Astrology and Schoolchildren? Well, what does the generation who doesn’t know life without the internet think about astrology? As it happens, I recently had an opportunity to check this out when I was contacted by a fellow teacher and invited, as an astrologer, to speak to her Religious Education (RE) students. The Internation Society of Astrological Research (ISAR) published the outcome in their fab magazine and granted me permission to re-publish here. By the way, ISAR will be publishing an extract from my new book “Mirror Mirror: The Astrology of Famous People and the Actors Who Have Portrayed Them”.
Just check out the cover and look who did the foreword!!
My goodness me, it’s been busy on my side! With a new book coming out and plus my astrology Rohini Academy of Astrology booming, I haven’t had much of a chance to update. I’m just fresh off the radio with Sheri Horn Hasan and Mj Patterson and you can listen in to the recording by clicking the links. I’m MEGA excited that I’ve had an extremely successful mini course with Sydney School of Astrology last month with over 70 participants! Several of these pupils also signed up for the practicum in order to earn the certificate from my school. I say the more astrologers who learn how to work ethically with parents and teachers, the better the world will be! I also run this course from my own school which you can sign up for here. Classes start tomorrow!
If you live in Turkey, I’m very excited to announce I’m doing a similar course for Oner Doser’s astrology school starting in August.
A few weeks ago I received an email from a Religious Education teacher in South Carolina inviting me to speak to her students about astrology. Yes! You really did just read “religious education”, “South Carolina” and “astrology” all in the same sentence! I was very intrigued to say the least.
Some 20 years ago when I became a professional teacher, I had been effectively banned from disclosing I was an astrologer in case a parent complained about me. I was actually told I could be dismissed for gross misconduct because I was bringing the Christian academy into disrepute. The ban didn’t stop me from using astrology but it sure did make me concerned for this fellow teacher on the other side of the ocean.
After assuring me that she had permission to invite me, the teacher said she would create a list of questions her pupils wanted to ask me and send it to me in advance. I honestly expected questions like “what do you eat for breakfast?” but instead I received 11 very thoughtful questions that showed me how much astrology had trickled down to school kids. When I was their age, I would not have known what to ask an astrologer. Through this unique opportunity, I was able to show the students what an astrology chart looked like (and how it worked) with a bit of astronomy and history thrown in for good measure. But their questions gave me so much more than I could give them.
I think astrologers generally worry about how they are perceived in the wider world and we are quite protective of our knowledge. I always had the impression that non astrologers think that astrology is what they read in horoscope columns. What we need to bear in mind is that it is a different world out there than when we were kids. The generation I was going to be speaking to do not know a world without the internet and as we are aware, social media has helped boost astrology’s popularity. While the debate rages as to whether or not this is a good thing, we can see that these questions show far more knowledge than is usually present in horoscope columns. They show an engagement with the topic of astrology, a desire to learn more and an interest in what an astrologer actually does.
Of course I was also surprised that a teacher of Religious Education felt comfortable enough with astrology to invite me to speak to her students. It was clear from our initial conversation that she was familiar with my work (useful feedback for me!) and that she was curious about astrology herself. I was amazed to learn after the interview that other teachers attended the interview because they were also interested in how an astrologer might answer these questions (which I found out later had been shared in the staff room).
In anticipation of the interview, one of the points I wanted to get across to the students was what astrologers actually do and that we may have somewhat eccentric interests compared to say bowling, flower arranging or collecting stamps but we are pretty normal people (usually). What I didn’t want them to take away was the idea that I worked for a newspaper writing horoscope columns or that I stayed up all night looking through a telescope (although I have been known to do this at times).
I prepared a few photos of astrology conferences around the world and I was really looking forward to broadening their knowledge. I pretty much expected a room of sceptics and I was ready to put some things straight. However, I was surprised and delighted with the questions in equal measure.
Here are the questions the students asked me (which I received about an hour beforehand), a brief summary of how I answered as well as a little analysis about what the questions say about how astrology appears to the under 18s.
A great question showing an awareness that astrology is not just about the Sun or the horoscopes in newspapers. It also gave me the chance to talk about Ophuichus and explain why it’s not the 13th sign and why Mercury retrograde isn’t always a bad thing.
To answer this, I showed the chart of the moment and talked through what the glyphs represented and the planetary archetypes. I explained that astrology was a way of helping us to make the best use of our time. The different planets were very much like more hands on an analog clock. We had a brief discussion on different calendars systems (as RE students they would have an awareness of this) and I explained to them that if they understood that the spring was the best time of year to plant vegetables in the Northern hemisphere then they had a rudimetary knowledge of how astrology works. It’s all about the timing.
The use of the word ‘align’ is often used to avoid the more technical term of ‘conjunction’. Conjunctions happen quite often but sometimes the planets do bunch up together in one sign. For example, I showed them with the chart, on the 11 February 6 planets will be conjunct in the sign of Aquarius. Your sign refers to where your Sun was on the day you were born.
I thought this was a brilliant question, again showing a deeper engagement in what astrology does and how it is used for interpretation. I explained that we all have internal conflicts but that the beauty of astrology is that we can see it and work on untangling it. This also gave me the opportunity to talk about the consultation process and the different types of astrological services that are available as well as the many different branches of astrology.
