Many years ago, after moving to Seattle, I decided I never wanted to work for anyone again in my life. So I took a job with a gigantic telephone psychic network, a cultural trend that was incredibly popular at the time. Dionne Warwick’s manager, when I talked to her years later, told me that Dionne made more money from her psychic friends gig than her career as a popular recording artist.
So, yeah, it was another job, but it was a job where I set my hours and hung up on anyone I didn’t like talking to (which was rare, as just about every caller I interacted with was fascinating or at the very least open to some kind of alternative intervention in his or her life).
Anyway, about a year into the job I knew I was in the middle of something extraordinary and strange. And so I wrote a book about it, got an agent and a publisher and, well, I just recently got the rights back to my book and so here it is again, for a new phase of electronic transmission – as an ebook.
The stories in Secrets of a Telephone Psychic are true. Although you won’t believe some of them when you read them. As most of you know, under the guise of anonymity human beings will reveal themselves in ways you’d never imagine possible in a personal exchange. Technology has given the Id free reign (and a voice).
And these revelations were the most fascinating (but sometimes unnerving) aspect of working as a telephone oracle, where only the voice and ears and the ticking timer are your tools of the trade. Well, also horoscopes and tarot cards, but oddly divinatory methods didn’t figure as prominently as talking – and listening. Just look at Freud, he established the entire realm of psychotherapy upon his talking cure.
I’m happy to see my book back into the light of day. I know you’ll enjoy it.
When I launched AstroInquiry ten years ago I took an aim that I would create content that had substance, offered insights and had meat on the bone.
If you’re a reader who has grown bored with the vague, go-nowhere nature of most astrological scribing — New Age jargon cloaked in astrological cliches — then my new book — a collection of some of the most popular essays from AstroInquiry, will interest you.
• Would you like a better understanding of Mercury retrograde — both the astronomical phenomenon and the astrological interpretations of this annual event? Then you’ll enjoy the chapter The Truth About Mercury Retrograde. Find new ways to harness the rich imaginal realm within your unconscious, images that are heightened during the Mercury retrograde cycle. Who cares about lost car keys when the heart of your creative nature beckons?
• How about love? Without question, relationships — especially romance-based — offer great potential for psychological maturity. To understand love is to foster compassion and generosity as well as the excitement of deeper intimacy and sexual communion. You’ll find much to explore in the chapter Secrets of the Heart: Love is an Action Not A Feeling. The chapter opens with one of Rumi’s most beguiling poems and then moves forward from that literary close reading into the mysteries of human relating. A must for the intrepid Hero and Heroine of the Heart. Read more
“The scientific theory I like best is that the
rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.” –Mark Russell
Saturn has been on my mind this week. Or rather Saturn has been pinging me, tapping my shoulder and nudging my conscience, in the same way, most of us might experience Saturn — which is to say obliquely. From the corner of your eye, in the tractor beam of a projection or a dark figure in a dream.
Most of us have our eye, ear and heart tuned to the frequencies of the other planets and lights: Mercury (planning and conceptualizing), Venus (feeling what we want), Mars (getting what we want), Jupiter (persuing realities beyond the personal). The Moon – what poet Mary Oliver calls the soft animal of your body – is the fluid medium of consciousness and how our instinctive nature compliments the Sun’s ceaseless, live-giving radiance.
But with Saturn we’ve what psychologists call depression. If you tune out your conventional notions about depression and consider the condition in a different light, you will see something like this:
The writer Thomas Moore wrote that depression is an answer — a remedy — to manic hyperactivity, a frantic state reinforced by the constant buzz and hum of our info-glutted age. Feeling low and heavy we are forced to move inward and realign with the natural rhythm of our Earth-based bodies. It creates psychic space, a container for deeper reflection – where sensitivity increases and life events feel less threatening. In our bodies, we access the Earth’s wisdom to maneuver dilemmas. I mean, the Earth’s been doing just that for billions of years.
So when you have a moment this weekend, take some time and consider the following facts, pointers or articles related to Saturn. It benefits each of us to know, consciously, the only planet in the solar system that is associated with, not only lead but also diamonds.
