The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 306, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Claire Moon
Episode originally released on June 11th, 2021
Note: This is a transcript of an audio podcast. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio version, which includes inflections that may not translate well when written out. Transcripts are created by using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and the text probably contains some errors and differences from the audio version. Please submit any corrections to Chris Brennan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transcribed by Kate Hill
Transcription released October 7, 2021
Copyright © 2016 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode I’m going to be talking with astrologer Claire Moon about making the transition from being an enthusiast of astrology to practicing it professionally. Hey Claire, welcome to the show!
CLAIRE MOON: Hi, thanks for having me!
CB: Yes, I am excited to have you on the show tonight. This is a bit of an impromptu episode or discussion, but it’s based on something that we’ve been talking about a little bit off and on over the years, I think over the past, what, three or four years maybe that I’ve known you. In watching you make the transition from someone who was interested in astrology, to an enthusiast, to a full blown astrologer, to now. Having quit your dayjob and practicing astrology professionally, so you’ve actually run the full gamut of that whole process at this point, right?
CM: Yeah, yeah kind of in the thick of it now, but yes.
CB: I thought it would be good to talk to you about that, and maybe give some insight for other people that are going through that process, or any advice that I can give, and just talk about some different pieces of that. Where should we start? Maybe just introducing you in terms of what your background in astrology is, or how long you’ve been interested in it, or studying it?
CM: Yeah! Where did it all begin? Yes, we can start there.
CB: Okay! Where are you from again?
CM: I am originally from Minnesota, but I live in Wisconsin.
CB: Okay, and how long have you been studying astrology?
CM: I have been studying since about the end of 2016 right when Jupiter went into Libra, was when I got bit by the bug.
CB: Okay. 2016, yeah that was a wild year. What drew you into it?
CM: Oh, it was a very long road of denial. I- as a child I really enjoyed horoscopes. I would read them in the Cosmopolitan magazines of course, but then, y’know, fast forward a couple decades and my hair stylist- it’s always the hair stylists, they getcha! And that was the only place I let myself entertain it, but she would always bring it up. It finally got me, so that’s kind of what drew me in, and then I just started learning on my own.
CB: Okay, so you started studying it on your own once maybe she exposed you to birth charts, or maybe more advanced forms of astrology, or something like that?
CM: I mean not even, just any type of ‘not science’, not hard science. It was my first foray into not that, so she was actually really into numerology, or she was into- she was into astrology, she was into a lot of things, but uhm, she was- I knew her for like a decade at that point, so I really trusted her, and she was the only person I kind of felt safe indulging in what she had to say about astrology, or I’d tell her my birthday, and she’d tell me something about myself.
CB: Right, because your background is more in a science background,
CB: and you actually, that was your primary profession, right?
CM: Right, yeah I was a pharmacist. I still am a pharmacist, and I have been since 2013, and been in the industry itself for 13 years, in the pharmaceutical industry, but more not on the industry side but the clinical side.
CB: Okay, yeah. Medical fields have a slightly more stringent background in education and training and other things than the field of astrology, so that was a bit of a difference then even in comparison maybe going from more of a science based, or medical field to astrology?
CM: Yeah, that was a big change. There was a lot to wrap my little head around when I got started with all of this. So, yeah! It’s been certainly a big thing to get used to to have so much, I guess hardness, hard edges on everything, in kind of a hard modern sciences verses pretty much everything else in life that has softer edges, and allowing myself to learn an art that isn’t so binary and black and white in a lot of ways.
CB: Mm, right. Yeah, there can tend to be more shades of grey, and that’s one of the weird things about astrology is that ability to cross over between those two areas a little bit more than you would expect that should be possible in terms of between, I guess, some people often say an art vs. a science. Even though that sounds cliche there’s some truth to that.
CM: There’s totally truth to that! I even say inventory in pharmacy is an art and a science, so like a lot of things can be an art and a science. But yeah, certainly in astrology and my practice as a healthcare professional I didn’t think there was any overlap when I started, and there’s certainly things that are different about the two, but there’s a lot more overlap in the skills that are required for both of those things that I didn’t realize until I really started seriously getting into astrology, learning it, and then eventually practicing it and sharing it with people. Once I was doing that for at least a couple years it really started to- I feel like the connection started to coalesce a little bit more because when I was starting this journey I was very concerned. I was like, oh man, this is not at all the same. I’m totally starting over. This is an entirely different thing, and I felt like I was starting over from square one, but the truth is I really wasn’t. There’s plenty of skills- and I think this is actually a good point to bring home for people who are in other professions who want to crossover and do astrology professionally. You probably do have a lot of skills that you’re not realizing you have in the thick of your other career that are really applicable to other things.
CB: Yeah. That’s huge. I mean that’s actually been a really interesting thing for me coming from the other direction as an astrologer, is that, learning astrology and having the motivation to want to become the best astrologer, or be the best astrologer I can be, and do as much with it as I can has actually made me interested in learning but also seeing the value of other fields, and other specializations, which sometimes you have to learn as an astrologer to some extent to do what you do. There’s a bunch of different crossovers like that, like I’m trying to think of- like right now we just had to set up a bunch of text stuff for audio recording and video recording, and I’ve had to learn a little bit of videography, or a little bit of sound editing, or a little bit of website design, or other things that are some peoples entire specialization, but as an astrologer you end up having to do so many, or wear so many hats, especially also as a self employed person that- yeah, that’s been my experience with it.
CB: But that’s a good point, so oftentimes astrologers that have other professions, there’s ways that their primary professions can actually- that knowledge can become handy as they become an astrologer.
CM: Absolutely, yeah. One thing that came to mind was when I was taking your professional astrology course you had mentioned you really have to be kind of a renaissance person. You have to be a jack of all trades. You have to be able to do a lot of things, and that is true, that’s very true. It’s becoming very apparent to me now, especially with the technology setup, that there is a lot we need to be able to do as a self employed astrologer. But yeah, like, even just within pharmacy talking to people, or so many professions are centered around either one on one client interactions, or patient interactions, or other communicative things, and it really- I don’t think we realized how much we’ve learned about these things while we’re doing it, and it takes some space away from that or doing something new to be like, oh yeah! I am actually pretty good at sending a professional email. I don’t think people appreciate the things that they actually are really good at from other occupations. I think there are a lot of things we take for granted that we’re good at.
CB: Yeah, definitely. Like your mentioning almost like that bedside manner a little bit when dealing with clients, or not just clients, but in your instance it was like- what is the term in the medical field for clients?
CB: Patients! Not clients.
CM: We call them patients.
CB: Yeah, haha.
CB: Yeah, so that’s a really good one, or y’know other like clerical skills and things like that are sort of relevant?
CM: Yeah! Or even just the idea of taking on responsibility. If you’re in any kind of profession or job you have some kind of responsibility because you have to show up everyday, but obviously it can get pretty intense depending on what your career is, or what your job is, and that kind of responsibility, and that sense of being able to take on work, I think is something that is cultivated in other careers that we don’t lose when we stop that job. We take that with us, and we are able to then, y’know, have the fortitude to do things. Put it in the list of skills we take for granted.
CB: Right. What are…because I actually wrote a tweet about this not very long ago where I tried to innumerate a bunch of the different things that- the hats that astrologers end up wearing, and there’s things like become relevant like historians because, y’know, studying the tradition of astrology you have to learn about the history and all these different figures, and learn historical analysis, and how to weigh reading sources, or sometimes being translators, and translating texts. What are some of the other different hats that astrologers wear?
CM: Goodness, so, communicative, obviously just talking to people in written and verbally, in non verbal ways as well. We still have video even if we’re not in person. Astrologers have to be able to- the thing that I’ve noticed the most is like, especially, y’know, granted my experience is in medicine, so a lot of my analogies come from there, but just the idea of a very complex system with many moving parts, and many different layers, and many different layers that you can look into, that is the same with astrology, and with medicine, and with a lot of other things where you just have this very complex system that you have to be able to navigate, understand, and then synthesize something from it, and be able to tell someone about that in a way that makes sense to them. The way that we have to as astrologers turn ‘astrologies’, or our astrology lingo, into something that is consumable by a layperson. That is something that astrologers have to do, and that is a special skill, for sure.
