Planet Waves
Kingston, New York, Sunday, November 26, 2017 | View as Webpage
Dear Friends, Near and Far:

This is a letter to my old friends: you who I've known for years and decades, and you who discovered me when I was writing for AOL or Rob Brezsny or Jonathan Cainer or StarIQ, or from the early days of Planet Waves. It's to people I met in Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Poland and elsewhere: Buffalo, Ho-Ho-Kus, Miami Beach, Vashon Island, Seattle, New York (city and upstate), California and Colorado: all the places I've written Planet Waves.

And it's to everyone in Kingston, where I've been writing Planet Waves every day for the past 11 years.

This is a letter to you, from me, sitting at my studio work table. If you would take a few minutes to read it, I would be deeply grateful. 

Just so you know, I'm one of those people for whom it's easier to offer help than to ask for it. So, today I'm here to do both.

There's a parallel theme related to the times we're in: these days, we're more accustomed to responding to crisis than we're accustomed to getting excited about something constructive, creative or helpful. While there's plenty to be concerned about in the world, I'm here to get you excited about something. 

I'll take that risk, even though it feels a little weird for being so out of place. What is beautiful and helpful are fragile in the world's current stormy, aggressive conditions. I'm not here talking about some new gadget backed by a marketing campaign the size of Mt. Rainier. I'm offering ideas, which are like seeds; and should they sprout, they need to be taken care of and grown into your own ideas. 

Planet Waves
Photo by Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times, on John St., around the corner from my studio.
News Astrology Makes World News

Saturday, I was honored by The New York Times with an article about the work I've been doing at Planet Waves since 1998. The term "news astrology" appeared in the publication -- and possibly in any international publication -- for the first time, associated exclusively with my work. The article, by Alexandra S. Levine, also recognized the distinctive approach that I take to writing horoscopes, which since this past March appear in the NY Daily News.

Planet Waves
While I started writing horoscopes with the intent to be in a major metropolitan newspaper, as the internet took hold I was pretty sure this would never happen. And while the Times has provided excellent coverage of my work in the past, I never imagined its editors would take an interest in my astrology.

Then the job at the News opened up, and I was ready with decades of experience and our fantastic editorial team. I had my first column written before the 15-minute job interview, wherein I said: "We are a horoscope shop. This is what we do. I think we're the only one." 

Then a Times writer discovered me via the article I wrote at the time of my 1,000th column: Cosmic Confidential: My Life as a Horoscope Writer.

I happened to be in the city when I got the call from the Times. The next morning I went to the interview (at Triple Crown on Seventh Ave., an Irish bar with great breakfast). We talked for nearly three hours. Then I worked with the writer for about a month: and behold, the article appeared last night. I was given full recognition for my history as an investigative reporter; many of my recent articles were linked, as was one from 1998 on the Clinton impeachment.

What an amazing feeling, to be seen and recognized. 

Then the writer quoted me in a way that gets to the essence of what I'm doing: “Most people are shellshocked right now. They’re in pain. The world is devastating. People are exhausted. And a purpose of the horoscope at that point becomes a spiritual touchstone.”

What a relief to see that in print, looking right back at me: the horoscope as a meditation set amidst the mayhem of a tabloid newspaper, where countless people can find it. Usually horoscopes are maligned, and news astrology is not even meekly recognized. The Times got it right. 

Coming In From the Cold

One question I often ask myself reading news websites or turning the pages of a newspaper is: what does any of this information have to do with me? Or what, at least, can I do about it? How is it useful to know any of this stuff? The usual approach of journalism tends to be impersonal, alienating and often demoralizing. But sometimes it rings the bell.

Planet Waves
Galit Atlas, a psychiatrist and professor at New York University, understands the spiritual purpose of astrology. It's a frame of reference in an unstable world.
I have invented an approach to covering the news that not only brings you into the story, but also looks at global events like a tarot spread. I demonstrate the way that you and "the news" influence one another. Many of my readers not only depend on my method, but don't want their news coverage from anyplace else: rendering world events meaningful, and understadnable. 

The Times quoted a New York University professor of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, who suggested that astrology offers some sanity in an otherwise volatile world.

The professor, Galit Atlas, said, “What makes us feel safe in the world is order, boundaries and sequence, and those three things are things that astrology can give us. Especially in a time when the world doesn’t feel safe, we tend to search for an order that makes sense.”

“That’s not a negative thing,” she added. "The more secure we feel in the world, the more we’re able to be productive -- to live fully, to love and to work."

How amazing: a recognized scientist from an elite university speaking in support of astrology.  That alone is major progress, which I will admit I've been dreaming of and working toward. This alone, to my thinking, was worth all the work that I've done.

The idea now exists, and has been read on every continent, in what most people consider to be the newspaper of record: astrology has a purpose. And that purpose is guiding us all to live fully, to love and to work. She captured the mission of Planet Waves in just eight words.

Our Delicate Reader-Supported Model

From the earliest versions of Planet Waves going back about 20 years, you can find my explanation of how this is going to be a reader-supported publication. Mind you, this is from the day when there were not only no videos, but when many websites produced their work in text-only to preserve precious bandwidth. The only thing you could pay for on the internet were books at

Planet Waves
I have an aversion to advertising. First, it's ugly. Second, it's obnoxious. Third, it's almost always designed to get you to buy something you don't need. So when I designed Planet Waves, it began with an ad-free policy.

The problem of advertising is never given full credit for the mess that it makes, of our minds and of the world. The cost is never counted: the time lost, the unnecessary things purchased, the psychological havoc wrought.

I suspect you share this disdain of glaring, loud, manipulative and phony materials being force-fed into your mind. I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually benefited from an advertisement.

