Well if you read my blog (actually I have 4) then you know what a smart ass I can be. I emphasise the word “smart” because I am an astrologer and a week or so ago, someone put something in my breakfast cereal and suddenly I’ve come out of my starry corner fighting (I’m blaming Mars trine my natal Sun). What am I fighting? Oh just general ignorance about astrology. You know, hearing Muggles (non astrologers) talk about retrograde motion and Ophiuchus and what Star Signs would put on their pizzas. You know, that sort of thing. So the title of the blog is meant to be very sarcastic. Because there are no set steps that are easy or the same for everyone. That’s the beauty of astrology–you can go all Burger King and have it your way.
But then it occurred to me that Muggles might not understand the process of becoming an astrologer or how to take those first, life affirming steps like our friend Flammarion in the picture sticking his head out of his bubble and looking at the true wonders of the universe (I’ll bet he thought “Blimey, there’s a lot of stuff up there!”). So I thought I would try to re-trace my astrological path. As I said in a previous blog, I chose to formalise my astrological education eventually but I was a free-wheeling astrologer for a long time before that. Overall I’ve studied astrology for about 30 years. I don’t say this to boast because I accepted long ago that there was no way I was ever going to know everything about astrology or that I was ever going to be able to call myself the best astrologer (although I have been known to don a tiara every now and again). So now I chill and enjoy learning, sparring with other astrologers and picking and choosing what I want to learn. These days, having finally finished my astrology diploma from the Faculty of Astrological Studies, I’m studying Vedic astrology. I write Sun Sign columns after being a Sun Sign skeptic for 29 of those years I’ve been studying astrology and these are the reasons. Oh and I do a lot of writing on the Astrology of Education (my own personal specialism).
I was going to add a hyperlink to some of these topics as a means to guide you to really good resources on the internet. But I didn’t want anyone to think this is meant to be an exhaustive list! So I just thought you could google some of these topics yourself or go straight to Skyscript (for primary texts), Cafe Astrology (for interpretive texts) or Astrodienst (to cheat on chart calculations). I also want to make it clear there are lots of schools of astrology out there. In London, besides the Faculty, we have the London School of Astrology and The Mayo School. The Astrological Lodge of London holds FREE beginners’ classes but there are lots of less formal classes and workshops (like mine) that are opportunities to learn about astrology.
So after a bit of fond thought on a Sunday morning, intermingled with a delightful Facebook chat with someone asking me about the AA conference in September, I wrote down some on my own steps to becoming the astrologer I am today (ahem). And by the way, I think you have to get through steps 1-8 (the rest are in no particular order) before you can call yourself an astrologer in public–just my opinion. And if you have a different opinion, why not leave it in the comment box?
So here are the 26 steps to becoming an astrologer:
1. The “Eureka” moment when you understand astrology is a complicated system
2. Having a really thorough understanding of your own Sun sign and how it is different to other signs
3. Having the realisation that there are other planets involved in astrology besides the sun and what these planets mean in their signs
4. The celestial coordinate system. . .yeah that
5. Thinking to yourself “Oh dear God, what have gotten myself into?” and being able to laugh at astrology sceptics instead of panicking that they might have some good points
6. Understanding that all the planets are in continuous yet predictable motion and getting to grips with aspects and what they mean
7. Being able to read an ephemeris, calculate the angles of a chart and draw a natal (birth) chart. Having the compulsion to draw everyone’s birth chart
8. Falling in love with Ptolemy and wishing you were Greek
9. Turning against Sun Sign astrology
10. Crying over the loss of the Library of Alexandria
11. Appreciating Arabic scholarship, falling in love with Abu Ma’shar and wishing you were Arab.
12. Realising the influence of Abu Ma’shar on Bonatti and Lilly and wishing you were English
13. Realising just how important the Fall of Constantinople was and falling in love with Ficino
14. Never looking at Renaissance art the same again and wishing you were Italian
15. Bawling your eyes out when you finally see the Galilean Moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn through a telescope
16. Falling in love with Tsou Yen and wishing you were Chinese
17. Not caring that asking everyone for their sky stories makes you look like a lunatic
18. Wondering what hideous karma must have befallen on you that you couldn’t have been born a Mayan
19. Accepting that staying up all night reading an ephemeris has become normal behaviour to you
20. Finding another astrologer and then spending a whole weekend talking about astrology
21. Realising that other astrologers must be found and spending all your money on conferences
22. Becoming totally addicted to History because of Mundane astrology
23. Discovering the Sidereal system and spending weeks in a darkened room converting all your accumulated Western charts to Vedic ones. Falling in love with Bhrigu and wishing you were Indian.
24. Struggling to communicate with Muggles. What is wrong with these people?
25. Realising just what a nerd you’ve become when a lecturer stumbles on the name of the Greek who first proposed a heliocentric solar system and you smugly shout out “Aristarchus!”
26. Realising that if you don’t engage with Muggles about astrology then you are actually actively participating in killing the subject and thus making the sceptics very happy.
So happy studying and if you haven’t done at least steps 1-8, keep your opinion about astrology to yourself, OK?