* This year was my busiest year as an astrologer to date, but it has helped me to put down some numbers. I did over 400+ readings and read 130+ horary charts. I taught over 1,000 hours worth of astrology classes, and I spent an average of two hours per morning for 300+ days of the year doing my daily horoscopes. Much of this work was done by donation, or made available for free to people suffering financial hardships.
* I kept a decent regular morning practice including yoga and meditation and sacred scripture study. This is the most difficult but most important thing I do each day. My mind loves to make excuses for not keeping this practice.
* I write these numbers down for a few reasons. One, because I know that I'm not alone in this level of work as an astrologer. Each year during my 40 days of fundraising, unfortunately, I get literally dozens of emails from people saying that astrologers don't deserve their patreons or kickstarters or subscribers, etc. People sometimes think that just because we're doing spiritual things that we don't deserve or shouldn't try to make a living. Other times people imagine that astrologers who blog or write or build their platform through social media don't keep a disciplined work schedule. For the very few people who are full-time, professional astrologers, I assure you that this is anything but the case, and so I share my own numbers on the year to celebrate the hard work that all hard-working, professional astrologers are doing out there. I celebrate my friends like Austin Coppockwho writes, teaches, and takes clients year round, or my friend Chris Brennan who is a tireless researcher, podcaster, teacher, and reader. Or Jenn Zahrt who is is an editor, the owner of her own press, a translator of foreign language astrology textbooks, and a busy teacher, reader, and writer. Or I think of my professional hero Steven Forrest who has been keeping an unbelievably busy and committed practice of teaching, traveling, writing, and seeing clients from all over the world for literally decades. There are too many others to name and so many whose names many of us do not know. I also think of some of the students who have come through my program, or other good programs out there, or who are self-taught, who are studying every day, getting their practices started, or who have worked tirelessly over the years to build their practice from the ground up. Astrologers are hard workers, just like so many other skilled workers, and so I want to take a moment at the end of this year to really acknowledge and celebrate the hard work that we all put in, as I also celebrate the hard work that I put in.
* The unglamorous parts of being an astrologer are, for me, twofold. On the one hand, the more you study and learn and practice the more you press into the edge of your own ignorance and inadequacies. We astrologers profess to know something of a sacred art whose integrity, depth and beauty are beyond what most of us are capable of carrying. And so it carries us. In grace and humor and patience, the stars carry us, and for me, it's a humbling experience more days than not. Astrologers often feel like phonies, and that is because much of the time, especially when we're younger in our practices, astrology works in spite of us and not because of us. My ego struggles with this aspect of astrology, all the time, and yet I know that if I stay committed to the process, I grow as a practitioner and as a spiritual being. On the other hand, as astrologers, we have to find methods that work for everything we do, from clients to horoscope columns, but we also have to stay as fresh and authentic as the ever-moving cosmos itself in how we read and relate to the heavens. I find this maddeningly difficult, and yet it is the same challenge we all face in everyday life. You cannot put your foot into the same river twice, and yet we're all looking for some sense of the unchanging amidst the impermanence. So many people demand that astrology express immutable laws and perfect, scientific regularity in its methods and results. The world is barking at our heels much of the time, saying to us that astrology must be all true, all the time, as concrete as gravity, or it's all false. Many of us astrologers, or lovers of astrology, bear the weight of this great demand every single day, and we often don't even recognize it. Removing this weight is not an intellectual process. It's not something you can just say, "well that's secular materialism speaking." No. It's a gaping wound that we don't even see most of the time, a kind of "eternal wound." In this regard, astrology itself is chirotic. As someone born with Chiron closely conjunct my ascendant, I feel this wound very personally and most days struggle to shake it off and keep to the work.
* Doing full-time astrological work I am constantly learning more about myself and more about being human. I have heard hundreds of stories this year and though each story is deeply personal, there are so many similarities. We want love, we want success, we want revenge, we want justice, we fear loss, we fear to be alone, we fear death, we desire peace, we know our shortcomings, or we really don't, we have the answers but we don't, we want money, we think we deserve something, we don't think we deserve something, we were hurt, we hurt others, we're aware, too aware, or unaware, too unaware. We are inspired, we need to create, we are called, we are here for a purpose, and, all purposes die, fall short, all things fall apart. We are cynical, we are negative or real, we are positive or ideal.
* There are multiple astrologies, and there is just one astrology.
* To sum it up, I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to do all of this work and to love it and not grow tired of it. Most days I wake excited to be doing what I'm doing, and that is something to celebrate. Hard work and enjoying hard work can go together.
* In addition to this, during 2017 I mostly completed a 300-hour private yoga teacher training (I am almost done, just a few more weeks left!). Our yoga studio relocated and has grown deeper roots in the community this year. I am so excited to continue bridging my work as an astrologer with my very new path as a more active and "regular" yoga instructor. The path of Bhakti yoga, in particular, has been a very exciting spiritual discovery for me in the past year. It's hard to believe that it's been sitting in front of me for so long, being as immersed in the yoga community as I've been. I found an amazing teacher, Hari-kirtana Dasa, basically living next door to me for years now. I'm so excited to be traveling to India next month to spend some time at a Vaisnava temple in Mayapur and then attending an astrology conference in Calcutta.
* My goals and hopes for 2018 are simple. I hope to continue to grow as an astrologer and as a human being. As a father and husband, as a friend and teacher. I pray for continued support in all of these areas, and especially as we welcome a new little soul into our family next Summer! I pray for the health and continued spiritual support of all my colleagues, students, and community members. I pray that you all find good things in the year ahead, and that you are also supported in the continued pursuit of your own dreams, talents, and abilities. I also pray that astrology would play an important role in your 2018, so that you might know you are loved and supported by divine forces.
* On this final day of my 40 days of fundraising, we have raised the support of 320 backers and close to $45,000. We will be using this money to support my work in the year ahead, but we will also be doing all we can to recover from what was a very difficult year for our business and its relocation last year. We will also be adding to our community herbal medicine garden, and god-willing we will be putting a sign out front so that people can find our yoga studio. I will also be investing in the development of my video-blogging platform so that I can bring astrological education to a wider audience in the years ahead (in addition to my written columns, of course!). If you haven't chipped in yet and are able to do so every last donation we can collect helps. Thank you!
And thank you, and a hug to everyone! 2017 was not easy, and we're not living in easy times. But it makes it that much easier to turn to spirit, to remember the divine, and to turn to each other in kind, with open hearts.
And can I just say how excited I am for Uranus to move into Taurus? A feminine, Venus ruled earth sign. Yes, please! And it will move from my 12th house into my 1st (picture me suddenly with Doc's hair from back to the future). :)
Prayer: Thank you for our lives. Bless us. Lead us. Teach us. Support us. Open our hearts. Open our minds. Heal us. Thank you.