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Welcome to My L.A. Workday, a series that takes you inside a day on the job with some of the city’s most fascinating people. Interviews are edited for length and clarity.

Gogo Akopyan’s coffee order has a way of confusing people.

“I ask the barista to put an intention in it and sometimes they’ll give me a weird look,” she says. “Stirring clockwise will bring in your intention and stirring counterclockwise will get rid of certain intentions.”

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That’s one of many rituals that punctuate a regular workday for the astrologer and provider of occult readings.

logo of a coffee mug with a clock dial and a sun: My L.A. Workday

Akopyan’s job is to interpret your past, present and future. She simply needs the time, date and place of your birth.

Technology, of course, makes the task supremely efficient. She plugs that information into a free website such as Astrodienst, and in seconds it generates an astrological chart with the position of the planets when you were born. To the layperson, it looks like a circle with a mess of intersecting lines.

To Akopyan, it looks like a map of your whole life.

“Looking at someone’s chart is like their soul laying naked in front of you,” she said.

Born and raised in Glendale, Akopyan, 32, has been studying astrology and the occult for more than 10 years. Initially, she viewed it as a way to connect with others.

“I used it as a tool to get to know people because growing up I wasn’t really given that attention by parents,” Akopyan said. “I wanted to get to know the people around me on a deeper level and appreciate them more.”

What began as just a hobby giving readings to friends blossomed into a business three years ago. Now she gives chart readings, ranging from $75 to $150, to clients both in person and virtually through her business Lilith on Top Astrology. (Lilith, according to Judaic mythology, is said to be Adam’s first wife before Eve — for whom Akopyan has a particular affinity.)

Unless she’s doing an in-person reading, which she conducts at a nearby cafe, Akopyan works from her Van Nuys studio apartment, where each day is ruled by a series of rituals. Below, she describes how a typical workday unfolds — and all the ways in which she keeps bad energy at bay.

A hand points at an astrological chart on a computer laptop screen.

Akopyan points to a client’s astrological chart.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

9 a.m: Have coffee with intention.

I wake up at around 9 a.m. and I make my coffee and breakfast. For my coffee I always put cinnamon in it, to bring in new friends and romance [stirred clockwise to bring in my intention].

For breakfast, usually I bake sweets or other pastries, so a lot of cookies, croissants, things like that. I can put intention into it: I’ll use cinnamon for prosperity and abundance; lavender and rose petals for love. And I use cocoa and chocolate to attract a soulmate and love and friendship.

To the right of my bed I have a calendar with all of the planetary transits for the day. I’ll check that every morning to see which planets are in opposition and other things like that to help plan my day.

Then, I sweep up the previous night’s salt barrier sprinkled on my front door threshold and replenish it. When people come in and out of my apartment they bring in different energies, and the salt barrier helps get rid of bad ones.

9:30 a.m. Take a cleansing shower.

I take cleansing baths or showers to get rid of the energies from the day before. There’s a sachet of herbs with lavender, rose petals and Himalayan salt hanging in my shower to bring peace and abundance. I kind of let the water run through it and cleanse me; if I had a bad dream, it’ll get rid of that energy.

A photo and an image near a candle and a lighted heart that says Express Astrology chart.

A shrine for Hekate, a deity said to be the holder of keys to doors of opportunity, inside Akopyan’s apartment.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

10 a.m. Give daily devotions.

Depending on the day I work with a certain deity. I have altars for different deities across multiple cultures, like Venus, Hekate, Lilith and Santa Muerte, a Latin American deity. In the mornings, I’ll meditate with them and replenish their altars and light candles.

I offer Santa Muerte tequila and Lilith and Hekate wine, and other objects. I’ll go around to their altars and see who accepted the drinks and replenish them, light their candles and devote to them. For Lilith, I use a lot of dark colors and sensual things, like obsidian or burgundy-colored roses, since she is very feminine and dark; I’ve been working with her since I was a teenager, and she actually found me. Venus came from the sea, and I work with her on Fridays, so I offer her lighter-hued things such as seashells and ocean water. Hekate governs the crossroads and holds the keys for doors of opportunity. I work with her for that reason and I’ll give her keys whenever I find one.

I also work with Hestia, who is the goddess of the hearth, so she likes when I do housework and use my oven.

And I work with sirens, so I have [pet] fish, and every morning I devote to the fish gods. If one dies, that means someone was sending bad energy because your pet is your familiar. So, these fish are my familiar, because they’re really all I have, you know?

A woman holds jewelry over a bowl of salt.

Akopyan cleanses her jewelry of bad energy from the day using salt, a common practice in witchcraft.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Hands hold a vial of orange oil.

A vial of oil that Akopyan uses to anoint the candles she places on her deities’ altars.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

12 p.m. Charge crystals and have lunch.

Lunch is at 12 p.m., and that’s very intentional. Usually, I’ll have a sandwich, a side salad and a smoothie. I incorporate a lot of herbs and green things to help bring in money. I stir the smoothie in a certain way, right to bring in, left to remove anything I don’t want in my life.

I charge my crystals when the sun is the highest around 1 p.m. After that, I study astrology and I get ready for my day’s readings. It’s never-ending information. There’s so many charts to study: There’s progressed charts, transits, draconian. And I try to be current with everything — astrology changes so much.

2 p.m. Work with clients.

When meeting with a client, especially a first-timer, I break down the planets, where they are placed and how they commingle with each other. I’ll tell them how there are 12 houses in astrology and how where they are placed can activate the planet. For example, when two planets are in harmony, they could be trine to one another, which is when they are 120 degrees apart. Or when two planets are in a square or opposition, it can be more challenging. This is where I would come in and come up with solutions to alleviate the more difficult aspects one has within their chart.

But I’ll go even deeper and explain mythologically what god or goddess rules over which planet. There is so much to astrology and someone’s chart, so we often have to split up sessions; it can go over four or five to fully cover everything.

I think a successful reading to me and my clients is when they experience breakthroughs and cosmic downloads. They might tap into a side of them that they’ve been suppressing or find something out.

Once I did a couples reading and I was able to detect cheating in the chart because there were a lot of 12th house placements, and the 12th house rules affairs and secrets. One of them was already iffy in the relationship and this gave them the confirmation to leave.

Gogo Akopyan sits next to a small bookcase in a room and reads a book.

Akopyan studies out-of-print astrology books, preferably from the ‘60s and ‘70s. “I try to steer away from websites that sugarcoat the planetary placements,” she says.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

7 p.m. Wind down with astrology forums and wine.

Dinnertime, I have my laptop open and I am browsing different astrology forums, reading books and looking at places like YouTube to enhance my knowledge. I try to steer away from websites that sugarcoat the planetary placements.

The books I use are only vintage, out-of-print astrology books from thrift stores. The ‘60s and ‘70s was the real stuff. I study other people’s charts and that’s how I put the pieces together and see how the planets are affecting each other.

At the end of the day, I’ll wind down with some wine with my deities and relax.

10 p.m. Take a final cleansing shower and slumber.

I cleanse at the end of the day also because it cleans all the energy from the people that you meet, the places that you go. You might take on energy you don’t want.

Then I’ll spray my pillow and sheets with a handmade tincture of lavender, chamomile and saltwater to bring a restful sleep and sweet dreams.


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