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 "Fuck me, 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 sceptic 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:
- The "Eureka" moment when you understand astrology is a complicated system
- Having a really thorough understanding of your own Sun sign and how it is different to other signs
- Having the realisation that there are other planets involved in astrology besides the sun and what these planets mean in their signs
- The celestial coordinate system. . .yeah that
- 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
- Understanding that all the planets are in continuous yet predictable motion and getting to grips with aspects and what they mean
- 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
- Falling in love with Ptolemy and wishing you were Greek
- Turning against Sun Sign astrology
- Crying over the loss of the Library of Alexandria
- Appreciating Arabic scholarship, falling in love with Abu Ma'shar and wishing you were Arab.
- Realising the influence of Abu Ma'shar on Bonatti and Lilly and wishing you were English
- Realising just how important the Fall of Constantinople was and falling in love with Ficino
- Never looking at Renaissance art the same again and wishing you were Italian
- Bawling your eyes out when you finally see the Galilean Moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn through a telescope
- Falling in love with Tsou Yen and wishing you were Chinese
- Not caring that asking everyone for their sky stories makes you look like a lunatic
- Wondering what hideous karma must have befallen on you that you couldn't have been born a Mayan
- Accepting that staying up all night reading an ephemeris has become normal behaviour to you
- Finding another astrologer and then spending a whole weekend talking about astrology
- Realising that other astrologers must be found and spending all your money on conferences
- Becoming totally addicted to History because of Mundane astrology
- 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.
- Struggling to communicate with Muggles. What is wrong with these people?
- 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!"
- 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?
About the Astrologer
Alex Trenoweth was voted Best International Astrologer, 2015 for her dynamic presentation on Astrology and Education. Her book, "Growing Pains" is an exciting development in astrology as it combines classroom teaching experience, sound research and the potential to have a positive impact on struggling adolescents, parents, teachers and those who have been labelled "at risk". For queries, consultations or syndications, please contact Alex via www.alextrenoweth.com or leave a message in the comment section.
About the New Book
There are two dogs fighting inside of me, the old story goes, one dog is good and the other is evil. “But Grandfather,” asked the child, “Which one wins?” The Grandfather answered, “The dog I feed.”
We might like to think that being good is a natural instinct. In fact, doing the right thing takes a conscious decision. Every day, we are met with temptation to get ahead at the expense of someone else, to get away with something we know is wrong or to cut corners if we think no one is watching.
Following on from her powerful book on astrology and Education, “Growing Pains”, Alex Trenoweth explores the benefits of using “the bad guy” of the solar system: Saturn. Often avoided and seldom understood, if we understand our own Saturn then we can help others to understand theirs. Using case studies of highly successful people contrasted with convicted serial killers, Trenoweth deftly demonstrates the dire consequences of feeding the wrong dog.