I first heard Stella Woods (AKA Stella Starwoman) speak on Melbourne’s Triple R radio, where she was a popular fortnightly guest on Kealy Smith’s program: ‘Midweek Crisis’. Stella would take calls from all sorts of fascinating Melbourne residents interested in astrology chart readings and her understanding of these callers’ lives proved quite astonishing…her sing-song voice, her grounded outlook and advice never failing to impress or inspire.
TENANT – ever curious on views of Melbourne – delighted in speaking with Stella, a person who professionally has had such intimate access to hearts and minds of Melbourne.
Hi Stella, thank you for speaking with me today. Let’s start with location, location…What Melbourne suburb do you live in and why?
I live in St. Kilda, and have done so now for 19 years. There are so many things I like about the suburb. I feel so lucky to live here – it’s like being on holiday every day!
But clearly, from your accented notes, you were not born in St. Kilda, where did you grow up?
In the Pennines in Yorkshire in the North of England in a two-up two-down terrace house.
And here you are in Melbourne Australia! How did you come to live here?
On my travels I met a man from Melbourne in New York, he became my boyfriend and I travelled to Melbourne to be with him. We still have a great relationship – as friends! Interestingly my cousin also lives here now, not too far away in 3184 – Elwood. It is nice to have some family close.
Aside from St. Kilda, is there a place in Melbourne, or Australia, that reminds you of home?
The Ovens Valley in the Victorian Alpine Region – I love the cool mountain air, craggy peaks, multi-coloured leaves, sparkling streams and cosy lodges in the winter snow. And if we’re talking Melbourne, the Regent & Princess Theatres – they remind me of all the great theatres in London’s West End.
Astrology is not a career that is often promoted by career counsellors. When did you know you wanted to be an astrologer?
I met two Italian astrologers on the beach at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, in 1981. I was already interested in psychology and how people tick, but it was my conversations with them that really piqued my initial interest in astrology.
How did you get there?
I started formally studying astrology in 1987 and after four years I took my professional qualifications and began reading charts for people. I’ve been teaching astrology since 1999 and started writing for magazines in 2003.
Do you have a “dream” astrology project?
I love to do live astrology and tarot consultations. It would be wonderful to find a way to do this via talkback on national TV, similar to what I used to do on 3RRR – helping people to understand their gifts and talents, solve problems and sort out their lives. Most people have no idea what astrologers actually do and get us mixed up with psychics and clairvoyants.
Yes, good point. In your own words what is it that Astrologers actually do?
Astrology or ‘Star Logic’ is an ancient, complex and valuable tool that can help you understand your life journey and make the most of your gifts and talents. It’s a wonderful counselling tool and works with planetary cycles and symbolism. All you need to tap into the power of astrology are three simple pieces of information: your time, date and place of birth. Armed with this information an astrologer will draw up a horoscope (also known as a birth chart) showing a snapshot of the positions of the sun, moon and planets in the sky at the time you were born. This symbolic map has all sorts of practical applications – here are just a few things that I might use astrology for with my clients:
- Helping someone work out what sort of work would suit them best and why
- Helping two people thinking of starting up a business decide when to launch the business and what sort of challenges they might face in their working relationship
- Mapping out the year ahead to take best advantage of the planetary cycles
- Offering advice on the best time to buy or sell a property
- Choosing a good date for a wedding or for other important occassions
Have you ever been asked to make a definitive prediction using the stars?
Yes, I was asked to predict the outcome of the 2010 election on Steve Vizard’s show on Melbourne Talk Radio. It was a huge amount – at least a solid day – of work – as to make a prediction like this I had to calculate the birth charts for all the key players. I looked at each party’s leader and the way the planets were influencing them as individuals and then I looked at how the planets were influencing the thinking of the general population as shown by the chart of Australia and made an educated guess – or prediction.
A chart of Australia…sounds interesting and really quite complex! Did you get it right?
Yes I did – you can listen to the interview on my website!
Good work! While astrology continues to have a huge following – with columns appearing in magazines and newspapers across the globe – it does seem to get some people quite hot under the collar. How do you respond to the detractors; those people who show your profession little respect?
I guess I expect respect – I tell people that this is my full time job and I’m proud of what I do. If it’s not their thing, that’s fine – we can talk about something else. I am well travelled and I have had a good education. (Stella was head girl of Hulme Grammar, whose alumni include English physicist Brian Cox). My vocational choice is an educated one.
I have been self-employed for 17-years now, and enjoy repeat business from a diverse group of Melbourne society. I read for surgeons, financial traders, psychologists, teachers and tradesmen. I love helping people and find my work very rewarding.
What star sign are you? What qualities of your ‘signs’ do you think best describe you?
Sagittarius Sun, Virgo Moon and Sagittarius Ascendant. Sagittarius is big picture and Virgo is attention to detail.
Sagittarius loves to teach and guide others (even if they don’t want to be guided!). I am a very optimistic person and I’d like to think I can inspire others to create a vision for their future and then show them how to take the practical Virgo steps to get there.
Virgo also loves to heal and serve and I see myself very much as a counsellor, helping others overcome blockages and reach their potential.
Do you do your own astrology or do you visit other astrologers?
I do my own transits, but I often discuss astrology with other astrologers.
You meet so many interesting people through your work. Who inspires you in your life?
Joseph Campbell; Jimmy Page; Mark Knopfler; Freddie Mercury; Liz Greene; John Frawley; Simone de Beauvoir; Nina Simone; Rafael Nadal; my family, friends and students.
You have named a few musicians in there…?
Yes I love music and play the piano and the guitar. I’m in love with my Roland keyboard and Gibson Les Paul.
As you know TENANT is interested in the way that Melbourne residents interact with and influence the city; the co-dependent relationship that we all have with the place we live. The things you are most proud of in Melbourne?
Where to start? I’ve lived in London, Paris, New York, Rome, Florence and L.A. and visited many other places – for me, life in Melbourne is better than life in any of these cities.
Melbourne offers a relaxing lifestyle; wonderful food; cutting-edge music, arts and culture; world class sport and sporting facilities; beautiful beaches, parks and gardens; well serviced roads and public transport, a safe environment and a climate where you can enjoy being outdoors all year round. Plus Melbourne is full of creative and visionary people focused on the future rather than the past. And there’s a refreshing lack of cynicism compared to most other places I’ve lived.
What is a change that you would most like to see in Melbourne?
Change I’d like to see in Melbourne – a direct rail link to Tullamarine – Oslo, a city of less than one million people has a train to the airport every 10 minutes! I don’t understand why we don’t have one!
What are smells that remind you of Melbourne?
Meat pies and beer on the MCG terraces; the smell of the bay after a fierce storm; good quality coffee and spring in the Botanical Gardens.
Do you have a favourite ‘Melbourne word’?
‘South of the River’. As a migrant, it amuses me that people think of Melbourne as split into two halves or that that’s somehow important.
Favourite Melbourne season & why?
I love autumn with its golden light, harvest picnics and warm sunny days and cool nights.
What lies ahead for Melburnians this year?
That’s too big a question! Anything I say would be trite. I could talk about some of the major astrological transits affecting the world, but I can’t really relate them just to Melbourne.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone with a warm, generous heart who inspired others to be the best they can be.
Thanks Stella. From listening to you for years on the radio, and reading the testimonials on your website I think it is safe to say you will be remembered this way!
Thank you for your time today and before we go, is there a Melburnian that would you like to introduce to the TENANT audience?
Tracey Lester – owner of the Carlton Hotel in Bourke Street – she’s a fantastic Virgo woman – very creative and very committed to her work.