Travel by Your Stars

Redhead girl with suitcase on Eiffel tower background

Chance favors the prepared mind. – Louis Pasteur

By far the greatest number of spontaneous synchronistic phenomena that I have had occasion to observe and analyze can easily be shown to have a direct connection with an archetype. ~ C. G. Jung, Synchronicity, An Acausal Principle

I first discovered astro*carto*graphy, travel or relocation by the stars, by chance. I’d been studying astrology for several years, and tooling around on I clicked on “Astro Click Travel” and the whole world opened up to me in a new way. My astrology lines wrap around the globe?!!!! I felt like a metaphysical wonder woman given her first invisible jet. I could fly around the world sensing invisible energies and pioneering my course in a way that no one I knew ever had. If, through discovering astrology, I had been given the metaphysical key of the universe, this astro-mapping was a whole other exciting set of secret maps to experience and explore. The coolest thing of all? The feedback was instant. This magical jet allowed me to project myself into time and space by making some basic assumptions about the type of experience I’d have at those places I’d always dreamed of. Then I could go there.

First, I tested traveling astrology theories on the places I’d already been. For every time I’ve moved, I’ve been my own petri dish, an experimental test case for astro-cartography. My hometown: Santa Fe, NM where life had been very difficult for me. Unsurprisingly, I discovered my Pluto ASC line ran smack through Santa Fe, and once again, astrology successfully validated my experience. Oh, that’s why life in this charming little artist community was more trial by fire than picturesque artist enclave! I got the hell out of dodge, Mabel (for New Mexicans, that’s an insider reference to the Mabel Dodge Ranch in Taos). Spying a kinder gentler life in South Carolina, I had moved there to attend University– on my Venus Mid-Heaven line. Corroborating nicely with my own Tenth House Venus, I majored in art, eventually holding a Curatorial Assistant position coveted by my peers in the city’s first Art Museum. After I graduated I moved out West to San Francisco, near my Neptune IC line. At this point you’re probably wondering, Why ever would you do that? Neptune pulled one over and eluded me, of course (if I even looked at my astrology lines at that time, I’m not sure I’d registered Neptune). Neptune is the planet of vision and dreams, and I had a dream of living in Shangri-La California. The reality was unbearably cold, wet and foggy. I spent the first five years attempting to leave, moving out of state twice, only to be swept back. Eventually, using other crafty methods of astro-plotting (comparing my natal synastry with city incorporation charts), I settled in a warm-ish, drier little town just north of the Bay where Juno IC line came into high relief. Juno is the asteroid goddess of marriage. This is where I married my husband, and now live.

In hindsight, using astro-mapping as the only criteria to relocate to a place is a silly idea. One astrologer acquaintance of mine decides where in the world to spend each year by relocating his solar return to his best advantage. I understand that it works for him but I’m not entirely convinced as to how that plays out in the long run. No matter where we are, the Universe is infinitely creative at folding whatever timely spiritual karma is at hand into our experience of anywhere (now, I always look at transits and progressions for supplementary information on an experience of place: just as our planets can be superimposed onto the globe, so can our transits and progressions). And it’s rare that life gives us the generous luxury of choosing where we want to live — more often there’s a job, a relationship or relative magnetizing us in one direction. So as much as I like to believe it’s a wide open world, that we’re each our own Columbus at our oyster helm, when it comes to the big decisions of our lives, money, security, relationships, and gravity usually win out. Or so says my ninth house Saturn.

Instead of using Astro-Mapping as a solution to rootlessness, lovelessness or homelessness (I speak from experience here), I now believe the best way to use this method is to be your own experiment. Astro-map your trip, before you go. Set an intention around what you’d like to experience- given all the places and possibilities that could happen. Then take said trip, and witness what unfolds. I promise, your trip will not only be a more personally rich and exciting time for it, but the very first time you directly experience what life is like on your ‘Venus Line’ or ‘Moon Line’ you will probably never look at travel, or geography, in the same way again.

Astro-Mapping Techniques


This popular technique was developed by Jim Lewis, and here’s how it works. Let’s say you were born at sunset in Italy. At that moment, in Japan, the Sun would be rising, in San Francisco it would be high noon in the sky, and in Bombay it would be midnight. Astrologers who plot these rising, setting, noon and midnight points onto a special astro*carto*graphy map call these your “Sun lines”. The rising, setting, noon and midnight points correlate to the four angles of the birth chart: the rising or Ascendant (ASC), the setting or Descendant (DSC), noon or MidHeaven (MC) and midnight or Imum Coeli (IC). We do the same for all the planets: when you were born, somewhere in the world Venus was rising, the Moon was setting, etc. so when we relocate we discover that certain energies in our birth chart are strengthened. For example, we might find our ‘spiritual home’ on a Moon (home) or Jupiter (spirituality) line, or find our Venus (art, love & relaxation) line a creative and relaxing place.

Relocated Charts

Obviously your birth chart is more than just four angles. As you globetrot east or westward, you take your entire chart with you which means that when you move, your whole chart is relocated to a new place. The difference between astro-cartography and a relocated chart is where astro-cartrography tells you where energy is strongest by examining planets that fall on the strongest four angles, the re-locational chart includes all twelve houses of the birth chart and therefore offers more information.

