Can't decide where in the world to live? This Irish woman follows the stars

Martha Clarke specialises in astrocartography, a form of astrology that helps people choose where to live

Working Abroad Q&A: Each week, Irish Times Abroad meets an Irish person working in an interesting job overseas. This week, Martha Clarke, from Dublin, on working as an international astrologer, based in Boston in the US.

You specialise in astrocartography. What is this?

It is the science of mapping the planetary lines in your natal birth chart along the latitude and longitude of the curve of the earth. I do this by working off the birth chart. It is a very little known but extremely powerful part of astrology, as an astrologer will also take into account current planetary transits to the client’s natal chart, along with their midpoint structure (which are points of healing between the planets), when making recommendations.

I have had a client relocate to Milan from Australia after only two sessions with me. I have also had a client relocate from West Cork to fulfil a longtime dream of sailing in the Mediterranean, and another relocate from Canada to Australia.

I timed my own relocation to the US to coincide with the ending of my two year Pluto Saturn transit, which ended in November 2017.


When and why did you leave Ireland?

Sheer frustration at how hard I had been working to develop my photography business without seeing any real results after six years. In 2014, I finally faced reality when a friend pointed out that West Cork, where I was living at the time, did not have the population for me to sustain a full-time living as an photographer. So, after a consultation with my astrologer, I took myself off on a five-day research visit to Italy as I knew astrologically it was really good for me.

How did you come to be living and working in Italy?

With the help of my business coach, I had a plan in place before moving to Italy in November 2014, which involved getting a day job while developing a business offering photography tours to Ireland from Italy. I had several nanny jobs while still developing the photography idea.

In August 2015, I had a Skype session with my business coach who suggested I offer free mini-astrology sessions via a Facebook group we were both members of, as a way of earning extra income. I posted the offer the following day, and it went from there. Within two days I had converted the free offers to five paying clients.

How did your move to Boston come about?

After two years in Italy, I reluctantly returned to Ireland to continue my astrology studying and to develop and extend my client base there, which included starting to teach astrology.

In January 2017, I learned of Norwegian airline’s proposed new low cost routes between Ireland and the US, consulted my own astrologer and saw that Mars (which rules passion, drive and inspired action) was strong in my chart in Boston.

So I booked my flight in June 2017, and put it out there in a Boston women’s Facebook group that I was looking for a holistic shop to work out of. I got several replies, contacted ZuZus Healing Arts Shop outside of Boston, who were happy to have me work from their shop one day a week.

So on October 12th, 2017, I flew from Cork to Boston Providence to spend three months in the US, with as yet no clients here. I returned to Ireland in January 2018 after an exhilarating three months, with more than 90 US clients, and more than 20 students.

What does your day-to-day work involve?

I start by preparing a natal astrological chart in advance of a client session, if it is a first session, and a transit chart and or a locational astrology chart and or a progressed chart. A transit chart shows the client where the planets are in their natal birth chart currently and what areas of their life are being triggered for them to look at. A progressed chart deals with their internal moods, and a locational chart helps them identity the best parts of the world to live and work in.

I also create content for workshops on specific planets. Outside of that, I do all my own social media, website updating, ongoing astrological studying, and networking.

Where do your clients come from?

My clients are mostly local Bostonians, or from other areas of New England. They are mostly of Irish heritage. I also run workshops in West Chester, Philadelphia, as well as in Boston. I am constantly looking for new venues to run classes and workshops from.

What challenges do you face in your work?

I often have a long daily commute as I am still building my network of clients here in the US. Other challenges are around calculating tome zones around the world.

What is it like living in Boston as regards accommodation, transport, social life and so on?

Accommodation is a lot more expensive than I expected. I have been staying in various Airbnb places mostly. The public transport system is really cheap, but takes ages to figure out. People use Uber a lot, which was a huge culture shock for me, but it has been a lifesaver on several occasions.

I am currently living in a suburb where no one speaks English much, it is mostly Portuguese, Spanish or Indian. I don’t have much of a social life while I am building my practice, but I am very fortunate to have close friends in Philadelphia and cousins in Washington DC, so that really helps me feel supported. Many of my clients have become friends and I love the openness and generosity of the Americans.

Where do you see your future?

Boston baby! With regular trips back to Ireland to see family.