In this episode, Mark Jones and Frank Clifford join Tony Howard to talk about the pitfalls and potentials inherent in astrological forecasting. Can astrology give us specific insight into the future? And is there a problem with negative predictions? Tune in to hear what they say. Register for our 2020 Epic Cycles Summit at https://astrologyuniversity.com/summit
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How Much Insight Can Astrology Give Into The Future? Transcript
Tony Howard: Well, hello, folks and welcome to this episode of the Astrology University podcast. I am joined by two amazing astrologers today, Frank Clifford and Mark Jones.
Frank and Mark are with me today to talk a little bit about some epic cycles of change coming up in 2020. We’re looking at this heavy configuration of planets in Capricorn in the lead-up to the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at the end of 2020 in Aquarius, as the planets shift into Aquarius.
So a lot of astrologers are talking about forecasting and prediction and cycles that are unfolding in the future and what we can make of them. I thought we would talk today a little bit about why we do that and what we think we can accomplish by doing that and how much insight we think astrology can give into the future. With that, I’ll just say hello to Frank and Mark and talking about that one, but thanks for joining me today.
Frank Clifford, Mark Jones: Thanks, Tony.
TH: I guess we should have picked who goes first.
Frank Clifford: I’m an Aries, I’m very happy to allow the Pisces to go first. Just this once.
Mark Jones: Well, I don’t know about the people in this room but I was drawn to astrology at a point in my life where I didn’t know WTF really. What’s going on, where am I going. We’re all drawn there, aren’t we? Because it’s a system of knowledge that at least includes the idea that it might give you some kind of angle on life or some kind of take on the future. So certainly that’s where I started.
But the longer and deeper I go into astrology, the more I am suspicious of that aspect of my own mind, my own heart, my own need to have my life explained to me or mapped out or someone else other than my good self to hold my hand or tell me the future. And yet it’s the impulse that led me into it and clearly astrology does have something to say in that regard. Clearly, astrology and its symbolism is very rich and does point to certain collective and individual trends that evidence would show are statistically real.
The very people, the French scientist who came in to disprove astrology ends up dedicating books and parts of his research to sections of astrological thought because he finds on a statistical analysis it does have some efficacy.
But I, for one, live my life better when I feel like my intuition on my heart, in my mind are clear and I make decisions. I’m not one who’s staring at the chart every day or looking at the micro transits to wonder if… I remember traveling once with a Canadian novelist around parts of America, and he would check when he was gonna go to the coffee shop. It was a Mercury Venus sextile at 10 AM that morning, he was going to the coffee shop, no matter what because of his little pocket ephemeris.
That’s not me. That’s not the way I live, it really isn’t. I think with these larger cycles we have to come to terms. They’ve fascinated someone like Jung, they’ve fascinated great minds. The symbolism of changing of eras or the symbolism of changes in humanity, and many people feel like we’re in some kind of transition time right now.
It feels like that, doesn’t it? Our actual subjective experience when we turn the television on or hear the news or something’s afoot. Can astrology help us orientate in a way that’s empowering to that, in a way that doesn’t take away agency from the individual human? I hope so. I don’t always see that, but that’s my intention with it, at least.
FC: I agree. I think the idea of recognizing the season you’re in. I always talk about seasons and co-creating who you wanna be. I think we can be too easily defined by our chart and limited by our chart, and our chart is a blueprint for who we are but it’s not always necessarily who we become or we operate on many levels. I always think that we’re bigger than our birth charts. I think the birth chart reflects an aspect of what we signed up to do, but we meet hundreds of people in our lifetime who have other birth charts, other ideas, other focuses, and it brings out different aspects of who we are.
So, in a way, yes, I think we are bigger than our chart and we should use these cycles that are coming up as signposts for where we wanna be or just to realign, to remind ourselves of the key principles in our lives, the energies that we hold we call them planets and signs, or we’ve called them principles of who we are. They’re great reminders to get back on track to remember what we’re here to do or to do something different. So in a way, I don’t see them as fait accomplis or an idea of just this is what’s going to happen to me. I think this is where we get unstuck if we think in those terms.
MJ: Well, I mean, profound, and to me the sense that we’re larger than the chart is you can be very specific in one way and say that the essence of an individual is in their heart and mind or their core nature. It’s in their being. I wouldn’t argue it’s an ontological error, it’s a philosophical category error to ascribe to astrology a degree of reality that only being has. It’s your life that matters. It’s Frank’s life. It’s Mark’s life and is the chart something that opens a portal on to that life and increases that life or is it something that could imprison it potentially?
Because it seems to me a chart’s like a sonnet of you. Maybe the greatest reader, maybe the greatest literary interpreter, maybe Shakespeare himself reading it sees through to a greater truth, but many people read sonnets and they read them quite leaden, in a leaden fashion or they literalize the meaning of the fantastic mellifluous words, and I think there’s a danger of doing that with astrology all the time, making it an imprisoning category of knowing, like you’re defined because Venus is in such and such a place. You’re like this in relationships.
Well, are you? Has that been tested? And then Venus is in a context of infinite subtlety. Venus is in all these other different relationships with all these other different planets that will change the way it operates.
So I would always argue for weighing life experience and the richness of personal wisdom against astrology as being too literal an interpretation of people’s lives. But I do agree, like Frank said, they do signpost things, that it’s not that astrology is not effective, it’s just way more subtle, it seems to me, because life is way more subtle than most people would like. We want our complexity reduced, don’t we, and that’s why people are attracted to black and white fundamentalist space, I think. They want the complexity of the world to be reduced to a simplistic moral order, and there’s a danger of that tendency with astrology too, to turn it into something too simple when life’s not simple. People aren’t simple, you know.
FC: You could imagine sort of a tri-wheel, we’re the outer wheel, we’re larger than the chart. The chart is the next wheel in and then you maybe got quite a small wheel in the center that is the astrologer’s ability to convey.
MJ: Yeah, I love it. Love it. That’s brilliant.
FC: Well, that’s the thing about astrology, you’ve got maybe a capacity of a hundred words to describe a planet, a hundred words to describe a sign or an aspect or a house, and yet we’re so much bigger than that, and life is so much bigger than that, and the chart is somewhere in between the astrologer’s ability to describe it and our real experience of living on multi-dimension levels. So, yeah.
MJ: The tri-wheel, that’s superb. I love that use of tri-wheel, I just love it. I think it identifies two primary errors, just to underline it, the fact that the outer wheel, the biggest wheel, is your life experience and that even the greatest reading of the symbolic potential of the chart’s only a section of that, that there’s an element of your personal being that will always be mysterious, that isn’t actually necessarily elucidated in conceptual terms ever.
You only reach that part by living your life. The richness of grief or losing someone you love and coming through that, can that be described by a Saturn transit or a Pluto transit? Not really, it might be book-ended by it but it’s not the same thing as what happens to you.
And then this level where… And people are students, people are beginners and they need to learn and they want simple definitions. They want A equals 1, B equals 2. They want Aries equals this, Taurus equals that in order to learn, but we have to teach quickly, it seems to me, that these kind of Lego building blocks are too simple and that they only work in the subtlety of context, the rainbow of associations they make, because otherwise the danger is astrologers are reading that tiny inner wheel, which really is tiny sometimes, and is a conceptual trap, not just of the person’s larger greater being at the outer wheel, but even the potential of what astrology could have offered them in the middle level if it was held more subtly and if the astrology was listening to that greater outer wheel and letting the astrology move and be more free form as a result. Such a great image that, Frank. Brilliant. Love that.
FC: Thank you. Also the idea that yes, it’s a funny one, because people add so much more to the horoscope at times and I always say to a student, “If you can articulate Sedna, throw it in and talk to somebody about it, because you’ll get the clients that need Sedna articulated in their chart. The rest of us might not need it or the rest of us astrologers may not need to interpret it or describe it, but the more you add to a chart it actually has the reverse function of, it just ends up clouding the matter altogether.”
