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In 2016, I was interviewed by Victor Olliver for the Astrological Journal about my astrology life. Nearly four years have passed since this interview and much has happened since. I like how this captures the naive me who would embrace so many opportunities in a very near future. I had energy, optimism. . .and a great big dose of Jovian faith! Maybe things have not changed so much. . .
One thing I remember when doing this interview: the flower question! I told Victor I didn’t go around sniffing random flowers and if I did sniff a flower, I probably wouldn’t know the name of it. I was adamant that I didn’t want to answer the question. He essentially told me it was just a fun question and to loosen up. As I reflected on this interview, I find it totally amusing that actually a flower has changed my life! You can find out more about this in Mj Patterson’s interview (link at the end of this post). And I’m currently updating my article “When a Flower Speaks” for Victor–so more synchronicity.
Before we go any further, please follow me on social media. Subscribe to my newsletter if you would like to learn more about astrology from a fully qualified professional. I’m active on Facebook (@growingpainsadolescence), Twitter and Instagram. If you’d like to have a chart reading, please book via my products page. My book “Growing Pains” is also available for purchase here. Don’t forget there are lots of astrology conferences happening all over the world. I update my website with new articles on Monday and Saturdays–and whenever I like.
Living With the Muggles
Q: Hello Alex! Do people try to befriend you to get a free reading? At parties, say?
AT: If it happens, I just pass them my business card. I’m more likely to meet someone who wants to ridicule me for being an astrologer: they usually ask if I really “believe” in astrology or they want me to explain how it works or they want to quote the results of some empirical test done in the ‘70s. That’s far more difficult to manage because that kind of person is looking for easy answers in a very complicated field of knowledge. They get my business card too–and usually a stern admonishment to do their own homework.
Q: When did you first realise astrology had completely taken possession of you – if indeed it has?
AT: It was when I noticed—maybe fifteen years ago—that I found it difficult to have conversations with a non-astrologers. It takes a minute for my brain to change gear.
Working Life and Astrology
Q: Briefly describe your office and the view from the principal window, if any.
AT: I have three desks I work from actually.
These days I prefer to work on my laptop so my office is wherever I choose it to be. I have a notebook that I write in—and I’ve come to realise this is just as important as my laptop as it serves as a to-do list and prevents me from opening 50 windows at once. Every now and again I’ll flick through it to see what I have been up to. I try to capture bits of music in the margins, write poetry and turns of phrases I like, draw arrows, scribble everywhere and circle the stuff that I’m supposed to remember. Much better than post-its.
I also have a small workspace at home with a PC and all my astrology books that I’ve amassed over the years and a comfy chair that have been known to fall asleep in when burning the candle at both ends. More often than not, my desk at home accommodates a sleeping cat or two. It overlooks my neighbour’s back garden.
My third desk is my teacher’s desk: contraband kettle, mugs half filled with cold tea, stacks of unmarked books everywhere, notes to myself, several pairs of shoes beneath it, always a soft, squishy ball to throw around for targeted questioning—and a long list of what I’d like to do to OfSted inspectors. I keep it messy because I am notoriously territorial over what I perceive I “my” space.
Q: Which one aspect in your birth chart sums up a key trait known to loved ones?
AT:I think my Sun and Moon in mutual reception plays out well with my Gemini ascendant. I can be very, very introspective and reticent but then something will trigger the Leo in me and I’m on. I deny being moody though. I’m either “off” or “on” and there’s no uncertainty about which one I am. If I were truly moody I would be like track lighting with a dimmer switch.
Q: How did you learn the astro art?
AT: I came to England in 1990 with a basic understanding of astrology but no idea of how to learn more. My one and only astrology book had come apart at the seams. I was so thirsty for more knowledge! Then I happened to be watching GMTV and there was Russell Grant speaking the beautiful language and I understood him. It was an epiphany. It truly was. I realized there were other people who spoke the language and I needed to find them. I needed to find other astrologers and learn from them. I knew that from the depths of my soul.
Give me an Ephemeris!
I think from there I found one of Nick Campion’s books with an ephemeris from the local library and followed his instructions and was able to construct basic charts—although I was not confident they were correct. This led me to the Astrology Shop where Barry Street confirmed my primitive calculations that I was indeed a Gemini ascendant with the chart ruler in Leo in the 3rdhouse.
I also found the Faculty of Astrological Studies and Midheaven books where I probably drove John Etherington crazy with my desperate chatter, demands for more charts and more information. I just couldn’t get enough of astrology. I was skint at the time, unhappily married with 3 young children. By this time, I had borrowed every book on astrology from the local library but was desperate to meet other astrologers and take some classes. So I dumped my husband, got a job and enrolled with the FAS.
Q: Which flower persistently fails your sniff test? If not a flower then anything which promises an attractive pheromone – but disappoints.
AT: Dandelions. They stink.
The Future (As I saw it!)
Q: You’ve just been appointed Secretary General for International Affairs of the Krishnamurti Institute of Astrology (KIA) in India. What does this job entail?
AT: I see the essence of my job as uniting Western and Vedic astrologers in general but in particular bringing everyone together for the conference on 26-29 January 2017 in Kolkata. I really want both sides to see what they’ve been missing out on.
NB: I think I rather nailed it in 2018!
