AstroCartography is the relatively recent application of computer technology to project your natal chart onto a global map, revealing a myriad of locations on the planet where different energies resonate, from your most likely locations for financial prosperity and loving relationships to optimal health, spiritual progress and more.
Astrologer and Qi-Jong instructor Elizabeth Smith is an expert in the art of AstroCartography, and has helped people recalibrate their lives by using AstroCartography to assess where they can best align their spiritual and mental needs. In this interview, we discuss the complex art that is AstroCartograpy, how her Qi-Jong practice informs her work with AstroCartography, how it's influenced her own life and people she knows, and more.
She will be conducting a workshop on AstroCartography at The Alchemist's Kitchen in New York City this Thursday, July 26, where participants learn how to engage with this invaluable resource in a variety of ways. Learn more here.
What are the origins of AstroCartography? Who developed it?
Locational astrology in the form of relocated natal charts has been around for centuries, but the use of computer technology to project the natal chart onto a global map known as AstroCartography was developed by astrologer Jim Lewis in the late 1970s. With the traditional relocated natal method of locational astrology, one needs to already have a specific location in mind in order to calculate the chart and see what planetary energies would become angular, and therefore, major influences there. What's revolutionary about AstroCartography is that one can see, at a glance, what planetary energies are active anywhere in the world in the powerful angular houses. Rather than having to already have a place in mind in order to access the astrological information, we can now use the astrology to choose the place. Also, AstroCartography has visually revealed the existence of significant influences known as 'crossings' that are not, to my knowledge, revealed in any traditional astrological chart. It's an auspiciously timely tool for contemporary people who find themselves with so many options in an era of unprecedented global mobility.
Along with astrology, you have 35 years experience as a Qigong instructor. How does this inform your AstroCartography practice?
Both astrology and Qigong, which means 'energy cultivation', are agents of personal alchemy. Historically, they've been studied together as part of the same system of universal knowledge. Practicing Qigong daily for most of my life has made me sensitive to the energies of the natural world, from the physical body to the celestial bodies, in a very visceral way through direct experience of Qi or Chi which means 'vital life force energy' and the corresponding opening of mind that takes place. Astrology is not just a metaphysical science requiring intimate knowledge of astrological data, it's also an interpretive art. It utilizes both sides of the brain. Qigong strengthens the energy centers and the entire nervous system. It refines the intuition and encourages the birth of wisdom, compassion and discernment, all of which are extremely important when doing AstroCartography or any kind of astrology.
Clients come with open minds and hearts. Being sensitive to the state of their Qi enables me to present the information in a way that will be most healing and empowering to the unique, sensitive individual I'm working with. When appropriate, I share Qigong principles and techniques that help counter blockages that arise with disharmonious aspects in the chart or map. And gratefully, daily Qigong also restores the energy that's easily depleted when working in the healing arts, allowing me to continue to share and transmit all I've been so fortunate to learn.
How has AstroCartography impacted your life and choices?
After discovering it, I looked back at experiences I'd had in all the places I'd spent time in and compared it with planetary descriptions of those places on my map. It was so accurate I decided to base a big move on it, which turned out to be a great decision. My knowledge of it was limited to book learning back then so I learned a lot about the unpublished subtleties of the technique, which was very new at the time, from that experience too. As I've studied other people's maps and compared it to their experiences, I've grown to respect and value AstroCartography more and more. We've used it to inform college choices, real estate decisions, to get to the root of chronic and mysterious health issues, to avoid danger while traveling in remote places or abroad, to resolve relationship issues that weren't evident in traditional astrology charts. It informs all my life choices like the weather informs clothing choices. It's a part of the natural world. I've learned to pay attention to and respect if I want to make the most beneficial decisions possible. Given that we humans have limited knowledge, it's an amazing window into the larger picture with very practical applications, a piece of the puzzle many people never gain access to. That's why I title my class "Secret Universe: AstroCartography." It's a blessing in my life, a gift I don't take for granted and that I'm daily grateful for.
Has AstroCartography significantly influenced the lives of anyone you know? Can you share a little bit about that with us?
As a working AstroCartographer, it has significantly influenced the lives of many people I know. One vivid example would be a client who was highly successful as manager of a prestigious Manhattan establishment but the stressful lifestyle was wearing down her health. She knew she needed to make a change but had been identified with that world for so long that she had no clue where to go to reinvent her life. We did her natal and progressed charts to help her get more attuned to her strengths and inner resources. Then we looked at her AstroCartography map to see where she might find a lifestyle that was more in tune with her physical and spiritual needs while still being able to earn a good living. After a brief time in the new location, she had a series of serendipitous meetings that landed her in a position to have her dream of opening her own wellness retreat center become a reality. She visited me recently. I've never seen anyone looking more vital, happy and fully renewed. That is the power of this information in action. She used it to work with the existing patterns of the natural world and nature was, in turn, able to nurture her needs.
What advice would you give to someone who's interested in AstroCartography? Is there anything they should be cautious about?
As with any metaphysical knowledge, if you're going to use it, it's important to be fully informed. Realize that the map will show you where you can expect to have certain experiences based on the planets that fall into any of your 4 angular houses in any given location. What it doesn't track, because it would be way too visually complex to portray on the map, are the planetary shifts that will also occur in the nonangular houses in your chart when you change location. My clients use AstroCartography to choose locations based on all kinds of goals. If they're planning a permanent move, we do a relocated natal chart of that area as well, so we can see the full 12 house astrological picture of what they can expect there. If you're using the map for designing casual travel, remote marketing or investing, short term assignments, crisis or conflict resolution, or any of the other purposes it can be used for, then the relocated natal chart isn't necessary. But if you're going to use astrology to relocate long term, then use all the tools at your disposal.
Also, realize that like all astrology, AstroCartography is a complex study with many factors to consider if you want to use it optimally. As with all esoteric studies now becoming exoteric, experience alone reveals nuances that can effect outcome, but are not yet part of the popular lexicon. Study it thoroughly if you're going to use it on your own to make major life decisions. Alternately, working with an experienced astrocartographer is an invaluable investment in your future well being.