“…I’ve loved listening to your conversation, Steffie and Steve. I was deeply moved by the way in which you shared your deep sense of wonder at the night sky, and the sense you both had of being connected to a larger consciousness. That sense precisely underlies my own core connection to astrology – and evolution as an astrologer over several decades now…”(i)
It was delightful recently to listen to a very lively discourse between master astrologer Steven Forrest, well-known USA astrologer, teacher and writer – and Steffie James, graduate from and tutor with the London School of Astrology, who runs the Stellium Astrology podcast which hosts a whole range of astrologers on all manner of interesting themes.
Those of us who are regular students, practitioners and teachers of this 6,000 + years old practice, rooted in humans’ wondering about the stars, and where they fit in to the Big Picture we see stretched before us in the night sky, can get a bit blasé. We can forget in our quotidian preoccupations with clients, classes, writing and deadlines – not to mention the normal preoccupations of day-to-day living, the depth and wonder of the subject that is astrology.
We can be so immersed in computerland that we forget simply to go out on a dark, clear night (assuming this might be a possibility given one’s location and local weather!) and look up. Following the path of the Moon each month as she waxes and wanes in the heavens can be a reminder that we are woven into the cosmos – as are all living creatures.
So – it’s great every so often to stop and be reminded (recently for me by listening to Steven and Steffie talk about when astrology first gripped them) of the sheer grandeur and vast sweep of universal energies ebbing and flowing throughout the cosmos – their patterns brought down by the ancient practice of astrology to help us make sense of life here on Planet Earth.
Looking back a long way, I think the early beginnings of my own capture by the art of astrology can be traced back to my childhood on the Isle of Lewis, a wild and at times ferociously windswept island off Scotland’s West Coast. I still clearly recall lying cosy and tucked up in bed, listening to the fierce winter gales that used to scour our island, feeling that the wind was tearing the world apart – and wondering what the sheer Power could be that generated such ferocity. Feeling quite safe in my bed, I used to be exhilarated, not frightened by the weather’s wildness. ( Many years later, I was to discover that the planet of Power, Pluto, was very strong in my birth horoscope. So – no wonder those wild winds had such a powerful effect then!)
I was also deeply affected, growing up, by observing and gradually being able to identify celestial patterns in the clear, star-studded night skies. In those days, in that location, the effects of light pollution were minimal. The sense of wonder engendered by those skies, the feeling of being a tiny part of something too vast for me fully to comprehend, was triggered by that early closeness to Nature, and the wildness of the elements.
Fast forward a couple of decades, to a rainy Sunday night in a laundrette on the outskirts of Bath, Somerset. A college lecturer in English in those days who considered herself a Marxist, I had no idea that the template for my future life was about to be set. I’ve written about and been interviewed about the event following, a number of times in recent years (ii): in essence, I encountered a couple who turned out to be astrologers. Such was their charm that they persuaded me to let them read my horoscope – over a cup of tea in their nearby flat.
I can still vividly remember reeling out of their house, completely staggered by the in-depth accuracy about me, my character, my family background as well as vocational tendencies, which they had been able to extract (without knowing anything about me), from marks on a piece of paper. I still have that hand drawn horoscope…
The most baffling part of the whole thing was the prediction that in around seven years’ time whether I believed in Astrology or not ( decidedly not, in those Marxist days! ) I would end up practising it – or something very like it – myself.
And, Dear Reader, it duly came to pass!
I have now been an astrologer, teacher, writer and student mentor for decades. This represents undoubtedly the most satisfying period of my vocational life, my main interest in recent years being observation and writing about the larger planetary cycles. These can give us amazing insight into the unfolding patterns of energy and time throughout history, and are especially helpful in setting a meaningful context for the current turbulence world-wide.
The practice of Astrology offers many gifts, allowing each one of us to weave our tiny threads of life meaningfully into the great tapestry of time and space. ‘As above, so below’…
This opportunity having come my way, its background being my Nature-dominated Hebridean childhood, and its unlikely foreground that encounter on a rainy night in Bath in Somerset, has left me feeling forever grateful to that
“…divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will…” (iii)
I’m always intrigued to hear folks’ experiences of their first encounters with Astrology, and especially from those of you out there who were so gripped that you went on to study and to practice the ancient Art. What was your experience, why did Astrology capture your imagination, what keeps you interested and involved? Do let me know – I’d love to share your stories, perhaps in a future article!
