Astrocartography is the latest trend disrupting the travel industry. Jenny Southan explores the growing number of holiday-makers looking to the stars before they book their holiday.
It turns out that sunshine, great restaurants and beautiful beaches aren’t the only reasons you should book that flight to catch some winter sun. An increasing number of travellers are looking to astrocartography before they plan their itinerary, charting their route according to detailed birth charts and the zodiac calendar. The thinking is that spending time in “power zones”, which are linked to the time and location of your birth, will activate elements of your personality to help you improve every aspect of your life: your relationships, your career or even your self-confidence.
Astrocartography is more complex than simply googling your horoscope. According to astro.com, which generates free astro maps for those interested in testing certain astrological influences on holiday, these charts show areas of the world that have a connection to the sun, moon, planets and “cardinal houses” (the Ascendant, Midheaven, Imum Coeli and the Descendant) at the time of a person’s birth. By looking at where your planetary lines fall, you can ascertain specific energy centres that will affect you in a unique way.
For example, a Scorpio born at 11am in London in 1982 might do well taking a long weekend in Gibraltar, where their Mars/Ascendent line passes through. It’s here that they will feel increased motivation to turn plans into reality. Alternatively, if they are seeking deeper meaning, a road trip to north-west Iceland would be powerful because this is where their Chiron/Descendent line (related to internal healing) crosses over. Astro.com says: “Along this line, you gain direct contact with your shadow side and discover dark and unresolved aspects to your polarity,” adding that “you meet new people who fascinate and greatly impress you with their diversity. Perhaps you will fall in love and start an intense and unusual friendship.”
In the past, astrology has always struggled with establishing its credibility and though many of us might see our horoscopes as a bit of a laugh, there is no denying the resurgence in its popularity. New astrology apps are launching weekly, such as Sanctuary, which promises to illuminate one’s understanding of the self and how to live their life. The Pattern app and social network has already gained a celebrity following in Hollywood, while Co-star won more than US$5 million in funding last spring. Powered by artificial intelligence, the app uses real-time data from NASA to generate “hyper-personalised” horoscopes.
Recognising this shift in consumer appetite, forward-looking travel companies are tapping into the “Big Zodiac” zeitgeist in innovative ways. In January, W Hotels partnered with Ruby Warrington, founder of cosmic lifestyle platform The Numinous, to create an astrology guide to accommodation in the Asia-Pacific based entirely on your star sign. With a yearning for “epic expeditions to ancient sites and monuments,” Capricorns, for instance, should book the W Xi’an in China, at the start of the old Silk Road.
Down in Sydney, the Ultimo claims to be the world’s first “astrology hotel”. Staff will ask for your star sign when you check in so they can create an astrologically-aligned itinerary for your visit, including “gastrological” restaurant recommendations. Created in partnership with professional astrologer Pia Lehmann, the guides remind water signs like Pisceans to allow for time on their own, plenty of sleeping and swimming and activities such as taking a cooking class at the Sydney Fish Market.
Ever the trailblazer, Soho House has had its own in-house astrologer, Carolyne Faulkner, author of The Signs: Decode the Stars, Reframe Your Life, for years. Described by some as “Britain’s coolest astrologer,” she uses astrological charts to “help people take control of their destiny.” One hour of personal coaching costs £450. Overseas, less expensive Vedic birth chart readings are on offer in places such as Bali, while this summer, “astrologer to the stars” Susan Miller took up residence at the luxury resort Daios Cove in Crete, offering guests hour-long readings.
For astro-wanderers, 2020 holds a number of cosmic occurrences, not least a total solar eclipse on December 14, which will be observable from Chile and Argentina. In readiness, luxury travel company Prior will be arranging a two-week trip to a purpose-built camp in Chile’s alien Araucanía lakes region. If you happen to be celebrating your 30th birthday on the day of the eclipse, this journey could be particularly profound. Because of the path the Moon’s Node/Ascendent takes, Astro.com says locating yourself here will mean “your self-confidence grows, you appear free and self-assured, and trust in your own abilities.” Whether or not you’re a devout believer in astrology, if there’s a trip to Chile on the cards, who are we to argue with the stars?