Written in the Stars | An Afternoon in Bali with My Astrologer
My mom always told me that when you’re feeling lost, when you need answers or guidance, it has a way of finding you. For weeks, I had this nagging uncertainty about my career, my relationship, even the city I lived in, and at the peak of my little quarter life crisis I received an email inviting me to come and stay at Alila Ubud in Bali. I was thrilled but I wanted more than just an escape, I needed answers.
My friend Ariel mentioned she’d seen a Vedic astrologer named Ashish in Ubud who really helped put things in perspective for her. Hell, why not? I called Ashish to book an appointment for the morning after I arrived in Bali. In a quiet cul de sac off the main road in Ubud, Ashish works out of a bungalow within a compound that also houses a temple, beautiful shady gardens, and a yoga pavilion (he’s also a yoga instructor). He emerged from his bungalow, surprisingly young and dressed casually in jeans, a black t-shirt and sandals, with a tattered journal tucked under his arm in which he draws his clients’ natal charts.
Using the position of stars and planets at the exact time and place you were born, Vedic astrology is based on the belief that our tendencies and habits, our strengths and weaknesses, our fortunes and misfortunes, are defined by a predetermined cosmic design.
"Vedic astrology is based on the belief that our tendencies and habits, our strengths and weaknesses, our fortunes and misfortunes, are defined by a predetermined cosmic design."
Unlike clairvoyants and tarot readings, Vedic astrology is not so much about predicting the future as it is about discovering who you are on a deeper level – shedding all those years and layers of conditioning, conformity and insecurity so that you can begin to live your best life.
As Ashish explained - “once you know what you are, it is very easy to understand life.” I sat in silence and let him do the talking. For over an hour, he spoke with candor, not once fluffing it up with metta terminology. He spoke to me like an old friend calling me out on my bullsh*t, saying things like “look, I know you’re very sensitive, but…” or “you have to stop racing with others. Stop confusing yourself.”
“Once you know what you are, it is very easy to understand life.”
He also talked me through breaking old destructive patterns to reduce negative and enhance positive effects like creativity, productivity and fulfillment. For example, with the sun being particularly strong in my first house – the House of Self – Ashish suggested I spend 30 seconds each morning pouring water in the direction of the sun to “neutralize the heat” as part of my daily meditation.
“The sun is a very compassionate planet. You love very deeply and your love gives people life. It is a shining kind of love. But the sun is also the center of the universe so you take all things very personally - too personally. You have too much temper,” he says in his slightly broken English. “If someone hurts your ego, you will never forget. The pain, it stays deep in your chest. This is not good for you; this is not good for life. If you pour water to the sun in the morning, you will feel the weight of your ego is slowly lifted.”
Like shedding light on shadows I’d cast over certain aspects of my life, some of what Ashish said wasn’t ideal but made perfect sense, indirectly bringing me to confront truths about myself I had stashed away. I walked out of my meeting with Ashish with a new sense of confidence, and that nagging uncertainty I had slowly faded into insignificance. Truth is, there is no one who can answer life’s questions for you, but there are people who can guide you and remind you that the stars are on your side.
In a society like ours where we’re constantly overstimulated but uninspired, fussing over minor flaws and trivial bullsh*t comes too easy, distracting us from becoming what we’re destined to be. Like a mosaic, if we focus too much on the finer details we neglect the big picture, and I decided then and there that it was time to take a step back.
If you ever find yourself in Bali, call or text Ashish for an appointment on +62 822 3665 1836.