ISAR 2009 Conference Feedback
Many thanks to Gisele Terry and all the members of the ISAR board for all their hard work in putting together a conference of this magnitude
Many thanks also to all of you who attended my talk at the Conference. A Transcript will be sent to you if you e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were reminded at the conference of how potentially beneficial our role as astrologers can be to the collective, particularly in this current time of collective turmoil and evolutionary change. Gathered together from all corners of the globe, it was heartening and exciting to discover the depth and breath of astrological research, writing, consultation work and teaching that is going on worldwide.
The conference theme was "Astrology's value to Society and the Individual". During our time together, we were offered the opportunity to consider what our unique contributions are as individual astrologers with our wealth of knowledge, skills and experience. We also focused on ways in which we might best serve the collective as a professional group who practice one of the most ancient professions in the world. As in most professions, many of us choose to specialize in one or more particular branches and it is in coming together at conferences that we are offered the enriching opportunity to share our skills and learn from our colleagues.
As astrologers we contribute to the collective in many ways including:
- As researchers of cycles with a view to working with change on a personal and collective level.
- As educators, in assisting individuals to gain a deeper understanding of themselves.
- As healers offering individuals information in a safe non-judgemental supportive space, to appreciate their soul potential and make real choices from a deeper knowledge of themselves.
- As forecasters of change offering information which in itself gives individuals more choices.
Although there were many wonderful talks that covered a multitude of themes at the conference, my brief feedback focuses on the following as they felt of particular interest to me at this time, as well as of current collective issues and transits. You will notice that the focus is on primal survival - our health and resources, both external and internal and our sense of meaning both spiritual and emotional.
1. Current transits and the global economy (Pluto in Capricorn and the grand cross of 2010)
As a collective we are facing major upheaval and changes in the core structures of our society. This is particularly visible in the financial sector. Ray Merriman, who is a well-known financial astrologer, gave an excellent 25 minute morning presentation on the value of financial astrology in predicting financial cycles and in many cases exact events. He pointed out in particular the accuracy of astrologers such as Christeen Skinner, Robert Gover, Richard Nolle, Manfred Zimmel and Andre Barbault who predicted the current financial turmoil. Ray himself had also made a very accurate prediction of coming events.
Working as a psychological astrologer with a clinical social work background, I have tended to steer clear of the world of financial astrology until about 18 months ago when the global financial changes could neither be ignored nor avoided by any of us. The issue was brought to my work, on a daily basis, by clients who were dealing with job, home and major financial losses. In listening to Ray I was powerfully reminded of the important role financial and mundane astrologers play in educating all of us in understanding the cycles of the planets and their impact on our collective structures.
Ray's talk inspired me to understand more about financial/global astrology and hence I read Christeen Skinner's book "The Financial Universe" and am reviewing it for the next issue of the ISAR journal. I found it to be an excellent book for both astrologers and non-astrologers to read in the current climate. The purpose of knowledge is to enable us as humans to make more informed choices. This book enables even those of us who have steered away from this area in the past to inform ourselves and support our clients in the somewhat challenging times ahead.
2. Spiritual and Evolutionary development as individuals and as a collective (Neptune/Chiron conjunction in Aquarius and Uranus in Pisces)
It was interesting to note the very high turnout to the talks in this stream at the conference. This is not surprising in view of the current transits and the energetic shifts on the planet. We are indeed living in times of evolutionary change and for many this is a powerful time of deep awakening. I greatly enjoyed the talk by Sandra-Leigh Serio on Esoteric Astrology and by Jodie Forrest on the Ascendant. Her verbal images brought the seminar to life. I also had the great pleasure of spending some time talking to the wonderful Marguerite dar Boggia and I have signed up for her free internet course on Esoteric Astrology. Anyone who is interested can e-mail her on email@example.com. .
3. Health and well-being for individuals and the collective (Chiron in Aquarius)
I have known Jane Ridder-Patrick for many years. We first met at the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London where we both studied with Liz Greene. Jane is in my opinion, one of the foremost medical astrologers in the world. Her background in pharmacy, naturopathy and psychotherapy as well as astrology, is evident in the depth and richness of her workshops and seminars which truly remind us of the importance of a holistic approach to wellness rather than merely a focus on un-wellness.
4. Psychotherapy and Astrology
Bringing together astrology and psychotherapies of various kinds, offers individuals and the collective a powerful tool for personal insight and change. The question often arises as to how these two skills can actually be brought together with clients. In my experience as a psychological astrologer I have found that some therapists keep their astrology and therapy practice separate, some use astrological insights with clients who are interested in astrology and others use astrology as a background tool, which offers them additional helpful information on the client's psyche, the client/therapist dynamics and the most conducive timing for interventions. In her very inspiring and compassionate 25-minute morning talk Gisele Terry, the current president of ISAR, used examples from her work as a psychotherapist. She illustrated how her astrological insights were of immense benefit in informing her work with therapy clients.
Many thanks to all the wonderful speakers whose talks I attended, several of which are not mentioned here due to lack of space and time. I came away from all the talks with valuable learning and inspiration.