MJ: Exactly. This is my great paradox on the subject I’m speaking of, Tony, for your telesummit and writing on, in that for years I’ve taught strip the chart back to its bare essentials, because there’s enough there to be rich if you learn to read it subtly and with that symbolic resonance. And here I am, at this point in my development as an astrologer introducing a subject that is relatively new to most people. I mean, it did preoccupy Dane Rudhyar for the latter decades of his life and he did go on record saying he thought it was the most important thing he was working on.
But at the same time I’m introducing these other points, these nodal points. Luckily, they’re relatively simple ones technically to discover, but it’s a lot to ask and it’s why I switched. We were talking before we started, weren’t we, Tony, about the editorial decision you took years ago when I was presenting the first work that became Healing the Soul, Pluto, Uranus and the lunar nodes, to remove all the stuff on planetary nodes because it was a mess. And what it’s produced in the meantime is a decade of research that’s led to this research-based form because, Frank, I’m so aware of what you just said.
It’s like I’d had to study it for the last few thousand years of history in detail to show, for example, the 9/11 attacks occurred with the Pluto-Saturn opposition as a signpost, but that Pluto-Saturn opposition, Pluto in Sag, Saturn in Gemini, occurred on the nodes of Uranus. Which when you look historically, the Hiroshima chart mid-heaven is the node of Uranus, the first time that tanks are used in warfare, it’s the nodes of Uranus. So technical explosions of meaning, sometimes very traumatic, come into the world with these nodes. And it’s linked to that South node Sagittarius theme of fundamentalism or vision.
And here we have… So all that writing around the time of the Twin Towers attack, on the astrology, the incredible astrology, this Pluto, Sag-Saturn opposition. But no one spoke about the nodes of Uranus, which were prominent in Rudhyar’s chart, himself, natally, and one of the reasons why he was investigating them.
When you look at collective events like that and they’re so transcribed by certain astrological signatures, it’s the one time in my career, for a man who has almost campaigned on the basis of to strip astrology back and listen more to people’s reality than the astrology, where I’m introducing these ideas that aren’t really technically new; in the late ’60s and early ’70s they were being studied by Rudhyar, Zip Dobbins and Carl Payne Tobey picked them up and various people like that.
But they are new, and yet I am a person who profoundly agrees with Frank in what you just said. Like, strip the chart back, don’t waste your time on all these extra things in it, because people have a magpie mind. And they haven’t grasped the core parts of the chart and then they’re rushing to put in new information.
And then in danger of that here I am introducing these new ideas, but hopefully I’m gonna do so in a book which is so research-based, with such context that it provides it in a way that we don’t just destabilize or use it in that way. But obviously, it’s a risk and it’s something I spend the whole introduction discussing. Yeah, one of the paradoxes, I guess, in your own growth sometimes that you come against even your own ideas that you follow, and you move them on, yeah.
FC: Yeah. I think it’s important to include what speaks to you. And not miss anything. And I’m a great fan of using the outer planets, of course. I would like to see my TV, my Netflix in color rather than black and white.
MJ: Yes. Nice image.
FC: Sometimes the new planets, the new discoveries are like the high definition and they do help you zoom in. But I’ve seen over the years, I’ve been in astrology 30 years this year, and I’ve seen over the years people rush in to holding on to a particular planet. Back when I started it was Chiron, everybody was holding on to their wound.
And I totally respect their choice to do that but it was comforting rather than helping them evolve. It was comforting to say. “Well, I have a moon Chiron therefore I am.” Instead of seeing it as another aspect of who they are and maybe an aspect towards being a better version of who they are rather than an opportunity to blame or to stay with that.
MJ: Yes, yes. This, what you’re saying is so profound. It’s always been the area where you and I have such a shared vision, I think it led to dialogues, didn’t it, really? This feeling we have about the way astrology is held in this way, ’cause I just couldn’t agree more. I often teach this idea that it’s a category error philosophically to ascribe reality to astrology. Astrology is just like a map. The map of the Grand Canyon does not have the reality, the Grand Canyon does, the map’s just an orientation tool, well, that’s how I see the chart.
