To the modestly superstitious, a daily newspaper's horoscope might be the end all, be all, final say in what lies ahead for the avid fortune seeker and the hopeless romantic.
While astrologist Eugenia Last may very well be the most read columnist in the Rocky Mountain Collegian, students will never see her milling around the Lory Student Center Plaza.
A good chunk of those who read the Collegian daily probably open to her column first, before continuing on to the crossword. What she says about the outcome of your day may either liven your spirits, or totally tick you off. It's for these very reasons a conversation with Miss Last had to happen, and the mysterious shroud of the CSU astrologist had to be lifted.
It turns out Last has been neck deep in astrology since she was born in Toronto, Canada, where she currently resides. She said members of her family used astrology as their means for escaping Romania and coming to North America, so it's always been an important part of her life.
"I was raised with the subject, it was always important in my family to use astrology; not for fortune telling and not like a psychic, but strictly for timing," Last said.
Last was studying to become a classical dancer focusing on ballet when she suddenly fractured her knee, putting her out of action. The fracture forced her to put dancing on the backburner and pushed astrology forward as her profession.
She went to the Institute of Astrological Studies, based in Toronto at the time, studying anthropology, psychology and astrology, as well as taking correspondence elsewhere.
Last decided to pursue astrology as a lifelong career on a trip to visit her uncle.
"I went and we sat on the lake. My parents, aunt and uncle had a house on Lake Ontario, and he held my hand and said 'you've got to promise me you're not going to stop doing this subject, because you're going to teach North America that it's about timing, not fortune telling,'" Last said. "Two weeks later he died of a massive coronary, so it was kind of like he passed the ball to me, and I haven't stopped."
From that point on, Last added, she focused her research on medical astrology – detecting diseases in people at an early state so they may be able to receive the necessary medical attention – thus cutting the chances of it progressing into a terminal disease.
"That was always my research and one of the things I always wanted to follow through with, and the other is to teach people that it is timing, and timing is the key to success," Last said.
When Last started writing dailies (horoscopes, which are printed in the Collegian) she was condemned by many people throughout the astrological world.
However, Last said she is trying to "bridge the gap between the people that do know the subject of astrology and those that don't, and the only way to get to talk to people and make them realize what it is, is if your name is out there."
Last also has written six books, which teach readers that they are all made up of all twelve signs.
"If all you read is your sun sign (as most Collegian readers do), you're not getting the most valid reading out of your horoscope," she said
Astrology is one of the earliest sciences in the world, but that doesn't stop Last from keeping up on the times with technology. She has two different Web sites, and can even be heard on iTunes.
"If you go into iTunes, now they have a feature, it's free, called 'podcast' and if you click on the category 'astrology' I'll come up," she said. "I usually do a bit of commentary about astrology and my thoughts on whatever's happened that week and will also answer a 'Dear Eugenia' letter."
"Dear Eugenia" is one of several columns she produces, in which she answers questions people have e-mailed to her from one of her Web sites.
"I usually try to pick people that have either mentioned they're destitute or in really dire straights over the situation they're in," she said.
Unlike many occupations, Last doesn't suffer through traffic jams to get to her tiny cubicle in a big building. She likes to work where she feels most comfortable, so she has a studio in her home, with quite the assortment of friends to keep her company.
"I also have eight tiny teacup puppies of which I have all their signs and most of them are special needs dogs that I've taken in." With problems from black skin disease to kidney failure, her miniscule mutts apparently follow her around the house like a little personal entourage, thanking her for her undying love.
Last plans to continue to write dailies and columns in an attempt to help people realize astrology is a real science and something that needs to be used as a guide for the future. She hopes to one day have a radio show and to expand her services to everyone who needs them.
Who knew what to expect before having a conversation with an astrologist? With pictures of crystal balls, tarot cards and lifelines passing through the brain, it seemed easy to take astrology with a grain of salt. After an hour-long conversation with someone who's made it their hobby, their passion and their lifelong career, the stereotypes tend to quickly wither into a piddle.
It's impossible to try and explain how the horoscope works, how the planets affect every person in existence, and what the stars really mean without taking up the next year's worth of space in the Collegian.