CB: Yeah, not using the lingo or the ‘in’ language of the astrological field which has really technical terms that don’t mean anything to a non-astrologer, and learning how to translate that into something useful to a non specialist.
CM: Mhmm, yep, and then of course just all of the myriad administrative things, uhm, being on top of my calendar, being on top of emails, understanding, y’know, what is kind of I guess professional etiquette, y’know, probably respond to someone within 72 hours. Those kinds of things again, are just things that we don’t really think about that are actually things that we learn that we can take with us from wherever we were into astrology, that astrology needs as well.
CB: Yeah, I’m still working on that 72 hour thing, but I’m otherwise on board with all of this.
CM: Ooh I accidentally called you out, haha!
CB: Yeah I dunno this is getting a little personal, but, I mentioned some, in a tweet I mentioned biographers like, y’know, a biographer that’s actually a major useful skill for astrologers, and sometimes astrologers researching case studies, you’re researching biographies, and kind of sometimes end up writing biographies from an astrological perspective as well, so, also counselors which we kind of mentioned, researchers, astronomers, like the extent to which astronomy is integrated into astrology, linguists, psychologists, writers-
CB: Yeah teachers, uhm, prognosticators, healers to some extent, oracles in a sort of metaphysical sense, philosophers, the extent to which astrology opens up big life questions that are really philosophical issues. Teachers, artists, scientists, empiricists, futurologists, all sort of rolled into one.
CM: Oh yeah, strategists, for sure.
CB: Strategists, yeah that’s a good one.
CB: Because in medieval times there’s people like Guido Bennotti that are helping people launch battles and wars using electional astrology, but in modern times you have slightly less bloody versions of that where people are, y’know, helping people to launch business ventures, or picking a time to get married or something like that.
CM: Absolutely. Yeah I heard something really interesting recently that- I think it was an Ottoman empire documentary, but they wouldn’t pick a general who didn’t have some kind of Scorpio ascendant or midheaven because of the strategy.
CM: That would eventually happen, yep.
CB: Alright, I like that. Alright, so, backing up a little bit- when did you start making that transition though? Because if that was 2016 that was still actually relatively recently. That was only five years ago, and I don’t know if I’m just saying that because I’m getting older, and periods of time like five years sound like nothing to me, but that sounds like relatively recently, so you went through a whole life transition over the past five years, and I know one of the ways that I first- I think our first interaction actually was on reddit where you posted this thing to one of the astrology subreddits, and you were kind of asking more of a personal question of: I’ve gotten really into astrology recently, but uhm, my partner is not an astrologer, and not into it, and sometimes that’s kind of tricky to navigate. How do other people navigate it? And I thought that was a really interesting question at the time, and uhm, yeah it was just where you were coming from because I could see how that would be really tricky, or really difficult. Was that how it was framed? Am I framing that properly?
CM: Yeah that’s exactly how it went down.
CM: Yeah that was definitely tricky.
CB: And how did that, what was the, how did it work out basically, or how did you navigate those two?
CM: Yeah. Yeah I mean, just, I had to really commit to honesty, uh, I had to really commit to- I mean anytime you share something new with someone, especially someone that you care about, I think a lot of us fear the repercussions of like, what will they think of me? Will they still want to be my friend? Will they still want to be in my life? If they think I’m a crackpot, uh, etc. etc. And you just, at some point, I mean I decided that what I really enjoyed, what I was loving in astrology was important enough for me to take that risk, and so I did, and I just explained it, and there was a lot of explaining that had to happen. Uhm, he- I mean the reason was just that he was nervous, and it was sort of cute, because his main concern when he found out that I was into astrology was that I was gonna listen to a horoscope, and like break up with him, or something like I was going to be manipulated by the skies in some way that it would make me think that I was supposed to, y’know, that I might make a mistake in my own life because I was following astrological guidance of some kind. Uhm, I had to explain to him that’s not how any of this works, and y’know, how dare you think I’m so malleable that I would let the skies control these decisions in that way, but it took a little bit of explaining that way, and just, I really had to explain astrology to him. I just had to explain how it worked, and what the most important things that I think helped were explaining the profession actually, and the kind of ethos and etiquette, and philosophy of astrologers that I had been made aware of, so I was actually really thankful for all of your podcasts at the time that openly discussed a lot of the philosophy, and a lot of the professionalism with astrology, and a lot of the ethical concerns, like very out in the open, so yeah! I basically talked with him about all of that, and he understood, and of course with knowledge comes less fear, so that’s kind of how it went down. Since then he has been increasingly supportive ah so, y’know, it turned out fine. It was a little rocky there. I mean, if you have a scientist type partner for a decade-
CM: and you randomly come upon, y’know, well he came upon my, I left my journal open and it had some, I had scribbled astrological glyphs all over it because-
CB: Oh no!
CM: Oh yes! Uhm, yeah so he thought I was losing my mind I think.
CB: And she’s writing in this crazy language and there’s all these triangles and squares, and I don’t know what it means and-
CM: Yeah, he thought I was losing it I think, because he didn’t know what the glyphs were obviously, and, for anyone who’s into astrology you know that if you keep a journal eventually your journal just turns into an astrology journal pretty much, and it’s, y’know, it’s half written in astrologies and glyphs, and, so yeah that was a thing.
CB: All sorts of dates and times written down very methodically.
CM: Haha, yeah! If you don’t know what you’re looking at it’s a little concerning.
CM: Yeah. Uhm, because that is tough, because I would think that it would look from an outsider’s perspective essentially almost as if a person has gone through like a religious conversion, or probably in some peoples like worst case fears they might fear that their partner has gotten into like a cult or something like that, and they’re going to run off and join a cult and live on a commune or something like that.
CB: Which, so far has not happened, right?
CM: So far so good. Haha!
CB: So far so good, okay, good. I haven’t found the astrology commune yet myself. I’m still looking for it, but-
CM: I was going to say let me know if you do find it. Sign me up!
CB: Okay. Should be clear that you’re joking in case your partner does watch this episode, as well as anyone else’s partner who’s an astrologer.
CM: Yep. I will say though, y’know, it is worth noting being we are kind of talking about, y’know, that transition from a lay job to astrologer job, as much as that was a whole journey we went on together, he’s cool with it. Then the next step of that, the next kind of anti up is, oh hey, also not only am I into this, not only is this kind of my life now, a little bit, I’m going to quit my job, and our shared financial income, ah, that is a whole another type of step to take if you’re in a relationship like mine in this situation, so yeah.
CB: Yeah, uhm, honey I’m quitting my day job to go be an astrologer, and read the future for people.
CM: Haha right, and spend way too much time writing about it. What are you writing about in there? So yeah, it’s- and again, he shows up and he comes around and is totally fine, y’know, hopefully everyone can be as #blessed as me, uhm, but there certainly have been some conversations that needed to happen, so if you’re out there, and you’re in my position, you just gotta have the conversations, and that’s all there is to it in my opinion.
CB: Yeah, well I mean, I think one of the important points, one of the things I’ve tried to do with the podcast is to show that it’s possible to be a normal- reasonably normal, reasonably well adjusted person from modern society that grew up in the late 20th and early 21st century, and happens to think that astrology is a legitimate phenomenon, and incorporates it into my life in some way, and also makes that my primary profession, career, and passion, and that there’s like, a good way to do that that’s reasonably respectable, and not crazy or kookie or too far out there, and sometimes just doing that, and showing people that that is possible can sometimes change people’s perceptions a lot more than just about anything else.
CM: That’s what I’m working on right now, haha. I’m trying to lead by example, and just show like yeah, I can work- I can get up in the morning and do eight hours of work, and it’s related to astrology, and it feels great, and it can be a normal, well grounded thing. It doesn’t have to be this, y’know, kookie feral crazy life. My goal is to make it as boring of an existence as possible with this, yeah.
CB: Right. Uhm so, in that vein, so I’m assuming then your primary focus as an astrologer, as a professional astrologer now is like doing consultations right?
CM: Yes, yep. That is what I’m working on right now.
