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As a science girl, astrology remains largely mysterious to me. There’s no study out there to prove that astrology is “real”, and I get lost pretty quickly when the conversation goes deeper than my basic zodiac sign. (I’m a cancer, by the way.) Mention my rising sign, or the fourth house of anything, and I’m nodding pensively as my confusion level skyrockets.


Despite my medical training, though, I remain open to all the mysteries of the universe, and I think we scientists are a little overconfident when we dismiss things because they’re too woowoo. Of course, it doesn’t help that there’s as much misinformation about astrology as there is about keto diets or acupuncture. I used to think astrology involved a gypsy fortune teller, who would stroke her crystal ball as she rasped, ”You will meet a tall stranger with an eye patch, and three days later a great misfortune will befall you.” That, I admit, would be too woowoo for me.

When I read the following quote by the renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung about astrology—perhaps because it involves a wine analogy—it struck a chord:

“We are born at a given moment, in a given place, and like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born.” 

I mean, why would it not matter where the stars and planets were when we came into the world? Just because we don’t know how those things could affect our personalities doesn’t mean that they don’t affect us. So, I decided to have my chart read for the first time at age 45, and it was great! No crystal balls, no eye patches. I dug up my birth certificate to find out what time I was born, and sent my information to a very experienced astrologer recommended by a close friend. (Note: do not select your astrologer by googling “astrologers near me”. Word of mouth is definitely the way to go.)


It turns out that having your chart read by a gifted astrologer is really about understanding the lens through which you see the world. It helps you understand some of the reasons why you think about and respond to things the way you do, and how others perceive you and your nature. In my case, it gave me food for thought about the choices I’ve made, and courage to pursue my goals without reservation or hesitation. She told me that I had been a medicine woman in prior lives, and that I am expanding my toolkit in this life. She said I was “magnificent”, something I’ve always had trouble believing. I left the session feeling reassured that I had meaningful work to do in my life, and that I have all the capabilities I need to do that work, even though I have plenty of days when I doubt myself.

Is she right about all this?

I have no clue. But it was as valuable as any other form of talk therapy I’ve done, and has added layers and depth to my ever-evolving understanding of myself. So, if you’ve thought about having your chart read, and know people who can recommend a skilled astrologer, I give it my stamp of approval. As with any self-exploration, you’ll get more if you listen without judgment and expand on the points that resonate without getting too distracted by those that don’t.

Because this was a year of astrological exploration for me, and because astrology is having a moment of late, I decided to put together a cosmically-inspired gift guide for your holiday shopping. The guide is based on sun signs, also referred to as zodiac signs. Your sun sign, as described by Joanna Woolfolk in “The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need”, describes the broad strokes of your personality. While a sun sign is only one side of our multifaceted personalities, it can be determined simply by knowing a person’s birthday. So get out your birthday calendar and have a little star-struck fun with your holiday shopping this year! 

With love and a brand new moon from us to you,