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    Live, In Person...

    Live, In Person...

    The Covid pandemic changed everyone and everything. Who can doubt the idea that as years go by, memory will turn the pandemic into one of those “January 1, 1 A.D.” kinds of dates – pivot-points in history, like the birth of social media or Beatlemania. I never caught Covid myself, but I’m no exception when it comes to my life being “pivoted” by it – for one thing, pre-Covid, I was on the road non-stop for forty years. It’s a crazy way to live. After Covid, my passport has cobwebs forming on it and the Transportation Security Agency has barely crossed my natural boundaries in three years.

    The roots of these changes in my lifestyle actually go back a little further than Covid. Late in the previous decade I saw Pluto and Saturn bearing down on conjunctions with my Sun, plus the progressed Moon about to enter my 12th house. Many astrologers would have suggested that Fear might have been my best strategy, but that’s not how I live with the planets – I feel that  they’re up there to guide me, not to scare me. I saw that to head off danger, I needed to make some changes. I was turning seventy. Maybe it was time to travel less. The planets asked me that question – I answered it in my own way with a big Yes.

    At that time I had half a dozen apprenticeship programs going around the world, each one meeting once or twice per year. I took those responsibilities seriously, so I gave a couple years’ notice on ending them. Around the same time, with Catie Cadge and Jeff Parrett, I began to lay the groundwork for my online school – the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology. In January 2020, I did my last public program before the Plague struck – it was a synastry class in Palm Springs, California. We had over a hundred people signed up – and something like thirty of them dropped out, many citing “the flu.” That was my first inkling of what was to come.

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    A Belated Thank You

    A Belated Thank You

    It was November 1966. I was sweet seventeen and lying in bed recovering from a tonsillectomy. Transiting Neptune was one degree from my Ascendant. One effect of that transit was that I’d just had my first and only experience of knock-out anesthesia. Another far more important one was that I was about to discover serious astrology.

    As I lay there in my bed nursing my sore throat, my Scorpio mom came in and asked me if she could get me a book to read. I asked her for an astrology book. I think she was a little surprised, but she didn’t have a problem with that – I was blessed with an open-minded family. A couple hours later, she returned with a paperback. It was silly Sun Sign astrology aimed at the sorts of teenagers who weren’t destined for careers in rocket science. I won’t name the book because I try to avoid blaspheming against other astrological authors, but it was truly terrible. I devoured it anyway. I could tell that there was something real going on behind the obvious pandering and stupidity. If I were a fish, I’d have been toying with the worm, not quite sure if I was actually going to chomp down on it.

    In for a penny, in for a pound – I finished that book and asked my mom for another one. This time she picked a winner. She brought me one of the dozen or so books that have actually changed the direction of my life. It was called Write Your Own Horoscope. The author was one Joseph F. Goodavage. I never hear anyone refer to it today – as a contribution to the astrological vocabulary, it’s mostly forgotten even though it was actually the first astrology book to sell over a million copies.

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    Saturn in Pisces

    Saturn in Pisces

    Mark your calendars – on March 7, Saturn crosses the Pisces frontier. It will remain there until it enters Aries on May 24, 2025 – but then it will cross back into Pisces on September 1, 2025, not finally fully committing itself to Aries until February 13, 2026. That’s nearly three years in total, and Saturn’s passage will leave fingerprints on the headlines – and on your life too. 

    What will it mean? That’s not really up to Saturn, it’s up to you. There are ways to be in harmony with this energy and ways to get into trouble with it too. All that is what I want to explore with you in this newsletter.

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    The Musical Synastry Connections of Quincy Jones

    The Musical Synastry Connections of Quincy Jones

    Steve here – just a word before I surrender my monthly podium to my old friend and long-time student of evolutionary astrology, Vernon Robinson. February brings us to Black History Month and that’s something we always celebrate here at Seven Paws Press. I can’t think of a more appropriate way to do that than to just get out of the way and let a wise son of the African Diaspora reflect astrologically on the life of a Black man, not to mention, spiritual giant who has been like yeast in the bread of American culture since before I was born. 

    The inspiration for this article came from me viewing the documentary Quincy on Netflix and checking on the synastry between Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. These two geniuses were lifelong friends, having met in Seattle when Q was only fourteen and Ray was sixteen. As you’ll soon see, I found many interesting synastry connections with people who were important musically in Quincy’s life. 

    Steven told me that Quincy was one of his musical heroes, so I decided to show him what I’d found. We both agreed that this would be the perfect way to celebrate Black History Month. Icing the cake, Quincy will be turning ninety in March of this year.

    This article will include a look at a few important moments in Quincy’s life which are reflected in his birth chart, but my main focus will be the synastry between him and not only Ray Charles, but also Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson, all of whom had major impacts on Quincy’s musical career and life, and vice versa.

     

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    VESTA JOINING NEPTUNE IN PISCES

    VESTA JOINING NEPTUNE IN PISCES

    Asteroids are fascinating, but in truth I don’t use them much in my own astrological practice. It’s not because I don’t “believe in them” or anything like that – their effects are quite demonstrably real. The reason is simply that the “big” planets keep me busy enough. In all professional astrological work, there is always a balance that needs to be struck between the number of points an astrologer will have time to discuss in a counseling session versus having mercy on the client’s attention span and energy. It simply takes me so long to do justice to the message of the major planets that I’ve rarely had time to add asteroids to the menu.

    Then there’s the minor problem of there being about a million of them! Last I heard, something like 14,000 of them even had names. To avoid being overwhelmed, many astrologers who use asteroids limit themselves to what are often (erroneously) called “the big four.” They’re not actually the biggest, they’re just the first four to be discovered – Vesta, Ceres, Juno, and Pallas. Hygiea is actually more massive than Juno by far and, if size matters, it should be in that quartet instead. Juno just happened to be the third one to be discovered, but it only squeaks into the Top Twenty as “heavyweights” go.  

