Astrocartography is a branch of astrology that shows the exact positioning of the planets at the moment you were born. The premise is that the earth holds a resonant memory of this celestial alignment; knowing your map can help you understand why you feel happier in some places than others. Anyone can produce a map online, but you’ll need a professional like astrocartographer Maya White to actually decode it.
“I first got into astrocartography because I needed help understanding my own life,” says White, who purchased her first astro map in 1976 after spotting an ad in a horoscope magazine. She became a certified practitioner in the late ’80s; now she offers private readings, online learning programs, and astrology retreats.
“If you have an accurate time and place of birth, it’s just amazing what information comes out,” she says, noting that it helped her understand where she should live (currently Florida) and also where to travel (she went to India, for example, because her Sun and Uranus lines crossed there).
Climate preferences, work, social environment, and family always factor into her readings. “There is no value in me telling somebody to move to South Dakota if there’s no way they’d do that,” she says. She also pinpoints so-called “trainwreck zones,” areas of the world where certain planetary lines might make for a less-than-stellar experience. Though nothing beats a personalized reading, your star sign alone can offer insight into the types of trips you enjoy most. CN Traveler asked White to share destination suggestions for where to go next based on the 12 zodiac signs—because it’s never too soon to start planning.
“Aries is an electric personality that bursts onto the scene with a lot of energy,” says White. “But they crave a variety of things to do because they are easily bored.” Fortunately, there are scores of diversions to keep Aries travelers entertained in Thailand. After knocking out some of Bangkok’s greatest hits (Wat Pho, The Grand Palace), the ram can charge over to Ari, a fashionably hip neighborhood with cafés, boutiques, and galleries galore.“While Aries will get lit up by a frenetic city like Bangkok, they also need to retreat and renew,” she says.
“Bulls are rigid and don’t like to be inconvenienced,” says White. “It takes a lot of energy to make them break their routine and actually go on vacation.” But like a freight train, once this earth sign gets moving, it’s unstoppable. That’s why White suggests an outdoorsy (but not too wild) destination like Vancouver. It’s easily accessible and Taurus can hunker down in a five-star hotel while still taking advantage of everything the ultra-green metropolis has to offer.
“This mutable air sign is always thinking, thinking, thinking,” says White. That’s why Edinburgh—with its “remarkable cultural depth”—is the perfect match for this intellectually curious sign. “Geminis can be real history buffs,” says White. “And Scotland is bound up in rich European history.”
“Cancer needs a great hotel, but good food is equally important,” says White. That’s why she’s drawn to an epicurean getaway like Blackberry Mountain in Walland, Tennessee, the sister spin-off of the acclaimed Blackberry Farm. Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the inn draws well-heeled travelers who prize warm hospitality and extraordinary food and drink. After a busy day of hiking, fly fishing, or testing their balance during a paddleboard yoga session, Cancer can tuck into a seasonally inspired Southern meal at the property’s elegant Three Sisters or Firetower restaurants.
“Leo is quite prideful when it comes to love and beauty,” says White. “To see the Taj Mahal—built as a monument to love by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal—feeds the lion’s ego.” Because Leos appreciate over-the-top experiences, she recommends ending the trip with a stay at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, a royal palace plunked in the middle of picturesque Lake Pichola, or joining a safari at Ranthambore National Park to see other big cats—specifically wild tigers—in their natural habitat.
“Virgos like things neat and clean,” says White. “They crave structure and are uncomfortable in messy situations. But they’re also a mutable earth sign, which means they go with the flow.” Acadia National Park in Maine offers the best of all worlds: a beautiful “semi-tamed wilderness” with “well-constructed carriage paths” for easier hiking and biking. Virgo will be smitten by the stellar sunrises, says White, and will love exploring the port towns dotting the coastline—combing for colorful polished rocks at Jasper Beach in Machiasport and shopping for artisan-made furniture and handwoven textiles in Camden and Rockland.
Libra is a cardinal air sign, ruled by Venus and drawn to all things beauty and art. Enter Provence, with its breathtaking fields of lavender, Impressionistic hilltop villages, and glasses brimming with the finest róse. “This is a very Libran-type society,” says White. “They appreciate good food and gracious service, revel in cultural pleasures, and see life as a canvas waiting to be painted.” (It’s no wonder so many famous artists—Cézanne, Picasso, Van Gogh—found inspiration here.)
“Scorpios get inspired by being in the presence of something greater than themselves,” she explains. “A natural wonder like the Grand Canyon humbles them and helps them recalibrate.” This is particularly true when they veer off the beaten path. Instead of joining the tourist fray at the South Rim, head to the canyon’s lesser-trafficked North Rim or sign up for an intense multi-day rafting trip on the Colorado River. Post-pandemic, hiking to stunning Havasu falls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation would be a dream come true.
“Sagittarius loves to travel,” says White of the intrepid archer, a mutable fire sign that’s always on the hunt for its next adventure. After two years of pandemic-related lockdowns, White sees something epic in Sag’s future: a safari to Kruger National Park in South Africa and/or an ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. “The archer has a wild streak and feels rejuvenated in the presence of animals and birds.” Tackling something physically immersive like a walking safari or climbing expedition would feel especially kinesthetic.
The sea goat is ruled by Saturn, the taskmaster of all planets—so naturally, this serious earth sign wants to feel like the master of their own destiny. “Capricorns also appreciate status,” says White. That’s why White recommends chartering a yacht in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, or other beachy idyll. Captaining one’s own ship is the more affordable option too, which appeals to Cap’s need to control the purse strings.
This fixed air sign is ruled by Uranus, the planet of questioning and innovation. “They need to be mentally stimulated,” says White. “They’re deep and eclectic thinkers who prize inventiveness and want to understand the forces that drive creation.” Aquarians also tend to be humanitarian, keen to change the world for the better. White believes a journey to the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon would be eye opening for the inquisitive water bearer. Aquarius might like to experience a healing session with an Indigenous shaman.
White calls this mutable sign “the environmentalist of the Zodiac” because they care deeply about the earth and their role in it. Symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions, Pisces is naturally drawn to watery destinations—the farther flung, the better. The Seychelles, a small island nation about 1,000 miles off the coast of East Africa, checks all the right boxes: A remote ecological paradise with a host of wildlife and non-motorized water sports to experience.