The world of fashion is a Neptunian art form that reveals the collective’s longing for transcendence through color, texture, pattern — fad and facade. How Earthlings costume their bodies says everything about where they are heading. All dressed up with places to (seemingly) go.
As Neptune moves through each sign of the zodiac you can track cultural projections of hope and liberation onto the various themes associated with each sign of the zodiac. And there’s a very fine line between madness and spiritual visions, delusions, etc.
For instance, Neptune’s transit through Aquarius earmarked our infatuation with technology and all of the idiotic expectations that involve computers, robotics, information manipulation, etc. Technology was to have made the world infinitely better, but still billions of people go to bed starving each night.
As the planet moved into Pisces — a sign associated with religion, fantasy, mass media (and psychosis) — a slow process of decay began to undo Judaic/Christianity’s hegemony. Suddenly atheism was hip and people turned to straight-up fantasy to channel their now wayward spiritual impulses.
Politically it appears that Christianity remains a dominant theme in American life, but as Neptune often does, that is a distortion that has morphed into political propaganda that masquerades as Jesus stuff. Recently a church in the South held a blessing ceremony for AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. Shit like that tells you how debauched it’s become.
The theater of Gucci’s new fall line of fashions has captured this amalgam-ic decay in eyepopping, polychromatic detail. Pisces, often dubbed the ‘zodiac’s garbage heap’ has never looked more fabulous. Here everything religious, including old hippie dalliances with Tibetan Buddhism and the 9/11 terrorists’ dreams for a roomful of virgins — is jettisoned over the event horizon.
Bring on the final season of Game of Thrones!
Astrology claimed me in the mid-70s when I was a kid. As far back as I can remember our home was stocked with Horoscope magazines. You’d find issues — current or older — in every location of the house. Consulting the stars was an impulse that might overtake you at any moment! I clearly benefited from my mom’s oracular fascination.
From Horoscope, I found my way to my teacher, Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson. And then — pow — 45-years zipped past. And here I am compiling this post. It’s uncanny and humbling to have come full circle. Meaning, the new issue of Horoscope contains reviewer Chris Lorenz‘s comprehensive look at my new book Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology, sections of which I’m highlighting below. What a wonderful time-cycle this has been.
It’s a testament to Horoscope‘s keen-eyed editor Ronnie Grishman that — in the age of what I call ‘hypermedia’ — the print version of the magazine continues to roll off the presses and find its way into homes across the globe. And into the hearts of the next generation of astrologers. You can subscribe to Horoscope here, either in its print or electronic version.
Skywriter: Notes on Modern Astrology by Frederick Woodruff
The growth of the Internet and social media over the last few years has had a dramatic influence over the astrological community, which collectively has expanded exponentially in recent years. Nowadays, anyone interested in astrology may feel she has no one to talk to in the local community, but readily finds a treasure trove of astrology-based websites to read online and engaging conversations within social-media groups.
Frederick Woodruff finds the Internet a frequent foil in his collection of fifteen essays, Skywriter, Notes on Modern Astrology. Other essay subjects include discussions on Pluto, Mercury retrograde, and even a few non-astrological topics of interest to those living in the Age of the Internet.
Although his essays are wide-ranging, he does come from a specific psychological, philosophical viewpoint that shapes the content of his musings and criticisms. His most frequently quoted source of authority is G. I. Gurdjieff, the early twentieth-century mystic.
Gurdjieff’s primary mission was to awaken his students’ relationship to their bodies. The body has its own wisdom, which is an extension of the earth’s body and wisdom. For those who spend so much time on their cell phones or surfing the Net, Gurdjieff’s teachings are a bit off the beaten track. Yet, getting into a body-based perception is exactly what Woodruff advises in many of his essays.
In “Create Your Own Archetype and Call It You,” he writes: “You can have a direct perception, a sense-based recognition of astrology’s veracity by simply being in your body and registering what you experience as astrological truths (or fallacies). Not enough astrologers write and teach from direct, body-based knowing.”
Getting into this body-based knowing is the solution to a variety of problems faced by many well-meaning astrologers, especially those populating the Internet. Several essays contemplate the astrologer’s place on the web, including “Make Facebook your Slave — Some Tips,” “How to Stop Self-Helping Yourself into Oblivion,” and “How to Write about Astrology (Or Not).” Read more