Monday, 30 November -0001

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: JONATHAN CAINER

…is a British astrologer. He started his career as a session musician, then at a birth chart reading he was so impressed by its accuracy, he went on to study with the Faculty of Astrological Studies. He now writes horoscope forecasts for newspapers &

What are you working on at the moment?
My latest project is an Astro Alert system that sends you an email each time something in your personal birth chart is live, loaded or a liability. I’ve been researching and designing this for eight years. Finally it’s available for members of my 5 Star subscription service. It’s getting rave reviews but while I’m proudly rolling it out in public, secretly I’m still ironing out the wrinkles.

When are you at your happiest?
This morning, while I was practising meditation. And yesterday, doing the same thing. And every day since I first took instruction in meditation in 1978. It is deceptively simple and easy to learn but not always so easy to maintain a daily, hour-long commitment to. But as well as bringing me some peace, it helps me to see beyond the superficial.

What is your greatest fear?
That one day I will forget that the whole of existence is an illusion and I will begin to take it all too seriously.

What is your earliest memory?
I wasn’t even a toddler when I crawled under a coffee table and hurt my back. I think I hurt my pride more than my back – 55 years later, I’m still learning not to be so blooming proud.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
My desire to be ‘right’. The inevitable, undesirable side effect of which must be, if I’m right, someone else is surely wrong.

Who has been your greatest influence?
In psychology, Carl Jung; in astrology, William Lilly; in self-awareness, Prem Rawat [Maharaji]; in music, Ella Fitzgerald.

What is your most treasured possession?
My theremin: it lets me make music out of thin air. It’s weird, wacky and wonderful – my children got it for me last Christmas.

What trait do you deplore in others?
A refusal to forgive. I find that, er… unforgivable!

What do you dislike about your appearance?
My unnecessarily large tummy. Winnie the Pooh meets Buddha. For lunch!

What is your favourite book?
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

What is your favourite film?
Time Bandits.

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What is your favourite record or piece of music?

Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca.

Your favourite meal?
I’m a vegan. Vegans don’t have ‘favourite foods’. They have a willingness to accept whatever comes close to meeting their dietary requirements. Unless I’m cooking for myself, then it’s spinach, mushrooms and tofu.

Who would you most like to come to dinner?
My grandchildren. Or some other vegans.

What is the nastiest thing someone has ever said to you?
I don’t like being called a charlatan. It upsets me greatly that rationalists and sceptics are so quick to scoff, yet with so little knowledge of the subject and so much ignorant, acerbic assumption.

Do you believe in aliens?
No. But I sometimes imagine that they must exist.

What is your secret vice?
Malmsey.

Do you write thank-you notes?
Notes, no; texts, yes; emails, maybe.

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘This can all be explained by…’

What would improve the quality of your life?
The ability to materialise and dematerialise at will. Like Tibetan lamas are supposed to be able to do. I’d quite like to master levitation, too. Maybe if I meditate longer…

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I’ve written a humorous science-fiction trilogy for children.

What would you like your epitaph to read?
‘He cheered me up’.

More information at: www.cainer.com


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