Times have changed! How do astrologers think today? Not much differently than they've always thought. But they could be better understood. Learn more ....

Russians think of their country as Aquarius ruled, according to Johnson's "Russia List". Johnson's List is a daily e-mail newsletter with information and analysis about contemporary Russia from a wide range of sources. Maybe this is why they are so open to astrology. Aquarius is also the ruling sign for astrologers.

I was reading about some predictions Russian astrologers were making for the year 2002 in an article written at that time by Kevin O'Flynn for Johnson's Russia List entitled "Stars Aren't Smiling Down on 2002".

O'Flynn, who quotes Russian astrologers like Yury Longo, Sergei Bezborodny and Alexander Zarayev, doesn't seem to put much store in astrological predictions himself but he notes that "even several current and former Russian and U.S. leaders and their wives have shown an interest in astrological predictions". I don't know what Russian leaders he's referring to but it is thought that President and Mrs. Reagan consulted astrologers like Sydney Omar, Jeanne Dixon and Joan Quigley.

The comment that caught my attention in the article, however, was this:

"Perhaps the most pessimistic of the astrologers doing the rounds in the Russian media was Alexander Zarayev. He predicted in "Argumenty i Fakty" that Russia would see a bumpy ride between February 28 and March 12 and an even worse time after July 27, with problems in the Middle East and other hot spots. It will be similar to the [ruble] default in 1998," said Zarayev, who, like many astrologers, was short on details [emphasis mine].

Many writers who cover astrology interviews and predictions don't understand or like astrology and cover it with thinly veiled ridicule.

There is a reason astrologers are "short on details" and that is what I would like to explain in this article. It has to do with the way our predictions are made and the way we think.

Astrologers don't associate events by cause and effect. They associate them by analogy, much as poets do.

There are two reasons they use analogy. First, we are trying to explain things that are difficult to put into words, like poets. The poet says,"my love is like a red, red rose" because it is hard to put into words what an intangible thing, feeling or experience like love is without comparing it to something tangible, of rare beauty and ecstatic fragrance, like, for example, a rose.

Secondly, we are arriving at our conclusions by connecting dots that are invisible to the untrained eye but which exist in our formulas and calculations and lead us to our conclusions without physical evidence. This is why backing up some of our statements is difficult. We know two things are associated through time and space but we ourselves are not exactly certain what they will look like on the manifest earth plane. That is why the Russian astrologer said, "It will be similar to the [ruble] default in 1998."

If I might qualify Zarayev's statement, which he himself was not allowed to do in this once-removed report of his prediction, I would suggest that the events he describes are "similar" in gravity and scope, but also perhaps in "tone" and "texture" to the ruble default.

Here's an example from something you may be more familiar with. I could say that 911 was similar to the Great Fire of London in 1666 and to the Galveston Flood in 1900 (the deadliest natural disaster that the United States has ever experienced) or the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 in scope because these are all catastrophic events of almost unimaginable proportions. But 911 is more similar in tone to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the Viking raid on the Lindisfarne Monastery in Great Britain in 793 because although these events were catastrophic disasters they were also surprise attacks by foreign enemies on home soil.

Here's an example of how this kind of reasoning is carried out in event forecasting. Suppose I see that Saturn is going to pass over your Moon in your fourth house. Astrology is a language. It is a way of describing energy. Now we try to come up with some events that are probable, given what we know about this energy. In some cases, we take the nature of the person we're reading for into account -- he could be an 80 year old man or she could be a 26 year old girl -- and also what we know of their character and life events from information we request ahead of time.

Here are some of the images that are suggested by this combination of energy, Saturn + Moon + 4th house:

-- someone goes on an archaeology dig
-- someone's parent becomes very ill
-- someone breaks their leg and is laid up in the house for awhile, on the ground floor for convenience
-- someone gets some long lost information about their ancestors for their genealogy project
-- someone gets locked down in the basement by mistake or on purpose
-- someone becomes a grandparent for the first time
-- someone contacts the cemetery to find out about burial plots
-- someone is digging in their backyard (in Chicago!) and finds a dinosaur bone
-- a very old tree falls on someone's house

As a matter of fact, if you can "connect the dots" and have a feel for what it is these items could have in common, you are in line to be a good astrologer.

I'll help you.

Saturn = something very old, buried, long forgotten

Moon = long ago and far away, infantile, motherish

4th house = ancestors, deeply hidden, emotionally meaningful

We use intuitive thinking to interpret information revealed by the numbers in our astrological calculations. You might also compare this to the way a doctor reads an x-ray. The x-ray shows a picture of something but it really doesn't mean anything until someone who is trained to interpret x-ray pictures looks at it and tells you.

When I try to help my astrology students develop their intuition, we do "drills" like this. I ask, "If you were a flower, what kind would you be?" Then I ask, "If that person over there were a flower, what kind would s/he be?" Or a color. Or a piece of music. Or a body of water. My students get irritated with this sometimes, but it's like practicing scales (etudes) on the piano It is building right brain or intuitive skills.

