I Used Astrocartography to Decide Where to Travel Next. Here’s How It Went.

This travel-based astrology practice can help you determine the best destinations for visiting, living, and working.

An astrocartography chart showing different color lines criss-crossing a map of United States and Canada

An astrocartography chart is based on the paths of celestial bodies.

Photo by Maliah West

Have you ever visited a place and felt an instant connection? Or found yourself drawn to a specific culture? There may be an explanation. Astrocartography is a method of travel astrology that attempts to determine the best destinations to visit based on the locations of the sun, moon, and planets during the exact moment of your birth. An offshoot of traditional astrology, this concept has been rumbling around for a long while, but it rose to popularity in the 1970s thanks to Jim Lewis, who later wrote The Astro Carto Graphy Book of Maps: The Astrology of Relocation (Llewellyn Publications, 1981). According to astrocartography’s principles, if you visit locations where the planets were in powerful positions when you were born, you’ll likely have a more active travel experience. For believers, this technique can be a useful tool for identifying destinations that are ideal for a variety of travel situations, from vacations to relocations.

As 2024 approaches, I wanted to get a sense of my own astrocartography chart and learn more about which destinations I should prioritize in the coming year and beyond. For help, I turned to astrologers Clarisse Monahan, a teacher and writer who goes by the name Venus in Retrograde, and Lisa Stardust, author of Saturn Return Survival Guide (Hardie Grant Books, 2021). Both shared tips, tricks, and best practices for accessing and reading your astrocartography chart, as a way to plan your next trip.

Here’s what I learned about using astrocartography for my travels.

Astrocartography basics

The ins and outs of astrocartography can be complicated, but there are a few basics to keep in mind.

First, it’s all about lines. Each planet, plus the sun and the moon, creates paths across the globe—or planetary lines—based on where they were in the sky at the time of your birth. And those lines tell us where each planet was at its most powerful. When examining your astrocartography chart, it’s important to pay attention to where those lines fall, as those are the places where you’re likely to feel the biggest impact from the planetary energy associated with each line.

For example, a trip to a location on one of your Venus lines can make you feel confident, beautiful, romantic, harmonic, enjoyable, in love, and at ease. Mercury is connected to great communication, curiosity, openness, and sociability, so if you want to learn new things and connect with a writing project, consider traveling along this line.

Second, location matters too. As Stardust explained, if one of your lines goes through Los Angeles, for instance, you’ll feel its impact most strongly in the city, but you’ll continue to feel it up to 150 miles away as you continue out toward Orange County or San Diego.

Planning a trip directly on a line will have the biggest impact, but it’s not the only way to leverage the line’s powers. For example, if one of your lines goes through Thailand, you may find yourself especially drawn to Thai food, culture, music, and even people no matter where you are in the world. So all in all, you don’t have to uproot your entire life and relocate because a powerful line goes through a specific city; you can immerse yourself in learning a new culture close to home instead (also known as remote activation).

Third, it can be helpful to go into an astrocartography reading with basic knowledge of your birth chart, which you can access via a birth chart calculator like this one. You’ll need your birth date, time, and location, to get an accurate chart.

How to pull your astrocartography chart

Monahan and Stardust recommend using the beginner-friendly site astro.com to pull up your astrocartography chart.

The image you get of a map covered with many lines and curves may look intimidating, but Monahan recommends starting things off with a simple step: by just looking at lines that intersect with places that you love or have been drawn to and thinking about how you felt when you were there. “Chances are you’ve been to some of your lines,” Monahan says. “Use your own empirical evidence, like, did that [visit] feel good to you, did that [visit] not feel good to you?”

Each of the lines has several symbols at its start and end that you’ll have to decipher. Some refer to planets, and by consulting a planet symbol key, you can get an idea of the energy each planet is supposedly associated with. For example, astrocartographers believe that Neptune can offer a dreamy, spiritual experience, while Saturn’s energy is about restriction, discipline, and control.

There are also cardinal points (AC, DC, MC, IC), or the letter symbols you’ll find underneath each planetary symbol. These points represent the direction each planet was moving in when you were born and are the most powerful points in your astrocartography chart. To get started, you’ll only need to pay attention to your Ascendant (AC) line and Descendant (DC) line. The Ascendant line is thought to be the most empowering and personal because the energy it highlights is internal, while the Descendant line is the opposite and is all about relationships and how people will interact with you.

In terms of using all this information for travel advice, Stardust recommends sticking to the Ascendant line and the destinations it touches as it can give you a good idea of how you’ll feel when in a specific place.

Aerial view of Vancouver with trees, harbor, and city skyline

From my astrocartography chart, it looked like Vancouver could be a good place for me.

Photo by Mike Benna/Unsplash

What I learned from my own astrocartography readings

My first order of business during my astrocartography readings was to find out if my current home base of New York best serves me. Jupiter lines are about expansion, luck, wealth, and generosity, and luckily for me, my Jupiter Descendant line runs within a 200-mile radius of New York, making it easy for me to connect with people and keep a positive mindset while here. My Venus Ascendant goes through Vancouver, Boise, Salt Lake City, and El Paso, which means that these are locations where things would be very easy for me, especially when it comes to attracting money and love.

I also found that I’m typically drawn to places where my Venus line (confidence and enjoyment) and Saturn line (structure and discipline) intersect, such as Mexico City, which I’ve visited twice, and Madrid, Spain, where I studied abroad in college. Monahan explained that this might be my way of trying to add structure to my life while also indulging in some enjoyment.

Because of my Uranus Moon line, both Monahan and Stardust predicted that I would have fun, but strange experiences in Rome, Berlin, and Copenhagen. This might look like bumping shoulders with eclectic locals or challenging myself to do things I don’t normally do while traveling.

Most interesting to me, though, is my North Node IC (relating to introspection, security, and home building) that runs through Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco (my Venus Ascendant also runs through most of these cities). Those lines suggest that I am destined to be in that area and that something essential to my development will happen to me while I’m there. Whether that’s a big life change, finding my life’s purpose, or my soulmate, I can’t say that I’m not thinking about booking a trip to Vancouver in the next year.

What’s next for me

After getting schooled on astrocartography 101 by Monahan and Stardust, and making my way through my own chart, I absolutely plan to use astrocartography as a trip-planning tool in the future. Though Stardust makes it clear that no matter what the energy is like on any of your lines, free will is still very much at play: “Astrology can tell us the energy that’s happening, but we also have a choice in how to act with that energy.”

It’s also important to know when it’s time to bring in the professionals. “If you’re looking at moving somewhere permanently, or you’re having issues in your life and you really want astrocartography for a profound change, then I would advise going to an astrologer so they can look at your birth chart,” said Monahan.

Finally, even if your lines suggest that you may have a challenging or transformational time at a specific location, that doesn’t mean you should avoid a place completely. Both Monahan and Stardust emphasize that there are no bad destinations—it’s just helpful to be aware of what energy may await you once you arrive.

Maliah West is a New York–based travel writer and editor who previously worked as AFAR’s newsletter editor. Prior to AFAR, she held writing roles at Morning Brew and Business Insider. In her free time, you can find her reading, trying new hobbies, and planning her next trip.
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