It's a little after midday on a Wednesday afternoon and Jessica Lanyadoo's crystals are glowing. A jagged collection that spans decades — "I thrift most of them," the astrologer points outs — creates a prism on the living room window.
"If someone is bothering you, just put them on ice. Write a name down on a piece of paper and put it in the freezer — literally, put them on ice," Lanyadoo smiles, adding that the same methodology goes for cleansing new crystals. There's a lot happening in this Oakland freezer.
Amid a growing collection of cork lamps, tinted mirrors, and layered Persian rugs is where you'll find Lanyadoo — a name that's become synonymous with the West Coast's witchier contingent. After all, Lanyadoo's been stargazing since she was six. At 19, she packed up, left leafy Montreal, and decided to relocate to San Francisco, armed with a backpack full of astrology books and not much else. She's grateful for the lessons, and mindful that it led her right here — precisely where she's meant to be.
Lanyadoo is an astrologer, a psychic, a medium, an intuitive counselor, and a tarot card reader. A solid media presence and Girl Boss-approved sensibility have catapulted her into the fore. The experience that comes with refining a craft has taught Lanyadoo to demystify the mystical, in a relatable, digestible kind of way. Simply put, her waitlist is long.
"It’s honestly not something I’ve ever questioned, it’s not something I ever really properly planned?" Lanyadoo muses, when asked how one becomes a professional astrologer. "Because at the time, I was too young to know that it was a ridiculous, unrealistic goal, so I just went for it. It’s always been what I knew I would do.”
Lanyadoo is quick to admit that she's a fiercely private person, reaching for her favorite wabi sabi mug — vintage, a gift from a close friend. The astrologer shares her worn and wonderful Oakland home with her partner and two rescue cats, both of whom "adopted" her, Lanyadoo points out. Panda Elizabeth and Miss Poppins slink past, perfectly on cue, curling up onto a floor pillow and chocolate brown sheepskin, respectively.
Step inside Lanyadoo's home and you're struck by the energy of the space. This is a well-saged home, so to speak. The air is carefully doused with incense and smudging isn't strictly reserved for bad break-ups. Vintage crystals line the mantel, bouncing off peach tinted mirrors. Lanyadoo is a firm believer in the properties of refraction, color, and "moving things around" in a considered, thought-out kind of way. The sensibility of touch is important, and when asked what her favorite piece of furniture is, she's reminds us that all material things — even the favorites — can be replaced.
“It moves around all the time," Lanyadoo explains, of her favorite space within her home.
"I would say that this week, my favorite space is the dining room. I had a moment in there just last night, where I just really enjoyed being in there. But it changes, I think because I tend to move furniture around, I'll move art on the walls frequently. I’ll often paint walls — it really depends on what I’ve done to the space recently and what kind of mood I’m in," she adds. "Also, the weather. You know, the light that the room gets will have a direct impact on how I feel about it. If you ask me during the rainy season, I’ll for sure say the living room, because of the fireplace.”
Despite its truly unique appeal, Lanyadoo notes that her home is in fact a 1960s kit set, typical of what you might find on this treelined Oakland street. Shortly after moving in, Lanyadoo set out to restore the interior to its former glory, stripping back years worth of paint — much to the alarm of her neighbors.
"It was the first thing we wanted to do, despite everybody telling us 'don’t do it, you will regret it!'" Lanyadoo laughs. "There is all of this beautiful wood that’s been painted over, over the years. We did a very intensive job of stripping it back and I think the effect is very wabi sabi, because we didn’t just pull off the paint — we pulled off the varnish. We really like it, I love the way it feels, but if I look at it really closely, let’s just say 'wabi sabi' is a pretty generous term for what this is. So, you know, soften your viewfinder when you look upon it."
Whether applying coats or stripping it right back, paint is something Lanyadoo's always been comfortable with. While the astrologer is the first to point out that the edges are far from perfect, it's the energizing properties of color and — more specifically — its capacity to transform your mood, that Lanyadoo never underestimates.