As we've shown, when astrologer Zarayev says "similar to the ruble default in 1998", he is making an analogy - "this" -- something known -- is like "that" -- something as yet unknown -- based on three dimensional dot-to-dot, using geometric proportions and a nonlinear thinking similar to physics and even music, which can seem vague.

Many people believe that astrology is like being psychic or prophetic. As a matter of fact, astrology is more like physics or music and not at all like intuitive and psychic ability, although astrologers can use both these skills to enhance the information they give you from their calculations. However, astrologers study intensely from three to five years to learn their skills and most would be insulted if you described them as a psychic or intuitive! Many astrologers are among the brightest people on earth. (Not necessasrily so with psychics or intuitives.)

Astrology is a branch of meta-physics. Physics explores the creation of the universe using the left brain. Meta-physics explores the creation of the universe using the right brain.

Physicists use numbers and formulae in a quantitative language. Astrologers use astrological symbols and formulae in a qualitative language. Musicians use notes and formulae in what is commonly considered the most universal of all languages.

While clients may think that astrologers do nothing but predictions about people's lives, waiting patiently by their phone for the go-ahead on a chart (!), most astrologers are fascinated with the inner workings of the universe, like physicists, and spend hours doing independent research, honing their skills on projects of their own that interest them. Ask your favorite astrologer what s/he's researching at the moment and be ready for a surprise!.

What am I studying right now? The effect of Pluto transits through Sagittarius on the Arab world, the history of the Middle Ages, music theory, and advanced horary astrology.

Reading for clients often permits us to have the time for these other pursuits -- we do love our clients!! -- which are usually not lucrative in and of themselves. Astrologers compare notes among themselves regarding their discoveries and present findings in professional journals, at meetings and casually among friends with shared interests -- just like other professionals.

Let's explore further the way astrologers think. As we discussed, astrology is a branch of metaphysics. Metaphysicians explore the creation of the universe using the right brain and something called "vertical" thinking. Here's the difference between horizontal and vertical thinking.

Horizontal thinking uses the concept of cause and effect and relies on a linear relationship between events in time and space, i.e., first this happened and then this happened as a result. The ineffective conclusion of World War I caused World War II.

Here's a day-to-day example. I'm drinking this diet coke because I am thirsty. (I got thirsty and that caused me to drink the diet coke.) Or I'm drinking this diet coke because my grandmother introduced me to them on hot afternoons in Texas when I was a kid. Therefore, I always drink cokes when it's hot. You see, hot weather causes me to drink diet coke.

Vertical thinking is different. It associates events by a meaningful relationship which is sometimes subjective (the meaning is in the reality of the beholder) and sometimes by a system which describes invisible but not imaginary patterns and relationships such as music or astrology.

For example, it might also be that the reason I'm drinking this diet coke today is because something triggers me subconsciously to reach for one every time I run my tongue over the roof of my mouth in a certain way I've been doing since childhood. This subconscious conditioning is personal and subjective but rubbing my tongue over the roof of my mouth does not "cause" me to drink cokes.

Or I may do this because it's 3:20 pm and that's when I used to wake up from my polio-prevention nap as a kid and be handed a cold diet coke by my grandmother on the way to the swimming pool.

Something "reminds me" around 3:20 every afternoon that it's time to "reach for a diet coke". That's personal and subjective and an association that the subconscious mind is making but childhood naps did not "cause" me to drink this diet coke.

Naturally when looking for vertical connections, we roam backwards and forwards in time. Actually in astrology, the childhood diet cokes and the adult diet cokes would be siblings. The parent is something else entirely and that something is the mother lode.

There is a third element in vertical thinking and that is an invisible but discernible quality to a particular time that attracts events to it by appropriateness.

Before I go too much further with this, here's a day-to-day example of the "quality" of a time. Every morning upon first awakening, I go for a five mile walk. It's usually a fun and peaceful way to start the day. Two days ago, a dog harassed me for several minutes when I checked my mailbox on the way home. A car almost ran me over. Then the bottom fell out of a bag of garbage I took to the trash.

At that point, I replanned my day, figuring it was going to be the kind of energy where I should do as little as possible outside the house. The "quality" of the time was not good. I didn't need to check my ephemeris to know this (!) but perhaps there were some negative aspects to the Moon for several hours that day.

Had I looked ahead, I might have known this but I don't rely much on astrology for day to day matters, though that may surprise you. This is because I feel that we must develop ourselves to the point that we can roll with the motion of the inner planets in order to be effective adults. Inner planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars dictate day-to-day matters and changes that occur over a period of say, a few weeks.) Simple maturity dictates that we become capable in handling our daily affairs. We have had every inner planet circle our charts many times if we are over thirty and should be used to their energy by now.

