At the peak of my Saturn Return, I moved to Los Angeles. I packed up the life I’d been building for nearly 12 years in NYC into a 2010 Toyota Prius and tried not to look back. It was an impulsive decision—“flippant” is what I say when I tell the story now—but at the time, I was feeling empowered by my choices. I was seeking freedom. The problem is: I’d tried to move to Los Angeles before, just after graduating from college, and I hated it. So why was I making another attempt? Something had always drawn me to the city, and it was more than just the intrigue of Hollywood and the promise of endless summer. It was something more primal. A magnetic pull. You see, Los Angeles is on my Mars line. Mars is heat, passion, action, fire, libido. Los Angeles is a place that inspires me to get moving, even if it also inspires me to leave as quickly as I arrive. I lasted eight months in the City of Angels on that second attempt, before speeding back across the country on a return road trip—my Prius’ hatchback trunk filled to the brim, blocking any regrets I might have from the rearview.
Have you ever felt pulled to a city in this way—like it was your geographical twin flame? What about that dreamy, romantic weekend you had on a business trip to Ottawa? Was that just a fluke? And why did it feel like you could just never settle down in your college town? There is an explanation for all of this. It’s called locational astrology. Want to know where you need to move to boost your career or finally find your soulmate? Here’s a primer on everything you need to know about this intriguing technique.
So, what is relocational astrology exactly?
Relocation astrology (or locational astrology) is actually a collection of astrological techniques, which includes:
1. The relocated birth chart
2. Astrocartography maps
3. Local space
Because local space is more about where you are now, and we’re interested in where you should go, we’ll be focusing on relocated charts and astrocartography.
The relocated chart
Your birth chart is a map of the sky at the exact time and location that you were born, showing where all the planets, the sun, moon and other points of interest were in the sky at that instant. The relocated chart captures this same moment for all of the planets but in a different city and thus at a different time of day. If you were born at 12:00 p.m. in NYC, at that same moment it was 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 6:00 p.m. in Paris, etc. The relocated chart adjusts for the time zone and the geographical coordinates of the new city. Don’t worry, the relocated chart doesn’t change your sun or moon sign. In fact, it doesn’t change the sign or degree of any of the planets in your chart. What it does change is the rising sign (or ascendant degree) and subsequently the rest of the angles:the midheaven (or career point), the IC (or home point) and the DC (or relationship point), as well as the rest of the houses in your chart.
You can calculate your own relocated chart here. As a beginner to the technique, first take note of the new rising sign, as that alone will give you a ton of information. For example, if you’re a Libra rising on the East Coast, you’re probably a Leo rising on the West Coast. In one place, you’re polite and cute and in another, you’re bold and elegant. From here, you can note which planets become more prominent and get more advanced seeing how planets fall into different houses in each chart.
Astrocartography takes your birth chart and maps your natal promise across the world. Advanced by astrologer Jim Lewis in the 1970’s, astrocartography is less about individual relocated charts and more about orbs of influence throughout the world. Taking your chart and highlighting not just cities but entire latitudes where certain planets gain prominence. Because each relocated chart shifts the angles (or axis), different house topics and planetary aspects are highlighted in different locations.
For example, in my birth chart, I have a very loud conjunction of Mars (action) and Jupiter (expansion). Though this conjunction can be quite explosive, in my birth location, it shows up in a part of the chart that doesn’t affect me on an acute, day-to-day level and honestly shows up more as occasionally reckless decisions (like moving to LA). But, via astrocartography, this conjunction sits right on my midheaven (career and public image point) somewhere deep in the desert outside Los Angeles, and its influence is present for me throughout the West Coast. Though Los Angeles is an unstable home for me, I was able to make some major strides career-wise there. A part of my chart that usually only shows up subconsciously finally took center stage.
Astrodienst has a tool which allows you to click through various maps to check where different planets apply their influence most strongly. These are referred to as “planetary lines.” It’s said that you can feel the influence of the planet/line most strongly when you’re within 300 miles, with the influence being more beneficial to the West of the line.
Here’s a cheat sheet for what each of the lines emphasizes most:
Sun Line: You can’t hide on a sun line. If you’re seeking validation, attention or just warmth, head here. Though too much sun is a thing (wear your sunscreen and cover up!), these places boost your confidence and ego, allowing you to freely take up more space.
Moon Line: Moon lines help you get in touch with your inner rhythms, desires and emotions. This can be both deeply empowering and highly destabilizing. Move to a Moon line (or even vacation there) when you’re ready to get real and feel all the feelings.
Mercury Line: Your mind will be constantly buzzing on a Mercury line. You’re reading a lot, thinking a lot and talking a lot. Mercury is the trickster and the most flexible of the planets, so this can be a place where you socialize constantly but also where you can easily become overstimulated.
Venus Line: Venus is the planet of love and desire and you can definitely find your soulmate on a Venus line. Even if you don’t fall in love, this will typically be a place where you feel connected, supported and creative. Also, you might not meet a lover on your Venus line, but you may discover that a Venus line runs through your partner’s hometown!
Mars Line: Mars is the planet of action and separation, and nothing is ever dull when living on or visiting a Mars line. Expect constant movement and lots of energy in these places. Depending on how Mars fits into your chart, this line could leave you overheated or inspired.
Jupiter Line: Jupiter is a teacher, mentor and guru. In fact, you might notice that a Jupiter line runs through the city where you studied abroad, took a meditation retreat or went to undergrad. Jupiter lines bring inspiration, expansion and the culmination of goals. Jupiter is also the planet of luck (both good and bad), so things may feel especially fated in these locations.
Saturn Line: Things get serious on the Saturn line. Heavy. Responsible. If you’re looking to commit to something, whether that’s a relationship or a career, the Saturn line improves your discipline (though it can also make you melancholy).
Uranus Line: The only thing permanent is impermanence on a Uranus line. Uranus is the disruptor planet, and its influence tends to keep everything constantly in flux. Uranus is also an innovator and revolutionary and this is a good location to fight for the future you believe in.
Neptune Line: If you’re seeking a dreamy escape, head to your Neptune line. When here, you get that feeling of falling down the rabbit hole and wearing rose colored glasses. This is a long, strange trip and a wonderful vacation. Neptune lines can also be places where you gain influence and carry a certain mystique. People want what you have here.
Pluto Line: Pluto lines are as transformational as they are volatile. The perfect place to go if you want to burn it all down and start over again. Less ideal if you’re looking to relax or continue what you’ve already started though.
This is just a launching point for location astrology, as obviously each chart is different and even the tiniest nuance can turn a Pluto line from an eruption to a spiritual haven, or a Venus line from a sweet vacation to a spot for a tempestuous love affair. The best way to learn more, once you’ve checked out some of the basics yourself, is of course to get a reading with a professional astrologer specializing in locational astrology who can dive deep into your specific chart. For now, happy cosmic travels!
Jaime Wright is an astrologer based in New York. You can subscribe to her newsletter for more musings on the stars.