How does one become an astrologer?  Ever wondered?  It’s an individual journey, certainly; but perhaps because the Sun is transiting my natal Mercury, I thought about how I learned. 

I READ.  I read and read and read anything I could find on the subject.  I read, and sifted, panning for astrological gold from silt; and in 1967, when I started, there was plenty of both.  I read the material avidly, searching for nuggets that made my intuition hum.  By the time I found a teacher, I was already pretty versed in divining dross and discarding it.

I got into astrology to DISPROVE it.  To save the world from this potentially dangerous charlatanry.  I was on a Quest.

So I started with my own chart—well, who else did I know so well?  Which turned out to be fortuitous, because I had in some ways a tough childhood and the chart reflected this in classic textbook fashion. 

I thought, “Hmm, there’s something here.  I’d better learn a bit more before I set about debunking it.”

I had no thought about BECOMING an astrologer: I only wanted to understand and acquire enough mastery to read a chart correctly.  But a book I read in 1977 changed my life.  Katherine de Jersey’s Destiny Times Six: An Astrologer’s Casebook made me see that astrology could be not just an interest, but a profession; and I thought, “THAT’S what I want to do!”  And then I found teachers—brilliant ones—David Greenacre; Frances Sakoian; Alan Annand; and Richard Paul Geer.  Each of them challenged my assumptions and demanded that I think astrologically.  I came to understand that astrology is both a framework from which to interpret and understand the world and a language with which to describe it.

And then I met an astrologer who reminded me that understanding a difficult situation is the key to healing it.  I don’t recall her name, but I owe her a deal of gratitude.

I was floundering in a difficult and ill-considered relationship, in which my partner had all but shut down, and desperate to find a way to reconnect.  This marvelous woman took one look at his chart, said, “This man CAN’T TALK right now.“  She went on to describe with great kindness the dynamics of my failing romance, articulating and explaining things that I knew, but hadn’t let myself acknowledge, about what and where we went wrong.  The relief at being understood without having to speak myself was overwhelming and immediate, and allowed me to approach my partner with compassion and respect as we agreed to end our relationship. 

And I thought, “Wow—if astrology can do THAT, I want to spend MY LIFE doing it!”

Of course, astrology didn’t do that: an insightful and empathetic astrologer did.  And my youthful determination to ”learn a bit more before debunking it” has paid off, too.  I’m STILL learning.  And you can, too.  (Of this, more later.)