Sandra-Leigh is a full-time, professional astrologer with a Master’s Degree in Psychology; she lives in Boulder, Colorado. For 25 years, she wrote a weekly astrology column for a major newspaper. She also had her own television and radio show for many years.
Sandra-Leigh is certified by ISAR, AFA, and OPA as a professional astrologer. She has written for Mountain Astrologer, Llewellyn Publications, Horoscope Magazine, and StarIQ. Presently, she is Vice-President of the Rocky Mountain Astrologers (ROMA). She has lectured for many astrological and non-astrological organizations. Aside from teaching and lecturing on astrology, she also consults with clients from all over the world. Sessions can be in-person, via phone, or Zoom.
Read more about her in the latest MysticMag interview.
Can you explain the basic principles of astrology and how it’s believed to influence human lives?
Astrology is the study of celestial bodies and their influence on human behavior. At the moment of birth, astrologers create a graphic representation of the positions of planets in the sky, considering factors like longitude, latitude, and birth time. These planetary positions represent archetypal experiences common to everyone, such as love, money, career, and family. The relationships between planets, determined by their positions within the zodiac signs, can provide insights into various life themes. Additionally, the rising sign, determined by the sign on the horizon at birth, adds another layer to one’s personality.
In essence, astrology examines personality traits, character, and destiny. While free will plays a role, astrologers refer to the “natal promise,” which suggests likely life developments. Key components of personality include the sun sign (external expression), moon sign (emotional nature), and rising sign (behavior in the world). Other planets are also considered in astrological analysis.
The mention of Virgo, Gemini, and other zodiac signs pertains to Western astrology. Various types of astrology exist, each using a distinct zodiac system but adhering to similar underlying principles. For instance, heliocentric astrology places individuals on the sun and interprets planetary positions accordingly. Western tropical astrology emphasizes behavior and free will, while other forms like Vedic astrology may lean toward a more fatalistic approach. These differences arise due to varying zodiac systems and interpretations.
What are the differences between different astrology types?
Different forms of astrology utilize varying zodiac systems while maintaining the positions and relationships of celestial bodies. For instance, heliocentric astrology places individuals as if they were born on the sun, considering planetary positions from that perspective. Despite these differences, there are shared foundational principles among these astrological systems.
Western astrology, the focus of our discussion, tends to emphasize behavior and free will. While acknowledging a destiny component, it encourages individuals to exercise awareness to make informed choices and potentially alter their life paths.
Astrology is often criticized as pseudoscience. How do you respond to those criticisms, and what evidence is typically cited to support astrology’s validity?
Critics, especially from the scientific community, often dismiss astrology as lacking empirical evidence. They contend that planetary positions cannot influence human life. However, astrologers point to certain studies, like those conducted by Michelle Golan, which have shown correlations between planetary angles in birth charts and life events.
Astrologers also emphasize the intuitive aspect of their practice. They assert that reading a birth chart involves interpreting planetary positions in signs and houses, with houses being particularly influential in energy manifestation. This intuitive element allows astrologers to discern potential life experiences for individuals based on their charts.
Astrology is seen as a tool to understand and predict life experiences rather than specific events. For example, two identical twins with nearly identical birth charts may have different life experiences—one married and one not—because astrology focuses on the experiences associated with planetary positions.
In summary, astrologers acknowledge the skepticism from the scientific community but maintain that astrology’s depth goes beyond mere sun sign interpretations. It is a complex system that seeks to understand and predict life experiences based on celestial positions, offering insights into human behavior and potential paths. For skeptics to appreciate astrology, they may need to engage in a more in-depth study of its principles and practices.
How do astrologers determine someone’s birth chart, and what information can be derived from it?
Astrologers ascertain a person’s birth chart based on the date, time, and place of their birth. This birth chart serves as a rich source of information about an individual’s life and characteristics.
When interpreting birth charts, astrologers often find it fulfilling to work with young individuals, as they can provide guidance and direction. By analyzing the birth chart, astrologers can offer insights into potential life paths. For instance, they might suggest that a person is likely to have multiple marriages or significant relationships. In contemporary society, cohabitation without legal marriage is considered a form of partnership, and astrologers recognize the importance of personal choices in shaping one’s life.
It is crucial to acknowledge that while astrologers can provide guidance, individuals still retain the freedom to make their own decisions, including choices that may not always be in their best interest. Experiencing poor decisions is a natural part of life’s journey on Earth.
