Liudmula Linchevska, an astrologist, makes predictions by studying relationships between stars and human lives.
© Ganna Bernyk
And, unfortunately, true love only comes once every 30 years.
Sitting comfortably on a throne-like chair in her office in downtown Kyiv, Liudmula Linchevska churns out predictions and words of wisdom about anything. She is an astrologist, and believes that the stars can give an answer to just about any question. It seems she has plenty of clients who share that belief.
She smiles mysteriously when she talks about various politicians, celebrities and businessmen coming to consult her. “Some come to me just once to get an answer to a single question, others are my regular clients and consult with me about their business and love affairs regularly,” she says. The majority of them are female – about 60 percent.
Astrology is an ancient discipline that seeks relationships between stars and celestial phenomena with human lives. It claims to be able to map out major events based on these relationships.
To create a map of one’s life, data about positions of planets during one’s conception and birth are analyzed. They can help forecast marriage, pregnancy and even death, Linchevska says.
Between 2.3 to 2.5 percent of Ukrainians consistently say they trust astrologists, according to polls by the Ukrainian Sociological Institute of the National Academy of Sciences.
Her rates vary (but some astrologists charge Hr 1,200 an hour), it’s also a serious business, but worth it for those who pay. Jobs are not the only thing that astrologists predict. Health issues and heart affairs are the other two major selling points.
Becoming a true specialist is not easy, says Linchevska: “There are a lot of people now who claim they are astrologists. They predict the future by using computer programs or templates, but this is not the right thing to do and this is not what I do.”
She says there are a lot of nuances to it, and a lot of changes in the planetary motion since the ancient times when astrology was discovered, and they all have to be taken into account. She teaches her students to do that, too. For years, she has taught groups of three to nine people to read the stars. Her course takes several months.
Linchevska herself has been in business for 30 years. Back in her student days, there was little literature available. She claims to have paid for translation of original sources from Arab and various Indian languages, and when the first astrology academy opened in Moscow in 1990, she signed up for a course.
“Astrology has nothing to do with magic, it is a science very related to math and it takes a lot of work to become a professional in this field,” she says.
Yet her office, decorated with bendy furniture, with lots of curls and gilded elements evokes scenes from Harry Potter movies and memories of magicians. In her tall chair, Linchevska looks like a queen of the kingdom of stars.
She admits that astrology is not pure math, and intuition comes into play. But it’s only a secondary tool. “I don’t believe in solving life problems by means of magic. It can only help for a short time,” Linchevska says. “Astrology can point out a problem and the person can try to change the situation.”
There are things that are out of our control, though, Linchevska believes. “You can only try to change some small details of it, but the major milestones will remain the same,” she says. “And you will never become famous however hard you try if it’s not on your destiny map.”
Astrology has plenty of opponents, though. Many people believe it’s a bogus trick for siphoning money off the believers.
“How can one believe that some giant glowing gas balls millions of light years away can have some effect on whether to buy an apartment in June or not?” asks Kateryna Girych, a graphic designer in Kyiv. “The very idea is insane.”
But Linchevska says it works, whether you believe it or not. “Most people check the weather forecast every day, but they don’t really want to know about rain, wind etc. They just want to know their future.”
And for a price, she can tell them.
Kyiv Post staff writer Daryna Shevchenko can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org