Happy Halloween! Gather round ye children and let me tell you the tale of how I discovered the ancient art of Astrology at the tender age of….
My mom always said I had an old soul. She also said it was my dad’s first time on Earth ….
When I was a young and impressionable tween in rural Vermont, I made the switch from public school to the crunchy granola establishment which I fondly refer to as “Hippie School”. At this school we had the freedom to choose any independent study we wanted. It literally could be anything from Shakespeare to Klingon. Naturally, this loner was drawn to books. In particular… THIS BOOK:
I was OBSESSED with this book and it’s weirdly intriguing illustrations. At age 11, I read it almost every day. After memorizing each sordid tale of the Gods and Goddesses, I started connecting the dots between Greek and Roman names and our own solar system. You know… Zeus = Jupiter, Ares = Mars, which eventually lead to discovering the names of other stars and constellations in the sky. Independent Study led to book reports, which led to theatrical adaptations (the crown jewel being “The Abduction of Persephone”), which led to toga designing and epic hair braiding, which led to Julius Caesar, which led to the CD recording of Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
I was also simultaneously reading YM and Tiger Beat at my friends’ houses, where I was introduced the infamous sun-sign horoscopes. Throw that juicy slice of pop-culture on top of my nerd-fueled obsession with Greek Myths, and it’s no wonder I threw myself wholeheartedly into the “New Age” world. Before you know it, I was buying crystals, burning incense, making dream catchers, writing semi-erotic mythical fan fiction.
It didn’t help that my dad was a free-spirited musician and my mom a anti-establishment feminist. Until my 8th year of life, I don’t remember my dad wearing anything but sandals and shorts. My mom could not have cared less about my dabblings in the occult. As long as I wasn’t watching consumerist filth on TV and getting pregnant by age 21, I was the perfect child in her eyes. My
father was generally uninterested in anything other than sheet music and guitar strings, so I took my freedom and ran with it.
Upon my entrance to teen age, I started reading tarot cards for friends at school. I found out I was a Pisces, so naturally I bought my first astrology book to DUH.. learn more about myself! I was in full blown self-discovery mode, and I was going to explore all possible avenues. Mostly it involved reading young adult romance novels with a sci-fi/fantasy theme, and studying magazine horoscopes. This was pre-internet, so I didn’t have the luxury of daily star reports. But I wanted more! How was I supposed to learn about the stars and planets and keep my place as the resident Middle School Fortune Teller?
Then one day my wonderful hippie teacher said the magic word: Ephemeris. She, being the utmost example of encouragement to a young weirdo, opened the pages of the dusty tome:
OMG. It was incoherent to me. It looked like MATH! Ew. Wayyyyy too intimidating for a 13 year old fish like me. I didn’t open another Ephemeris for 10 years, but I never lost my interest in Astrology. I eagerly filled anyone’s ear who would listen, talking about modalities, elements, compatibility, personalities. It was mostly superficial, but hey it was more than most people knew and understood I discovered!
As you can probably predict as well as any astrologer, my high school years were not filled with football games and pep rallies. I was the studious freak who shopped at thrift stores, listened to Loreena McKennit, played Penny Whistle, and spent my time hanging out the New Age store with people 3x my age. I had a circle of close friends, but by normal high school social standards, I was NOT cool. I was a 90-year old trapped in a teenage girl’s body. People kept telling me I was born in the wrong decade. HA! Try millennium! Astrology became my solace, where my oddities were affirmed and explained.
I had a brief period of “cool” from 21-24. I was thin, I wore every horrible Y2K fashion trend out there (including trucker hats), I went clubbing. I traveled. I got engaged. I tried to pretend I wasn’t a sad little Pisces. The facade ended abruptly with pregnancy and single-momhood.
So here I am now, 34 with entire bookshelves full of Astrology books. I’ve studied, complied, written, calculated, graphed, and produced bits and pieces of the zodiac arts for indulging friends and neighbors. I’ve gotten astrology readings, and mentored with a family friend who is a professional astrologer. But how do you admit you want to do something laughable for a living? How do you reconcile all the practical, responsible, 9-5 job-holding parts of yourself? How do you get over the fear of not being able to support your own child because of a selfish career choice you made?
Well.. That’s where I’m going.