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Written by Chené Murphy | Updated On April 01, 2023

In the Stars with Gemma Harwood

In the Stars with Gemma Harwood

As well as teaching Astrology and consulting, Gemma Harwood writes articles for Healing Crystals’ phenacite club and is a member of  the Organisation for Professional Astrology and the Association of Professional Astrologers International.  With a diploma in Astrology, distinction in both Natal and Mundane Astrology, Gemma helps clients find meaningful ways of working through important, major transits that many people find notoriously difficult, using a deep understanding of how each transit tends to unfold and how uniquely a natal chart might respond to each transit.  In this interview she shares how to utilize astrology in daily life, natal charts and significant events to look out for this year.

How did you first become interested in astrology?

I was first introduced to Astrology back when I was  a teenager (over 20 years ago) when I read a book called, ‘The Encyclopedia of Ancient and Forbidden Knowledge’ by Zolar. I was hooked! He also wrote about the soul’s journey, the Astral world and psychic development, all of which I have been creatively connected to ever since.

How is serious astrology different from ‘sun sign’ columns?

Sun sign columns can be fun to read, but that’s where it ends as far as guidance is concerned. A personal reading with a professional Astrologer can be very accurate and detailed, as all the planets in the solar system (with your Sun, your Moon and your Ascendant sign) are taken into account along with lots of other calculated points and Asteroids etc that make up your natal chart. In a Sun sign column, everyone on Earth can be placed into one of 12 groups whereas, when looking at your own natal chart of the time you were born, which is a snapshot of all the planetary alignments in the sky at that moment, you are unique and there is only one. You should usually receive lots of guidance about your the energies in your natal chart and your upcoming transits from an Astrologer, too, as your well-being in response to these is very important. There is so much more value to be found in that reader-client interaction.

What intrigues you the most about astrology?

To be honest, the thing that intrigues me the most about Astrology, is the fact that nobody is quite sure how it works. I know it works, because I’ve been using it for a long time and I know that other Astrologers know it works, but it’s a complex subject and it’s something that has to be tried and studied respectfully in order to be realized. I just find it really exciting that it borders the edge of both knowledge and reason within today’s society. Aside from intrigue, Astrology is close to my heart because I love that it helps to raise conscious awareness and vibration, which is something humanity is thirsty for right now. It helps us to get in touch with our core selves and our most basic needs and desires.

How can people best utilize astrology in their daily lives?

The Moon cycles through the zodiac faster than the other planets, passing through a full sign in around two and a half days, so it can be helpful to watch as it changes signs and it can be especially helpful to watch for Full and New Moons, eclipses and other phases of the lunar cycle and how they affect our daily life. I would also advise to take note of Mercury retrogrades, as more miscommunications tend to happen around this time, so it can be helpful to understand this. We all have our own unique relationships with the planets and their movements too and this is where Astrologer’s can help.

One of the sessions that you offer is Natal Consultations. Why is time of birth so important and what can our birth chart tell us?

Time of birth is important because two of our most sensitive reading points in our natal charts are dependent on this; our Midheaven and our Ascendant and these points mark the basis of where our houses are laid. Our houses connect us to different areas of life, such as home and family, career, relationships or finances and they can include a lot of information when looking at future transits as well. However, there is a workable solution if the exact birth time isn’t known as some Astrologers including myself will perform what’s known as a birth time rectification. With this method a more accurate birth time can be assumed, often with good accuracy, from looking at a client’s history against their chart’s angles.

What advice do you have for people looking to find an astrologer, are some more reliable than others?

Yes, I believe some are much more reliable than others as the practice has gone unregulated for the most part, so it likely will help to be extra careful when choosing an Astrologer. The APAI (Association for Professional Astrologers) has a list of practicing Astrologers who have graduated from their list of trusted feeder schools, so I would recommend looking on their site. Basically, if you find yourself a local established Astrological organization and work your way from there, you will have a greater chance of starting from a good place.

Are there any significant events taking place in the universe this year that we should look out for?

Last Thursday (17th February), we had Saturn square Uranus and this happens again on June 14th and December 24th (Christmas eve 2021). Both Saturn and Uranus are co-rulers of Aquarius while Saturn is in Aquarius and Uranus is currently in Taurus, so we will have some already conflicting energies meeting in a stressful square alignment and this could have a way of calling us into action as a society once confronted with problems that will likely be difficult to ignore, relating to outdated constructs and restrictions in our working lives that have always been there, but are now being highlighted by Uranus. Uranus will play as the disruptive planet in this alignment, but he also represents the new freedoms that we will be experiencing this year and how we will need to adapt creatively to the huge shifts that happened during the pandemic last year, while the conjunctions of Saturn and Jupiter with Pluto moved through Capricorn.

It could be a tense time and we will likely be faced to confront fears and shift and grow through this, but it could be ultimately cathartic. It may also mean that this is a year that the patriarchy of society or the State/ Government and Astrology as its own subject are finally called to ‘see’ and respond to one-another, which would make sense with the rate that Astrology is becoming more popular at this time.

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About the author
Chené Murphy is a spiritual enthusiast with a passion for natural wellness and fascinated by the mysteries of this world. Residing in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, South Africa, her interests include being active in the outdoors and spending quality time with friends and family.