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FUN IS WRITTEN IN THE STARS

What's your Zodiac sign? It's a common first-date question or something to ask while hanging out at a party. It makes for fun conversation for some folks. Others are just annoyed by the question and want nothing to do with astrology.

As for me, I'm a Leo. According to Astrology.com and other sites I've visited, being a Leo means I'm loyal, confident, crave attention, generous, stubborn and I prefer not to be alone.

At a recent housewarming party, I met Kerri Jones, and astrology somehow came up. I learned that Jones has a background in psychology and did eight years of astrological research. Intrigued by the idea of her reading astrological charts, I asked Jones if she might be able to read mine to assist me in my self-exploration.

The first thing I had to do was open my mind. At first blush, my fear was that I would be given a lot of generalities that could apply to me depending on how I looked at them. For example, being told that in September something bad will happen is a very general thing, and what constitutes "bad" or "horrific" is in the eye of the beholder. Nonetheless, I headed to the Soul Mirror for my chart reading.

The reading was highly entertaining. Jones told me about some of my personality traits that I might possess, based on my birth date and time. As it turns out, they were right on the money. The planetary alignment that placed me on the third rock from the sun could explain why I'm empathetic, eager to please others, self-conscious, independent and so on.

Jones also told me that my sign is very compatible with my husband Jeremy's sign. Of course, this brings some relief, since I meant it when I said, "'Til death do us part," and I don't believe in divorce.

The reading was all good, up until the point that Jones made some predictions about what my future could possibly hold. Based on the mathematical equations of the cosmos, February could bring me creativity and intuition. March may bring about change and upset and could even potentially hold loss for me. From March to May, Mercury will be in retrograde and it could be a good time to take a break, because I will be lacking energy.

Now, as much as I thoroughly enjoyed being told stuff about myself that I already knew, I'm not sure how I feel about being told what could be in my future. It's kind of like that movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow. If she misses the bus, she never finds out her husband is cheating, but if she makes it to the bus on time, she catches him in the act and they divorce. One route leads her to bliss, but the other leads her to dying at a young age. When we start questioning what could or could not come to pass we delve into a deep philosophical state that, to be honest, makes my head hurt.

I hope that awesome things happen for me in the future, and I hope that anything negative that is ahead of me is minimal. I'm anxious to see what the months bring and then revisit Jones to see what's next. I also would be curious to have her read my husband's chart and see if his personality traits align with how his sign says he should act, feel and be.

- My First Time is a column about Ashley Grant trying new things in Tampa Bay. Email her at famousashleygrant@gmail.com.

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Astrology Reading

Where: The Soul Mirror, 2025 W Bearss Avenue, Tampa. (813) 964-1156, thesoulmirror.com

Cost: $75 for a 60-minute chart reading.

Three things I learned:

1. Astrology is not just about the 12 Zodiac signs. It also has to do with the way the planets were aligned at the time and date of your birth. These factors can have a significant influence on your personality, that is, if you believe in that.

2. Astrology dates back as far as recorded history, and the first recorded astrologers were priests and scholars who were looked up to for guidance.

3. Visiting an astrologer is not the same thing as visiting a psychic. Although some astrologers believe they can predict the future and explain the past based on planetary alignments, it's more of a mathematical game than a circus act.

Would I do it again? Yes! It was very entertaining!

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