When I started studying astrology in the early 90s, I was lucky to have a star-twin (someone born the exact day and year I was born) to lend me her books. (Yeah, she was already into astrology, but years later we kind of switched places: she turned against astrology and became a born again Christian. I became the former Baptist minister turned astrologer.) Having my star-twin’s books helped my gnawing need to know if astrology was bunk, but eventually I had to get more books.
Eventually, I found myself at Borders book store (ahh, Borders in Philly was once a paradise) in their new age section almost daily. I bought a few books, but I also read a lot of books in store. I was a grad student and young professional without a lot of money for something I wasn’t convinced was even real.
Transitioning from reading astrology books to reading astrology charts for people turned out to be a harder venture than I thought. I used to spend a half a day prepping to do one reading for a person that night, looking at nearly all my books. I had some of the common troubles I list below, but I know now that I would’ve done much better, with fewer dead-ends, if I had a teacher. I didn’t find live teachers until I moved from Philly to New York City nearly a full decade after I started studying astrology.
The internet certainly has made learning astrology a lot easier, but, in some ways, the ability for people to broadcast stuff without the vetting of an editor has allowed a lot of poorly digested ideas to surface too. Unfortunately, many folks can’t tell the difference between a planet, a house and a Zodiac sign. Most lack a clear method for how to read a chart or how a dignified planet acts differently from a planet in detriment or exaltation. (And those placements are not all great or awful as many books make them out.) A teacher and classes can help. But when do you know it’s time to take classes or keep scouring the internet for free to study?
You read horoscopes and you read for your Sun, Moon, rising, and all your inner planet signs.
I talk more about how to read your horoscope here. But, yeah, when you can evaluate the astrologer who writes horoscopes for what she leaves out in the horoscope of one of your signs, then it’s time to look into classes.
You give your friends chart readings, but you can’t get beyond saying keywords in your head or aloud.
How many times can you see your friend’s strained look to understand when you say, “Pluto is how you transform!”? There’s a reason they’re not understanding. The whole chart is a tool for transformation. Time to learn why Pluto may or may not be special.
The excitement of guessing a stranger’s sign has worn off.
Congratulations, you guessed your waiter was a Scorpio. Maybe it was his brooding intensity, his penetrating gaze, or his pierced, tatted and chiseled bod that gave it away. Now what? You gonna leave your number on the bill and look at his chart to see what really makes him tick? The Sun sign is only small fraction of who we really are.
You find yourself looking up every single detail of chart in your books and favorite websites, but you still have no idea how to prioritize or synthesize it all.
This is perhaps the clearest sign that you need to find a teacher and take some classes. You might be barking up the wrong tree to look at someone’s 8th house to figure out more about his or her sex life. (In fact, you are and there’s a very simple reason.) Like most things, good astrology is knowing where to look, when and, most important, why.
Of course, you can take good classes at many great places and with many excellent teachers. However, I am offering “Nitty Gritty” classes for beginners and intermediate students. You can pay for the classes all at once or pay on a monthly plan. I offer my gritty approach to astrology, infused with my skepticism, over 25 years of studying astrology with some of the most noted astrology teachers on the planet and thousands of consultations with a diverse group of people.