“What is your sign?”
Hi, I’m Vanessa Couto, artist, teacher, astrologer, and the voice behind the Liminal Journeys podcast.
When I was a kid, I’d go around the playground during recess asking my classmates what their Sun Signs were. I don’t recall precisely when I got bitten by the astrological bug, but it was in Elementary School that I became fascinated with astrology.
Fast forward many years, and here I am helping clients understand where they are on their journey, and how they can midwife a new phase in their lives.
In my work, I weave all that I’m genuinely passionate about: astrology, art, depth psychology (think C.G. Jung, Freud, the collective unconscious), mythology, fairy tales, and dream work.
Now, when I ask you what is your Sun Sign, it is just the threshold for a more in-depth dive.
How did I get to do what I do?
It was a roundabout journey, to be honest, but astrology was my roadmap along the way.
Throughout my life, as I deepened my studies in astrology, I was exposed to new avenues of thinking, the main one being Depth Psychology – the study of the unconscious mental processes and motives.
It was because of astrology that I decided to pursue my MA in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. During the writing of my thesis, I reconnected with my art, something that had been dormant for over a decade.
It was during this threshold phase of wrapping up grad school that I searched for a way to weave all that I loved into a cohesive way.
The seed was planted then.
Since then, I have worked to bring together my many passions and use them to help others cross their thresholds of transformation.
Liminal comes from the Latin: limen meaning ‘doorway’ or ‘threshold.’
Whenever we are entering a room or leaving it, we are crossing a limen – a liminal space. This threshold space if pregnant with possibilities, but it is also filled with angst and anxiety over not knowing what is on the other side.
In life, it often means that our sense of identity is hung in suspension. When the Old Self doesn’t quite ‘fit’ anymore, but the New Self isn’t yet fully formed. This is akin to Dorothy’s famous quote from The Wizard of Oz: “Toto, I have a feeling, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
The only way is forward, facing the road ahead because the only way home is via a more profound transformation.
My core beliefs in life and work:
*As above, so below, so within, so without, as the Universe, so the Soul.
Whatever happens in our lives is a reflection of broader patterns. Our inner world is mirrored in the outer events of our lives. But the patterns in the cosmos are reflected in our own lives.
One of the many tools to help us understand these deeper patterns in our inner/outer worlds is astrology.
Astrology illuminates our path because our birth chart is our roadmap. Knowledge, our own birth chart, helps us understand the cycles and patterns in our lives. Ultimately, it helps us navigate the threshold phases in our lives with more confidence and clarity.
*All paths lead to Rome.
No matter how or when, we will arrive at our destination – our purpose. Of course, some paths are shorter or more direct, but there’s no wrong path. However, that doesn’t stop us from wanting to see and learn about the road ahead.
There are many tools and ways to reach our destination and fulfill our purpose, and to me, astrology is one of these tools.
*We are all midwives to each others’ dreams.
I believe we help each other achieve/birth/build our dreams, and in return, we are also supported by others.
Each story, each encounter is a threshold moment that helps us move forward into bringing our purpose and dreams into being. My way of helping is through my knowledge and weavings of astrology, psychology, and art.
Lastly, but also significant…
*Put the oxygen mask on first.
When we fly, the flight instructions always say to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, before helping another.
This is all about SELF-CARE.
This is a tough one honestly because I don’t believe we are taught what it is to do self-care really, and what it means for our lives. Although I’m learning this myself, I think Self-care is a must, so that we can be more present and able to do our work and live.
A little more about me – your Liminal Strategist.
My family immigrated to the U.S. from Brazil when I was ten years old. Being raised bicultural and bilingual does help you get very acquainted with navigating thresholds daily.
Primarily because when one is initiated into a threshold experience, one needs to get very comfortable with reading all the symbols, not just linguistically, but also the cultural ones. Let’s just say your mind learns not only to be nimble and flexible but also very curious about the language of patterns.
Being raised on the ‘edge’ culturally, helped me be curious and have an open mind as to how things work, what makes people behave as they do, and also about the stories we tell ourselves and others about our lives.
I have lived in different parts of Brazil and the United States. Before settling in Portland, Oregon, I lived in New York City for many years. I’m told by my friends that in many respects I’m still very much a ‘New Yorker.’
When working on a drawing, I love to listen to documentaries on YouTube. I also passionate about Ancient and Medieval History, and anything period drama produced by BBC. (Yes, I must confess that I’m a Jane Austen fan.)
I’m a ‘bookaholic’ – I buy them faster than I can read them. Visiting any bookstore and not purchasing a book is a feat of strength of will for me.
On a more personal note…
I was a language teacher for 10 years, both in Brazil and later in New York City. I taught teenagers, college students, and professionals. Those years taught me a lot about motivation and the gift of helping a student connect with their joy of learning.
My love for astrology led me to pursue my MA in Counseling Psychology (with an emphasis in Depth Psychology) from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Immersing myself in the works of C.G. Jung, Joseph Campbell and others are the foundation of my work and art.
I also have an MA in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from New York University, and BA in Social Communication, Advertising, and Marketing from PUC-MG (a Brazilian University).
I’m also a Certified Coach with The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership.
When not working with clients, writing or drawing, I love to spend time with my husband and our two communicative cats.