Hello! Lovely to see you here.
Photo credit: Shanshan Gong Photography
My name is Saila Kokkonen. I’m a perfectly imperfect person in the midst of my own human journey. For most of my adult life, my main passion has been how we humans live and grow; socially, emotionally and spiritually; individually and collectively. What makes us tick and create the lives we live, what enables us to reach for the stars and what hinders us in the process. Everything I’ve worked on or studied formally or informally since 2015 has somehow revolved around this theme, with my curiosity deepening over the years.
I’ve learned and healed a lot in myself, yet every time I feel I’m ‘done’ with something, a new layer of the onion presents itself with more. By now I understand that there is no such thing as done, thank goodness, for any of us. I've long explored what it is that I have to give others around these themes, and at the moment, the best I can do to verbalize it is that I have a knack for connecting the dots and weaving webs of meaning between seemingly unrelated events, situations and worlds - and that's what astrology helps me do. I can help others connect the dots in their own lives, to understand their own parts, patterns and processes, and gain more self-acceptance in the process. I can also help others understand what time it is for in their lives, and grow towards their soul's highest potential in this life.
Living abroad already as a child gifted me with early experiences of some alternative realities we live in and different backgrounds we come from. As an adult, I continued to live abroad and travel quite a bit, always searching for something external and far away. The past years have led to a more internal quest, and quite happily strengthening my roots in my native Finland for a change. I’ve always loved analyzing situations and relationships, and my spiritual journey has taught me the most about that key relationship in all of our lives - that with the self, and how that relationship is the basis and main influencer for all the others.
For someone who used to be in a constant rush somewhere, literally and metaphorically, coming to terms with and even starting to enjoy being such a work-in-progress has been an ongoing journey. I am only at the beginning of letting my own light shine in the world, however meanwhile, I feel a surprising amount of comfort and confidence already in where I’m at now, and how much I have to offer now. I’ve got my feet on the ground in a day-to-day reality, but have started giving space for my mind, heart and soul to explore more expansive and harder-to-define worlds of the collective unconscious.
I do believe that there’s purpose to everything, and understanding the meaning of why something is happening is what’s given me acceptance and strength to live through all the toughest moments of my life, whether that’s been the long illness and passing of my dad, struggling with my own identity and place in the world, with conflicts and challenges in relationships, or just a general feeling of stagnation. My highest value is my own growth as a human, and understanding how these events, situations, cycles, transitions, letting go, all of it, is challenging me forward is the key to be able to flow and grow with it. This process is what I love supporting others in, too.
If you’d like to know more about me, the below retrospective of my journey so far provides more context for what sort of web of mindsets and themes have influenced me.
My first love was personal development, which I initially had a giant resistance towards because I was unwilling to reflect on my pain points and dysfunctional mental models. I was tripping myself up constantly but this only made me dig my heels in deeper in my resistance to change. I’d long been sabotaging my opportunities to be my best self, and wallowing in it. I didn’t allow myself to be happy, especially if those around me weren’t. For a chunk of the summer of 2013, my dad was hospitalized due to heart attacks, and somewhere within this situation, I finally gave in to the need for change. I still remember exactly where I was, reading Anthony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within, when I had that flash of insight that started the process of taking ownership for what I’d created my life to be, with it the good and the bad and everything in between.
My second love was social entrepreneurship - utilizing an entrepreneurial mindset to work towards solving social and environmental challenges. In 2013, I started to work on a Master’s thesis on impact investing, at Turku School of Economics in Finland. At some point during my initial research, I came across the Amani Institute, and attended their life-changing Advanced Skills in Social Entrepreneurship program in Nairobi, Kenya, during the summer of 2014. The program was such an eye-opener: both practically and strategically inspirational. I knew I wanted to work in social entrepreneurship but wasn’t sure how to make that happen. I took a brief sidestep after graduation, as an employee at a large IT company, wanting to prove I could excel at the traditional business grad thing, and yep, for many of the wrong reasons. This was a lesson I needed to learn though, and luckily I got it very quickly: trying to logically reason my way into career choices wasn’t going to cut it.