I instantly recognised the angst and pressure of trying to decide what to do as a career when one grows up. I certainly didn’t think I’d become an astrologer one day when I was their age.
As we know, not all bankers are Tauruses and not all Leos like the stage. This gave me the opportunity to talk about fate and free will (which would be interesting to RE students) as well as the deeper aspects of astrology.
Again, a brilliant question showing an interest beyong Sun signs. To answer this, I referred the chart of the moment (I kept the animated clock running so they could watch how things change) and pointed out the ascendant and why it’s called a rising sign. Then I re-located to the chart to London to show how it changes and explained why.
For this question, I wanted to explain how transits worked. I thought getting into progressions and solar returns was a bit too complicated. I wanted them to see the many layers of astrology and the dedicated learning it takes to become an astrologer.
As seasoned astrologers, we might look at this question and not be too impressed. But this too is a very thoughtful question and it reflects what the kids are learning about astrology on the internet. This gave me the opportunity to talk about lunar phases and Sun/Moon archetypes in general terms. I was aiming at encouraging them to look at astrology a bit deeper.
Great question! And the use of the phrase “Scorpio tings” became a running joke in the interview. I explained a bit about the history of astrology, ziggurats (luckily I had photos of the observation in Jaipur to show them) and reminded them that astrology was around long before telescopes. I also talked about planetary cycles, retrograde motion and general observational astronomy. On the issue of “Scorpio tings” I asked them what they thought of when they thought about scorpions. Of course they answered with living in darkness, the sting in the tail and the danger of illness or even death if stung. Without a lot of prompting, they pretty much came up with a simplified description of Scorpio. Then I reminded them that we all have a Scorpio somewhere in our chart.
I nearly fell out of my chair with this question! What are they teaching these kids? This is a reference to the Myers-Briggs personality tests (which are widely available online).
I told them I hadn’t done a lot of research into this but that I was well impressed they knew about the Myers-Briggs personality types. I had to answer based on my own personal experience and told them that I thought my ENFP-A (extroverted, intuitive, feeling, perception and assertiveness) did actually match up to my own chart.
While this question may seem very general, it shows an honest curiosity about how astrology is used by the general public. There are tons of articles out there on simple compatibility and this was a terrific opportunity to explain how synastry works.
I explained a few general synastry principles and focused on Venus and the mythology and astronomy around her. I explained that as someone with Venus in Gemini, I do like to do “Gemini tings” like writing, reading, playing games and socialising but I also like to do things that are not necessarily related to Gemini interests. I do tend to attract Gemini energy but it would be incorrect to say I only liked Geminis just like it wouldn’t be right to say I disliked Virgos (not that I do!).
Referring back to “Scorpio tings” I explained that the different signs are associated with different animals (except Libra of course) and that we get some of our interpretations from the characteristics of the animal. I also explained that before I knew much about astrology, I didn’t think my Cancer Sun sign described me well at all and it put me off astrology. When asked about my sign, I would always say “on the cusp of Leo” but I now know I have the Moon in Leo and as I was born at night, I resonated stronger with my Moon. That explains my feelings more than being on the cusp.
We had touched on this question before but it gave us the opportunity to talk about friendship and what we look for in our friends. If we found out something unpleasant about our friends would we dump them? I was a bit pressed to disclose the sign I liked the least but I thought telling them I wasn’t always impressed with Scorpio tings was counter-productive and not necessarily true.
The teacher asked me quite a few questions about my research on astrology and children. I could tell she was really interested in how to use astrology in the classroom which made me very, very happy (although I was a bit concerned the kids might not be too impressed). I resisted the urge to nerd out with her but it was absolutely fabulous that she was so interested.
On reflection, I was able to look back on my journey as an astrologer and it made me realise just how far I had come in my studies. It is rare indeed to able to interact with under-18s on the topic of astrology and I secretly hoped a few of those students would remember some of the things I said when they were confronted with an astrology sceptic.
Before we get too excited about all this, a recent article on Astrology and Parenting that I was interviewed for, we should also have a look at what the adults are saying. The journalist I worked with seemed completely unaware of the other planets involved with astrology. It took a lot of explaining on my part to guide her away from the usual assumptions about astrologers. I thought the end product—a mixture of the typical Sun sign stuff coupled with a more in-depth view of the practice of astrology—was actually very reasonable in a newspaper not known for having a balanced view of astrology. Great, I thought, that’s progress! But then the online questions from readers showed that there are a lot of adults who don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to astrology. “An Aries? But I hate sports! Astrology is rubbish” were about as knowledgeable as the majority of questions got (although there were a few more thoughtful ones in the pile).
So while the adults seem to be quite stubborn in their knowledge of astrology based on the more simple concepts of Sun signs, the kids really do seem to be able to access a deeper level of interest in astrology. That gives me a lot of hope for the future of astrology.
 Graham, Kate, Daily Mail, Available online at: “New Trend Shows Mothers Think Parenting is Written in the Stars” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-9271179/Surprising-new-trend-sees-mothers-think-parenting-written-stars.html?fbclid=IwAR3UfjCDPGUisAC78ofzVD4y6U8twtrbbEJh8htQAmUIKJMjvd7YPxAjx0w