And then people will be like, “Great talk, really love it.” And then you’ll be out in the conference and they’ll be like, “Yeah.” Someone will say, “Oh, has something happened to you?” “Oh, yeah, this relationship change happened, it was really difficult.” “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” “Oh, yeah, it’s ’cause such and such is on such and such.” Or it’s, “‘Cause my such and such is in such and such.”
We hold on to these things as if they explain our life’s travails and suffering and I’m not sure they do, I’m not sure it’s good enough to hold onto astrology like that to make it real. It’s a way that astrology can victimize its students and practitioners, actually. This holding on… You know, “My moon in Chiron, therefore I am.”
FC: Yeah. And I think also to the outsider it sounds very peculiar. I forget his name, I think it’s Brian Cox, the pop-singer turned scientist in England, started his Wonders of the Solar System. Do you remember that TV series that was on?
MJ: Yeah, yeah.
FC: And people were raving about him for the first week. And then in week two he said, “Of course astrology is a load of rubbish.” And of course everyone got upset with him for saying that. And what was fascinating is that somebody wrote him a letter telling him why he had that world view and they mentioned his Saturn square this and sesquiquadrate this and whatever. And I read the letter and I just shivered, because it was precisely what he was expecting to hear. A little bit like Dawkins as well. When you research God you’re not going to go to the people that are truly moved by God.
You can talk to the evangelists who are bringing in $50 million a year and people are being seduced into it. You’re never gonna go to the real spiritual places in the world, you’re gonna just be attracted to where… Perhaps the more sensational or more naive qualities are to be found.
MJ: I think this is so astute, both of those points are so astute. I’ve thought that of Dawkins multiple times. He picks basically people who believe that the Bible is a literal timeline. And then he deconstructs them, which is no real response to the religious function of the psyche, as Jung would call it, or the spiritual impulse in mankind. And then this point about how people must perceive us as a community, there’s this general feeling, isn’t it, that we’re super Uranian and somehow the Saturn normal world is just too unhip to get astrology.
And yet there’s this counter-view that goes, we are developing this weird special language that we hold onto sometimes as if it explains all our life issues, which it doesn’t in that way. And people, and naturally sensible intelligent people in academia or solicitors or doctors are a bit like, “Really?” And they maybe have got a point. I just don’t think it’s as simple. I don’t think we always translate well as a profession like that when we have these micro-concerns.
And of course compared to much like newspaper, sun sign astrology, which is what lots of people’s only exposure would have been, the idea that you’re a theoretical physicist probably counts in his mind quite a lot higher, and who can blame him on some level, really?
Yes, Frank, it’s good to see… Frank, you’re like your name in these moments. You’re so frank and it’s really good. It makes me feel super refreshed and positive about the future of our community when you are very, well, a powerful presence in it, are so clear on these kinds of points. I love it.
MJ: Well, I don’t know. Thank you, I don’t know how clear I am, I just know that there’s more than the chart and, for example, the one thing that you have to explain to students early on is that not everybody in, God forbid, a plane crash of 300 people is going to have an aspect in their chart that would suggest death. And you have to explain there were bigger things going on, that a chart could be similar to yours but in war-torn Sudan or…
Yeah. And really is not getting the water for that seed to develop. And so the chart has limits. And it has an opportunity, where if you are a man with a moon rising in Cancer, and you’re in a particular time or a society where men don’t cry, or the family are very Saturnian, you’re not gonna get a chance to develop that part of your chart. And so there are all sorts of questions here along with, particularly in terms of forecasting, or what sort of tree you develop into from a particular seed.
And it’s tough explaining that to students, because students come along really wanting you to be able to forecast or wanting to be able to see that they can be successful or they read the planets in the 10th house, we’ll do that for them.
And then you show them half a dozen charts of amazing career professionals who’ve got nothing that you read in the books. So it’s a continual development and understanding that it’s not we are bigger than our charts and our lives are impacted far more than just simply by transits or directions and it’s impacted by society and everybody around us with their own charts with their own uses and behaviors.