CB: Okay. Uhm, and how- sometimes people, I’ve noticed this phenomenon where some students, some of the, honestly some of the smarter students are some of the students that are like, more thoughtful, tend to put off doing consultations for longer than they should, whereas sometimes the students that are, occasionally- this is not always the case, but less thoughtful will rush in and start offering consultations way sooner than they should before they know much at all, so I always say that, and I’ve said that many times on the podcast in order to encourage people to start doing it sooner than they might otherwise, but when did you start making that transition to reading charts for people professionally?
CM: Somewhere around year four.
CB: Okay, yeah.
CM: Yeah, and of course everybody’s different with how quickly you learn, and how much time you have to devote to it everyday or every week-
CM: while you’re still doing your quote unquote normal life or whatever, uhm, but yeah about year four I started doing that, and I, of course I was, I had trepidations. Especially coming from a formal like contemporary educational background where you’re very forced to do certain things. You’re very forced to get degrees, or certifications or whatever, and like you shall not pass go without those. That is not the case for astrology, and you have to be kind of your own manager, or your own teacher in a way as far as- or your own mentor sometimes as far as like when am I ready? When am I not ready? But certainly something for me that has helped me make that jump is that I’ve already had a decade counseling patients for anywhere from five to sixty minutes at a time about all kinds of dark topics, so y’know, one of my main concerns going into astrology, y’know, actually seeing clients was my ability to speak to, y’know, all the things of life, challenging or otherwise with empathy and grace, and be able to do that well, and I don’t know if I would’ve started in year four had I not had my past. This is another reason where your past career might come in handy, but certainly like you always say, half of learning happens through doing consults, through looking at other peoples charts, and having dialogue with other people about their charts, which is what happens in a consult, so yeah. You’re not going to feel ready. I don’t think you’ll ever, yeah, I don’t think you’ll feel ready.
CB: It’s tough. It’s a tough catch 22 because I always say that fifty percent of learning astrology is just the book learning. Book learning is only fifty percent of it, and people don’t realize that the other fifty percent only happens when you sit down and talk with people about their lives regularly, especially in a consulting setting because the exchange, especially the monetary exchange, puts a pressure on the astrologer to perform, and do the best job that they can where even if you’re just reading charts for free like that’s fine, and that’s somewhat useful, but there’s not quite as much pressure even if you’re only charging like five dollars or something like that, but you learn a lot in that process just sitting down and talking to people because people will talk and explain their charts to you just by talking about their life, and you will see the chart come alive in a way that you can’t any other way.
CM: Absolutely. Yeah, that happens all the time, and it’s made listening a lot easier for those of you who have a hard time being a good active listener. It’s really great to be able to just listen to someone talk about their life, and be able to watch them saying their chart to you. It makes your job a lot easier, it makes listening a lot easier, and it helps you learn, so as scary as it is to take that leap and do consults with actual other humans, there are parts of it that are really, really fun. I promise it’s worth it, and y’know, the first handful are gonna be messy. They always are. It’s how you learn. It’s not- y’know I think so many times we have the luxury of having a learning process where we have a really strong mentor, we have people holding our hands, we have people giving us curriculums, and astrology…it takes a lot of like, internal fortitude because no one is holding your hand. No one, like, very few people are telling you exactly how to do these things, and so, the sense of struggle may, and this is an opinion now of mine, may seem higher coming out of the gate y’know when doing these consults, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. If you’re feeling like you knocked it out of the park on the first one, congrats, but probably won’t, and that’s okay! That’s how it’s supposed to go. It’s kind of like the butterfly that it has reached- it’s done with it’s goo phase in the cocoon, and it’s got its wings, but it has to wrestle its way out of the cocoon otherwise it’ll never be strong enough to fly on its own, so that’s like how I think about these first handful of- in anything! In healthcare, in astrology, it’s all the same. Your first consults are going to be uncomfortable, but it’s really great. It’s a really great experience to do.
CB: Yeah, I did exactly what I see a lot of younger astrologers do sometimes, which is they start off doing written consults, and they end up spending way too much time on it, and so they can agonize over every piece of it, and sometimes take days or weeks so that in the end it ends up, y’know, they end up being paid like cents basically for, like a few pennies, for the work they end up actually putting into it, and I always try to tell people not to start there. It’s really not a good idea to start with writing stuff out because the consultation has always historically been a dialogue between the astrologer and the client. There’s something really special about that exchange that’s actually a key component of it, and if you try to write everything out you’re going to be missing a major piece of that.
CM: Absolutely yes. I agree with that one hundred percent. Not only just from an efficiency standpoint, and understanding your self worth that you- I promise you’re worth more than writing for 16 hours and making 30 bucks. It’s not worth it. I guess when it comes to sitting down with someone, and having verbal dialogue, and yeah it’s it’s own experience. You cannot put something in its place like those writing types of things, and expect to get the same kind of outcome in your own learning, and in your own experience.
CB: Right. Alright so you started doing consultations at some point, and made that leap after three or four years of study, and uhm, you did the website thing. Oh yeah! One of the things we have to mention is the two lives, the two career paths, or two professional lives, because there’s like with many people sometimes there’s an overlap between their two careers where they’re still edging out of one and into another, and some people, some astrologers, I’ve seen this over the years, have to keep those two separate deliberately because if their primary career, if it became known that they were an astrologer they might actually get fired, or get in trouble, or it could be problematic so sometimes they have to come up with a stage name or something like that to keep those worlds separate.
CB: So that’s been your case as well, right?
CM: That is correct, yep. This is a totally personal choice. I’m sure it depends on where you live in the world, what country you’re in, all kinds of things, but yeah certainly pharmacists can’t hang. No offense pharmacists if you’re out there listening, all five of you in the whole world, but most of the administrative structures are traditional types of folks. They don’t always look at these more, and I don’t want to call astrology ‘new age’ because it’s not at all, but it gets lumped in with a lot of that. I think I’ve heard you talk about that before. Astrology is partly a form of divination, but a laypersons idea of what astrology is is usually a little far off base, and I can’t trust that they’ll know that or not, so unfortunately as much as like I want to scream from the top of a mountain how much I love astrology, I’m not at that place in my life. I care less and less by the year, and I get a little more reckless every year because I just- it’s a pain. It’s a real struggle to keep a pseudonym, a pen name, a stage name, a street name, whatever you want to call it, and keep that separate. Especially when I’m online trying to make a brand, trying to make a business, trying to be seen, be heard, but then at the same time, not be seen and heard in other places. It’s a whole thing, yeah.
CB: Yeah. I remember my first time needing to put astrologer on a lease where I was trying to apply for an apartment, and just feeling dread because it’s not even so much like you were saying somebody knowing what astrology is, and thinking badly of it because they’re familiar with it, it’s that you have no idea what their perception of astrology is going to be, or what misconceptions they may have about it just based on what you say because it could be a whole range of things that ranges from slightly accurate to just like wildly not at all what you do. Some people might hear astrology and they’ll immediately see tarot cards, or palm reading, or numerology, or y’know, people selling magic spells, or other things like that, that may not have anything to do with what you actually do as an astrologer.
CM: Right, yep, and especially in astrology there’s medical astrology, and the last thing that I think any future employer of mine in the layperson world, they’re not going to want to see that conflated. I can guarantee you that, and of course there’s going to be like, y’know, a few open minded people on the other side of my future resume, but I cannot guarantee that. You just never know who is going to be on the other side of that resume. So yeah! I’m very conflicted about that because I’m very proud of being an astrologer. I really have grown into being very proud of it, and proud of my ability to suspend my very rigid beliefs for a minute to get into it, and not being able to express that is not my favorite way to live, but my Sun is on my ascendant, or my progressed Sun is on my ascendant, so it’s probably only a matter of time now. Probably just going to merge the two. Just come out of the big ‘ol closet, but right now I’m not ready, haha.
CB: You talking about secondary progressed hitting the ascendant- that always reminds me of my biggest example of that that now unfortunately comes to mind, the first, anytime anybody says that which is like uhm, in 2016 secondary progressed- I believe it was the Sun in Donald Trump’s chart hit his ascendant at the republican convention when he became the nominee, and like emerged from the battles of the republican primaries to thwart his enemies, and like eventually become the president, so, that’s basically you right now is what you’re saying, but in an astrological context?
CB: But in an astrological context?
