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Imagine a world where you could predetermine your success—in love, career, personal growth and more—just by looking at a map. If there’s one thing most of us have been dreaming about over the past eight months, it’s the joy of traveling. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably contemplated moving to Europe, Hawaii or Australia for the thrill of doing something—anything—different than living, working and exercising within the same four walls.

As a Cancer, I’m absolutely enjoying this time of slowing down and having no choice but to be a home body. No plans to make and cancel last minute? Score. But I’m also craving a sense of adventure, big time, and all this time to think has put my wanderlust into hyperdrive, dreaming up where I might land in the future (safely, of course).

That’s what led me to Dara Dubinet, an energy mover, life changer and astrocartography (or what she dubs astrogeography) expert based in sunny Los Angeles. Don’t worry—we’ll explain.

So, what is astrocartography?

Dubinet “sees the unseen” by taking a person’s natal chart and using the position of the planets at the exact time of birth to inform where in the world they’ll thrive—aka the very definition of astrocartography. The school of thought has actually been around for years, but it was simplified in 1978 by an astrologer named Jim Lewis who streamlined a complicated method of planet mapping and coined it “astrocartography.” (Dubinet later altered the term to “astrogeography” to make it even clearer.) It still seemed a bit confusing at first, but after talking to Dubinet, I learned that it’s quite simple once you have the tools necessary to decipher all the lines on your own chart. (P.S. you can look yours up by entering your birth date, time and location at Astro.com, and clicking on AstroClick Travel under Free Horoscopes.)

If you’re reading this thinking it sounds like a whole bunch of woo-woo, you’re not alone. Though I love a good horoscope reading, I was admittedly skeptical. But Dubinet ensured me that it’s actually a practical life tool. “Any time we’re thinking of relocating, traveling or starting a business venture somewhere new, it’s smart to understand what energies a potential destination holds for us,” she explained. If nothing else, it's super fun to look up and make sense of your own wanderlust.

In the most basic of terms, at the exact time and location of your birth, the planets are all in a completely unique arrangement within space. If you follow astrology and the zodiac, you know that each planet represents a different energy force (hence why moon-ruled Cancers are moody and sun-ruled Leos are fiery). Well, those same energy forces can be applied to specific latitudinal lines on the globe, stemming from the position of each planet. This might ring a bell if you took a work trip to Seattle and felt the most loving energy there—it was probably on your Venus line, i.e. the planet responsible for love and affection. Or maybe you moved to Texas and found it to be an exceptionally challenging yet transformative experience—then it might have been on your Pluto line, i.e. the planet that represents death and transformation. It is important to note that there are no bad or good lines, according to Dubinet—just challenging or supportive. If you’ve always dreamed of moving to Tulum, but your Saturn line runs right through it, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. It could just be the shakeup you need to come out a better, stronger person on the other side.

How do you decipher your chart?

Once you’ve plugged your birth date, time and location into Astro.com (note: this needs to be exact, because even being a few minutes off could completely shift your chart), it will generate a map of the entire world with an overwhelming amount of crisscrossing rainbow lines undulating through it. Each of the lines is linked with a specific planet or celestial body, which brings out certain qualities in you when you’re in a place within 700 miles to the left or right of that line, also known as the orb of influence.

Here’s a snapshot of my chart for reference:

astro.com

A little hectic, huh? To read it, you must first learn what energies each of the planets harness. Thanks to Dubinet, I got access to her Intro to Astrogeography video courses to learn the basics. But here’s a brief rundown.