Q: You’re also KIA’s new Professor of Western Astrology – tell us about this role and who what this will involve
AT: I’ll be teaching Western Astrology to Vedic astrologers. I’m pretty sure I got the job because of my teaching background and my willingness to understand the Vedic system, including learning to speak in Hindi. I was asked by my employer, Gopal Bhattacharjee, to teach a beginners’ lesson for my lecture in Kolkata. I had far better things to lecture about but I knew that there were key differences between the two systems that meant an interface was impossible to establish. For example, Indian astrologers do not understand planetary glyphs, circular charts or that Western astrologers start charts with the ascendant on the left hand side. Imagine having to sit through lecture after lecture without understanding this!
My Ambitions and Astrology
Q: Where do these two jobs leave your work as an author and pioneer of astrology in education – your book Growing Pains has aroused much interest.
AT: The new job of course, gives me a new and much higher platform to work from. The educational system is ineffective, damaged and makes pupils, teachers and parents unhappy. It works against the natural circadian cycle of teenagers, has its roots in the industrial revolution which makes it extremely out dated and pays some poor sucker about £20 an hour (not counting all the planning and marking) to “teach” 30 pupils some random knowledge they have to regurgitate for an exam then forget about for the rest of their lives.
There’s no connectivity and I find it especially heart-breaking that the magic of numbers has been sterilised right out of existence. And because, like nursing, the teaching profession is a female dominated profession, it is undervalued. A fool kicking around a ball from one end of a field to the other is paid stupid money but the person looking after your dying loved one or educating your child is overworked, underpaid, under valued and can’t humanly manage what is expected of them so they leave the profession for something else before they get good at it. I could go on.
For whatever reason, I couldn’t fire up the bellies in the UK or the USA but they are listening to me in India. Shashi Panja, a minister for women and children in Kolkata, is top of my list—and she’s interested in what I have to say. So my work in bringing astrology to education has only just begun. Check back in a couple of years.
Q: Which astrologer has had the most influence on you?
AT: Tough call. But I’ll have to say you Victor: anyone who can get a star sign critic like me to cheerfully do a daily Star Sign column for free has had some serious influence on me.
NB: Not to take away from Victor’s influence but I wish I had acknowledged Jonathan Cainer whom I miss every single day.
Q: Which computer software programme do you use? Do you ever cast a chart on paper?
AT: Solar Fire or Astro.com. I always hand draw the natal chart for clients. It helps me think.
Q: Have you ever seen a ghost? If so, please tell us all.
AT: I haven’t seen one (that I know of) but I did hear one. My grandmother called my name about 2 years after she died. My brother heard it too—and so did our dog. She dove under the bed and wouldn’t come out for hours.
Q: And finally, Alex, would you say you are powerful?
AT: No way. Easy question. I am human and subject to all manner of lessons including death, subjective consciousness and pain which I strenuously strive to avoid at all costs. The weakness in me is in every breath I take.
Further Reading: Jupiter and Saturn in the Classroom
This paper was the result of a research grant from the American Federation of Astrologers in 2015. It was published in the AFA’s journal. It was further developed for the Institute of Vedic Culture’s conference magazine, Constellation News which is now featured on astro.com. The article later featured in National Council for Geocosmic Research‘s magazine Syzygy and the Astrological Association of Great Britain’s highly respected Correlation.
This article describes the key stages of child child development as mapped out by Jupiter and Saturn
Alex is passionate schoolteacher who fully credits astrology for keeping her in a career that most people leave in 5 years.
This paper for Organisation for Professional Astrology explains how Alex collated her data and describes the inspiration behind the research.
The video presentation of Alex’s research in Kolkata India can be found here.
Please don’t forget to like and share to support research in astrology. Thank you!
Relationships and Astrology: Margaret Gray and Armand Diaz talk to me about the very important relationship between teachers and their pupils (2018)
Rod Suskin: South African Astrologer and Sangoma Rod and I meet on a barge in London in 2016 to talk about astrology in the classroom.
David Cochrane: David interviews me in his capacity as Research Director for ISAR. We talk about statistics and my qualitative analysis of behaviour data. (2018)
Mj Patterson (CKDU radio): Mj and I talk about India and my mystical moment with a flower. (2018) Mj and I now work together on the Northern Stars Astrology Conference which will take place 25-28 September in Halifax Nova Scotia.
Nadia Shah (Synchronicity): A friend of mine once told me I wasn’t famous until I was interviewed by Nadiya! Was he ever shocked to discover Nadiya had interviewed me three years before at SOTA 2014!
Chris Flisher (Turning of the Wheel): Chris and I talk about how the use of astrology can enhance education.
Anthony Picco: Anthony and I discuss astrology and education
Michael Bartlett: Michael and I talk about “Growing Pains” and my experiences as a teacher in the classroom
Chris Turner (Australia): Chris asks me about how I became an astrologer and about my plans for India. (2016)
Karmic Evolution: Sheri Horn Hasan interviews me every September for Back to School with Astrology
Hay House Radio with Yasmin Boland: Yasmin and I do live astrology readings for callers and we discuss child development and astrology (2019) You may need to log in to hear this.
“The Moonwise Hour” on KSFR radio: Merrylin LeBlanc and I talk about astrology and research, particularly about behaviour and lunar phase (Santa Fe 2019)
Interview with Roy Gillet at my book launch in July 2013