Along the way, via volunteering, I’d met my future co-founders with whom we founded Impactor in 2015, to add our five cents to developing the impact / social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Finland. In 2016, I joined the team at Funzi, a social enterprise developing a mobile learning service for developing markets. During five years there in total, I janitored in various roles, working on communications, learner communities, sales, partnerships, project management, the course content library, blended learning programs as well as process development. Later on, I also studied a Minor in Educational Studies at the Open University of the University of Helsinki.
My third love was coaching. Through Impactor, I had contributed towards facilitating workshops and an accelerator program for social enterprises. To strengthen my skills, I completed the World Coaching Organization’s International Coaching Certification in 2016 and subsequently took part in two more of their programs to deepen my roots and self-understanding as a coach. What drew me to coaching was the power of questions: how to probe someone’s own thinking processes with questions, as opposed to trying to solve someone's issue for them. And how this type of coaching can develop people’s autonomy and give them experiences of success in changing their lives for the better.
My fourth love was spirituality. I’d come across different types of yoga, mindfulness and meditation since around 2014, but in 2017-18 I fell deeply for the work of first Abraham-Hicks and then Joe Dispenza. For me, both took the notion of creating our own realities to the next level, yet with very different approaches. I started understanding reasons behind and the impact of my own emotions, reactions and mental models on a new level. Dispenza’s work combines e.g. quantum sciences, neuroscience and epigenetics and through his framework I learned more about how to rewire my internal programming, heal myself and manifest a new reality. At this point I had lived through two decades of watching my father fall more and more ill within the Finnish world-class healthcare system, being treated for individual symptoms in isolation at the expense of an understanding of the whole or even an attempt at looking into root causes. I was ripe for a new holistic model of reality and how to take ownership of one’s own healing.
I left my job for a sabbatical and had the intention of designing my own ‘post-grad program’ around themes I was passionate about - this did kind of happen, however with a much deeper twist than I could have anticipated, as the year’s focus soon became the process of my dad’s transition. I had just returned from Brazil and through transformational experiences with ayahuasca there, I had a strange feeling that I understood where my dad was as he weaved in and out of this reality and other dimensions for his last months here physically. Through the wisdom of ayahuasca, I also started to awaken to the wisdom of Mother Nature, and started observing her rhythms, cycles and beauty much more closely. In 2021, the time was ripe to test the waters of official education again. I was accepted into the PhD program in Women’s Spirituality at California Institute of Integral Studies. The course content was mind-boggling and paradigm-shattering, however, my stint at CIIS ended with the one semester for now, as the pace of study and requirements tore at my internal promises to create more wellness and harmony into my day-to-day. Many seeds were planted during that semester, though.
My fifth love is astrology, which has for me been a culmination and combination of everything I’ve been most passionate about during my adult life. Astrology is the most intricate, complex, holistic, fascinating and ultimately damn useful lens (that I’ve come across) for what makes us tick as humans and how to approach the mix of energies at play in our lives. I’ve been interested in and taken countless psychological tests along the years, and have gained insight into myself from all of them. But I’ve also always been left feeling incomplete and slightly disappointed because of the way these tests box people into a limited number of categories, whereas astrology is at best completely tailored to the individual.
I came upon astrology by way of depth psychology. In the fall of 2021, I wrote a PhD course paper on the crone archetype in the Finnish mythological ethos of Kalevala, through the lens of C. G. Jung’s feminine, masculine and shadow archetypes. Learning that Jung himself had utilized astrology in his psychotherapy, and contributed a great deal to the development of Western astrology, was huge for me, and into the wormhole I went.
I am a graduate of the 1-year Sielunkartta (‘Soul’s Map’, translated from Finnish) astrology program, developed and trademarked by Kirsi Halla-Seppälä. The program is based on alive astrology: an initiation path that centers lived experience, heart connection and inner knowing. My excitement for sharing astrology with others stems from how much it’s given to me already within a short span of time. More about this in the What is astrology and what is it good for? section.
I’m a member of the Organization for Professional Astrology (OPA) and the Association for Professional Astrologers in Finland (Suomen Ammattiastrologit ry), and committed to a lifelong journey of personal and professional development.
Photo credit: Shanshan Gong Photography