Excuse me, am I near a farm?’ I was cycling up a hill in Byron Bay, Australia, in 35°C heat, asking passers-by for directions. While most tourists go to the beaches to ride the waves, I spent an hour searching for fields—all because my astrologer told me to.
Eventually, the stars aligned, and I alighted at a sign that simply read: ‘The Farm’. As I turned off the main road, I came across a field of bright sunflowers. It was an unexpected haven of joy—especially when I found out the rustic looking barn was a restaurant, and everything, from the slow-roasted beetroot to the harissa cauliflower, was fresh produce. I realised my astrologer had led me to a true Taurean paradise.
Growing up, I didn’t pay attention to my horoscope. I vaguely identified with the Taurean stereotype of being a stubborn food lover but I was too much of a pragmatist to take it further. However, over the past few years, significant changes in my life, such as a break-up with my partner of four years, have meant I’ve become interested in astrology as a source of guidance. I’m not the only one; it’s more popular than ever.
When a friend recommended astrologer Francesca Oddie (francescaoddie.com), I was at a turning point. I was nearly 30, I had left my job at a national newspaper to write my third novel, a semi-autobiographical comedy about a girl on a journey of self-discovery. I didn’t even know what country I wanted to live in, and I was struggling to move on after my break-up. It was a new chapter.
I wasn’t entirely convinced about astrology but I was prepared to try anything in my search for clarity. And when Francesca turned the hour, date and location of my birth into an astral chart, that’s exactly what I got.
My chart showed I was basically all earth elements: overly opinionated, I grow through travel and I’m constantly turning ideas into passion projects. It was so eerily accurate that when Francesca mentioned that star charts can be used to plan trips (seriously, it’s a thing, called astro cartography), I decided to try it.
I told Francesca about plans to stay with friends in Australia, and she advised me what parts of the country would be good for my personal, career and spiritual development. None of my friends were free, so I was going to have to go alone— making it my first ever big solo trip. It was daunting but, thanks to Francesca’s help, I was excited to get started. Within hours of our meeting, she’d emailed me a map of Australia covered in lines, each one marking a different experience. She was specific: if I went to Western Australia, Saturn would be in the ascendant, so I wouldn’t be able to express myself. If I headed to the Gold Coast, it would be the opposite, and more conducive to writing about my feelings (what I needed for the novel), while a trip to Queensland would allow me to ‘meet old and new acquaintances’.
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