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There's a question I'm often asked and it's sort of a delicate one. People observe that many astrologers are starving — basically don't have many clients. And yet, I've been very successful. So, why is that true?
It's obviously a somewhat uncomfortable subject for me to explore, but I think that there is an important point to be made here. To say it very simply, as I compare the state of consciousness of my typical clients who are intelligent people, examining their lives in a psycho-spiritual way, and trying to grow and improve and make better choices in life – that's a typical profile of somebody who comes to me for a reading. And I compare that attitude with the mainstream conventions of astrology where we still might be hearing something like, "You're a Virgo so that's why you're picky." Or, "You're a Scorpio and that's why you're sexy but treacherous." This kind of descriptive stuff or rigidly predictive stuff. "You will get a divorce" – statements like that. And in essence, what I'm getting at is that I think the client base has gotten ahead of the astrologers as a group.
My own orientation to astrology is never predictive. And I tend to try to get beyond simply describing people, which is to say, pigeon-holing them, and instead coach people and talk about how to make better choices and how to be happier and putting the power and the responsibility for the shape of their lives right back in their hands. And I think people like that. I think it suits the philosophical tone of the times, the attitudinal values of the times. And that's important. And I also simply think that is a more accurate approach to astrology.
So, I suspect that much of my success, and the fact that I'm booked so far ahead, is really derived from that philosophical difference or even technical difference of approach to astrology where it's about questions, not about answers. And questions put the power right back in the hands of the individual who has come to me for a reading.
I'd add one more point about this. Sometimes I've heard the idea that my success is based upon the fact that I've written some popular books and I've been rather well-known through publication, having started out my publishing career with Bantam Books with The Inner Sky back in 1984. And certainly that helped and got my name out in the world and expanded my range of contacts. But I would also say that long before I had written a word of astrology, or published a word of astrology, my simple little practice in North Carolina, I was booked up eight months, ten months ahead. And that's purely because of this philosophical difference and had nothing to do with the star-maker machinery, so to speak, that I hooked into with publishing.
If you simply think about this yourself . . . let's imagine quite specifically, the planet Uranus, “Lord of Earthquakes and Lightning Bolts,” so to speak, is entering your seventh house, your house of marriage. And the conventional astrologer would look at that and predict “disruption in your intimate sphere.” If you're a married person, “you're gonna get a divorce.” And it's mechanical.
Well, let's imagine that you're committed to your marriage but you're struggling within it. And the astrologer, at least evolutionary astrologer, realizes that Uranus is not a planet that will simply destroy things. But it refers to a more subtle process of trying to figure out who you are as distinct from what people around you want you to be and have trained you to be. You need more freedom and space for what you want to become – space for your individuality within your marriage. And then the question becomes, “Can you work with yourself and work with your partner to try to bring that sense of updating the relationship?”
And again, space for who you have become in the relationship. And if you can do that, you can make your marriage work. And if you can't do that, then the marriage will fall apart – and will probably need to fall apart.
And if you just put yourself in the receiving position for this kind of counsel first: "Oh, your marriage is doomed," versus this more helpful kind of coaching advice, you can immediately feel, I suspect, in your heart, how the second approach leaves you with possibilities, leaves you empowered.
And really, the whole point I'm making is that people in the modern world, in the psychological age that we're living in, that's simply how they think. And if our astrological language is resonant with the actual realities of their experience, they're gonna come to you for readings and they're gonna tell their friends about it, and you're gonna have a very successful practice. But if you're simply telling fortunes and pronouncing doom on people, the opposite will happen.
People sometimes say that when you're talking about past lives, as revealed by the birth chart, that you could say anything you want. That, “Hey, you were a pizza waitress who died in a tragic business accident in Chicago in 1937.” I could swear that was true and you could not prove me wrong – and I could not prove myself correct. This is a criticism that is often leveled against evolutionary astrology.
As that criticism stands, it’s of course clearly valid. We could say anything. But here’s the key to understanding why it's not quite as simple as that. The notion of unresolved issues from prior lifetimes, commonly called “karma,” a Sanskrit word that has entered popular usage in the English language, the concept of karma essentially boils down to the idea of habit. That there are repeating patterns in our lives that don't really do us any good at all, but we keep doing them over and over again. This principle, with which we're all I'm sure quite familiar, is assumed to extend from lifetime to lifetime to lifetime until we break the pattern.
The response to this criticism of evolutionary astrology is very simple. The proof of the pudding is that when we look at the karmic story, at the past life story, our assumption is that we will see the fingerprints of that story visible in the present life. Again, you cannot verify past lives but you sure can verify the patterns in the present life.
Just to go a little bit more deeply into this. If you have a friend, for example, whose father was a loving, well-meaning alcoholic who always failed her, it's a familiar enough sad scenario. Of course, it is not unusual for such a person to grow up and come into her maturity, and be trying to get the love that she never got from her father – from any man, let's say, to whom she is attracted, or woman for that matter. She might then have a pattern of falling in love with guys with substance abuse problems.
This principle of the repetition of our wounds is of course the basis of much psychological understanding just in the present existential, daily, one-life kind of perspective, where we would recognize that the traumas of childhood tend to get repeated in adulthood.
The premise of evolutionary astrology is that the traumas or unresolved issues from prior lifetimes work just like childhood, and that these things move on into the present life. Often, when I'm sitting with a client and making up a story about a past life, in other words, trying to come up with a fable or a tale that I think resonates with whatever the past life reality was, I'll have a funny experience. I'm in the midst of the story and the client looks at me sort of quizzically and says, "Are you're sure you're talking about a past life? That's already happened to me in this lifetime."
That's really the entire point. That these unresolved patterns tend to repeat. It's as if we're saying to the universe, "Set it up again. I want another look at it. I got it wrong or I was damaged by this in a prior lifetime, and I want to take another shot at it. I want to see if I can get it right this time around." The proof of the pudding of this reincarnational premise of evolutionary astrology is that the past lives on in the present. And we can observe that, and verify that – or falsify it – if it weren't true. So we see it right here and now.
- Steven Forrest
Steven Forrest explains mutual reception from an evolutionary perspective. Mutual reception occurs when two planets are in the signs of each other's rulership. For example, in the same birth chart, Saturn in Taurus is in mutual reception with Venus in Capricorn. This video includes the example of Venus in Virgo and Mercury in Libra.