Writing a Horoscope Column with Rick Levine

Writing a Horoscope Column with Rick Levine

Episode 80 features an interview with astrologer Rick Levine about the process and techniques involved in writing a regular horoscope column using Sun-sign astrology.

You can find out more information about Rick on his website at www.stariq.com.

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode.

Giveaway Prizes for June

We are doing a giveaway at the end of the month for patrons of the show, and the prizes include a one year subscription to The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, and a pass to the upcoming ISAR astrology conference in California in October. For more details see the giveaway description page for June.

Show Notes

  • Rick’s background in astrology, and how he got into it.
  • Different areas of interest and focus in astrology.
  • How he came to create the website StarIQ.com with friend Jeff Jawer.
  • How he came to write a syndicated horoscope column.
  • Different types of columns:
    • Yearlies, monthlies, and dailies.
  • Eight years of writing Barnes & Noble’s annual Your Astrology Guide with Jeff.
  • How far ahead are the columns written?
  • Thoughts on the pros and cons of Sun-sign astrology.
    • Sun-sign columns as the gateway for many into the astrological community.
  • How to communicate astrology to the general public without using jargon.
  • Horoscopes as a type of prediction. As a form of divination?
  • Techniques used when writing a Sun-sign column:
    • Derivative whole sign houses from the Sun.
    • Transits
    • Retrograde stations
  • How has your approach to writing columns changed over the years?
  • How do you come up with new content or avoid repeating yourself over time?
  • Do you get weird fan mail?
  • What is it like interacting with a broader audience of astrological enthusiasts?

Listen to This Episode

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:

Comments

  1. Thanks for this opportunity to share my perspective, experiences and techniques with you and your audience.

  2. Michelle says:

    Truly excellent episode. Informative and inspiring, Rick has a gift of engaging the listener to better understand the delicate nature of astrology whilst subtly and effectively teaching it simultaneously. He doesn’t lamely repeat , rather he emphasises points when necessary by applying various perspectives. Your (Rick) monthly YouTube broadcasts are superb – and I now have friends both sceptic and curious, regularly watching them.

  3. Rick and Chris,
    Thank you for this episode. I enjoyed Rick’s thoughts about physics and his techniques for writing a daily column.

  4. Adam C. Madison says:

    Great interview. Wonderful chemistry. Rick is bright and warm.

  5. Adam C. Madison says:

    It is extremely challenging to listen in-depthly without mental wandering. At times Rick, like myself, gets a little too excited — interruptions multiple times, plenty of digressions that challenge the audience’s working memory, intuitive but occasionally overly ambiguous language — and Chris is right there following him.

    Example: ~50 minute mark, Rick’s, like, “I will not even use an astrology word…”

    Chris: “What do you mean by that?”

    I found the discussion about the precise money he’s making to be the most interesting. I think that’s something most astrologers are insecure about — money — and it makes me wonder: what’s the glass ceiling?

    Rick seems to be the most popular — deservedly so, more or less — Sun sign columnist. So how lucrative is that, in actuality?

    For example, take the negotiating part: LA Times or whoever it was saying, “I am offering 1K a month for an exclusive columnist.” Rick is all transparent and open, and is like, “Well, good offer that I’d love to take, but I need it non-exclusive.” They come back: “Non-exclusive it is. Done deal.”

    The Libra in me is like, “Don’t ever accept the first offer.” Clearly they valued him quite a bit. Equally clearly, he felt he had very little leverage. But I hope I’m not the only one who felt like that was a bad business deal.

    Obviously there is a stark lack of information on my part. I am jumping to a conclusion based on reasonable, if limited, information. That said, money connotes respect — “when in Rome” — and I think the biggest thing holding back the “purchasing power,” for lack of a better phrase, of astrologers, is a systemic and conditioned insecurity.

    A similar thought came to mind listening to your newest podcast, the one on certification and etc. I am including myself when I say this:

    The truth is the only thing you need to be considered an expert is to be an expert to the layperson–that and communicating it, of course.

    The insecurity referred to above is an obsession with certifications and jurisdiction outside of the self when, in reality, it is our own lack of belief in our discipline and business savvy.

    I do not think I have ever gotten asked if I am a certified astrologer. No one particularly cares. You’re good, and it shows, or you’re not, and you elicit doubt and skepticism, and thus justify your authority on the basis of a cert.

    That’s not to imply certs are worthless–far from it; I plan to acquire a few myself. I faced — and continue to face — this dilemma myself: Do I need to get certified? Through ISAR? Why? How does that help me build my website, build my brand, build my astrology, build my consultation skills, build my intuition?

    In short: priorities. I feel like (now speaking entirely for myself) certifications should be lower in priority compared to, say, maximizing resources.

    Most astrologers — most people — are not maximizing their resources. There is so much free astrology information out there — and books as well, which cost ~$10-$30, are close to free considering they provide potentially hundreds of dollars of value, based entirely on our own will to power and ability to organize and disseminate information — that it is a multi-year journey simply to begin to distill and synthesize the information and unite it with the inner guide of intuition.

  6. Adam C. Madison says:

    (Apologies for the three consecutive comments… I’m getting a lot out of this one!)

    Revealing discussion on the mechanics behind creating a Sun Sign column. For me, the heavy-hitters are Annie from Cafe Astrology — the site that hooked me into astrology, and that to this day keeps me coming back — Rob Breszny and, now, Rick Levine.

    I vibe with the “an astrologer can read my sun sign column and figure out exactly what astrological aspects or patterns are leading me to write these specific words.” That process of reverse engineering is largely what led me to unwittingly pursue an interest in traditional astrology. I would look at the ‘scope for the Ascendant, the Sun and the Moon; I would figure out what vibed and what didn’t; what had technique backing it and why; where the technique differed from mine, or from another school; and so on.

    Breszny is great, but ultimately too flowery and imprecise for me. What he does isn’t replicable; it’s the work of a true artist. (Frankly, we shouldn’t aspire to replicate anyone’s work but to become our own, best selves.)

    I s’pose this is so interesting to me because I have been thinking long and hard about what type of astrology I want to produce. This podcast confirms for me it’s definitely not the Sun Sign kind. I have a pretty good idea of where to go. We’ll see.

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