CM: Haha! We can only hope that I am as successful at what I wanna do as he was unfortunately successful at what he did, so uh, yeah let’s hope I’m successful at what I want to do of merging all of my identities, but until then I hide in the shadows a bit.
CB: Okay, well there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a little harder, and I sometimes tell people if they don’t have to do that, not to use a pseudonym because sometimes, like your name and different things become part of your work as an astrologer. It becomes partially based on your reputation, and peoples familiarity with you.
CB: I say that more for people who set up not a secondary name, but use more of a gimmick type name that isn’t really like a name, but it’s just something- it’s more like their business name as their primary designation, and sometimes it seems like a little harder to promote that I feel like than, I donno, just using a name of some sort.
CM: I agree with that. When I was deciding on what I wanted to call my website, what I wanted to call my business, or me, I mean, ideally I would’ve just gone the, y’know, the way that you and Lisa have gone where you just used your names. It’s just your names, and then the word astrology. It’s super easy, super straight forward. Because of my choice to keep things separate I did decide to go with a business name, and I will say that having a separately named business has been more cumbersome in a few ways. Just mentally for myself, and then also logistically. It’s just one more puzzle piece to kind of move around when you’re figuring out how to talk about yourself to potential clients.
CB: Sure, I mean that being said there is something about branding, and I mean, my thing has certainly worked out with the podcast for example calling it ‘the Astrology Podcast,’ not the ‘Chris Brennan podcast,’ or something like that, and I should point out that my website, my URL, is chrisbrennanastrologer.com for my consulting site. The only reason that’s the case is because chrisbrennan.com was taken because there’s this MMA fighter named Chris Brennan who’s nickname is the ‘Westside Strangler,’ and I’ve been fighting that guy for the google search ranking for years, and only recently I think I started to emerge victorious as the primary Chris Brennan, but I think there’s other contenders, so I have to stay on my toes.
CM: Yeah when I googled you back in 2017 I remember the MMA guy came up.
CM: I remember that!
CB: Really? Damn it! He’s been haunting me for like a decade, but that’s alright. Like I give him props. I actually think that’s pretty cool that he’s been so successful, but uhm, yeah he’s still- I have to beat him in the search rankings. Do you have that problem with your main name? That’s always something when somebody has a generic name that’s tough if they have to compete with other people.
CM: I mean, so far Claire Moon’s been fine.
CM: My real name is a hot mess of vowels, so, I’m sure that’ll be fine, but yeah.
CB: Okay, good. Well that’s a whole thing, so transitioning, letting people know, at what point do you start, y’know, do you introduce yourself as an astrologer in company? That’s always a tough question, if it’s just like a stranger, and whether you say that. What are some other things that come up as you’re making that transition over the past year or two?
CM: I mean, just financially I really had to prepare for it. Y’know, I think it’s going to be relevant with people in our age group, y’know, if you started getting student loan debt in about the recession times, so like 2006, 2007, if that’s about when you were starting college, or any time in there, you probably have a lot of student loan debt, and that’s something to account for because if you have- if you can be on income based repayment plans that is what you want to do before you quit your job. Make sure you’re on an income based repayment plan for all of your student loans, so that- and again, I’m no financial planner, and this is only my experience, this is only my opinion. Talk to a financial advisor, but having that means that after a year of making no money, then my student loan payments go way down, so if you can just get through that first year, and just commit to making like no income, your income based repayments are gonna change, right? So that’s a huge point. If you have refinanced your student loans you may not have that option available to you. That has been one of the key financial things that has made this transition possible, so y’know, you may have to save up, and plan for that time off, or time away from a job while you’re getting onto your feet in your new kind of role in your work, but yeah, that’s the other big piece I had to think about too, so I mean, pretty much all the chunks of life came in to this transition.
CB: Mm, right, yeah. Student loans, and yeah the extent to which some of your previous career things are relevant, or can be integrated vs. the extent to which it’s not, or those are disconnected from going a completely new route in your life.
CB: Yeah. That brought up one other thing, uh, oh yeah, consultations. So how are you doing in terms of structuring consultations in a week? And I’m often fascinated and I’ll always ask different astrologers how many consultations would you do in a day max? Because I know some astrologers like myself, I’ll do one consultation in a day and I’ll be worn out, or y’know I could do it but it would be pushing it, but I know other astrologers who are like yeah, I could do five or six consultations in a day, no sweat. Where are you when it comes to that?
CM: I mean, yeah I’ve thought about that a lot. I plan on- I mean it’d be really great if I could have two or three a day for a few days a week. That would be amazing. I don’t have that right now, however, I think max if I want to not burn myself out emotionally I probably wouldn’t do more than two or three a day. I think I could do more. I could do four or five a day just fine, but I don’t know if that would be good for me.
CB: How’re you doing with prep time? How much prep time do you take, if any at this point?
CM: Anywhere from a half hour to an hour. Y’know, sometimes you look at a chart and it’s just like really there for ya, and then other times you have to spend a little bit more time with it. I usually like to look at it the night before I do the consult, and then I sleep on it, and then I donno, that there’s like some magical thing that happens when I sleep on it. It’s just like when I would study for an exam in college I would make sure that I had at least one sleep cycle between studying and the exam because I think it helps a billion times, but yeah probably a half hour, or hour.
CB: There was- this would be a great discussion topic all in itself, and maybe I did that a little bit with Lisa in an episode last year, but Milly Michelle on Twitter asked, y’know, what is the first thing that you look at in a natal chart, and for me it was like the ruler of the ascendant, and the most positive and negative benefics based on sect. What do you look at, or what have been the things that have been coming up for you the most with clients?
CM: Yep, that is exactly what I look at first. I look at the ascendant ruler, and where that’s located in the chart. I look for just big challenges, big opportunities, so pretty much like you said. The malefics and benefics of sect, and where they are in the chart. I do like to be a little bit more- I don’t know if this is a bit more modern, but just really looking at the ratio of elements in the chart, and modalities. I see if there’s any, y’know, well yeah, that’s my initial stuff.
CB: Yeah, that’s a good one. Just paying attention to if they have like a huge amount of planets in fire signs, so that’s going to tell you something vs. a huge amount of planets in water signs. We’ve been talking about doing- we may still do like an episode on stelliums that we’re putting together, and you were doing some research for that today right?
CM: Mhmm, yep. I’m looking for interesting people with stelliums
CB: What was one of your favorite ones again?
CM: So far it is Garth Brooks, just because I watched a mini little documentary about him, and it was hilarious, and that’s why I looked up his chart, and I was like wow! He has everything in Aquarius except for this poor Pisces moon in the tenth where all of his emotion just gets channelled right out into the public, ah, probably for financially great reasons, but also I think he’s hilarious because of it, haha! Such a weirdo. Love it.
CB: Yeah, that reminds me of the inauguration- at Biden’s inauguration like shaking hands and hugging everybody.
CM: I didn’t know he was there, what?! Haha.
CB: What? Now you have to watch it. It’s hilarious. It was probably my favorite part of the entire inauguration was like Garth Brooks coming out, and everyone’s still trying to practice covid protocols, but he was just like, y’know, eff it, and he hugged like- I think it was Obama or Hillary or somebody. Yeah, that Pisces moon makes sense. He was part of that 1962 stellium. I’ll show it really quickly, but he just barely missed by, what, like a couple of days having the moon in Aquarius as well?
CM: Right yeah, oh how would that’ve been. But yeah, it’s pretty packed in there. Definitely the Aquarius assembly of ‘62.
CB: Nice, I like that. Some, like, new age people predicted that the antichrist would be born on this chart in like February 5th or something of 1962, so I guess we didn’t quite get that. We just ended up with Garth Brooks.
CM: Cool stuff, slick stuff, neat stuff, Garth Brooks. That’s what we got, haha.
CB: Nice. Well, I’ll take it. That sounds far preferable.
CB: Alright, so stelliums, work on that at some point. First steps in looking at a chart- has there been anything that surprised you doing consultations with clients as you’ve been easing yourself into that over the past year or so that you didn’t expect when- before you started doing that?
