Well-known Byron Bay astrologer, Varij (Wayne Stuart), died last Thursday aged 74, from bowel and liver cancer.
Varij had worked as an astrologer in Byron Shire for the past 30 years, as well as in Cairns and Sydney, and on the occasional overseas yoga retreat, such as in Bali.
His former partner, Sara Crowe, paid tribute to him on social media, saying, ‘Varij leaves a son (our son) Bo Stuart, aged 17, several former partners who are close friends, a wide circle of good friends, and thousands of grateful clients and astrology students in the region, and across the country’.
‘Varij taught astrology at Temple Byron, set up by his close friend and fellow astrologer, Paul Margolin, for about ten years (2005–15).
‘He also gave astrology and tarot readings at the Crystal Castle, and at the Byron Medicine Wheel, for many years, and privately.
‘One of Varij’s career highlights was creating and directing a series of Astro-Dramas in Byron Bay in the early 1990s. These involved hundreds of people and it was very popular.
‘With his insightful readings, weekly astrology group, and Astro-Dramas, Varij helped many people gain greater insight into themselves and their lives. He received hundreds of lovely testimonials over the years.
‘Varij also wrote astrology articles for several magazines and newspapers in the 1990s and 2000s, including Wellbeing and Family Circle magazines, and a weekly column in the now defunct Byron News.’
‘Earlier, Wayne was a musician for a couple of decades in Melbourne, where he was born and bred. He played guitar and trumpet. His great musical loves included jazz, reggae and Afro-fusion. He wrote songs as well.
Another major lifelong interest of Varij’s was politics. He was strongly left-wing and cared deeply about issues such as social justice and inequality.
‘He was an intellectual really, although it’s not a word he would have used,’ Sara said. ‘Varij topped his year in Philosophy in his Arts degree at Melbourne University, then did his Masters on Eastern and Western philosophy, also at Melbourne Uni, in the 1970s. He then became a philosophy tutor at Melbourne Uni. He left a potential academic career to pursue a career in music, then as an astrologer.
‘Varij left the physical world for the spiritual realm on a magical full moon evening that was cosmically auspicious for him. It was the brightest full moon of the year, and also the highest king tide of the year – fitting for a Pisces, who loved the ocean. It was also the day of an annual festival in India, to honour all the gurus (teachers), past and present. Varij had a strong connection to India, and later became something of a guru/teacher himself in Byron Shire’.
A wake for Varij will be held on July 27, from 2–5pm at Mevlana Hall, near Mullum.