Nick Campion – Astrologer of our parish…
Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
on Sunday 2nd October 2016
By Shirley Roberts
Photographs by Mike McDowall
The Soller Valley is awash with interesting people who turn up and stay. Nick Campion in one such who had never been to Majorca before when he was invited to celebrate a friend’s birthday here. Soller was the venue for the celebration and that was enough for him and Wendy his partner to change their life’s direction. Within a day they were looking in estate agent’s windows for the perfect Soller retreat for them.
Nick Campion’s childhood was defined by his interest in astrology. He listened to his mother read the horoscopes out of the papers each morning and was fascinated by the idea that planets, stars and alignments could determine an individuals fate that day. He spent his pocket money on astrology books and taught himself to do readings and work out what all the symbols stood for. This was a hobby and a fascination for him that sat in the back of his mind through his university years.
History was and still is his first love and it was whilst researching the history of popular astrology that the name John Naylor came into his life. He wrote to him about the fact that his father had published the first newspaper horoscope. This was to be research for an article on the subject. John Naylor agreed to meet Nick in six months’ time in the Reading Room of the British Museum on his return from wintering in Spain. All very bizarre but Nick duly turned up on the date and at the correct time. John Naylor arrived with carrier bags full of predictions, writings and papers that he was anxious to unload on to Nick. Within half an hour they were both outside his literary agent’s house ready to explain that a crowning had taken place. John Naylor had decided that Nick Campion was going to be his astrological heir and take over all the publications that he wrote for with the Daily Mail being the biggest at the time.
This began a career and a step into the newspaper world of Fleet Street. The transition between astrologers wasn’t noticed by the paper because the column was written under the by-line of Orion. If any reader noticed a change of writing style and predictions it was never mentioned and Nick developed his astrological work under the mighty Orion’s protection. A couple of years passed and his writings had extended to women’s magazines Vogue and Harpers Bazaar in the USA. The astrological world of newspapers began to change and phone lines were installed on behalf of newspapers to give readings and make lots of money for the papers. Orion now wasn’t enough, the Daily Mail astrologer had to be personable and a celebrity in his own right. The photo shoot days were upon Nick and the business account lunches. So Nick Campion was given his own name and picture to accompany his horoscopes and the status grew in line with the publics insatiable desire for predictions and warnings.
The world of Patrick Walker, Jonathan Cainer, Mystic Meg and more was an odd place for Nick to occupy and his turning point came when he gave one personal reading too many. Individual readings were huge money spinners but they required a skill set that he didn’t have. He always felt he wanted to tell people to pull themselves together when they were sharing their problems with him. He had no patience for the agonising about career choices and felt like telling people to just get out there and get a job.
Jonathan Cainer was waiting in the wings and he took the job when Nick gave up his days as an astrologer. He had a great time for a season in this role but the time had come to spend some of the money he earned on a house and get back into the halls of academia.
Nick has, since those day, based himself at the University of Wales Trinity St David in the Lampeter campus. He runs an MA Course of Cultural Astronomy and Astrology and has worldwide seekers of truth as his students. Much of this work is done online and the world becomes a university lecture hall under this way of learning. He has published many papers and books and is an author of renown specialising in the dilemma between the subjects of Astronomy and Astrology.
Nick is the Director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture. He is responsible for taking forward the Centre’s research and teaching activities, through supervising PhD students, sponsoring research projects, organising conferences and other events, and publishing research via the peer-reviewed journal Culture and Cosmos, and the Sophia Centre Press. His University responsibilities include Chair of Taught Postgraduate Studies in the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology. He is also a director of the Harmony Initiative, working with Dr Jane Davidson.
As a senior lecturer at the University he is involved with the wider projects of the place. Sustainability is a byword of life at the University of Wales. The Harmony Initiative incorporating new ways of looking into our world is being pioneered at this seat of learning. Friends of the Earth and other organisations have joined forces with the Prince of Wales and three Harmony professors to do mighty work under this banner. Nick organises events and groups to be part of the discussions, decision making and implementation of the resolves of the initiative.
The sky, the stars and the universe is a never ending fascination for Nick Campion. The Dark Sky Movement is of particular interest and something he would like to help organise in Majorca. The Soller Valley would be a perfect place for an Annual Festival of Darkness. Light pollution means that no-one truly sees the night sky anymore. There are dark sky reserves being set up in many places for people to truly appreciate the beauty and wonder of the sky and all that is contained in it. Sark, the island off Guernsey is a reserve and is known for its festivals under the title of ‘Sark in the dark’. Nick is convinced that many people would travel here to experience this in Majorca if there was enough interest in bringing the project here.
This week it was announced that Soller is to receive 900 new light fitting upgrades. This could be very good news if they are the latest LED technology and of particular interest to all those involved in this project. Dark Sky tourism is the by-line for this project and you read it here first. The idea that the Soller Valley might be the focus for all this is very exciting indeed.
Soller is home to Nick’s writing time and deadlines and also to his early morning swims in the sea of the Port of Soller. He joins the pack of people here who live their lives between village life and computer
Nick Campion is an interesting amalgam of where your brain and using the opportunities that life hands you to its best advantage. He remembers his astrology days with great fondness and still can’t quite believe how it all happened. Some might say it was all in the stars.