I started studying astrology in 1998 with professional astrologer Jaiann Machell: I’ve written about her here. For 20 years Jaiann was a great friend and mentor and I miss her greatly.
Jaiann was a skeptical of a lot of astrologers, and rightly so. I share her view now; there is a lot of astrological nonsense out there, and it’s easy to get taken for a ride. Still, when I was new to the field and full of evangelical zeal for the subject, I had a few chances to study with other astrologers. I wasn’t a full time social worker yet and I had more time to travel and study.
In 2000, I took a correspondence course for certification in astrology through the Canopus Academy of Astrology in Australia. In the end I never finished the course because to graduate I had to manually erect a natal chart without a computer, and I didn’t see the sense in that given that we have computers for that now. I was inspired to take the course from Canopus because the school’s founder is Linda Reid, and her book Crossing the Threshold: The Astrology of Dreaming, has greatly influenced my practice and I’ve helped clients decode and decipher powerful dreams using astrology.
In 2002, I took a month long intensive astrology course on the Astrology of the 4 Elements with Debra Silverman at the Esalen Institute at Big Sur, California. It was a powerful, transformative month exploring the elements underpinning the signs of the zodiac: air, fire, water, air.
In 2003, I went to NORWAC (The Northwestern Astrology Conference) in Seattle. I took workshops with Lynn Bell, Rick Levine and Maurice Fernandez and the information I got really helped my practice. From Lynn I learned about Mars from her fantastic lecture series (still available on her website) “Between Conflict and Desire: Wrestling with Astrological Mars”. From Rick Levine I developed more sensitivity to harmonics and to be consistent with my orbs; he also really had good insights on the Yod, one of the more complex astrological aspect configurations. From Maurice Fernandez I got some priceless insight into the 12th house.