CM: Ah, probably how little I actually can get through in a 60 minute period of time, and how much I would like to, so the amount of stuff that I want to tell somebody is so massive, and the actual time- once you sit down with someone, especially if you’re having a really good dialogue with them, and they’re engaging with you really well, the 60 to 75 minutes goes by really fast. What I’ve been the most surprised about is just like, how little I actually have- I just don’t have enough time to tell them everything y’know that you want to tell them. Yeah, I guess that’s another thing that’s really similar to my other profession, y’know, you never have enough time to tell people what you need to tell them. Either because they don’t want to listen to ya, or because the clock runs out. One of the two. I thought it’d be different if I had control over it.
CB: Yeah. That was one of the things that came up in the episode that Lisa and I did on tips for getting the most out of a reading, was really like, prioritizing and realizing that you’re not going to be able to cover probably everything you want. Especially if you have too many things on your item list because even though 75 minutes sounds like a lot of time, once you get down to it and actually start having a dialogue it’s not quite as much time as you think.
CM: Right, and then on the other side of that coin though I will say that you don’t need to say that much, and or, you don’t need to look at that many things in the chart to get a plethora of insight, and information. It really doesn’t actually take that much, and that kind of goes back to the point of: when am I ready to start consulting with actual clients? Probably sooner than you think because, really, you don’t need to go through all seven visible planets, y’know. If you end up on three it’s probably plenty for their brain to take in. That’s feedback I get a lot that people get very full of insight during that hour or so with you. More than you would think, and I think we kind of take it for granted too after we’ve been in astrology, or doing astrology for a number of years. I think we even start to take for granted, like, how much we were soaking up when we started, y’know, when we were new to astrology. We were like little sponges, so that’s what all of our clients pretty much do.
CB: Yeah, definitely. You were saying something- I lost the thought, but what were you just saying?
CM: I was talking about how on one side of the coin, it’s like, I don’t have nearly enough time to say everything I want to say, but I don’t really need to say that much actually. Uhm, yeah, it’s definitely- this is another reason it’s really good to start consulting with people instead of doing the whole writing thing. Actually getting into a one on one space. Another reason to do that, so that you can experience that.
CB: Yeah, getting the feedback is actually an important component from a technical standpoint of what the astrologer does because it allows them to augment, and increase the sharpness of what they’re doing. And to go back to your point though, sometimes the simplest things can end up being the most profound, or the things that seem the simplest, or the most obvious, or straightforward to you as the astrologer from a technical standpoint can end up being much more profound to the client than you realize.
CM: Yes, yep. Every time. Never ceases to amaze me.
CB: Yeah, well I like that! I mean that’s one of the more fascinating things about being an astrologer, and hearing people talk about their life, and seeing it in their chart, is sometimes how utterly, just like, literal the manifestations of the placements are, and that’s one of the things that always keeps me coming back to astrology, and has always kept me interested. You wonder if you’ll get bored at some point, or if you’ll be like, turns out- you’ll open your eyes and turns out that this isn’t real, or something like that, but that’s what- the things that are really strange the longer you’re in astrology is that despite your best efforts sometimes as a normal, rational, human being, living in the early 21st century, the astrology often does seem to like, work way more than you’d ever think that it should, and that’s the most bizarre thing to think about in this entire enterprise.
CM: Yeah, I agree with that, and it’s actually also very comforting because as someone who did come into this with a lot of doubt and who has continued to have this skeptical brain that is just constantly like, but why? Why do I say this? Why do I say that? But why though? But I don’t need astrology to say that, right? I can just say that. Having consistent reminders from astrology itself that, oh yeah, I can’t explain why that worked so well. That keeps happening, so I keep having this fear of like, am I going to get bored of it? But it’s like, no! I just keep getting these examples of like, yep! Can’t make that shit up.
CM: Y’know, yeah.
CB: Yeah, it’s tough because it just keeps working. If it would just stop working for long enough we could get out of it, and go back and have normal day jobs, and be normal 30 something-
CM: No! Haha.
CB: year old productive members of society, but unfortunately as long as the astrology keeps working as well as it is, we’re going to have to keep at it.
CM: I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
CB: Okay. What is something that people thinking about making this transition should do? So you’re obviously- you’re still trying to make it, you’re still working on it. You’re working. I was having a conversation with another guy yesterday who primarily does youtube, and he’s doing pretty well growing his channel, and things related to that, but he was having a question about how much he should use social media, and he’s kind of scared of social media because he’s heard it’s both a huge time sink, as well as that things like Twitter can be incredibly toxic, which is, to some extent true, although there are also positive sides as well at the same time. How do you feel about social media? Where are you at with that at this point?
CM: Necessary evil, for sure.
CB: Necessary evil, okay, so it’s like a poison to be used in small doses?
CM: Yeah. I think it’s a tool that can be used skillfully. It’s difficult though because I am very addicted to my phone, as we all are. There’s something very strange- well, that’s a different topic. Maybe I’ll get into that in a minute, but it is kind of strange thinking about social media in an entertainment sphere, and then, changing that thinking to oh, this is a business tool actually, and then not, y’know, making sure you’re not on that social media unless you are using it to do your business thing. This is in the case that you feel like it’s toxic, which a lot of them are. Yeah, I think you can still use them even if they’re toxic, but just know you’re not going to be using them for personal use. You’re going to be using them to post horoscopes, or post other astrological content. I do think it’s a big time suck, but it’s kind of a necessary one in the same way that, y’know, any kind of self promotion is. The thing with astrology that I find interesting is that so much of our self promotion comes in the form of horoscopic astrology online on social media. It’s like okay, I want to make myself known so people know about me, so I can help them with my services, right? I used to think that business was a dirty word, and marketing was a dirty word, self promotion was conceited, and all of these things that I think a lot of- especially in the metaphysics community we have a lot of these concerns, but at the same time it’s like if you can’t let people know that you’re here to help with your skills then they’re not going to be able to get your help. So it’s certainly a fine line in a lot of ways, as far as you think about it, and how you use it. I use Instagram, uhm, I need to get back into the youtube game, but so much of this is about consistency, and I think that’s the biggest piece of it, just being consistent, and so, I know right now the only thing that I can be consistent with is Instagram, very poorly. I try my best. The nice thing about some of these is you can set up posts ahead of time, and just queue ‘em up to release at certain dates. There’s something for Twitter called like, ‘hootsuite’ I think that you mentioned in your professional course. There are tools to help you automate posts, so I definitely recommend doing those things just to minimize your time on those platforms if you don’t like them. But yeah, that’s how I feel about it. I use it. It is a time suck because writing astrology is time consuming. I think if you’re writing astrology, and you’re doing a good job at it, and y’know, you’re like me and you’re not super seasoned, like, I’m pretty new to astrology writing. It should probably take you a little while, y’know? It should be a little time consuming. So yeah. It’s a lot of things to consider that way.
CB: Sure, but it’s good practice writing and communicating and learning how to communicate technical things. Especially like complex technical things to a less complex audience, or audience that needs it to be translated a little bit, or simplified a little bit.
CB: It’s interesting though from like an almost sociological standpoint as astrologers, the role, or the important role that social media plays at this point in being the- not full like enterface, but to some extent the interface now with clients, or with how people can find out about your work as an astrologer, and therefore becomes like a necessary piece in order to survive to some extent in this day and age.
CM: Oh, absolutely, and also to your point of it, it’s part of society essentially. You gotta know what’s going on out there in the world, and what’s going out there in the world in astrology are memes. Memes are happening. All of these kind of- yeah! There’s a lot culturally happening online with astrology, so if you want to be current, you do have to engage I think with that. So that’s a good point. That’s another reason why it’s really important I think to be on social media, so you just know what’s going on.
CB: Yeah. I like seeing what’s happening in the community. What kind of discussions are taking place? Last year during the pandemic there was just some amazing stuff where people would notice things that were happening, and sometimes make good observations about what was going on, and that would contribute to some ongoing discussion about just the communities who are watching it, or even just like today somebody on Twitter posted a news article that the French president, Emmanuel Macron, had just been slapped by somebody in an audience or something, and they posted his chart, which was like a timed chart and pointed out that he had transiting Mars exactly conjoining the degree of his descendant, which is actually a really impressive transit example just really quickly, but that was a positive little social media thing that I noticed today.
