Clifton's Deborah Dillard decided to write her just-published book, "Gift Giving by the Stars," so others could use the same method she does to pick the perfect present for everyone.
She's a professional astrologer with three decades of experience — and the mother of 8-year-old Emily who gets lots of birthday-party invitations.
"We had to buy all these gifts for children's birthday parties, and my husband Paul asked, 'How do you pick out gifts for someone you know nothing about?'" explained Dillard. "And I said, 'The same way I do for anyone else — I look at their Sun and their Venus.'"
It's a pretty foolproof method, she said, because "the Sun represents what you want in life, and Venus represents what you value. And for each of the 12 astrological signs, Venus can possibly be in five, different constellations — so that gives 60 different gift profiles based on the sun in Venus."
It's actually not that complicated, but the important thing to know is what the gift-recipient's astrological sign is according to the Sidereal Zodiac that lines up with the constellations. Do not use the more common, Tropical Zodiac, based on the seasons.
The Tropical Zodiac is the one with which most people are familiar because they see it in most American newspapers and magazines. But the Sidereal Zodiac is more accurate. So, for example, a person born Jan. 23 may have always thought he or she was an Aquarius when, in fact, they were really a Capricorn.
Dillard explains the concept on page 140 of her book and lists the particular signs and the birth dates that apply to each of them on page 141. Further details may be found in Chapter 14 of her book and also at searchbythestars.com and mybirthchart.com.
If, for example, someone's birthday is June 18, that person is a Gemini. So when looking for a gift for that person, the reader would simply consult Chapter 11 — the gift profile guide — for the sun in Gemini to learn what the recipient would like. In addition, chapters 1 through 9 explain gift-giving in more depth.
So for that Gemini — who values the exchange of information — gifts such as walkie talkies or brain games would be good. Or try a computer game, particularly one that talks back. For a Scorpio — who likes puzzles, contests and all types of intrigue — jigsaw puzzles, mystery novels or movies with surprising twists would be good choices.
Overall, Dillard describes her book as "the practical guide for buying and receiving gifts — including chapters on how to say thank you — blending etiquette, sage advice and astrology. I swear on a stack of gift receipts, if you know someone's birth data, you are on your way to gift paradise — where there are no returns and everyone is happy. And it always works."
Problems only arise, she said, "when people thumb through the book and try to choose a gift for themselves or another based on what sign they think they are — according to their Tropical sign — rather than using their Sidereal sign. It's like using a screwdriver in place of a hammer — it just won't work correctly."