MJ: Very profound. That conditioning factor is just so crucial, isn’t it? When you were talking I imagined, in a way reality is like an infinitely complex non-linear field of information. It literally is so inter-dependent. It just changes like flashes, like that. And the mind is linear fundamentally. Students coming to an astrology school wanting to know the building blocks of a chart, they want linear explanations. But that will only go so far to do life justice. I mean, generations of people took stones then made the great cathedrals of the world, which are arguably the most beautiful expression of man’s cultural time on this planet, certainly some of the most ornate when three generations of men carved the same pulpit out of stone or something.
It’s like even when you refine it that much, it still only can capture some of the magic of reality. And I think that’s what we’re playing against, the sheer complexity and mystery of the world, which is part of its beauty and you try to rob it of its beauty. You’re like the butterfly collector who kills things so you can study their wings, if you push astrology too far.
FC: And I did an article recently on the aspects to the Sun. I did this after university last year and decided to turn it into an article for the Mountain Astrologer and I put at the end that the idea of even talking about your Sun in your chart and the mission, the vocation is a privilege that over 80% of the world don’t have an opportunity to even consider because they’re literally below the poverty line or starving, so the idea that we’re sitting around saying, well, what am I gonna do with myself because I’ve got the Sun square Neptune and then maybe that might be problematic or whatever. And you think about how small a percentage of the population has the ability to…
MJ: First world astrology, yeah, first world problems of first world astrology. Well, Rudhyar’s great point was when you come to prediction, and he raised the point in a sense where I’m pushing him a little bit further, how to predict the past. Like where the person grew up, their cultural societal conditioning, the developmental psychological pressures they had. ‘Cause you could grow up in privilege but if your father beats you every day for the first five years of your life or from three to eight, let’s say, and I work with people where this kind of thing has happened, it completely shapes their reality.
And the way you’re going to express a certain signature in your chart after an impact trauma like that is different because your fundamental being is different. So yeah, there’s all these factors that have to be analyzed. How to predict the past was Rudhyar’s kind of sly point about prediction, because sometimes astrologers treat people… Like if I go for a reading. I’m 48 years old. I’ve already lived a chunk of my life. And people are reading the chart as if I was born 48 minutes ago or 48 seconds ago. It’s just this completely new thing that Mark has Sag rising or the Sun square in Neptune, or whatever.
And yet, I’ve had 48 years of living that, and surely the sensible astrologer asks about that. How is it going? Because then you can see how astrology plays at this point. I’m developing this theory of sensitive points of certain people. People have charts where a whole thing happens around a degree cluster of one or two degrees or it’s a surprise point that just seems to have been hit in all the major transits or soloar arc directions of their life. And to read that is not just an astrological or a theoretical principle. That’s something that has to be life tested and I think that’s the big thing.
The danger with these debates, remember the ISAR debate in California around the election, the US election, and it’s five American astrologers one night and five international another and it was 10 to zero with the candidate that didn’t make it.
If you abstract prediction and technique away from life or in that case are overly influenced by life because the polls at that point everything looked like it would be Hillary, it’s a strange one. The idea that there’s a pure astrology that happens in abstraction away from life is a dangerous one. And that’s where prediction can go at times when you just make a technique the predictive form.
TH: Speaking of that, Mark, this is a great segue. I love what you guys have been sharing. I kind of talk about that as well as using astrology for excuses for bad behavior. We do that a lot in our own charts. Even, I know astrologers who teach what you’re saying but in private they’ll say, “Oh, gosh, yeah, I’m having the Saturn transit today.”
But anyway, I wanted to segue a little bit into a topic I’ve been wanting to bring onto the podcast for a while which is the problem with negative prescriptions because as we head into this summit and we’re talking about what could unfold in the future, people are gonna hear negative stories, dark stories, because all of us, yourselves included, we talk about light and shadow expressions of life unfolding, ’cause that’s what unfolds, light and shadow. It’s not just all light.