CM: That’s wild! Yeah, that’s such a good point. I certainly see things. If you want to be like kind of plugged in to the collective vibes, yeah, for sure, and be abreast of the news. It also kind of depends on what your astrological interests are too, but for me I love applying astrology to current events. I love applying it to just random topics that I see because I am on the internet, or because I’m watching documentaries, or whatever, so I think that’s another piece too of being just a well rounded astrologer is exposing yourself to a lot of different things. Social media included, so you see these things, and you can see more examples of astrology.
CB: Yeah. I also like seeing what’s happening with the community, and that was how we saw the influx of astrologers- younger astrologers over the past three or four or five years, and yeah, or posts for example from you on reddit, which is another social media site, and that’s how I first met you. I met Austin way back in the day through myspace in the mid 2000s, so yeah, sometimes really good things come out of even very old social networks.
CM: Exactly, yeah, yep, definitely. I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me for consults through the DMs. I mean it’s not ideal, but hey, y’know, I’ve connected with a lot of clients over social media.
CB: Right, yeah. Social media presence becomes almost like a- basically a necessity of some sort, of picking some platform, or sometimes having multiple platforms. I used to be primarily on Facebook, and then got on Twitter, but didn’t really get Twitter for a long time, but then eventually once I did get it that became my main thing, and then somebody set up a profile for me on Instagram after the conference in Chicago in 2018 I guess, and so I’ve started trying to learn Instagram, but I’m still very bad at it, but I have not gotten on Tiktok yet. Have you gotten on any dance videos in the near future?
CM: No haha, and I’ve thought about Tiktok because I have a friend who- she just got a million followers on Tiktok, but she purposefully spent, because she’s got her own business thing, she spent six months of dedicated focus and effort to do that. From what I know about Tiktok you need to be posting with a frequency that is far higher than what is required to get a following on Instagram. That being said, Instagram is pretty slow to do that. Yeah, Tiktok is kind of intense. I have not gotten into it. I haven’t even gotten into Twitter. I’m still trying to figure out Twitter.
CM: Yeah. I just got off Facebook pretty much. I mean I still throw my astrology stuff up on there, but like, Facebook is a wasteland, I donno.
CB: Yeah. That was a pretty steep decline over the past several years for Facebook. Alright, so other things that are good things in terms of transitioning into doing astrology professionally, and/or advice for people that are making that transition. Can you think of any advice if somebody was thinking about that?
CM: I think go for it! Do it. Just plan, y’know, make a plan, and that plan is going to maybe seem crazy, and people might think that you are, but you just really have to believe in yourself. It’s really about just putting one foot in front of the other. Just doing task after task after task after task. Because when you see it, when you decide, and you’re like, I really want to do this it is such a huge daunting thing. It seems impossible, and I think it seems like that so much that people don’t do it, but if you break it down into smaller chunks, I promise it’s totally doable. Then take Chris’s course. It does it for you. He’s already done it for you, haha.
CB: Yeah. Well yeah, and half of the course is just talking about ways to promote yourself, or different things that are useful mediums in order to make it as an astrologer.
CM: That’s how I started though was that course. It basically gave me an outline of tasks to do to start it. I don’t know if I would’ve been quite as thorough in making sure that I did everything that I needed to do before I made the leap without that.
CB: Okay, cool. Yeah, and sometimes just realizing that that’s what you love doing, that it’s something you’re really into, and how much more time you could have if you were focusing on that, and doing that full time, instead of having to focus your attention somewhere else for, y’know, five days a week from nine to five of, y’know, most of your life. I think that was the biggest thing for me is I just remember…I was at a conference in like 2010, and I had organized a research symposium at this NCGR conference in Cambridge, and it was this amazing day where I had like ten speakers, and they all came in and they were like leading astrologers in their different respective traditions, and they were supposed to give a talk about what the best parts of their tradition was, and what it had to contribute to any future synthesis of astrology, and I had people like Rob Hand, and Demetra, Ben Dykes, and Richard Tarnas, and like a bunch of other astrologers that were leaders in their respective areas, and then I came home from that conference just on this high of like, y’know, doing really important work in the field of astrology, but then I had to go back to my dayjob at Starbucks, and I realized, I can’t do this anymore. I need to do this astrology thing, and make it work somehow, so I can do that full time, and I quit my job and put in my two weeks notice, and then there was some rough- I ate like a lot of spaghetti for the first couple of years there, and was pretty broke, but it is- I think it’s possible that anybody can make it. It’s just a matter of if you’re dedicated enough, and you’re willing to put in the work then I definitely think it’s possible.
CM: Well yeah, and I think you bring up such a good point too with the time thing. All of the time that you could be putting into building this thing that you want to build is taken up by a different job. That’s so very real, and there’s also this idea- this saying about if you want to receive something you have to let go of your grip on whatever else you’re holding onto, because a closed hand can’t receive anything. Time and time again I did not believe that to be true, but it appears to keep being true because the more time I made for astrology, the more time I was able to put into it, the more I got back out. Definitely that whole old adage of what you put in you get out. Yeah, pretty simple as that actually.
CB: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What else? Yeah, it’s not going to be easy, and I mean, for me I needed to write the book as well. I wanted to write my book. I was working on it for like ten years, and that was part of why it took so long because also some of that period was working a dayjob, or doing other things that it took to get by as an astrologer, in order to have free time to then write the book. I actually had a funny aside. I had a funny thing happen recently where somebody wrote me who was as audio book guy who does narration for audio books, and he was like hey, so this company contracted me to do an audiobook version of your book, but I’ve been getting some weird emails from them, and I just realized that you may not have any awareness of that. Did you give them permission? And I said no, so some company had randomly hired somebody to do an audiobook version of my book, and was trying to, I donno, rip me off or something.
CB: That’s really weird.
CM: What the heck!
CB: I’m now thinking about though writing an audio book because people have been asking me for that for years, but I’ve always responded that my online course in Hellenistic astrology is basically like an extended version of my book where I go into much more detail, but it’s largely based on a series of audio/video lectures, so I always thought an audio book would be redundant, but now I actually have a good motivation to do that, so I think I’m going to do an audiobook. If people would be interested in that let me know in the comments to this episode, just so I can have some motivation to hype myself up to record a 700 page audiobook, and however many hours of talking that’s going to turn into.
CM: Haha, that’s wild! I mean, I agree with you. It would be a good thing to do, but yeah, uh, godspeed.
CB: Yeah, thank you. So that’s one of the things though that you will encounter as a self employed, y’know, sometimes self published person, sometimes just having to look out for yourself, and sometimes you get weird curve balls, but you just kind of have to roll with it, and do the best that you can.
CM: Yeah. It’s been a lot of- already even it’s only been, I’ve only been, y’know, really out in the wild I guess for three months here, and there’s already been several instances of me being like, I don’t have any idea how to do this task that I’m about to do that I’ve never done before, but you just have to believe that you can figure it out, and you do. But yeah, definitely curve balls. Those are happening, but you know what? You take ‘em, and it’s fine. It turns out fine.
CB: Yeah, and every time you do something, once you do it, and learn that thing, it kind of stays with you a little bit, and you’ve acquired another little skill, and everytime you do it again, especially like with youtube videos, or something like that I always tell people just to start doing it because you’ll do poorly early on basically, at least in retrospect. You’ll do the best that you can at the time, but every time you do a new one you’ll do it slightly better, and you’ll learn something and improve, and over time you’ll get better and better and better, but if you hold off and don’t start that process until you think it’s perfect, then you’re going to miss out on a really crucial piece of, y’know, the whole process of learning. I guess that’s basically the exact same advice, or a variation of the advice about consultations as well, and not putting that off too long.
CM: Mhmm. Yeah, I mean so much of this stuff is going to be- I mean it’s not stuff that you learn in mainstream school, or college. None of this. Well, I guess unless you go for a communications major, but yeah you’re going to run into things, and then your sense of confidence will increase every time you make it over that little hump, and your sense of- like we all kind of have a little bit of a learned sense of failure. We just assume that we can’t do it, and I think if you take on the challenge, even the little ones when you’re making your own business, and you’re being your new self employed person, it’s just going to build confidence the more and more times you engage with the challenge.