    The more massive an asteroid is, the more powerful it is astrologically? That tempting notion makes a degree of intuitive sense, but I doubt it’s true. That’s because astrological experience teaches us otherwise. Pluto’s mass, for example, is relatively tiny – only about one 400th the mass of Earth – and vastly less than Jupiter or Saturn. Yet woe betide the astrologer who ignores Pluto! 

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    COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP IN THE FCEA

    COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP IN THE FCEA

    On December 21, my online school, the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology, will reach its second birthday. We’re thriving and growing. We’ve got about 200 students, several tutors, and a couple of hardworking staff people. Our Dean, Dr. Catie Cadge, is putting in long hours surfing the inevitable waves of chaos stemming from the daily running of the school. Meanwhile, I’ve made 250 teaching videos, and written quite a lot of new material for the curriculum. I also do monthly Zoom “Q & A” events for the students and drop in on some of the classes from time to time, so I’m staying busy and engaged too. 

    The school may be about teaching “the Forrest method,” but its operations are not really centered on me personally. Tutors carry most of the teaching load. And they’re great – all of them have studied intensively with me, and all of them are warm-hearted, caring, and wise. Right from the beginning, I wanted to make sure that the FCEA would become an institution which could live on beyond me. I also wanted to make sure that it felt warm and human despite being conducted online. That’s where our team of tutors comes in – they’re constantly interacting with the students.

    We still feel like the school is very much in start-up mode. Being nominated for “Favorite Astrology School” in the awards ceremony at the big ISAR conference in Denver in late August was a happy surprise – not that it was so surprising that we were nominated, but that it happened so soon. We’ve not really done much publicity.

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    FOLLOW THE SUN

    FOLLOW THE SUN

    Everything revolves around the Sun. I have always delighted in that phrase. Long ago, half-legendary Hermes Trismegistus crystallized the entirety of astrological theory in four simple words – “As above, so below.” Saying that everything revolves around the Sun embodies that Hermetic principle perfectly.  

    • Above, in the sky, the Sun is the gravitational center of the solar system. 
    • Here below, on earth, it is the gravitational center of your head. 

    On both levels, the Sun’s job is to hold the planets in their courses – and by “the planets in your head,” we mean all your contradictory, paradoxical needs, drives, and values. Being human is complicated.  We’re pulled in so many directions, torn between appetites and integrity, pleasure and productivity, and so on. Still, you get out of bed in the morning and you have a sense of who you are. You have an identity. There is reasonable continuity in your life. That’s the Sun at work, with its “gravity” coalescing you into one reasonably coherent whole.

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    Mercury Entering Libra

    Mercury Entering Libra

    Like most astrologers, I tend to be in awe of Pluto and Neptune as they make their stately, slow-motion passages through houses, signs and aspects. In doing that they illuminate the broad symphonic development of our lives over years and decades. With experience, we soon learn that they can knock us for a loop, sending us out of one relationship and into another, or into a new career, or off to live in a different part of the world. We can say the same for the other slow-moving planets – Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter – as well as all of the progressions and solar arcs.

    Heading sunward toward the center of the solar system from the august realms of the outer planets, we cross the asteroid belt and enter a far more frenetic zone. Like a carousel that's drunk one more cup of coffee than it should, Mars, Venus, and Mercury zoom frantically around the Sun – and around our charts. They’re powerful triggers, but what they actually trigger are those bigger developmental themes that were signaled by the slow moving bodies. Right there, we see one of the bedrock practical principles of working with planetary transits: the distinction between the fast bodies and the slow ones, so beautifully punctuated by the asteroid belt.

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    My Progressed Sun Changes Signs - Am I Now an Aries?

    My Progressed Sun Changes Signs - Am I Now an Aries?

    Development-over-time astrology – the kind of astrological work some people call “predictive” – has a lot of moving parts. Transits, progressions, and solar arcs are enough to keep most of us busy, both as astrologers as we try to keep track of them, and even more so simply as human beings as we live them. In every chart, there’s always a lot going on all the time, in other words – too much really for the human mind to collate. Part of the art of surfing these waves of astrological complexity lies in taking a “first things first”  approach – don’t sweat the small stuff until you’ve sweated over the big stuff. And when it comes to the big stuff, there’s nothing bigger than the progressed Sun.

    The progressed Sun is the Evolving Self. As it moves through the chart, ever so slowly the lessons of life make it through our thick skulls and become part of what we are. We change at the most fundamental level.

    Of all the things the progressed Sun can do, the most important ones are when it switches from one sign to another or from one house to another. A close second would be when it forms a conjunction with a natal planet, followed down the “poker hands” of the rest of the aspects. Any one of these events is virtually guaranteed to change the direction of your life. 

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    Building a Professional Practice

    Building a Professional Practice

    Many of you reading or hearing these words have no interest in making your living as professional astrologers. A lot of you are here for reasons of simple interest or personal growth. That’s fine – everyone is welcome. But one thing is nearly 100% sure – if word gets out among your friends that you are studying astrology, some of them are going to ask you to have a look at their charts. Before you know it and probably without even intending it, pretty soon you are practicing astrology. 

    Where will that process eventually lead? Who knows? It’s easy to say that the choice is yours, and that is mostly true. But it’s not really quite that simple. As you master evolutionary astrology, you begin to have a kind spiritual superpower. And with that power comes certain ethical imperatives. If someone is drowning and you are the only person who can swim... well, you see where this is going.

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