A relocated chart acts similar to a permanent transit; it affects your entire experience of place for the duration of your stay. Now might be a good time to answer the question, Does this mean that when you move your birth chart changes? No. But… Your spiritual karma stays the same. However, you will tweak your chart by moving, so a move will subtly color the spiritual intention of your actual natal chart, perhaps making one area of life more accessible over another, or stretching you in new ways. For instance, let’s say you have a reclusive and spiritually minded Twelfth House Natal Sun. You move West and your Sun moves into the expressive Third House, where you have an opportunity to teach meditation classes (teaching= Third House). This could help an otherwise shy recluse, shine.

Local Space Lines

Your planets, originating from your birthplace -or- your current residence- projected like a splayed three hundred and sixty degree compass onto a flattened horizon line.

Here’s a more technical definition quoted from Winstar II files, “This technique views the chart as a map of the 360 degrees of the horizon surrounding an even such as birth, with the various planets’ positions plotted on it. This chart, then, describes the horizon of a place…The planets are projected onto the horizon using the coordinates, azimuth and altitude (instead of the zodiac’s longitude and ecliptic latitude). Local space is mainly used to show a direction that would be empowering (according to specific planetary meaning) to the individual. Astrologers might use the technique to see where they could prefer to live. For example, they may wish to go to an area with a more pronounced Mars activity level, according to their birth chart. Or, the concept can be applied to changes in your immediate vicinity, such as where to plant a garden when using your home as the reference point.”

Local Space can be used on a macro or micro level, an add on to the above techniques, or as a form of astrological Feng Shui for your home.  Imagine a compass projecting lines on a global level, or inside your house. Is your office located on a local space Mercury line? Is your refrigerator on a local space Jupiter line? Maybe that’s why you keep running for the refrigerator at all hours of the day!

Traveling By Your Stars, How It Works

At the time I stumbled upon this new tool, life hadn’t afforded me the opportunity to travel internationally. At age thirty-two, I made my first international trip and my astro-mapping knowledge came with me. Before I travel, now I always check my star map and then pack and plan accordingly. It’s not exactly as concrete as knowing how to effectively pack one’s suitcase for the right weather; more like being able to spot opportunities and energies you might not have otherwise noticed had you not looked.

For example, in June we were going to Italy. I noticed my Sun line setting there, and my North Node rising. Generally, the setting Sun highlights partnerships and the Nodal lines bring interesting karmic partnerships and alliances. This is cookbook astrology 101; similar information to what we might find out on a computer service, it’s good, but it’s not totally specific. A good astrologer will overlay this type of information onto the natal chart. After all, it is my Sun and my Node!

My natal Capricorn North Node is in the Third House- the house of information exchange and teaching – meaning that in Italy, this particular part of my life would start behaving in a First House (Rising or Ascendant) manner. In a similar vein, relocated to Italy, my natal Sun in the Ninth House of philosophy and higher education would become a Seventh House Sun, a people and partnership oriented placement. So how did we use this information? My husband acted as my Seventh House Sun-liaison, pitching a lecture on the astrology of travel to our host, a proprietor of a bed and breakfast. The response was enthusiastic. Yes, they wanted me to speak to a group at their hotel. In fact, the owner’s fiance loved astrology -and she was from the Bay Area, like me. Not only would they host a special reception on their candlelit veranda in my honor, they would also advertise me on their website to visitors and locals alike, and the result was a beautiful Gemini Full Moon “Travel By Your Stars” lecture given to a group of 15 Italians and Swedes on the Adriatic Sea. My absolute favorite part of the experience, besides being surrounded by Italian men? The Italian Virgo man who offered to be my veritable Vanna White, holding the globe for me as I spoke (you really can’t beat that symbolism)!


Karmic Disclaimer

Does all this sound exciting? Are you getting heady with having a super power at your fingertips? When a synchronous opportunity: a chance to relocate or go on an exotic getaway clicks into your evolutionary intent of the moment, great things can happen. You may not become another person, but such a serendipitous move can re-make you. I have witnessed many a great thing happen in great places. Lives change. Books written. People fall in love. Places are that powerful.

Yet, now my Ninth House Saturn must gently remind that we cannot change our birth karma and soul purpose by astro-relocating to a new place. While we can experience different facets of our self in different places and so bloom in new ways, we take our evolutionary journey with us, the good and the difficult. For instance, we may have relationship troubles up the yahzoo and after reading a lovely description, believe our Venus line promises a life of erotic bliss. If we have intense relationship karma to work through and we move to a Venus line, we could attract intense experiences in love- because that’s our spiritual work.

And because it’s a creative universe there are so many ways to experience, say, the Goddess of Love. Once I traveled to my Venus MidHeaven in Cairo, Egypt, “perhaps a good place to find a partner”, the astrological software said. I was already married, so what happened? Soon after dusk, from our hotel room balcony, we witnessed wedding after wedding occurring in the nearby courtyards. Let me reiterate; Big Fat Egyptian weddings blaring loud music till 2 AM every. single. night.

So while you know what to expect, you also have no idea what to expect – if you know what I mean.

That’s the job of the trained astrologer– to a degree. An astrologer trained in astro-mapping can help you understand the map. We may have a map of your consciousness, but we do not intimately know your consciousness. Perhaps the most important key in understanding how you will respond, favorably or unfavorably, to a place, is to understand how you already experience the archetypes of those planets in your life today, apply your experience to what you think could possibly happen on those planetary lines and be open to fresh discoveries.

Then book a ticket & find out. Experience is always the best teacher.

© 2011 by Jessica Shepherd