I started studying the art in 1995.
I had met an astrologer born the same day and year as myself, but just a few hours later. Curious to see if we had a connection, she asked for my birth time. I gave it to her with the caveat that I didn’t want to know anything. “It’s against my religion,” I told her. “Besides, according to astrology, I’m a Virgo. And I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous.” In truth, the only thing I had ever consulted was the Farmer’s Almanac.
She thanked me for the information and asked the same of my husband, who gave her his information with a large dollop of skepticism. The next time I saw her, she said, “I promise not to tell you anything, but… You’re a Leo. You were born a half hour before the cusp. And wow, are you a royal Leo!”
I would later learn she was referring to my 10th House Leo Sun/Mercury conjunction with the fixed star Regulus, a royal star that confers great dignity and honors.
It wasn’t until I was having marital problems that my curiosity was piqued. I’d become closer friends with the astrologer. One evening, as I poured out my heart to her about said problems, she started talking about my husband as if he were a long-time friend. She knew things about him that she couldn’t possibly know as she had spent so little time with him. I asked her how she knew all these things. She replied, “Because I have his birth chart, my dear.”
I decided then and there: to hell with whatever Jesus-reasons I had harbored in the past. I needed to have this tool STAT. It might save my marriage AND my sanity. That was when one of the most fascinating journeys of my life began. I discovered a lighthouse in the darkness of human nature, a powerful tool to not only understand myself and the people around me, but to peer into the mists of the future with spectacular results.
The marriage failed. But my sanity and life flourished.
A few years later, I began to cast charts professionally. However, that took away from my writing time, so it was short-lived. Besides, people only came to me when they were in trouble. And 99% of the time, they knew exactly what their problem was. I had almost nothing to tell them that they didn’t know except, “This too shall pass.” They didn’t need me to tell them that. All I could tell them was when it would pass. Approximately, anyway. Life’s experiences linger with us. We process them and move on. Nothing simply disappears.
But I’ve seen things. Amazing things. If I lost touch with a friend, I would check his or her chart. I cannot tell you how many times I saw a troublesome or jubilant transit that triggered a phone call. Sure enough, I even had the details right as to what was happening. I predicted great successes for friends. I predicted a friend would win a Tony award against all odds. I sometimes had trouble reading for lovers, however, because I was too close to their charts. For example, I saw in one boyfriend’s chart the day he would be getting married. He did get married that day — just not to me. For myself, I could see when I’d get good news about publishing, a fun gathering, or an opportunity. I could brace myself for bad news that I saw a mile off, reminding myself that I’d weather it with plenty of rest and chocolate.
You can be as skeptical as you like — and I would prefer that you were.
It annoys me beyond words to see this half-assed shit that passes for astrology spread around the Internet by people who don’t know their Moon from Uranus. They tell their friends to fret about Eris transits (are you fucking kidding me?) and blather at length about how the Moon is in Aquarius and Mars is crossing their ascendants and OMFG my hair is on fire. They are amateurs. They have no idea what they are talking about. The bullshit they spew tarnishes the people with real talent, knowledge and skill. No one should listen to most of what they see or read online about astrology. It’s garbage. So, please, be skeptical — for this reason and many more.
For me, a good astrological reading is like a weather forecast. It helps me prepare for the bad times and anticipate celebrating the good, giving me something to look forward to.
The problem is that lately all I can see is the bad.
When the good transits come along, nothing happens. Nothing. It’s like a bright blue sky on a chilly morning. The sun shines but without warmth. The only time something happens is during a typical “challenging” transit. It’s like only half of my spiritual spark plugs are firing.
And that is just fucked up.
Two particularly troubling transits are headed my way just before Christmas of this year, continuing through January. They are potentially devastating, perhaps to my physical person. For whatever reason, I anticipate the worst. My peace of mind has fled. I have nightmares about these damned transits. I’ve never experienced this before. Ever.
Even worse, I realize now that I am forever living in the future, never the present. If I’m not wracked with worry about a future event, I’m constantly looking to tomorrow for relief from today’s unbearable moments. And there have been a great many such moments this last year.