We never set out to get rich on subscriptions -- only to provide the service that we do. Subscriptions are the foundation, which allows us to build the rest of our work. As a subscriber, you are part of our foundation.

Planet Waves is not capitalist. Its "capital" is spiritual and the profit comes in the form of the beautiful work that you see. We are doing some of our best work ever. Every day, I get the feeling that the world and the mission of Planet Waves have finally intersected.

In the past 10 years, many subscription-based websites have emerged. Most of them pack their content with ads, despite charging you for their content.

This trend has eroded our subscriber base. We are not just "competing" with other astrology websites; we are competing with every other service that charges a subscription fee. 

Our Purpose is To Be a Beacon

Note that most of what Planet Waves does publishes is available to everyone. There are limits (various click counts, for example). Our purpose is to be helpful. Our purpose is to be a beacon. Our purpose is to be available. The internet is cold. Notice how few places there are where you can actually relax, and think. 

I imagine Planet Waves as a warm house on a winter night, where anyone who is in distress can come and rest for a while, and find some healing. In support of this, I pay kind and sincere people to answer the phones, and respond to email.

Planet Waves
All of this depends upon your dedication. All of this depends on ethics in a world where that's not usually a good bet. Every day we see people taking advantage of whatever they can, gaming the system, and coming from a place of entitlement.

It costs more than $1,000 a day to run Planet Waves. That's actually a small amount of money, in internet terms. It's a lot of money for a freelance writer. When sales go down, I take the difference out of my pay.

Our total budget is not a lot of money divided by three or four thousand subscribers (as many as we should have). And the returns are phenomenal: something beautiful, useful, and designed to give you peace of mind. Something you cannot get anywhere else.

We have a minimalist budget. I believe in everyone having good gear; creative tools must help, not get in the way. We have to pay salaries, contractor fees, office rent, taxes, and internet fees to deliver our materials to you. I subscribe to a diversity of news websites. We all work cheap, and we work with devotion. Every last person on our team is pulling their weight. 

It's taken me many years to assemble this rare and distinctly skilled group of people, then to train them in the way I do astrology -- and in research and fact checking and editing and illustration. We are the only astrology website with a fact-checking team. The horoscopes and articles you get are proofread by three different editors, at minimum. 

I consider Planet Waves a treasure, a public trust, a life-giving resource, a place of refuge, and a laboratory where we are reinventing both journalism and astrology.

Please Do Your Part, So We Can Do Ours

I am here to ask you to do your part, so that we can continue to do ours. Please revive your Planet Waves subscription. If you've never had one, please sign up. If you are one of our subscribers, please get someone a subscription for a gift (especially if they call you up so you can read them my horoscopes on the phone).

There are three main choices: Horoscope Lover, which gets you all of my horoscopes and those by other writers; Core Community membership, which offers all of our article content as well; and Backstage Pass, which includes audio readings for all the signs, the Spring Reading and the Midyear Reading. Then there is the Galaxy Pass, which includes classes and a credit toward consulting time. You can access most of those options here. Or you can call us at (845) 481-5616 if you need help or want to make payment arrangements (for exampley, getting the Galaxy Pass but quarterly).

Note, all service levels include mailing of my daily horoscope at 7 am ET each day.

Planet Waves
A gentle soul: Patric Walker, the renowned horoscope columnist, at home in the 1990s. Photo by Ken Goff/The LIFE Images Collection / NY Times.
Your product purchases certainly help, though they're a little like the church pancake breakfast. We need to run the company dependably, year-round, day-to-day, and that is the work of subscriptions. I cannot do any more readings than I already do: four separate sets of extended 12-sign readings each year! 

Meanwhile, I have growth plans that I want to put into action. We need to clean up and develop our database, for example.

Here is one thing you can count on: We do our best. 

When the going gets weird, or really weird, or really, really, weird, we show up at full strength. While other websites are spouting conspiracy theories ad fear, we are up all night factchecking, seeking an accurate picture of what actually happened. 

When I put 20 hours into one article, I am not thinking about any "bottom line" other than getting you the information you come here for, written and lovingly edited with the kind of care and professionalism that landed our approach to astrology journalism into The New York Times for the first time since the newspaper was founded in 1851.

We could never have done any of this without our subscribers. It really is that simple. We are devoted with all our hearts to making the world a better place, making journalism more relevant, and taking a humane and gentle approach to astrology.

Please step up and join us on that mission. If you've never been a subscriber, see how it feels to be directly contributing to everything that we do. Feel what it's like to actually have an investment. Subscriptions start at just $11 a month, and give you back far more in value. That element is so core to our work ethic that it bears emphasis. What we do is worth far more than we ask you to pay; and that means to that to thrive, we must have a broad base of support.

Please revive or extend your subscription today -- or get someone you care about a gift (for example, whoever you read my horoscopes to on the phone!)

Here are your subscription options.

Thank you so much for responding. I will sleep better tonight knowing that you will.

PS -- We have a longstanding policy not to turn anyone away for lack of funds. I know this is not very capitalist; and if I had investors, they would not like it much, but that's the deal. If you need help, call us at (845) 481-5616 and Ellen or Amy will he happy to help you. It may take a day or two to get back to you, though often we pick right up.

Planet Waves
My beloved Henrietta Saint Francis keeps me company while I write the most recent monthly horoscope in The Place of the Way, home of Planet Waves FM and Vision Quest. Maintained by Chiron Return, Inc., our nonprofit arm, this is also a community gathering and performance space, which we used for our total solar eclipse house concert earlier int the year.

To unsubscribe, click here. To unsubscribe from all future Planet Waves emails, please write to
Copyright © 2017 by Planet Waves, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Other copyrights may apply.
Some images used under Fair Use or Creative Commons attribution.