Q: How did you get introduced to astrology?
I came across a book on Nostradamus when I was about 15, and it contained some discussions about astrology and the concept of natal charts. I became fascinated with some of the implications of natal astrology, and realized very quickly that it was something that would take a lifetime to master, so I devoted myself to studying it from that point forward.
Q: How did you start your practice? And do you have any advice for the student who wants to begin to practice?
I initially started my practice by writing a blog called The Horoscopic Astrology Blog, and also participating in different online forums. I slowly started to develop an audience just from writing regularly and making a name for myself in the broader community, and that allowed me to start drawing in clients and students eventually when I was ready to start consulting and teaching.
For a while I was still working a day job as a barista on the side in order to pay bills. I was at work one day after I recently returned home from a big NCGR conference, and I was thinking about how much more astrological research I could be doing if I wasn’t stuck doing something else much of the time. I put in my two-weeks notice at work that day, resolved to make it as a full-time astrologer, and I’ve never looked back.
More recently, I’ve been focused on producing a podcast over the past few years, called The Astrology Podcast, and most of my clients and students come from that.
For people who are thinking about making the transition and beginning a practice at some point, I’d recommend that they start a blog as soon as possible, and start writing. It doesn’t matter whether you are still a student or you are already seeing clients, you need to start writing and generating a body of work. Even if your approach to astrology is still in development or is in transition, you should write out and document whatever your current thoughts on the subject are. This will benefit you in multiple ways. The most important way is that you will start to develop an audience of people who read and follow your writings and know who you are. Building an audience is the first step in eventually getting clients or students. Additionally, as you write more and more you will get better at writing. This is important because someday you may want to write a book on astrology or an article in a journal, but you won’t be taken very seriously if you don’t know how to write. So it is good to start practicing now. Finally, by starting a blog this will force you to start learning some of the things you will need to know in order to start, manage, and promote a website. So, even if you aren’t a technical genius right now, by starting a blog it will force you to start learning some skills that will become very useful for you down the line. So, start a blog, and get to work writing some articles on it now.
Q: Do you have any advice on how to study astrology?
My main piece of advice is just to study as many different forms and traditions of astrology as you can early on in your career, before you get locked in to a particular approach. This is important because most of the time people just end up sticking with whatever approach to astrology they learned when they first started studying the subject. This can be kind of limiting though, and the longer you go without exposing yourself to other forms of astrology, the harder it will be later on in your career to incorporate new or foreign concepts into your existing practice.
Q: How would you describe your astrological focus or area of study?
I primarily focus on studying older forms of astrology from the Roman era, since most of western astrology is derived from that period. There are a lot of doctrines and techniques that are recently being recovered from translations of ancient Greek and Latin texts, and I think that this is one of the most exciting and fresh areas of astrological study today.
More broadly though, I try to study many different traditions and approaches to astrology, and then synthesize the best pieces of all of them together into a workable system. My primary focus is on natal and electional astrology.
Q: What are some books that influenced you in your study and practice of astrology? Can you tell us a little about how they were influential?
- Astrology and the Authentic Self by Demetra George, because I view it as one of the first successful attempts to synthesize modern and traditional astrology.
- The Moment of Astrology by Geoffrey Cornelius, because even though I’m not sure that I agree with all of his conclusions, I think that it is easily the most important book on the philosophy of astrology written in the past century. His point that western astrology is largely predicated on a model of the planets and stars acting as signs rather than causes is an accurate but often overlooked one.
- The Anthology of Vettius Valens. Valens was an astrologer who lived in Egypt in the 2nd century. He wrote a series of introductory textbooks on astrology in Greek for students of his school. You can learn a lot about his life and the world he lived in by reading the books, and occasionally he has some really interesting personal digressions. The most interesting thing though is reading some of the example charts he uses from his client files, and through that you realize that the fundamental aspects of life are still very much the same today as they were back then. Even if our technology or our culture has changed in many ways, there are some things that always stay the same. From that perspective it is really interesting to read the personal account of an astrologer who lived that long ago, and I admire his dedication to astrology. It is also impressive that his books survived for nearly 2,000 years, and that he is still influencing new generations of astrologers to this day. Imagine if a book that you wrote about your life and astrological practice today still survived and influenced people 2,000 years from now, in the year 4000 CE. Wouldn’t that be wild?
ABOUT CHRIS BRENNAN
Chris is a professional astrologer from Denver, CO. He was educated at Kepler College, where he focused on cross-cultural comparisons between the astrological traditions. He is the former President of the Association for Young Astrologers and the former Research Director of the National Council for Geocosmic Research. He specializes in Hellenistic astrology, and his forthcoming book on the subject is titled Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune.