Marc Laurenson from the Sydney Astrology School reveals his personal journey with Astrology, how the School came to be founded, what students can expect to learn and how they can grow by understanding and empowering themselves, and consequently the lives of others.
How did you first become interested in Astrology?
I read my first astrology book when I was ten years old. While other kids were kicking a ball around or climbing trees, I would go to book shops after school every day, always gravitating towards the esoteric section. The strange and wonderful thing is that I never actually remember having to learn astrology. Everything was completely familiar to me and I felt like I was simply revisiting terrain, where everything that I read was affirmation of what I already knew. I even knew and understood the energy of each of the planets, signs and totems, before reading about them. I don’t ever recall sitting down and ‘learning’ anything.
In my twenties, I started gravitating towards the New Age movement that was happening in the eighties. I became heavily involved in the Course in Miracles which was a spiritual study guide to miracles. I was trying to find a way to bring the Astrology that I knew (up until then) into a spiritual or soul centered context. I wanted to marry astrology with soul purpose, and one day I read one of Steven Forrest’s books, The Inner Sky, and that was a eureka moment for me. He did just this. I then started to be able to pull charts, read charts, and started doing readings for people. I took it to a professional level in my late thirties, and started my own school. The rest is history.
When was the Sydney School of Astrology founded?
It was launched in 2007 and it really morphed from love and passion into what it is today. A friend of mine back in the day was teaching astrology, in a very fundamental way, at one of the Institutes here in Sydney. They would take students to a certain level (intermediate) and leave them high and dry with no follow-up. My friend asked me if I wanted to take them on and guide them to more advanced levels, and this is what I did. I started teaching two or three students in my home. This started to evolve at quite a rapid pace and the school was founded from there. We realized we needed to implement structure and so we structured our teachings into four terms, and the word spread.
I moved from Sydney up to the Blue Mountains a while ago, and my school went online. I thought I would lose students because of geographical distance, but instead it exploded. Suddenly I was teaching people all over Australia, and all parts of the globe. The Universe was giving me what I knew was going to happen, without any prior planning.
What certification does one acquire after graduating and what does this allow one to do?
The course is finished after four terms which takes a year. They receive a certificate of proficiency and competency, called ‘Successful Completion’. I would, however, recommend sitting the exams for the FAA (Federation of Australian Astrologers) on completion of our course. My school is a stepping stone to this. Our certificate is good enough but to obtain a diploma, I recommend going the FFA route.
Do most of your students have a ‘calling’ to practice Astrology?
There is only a small percentage of my students who have similar feelings to what I experienced when approaching astrology. This very small handful of people will probably go on to become very good astrologers.
Most people are simply interested in knowing more. These days, people are asking more questions about their life purpose. Nobody is satisfied, everybody is empty, and therefore they are looking for answers to fill the void. Astrology answers these questions; it tells us why we are here, what we need to learn and how we need to learn it. Most people fall into this category. Once they have discovered their own soul purpose and direction and they feel they can then pass on this knowledge to others, then fabulous!
Another small minority is those who are bored and simply want to learn something new.
When teaching my students, I can instantly see who is ‘gifted’ at astrology, and those who have to work harder to reach the same goals. It’s like anything…some people are born singers, others are tone deaf…this doesn’t mean the latter can’t learn how to sing. It may take longer and require harder work…
Are your students of all ages and from all walks of life?
Yes absolutely. I have students as young as sixteen right up into the seventies. There is a huge age bracket. What fascinates me is the amount of young people who are interested in astrology. These youngsters are really good, show incredible maturity, and are so in touch with themselves so early on. One in five students are men generally speaking.
How does one tackle the enormous sphere of Astrology for beginners?
In the first few lessons, I try to get everyone to understand that astrology doesn’t have to be complex and scientific, and I come at people from a much more emotional level. I feel that when people are approached from (and are tackling something) from an emotional level, people are able to process things with calm and reason.
We then simply start from scratch. We don’t overload our students with too much information, we take it step by step. After level one, people are exhilarated, rather than intimidated. That’s when they really get into it.
There are four terms, ten lessons in each term. The students get notes for each lesson and a few days later they have a webinar with myself and Ingrid (my assistant) every week. The webinar lasts two hours and is interactive. The students can keep the recordings forever, in addition to the notes, so at the end of the year, they have the entire course at their disposal.
Does one have to have a scientific mind to fully comprehend the complexity of the planets?
Becoming a good astrologer is about heart, about getting emotionally involved and getting your heart into the chart. If you can do that, you will be a fabulous astrologer. The scientific side of it is more related to astronomy. There are certain things that we DO have to know, but it really is simple to learn when explained in the right way. Software takes care of complicated calculations these days. The tricky part is to become emotionally invested in what the chart is saying, and to deliver that information to somebody else in a helpful and healing way, and which will, more importantly, make sense to that person.
Evolutionary Astrology is what I teach, and this always entails being able to make the person on the other side of the chart feel better about themselves and their lives after the reading than before they arrived. Evolutionary astrology is about us coming onto the planet and realizing that we are souls having an earthly experience and not humans having a spiritual experience, and we are trying to align the earthly self with the essential and spiritual self.
How do you see the practice of Astrology evolving in the modern world?
I like to think that people are at the stage where old school astrology (fatalistic, dark and heavy) does not help us anymore.
I prefer to think that we are heading towards being able to bring some form of love and kindness to the world. Astrology is a counselling tool at the end of the day. I hope that we continue to move in this direction where we can use astrology as a tool for empowerment and to better our lives. Astrology is still choice related. I alway say to people during a reading, that the choice is theirs. I can see what the planets are doing and I can see the higher potential but is that person going to rise to the occasion or are they going to run in the opposite direction? We are in a constant position of choice in this life.
You are still the author of your life and the chart is a map or a guide. It is, however, up to you how you travel it.