(i) from my comment left in response to the following podcast: November 1st 2022: Episode 118 of Stellium Astrology podcast with Steffie Jay:
‘Evolutionary Astrology: Beliefs, Empowerment & Reincarnation’ with Steven Forrest
(ii) ‘Postcards to the Future: Mercurial Musings 1995-2021’ pp…122-5
(iii) Hamlet to Horatio in ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare Act 5, Scene 2.
© Anne Whitaker 2023 1000 words
15 thoughts on “Astrology: gifting us a place in the cosmos…”
I love everything about this article – your experiences in the wild growing up (I can relate!), your first revelations about astrology that put you on the path.
My first experience in awakening to astrology began in its earliest stages in college, when I found Jonathan Cainer’s horoscopes. There was something about them that rang always true enough that kept me coming back (a fellow Sag!). Then he talked about Mercury retrograde, and I observed and was blown away; then eclipses, same.
It wasn’t until after my concussion in 2013 that I had a sudden astrology obsession emerge. I had been following many astrologers on Twitter and saw that even though they all had their essence and style, the core of what they said was always the same. I *had* to know the secrets and I couldn’t wait another day to begin, even though my cognitive functioning was much slower and study was a huge undertaking. This coincided with my Saturn Return (I had no idea until I started learning how to read my own chart months in), and the Uranus/Pluto square that was squaring my Grand Cross by way of a transiting Pluto conjunction to my natal Mercury station retrograde.
I got my hands on some really good books, The Inner Sky being one of them, and the rest is history. And what you say about stargazing resonates. Just last night I was thinking about how much I’m looking forward to moving to the Southwest – some of the best stargazing in the world!
Hi Jen, thanks so much for this fantastic feedback! I will also file it and hopefully will get some more personal stories, at which point I will publish them as a follow-up post￼. I just love your feedback…🙏🏼￼
Hi Jen, thanks so much for this fantastic feedback – I hope it’s okay to transfer it to the actual post? I will also file it and hopefully will get some more personal stories, at which point I will publish them as a follow-up post￼. I just love your feedback…🙏🏼￼
Anne Whitaker Absolutely, you can use this any way you’d like.
I’m lucky enough to still have my birth chart – hand drawn by you! I was already studying with the faculty, and Jane R-P, who was very much like a mentor, suggested that I contact you 🙂. Time has passed, and I drifted away from astrology practice and into other fascinating realms…. but I haven’t forgotten everything, and need to reconnect.
Wow, Jennifer, how lovely to be reminded – not only about our consultation, but also that I used to draw charts by hand…￼ 🤦♀️🤣
And – in our contemporary astro-world, there is no shortage of ways to reconnect…
So much light pollution here, but we can always see the Moon, traditional planets and even some stars at times.
Thanks, Karen, that’s good to hear! The same is true here in Glasgow, very intermittent sightings depending on weather and light pollution, but thank goodness the Moon is nearly always reliably visible! I will never forget being in the Orkney Islands, walking back to where we were staying in the countryside in the absolute dark, and seeing Mars rising, quite clearly – this was in the 1990s, when Mars was at s very close point to the Earth. Such a thrill..
Fortunately we live deep in the French countryside and the skies are amazing.
Alison, I do envy you that context, living as I do in a frequently cloudy and rainy city…
Yes, although I envy those who have the vibrancy and life of a city on their doorstep.
Indeed, there is always that interweave of light and dark, whatever we consider…
Astrology might be even older. If we consider that the 12,000 year old temple at Göbeklitepe, Türkiye was like Stonehenge in England, were astronomically based.
Yes, you are quite right in pointing that out, thanks!
What a captivating and personal story about your journey with astrology, Anne! It’s amazing to hear how your early childhood experiences with the elements and the night sky led to a lifelong passion for this 6,000-year-old practice. Your encounter with astrologers on that rainy Sunday night in Bath sounds like a moment of fate, and the accuracy of their reading must have left a lasting impression on you. It’s fascinating to learn about the gifts astrology can offer, helping us to weave our individual threads into the fabric of time and space. I’m grateful for your sharing your story and I can’t wait to hear more from fellow astrology enthusiasts about their own journeys. Thank you for reminding us of the wonder and majesty of astrology!
What a wonderfully uplifting message to receive on a grey dull February day, Meghan! Thank you so much…I do hope you enjoy your own voyage of discovery into this ancient powerful art. Blessings, Anne