After I supplied Don Nelson of the Cosmic Astrology Association with my
birth date, birthplace and time of delivery, he created an astrological
chart, a makeup of the planets' location when I entered the world.

From that information, Nelson read that I am a high-activity person who
speaks very rapidly and should take time to think before I speak a lot of
the time. At my time of birth, Mercury was in Gemini, which according
to Nelson, means I'm very good with thinking and speaking.

This and more came from a complete stranger, and it was almost all
right on.

That's kind of weird, right?

Members of the Cosmic Astrology Association, about 30 people from all over South Jersey who have a keen interest in astrology, don't think so. The group gathers on the third Friday of every month at the Fairfield Inn in Deptford, where guest speakers from all over the country come to hold seminars on different aspects of astrology, ranging from financial energy to gemstones.

"It's good for people who want to take the time to look into the connection between people and the planets," said Jacqueline Pentek, president of the 11-year-old association.

People turn to astrology for a variety of reasons. Astrology can help them understand energies dealing with medicine, finances, weather, politics and other matters.

"What's going on in the universe mirrors what's going on down here," said Mary Hartz of Gloucester City, a member of the association.

Some believe astrology is only the reading of your horoscope in a newspaper or magazine. That's how Hartz got involved in astrology. As a teen, she used to read her horoscope in the back of Cosmopolitan magazine.

"That barely even scratches the surface of information available for study and practice," said Hartz, who has studied astrology for more than 12 years. "That's a fun beginning, but the science behind it goes way beyond what many people would think."

Pentek said following your sun sign, such as Gemini, is only a small part of an individual's full horoscope.

"If it was just that, then there would only be 12 personalities in the world," Pentek explained.

The association and practicing astrologers are not fortune-tellers. Do not expect to come to a meeting to talk with an astrologer to find out what's going to happen in your future.

"Astrology helps to understand the energies coming into your life," Pentek said. "It can help show the cycles in your life, when things are most likely to happen."

Katie Kalvaitis is a freelance columnist from Mantua who writes for Sunday Communities. Reach her at
Published: February 19. 2006 in the Glouscester County Edition of the Courier Post