By Leslie McGuirk, Astrologer
A professional astrologer with more than 30 years’ experience, Leslie McGuirk is a frequent presenter at world-renowned spas. Her popular talk on astrology as human design (and not fortunetelling) has been breaking attendance records for years. She has also been heard on radio from coast to coast and has appeared in The Jenny McCarthy Show, Elle magazine, Refinery 29, and Runner’s World magazine. She is also a featured speaker at astrology conferences. Her book The Power of Mercury, published by HarperCollins in 2016, is a fresh take on how Mercury shapes our essence from communication to relationships.
Earlier this year aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin, Leslie spoke about the evolution of astrology and its place in history. Under the stars of the South Pacific, she explained how everything in nature has a pattern, from tree trunks to snowflakes—and how we have a pattern as well: an astrology chart. She shares her insights pertaining to French Polynesia here.
The people of French Polynesia have always been intimately tied to the ocean and the sky. They sailed the seas hundreds of years before Europeans. They were in fact arguably more skillful seagoers, than anyone else on Earth, because to a Polynesian, their world was primarily aquatic. They lived in an isolated world of water and sky and learned how to read the messages from both.
The continental Europeans looked at the ocean as a vast and menacing world that only the bravest explorers would take on. In Polynesia, with their handcrafted canoes made from island materials, they were moving from island to island in an ocean they respected. No other culture on Earth has ever been as intimately connected to the sea.
The way the ancient Polynesians successfully populated vast areas of the South Pacific was by using the stars, watching the patterns of the planets, and by following the movements of the waves and of the birds. Their deep knowledge of astronomy was a major factor in their ability to navigate the ocean. They traversed thousands of miles without the aid of sextants or compasses. This was a learned art, which was passed on verbally, from one navigator to another, for generations.
When Captain Cook set sail from Tahiti in 1766, he used a Tahitian navigator named Tupaia. Cook was astonished to watch how Tupaia could find the exact island they were aiming for, without the use of the charts and tools the Europeans used. The techniques Tupaia adopted were never documented because sadly many of the crew died of malaria before this could occur. Over the years, celestial navigational skills disappeared with the arrival of Western Technology.
However, in 1976, a canoe team from French Polynesia sailed from Tahiti to Hawaii using only the stars–no maps, no sextants, no compasses. They were able to prove that this ancient wisdom of celestial navigation really worked.
Today we live in a world where we can use highly accurate satellite navigation receivers to take us where we want to go. But there is a side effect to this. You lose something when you don't have to pay attention to what is happening around you. One of the glorious things about being on the m/s Paul Gauguin is that you feel a deep connection to the sky, the ocean, and to the celestial bodies. In French Polynesia, the magnitude of the heavens filled with stars allows you to almost feel you can touch them. The more we can be in alignment with nature, the better for all of humanity.
As a modern-day wayfarer, and a 40-year student of astrology, I am doing exactly what the French Polynesians did–exploring a correlation between movements of celestial bodies and our lives. Both astrologers and sailors measure planetary positions and angles relative to the horizon and then interpret them. Both are art forms, as it is all in the interpretation. A sailor’s interpretation reveals his position on the Earth. The astrologer’s interpretation reveals a person’s wiring system, and current life situations. Understanding how we are aligned with what is above us in the sky, clues us in to the overall "weather" patterns.
Both contemporary astrologers and navigators use the sky as a guide to find the best routes and to avoid storms. Fortunately, astrology is currently having a resurgence as people get away from looking at it as fortune telling and see it for what it really is: interpreting electromagnetic patterns to discover our intimate connection with the solar system. Throughout history many great thinkers understood the usefulness of astrology— Nicolas Copernicus, Galileo Galilee, Johannes Kepler, Sir Isaac Newton, Carl Jung, and of course, the Polynesian people.