This week we had the opportunity to speak with Heather Roan Robbins – a choice-oriented astrologer and ceremonialist, author of Starcodes Oracle Deck, who kindly agreed to share some insight into her work.
What inspired you to start your Astrology career?
I’ve been studying astrology, mythology, and symbolism since I was 11 years old, so many decades ago. My mother was a psychiatric nurse, my father was an abstract mathematician; our family joke was that you put them in a blender and get an astrologer. I grew up wandering the halls of anthropology and art museums in Philadelphia, fascinated by the Sumerian and Egyptian sections; those images filled my childhood dreams.
I was rather haunted as a child, I noticed presences and feelings that those in my scientific surroundings didn’t recognize. During a few early health crises, I had clear out-of-body experiences which viscerally let me know we are more than our body. I collected myths and folktales and produced my first zodiacal calendar at 11 years old.
In my first year of high school, I befriended the school’s switchboard operator, niece of Caroll Righter -a famous Hollywood astrologer. She was a better counselor than the school therapist. One day she stopped two teachers whose transits were particularly challenging (she had everyone’s chart on file) and asked them to be a bit careful this weekend.
The elder drama teacher died of a heart attack on stage and the younger one fell downstairs and broke a limb. I asked her to tell me everything she knew. Next year my music history teacher- Sushil- studied palmistry worriedly told me to keep an eye on a close friend; she was murdered the next year. I pumped him for all the information I could and began to study palmistry and collect palm prints. I observed that the lines on our hands slowly grow and shrink, changing in response to major decisions we make.
In my early 20s and 30s, I managed natural food stores and moved into human resources where I had could follow all the charts and hands of the people working for me, experimenting with how to use astrology to improve understanding and collaboration. I moved to Santa Fe New Mexico with its thriving astrological community in the early 1990s and started writing a column the astrological weather of the week- by day not by sign- called Starcodes and I’ve been writing it ever since.
Every week I get to test out my theories on the astrological conditions, watch what happens, and fine-tune my perceptions. The Starcodes column is still printed in the Santa Fe New Mexican, and is available on several websites, including medium.com, women.ws, and my Facebook page under Heather Roan Robbins-Starcodes.
What is your approach to astrology?
I am a choice-based astrologer. I don’t believe the planets make us do anything, I feel they are influenced by the same pulse- the same universal patterns – that we are, and are easier to read. A metaphor – if you see horns on top of the fence you might not want to put your feet under the fence; the horns won’t hurt your feet but both horns and hooves are moved by the same force behind the wall. So let’s watch the planets, the horns, and see what’s moving.
Each planet, aspect, and transit in astrology has 180° of expression, it has a challenging aspect, a practical side, and a divine gift. We don’t get to choose which planets aspects us, or, after we’re born, what is in our natal chart, but we do have complete choice about how we choose to express those symbols.
Often the cure for the challenge is found in the positive expression of the same aspect. If Mars is talking to our charts, do we fight or become a bully, do we cause an accident, or do we work out or find some way to be a hero and help those in need? These are all expressions of Mars and that choice is up to us. A map helps.
We heard that you are the author of the Starcodes Oracle Deck. Could you please provide some information about this deck?
The Starcodes AstroOracle deck builds on 56 important astrological terms, including the signs, houses, asteroids, planets, aspects, and astrological characteristics.
I made the Starcodes Astro Oracle deck to accomplish two goals at once: divination and education. First, the symbols and astrology are so powerful and redolent I find they work as well or better than any other symbol system to give us meaningful advice.
I made a deck of them to experiment with for a quick read when I needed advice and found they worked so well that I wanted to share. For the second goal, I want to encourage people to engage in real and substantial astrology, to help it become more transparent and accessible.
I find that most people are daunted about getting past the shallow ponds and into the depths of astrology because it can feel like learning another language. By using this deck regularly, picking a card for the day, or pulling a few cards to help with a decision, people will naturally learn astrological vocabulary.
What is the most important detail in maintaining a relationship of mutual trust with customers?
With each client I start by asking what they want out of today’s reading because needs vary; some people want details about their chart and family history, some people are having a relationship question or work question, and no matter how good my reading might be – if it doesn’t honor their questions, it won’t help them, and they will be dissatisfied.
So my first job as a reader is to listen, to hear where my client is and what they really need- and do my best with my intuition and all my tools to help them understand patterns and make healthy and productive choices.
Every client who books with me through my online scheduling is asked to comment on our work together; their posted comments keep me accountable.
What I need for my clients is honesty, asking what they really want to know about, and keeping their hearts and mind open while we talk.
Also, I ask each client to keep their own critical thinking and skepticism intact, if what I say does not fit your life, put it on the front porch of your mind; you don’t need to take it in until you understand how it might work, but don’t throw it away. Consider it and see if it makes more sense in the future.
In this field, it is often thought that word-of-mouth and personal recommendations are the most important when picking an astrologist – is this true?
Like healers, each astrologer has its own gifts and approaches to offer. The chemistry between the two of you matters, also, some astrologers are better for one kind of question than another.
I recommend checking in with different views over the years, do not worry about the ego of the astrologers involved, you do not insult anyone by trying a new astrologer or approach, the variety gives you a broader perspective.
You may then find you come back to one over and over again because they know your story and you like their approach. But instead of creating dependency upon them, every reader should be empowering you to come to know your intuition and encourage you to make your own choices. We are here for backup, for counseling, extra information, maps, and guidance, but it is your life and your road.
I have a minor specialty of bad reading rehab-I’ve had clients that were told of difficult future destinies with no ways to fix it, no options, and now need help. A small example, I had a client who’s told her boyfriend was torturing things and had small dead birds in the back of his closet, so leave him -she was horrified searched everywhere but found nothing. When she told me her story it came out that her boyfriend was an actor in a one-man show on Edgar Allan Poe. The reader was both right and wrong, had read his role, not his soul, and left this poor woman shivering rather than asking good questions.
That couple is still happily married decades later. I also work to repair people who’ve been told by some righteous person that the reason they have cancer, or some other calamity, is because they did this or didn’t do that. We humbly cannot tell from the patterns of one lifetime why anything happened. Just ask Job. But we can ask how to use this experience, what can we learn from this cancer or this disaster, for our soul’s evolution. I find that is a much more empowering approach.
What is the best part of your job?
I do dearly love my work, and to love one’s work is a great gift. I appreciate being let into people’s hearts and patterns, I am humbled by the way Spirit works in people’s lives, by the soul bravery to face one issue after another and evolve. It is a joy to watch people let go of their issues and step forward into healthy relationships and interesting work, to find the right place for themselves in the world, or learn to trust their intuition.