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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Being an Astrologer - First Meetings

I have decided to skip putting up a smaller article for a few longer ones. Since it takes more time to put together the longer posts, and I have a regular J.O.B. (and I don't get paid enough blogging to quit that J.O.B... YET) I can not commit time to do both. It's my hope that you take away a little bit of insight from these longer articles that are lacking when I do shorter posts. If you ever have any questions, or wish to see an article on a certain subject, email me. I am always happy to respond.

When people first find out that I am an Astrologer, their reactions are interesting. You get those who think they are being clever, putting on their best poker face and challenge, "So. What sign am I?" My reaction largely depends on my mood, their approach and the overall atmosphere. I usually smile and explain that personal appearances are usually reflected in the Rising Sign, not the Sun Sign. Usually this gets them to shift in their seat a little, and re-phrase their question. "What's my Rising Sign, then?" Sometimes I will play, but other times, especially if I really want the conversation to take on a different topic, I'll ask them if they know what their Rising Sign is. Most people who take this approach when they first meet Astrologers still think of Astrology as the 12 signs of the Zodiac in the newspaper horoscopes. Either they answer something off kilter like, "The Moon", or they don't know and will be honest about it. Usually at this point, they are grinning like a kid caught with their hand in a cookie jar. The simple answer: "If you don't know what your Rising Sign is, then how will you know if I am wrong, or right?"

Although I take my responsibility of passing on Astrological knowledge very seriously, these sorts of encounters get a little tedious. Thousands of Astrologers every day must go through similar scenarios. Sometimes this sort of interaction comes from a genuine interest in the topic. They just don't know any other way to broach the subject. Most of the time, however, it's intended to be a personal test. The "I Read My Horoscope But Never Won The Lottery" crowd. It's not really their fault that they just don't know the ins and outs of Astrology or how complicated it actually is. After all, no one came out of the womb knowing everything. We learn as we grow as people. They just haven't become conscious of it yet.

These types of interactions can be a great opportunity to bring a little of that awareness into some one's life. How many people get a chance to do that so often? The amount of information imparted depends upon a few factors: time, inclination, openness, attitude and sychronicity. If the timing is right, I usually take out a piece of scratch paper and draw a rough chart, with house divisions, the zodiac and planets. I draw each of these as I explain what the item is and try to relate it in some way to the person. Obviously, it's quick, taking no longer than 5 minutes. After all, I am not giving a class in Astrology, just trying to open some eyes.

I begin by explaining which part of the chart indicates the Rising Sign. The question, "What does it mean?" is usually next off the lips. "Well, technically your Rising Sign is the constellation on the Eastern most horizon at the time of your birth." Does that really tell them what it means? Yes, but not in the way they expect. This leaves them with some curiosity as to what else they might discover with Astrology, and also shows them that there is more to Astrology than whipping out an interpretation. I graze over what the Rising Sign means to them, and then head to the Zodiac, planets, aspects, houses, and if the mood is right, the other basic elements of an Astrological chart. They key is always to technically explain something, then pull in something personal to them without interpreting a chart. If it isn't personally meaningful, then it's boring. This doesn't mean being individually specific.

It's fairly rare for everything to come together in order to allow that much information to be passed in such a short amount of time. I am firm believer that when someone is spiritually, emotionally and intellectually ready to gain certain information, the universe will line up to provide it. Shakespeare said, "The fates lead the willing, and drag the unwilling." If something is meant to be in your life, it will be, whether it's an easy process or a hit on the head with a brick process. Who am I to shirk my responsibility and pass up an opportunity to create enough of a spark of interest, and possibly change a life forever?

This may sound rather over dramatic, but Astrology certainly changed my life. I am very fortunate that someone (thanks Robert!) saw enough of a potential in me to give me the opportunity to learn. This brings me directly to the second reaction when people find out I am an Astrologer.

You may have guessed it, and if you are an Astrologer have most likely heard it enough yourself. It's the "Teach Me" response. Usually what they are after is someone to hang out with who will show them everything from the ground up. In order to mentor someone in Astrology, I feel that they have to earn that mentorship. They have to meet you half way. Someone really has to show me that they want this knowledge. To me, this means that they will take personal responsibility for furthering their own knowledge. There are many wonderful books on the subject, or structured classes you can take in a classroom setting. The Internet has also provided some good material for the budding Astrologer. It's not that I am an elitist. I really am the opposite, believing that knowledge of Astrology should be readily available to everyone. But I also know that when things come easy, they are not appreciated fully.

