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Q&A: Celebrity Endorsements, Calculating Charts, and More

Q&A: Celebrity Endorsements, Calculating Charts, and More

Episode 172 is a Q&A episode with Chris Brennan and Leisa Schaim, where we answer some questions that have been sent in by listeners of the podcast over the past several months.

We covered a wide variety of topics in this episode, including famous celebrity endorsements of astrology, how to calculate an astrological chart by hand, how an astrologer writes a horoscope column, and what makes a planet prominent in a chart.

We also covered other questions about how important asteroids are in a chart, what constitutes the beginning of an election, stories of unforeseen consequences of electing a chart poorly, and how do you know when you are ready to give an astrology lecture.

Towards the end of the episode we answered a series of questions about the use of whole sign houses, and then wrapped up with a question about what the purpose of astrology is, as well as how to approach difficult chart placements.

Below you will find an outline of the questions addressed in this episode, followed by links to the video and audio recordings.

This episode is available in both an audio and a video version.

Astrology Questions Answered in This Episode

Here is a condensed summary of some of the questions we answered:

  • As far as celebrity endorsement of astrology goes, which famous personalities come to mind? Who regularly consults/has studied or has been vocal about their knowledge?
  • How do you calculate an astrological chart by hand?
  • Lots of discussion about writing horoscopes recently, but you never said HOW to set up a chart to write horoscopes. So, What is the procedure for setting a chart up to write a set of horoscopes?
  • I hear a lot of references to “if [a given planet] is prominent in your chart” but I never feel like I understand what that means. Could you elaborate/explain?
  • How important/accurate are asteroids in reading a birth chart?
  • What exactly constitutes the beginning for electional astrology?
  • In terms of conferences, how do you know you are ready to apply to speak or hold a lecture? Do you need a specific, original breakthrough in order to consider moving forward towards that?
  • I was wondering how folks with their ascendants in later degrees can reconcile changing to whole sign houses? I’m really interested in using the whole sign system, but I struggle to make sense of the changes in my own birth chart. My ascendant is at 29 degrees of Libra, and changing to whole sign means that literally every planet in my chart is now in a new house.
    • I’ve noticed the increasing popularity and shift towards whole sign houses over the past few years. I don’t have a fixed view on this system either way, but would value yours and others insights on the relationship or interplay (?) between whole house systems and the role of traditional intercepted houses interpretations in chart analysis.
    • I’ve started using whole house signs since discovering your podcast earlier this year. They work great overall and provide clarity on areas of charts that are intercepted in other house systems. However I’ve been experimenting and have noticed whole sign houses do not seem to be as effective when reading solar and lunar return charts. Do you cast solar and lunar returns with the whole house system? Have others found similar?
    • Can you speak to how the two of you managed your re-orientation to using the Whole Sign house system vs say, Placidus or Koch?
  • Something I think often implied but never really discussed often enough: what is the purpose of astrology and what role does the astrologer play for their client?
  • How do you approach challenging house placements in the natal chart? For example, the chart ruler being in the 12th house? Are there any rules or ways to mediate this placement? (Ex: Leo rising, sun in Cancer 12th house)

Links to Stuff Mentioned in This Episode

Here are some links to different things mentioned in the episode at various points:

Watch the Video Version of This Q&A Episode

Here is the video version of our Q&A episode:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 172 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of the Q&A 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:

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  • As an “old-time” astrologer, I remember Vol. 2 of Marion March and Joan McEvers “The Only Way to Learn Astrology” was a great source on constructing a chart.

  • Great discussion on House Systems !
    Chris heading in the direction of something that always occurs to me in these contexts:
    WHY this System or that ?!
    I read Dane Rhudyar’s ‘Astrology of Personality’
    …unfortunately, quite some time ago now – so my recall of the challenging material leaves much to desire now
    … It has a reputation for being impenetrable – or flowery …or something… But @ the time – it seemed impressive;y Logical to me! (Granted – it’s no small or light book.)
    He expounds on House Systems – in it – what they are – & – why. He explains what they are Astronomically, so to speak (physically, that is: What is being Divided, & How)
    – & then explicates what that Division should then mean Symbolically – based on this information!
    This is something I think is useful – & logical – to consider not just for House Systems – & not even just for Astrology! – but for Metaphysical matters in many contexts…
    When considering what something should represent symbolically – consider what is being measured – & what that correlates to in the System being used…
    Granted – no simple matter.
    If a House System is Dividing a Space – what is that Space representing? & what does that Division represent in it? (
    These are the questions!
    After all – there is even very much more than one ‘Astrology’ – in different cultures (Chinese, Indian, Native American among them – & – I presume others!) :
    Every distinct Culture has / had its’ own Calendar – its’ own way of seeing & dividing the sky & natural cycles
    – & thus entirely distinct Astrologies!
    …So I have this idea that – they are entirely different sort of cross-sections – but of the same thing….(well – the sky & the seasons mean quite different things @ different Latitudes, for instance – as the Archeo-Astronomers relate…but – we’er still in the same Cosmos!…) The System has to be considered to contextualize the Meaning of the Observation…

    …A digression – but since I’ve broached the subject: You’ve had some discussions on Jyotish – but I’m not aware that you’ve ever discussed Chinese Astrology (which I wouldn’t be w/out!) – or MesoAmerican. Bruce Scofield would be great to hear on the latter!…