Pacific Sun Interview – Sept 1997


September 3, 1997


by Jessica Feinstein

The end of summer always puts me in a bit of a funk. Seventeen years of academic scheduling is a hard habit to break, and the beginning of September will forever seem like the end of fun as I knew it. Where I come from we normally deal with the real world blues with a bottle of Jose Cuervo and the anticipation of a new season of sitcoms, but since this is Marin, I decided to consult Taoist astrologer and tarot card reader, Susan Levitt.

Tripping down the stone stairs to her Sausalito artist’s cottage, I figured I’d better leave my cynicism at the door. Levitt, a tall, willowy brunette emanating an aura of wisdom, sat me down at a velvet-covered table and dealt a hand of New Age poker from her deck of ancient symbology. While she explained that the tarot taps into the collective subconscious and I shouldn’t hawk my laptop and join the circus, a green-and-blush-colored lovebird interrupted with a squawk.

“See? Jamilla agrees.” Jamilla chirped again from her gilded cage. The partnerless parrot seemed to be preaching self-realization. Sigh. In the ’90’s, even the lovebirds are single.

Levitt incorporates Chinese astrology into her work – different from the usual barfly pickup fodder – the practice is based on a 12-year cycle, each year represented by an animal and its distinct characteristics, plus a quantitative element or color. You may have had a taste of it with your sweet-and-sour chicken if you read the place mats in Chinatown. She’s written a book, Taoist Astrology, and has recently spoken to standing-room-only crowds about this relatively obscure path to enlightenment.

Sure, enthusiasm is high now, since there are plenty of true believers looking for the latest thing to latch onto, right? “It’s actually the old thing,” laughs Levitt, undaunted by my devil’s advocacy. A student of Eastern practice long before it was a celebrity fad, she says, “If it helps people, it doesn’t matter that it is a passing trend. People are so disconnected from themselves, whatever helps them to understand is useful.”

Path to self-realization or not, the surge in Chinese astrology’s popularity may change the singles scene forever. Born in 1971, I’m a silver boar with an ox rising. I can almost imagine sauntering up to some good-looking stud and batting my eyelashes. “Hey, I’m a shiny pig. You wouldn’t happen to be a purple cock, would you?” Oy. Maybe Jamilla is looking for a roommate.

Susan Levitt has a splendid sense of humor and is available for consultations at Her book Taoist Astrology is available at local bookstores.