For this, visit www.astroadvice.com and learn the history of astrology and all of its inner-workings. Type in personal information and one can receive daily horoscopes via e-mail.
Web surfers also can chat with people, check out their lovescope, and even get a full color chart providing a personalized roadmap of their own life.
Those interested can also go to www.EugeniaLast.com where there's a feedback forum to e-mail Eugenia personally about anything. The best part about both of them: they're completely free.
"I've always been a big believer that you receive that which you put out. I can remember times when people would call up and they'd be crying and they'd say, 'you know, I don't have any money, I can't pay you but I'm in trouble and this is what's going on.' And I didn't even ask them their name, just 'when were you born,' and I would give them whatever information I could to help them," Last said. "And two years later I might be in a spot where I couldn't pay some of my bills or something like that, and somebody would come to my door and say 'two years ago you helped me and it turned my life around and I just wanted to give you something for it and would hand me what I needed.'"
By the wisdom of the stars, words and facts by Eugenia Last:
The Fate of Politics:
Despite criticism, President Reagan used an astrologer named Joan. In Eugenia's view: she's a fairly good astrologer, but it's risky for a person in power to use astrology to make important decisions.
Where there is skepticism, there is prejudice:
"I believe if you understand all the signs and if you understand your own chart that you know, we could get along a whole lot better. 'Cause you know, you'll hear people say I don't like this sign or I don't like that sign and it's the silliest thing I've ever heard, 'cause we're all made up of all the signs and what you might not like in another sign, society needs that. We all contribute to society to make a whole and so to me it's just redundant to say I don't like… it's just craziness."
The Wild, Wild Web
"Universal in the states syndicates me around the world. So people aren't supposed to just pick it up, but you know, that's the way it is, I call it the Wild, Wild Web. I have people e-mailing me all the time saying 'oh, I saw your work here or I saw your work there, they didn't put your name on it, but I know it was yours.' I have that happen a lot. But you know, how are you going to monitor it? It's a really strange time for this sort of thing and anyone who's an artist of any kind or an entrepreneur or doing something that's a little unique, everybody takes."
On Selling Horoscopes
"When I formed the partnership for the astroadvice.com Web site I said to my technical team, 'I will give you my life's work, which to date is well over 80,000 paragraphs, but you have to give my work away for free.' I think that everyone should be allowed to go and do their chart for free, do compatibility for free, get the information for free. I think it's really important for people to have this, I think it should be taught in the schools."
Hollywood's effects on her
"It's really difficult because it's hard to even go out socially. I get people throwing there hand at me saying 'oh read my palm' or you know, like they just don't get it, and so yeah, that's just kind of a difficult thing, but you do get used to it and you just hope that people will just get more educated and it probably won't be within my lifetime but I am really working hard at lecturing and getting out there so people will understand."
On Psychics and Intuition
"I consider myself a highly intuitive person, and I think we all have that. But I have studied the tool, or the vehicle, to use my intuition. I know when my intuition is not good and I will then rely solely on the mathematics and what I see in the chart, but I also know when my intuition is dead on, according to my own chart and it'll usually come to me before I even look at the book, and then I'll verify what I feel."
What's up with the star ratings?
"What the stars are is basically how the moon is affecting your sun sign. It's basically, what I'm saying, you know, it's your emotional level from the lowest ebb to the highest ebb on any given day. If you wake up and you've got a five star day you should be feeling relatively good. Now, all that being said, if you're not really strong in your sun sign, it won't be working for you."
Random Eugenia Facts
Birth date: March 26 sign Aries
Favorite color: shades of red and blue
Transportaion: I drive 1974 super Beetle in the summer and a 5-speed Lincoln in the winter
Hobbies: rollerblading, reading, dancing, working out
Favorite books: House of Scorpio by Pat Wallace for obvious reasons, also The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold and, of course, the DiVinci Code
Favorite movies: "Blade Runner"; "What the Bleep Do We Know"; "Finding Neverland" – can't help it I'm female and love Johnny Depp – "Harry Potter"; "Lord of the Rings".
Marital status: not married but have a significant other (he is a composer for film and television).