Locational astrology is helping people figure out the best places for them to live based on their birth charts.
Your chart is intense,” astrologist Jessica Lanyadoo tells me. “It’s full of sparkle.” I hadn’t been that flattered since someone complimented the South Indian fish curry I whipped up for a pre-pandemic dinner party. Laying on my couch, listening to Lanyadoo spill the starry deets on potential cities for me to #livemybestlife, the world, even on lockdown, suddenly felt full of possibilities.
Like many, COVID-19 has pushed me to reassess my current residence: San Francisco, where I’ve lived for 3 years. After all, what’s the point of paying $3,000 a month on rent when you can’t order artisanal cocktails in a reclaimed wood bar? Though I enjoy living in the Bay Area, it’s super expensive, and it feels like we’re on fire every other week. Between the smoke and the Coronavirus this year, it felt like I could no longer enjoy life here indoors or outdoors.
If the stars can help me understand why I am so hot-headed (hello, Aries moon) perhaps they can also help me decide if I should move home.
Aside from that, ever since the pandemic hit, I’ve been feeling nostalgic for home. If I so much as hear a Bruce Springsteen song, I shed a tear as I think of my native New Jersey. Does having those feelings mean I should consider moving back to my home state? Or maybe I should become glamorously become bi-coastal — splitting my time between SF and NYC, where I also used to live. Or perhaps what I really need is somewhere brand new. Should I make use of my dual Canadian-American citizenship and French fluency in Montreal? Or instead of all that snow, maybe I should live the life of an expat in Bali. Or was there another city I hadn’t even considered? Or? Or? Or?
Clearly, I needed help, which is where locational astrology comes in. I haven’t always a believer in astrology, but once I had my chart read a few years ago, I was sold faster than a Coachella ticket. If the stars can help me understand why I am so hot-headed (hello, Aries moon) and blunt (thanks, Mercury in Capricorn), then perhaps they can also help me decide if I should move my Bon Jovi-down-the-shore-turnpike-loving ass back home.
Locational astrology posits that different places on Earth possess different celestial energies for each person based on when and where they were born. While living in New York City may bring romantic vibes for one person, it may bring aggressive competitive energy to another.
Astrologers who practice locational astrology use one of two methods to explore how the energies affect you. The first is astrocartography, an astrological system that combines your birth chart — a map of the sky on the day you were born, showing the location of all the planets, constellations, and astral bodies — with a world map. Looking for fun? An astrologer may suggest moving to a city where a Uranus line runs. Looking to find yourself? You may want to be near a sun line. The other method, known as relocation astrology, casts your birth chart for different locations than where you were born. The astrologer will apply the longitude and latitude of the town you are considering, and then see what the sky looked like at your time of birth in those places.
To judge whether or not locational astrology rang true for me, I asked Lanyadoo, who uses relocation astrology, and Rebecca Farrar, otherwise known as Wild Witch of the West, who relies on astrocartography to compare Galway, Ireland, and Paris, France — the two cities I lived in during and after college — to assess the accuracy. I also had them look at both New York/New Jersey, the Bay Area, and any other areas that looked promising for my potential move.
Looking for fun? An astrologer may suggest moving to a city where a Uranus line runs. Looking to find yourself? You may want to be near a sun line.
Both methods backed up what I had felt while living abroad. I grew up in a traditional Indian family. My parents wanted me to be a doctor, but I was more drawn to Dior. When I moved to Paris for a study abroad program, I felt like I had returned to the mothership. My chart backed up those feelings. “You’ve got a Venus line running through Paris,” Farrar tells me. “Which makes you feel connected and beautiful, and a sun line, which makes you feel radiant and energized.”
As for Ireland, both women agree it is the place where my inner party girl comes alive. Have you ever made friends with everyone in a small town and had a throng of men tell you regularly that you’re smart, gorgeous, and funny? That’s what living in Galway, Ireland, was like for me. “Galway brings a lot of partying and meeting tons of people. You got along with people, and people got along with you,” Lanyadoo says. “But Ireland is not a place to settle down. It’s a great place to regenerate.” She was spot on. Galway had allowed me to fully embrace my fun-loving, free-spirited nature without fear of judgment. Perhaps that’s why I attracted so many people to me? Or maybe it was written in the stars.
When I initially moved to New York, I worked as a model agent. By the time I left, I was a published writer and business owner. “The Northeast is the ideal place to return to when you’re feeling stuck,” Lanyadoo tells me. In a sense, that’s true. Though I never saw either one of those career changes coming, a series of serendipitous coincidences led me down both paths. Living in the Northeast, helped me get out of old patterns that were no longer serving me. Would those career shifts have happened had I lived somewhere else? I’m not so sure.
Moving to San Francisco had brought me closer to a Jupiter line, Farrar notes. “The Jupiter line is about consumption and expansion,” she says. “Jupiter lines are places where we tend to make more money.” I’ve definitely expanded my e-commerce business since moving to the Bay. I always thought it was because I read a marketing book and listened to Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” but turns out, it’s actually money bags Jupiter showering me with her magical financial fairy dust.
While living in New York City may bring romantic vibes for one person, it may bring aggressive competitive energy to another.
Turns out, unlike my brother-in-law, locational astrology isn’t just full of shit. I was pleasantly surprised to learn there is some correlation between the planetary energies and the patterns and themes in my life. Could I use this information to my advantage? Absolutely. But while the stars may be accurate when it comes to the energetic feel of a city, ultimately I need to feel truly attracted to the location for a move to make any sense. Sure, Paris, Galway, and New York were all hugely transformative for me. But was it solely due to the planetary energies in those locations, or because I was intrinsically drawn to those cities? Probably a little bit of both. Had I moved to Chicago, St. Louis, or Detroit simply because I have similar energies in those cities, I doubt I would have had the same experiences. (Besides, as a Jersey girl, I could never accept deep dish pizza.)
After taking everything into consideration, I now know it isn’t time to leave the Bay Area. I am still drawn to the geography and culture. I love all of the activities I can do here: sailing, hiking, weekend trips to wine country, skiing in Tahoe. And the old Victorian homes and sweeping views of the water don’t hurt either. “In different places, we resonate with different parts of ourselves, so we attract different experiences,” Lanyadoo explains.
Having this time to reflect has confirmed that I like the energy I’m attracting here. My small business has grown steadily, my pre-pandemic life never failed to offer a good time, and I’ve made a tight little crew of friends. Living away from family has given me time to breathe and space to be myself without pressure to conform. While the general isolation of COVID-19 made me yearn for the familiarity of home, ultimately a visit will probably suffice.
So, while any sort of locational astrology can be helpful when you’re deciding where to move, it’s important to consider one major caveat: You bring yourself, your likes and dislikes, and your instincts with you wherever you go. As Lanyadoo says, “Everywhere you are, there you are, girl.”
Story originally appeared on Elle.
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