Susan Miller, astrologer to the stars, waltzed into the Fontainebleau on Friday night with some very bad news. Most of the 40 or so people in attendance for her annual Year Ahead lecture were Libras, and 2014 would mark the most trying period of their lives.
"Reach over to the Libra next to you and give them a hug or a kiss," she implored her adoring audience members, who had paid $49 for the privilege of insight into the aspects. (Many would also tack on an additional $99 for an exclusive dinner party, $89 for a lunch, and $109 for a spa treatment.)
Although the super-famous scribe lives in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, she comes to Miami every year to celebrate the anniversary of her website, AstrologyZone.com, which turned 18 this weekend. On AZ, Miller gives away 48,000 words for free every month, or about 2,500 per zodiac sign. She's just as prolific on her Twitter account.
Moreover, she's hugely influential in the publishing and fashion industries, writing for Elle, Vogue and a host of other fashion magazines in Korea, Turkey, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Russia and Hong Kong.
Miller announced that the site would be translated into Spanish on December 2nd, a new moon. This means her brand of thinking -- which focuses a lot on the outer planets, she says -- will soon penetrate Latin America.
During the lecture, Miller broke down each of the signs, telling them what catastrophes and triumphs they are most primed for. She also offered a bit of political prediction as well. (Obamacare's website will start working by the end of the month, because Mercury will move out of retrograde.) Although Miller thinks some professional astrologers make up their predictions, she says hers horoscopes are based on math and can be verified.
"No astrologer believes in astrology before they study it," Miller told Riptide. Miller's mom, a Gemini with big blue eyes and chestnut hair, made her study the ancient belief system for 12 years before practicing it at all. Her dad, a street smart Scorpio, owned an Italian specialty grocery store in New York.
"My father was always making fun of my mother's astrology," remembers Miller. That is, until she showed him how good she was at it. Before Miller's parents were married, her father's brother went missing in Normandy. The family was sick about it. One day Miller's mom asked, "Do you want me to do a chart and tell you if Peter is alive?" She worked on it for a week and eventually said the family would get a letter from the state department that Friday at 11:00. "And at 11:00 they found out that my uncle was alive, and that he and his buddy in the same platoon had survived, but that they were the only ones that survived."
Miller likes to tell this story and add that men make up 45 percent of her readership, which grows steadily at about 5 percent a year, and numbers at about 6 million unique visitors per month. Men are turning more and more to astrology, she says, in times of economic uncertainty.
She emphasizes again and again that she's not a psychic. Miller merely tells you how the movement of planets affect your personality, which is determined based on where and when you were born.
"I will never tell you to marry that man, take that job, or move to Europe," she says. "But I can tell you the questions you should ask."
At one point during the lecture, Miller turned to the planet Jupiter. She threw out to the audience, and asked if it was significant to anyone there. A woman yelled out that Miller had picked the date her husband's cancer had gone into remission.
"What I didn't tell you is that Jupiter is the planet of miracles," Miller cooed.
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