Meet the astrologer to the stars making horoscopes cool again

Anna Magee
Move over Mystic Meg, there’s a new astrologer in town. Sceptic Anna Magee gets a reading from Carolyne Faulkner. -

‘One in 80 people have a grand trine in their charts. You have two.’ I am having my horoscope read by astrologer Carolyne Faulkner. She has sent me a circle with lines running through it, peppered by symbols and numbers; my astrological chart, which represents exactly where the planets were at the precise time and place I was born. 

‘I once worked on a programme about serial killers and a lot of them have grand trines. You can either do a lot of good with a grand trine, or a lot of bad.’ It sounds terrifying, but thankfully I don’t have to worry about  it because I don’t believe any of this. 

Still, one thing is certain: while it’s been around for thousands of years, its reputation veering from one extreme to another, astrology, right now, is cool. And especially among the young: a recent study found that 58 per cent of Americans between 18 and 24 believe astrology is scientific.

Astrologers in the US have near rock-star status, and Lena Dunham is one of its vocal fans among millennials (‘You can be a very serious and substantial woman and also allow the planets to rule your soul!’ she tweeted in 2015). So what’s new about the new astrology?

Carolyne, whose breezy good looks and down-to-earth charm have earned her a reputation as Britain’s coolest astrologer, has developed her own system, ‘dynamic astrology’, which is about making changes to your life based on what your horoscope can tell you: self-help by the stars. 

Astrology isn’t just about your star sign, she says, but about your moon sign, rising sign, the planet they fall under and which ‘house’ they manifest in.

It sounds complicated, though her new book, The Signs, explains it with an alluring logic.  Carolyne started out in entertainment, and in her late 20s worked with an astrologer. ‘One day he said, “Your interpretations are amazing, you need to take this further.”’ So she trained as a life coach and studied astrology in India, then combined the two, and began doing live readings on TV and radio.

‘Their phones used to get jammed,’ she says. After meeting Nick Jones, founder of Soho House, 10 years ago, she became the club’s in-house astrologer. ‘He said, “I don’t really subscribe to astrology but I think my members are going to love you,”’ she recalls. ‘He’s a very practical Virgo. They’re not easy.’ She also has a clinic at Harrods’ Urban Retreat, and hosted an event for Net-a-Porter’s VIP clients.

The secrets Carolyne must know… She won’t name any of her celebrity clients (‘my nickname is The Vault’) but admits her loyal 250-strong client base, who pay either £180 an hour for a reading or a fixed monthly sum she won’t disclose, includes ‘very famous’ models, socialites and pop stars.

‘One agent called me to get help understanding a new artist’s issues because they were being uber controlling,’ she says. ‘I looked at her client’s chart and explained it was because she was terrified of being out of control. When she confronted her client about it, the artist said those exact words.’

Carolyne’s book, The Signs

Of course, astrology has its critics. Richard Dawkins has said it ‘demeans astronomy, shrivelling and cheapening the universe’, and Brian Cox has called it ‘a load of rubbish’.

Carolyne isn’t fazed. Her message for sceptics? ‘Use the book for a week to the letter and if it doesn’t enhance your life, that’s fine by me. But you can’t discredit something until you’re educated about it.’

Faulkner also has blatant disregard for what other astrologers are doing. ‘I get a bit of stick from them; that what I do isn’t real astrology because mine is a kind of coaching method based on the stars. I take something that someone else would spend two pages examining and put it into a couple of sentences.’

This fast-track astrological self-help is what makes her readings so compelling – she categorises signs into ‘gone wrong’ and ‘gone right’ and coaxes people to look honestly at how they can change the former and bring out more of the latter in themselves.

‘Nobody’s future is written in the stars,’ she says, ‘but astrology can help you create yours by understanding your own and other people’s behaviours.’ 

Horoscopes | Carolyne’s take on the year ahead

As my reading continues, it becomes spookily accurate. There’s a bit about ‘a Cancer sun and a Cancer rising’, which, she says, means that ‘gone right, you pioneer things; you are kind, creative and highly intuitive. Gone wrong, you’re needy and take everything personally. At your worst, you’re explosive and defensive, over-ambitious and unforgiving.’

It may sound vague, but to me it’s spot on. She continues: ‘Your moon is in Libra, which means you’re torn between loving working on your own, but also working best in close partnerships.’ She’s right: to say  I’m torn between creative solitude and the buzz of an office is an understatement.

However sceptical I am, it’s impossible to resist the pull of knowing what will happen next. But Carolyne’s mode of astrology for the 21st century isn’t the fait accompli of typical newspaper predictions; it’s more ‘a tool for interpretation that puts you at the heart of the decision-making’, she says.

Horoscopes | Carolyne’s take on the year ahead

For me, she says, ‘The year up to October was a fortuitous time, but also a time when every single relationship –  work partnerships, allegiances, home  life – has come up for renegotiation. It’s been incredibly stressful but you have learned a lot of lessons.’ 

And that’s where it gets eerie. On  6 October 2016, the website I founded, Healthista, moved into a period of growth that came with everything Carolyne describes: incredible highs and lots of lesson-learning lows. It got to the point where, for the first time since I left Catholic school, I began believing in something bigger than myself and meditating daily. 

‘All that turbulence will pass at the end  of the month and you will be left with  more peace, spirituality and a different perspective,’ Carolyne tells me. ‘Your intuition is strong, and this more peaceful outlook will mean you’re more inclined  to listen to it.’ I know, it’s all very vague  and non-committal, but by the end of  our conversation, I want to believe. Because, well, planets. 

‘The Signs: Decode the Stars and Reframe Your Life’ (Penguin Life, £9.99) is out now