Birth charts offer a vast array of information about individuals. Astrologers can even delve into past lives and discern a person’s life purpose. They can identify the aspects of life that are most conducive to an individual’s spiritual growth and evolution.
Even without the precise time of birth, astrologers can glean valuable insights from a birth chart. For instance, they can compare birth charts, as exemplified in a case involving a woman in Atlanta who had legal proceedings against Donald Trump. Despite having only the birth month and year, the astrologer was able to make significant observations about potential legal implications for Trump based on the connections between the two charts.
Astrology involves a range of techniques beyond natal chart analysis, including progressions and solar arc progressions. These methods allow astrologers to symbolically move the birth chart forward in time, unveiling the unfolding dynamics and events in an individual’s life.
In essence, a birth chart serves as a treasure trove of information, offering continual fascination to astrologers as they explore the intricacies of an individual’s life journey.
How has astrology evolved over time, and how has modern technology impacted astrological practices?
Back when I initially studied astrology, many years ago, we had to manually draw up charts because computers were not available. It was a time-consuming process, taking about 20 minutes to meticulously plot the positions of celestial bodies, including the moon, within specific longitudes. However, with the advent of computers, conducting a birth chart analysis during a client session has become considerably more convenient. The wealth of information available at our fingertips with just a few clicks is remarkable.
Astrology has evolved over time, but its foundation remains rooted in the positions of celestial bodies and their significance in an individual’s life. While early astrologers may have had a somewhat pessimistic or fatalistic outlook, contemporary Western tropical astrology, which I practice, strongly emphasizes free will and the power of personal choices.
We firmly believe that individuals have choices and the ability to shape their destinies. This perspective sets our astrology apart from potentially more deterministic views. As we continue to explore and understand astrology, we have the advantage of being able to compare birth charts, a practice that may not have been prevalent in ancient times.
Modern technology, particularly computers and platforms like Zoom, has immensely benefited astrologers. It has allowed us to connect with clients worldwide, even those we’ve never met in person. During the height of the COVID pandemic, for instance, I met clients I’d worked with for years without ever seeing their faces. This illustrates how technology has enhanced our ability to provide astrological guidance and services.
As with any field, astrology also involves ethical considerations, whether it’s pursued as a hobby or a profession. It’s important to navigate these ethical concerns conscientiously and responsibly.
Can you discuss the ethical considerations of providing astrological advice to people? How do you ensure responsible and sensitive guidance?
Indeed, that’s a significant concern. There are several astrology organizations that offer certification, and part of this certification process involves assessing ethical standards. These organizations also provide courses that aspiring astrologers can take to gain certification. Ethical considerations are paramount when working with clients in this field.
In my case, I’m fortunate to have a background in psychology, holding a master’s degree in the subject, which has proven invaluable when interacting with clients. It’s crucial to exercise caution and sensitivity in your interactions with clients. For instance, it’s ethically unacceptable to predict a client’s death, as the manner in which death manifests in a birth chart can vary significantly.
Maintaining ethical conduct during client sessions is vital. Many practitioners record sessions, with the client’s knowledge, and provide them with the recording afterward. Being aware of this recording encourages astrologers to carefully choose their words and present information thoughtfully. For instance, if I notice potential health concerns in a client’s chart, I might gently suggest they consider a thorough medical examination to rule out any issues. Honesty with clients is paramount, but it’s equally crucial to convey information in a supportive and constructive manner.
How a session begins and ends, active listening, and inviting clients to share their thoughts and experiences are all essential components of ethical astrology consultations. Sometimes, a birth chart may reveal past challenges, such as childhood difficulties. In these cases, it’s crucial to approach the topic sensitively and never make accusations or assumptions. Instead, you might ask open-ended questions to explore their experiences.
Maintaining a positive and encouraging tone throughout a session is vital to fostering trust and encouraging clients to return for guidance. It’s important to note that astrology practitioners should never engage in fraudulent practices or prey on vulnerable individuals. Legitimate astrologers hold accreditation and certification and refrain from making unfounded claims, such as curses or promises to manipulate others.
Astrology is a respected field when practiced by qualified and ethical individuals who adhere to a code of conduct and uphold professional standards. Clients seeking astrological guidance should be cautious and seek reputable practitioners with accreditation and a credible educational background. This ensures a responsible and ethical approach to astrology consultations, and clients can trust the guidance they receive.