Jim Lewis (b. 5 June 1941 - d. February 21, 1995) was an American astrologer, writer, lecturer and entrepreneur. He is most well known for pioneering the field of Astro*Carto*Graphy - a technique of locational astrology.
Jim Lewis's obituary by Robert Currey
reprinted from the Astrological Journal [May/June 1995]
At Washington D.C. in 1992, to the applause of his fellow astrologers, Jim Lewis marched up to the rostrum to receive astrology’s nearest equivalent to the Oscars. Voted by his colleagues, he was awarded the Regulus Prize for astrological research and innovation. This was the final confirmation of what the public had recognised for years, that Jim Lewis was an exceptional and original astrologer.
Astro*Carto*Graphy, [A*C*G] – the system of mapping out lines where the planets were angular for a particular time onto a terrestrial map – was Jim’s baby.
History of the Technique
Locational astrology was not new – perhaps originating long before the Three Wise Men converted stellar observations onto maps to locate a special birth. Imitators argued that ‘Right Ascension’ could not be copyrighted. But Jim was the first to develop detailed world maps, a complete technique, a systematic written “cook-book” analysis, a trademark, software, a commercial service, lectures, courses, articles and a certified examination in the field. He made what was an obscure technique, accessible. On that no one could touch him.
Jim’s astrology used only the most basic and established theories. In working with angular planets, he followed the tradition of Ptolemy and the Chaldeans. More recently Michel and Françoise Gauquelin refined, scientifically proved and replicated this planetary effect. With the notable exception of Carl Jung, Jim seemed to bypass most Arabic, Roman and recent western astrological developments. As well as the IC and the distant outer planets, his work focussed on visible celestial bodies in visible locations: planets rising, setting and at the midheaven. Although, he accepted the recent addition of lines for Chiron, the Node and the ecliptic, he rejected lines displaying planetary aspects despite their commercial possibilities. Throughout he retained this clarity, integrity and purity of his theory. In this sense Jim was a scientific astrologer, living out the potential of Saturn conjunct Uranus in Taurus in his 10th house.
Astro*Carto*Graphy was an evolving technique. Jim Lewis built up his knowledge with real examples from feedback and wrote about the A*C*G of current affairs and the charts of prominent individuals of the day. His observations were acute, radical and persuasive. I remember his comments on the Queen’s A*C*G, with her natal Saturn MH line running along the British Isles and the essentially conservative nature of a country that allows one person to be superior to another by virtue of his or her birth. And he had equally sharp observations for the country of his birth, where he found it difficult to express his strong Pluto, without feeling alienated. This was a love-hate-love relationship.
As a lecturer, Jim was undoubtedly a ‘class act’, a star attraction on the international circuit. He worked with his own excellent material: original, solid, tried and tested astrology backed up by amusing anecdotes. True to his Pluto rising in Leo, his height and manner gave him a dramatic presence and with the Sun and two planets in Gemini a coherent and flowing delivery.
Life outside of Astrology
Jim Lewis, born James Slayden on 5th June 1941 at 9:30 am EDT in Yonkers, NY had an intriguing life outside astrology. He recounted tales of hunting deer and other wild animals while living in a commune at Big Sur in the red wood forests of California. Later he spent a year on a sparsely populated Caribbean island. He was also a significant, though discreet member of the San Francisco gay community.
The challenges of the A*C*G business
But it was Astro*Carto*Graphy that made Jim Lewis renowned around the world. It was his greatest success and yet he was also a victim of the work. Jim was strongly litigious and considerable resources and intense emotion went into protecting his trademark. And he was not immune to the negative potential on A*C*G’s ‘planetary power lines’. In the mid ‘80s he was struck by a vehicle while crossing Military Road, in Sydney, Australia on his Mars Ascending line. In a strange way he felt that his illness was brought on by the pressures of the A*C*G business. Behind the tragedy, there is a cruel irony that someone so cerebral (Sun and Moon in Air) should have been affected by a brain tumour at the age of 54 years.
His work will live on. It is a little known fact that his Astro*Carto*Graphy handbook that accompanies the world A*C*G maps has been the most successful astrological publication outside sun sign titles and the ephemerides. Besides the continuing operation of his three A*C*G licensees in Oregon, London and Zürich and his many certified A*C*G interpreters, he will be published posthumously. His friend and certified Astro*Carto*Grapher, Erin Sullivan intends to complete and publish his final work “The Psychology of Astro*Carto*Graphy” as part of the Penguin Arkana series.
God, we astrologers were lucky to have a mind like his among us and by heaven, we will miss him.
Robert Currey, Certified A*C*G Interpreter
Equinox, Isle of Man.
Jim Lewis (1941-1995) This obituary has been reprinted in:
- The Astrological Journal (May/June 1995) Published by the Astrological Association
- Davis, Martin Jay (1999) Astrolocality Astrology; A guide to what it is and how to use it. Published by the Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth pp.225-226 ISBN190240505-6
The Original Astro*Carto*Graphy® Patent
Patent: Astrological device and method
James L. Slayden
Patent number: 4304554
- Filing date: Feb 26, 1980
- Issue date: Dec 8, 1981
Jim Lewis' Birth Chart