CB: Right, yeah, definitely. I felt that with public speaking. Have you gotten to do any- I guess you’ve had the whole pandemic over the past year, but at some point learning public speaking is a good skill as an astrologer as well. I guess social media, and maybe like, doing videos or Instagram live and things like that are probably a good practice for that.
CM: Mhmm, yeah, that certainly helps. Another thing, yeah, we just keep adding on the things that are like, it’s hard when you start, but please just do it anyway! Certainly public speaking, I mean…I don’t know if I’ll ever not be nervous before a podcast, or before anything like this. I just always will be, and I just tell myself, this was not my words…was this Bruce Springsteen? I’m not sure. Somebody said it’s like when I’m nervous behind stage it doesn’t mean that I am scared, it means I am ready to do the thing. So I just tell myself, I’m not scared! I’m ready to do the thing. That’s how I feel about public speaking.
CB: I like that, that’s good. I used to be extremely nervous, and would shake before having to give some sort of presentation. At Kepler they had us do debates, and I was not in good shape at all for a couple of those debates, and just did terribly, but yeah, it’s something that you- just the more you do it you eventually gain…it just becomes a lot easier. It stops freaking you out at some point to a certain extent.
CM: It does, yeah. I do also believe that there’s an expiration date on that because if I go a whole year without doing something on stage, or in front of people, that first time back it’s like day one all over again. But then you build up taller and it’s like, it’s just, it’s my stage fright tolerance. I get a tolerance for it. The more I do the stuff it becomes easier, yeah, for sure.
CB: Right. Okay. Let’s see…anything else in terms of learning astrology? Things that accelerated your learning path, or other things like that that became useful for you especially in terms of your education of astrology that really later came in handy, in terms of starting to do it professionally?
CM: As far as things that maybe catapulted me, I mean, books are great. Don’t just try to like, go on the internet, and the google machine and hope for the best. Definitely get some books. I know there are people out there who’ll also say, “throw away all your astrology books!” Don’t do that. Definitely read your books. I think getting engaged with the astrology community early on also really, really helped me. It helped me in a lot of ways. Not just intellectually with learning, but just that internal kind of emotional fortitude to keep going with it when you don’t necessarily have a classmate, or y’know, someone to go along that path with you, so getting involved in the community was really important for me personally. It also- speaking of resources to get that are going to help you, getting involved with community, you’re going to learn from other people what resources they’re using, what books they’re reading, what podcasts they’re listening to, and it’s way faster to just get that handed to you by chance if you’re engaging with the world, vs. just waiting for it to fall in your lap, or waiting to stumble across it on your own.
CB: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. There’s so much- because you can’t know what you don’t know until you find out that you didn’t know that thing, and oftentimes the quickest way to do that is to meet somebody else that lets you in on, not a secret, but points you in the right direction, or tells you about something that you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
CM: Right, exactly, and what you’re saying- you don’t know what you don’t know, like, that’s with every single thing that we come across in the world, and astrology is no different, so yeah, getting involved with community, or even just getting your first astrology book, and flipping through 400, 500 pages, and being like, oh yeah! This actually is gonna take a bit of effort and time. That’s an important realization to make early on. So yeah, I guess other than that, I mean, your podcast has been excellent just because I came in right at the right time when you were making all those videos about the signs, and the planet meanings, just like a four hour workshop you’re giving out for free back then. I learned a lot with that, so, listen to that everybody. Listen to it eight times, haha.
CB: Eight times! I don’t know if you should listen to it eight times, but definitely like three or four is like the sweet spot for me.
CM: Haha, I’m kidding but, y’know, yep.
CB: Okay. Yeah, that was a good one. Just making resources available for free, that’s one of the weirdest things. I often think about how this is the best time in history- probably ever to be an astrologer because there’s…we have so much access to information, and access to so many different traditions, and types of astrology, and research tools, and apps. We can get some amazing free websites that will calculate charts for you, and not just Astro.com, but also Astro-seek, and all sorts of other websites. There’s apps like Solar Fire, or Astro Gold, or what have you. Yeah, and there’s just tons of other free resources, so it’s possible to- for people of different income levels, or different educational orientations, or different things like that from pretty much every level to learn astrology at this point, and become an astrologer, and also it’s possible for people to make it as an astrologer, and be successful, and have that support them, and do it ethically, and in a responsible or respectable fashion, maybe more than any other time in history. I think there’s something really exciting about that.
CM: I agree, and I think it’s just going to be more and more and more of that going forward. I don’t see that trend letting up at all. In fact I got some email from- because I get Chani Nicholas’ newsletter, and there was a job posting…it was like a six figure salary job posting to work in the astrology industry essentially! There were health benefits! I mean, I think that that also is pretty unprecedented, right? I don’t know if Valens had health benefits.
CB: Yeah. No I don’t think he did in like Egypt in the second century.
CB: He was having a hard time actually, but, yeah some astrologers are doing really, really well, and being really successful, and being able to support themselves and flourish. That’s the biggest thing for me, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to see, and it’s one of the reasons not just for the podcast, and wanting to help raise the bar in terms of public education of astrology, but also episodes like this to kind of encourage other astrologers to take that leap if they’ve been thinking about it because I do think it’s possible, and I don’t think that the field is over saturated or something like that, so that there’s too much competition, but instead there’s also just a lot more interest in astrology in general at this time, and a lot more people that- like I especially want to see more astrologers that are good astrologers, doing good astrology that’s conscientious, and I would love to encourage more of those people to come into the field, and feel like they could actually make it, and survive.
CM: Yeah, I agree with that as well. I think that is very important. Y’know, I’m not necessarily looking for some standardized model of astrology or anything, but I certainly do appreciate seeing that bar raised, and seeing people be very thoughtful like you’re saying. It does seem like at first glance that it could be kind of a saturated field, but I don’t think that it is. I mean in the same way- if you’re looking at the astrology field thinking like oh there’s all of these astrologers, they’re really great, I don’t know anything, why would I ever do this? I don’t think it’s saturated. We need many many astrologers to help all of the people, just how we need many many physicians, and many many masseuses, and many everybodies in those fields. They’re not necessarily like- there’s always people that are going to need this service. It’s been around for thousands of years. I don’t think it’s going anywhere, so I think we can feel pretty good about it.
CB: Yeah, and it is a useful service you can offer people because even- no matter what your knowledge level of astrology is, especially if you’re talking to a client who doesn’t have much background in astrology, if you know more than them, or if you know even a little bit more in some area, or even if you have just a slightly different take on their birth chart than what they’re used to, and what they’re used to seeing, that’s actually useful, and that’s a valid and valuable thing that you can offer them.
CM: Mhmm. Oh yeah, and I’ve noticed that plenty in my consults where, y’know, the knowledge that I am actually using to provide that insight for them, or to kind of guide them through a dialogue with their chart, it’s not the most advanced stuff I know. I very actually rarely am using like zodiacal releasing at this point in my consulting process because I haven’t even needed to go there necessarily. Because again it is a lot of times it’s really simple stuff. Especially if you have someone who hasn’t gotten many readings. I think the more interest that we get in- more and more people are interested in astrology services, and that means that we’re having this huge influx, at least in my opinion, a huge influx of laypeople, or astrology enthusiasts, who really just don’t know that much advanced knowledge, so I completely agree that if you want a consult, you just need to know more than your client. Like, yes.
CB: Yeah, and-
CM: I see it all the time.
CB: There’s a pretty good chance that you do just because astrologers sometimes tend to underestimate how much they actually know.
CB: Especially if they’ve been studying for a while, let’s say like a year or two.
CB: Alright, so, yeah I do wonder- a couple of things came up were like the lack of certification and credentials, and the lack of that being necessary in order to start practicing, which is kind of a double edged sword because of course that’s not great that it’s kind of like astrology is like the Wild West where anyone can set themselves up as an astrologer, and sometimes that can be bad, and that can lead to some people maybe not practicing ethical astrology, or not even doing astrology, just sort of like pretending that they are, but it’s a- I’m sometimes often, I’ve always been surprised at how, I don’t know, at least in the astrological community that I’m familiar with how infrequent that is. When in reality most astrologers that you meet, or most people practicing astrology, are actually trying to do it ethically, and y’know, conscientiously, and other things like that.
