
What are your favorite Instagrams to follow?
I am bit Insta obsessed so this wasn't easy to narrow it down.. lol!
Follow @natalia_benson for daily good vibes