“Perhaps a wiser eye would be able to read tomorrow in tonight’s stars, but where is the fun in that? It is better not to know. Better to be alive in the Here and the Now–in this bright, laughing moment–and let the Hours to come take care of themselves.”
Clive Barker — Facebook, August 11, 2013
It’s really no way to live. How can I make the best of the moment when I am constantly trying to escape to a later one that promises to be better? And then, more often than not, it isn’t.
Better people than I have mastered this problem. They are more resilient, more able to be present. They can look ahead and remain unflappable. I, however, can’t.
“If astrology is as accurate as you say,” you might be thinking, “how can you possibly give up your superpower?”
For me, the true superpower is the ability to decrease my daily anxiety. I’ve stepped away from the ephemeris for almost a month now, and I can say with certainty that it’s easier to live with uncertainty than certainty. I can now devote my full energy to my writing, to the laughter that Clive describes. To craft each moment so that it sings. Finding peace of mind is a superpower, one that will go a long way towards improving my health.
And somewhere along the way I’ll rediscover the joy of surprise.
(Curious about what happened? Read “The Reasons Might Surprise You: A Follow Up”)
I looked a little at astrology years ago. I find it interesting, but to me the part that seemed most fun was not any form of prediction, but the idea of using it to help flesh out characters for fiction. I’m weird that way, though.
It can be used for that, sure. And recently a friend who was writing a major TV tie-in novel asked me to come up with a birthday for the main character. Based on that character’s personality, rough age and history, I was able to concoct a very plausible chart. If you read that novel and cast a chart for that character’s birthday, you’ll see. I doubt anyone will do that, but it would be super cool if someone did and said, “Hey! This birthday actually WORKS!” 🙂
🙂 That would be very cool.
I had a friend who really, really wanted to do my charts, and I told her that it wasn’t that I didn’t believe in astrology, but that whatever information it provided wouldn’t help me actually experience my life any better as I lived it. I’d rather be in the flow of the journey.
Just as a follow up, my father died under a week after I wrote this blog post. My life was turned upside down for that time for sure. But I survived, and I’ll never allow myself to suffer such anxiety again.
I stopped believing in astrology because I consider it a discipline that leaves little room for personal growth
I usually read the cards, practice esotericism, in order to draw on the energy around us to create, improve
the last time I asked for an astrological opinion on a forum, within two lines there was already the word “mourning”, I closed everything and definitively greeted
I know of many people who live in anguish because of astrology
I believe that the general negativity that permeates this matter does nothing but draw negative energy on us
the negative facts of life can happen and happen to everyone, it’s normal, astrologers make you feel like you’re always the most unlucky in the world
definitely not to be missed
Thanks so much for responding to the article. I hope you’ll read the follow up article, “The Reasons Might Surprise You: A Follow Up.” I think that the reasons people live in misery with astrology (or any other predictive system) is because of both how they are using it and their state of mind. If you study someone like Steven Forrest, his work as an evolutionary astrologer is absolutely beautiful. He’s one of the greatest living astrologers. Unfortunately, most people don’t study that kind of astrology — in fact, most people don’t study astrology at all. They pick up bits and pieces instead of studying it systematically as a whole. I watch these people wreak havoc online all the time. Their doomsaying pains me. Anyway, I hope you’ll read the follow up article. I think the results were quite illuminating.
Thank you for your time and consideration in writing this article. Humbling to so many an for different reasons. I am a single Mom struggling daily like so many unfortunately I will add. Anyway, I have always been the positive person who always the voice if reason,along with educating myself on everything. I have a Math Degree,an I have been informed about three yrs ago I am a empathic clargognant…Honestly I guess I dont like labels,but it’s my normal to look into someone’s eyes and see. To just know things. I have been called a dog whisperer, which is silly cause dogs dont whisper. Lol..