In times of crisis and transformation, or confusion and discouragement, I study my own chart intensely and often seek help from other astrologers and healers as well. These times are ruled by the outer planets Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Some of these planets will only visit a few houses of our charts during our entire lives and we are unfamiliar with them to a degree that can wreak havoc with our well planned lives. All of us have parts of ourselves we do not know.

Important to note, however, returning to my morning that got off to a bad start ... the dog did not cause the "cause" the car to almost hit me. The careless driver didn't "cause" the garbage bag to break. They were all things of a certain nature that clustered together at one time and place. They were siblings, the parent of which might be of interest to an astrologer.

The Greeks had two words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos refers to chronological time, the kind used for cause and effect reasoning. Kairos refers to a quality of time being such that all events that occur at that time are similar in some way.

When I give my classes, which are usually small because they are geared toward gifted infp healers who represent only 1% of the population, I like to ask us to consider the quality of the time that would draw exactly these 5 or 10 people together out of the billions of people on the earth.

This is happening randomly throughout your day as well. Why did you wind up at the grocery store in line with those particular people? Why did your name come up for an IRS audit at this time? Why did you cross the intersection just in time to get hit by that car?

These are rhetorical questions but they are actually quite fascinating to an astrologer who will study such things intently. For example, it might surprise you to know that when we look at the charts of a policeman and a criminal, they are quite similar -- certainly more alike than the charts of policeman and a pianist. The same applies to victims and perpetrators of accidents, rapes, surgeries, etc. Slowly a pattern reveals itself.

It is the kairos time in your astrology chart that is analyzed for information about your character which will determine your fate or what amounts to fate. "Character is fate." An excellent book on this topic is "The Challenge of Fate" by Thorwald Dethlefsen, an extremely influential German metaphysician whose books are not always available in English translation.

Another phrase we use is this. "Your life is your birth writ large." The moment of your birth contains the energy which you will smear, so to speak, across 60 to 90 years of time on the planet. Its flavor will trickle down over and through everything you do, creating ribbons of texture and pattern, making everything you do similar or familiar in some secret, subtle way. If only you had eyes to see. It is easier to discern this in someone besides yourself.

It is even possible to see that the manner of your physical birth is repeated time and time again across the length of your life in the particular outer events that occur or cluster around your energy. It takes training to see this. Also, most people are not familiar with the details of their birth.

If you plan to study metaphysics or astrology, a good thing to do is ask your mother all about the details of your birth so you have the information handy. It will become more and more meaningful to you as your studies progress.

Getting back to kairos, sometimes kairos reveals itself best by going backwards across linear time. Most of my personal projects as an astrologer involve looking back at transits throughout history to see what happened under similar transits in the past and what connections I can make.

For example, we had a rare, once in a lifetime astronomical event a few springtimes ago, a Venus eclipse. I looked at all the times in the past when this event occurred , all the way back to 1 CE and discovered three interesting things:

-- a predominance of powerful women rulers or activists;
-- emphasis on the Salic Laws

The laws of the Salian Franks, from whence eventually sprang Charlemagne, forbid women to inherit property and this became a major issue in Europe during later time periods.

Something that interests astrologers, these eclipses have been occurring in the first 15 degrees of Gemini and Sagittarius for 2,000 years.

Another of my pet projects is exploring Pluto transits in Sagittarius. Somewhat unnervingly, I discovered they are low periods for western Europeans and high periods for the Arab world. We are experiencing one right now. When some newscasters and historians allude to the fact that we are finishing up on the Crusades at the moment, an astrologer can see the very alarming reality of this statement mathematically and without emotion or personal human opiniom.

Was I able to predict that 911 would happen? No. But I did predict -- in a paper I read at the "Better Worlde Galleria" in 1995 -- that this time period would bring an increase in terrorism, religious intolerance, difficulties in travel, immigration problems, upsurge of asthma and sound pollution and many other things that have happened. Is this vague? Yes. Is it true? Yes. Is it helpful? Yes.

One astrologer, the inimitable Rob Hand, did seem to predict 911 itself. Incredibly, an editor for "Mountain Astrologer", our "trade journal", chose as an illustration for his article, which appeared well in advance of September 11, 2001, the symbol for the planet Pluto (which among other things symbolizes, death and mass destruction) across the Twin Towers. In my opinion, Michael Lutin, "Vanity Fair" astrologer, also made the prediction.

As a metaphysician, I am not so interested in predictions as I am, like Einstein, interested in knowing God's mind. If this sounds a litle presumptuous, at least it keeps me busy. Like the German philosophers, I do believe that something very akin to God's mind or Adam SMith's "invisible hand" is revealed in a detached exploration and understanding of the outworking of history and in the turning gyre of the heavens.

For readers interested in a career in astrology, please also read my article "Why aren't Famous Astrologers Invited to the Peace Parties?"

If you have any questions about this article, please email me and I will be glad to have a respectful dialogue with you via email.

Author's Bio: 

Nancy Fenn is an astrologer with an international repputation of expertise in her field. She specializes in Saturn Return and family astrology.