  • Sun line: Dubinet calls this our fame and reputation line. It’s how we’re viewed by others. If you're pursuing an acting career and Los Angeles is on your sun line, that would be the most perfect situation.
  • Moon line: The moon represents our feminine nature, our nurturing abilities and our desires. Looking to start a family? Channel the energy of the moon or quite literally take a vacay somewhere on your moon line.
  • Neptune line: This is where our spirituality lies. If you want to connect to the unconscious or explore the mysteries of life, go somewhere on your Neptune line.
  • Venus line: Venus represents love, visual beauty, relationships and affection as well as style and the arts. “It’s the place you’ll look and feel most beautiful,” says Dubinet. Finally ready to find the one? You could meet them on your Venus line.
  • Mars line: Mars is passion and energy in regard to achievement. Opposite the moon, it’s where your masculine, competitive energy lies.
  • Mercury line: Mercury is the planet of communication; it’s where to go to tap into your writing skills, say, if you’re looking to write a novel.
  • Jupiter line: Jupiter is the planet of fortune, blessings and abundance. It’s your good luck charm.
  • Saturn line: Dubinet calls this the “task master planet.” It’s a more challenging line that focuses on discipline, order and rules. It may not be fun to live on, but would be great for short term, like choosing where to go to college.
  • Uranus line: Opposite of Saturn, Uranus comes in the form of rebelliousness, surprises and change. Go here for an adventure off the beaten path as part of an Eat, Pray, Love journey.
  • Pluto line: Many people fear the Pluto line, because it represents death and rebirth. But it’s also a planet of extreme transformation, so it’s the perfect place to go if you need to shake things up and come out a new person.
  • Chiron line: Dubinet describes the asteroid Chiron as the wounded healer. It has a kind and patient energy that helps us help others. (Might be useful to consider for that Peace Corp application.)
  • North and south nodes: These coordinate with the moon and signify a karmic connection. You might get the feeling of déjà vu or familiarity as if you’ve been there before. You'll know exactly what I'm talking about if you went to Ireland (or anywhere) for the first time and it felt like home.

There are also four angles at which the lines go through your chart. You might notice that you have two Venus lines at different locations on the map and, depending on their position, they could relate to different aspects of life. For instance, one could have the code AC next to it while another has MC. Here’s how to tell what each relates to:

  • Ascending (AC): If a planet is ascending, it relates to your self-expression in the world, how you present yourself. If you travel to an ascending planet’s location, you’ll adopt the appearance and energies of said planet. Is your Venus on the AC? This is the ultimate combination for radiating physical beauty.
  • Imum Coeli (IC): This represents your place of belonging in the world. You’ll be centered through the energies of the influencing planet here. If Pluto is on the IC in your chart, you might feel unrest in your personal relationships in this location.
  • Midheaven (MC): If a planet is on the midheaven, it relates to how it affects you both socially and in your career; what you’re drawn to in this respect. Is your Mercury on the MC? This is basically a plea from the universe to go write the next great American novel or follow your dreams of becoming a podcast host.
  • Descendant (DC): This category represents what energies you’re drawing to yourself in terms of others i.e. in relationships and friendships. Dubinet warns that you have to be careful with this one when it comes to relationships, but if a positive energetic force is on the DC, like Venus, Jupiter or the Sun, it can bring forth a lasting, positive connection.

You might also notice that some lines intersect or run directly on top of, or extremely close to another. This means that the energies of each line influence one another, creating an entity all its own. You have to take all energies into account if traveling to or relocating to that point. Pro tip: Click on any of the lines or crossings in your chart and more information will pop up on the right side of the website to help you decipher what exactly they mean.

What if traveling or relocating isn’t an option?

Understandably, not everyone is Emily in Paris and gets the opportunity to relocate to France—most people can’t just up and leave at the drop of a hat. If your Venus line is in Los Angeles, but you live in Chicago, does that mean you’ll never truly feel beautiful or have a great relationship if you stay in Chicago? Luckily, no. Dubinet explains that though visiting a geographical location is certainly the best way to soak up its astrological energy, physically traveling to the place isn’t the only way to experience it. My moon’s nodes happen to go directly through Italy, which Astro.com tells me is a great line to retire on. Sure, I’m not quite at retirement age yet, but Dubinet explains that I can call in that stress-free atmosphere by cooking Italian food, listening to Italian music, watching movies based in Italy, wearing Italian clothing designers (Gucci, if you’re listening…), decorating my home with Italian décor, etc. Though I’m for sure making it a life goal to retire in Puglia and eat olives fresh off the trees, for now I’ll settle for pasta.

After speaking with Dubinet, so many of my travel experiences just made sense. It also gave me some insight into where I should go next. Perhaps I’ll spend some time in Los Angeles or Portugal to tap into my Venus line, head to London for a transformative experience or go to Brazil to pen the novel I’ve always dreamed of writing. And until I can safely travel again, I’ll be touring the globe via my kitchen. Tonight, I’m cracking open a bottle of vinho verde and whisking myself away to Lisbon. Where will you go next?

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