Searching for purpose: A reporter’s journey through her star chart

Astrology has long been one of Graham Gori’s passions.

“Would you love to know the karma you have come to heal in this lifetime? Are you searching for your purpose? There is nothing more orienting than a deep astrological reading.”

When I first saw a post on Drewslist under the “Health & Healing” section advertising astrological readings, I couldn’t resist reaching out to Graham Gori for more information.

Graham has been many things in his life, from a New York Times foreign correspondent to a Whidbey Island restaurateur. I last talked to Graham during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when he owned Portico Latin Bistro in downtown Langley.

Astrology has long been one of Graham’s passions. Around the time of the 2008 financial crisis, when he had just closed one of his restaurants and was questioning his life’s purpose, Graham noticed an astrology book sitting on his mom’s coffee table. The book – which is losing its cover, but he still has today – is called “The Inner Sky: The Dynamic New Astrology for Everyone,” by Steven Forrest.

Graham found himself drawn to Forrest’s concept of evolutionary astrology, which he explained is implicit in everyone’s birth chart. The evolutionary intent leads to a deeper meaning of personality, karma and what a person brings into this lifetime, and the planets take on a deeper significance because they’re reacting to what a person has done in the past and what they’re now working on.

“I was just mesmerized by it. It made a whole lot of sense,” Graham said. “I ended up studying with him and ever since then I’ve been doing charts.”

Intellectually and spiritually, he said, astrology felt really profound.

“I remember I had that feeling when I took geometry in ninth grade,” he said. “Geometry and astrology, they’re all really related — the dimensions of the universe, our placement in it and all of that.”

I didn’t know much about astrology myself, apart from having a college roommate who liked to say “Mercury is in Gatorade” to explain mystical happenings. And who doesn’t enjoy looking at their own horoscope reading from time to time and trying to find something familiar in the zaniness?

Like I do with any of my assignments as a journalist, I came in with an open mind. When I met with Graham earlier this month, he presented me with my birth chart.

I was born in the early evening (just in time for dinner, as I like to joke) of Sept. 23 in the Skagit Valley, otherwise known as the home of the Tulip Festival this time of year. I’ll let the exact year remain a mystery – unless you happen to be especially skilled at divining the planets on my birth chart.

At first, all I saw was a tangled web of lines within a circle. Graham told me that my natal chart represents a snapshot of earth in relationship to the universe at the exact time of my birth. He noted the placement of the planets – Pluto (still our ninth planet at that time) in the midheaven, Uranus and Neptune just above the horizon, Mars and Venus setting together in conjunction. On my chart, a lot is happening above the horizon, but not much below. Each planet has an energy about it, and each house of the zodiac corresponds to a different kind of life situation.

Although I was eager to find out my life’s purpose based on this information, Graham’s reading of my chart took a different turn.

“The first thing I would say when I look at your chart is like, okay, you’re meant to be out in society quite a bit,” Graham said.

That makes sense, I thought. Hopefully after nearly five years of reporting for The South Whidbey Record, people are familiar with my byline in the newspaper, even if they haven’t met me personally.

“And you also have a lot going on in the seventh house, which means relationship is very important,” Graham said.

He asked about the events of the past year of my life, and I recounted my engagement to my longtime boyfriend.

We looked at my karma, which Graham said is depicted by the south node of the moon. Karma represents what a person is bringing into this lifetime to work on. In my past life, I may have been struggling with having enough resources to survive. Maybe I was a peasant that didn’t have enough land to plow, for example.

“Nowadays, it’s a bit different, more of like a psychological thing — do I feel like I’m gonna prosper, do I feel like I’m gonna survive?” Graham said.

He asked if any of this resonated with me yet. Kind of, I said. These days, who doesn’t feel like they’re trying their best to survive on a dying planet that’s on fire when there’s always bills to pay and inflation to contend with?

As these frantic, unvoiced thoughts ran through my head, Graham said he got the sense that there was an element of me staying quiet.

“And that’s Saturn,” he said. “Saturn, karmically, is like a very kind of inward, reflective planet.”

Continuing on with the whole karma business, Graham told me that my south node of the moon was squared by Jupiter, meaning that somebody in my past life made things difficult for me by causing problems. He thinks it could have been a spouse with a lot of power.

Back to that engagement I mentioned. Graham wondered if my fiancé has a big personality?

I told him I’m the more outspoken one in our relationship, but that we strive for equality in all that we do. I’ll never forget the day I learned in a college class that in heterosexual relationships, women often end up completing the majority of household tasks. A 2019 Gallup poll reports that this still holds true. I remind my kind and loving partner of this statistic often, because I loathe the unfairness of it so much. And he certainly knows how to pull his weight.

Yes, I acknowledged aloud to Graham, there are imbalances, like in every relationship. For example, one of us brings home more income, and it’s currently not me. Graham said this could cause me to feel like I’m coming in with not enough resources, connecting back to that piece of my karma we talked about.

Because I’m in a relationship, Graham told me, I am already on my path to doing my evolutionary work, and that it wouldn’t be happening if I were a single woman. Hmm, okay.

He also spoke about social group movements (the eleventh house of the zodiac, if you were wondering) and how important it was for me to be involved in a group and larger societal framework and a belief system I resonate with.

“If you get into a relationship and follow what thousands of years of our society says is right about relationships, you’re gonna pretty much be right back at the starting point,” he said, referring to my past life as an oppressed person. “So it’s important for you to stay connected to your people, and you have to find them wherever they are.”

Looking at Pluto in the ninth house of purpose, Graham said my destiny is to be somebody who is a very public figure. I usually prefer to stand back in the shadows and observe, so I wasn’t so sure of this.

I prodded Graham for more details about my purpose. Based on my chart, he foresaw me in a leadership position in social work, a job with impact. I agreed that journalism has always felt like a job that has an influence on society, and it’s why I like telling people’s stories. In fact, writing my own first-person perspective feels a bit alien.

Graham said there’s another branch of astrology that focuses on vocational stuff, but it’s not his forte.

“I don’t fortune tell from this. I don’t know to do that,” he said. “What I sense is that there is a piece of this relational thing that’s probably going to lead you towards your purpose. I think if you were to come and say, ‘Tell me what my purpose is,’ it would be a way of you bypassing the heavier work of the relationship.”

He had given me a lot more to think about than I had expected.

If you’re interested in delving into your own astrology birth chart and learning some unsettling truths, email

Astrologer Graham Gori tells reporter Kira Erickson about the intricacies of her birth chart. (Photo by David Welton)

Astrologer Graham Gori tells reporter Kira Erickson about the intricacies of her birth chart. (Photo by David Welton)