What comes to mind when you hear the word mystic? A turban-clad psychic hunching over a crystal ball? In our case, picture this: a bubbly a 20-something fresh-grad who meets her clients through social media. This is Monica Gamboa. Monica has been doing readings for two years now, and has completed an apprenticeship program under US-based astrologer, Debra Silverman.
Before I get into my experience with Monch, I’ll give you a brief background as to what her service actually is. Monch reads birth charts, which is essentially a “map of the stars” on the date and time of your birth. According to Monch, a birth chart consists of 1) the planet, known as the “what,” which indicates an aspect of one’s personality, 2) the sign, known as the “how,” which indicates the way it is expressed, and 3) the house, known as the “where,” which indicates the place in one’s life in which it is expressed.
You can easily access your birth chart online by knowing the exact date and time of your birth. However, to an untrained eye, the birth chart will look like an overwhelming tangle of symbols and lines. This is where a professional astrologer steps in—not only read your birth chart, but to interpret it.
Now, onto my reading. In our 30-minute session, Monch first explains my rising, sun, and moon sign (yes, you have more than one sign). Most people are probably familiar with their sun sign and the personality traits associated with it. But what you get in a birth chart reading delves into specifics. For example, something that stood out to me in my reading with Monch was her explanation of my moon, which was in Virgo, under my 10th house. The 10th house is the house of career, while the sign Virgo rules the world of publishing and writing. It was surreal to discover this because my current career involves writing for a publication.
Monch then moves to the other planets, directives, tensions, and certain stand-out parts in my birth chart. These terms may get quite confusing, but Monch does a good job in simplifying the elements in my birth chart. She stresses the importance of practicality in her readings, meaning turning the information from a birth chart into practical life advice. For example, Monch noticed that none of my planets were in water signs (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio), which probably explains my (admittedly) unemotional personality. She suggests that I try to surrounding myself in water or water-sign-like matters, such as a trip to the ocean, yoga, or meditation. I have done all these things in the past and truly, they have been soul-cleansing experiences for myself.
But mind you, what Monch intends to do with each reading is not to give you a blueprint of fool-proof strategies for all of life’s complexities, "my job is not to help you live a peaceful, stress-free life, but to help guide you through the turmoil," she says. "I close my eyes and think: How can I bless this person and offer a point of view that they can’t see, [and] what will help them see their purpose with fresh eyes?" she continues.
I thought I knew what I was in for, being a little bit of an astro-geek myself. But after my session with Monch and before my interview with her began, I found myself asking for a bit of time to take a breath. It was an overwhelming experience to have someone so accurately explain yourself—the good and the bad, the strengths and the insecurities–in a brief 30 minutes. I ask her if this was a typical reaction to her birth chart readings, "Yes, I’ve had so many people [even] cry during readings," she answers. "In each reading, the goal is to make you feel understood," Monch says, and indeed, that was what I felt. A birth chart reading validates you; it makes you feel less alone in this vast universe, as you are so intimately intertwined with it.
So I recommend you give it a try. Monch does in-person and over-the-phone readings, both of which will result in the same outcome. And when you book a session, remember, do not expect a predictive reading. Will she tell you the exact date you’re going to get married? No. But, can she tell you what you can work on to play the field better? Probably.