Astrologers (l-r) Kenya "Jah-Afiya" Lane, Kitty Hatcher and Eliza Graney give a birthday reading to Baltimore Sun copy editor John McIntyre. (Baltimore Sun video)
Maybe the world will come to an end. There could be war. But don't get too glum: the Orioles have a chance at going to the World Series, the Ravens have a shot at the Super Bowl.
That's according to three local astrologers, Kitty Hatcher, Eliza Graney and Kenya "Jah-Afiya" Lane. With an astrology conference on Baltimore's horizon for this weekend, we decided to ask them what the ancient art might have in store for the city's future. (For full results, see the breakdown at the bottom of this article or click through the gallery below.)
The trio, dressed in brightly colored scarves and surrounded by an aura of perfumed oils, spent an afternoon last week poring over an assortment of birth charts — enigmatic graphs astrologists use to divine meaning from the heavens.
To a layperson, the birth charts are indecipherable spheres, dotted with mysterious symbols and squiggles. To the initiated, they form a blueprint of someone's identity, said Hatcher, 75.
While most people are familiar with the generic horoscope, a birth chart incorporates the date, the time and location of birth — among other aspects — to arrive at a much more detailed forecast, astrologers explain.
Hatcher, a former music teacher, likened the reading process to reading a sheet of music. She scanned the symbols of Baltimore City's chart to interpret the meaning, her earrings dangling stars and hearts over her shoulders.
"I think this year and next year is real good for food," she said.
Lane, 42, agreed. Wearing a purple head wrap and gold bangles on her wrists, she said, "And you know, restaurants are opening up left and right now."
"And Baltimore, being a Leo, it just wants to have fun," Hatcher said.
In the ancient world, astrologers drew up birth charts by hand, a laborious process. Nowadays, they can use computer software or even a smartphone app to make one. (Graney wondered about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's chart, and pulled it up with a few red-painted finger swipes of an iPad.)
The process invites skepticism — something the astrologists acknowledged. But they stress that a chart shouldn't be seen as defining one's fate.
"I am not a believer in predestination at all," said Graney, 59. "The chart shows you challenges and possibilities," but she added that humans have free will.
And astrologers admit that it's possible to project certain things on the chart based on an idea you already have.
"Predictions in astrology is not exactly a science," said Ken McGhee, 65, a Virginia astrologer and part-time science writer who will read Baltimore's birth chart at this weekend's conference. He avoids making specific predictions.
"I had a friend predict the Super Bowl ... and he was dead wrong," he said.
Here's a prediction you don't need a chart to determine:
Beginning this weekend, Baltimoreans can expect astrologers from around the country and even the world to transit into the city for a major astrological conference at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor sponsored by the National Council for Geocosmic Research Inc.
Billed as the largest astrology conference in the United States, the event will provide ample opportunity for astrologers to refine the tools of their craft, including birth charts. While many of the sessions will be geared toward astrology experts, there will also be events that the more casual fan can enjoy. Speakers include celebrity astrologer Susan Miller, who will discuss "2017: The Year Ahead," at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
We asked three local astrologers to read the birth charts for a handful of Baltimore-area institutions. Here's what they came up with:
Eliza Graney: "It's a great time for Baltimore to refocus on the film industry," Graney says.
Kenya "Jah-Afiya" Lane: Tourism and arts industries should do well this year, Lane predicts, as the city is "re-solidifying our 'charm' status."
Kitty Hatcher: After a spring of challenges, Hatcher foresees financial gains around Oct. 23 or 24. "It's time for an adjustment," she says. "The last half of October should be really good for Baltimore" for the sports and arts worlds.
Graney: "They have Pluto conjunct Uranus, which is an insanely powerful combination," Graney says. "That's a world-changing aspect." She also predicts that power struggles may arise with the federal government.
Lane: On or around April 13, a movie could get filmed in Annapolis, Lane predicts. She also says an old wound will resurface to be worked out. Around Aug. 13, the city should expect "some kind of fortune or good luck."
Hatcher: Tensions, disputes and sudden events will arise throughout the year, Hatcher says. Additionally, hard angles with Neptune will produce confusion. But it's not all bad news – these struggles may bring new opportunities and a chance for renewal, she predicts.
Graney: Expect good weather and good turnout for Opening Day, Graney says. She sees the potential for big structural changes from 2018 to 2020 with Pluto opposing Uranus.
Lane: Lane suggests that the Orioles refocus on community outreach efforts this season, visiting and playing ball with people in the city; such service work can help ensure good turnout, she says.
Hatcher: The Orioles need to work through low self-confidence and misunderstandings this year, Hatcher says. But she sees lucky signs in the fall that will bring good insight, good news, and clear thinking and decision-making. There may be a World Series in their future.
Graney: Graney predicts that finances will take on an important role for the Ravens – and that they're due for an influx of cash soon. "They're going to have to do some better organizing. I think they might be good at the big stuff but the small stuff not so much," she says.
Lane: The Ravens should be well on the road to sorting out any financial problems this year, according to Lane's reading.
Hatcher: Right now, with Neptune square to Mars, "it's as if one is walking and going nowhere," Hatcher says. This will change in the fall, she predicts, when Jupiter and Mercury's position brings good news and good contracts. From December on through next summer, "they can take on the world" – maybe even the Super Bowl, Hatcher says.
Johns Hopkins University
Graney: Uranus opposes Mercury in the chart for Johns Hopkins, Graney says, which is "a genius aspect." She predicts that the university may make structural changes this year.
Lane: We may see more women in positions of power at the university, Lane says.
Hatcher: This is a good time for fundraising and making money, Hatcher says. Additionally, Uranus will make a good angle with Saturn, bringing "new ways to solve old problems. It's not an uncomfortable shakeup; it's an innovative one." It's a good time to take risks that will benefit the city long-term, she predicts.
•The Many Faces of Astrology conference runs Thursday through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor Hotel, 300 Light St. $140-$540. Online registration is closed, but in-person resgistration will be available. ncgrconference2017.com.