It has been most interesting following social media reactions to this recent article in Harper’s Bazaar, in which four women talk about why they chose to become astrologers. So – I thought I’d share my story of how a dismissive sceptic – me! – turned into a devoted practitioner. Enjoy! And remember – never say never…
My career as an astrologer began in a launderette in Bath, England, in the 1970s – although I didn’t realise that at the time ! Befriending a little girl who came to chat whilst I did my washing, I met her parents, Gloria and Seamus; they were astrologers, they said, and would I care to come back to their place for a cup of tea? They’d like to draw up my horoscope, to thank me for entertaining their child.
Well, I remember thinking, nothing better to do for the next hour…….at that stage I was scornful and dismissive of astrology, basing my judgement on the Sun Sign material in the media which struck me as general, banal and trivial. I did not know then that there was a subject of great depth and power beyond the Sun Signs.
I was puzzled by my new friends’ dismissal of the Sun Sign columns – wasn’t that what astrology was all about ?. “We’re proper astrologers” they said firmly.“ Your Star Sign (Leo, in my case) only puts one character on the stage of your life. It’s impossible to describe who you are from only one factor.”
They wrote down my date, place, and apparently vital TIME of birth, produced various reference books and did complex-looking calculations. Then they drew up my Birth Chart or Horoscope : this was a map of the heavens for the precise time I was born. It was apparently an unusual chart – lots of planets in the twelfth house, whatever that meant, and strong Pluto, Saturn and Uranus influences. So what, I thought.
Then came their interpretation into character analysis of the planetary symbols in my Birth Chart, in considerable depth and with a high level of accuracy. The experience shocked me to the core.
How could they be so accurate about my career aspirations? How could they know what my deepest fears were ?How COULD they manage to describe my parents’ core characteristics and some of the key effects they’d had on me ? How could they describe so vividly the restless spirit which drove me ? I had met them less than an hour ago. They knew nothing of my personal history or life experience.
Worse was to come. “You tell me you’re a total sceptic,” Seamus chuckled . “But your Horoscope shows that you have a deeply sensitive, spiritual side to your nature which you’re currently refusing to acknowledge, preferring to identify with the intellectual and the rationalist in yourself. But I can see from your Chart, and where the planets will be in a few years, that in your early thirties the spiritual dimension will come calling. You are very likely to end up doing something like this yourself.”
What nonsense, I thought. But I had no acceptable way of explaining in rational terms what had happened. Uneasily, I filed the experience away in the pigeonhole reserved for the many incidents occurring in my twenties which did not fit my existentialist world view.
Fast forward to my early thirties, having forgotten all about Seamus’ prediction. For my birthday that year, a friend gave me an odd present considering my scepticism – an astrology book. It was intelligently and sensitively written; I found myself compelled. My feelings were an uncomfortable mixture of attraction, rejection, fascination and embarrassment. What COULD I say to my friends and family?
Saying nothing, I carried on reading. After a year, astrology still fascinated me. By this time – and by a series of odd coincidences – I had found out about the Faculty of Astrological Studies, based in London. It offered a year-long correspondence course with some lengthy exams at the end of it, leading to a Certificate of the Faculty.
I embarked on my studies in an empirical spirit. If astrology WAS indeed merely superstitious nonsense of little value, at least I would have arrived at a conclusion based on knowledge and practice, rather than ignorance and prejudice. I had moved on sufficiently from intellectual arrogance to the awareness that it was very unscientific, and highly irrational, to dismiss a whole body of knowledge without ever having studied it. I obtained my Certificate in 1983, by which time my studies had demonstrated to me that the astrological model had worthwhile insights to offer.
(I was to further my studies much later on, at the Centre for Psychological Astrology, by commuting by plane from Glasgow to London from 1995-1998 to complete a three-year Diploma in Psychological Astrology with renowned teacher writer and astrologer Dr Liz Greene.)
The teaching and practice of astrology became a major strand in my self-employed career from 1985 until 2001 when, following a long health crisis, I gave up all work (except writing!) for seven years. In May 2012, after a very long sabbatical, I returned to my astrological work part time, and teaching in 2014. It feels good to be back!
850 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
I’ve read bits and pieces of this before, but this was a very nice, very concise portrayal of a remarkable journey. What i like best is your decision to pursue studies, in order to be able to make an informed rejection of it all. Well, so much for that!
A fun read, Anne. Thanks!
Yes, it’s an oft-told tale…but, I think, one worth repeating. Personally, I’d never (I hope) dismiss a whole body of knowledge, especially one stretching so far back into antiquity, without being in a well-informed position to do so. It would be a fine thing if Professors Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox took that attitude when they pour scorn on astrology without ever having properly studied the subject. Chance would be a fine thing…
Reblogged this on Lost Dudeist Astrology.
Thanks for the re-blog, Grand Trines!
I was a single mother raising my young son alone, in poverty. I would go to the library to read, and found some books on astrology. I called an astrologer and agreed to have my natal chart generated for a very small fee. I never met her in person, ever. She began asking me about my parents, and made some accurate guesses about them. I asked her how she knew, and she explained it was all in my natal chart. I began studying astrology myself and have used it successfully ever since to assist me in this life. I used astrocartography to relocate to an area where I am now thriving. I realized after understanding my natal chart what I should focus on and what is not promised in my chart. That was a HUGE game changer for me, I finally realized I am not meant for marriage and I will never have a stable income. Now I embrace myself and apply my chart to my life as it unfolds. I always say astrology saved my life.
Thank you for this post, btw.
Many thanks for this heartfelt personal feedback, Sherry. You have described, in essence, why so many people have found astrology an invaluable guidance tool in shaping their lives as constructively as possible
‘… I realized after understanding my natal chart what I should focus on and what is not promised in my chart. That was a HUGE game changer for me…’
Playamart – Zeebra Designs | January 6, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Reply | Edit
Anne, I often load pages and read them offline, and I loved this one. Thank you so much for sharing your story… it was so very interesting, and i love the self portrait!!! wow, it’s powerful!
I’ve shifted your comment from the promo post on http://www.anne-whitaker.com over here, so that those who come directly to the post can see it. Many thanks for both reading and commenting. And trust you, as an artist, to comment on “Seamus” ‘s self portrait! Yes, it is powerful. I often wonder what happened to him…
Pingback: Called from the Bar to the Stars…Why Victor Olliver became an astrologer… | Astrology: Questions and Answers
Pingback: On becoming a responsible astrologer: how do you get there? | Astrology: Questions and Answers
Pingback: As Sun and Jupiter meet in Scorpio: a tale of darkness – and healing powers arising | Astrology: Questions and Answers
Pingback: “Astrology is a load of rubbish” – please, NOT that tedious old trope again!!! | Astrology: Questions and Answers