So we can’t just put a happy face on our lives or on astrology, but in the course of doing that because of our own negativity bias, a lot of us will kind of glom on to the negative news, so to speak, and they’ll be hearing some negative news in the summit. So I just wanted to talk a little bit about the problem of negative prescriptions from the perspective of… I’ve been reading Joe Dispenza’s book, You are the Placebo. And so when a doctor says, “Well, we’ve done the tests and you’ve got three months to live, so you’d better get your affairs in order.”
And sometimes people do die in that time frame and sometimes people don’t. Sometimes people make big changes in their lives and for whatever reason they don’t die, maybe they don’t die at all, maybe they heal the thing that was so-called unhealable, but there are some people who get the negative prescription and maybe the test that the prescription is based on was wrong or faulty and they still… Their body still reacts as if the doctor’s negative prescription was right.
And so I just wanted to hear your thoughts about that in the context of astrology and as negative news is being shared. How do you think people can kind of avoid that trap of taking too much to heart the negative potentials?
MJ: Well, if I just say one thing that the idea of the placebo effect to me, I was once gonna lead a campaign to change that name, because it’s an unfortunate reduction. It’s used as this critical point, like a negative factor in double blind or triple blind drug trials, but it’s actually basically saying the healing power of belief or the healing power of an aspect of the soul, and it’s unfortunate that it’s reduced by contemporary society, ’cause the placebo effect which in antidepressant use is just phenomenal.
I mean, studies show it’s only a one or two percentile difference between actually receiving Citalopram, say, a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor and a placebo, so it’s just phenomenal, the power of it. And it’s people’s inner… It’s the marshaling of your inner reserves, the inner resources of your own psyche. That’s an unfortunate reduction to call that the placebo effect. It shows how our society thinks of that power.
I mean, one thing I’d just say is, don’t take astrologers too seriously. They’re just like ordinary people like you. If astrology was so powerful, how come astrologers aren’t just way more successful, amazing people sometimes? I say that as a joke, but don’t take it too seriously. Find your own relationship to it.
Certainly you’ve got to listen to these people, and the one advantage, when Tony and the Astrology University do something like this, there’s a certain kind of quality control, which is good, and it makes us feel good about taking part in it. But even with that quality control you’ve got to listen to what people are saying and make a conscious act of discrimination about what they’re saying.
Don’t just assume because they’re experienced astrologers they know everything or they’ve got all parts of their life together, because I’ve met most of them and they haven’t, believe me. We haven’t. We’re just people living our lives like you are. So don’t make too much of it. Listen with interest, engage, and then do your own research, test it in your own lives. Don’t just believe people and be fed on that level like a child receiving the… No, be dynamic. That’s what I’d say.
FC: No, thank you. I agree. It’s that Jupiter phenomenon of the astrologer as a guru, and sometimes astrologers encourage that, other times they don’t, but they receive it. I think any consultation that doesn’t have some sort of dialogue, as Mark was saying earlier, of really finding out what the client needs, where they’re at, their past, what they want out of their lives, what they want out of the consultation I think is key. And people coming to just have a read, “Read me. Tell me what’s going to happen or tell me about my chart.”
I think I did that when I typed up readings at the age of 16 and 17 for clients in other parts of the world. I’d sit there and type up and I was very hit and miss and I was very aware that I was dealing with my limited interpretation of something, rather than looking at their lives and what they’ve accumulated. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a consultation that didn’t teach me something about the expression of their chart, what the person’s done with their lives and how the planets work in different ways.
I had a client recently… It must have been, gosh, almost a year ago, probably, actually August of last year, and I was doing a talk on forecasting, looking at how each of the planets says something about an area of forecasting, how we can work with those planets to make the most of that particular phase.
And lady came up to me, a very nice lady came up to me at the end and said, “I’m too old really to have a reading.” Which immediately I wanted to say, “No, you’re not.” Life begins at whatever age you want it to begin at and she said, “I’m coming up to… I’m 70, I’m coming up to 71 or 72,” she said, “But I’d really love to see what you have to say about my chart?” I said, “Well, give me a call.”
And we ended up having a consultation over Skype and we were looking at the different transits ahead, etcetera, and she was very spiritual, very interested in developing that area, had developed it for a number of years. So we focused on her spiritual development the next phase of her life and we looked at some of the tough transits coming up, etcetera, and I found ways of expressing them, according to what she needed and where she was going.
