Interview with Demetra George
Q: How would you describe your astrological focus or area of study?
A: In retrospect, I see that it is my connection to classical antiquity that has informed my areas of focus and study in astrology. My Greek yia yias’ (grandmothers) told me the tales of the gods and goddesses as my bedtime stories. These memories connected me to how I would come to understand the meanings of all the mythic asteroids, and from there the archetypal approach to astrological interpretation that led to the sacred site tours. Modern Greek was my first language and this guided me to support Project Hindsight’s translations of the ancient astrological texts. Before this phase would be over, I would learn ancient Greek, teach the history of astrology at Kepler College, and participate in the reconstruction of Hellenistic astrology. Both parts of my life work, the mythic asteroids and traditional astrology, emerged from the same lunar matrix.
Q: What are some of the books that influenced you in your study of astrology? Can you tell us a little about how they were influential?
A: My very first study book in 1971 that explained how to cast a chart was the ABC Horoscope Maker and Delineator by Llewelyn George. This was followed by Astrology of Personality by Dane Rudhyar and Esoteric Astrology by Alice Bailey that gave me an expanded perception of astrology within cosmological and philosophical frameworks. In 1973, Eleanor Bach gave me a copy of her newly published The Ephemerides of the Asteroids: Ceres Palls, Juno, Vesta which began my research with all the many asteroids to follow and culminated in the publication of Asteroid Goddesses in 1986In 1974 I read The Lunation Cycle by Dane Rudhyar and this was the foundation framework for the lunation phase teachings I included in Mysteries of the Dark Moon andFinding Our Way through the Dark. I still have my copy of Alan Oken’s As Above, So Below with all my notes in the margins. In 1996 Robert Zoller had me read aloud The Tetrabiblos by Ptolemy and from there I skipped onto the works of all the Hellenistic astrologers over the next decade, including those by Antiochus, Valens, Porphyry, Dorotheus, Firmicus Maternus, Hephaistio of Thebes and Rhetorius. Ben Dykes translation of the Book of Astronomy by medieval astrologer Guido Bonatti is on my list of book’s I’d take to a desert island.
Q: Can you tell us about your teachers?
A: The brothers and sisters of the Rosicrucian Fellowship in Oceanside, CA were my first teachers via a correspondence course in 1972-73. In 1973-74, Virginia Dayan at the Portland Astrology Center grounded me in humanistic astrology through the writings of Dane Rudhyar and the teachings of Marc Robertson. During the 1970’s Joanne Wickenburg also played a major role in my understanding of modern psychological astrology in the correspondence course I took with her, and Zip Dobyns was another early influence in the Summer Intensives at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana.
Robert Zoller, Robert Schmidt and Alan White were all instrumental in teaching me traditional Medieval and Hellenistic astrology. During my years at Kepler College, I benefited from tremendous cross fertilization of ideas in team teaching with Nick Campion, Rob Hand, Lee Lehman, and Dennis Harness. And, at the base is James H. Holden who was always there to answer my questions, find the citations, offer his translations of obscure or tricky passages, and explain the manuscripts.
Q: How to Study Astrology?
- Take the time to learn how to hand calculate the chart. You will understand so much about planetary motion that you will never figure out by just looking at computer generated charts.
- Get an ephemeris and most days spend a few minutes looking at it with your morning coffee or cereal. Come to know where the planets are now, where they were at critical times in your past, and what is in the immediate and long distance future.
- Read as many books as you can to get a big picture of astrology and discover which of the many areas call to you most strongly.
- Take a structured course – this can be online, someone’s program presented in a book, via correspondence, in person, in a small class in someone’s living room or individual instruction by phone or Skyeso that you have some organization, sense of priorities, and evaluation of competency in your learning process.
- Connect with other astrologers – in your community, online, at conferences so you can practice speaking the language, find out what others are studying and learning, and become part of the international tribe of astrologers. This is one of the joys of a life in the astrology world.
- Read Charts to your friends and family from the beginning. You do not have to wait until you think you are good enough. You do not have to charge, but practice on whoever is willing. Whatever you learn that week, try it out on someone you know. The people to whom you read are your greatest teachers because that chart is their life and they are the best people to verify what you think it means.
ABOUT DEMETRA GEORGE
Demetra George, MA, looks to classical antiquity for inspiration in her pioneering work in mythic archetypal astrology, ancient techniques and history, and translations from Greek of primary source texts. She is the author of Astrology for Yourself, Asteroid Goddesses, Mysteries of the Dark Moon, Finding our Way through the Dark, and Astrology and the Authentic Self. She lives in Oregon, lectures internationally, and leads pilgrimages to the sacred sites in Greece, Italy, Egypt and India. She offers personal astrological consultations and mentors individual students in all level of astrological education.