But I seem to attract every dog in the neighborhood and I just know what they want. I dont question it. My apologies for rambling on here,but I have just started figuring out numerology reports..dabbling in it. Thus far seem spot in accuracy. However the natal chart is so foreign to me. Oddly everytime I get one via email I just junk it. Unclear at this moment why however…I just dont question it. I have been told I am heart,an of fire,..yet the heart of Mary by my great grandmother. I am a Leo,so I get the fire thing..plus I can see things an stuff inside smoke an occasionally flames..not a fan so much. But all of this, not once have i asked for one penny in those i have helped as a friend thru the years..an I had a dream one night to make what I call kansas Crosses, an not one has sold, but countless I have donated..lol..Makes it very difficult financially to open a small buisness of personalized unique pieces that are from the heart..an not sell but only three pieces ..lol..but time will get me thru this opening up of my online shop..I have faith,but again never have I really understood astrology side of things.. I mean the moon,sun,an stars are beautiful..an I capture orbs,an other things on camera all the time..Maybe after all is said in done….We all need something to believe in an positive vibes to pass to our children..
It gives me anxiety too! I’m thinking of soon quitting astrology.
I was looking for a way to quit astrology when I found your blog. I am in my 30s now and I have been studying it since childhood, but more seriously in past 10 years. First time this year I seriously started doubting in it.
I only got interested in it because I wanted to find out about my career. I have very good natal chart aspects and planetary positions for good career, but in reality, I am stuck in low payed, dead end jobs. No matter how much I believe that it will happen (it has to happen, it’s in the stars!), the reality is me sending my CV everywhere and being rarely even called for an interview.
My chart is positioned in that way that Saturn is making a challenging aspect on something important almost from any sign: my Sun, Moon, Asc or ruler of Asc are always “attacked”.
And I struggle with depression. Last year I decided to quit everything that is drowning down my mental health – birth control pills, social networks, reading news.
This year I realized I am being afraid of upcoming Saturn transit in Aquarius and that I am living in genuine fear I will divorce. There is no reason to think that, my husband and I love each other.
Not to mention how boring it become o answer friends’ and “friends'” questions about health of their parents, their job prospects and will their ex call them. I never wanted that anyway, people just started asking me and treating me as their free astro therapist.
I am really tired of being afraid of future. I am not religious and astrology gave me hope when I started with it. But now it gives me nothing but misery. I don’t know how to stop with it. I would love to read an advice on this matter.
I say this with love: sometimes we are our own worst astrologers. We can’t always read our own charts accurately. Astrology should not make us fear the future; it should help us prepare for it and understand it when it happens. Did you read my follow up article that I linked to at the end of this one? If so, please re-read it. Fear of the future isn’t generally due to astrology. It’s our own mental health asking for more care and love. It might take (more) therapy. Or a 12-step group for co-dependency. Or something… I don’t know you, but I think you understand.
For the record, I have absolutely refused to do work for a great many people. I don’t answer questions from anyone who isn’t a VERY close friend. Strangers will take advantage because they think we have nothing better to do with our time. I’d advise you to set boundaries with anyone who asks. If they ask why not, just say you need to reserve your energy. Or if they ask why you’re not doing astrology, just say you’re taking a break to focus on other things.
Please take care. Sending you healing, supportive energy!
Lovely comment. I’m a beginning astrology and so sympathized with this part:
“They are amateurs. They have no idea what they are talking about. The bullshit they spew tarnishes the people with real talent, knowledge and skill. No one should listen to most of what they see or read online about astrology. It’s garbage. So, please, be skeptical — for this reason and many more.”
Even though you’ve quit astrology, can I ask how you would recommend that a beginner learn it — the right way, the real way? Any particular books, courses, or other thoughts?
Thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment. Actually, at the bottom of this post, you’ll find a link to a follow up on what happened and when I resumed my practice. But to answer your question, I recommend highly that you seek out all of the books written by Steven Forrest. He’s a brilliant astrologer, a living legend, and one of the wisest people I’ve ever met. I would also immediately start listening to the Big Sky Astrology Podcast. April Elliot Kent is a gifted astrologer who knows how to convey esoteric ideas in a grounded, relatable way. I wish you the very best of luck.
Wonderful, thank you so much, Maria.