And I had news about two months later that she had died suddenly in a car crash the day before her 72nd birthday. And it really reminded me of… The first thing you want to do as an astrologer is to go back and try and find it in the chart, and then you realize that all those transits you’ve seen before when people haven’t had car crashes, when they haven’t had serious accidents, etcetera, and you can try and find an excuse for it or a reason for it and that’s part of our mentality sometimes as a community is to run back, look at the chart and almost try to prove to ourselves that what we were looking at was like…
MJ: It’s a retroactive… It’s a refitting, isn’t it? Yeah, we go back and we prove after, yeah, it’s such a good point.
FC: And that we’re so desperate to see that we could have seen it. And I don’t think for a moment I could have done. And had I done, what would I have said? Could I have said, “Avoid the day before your birthday, with cars?” I couldn’t have said that, I’m not a psychic. And, it raises a lot of questions when you have people who don’t fulfill the potential you’ve been discussing or don’t live x number of years to do the things they wanted to do. And so, it’s a reminder, it’s a humbling reminder of what we can do and what we can’t.
MJ: So brilliant. The people listening to this… I mean, soak this up in a way. Frank, you’re so honest and you share… This is a man with 30 years’ experience, runs an astrology school, an internationally recognized astrology school and is a very experienced consultant and he can share in this real way, a real humility, in the face of life’s mystery and what happens to the people, that Frank clearly cared about this lady and what he shared with her.
And this is what we need more of, this kind of truth-telling in this real way of holding people. We’re all human in this and this divide between astrologers and the students is to some extent unreal. But there are real professional developments, the 30 years of work Frank’s done, or the work I’ve done, they count for something, but it doesn’t make us in a special category, it doesn’t place us outside of the human.
We all bow to the mystery of life, or we fail to and then life brings us to our knees. That’s part of what it is to be human, isn’t it? It’s the existential dimension of this gig of being human.
I just think it’s really good for students in my view to hear someone of Frank’s experience and enormous professional standing be as honest and as real about these dynamics. There’s no intellectual hiding in that kind of way. It’s just a human experience to share with someone and then they’re gone. And we could all be gone, guys.
I mean, that’s the great thing that Buddhists say, isn’t it? It’s like it could be any moment and it does keep you on your toes. I try to do every reading, I try to do every client consultation like it might be my last. I try to be real about every single one I do, even if it’s late in the day, even if I’ve done a long week or a long day of them. Because it’s that person’s life and it’s the preciousness of that life, the preciousness of the individual life, even though it’s gone in a moment. It’s going in a stupid car accident.
Tennessee Williams choked to death on a toothpaste cap. And then Hart Crane jumped off a boat. Just beautiful poets and playwrights, just, people die, people throw that preciousness away or it’s taken from them, and yet in a consultation we have the chance to honor that, don’t we? All of astrology could be about honoring the preciousness of that individual life impulse that came through that unique moment in space and time, in that unique context of that person. Then it feeds the sacred individuality of people and of life, it seems to me.
TH: Thanks for that, Mark. That might be a good place to close, unless you have any closing comments you wanted to share, Frank?
FC: No, just I look forward to hearing what everybody says at the summit, to get back to the reason why we’re talking as well, because as an astrologer, as a student, as an eternal student, you never stop learning from people, and I think at the last summit I had you laughing, Tony, because I kept appearing, even at 3 o’clock in the morning, I was still listening and I kept turning on and watching that. Yes, the moment you feel like you know enough is a dangerous moment and probably a good moment to take a year out and, I don’t know, go and work with pigs on a farm or something like that. Do something very, very physical.
But yeah, yes, I’m looking forward to learning from everybody, getting their points of view and there’s some great, great names people that I respect on there, who do great work. So I’m looking forward to that. So thanks, Tony, for including us.
TH: Oh, thanks, Frank. I love seeing that. Well, thanks, guys, for joining me. Today has been a real treat and a pleasure as always, really great conversation and so much food for further thought there and further discussion.