"Be mindful of color, be mindful of light," she continues. "These two things are so subtle, but both make a difference to how a person feels in a space. I buy these full spectrum lightbulbs, you get them from the health food store, and they make a massive difference to my mood. They’re enlivening, and they bring color to a room. I don’t have the most colorful home in the world, but I do like to have enough," Lanyadoo notes, gesturing towards the custom kitchen cabinetry and DIY range hood, both awash in dusty rose paint sourced via Home Depot.
Follow your nose through to the craftsman-style dining room and kitchen, complete with vintage dining chairs each bolted with authentic wooden nails, and an olive green sitting room will be sure to capture your attention. Shaggy pillows, a technicolor ottoman, and a mirrored work of art — dating back to the '70s — adhere to an early Bohemian look and feel.
"I’ve always had this aesthetic, I think because I’m a ‘70s baby and I love arts and crafts," Lanyadoo says. "I’m into machines, but I want my machines to look like machines. And I like my art to be art. I like things to have depth and I think textural things have more depth, they’re more inviting — and I like to be invited in."
Thirty minutes or so into conversation with Lanyadoo, and it becomes apparent that decor goes well beyond optics. Virtually everything in this astrologer's home is thrifted, with the exception of a handful of appliances. For this is a home that considers the full spectrum — how does a piece make you feel? What is it that resonates with you? Why is it here?
“From my astrological perspective, you want your home to reflect the sign that’s on your fourth house cusp, and the rolling planet of it," Lanyadoo explains. "It's not your sun sign. You could be a Leo, but if you have Taurus on your fourth house cusp, you’re going to want your home to have a richness to it. You’re going to want to have a lot of delicious texture and more quality than quantity. In a way, sun sign astrology is incredibly overused — our sun, in astrology, represents your will and identity. But will and identity are not what bring you comfort, comfort is what you get from home. If we were talking about a home office, that would be one thing, but when you’re talking about with your kitchen, your bedroom, your living space; you want it to bring you comfort, so I think it’s better to not think about astrology at all."
Make your way outside, cross the garden path and you'll find yourself in Lanyadoo's home office — a custom neon sign is sure to light the way. It's here where the astrologer works from home, meets clients, and muses on whatever the day brings. A porcelain hand display, akin to what you might of seen in a department store 50 years ago, holds a stack of well-thumbed tarot cards, neighboring a bowl of custom matchsticks that read "helping you help yourself since 1995." It's not too kitsch though, Lanyadoo makes sure of that. It's an earthy and considered blend of practitioner meets Practical Magic.
“Historically, astrology has really struggled for legitimacy," Lanyadoo says, of the tired stereotypes. "Sometimes, having unvetted content does a disservice to the craft, the integrity of astrology. That said, if you enjoy it, I’m not mad at you," she laughs. "But I think astrology — like absolutely everything else — requires you to look around and decide what’s best for you. You might see your general practitioner and they might be great at helping you with the flu, but not as good as helping you with a sprained knee, you know? Not all practitioners are for all things, I should say. Sometimes, the most entertaining people are not the most helpful, and the most helpful are not the most entertaining.”
“I really see a big distinction between who I am, what I do, and where I live," Lanyadoo continues. "I see my home as an extension of myself, much like the way I dress. My home is a place I want to be, a place I feel comfortable and secluded from the world. I’m not a fan of waste or fast furniture, so there’s not a whole lot in my house that was bought brand new."
With Miss Poppins and Panda Elizabeth hot on her tail, Lanyadoo slips into the podcast shed. A padded nook where the Ghost of a Podcast comes to life. When asked for advice on how to go about reinstating balance and energy back into the home, Lanyadoo's response is just as pragmatic — and perhaps just as useful — as you might hope it would be.
"I sage everything, I do energy clearings on everything. But I wouldn’t say that's necessary, we resonate with what we resonate with. I wouldn’t pick up an item that felt bad, and I think that’s true for most people. You pick up things that feel good, that feel comforting. I think crystals are a different story."
In the end, it all comes back to how you feel — and whatever is in your freezer.
"When I generally get a new crystal, I’ll stick it in the freezer for 48-hours, this is an easy way to clear it of other people’s energy," Lanyadoo adds. "I also have a couple of big pieces of citrine — it’s great for generating and cleansing other stones. Then I’ll bring the crystal into my space and say 'hey, buddy, come on in, let’s do some work' — and that we do."