If someone really wants to learn about Astrology, they will be voracious in what they read, or hear on the subject. They will take some classes, or find a way to teach themselves the basics. How to cast an Astrology chart is a great start. Even though we all use computers these days to calculate charts, you still have to know how it is done by hand. It can take someone starting out an hour or two to calculate their first chart. That shows some element of dedication.

It might seem that I just want my part in taking someone under my Astrological Wing to be easier. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I had a very good friend in London, Ivan, who taught me a very valuable lesson. Ivan was an absolute master at creating electronic music on a keyboard. He had an edgy, unique approach and style, remaining completely dedicated to the art and mechanics of it all. For my birthday, a very special friend bought me a top of the line Yamaha SY85 synthesizer (thanks Joel!). I knew basics of the keyboard portion, but had no clue how to sample, mix, use midi or layer sounds on this complicated beast. I wanted to learn as quickly as possible. I was confident in my ability to pick things up just by watching someone else while they talked me through what they were doing. Ding! The light bulb went on. I would ask my friend Ivan. Surely he would teach me!

I went over the Ivan's house and asked him if he would teach me. He was never a man for wasting words, and he said, "No". I told him I would pay him if he spent a little time showing me a few things. He again simply said, "No". I pretended it didn't bother me too much that I had just been turned down and made a list of excuses in my mind why he might say no. He didn't have enough time. He didn't have the patience. He didn't... Everything I came up with was wrong.

We sat and shared a cup of tea in his kitchen. I looked out his kitchen window into his small fenced back yard. Just beyond his yard was an Underground track going overhead. Each time the train passed, the 150 year old house would shake. At first this was very hard for me get used to. I came from California where if it shook, it was called an earthquake.

Finally I decided that rather than second guess Ivan's reasons, I would ask him outright. His answer wasn't something that ever occurred to my reality at the time. Come to think of it, when I taught him how to drive a stick shift, it's a good thing I didn't throw his reasoning back at him!

To understand his answer you have to know a little bit more about Ivan. He was Norwegian and very dedicated to studying Runes. Runes take on very personal meanings based on your experiences. He would study Runes in everything, every day. He slept in Runic positions. He kept Runic journals. He spent days and sometimes weeks carving one Runic symbol into just the right rock with a nail. The process of all these things is to alter your conscious awareness of the symbolic Rune. Just as Odin hung upside down for days and nights, finally sacrificing his eye for knowledge, so too must those who seek certain knowledge make their own personal sacrifices.

Ivan explained to me that he could certainly show me the ins and outs of my synthesizer but that would not be best for me. "If first you learn yourself by doing, you will have earned it. It will stick with your senses and you will be able to figure anything out. It will mean more to you and your work will show it." Just to prove to him that I could focus on the synthesizer long enough to learn, I did. I thought of the effect I wanted to create, and reverse engineered it. I taught myself all the ins and outs of the keyboard, and when I was finally able to play some of the end results for Ivan, he was impressed.

A mentor should be someone who helps you build on your current knowledge. They fill in the gaps of the things you can't learn in school or from a book. They provoke you to think differently. They challenge your senses so that you stretch beyond your comfort zone.

As with any esoteric or abstract knowledge, you have to be ready and open to the information. You have to take some steps yourself to learn. If not, you risk only mimicking someone else's thoughts and views. How will you know if something is truly right for you, or if you need to change course to something that sits more comfortably with you as an individual? In order to truly learn and grow, you have to have some type of desire and dedication already in place. No one can take the place of your own volition, propelling you towards a goal that is important to you.

If someone takes your hand at step one, chances are you won't stick with it. If you do, you learn only one perspective. One of the beautiful things about Astrology is the "ah-ha" moments that never cease. Astrologers have these all the time, when they discover something new or fresh. Or when they see some element of Astrology in action. In order for the study of anything to continue evolving, there needs to be free thinkers and those who can start thinking a little outside the box. If Jim Lewis only stuck with "normal" Astrological subjects, we would never have Astro*Carto*Graphy the way we do today.

My next post is going to be on how I "fell" into Astrology and how that effected my life. I hope you enjoy these longer posts. I try to impart knowledge that is interesting and changes people in some way.

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At 4:27 PM, Blogger Michele said...

I really enjoy reading your blogs, I look forward to them. I especially like this one. Keep up the awsome Blogs...

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Twilight said...

Hi Velvet Blade

First - many thanks for your kind comments about my blog (Learning Curve onthe Ecliptic)- I'm truly flattered, and very grateful.

Second - I'd somehow missed seeing your blog, so am doubly grateful for your comment which has led me to it. Yours is an excellent blog - the kind of thing I'm trying to aspire to ! I'll link to it on mine, and will visit often.
I love this article in particular. I'll return to your archives later.
Thanks once again !
Ann (Twilight)


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