NYT touts astrology AGAIN

April 26, 2023 • 8:15 am

Well, the benefits of woo may not be the paper’s editorial stand, but it sure appears a lot in the columns (viz., Tish Harrison Warren) and in the op-ed. This op-ed had the pride of place on the digital NYT front page today—the upper right-hand corner.  It’s a long piece, too: over 1800

It’s by writer Mya Guarnieri, a journalist who now writes for the Deseret News, owned by the Mormon Church and featuring stories about Utah. Well, that makes two forms of woo. In this latest piece, Guarnieri recounts an odyssey she took to Alaska on the advice of her astrologer.

Guarnieri’s life wasn’t going smoothly so, as rational folks do, she consulted an astrologer, who told her to make a “solar return”:

And then I ask myself: Why did I come all the way to Alaska on the advice of a total stranger, to chase something I’m not even sure I believe in — an astrological event called a solar return?

Tilting the Stars in Your Favor

A solar return takes place at the moment when the sun returns to exactly the same location in the sky where it was at the time of your birth, explained Julia Mihas, a San Francisco-based astrologer. This usually takes place every year on or near your birthday.

The thinking behind solar return trips is that just as the place where you’re born has an impact on your birth chart — which supposedly reveals major themes in your life story — so can the place where you spend your solar return affect the year ahead. In essence, an astrologer, using your yearly chart, searches for the place where the stars will be most auspicious at the moment of your solar return, and then you travel to that location. It’s like hacking your horoscope.

These trips, known as aimed solar returns, or A.S.R.s, are central to an approach called active astrology, which holds that you can intervene in your fate.

Let me confess that I’m a little woo-woo. I recently bought a small piece of Libyan desert glass — which is supposed to work with chakras or vibrations or whatever — and hung it over my desk. But solar return trips — which I’d heard about from a friend — seemed out there; I considered one only after my marriage fell apart. That friend connected me to Katia Novikova, a Ukrainian astrologer who lives in Rome.

A LITTLE woo-woo? Who with two neurons to rub together would think that returning to some place that corresponds to the Sun’s position at the moment you were born would help you accurately predict your next year? (If you’re puzzled by now, it’s all explained here.)  After paying 100 euros for a WhatsApp consultation, and chatting a bit with the astrologer in LA, (Safie Dirie_, she was told where she had to go to get the best outcome. (Yes, where you are at the moment of the “solar return” affects the next year.

After I contacted her via email — just a month after I’d filed for divorce — and paid 100 euros, about $110, she had me answer questions about my hopes for the coming year. Then she did her magic and we got on a Whatsapp video chat to discuss the results.

Ms. Novikova started with the chart for my previous birthday. “Miserable,” she said. It was all there — the rise in expenses, the unwanted move to a cramped apartment, the endless arguments with my husband.

My forecast for 2023 would be best, Ms. Novikova said, if I went to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, at 5:12 a.m. local time on Nov. 13. I Googled the place: Beautiful but remote; the logistics were daunting.

Second: Juneau, Alaska. My stomach turned. Far away. Cold. A dark, foreboding landscape that could swallow me up. There’s the Alaska triangle, a vast area of wilderness bounded by the cities of Juneau, Anchorage and Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), where many people have gone missing. The state is also surprisingly dangerous, with one of the highest violent crime rates in the country.

So off to Juneau went Guarnieri. She decided to join an 8K run on the day before her Big Solar Return, and, lagging behind the other runners, got lost. She thought she was gonna die! But a kindly stranger found her and guided her back to the highway.

What does this have to do with astrology?, you ask.  Well, apparently her journey made her luck turn and her dreams come true:

That night, at 4 a.m., I woke up — sans alarm — just a few minutes ahead of my solar return. Lying there in the dark, I listened for, then heard, the raven’s call, which I’d grown to love while in Juneau. I looked at the phone again, and the time had passed. My solar return was over.

After returning to Florida, I framed and hung the yellow race bib on the wall as a talisman, like the Libyan desert stone I’d bought before the trip, as a reminder of how far I’d traveled and how far I’d come. And three weeks later, just like that, my divorce was final. I had faced my fear of being alone.

Oh, and a couple of months after that, an editor — from a university press — made me an offer for my book.

None of this, of course, would have happened if she hadn’t gone to Juneau for her Solar Return. And if the efficacy of astrology isn’t the point of this article, what is?


19 thoughts on “NYT touts astrology AGAIN

  1. When I’m asked for my star sign I always reply “carrot”. It makes just as much sense.

  2. “A fool and his money are easily parted”. I wonder if the astrologer has a side gig with the Alaska tourist board and gets a capitation fee for each visitor referred.

    1. You might want to read the historical novel Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell, whose protagonist sets off on her grand tale under almost those very circumstances in the wake of the Spanish flu pandemic. Honestly, the author of the Times piece could have read the novel herself….or at least the astrologer did.


      It isn’t a good read. It’s a great read.

  3. > After I contacted her via email — just a month after I’d filed for divorce — and paid 100 euros, about $110, she had me answer questions about my hopes for the coming year.

    I bet scammers from all around the globe will be happy this piece has been published… :/

  4. So about 71% of these “solar returns” places would be in the oceans? Which are not carbonated, so the Earth is technically flat?

  5. The Sun, or the Earth for that matter, are not in exactly the same position when we were born. Don’t astrologie realise that the Solar System is moving across the Milky Way? OK, we may not have travelled many parsecs since May 20, 1974, my birthday, but we aren’t now where we were back then. Also, what about the move of other stars in the Gslaxy?
    I guess I should consider finding an astrologist who’d tell me (for free) where to go on my birthday as they consider, say, the Great Magellanic Cloud’s position back then and now. Would make as much sense.

    1. Don’t astrologie realise that the Solar System is moving across the Milky Way?

      Moving at a million miles a day
      In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour
      Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’

      If I recall the lyrics to Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song” correctly. 🙂

      1. You do. And it ends, appositely, thus:

        So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
        How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
        And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
        ‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth!

  6. Anybody come across the nonsense posted by Emma Watson for her “Saturn Return”?
    And that empty-headed dingbat has the cheek to criticise JKRowling? Brain rot.

  7. Out of curiosity — in what allegedly plausible way is this contemporary location at birth determined? 🙂 You were born in X town and Y year. Therefore…some astrologer determines a contemporary “same” location — someplace else on earth I gather than where you were born. How does an astrologer even attempt to make this plausible I’m curious to know?

Leave a Reply