CM: That has been my experience as well. I really haven’t run into that too much. It’s a lot of work to even- I just think that there are way easier ruses to pull on people. If you want to make some money there are way easier ways to do it than to pretend to be an astrologer, or to pick up enough to be dangerous to yourself and others, and go forth. Yeah. My experience has been similar. I don’t see it that much. Every single industry has bad players, and people doing things that either aren’t part of their certification, or they’re just doing unskillfully despite having certification. Certification doesn’t- I mean as much as I have, y’know, respect and pride for the degree that I have or whatever, it doesn’t guarantee anything, so I think you’re going to get really really thoughtful, great astrologers, despite not having any of these certifications. Of course that made me nervous coming in again because of my background has been very kind of customary, or contemporary, but the more time I’ve spent in the industry, or in the community, the more- the less nervous I’ve gotten because my experience has been really heartening in that way.
CB: Right, yeah, and I think part of the advice there though for some people is I’ve heard some people occasionally say they’re waiting to start offering consults until they get, like, X certificate from certain astrological organizations, or from some astrology school, or something like that, but I think in reality most of those certificates are not super useful, or super necessary in order to start practicing astrology, and in order for you to be good at practicing astrology. Especially from the organizations those courses don’t tend to be super thorough, so it’s like you’re just doing it to get the certificate, but you could just offer those services without the certificate, and if you’re good at what you do, then that’s just as effective, so I sometimes kind of don’t want to discourage people entirely from that, because there are sometimes places for that, or things that you could learn from certain- if it’s an actual astrology school that might be very useful, but certification isn’t always as necessary as people sometimes think.
CM: Right, and if what we have access to has a certain breadth, but not a certain depth to it, y’know, like I was just saying, in my consults that I do so much of what I do isn’t my most advanced knowledge. I don’t actually need to use it that much of the time. So yes, I can get on board with all of those statements, and yeah, just because someone offers a certification, I mean, I could talk about this as its own separate thing for a while just in general, the idea of what a certification means in today’s world, because everybody has one for everything. You can get a certificate for lots of stuff, y’know, so as far as the meaningfulness it really depends on that actual program itself, and if it doesn’t add quality, if there’s no value added to your practice, and you’re just getting it just to feel secure- if you’re getting it for your self worth, and not for your self development, I think that’s kind of the question.
CB: Yeah, I think that’s an important distinction to make because there’s a lot of- what’s weird is like it’s, due to the internet and the rise of online teaching, and online courses where you can study courses directly with individual astrologers, it’s almost returned back in a way to the older model of the apprenticeship model where it’s like you find some teacher, or some approach that has a specific approach that you like, and you want to learn and specialize in, and you go and study with that person, or study under that sort of branch, or school in some sense, rather than something where you go to like a university and you study under a ton of different teachers, or something like that. It seems like that’s become, over the past decade, more and more of where some of the best teaching is taking place. It seems like that to me at this point.
CM: Yeah, that’s also been my experience as a student. I was just making a comment about how it takes a village to raise a baby, and it’s like I’m that baby. I’m that astrology baby, and I have like a village of, y’know, a very small family of astrologers like my teachers, so, like you, Austin, and Kelly obviously. Jason Holly, I really enjoy his teachings, but it’s like I’ve got my small little pot of teachers, or a lot of us just kind of have our one teacher, or even the idea of your teacher being maybe not with us anymore, and maybe dead for 2,000 years, but still my teacher! Yeah, I agree that that can be just as fertile of a place to cultivate knowledge as some, y’know, cookie cutter authoritarian type university system that, y’know, just because someone says it’s legit doesn’t mean it’s legit. We have plenty of online universities too, and that’s a whole another discussion, so again, I think quality of teaching, and quality of knowledge doesn’t have to do necessarily with just the idea of a certificate, and I do think that some of my best knowledge has just come from these one on one teacher/student type experiences.
CB: Yeah, and it returns us back to the word I was searching for which is the word ‘lineage,’ and the notion of lineage, and like returning back to almost a lineage based thing where, y’know, you can say that you studied with X teacher, or Y school of astrology or what have you, and it puts you in a certain lineage, and that is useful to put on a bio sometimes to say where you’re coming from, and what tradition you sort of represent, and that can attract some clients to you, and be a distinguishing feature in terms of if there are certain clients that are looking for an astrologer that’s from a certain approach, or school, or what have you.
CM: Yeah, it’s definitely descriptive.
CB: Yeah, uhm, ok cool, so I wanted to mention your website first. What is your website where people can find out more information about you?
CM: It’s AligningLightAstrology.com.
CB: Okay, and you’ve got an Instagram. What’s your Instagram handle?
CM: Yeah, so on Instagram I am also @aligninglightastrology on Instagram, and youtube, and Facebook. Just all AligningLightAstrology. I’m Claire Moon, so you can also search for Claire Moon, and you’ll probably- Dr. Claire Moon will probably come up if you do Dr. Claire Moon, that’ll come up as well.
CB: Okay, brilliant, and you do some weekly teaching, right?
CM: Yeah! Right now I’m doing what I’m calling ‘office hours,’ because I wanted to mimic kind of that educational experience where you can just pop into a professor’s office and ask them a question on your homework or whatever, and then ditch. I have that one hour every Tuesday at 7 PM central time on Instagram live, and then once a month I do a virtual astrology club. You can find that and sign up on Instagram. On my website I have my events there as well, and you can find the sign up there for the link to go to virtual astrology club, which is happening at the end of the month.
CB: Awesome, I like that! That’s a really good idea. That’s a smart, smart idea.
CM: Well I always wanted to start one in my town, but then the pandemic happened, so, haha!
CB: Yeah, that’s really bad timing. That really decimated a lot of the local astrology groups. In Denver we stopped doing our meetings, and we haven’t started yet, and we’re trying to decide right now. Because life is just returning randomly to normal, and I- we’re in this weird limbo where we’re not sure if we’re- if it’s time to start holding the local astrology group meetings again, or what, y’know? Where is that?
CB: What city are you in roughly again? I’m trying to think if there’s any big astrology groups by you.
CM: I’m in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m pretty sure there’s an NCGR chapter in Milwaukee, but I don’t know what goes on there, or if they meet in person, or like, y’know.
CB: Yeah. What goes on there, haha, it’s a funny way to phrase it.
CM: That’s right. I’m from, I mean, I know astrology will go on there, but I’m like, are you meeting at this bar, or are you meeting at this church? Which one? We’re in Wisconsin you have two choices, haha.
CB: They’re doing animal sacrifices or something like that.
CB: I hope not. My apologies to the- yeah, that’s more of another town or something.
CM: No, haha we’ll sacrifice a hot dish. We’ll sacrifice a hot dish.
CB: Okay, alright. Is there anything we should’ve mentioned that we didn’t that I’m going to stop the- hitting the record button and just wish we had talked about that’s a specific topic when it comes to making the transition from being a student of astrology to a professional?
CM: I mean, the only thing I can think, because we talked about a lot of logistical stuff, financial considerations, educational considerations, how best to do it skillfully, uhm, talked about my relationship stuff…I mean, the only other piece I didn’t really mention was just, y’know, I still haven’t come out to everybody as an astrologer. I’m still working on that.
CB: Your family doesn’t know?
CM: Ah, not all of them exactly.
CM: We’re working on it.
CB: Working on it, okay.
CM: Yeah. They just, yeah, they’re concerned about me quitting my pharmacy job, haha!
CB: That’s a really- I mean that’s a legitimate thing. I remember it was like someone on Twitter got skewered for this, using the phrase, like, ‘coming out as an astrologer,’ but that was actually because he was a white straight male, and somebody was saying that’s not a good phrase to use because it’s co-opting from the LGBT community.
CM: I can see that.
CB: I remember a lecture that was always really influential for me years ago by Lee Lehman, who is a queer astrologer who explicitly said that these were parallel things, and there was a legitimate parallel to be drawn there from what it’s like to come out as a, y’know, gay individual, vs. as an astrologer, and while it’s obviously not parallel, and there’s a lot greater hardships that gay people suffer from, and being ostracized and everything else, especially in the past, that it’s an interesting analogy to use where there are some light parallels in terms of the level of trepidation, and genuine fear, or concern about being ostracized that astrologers can have, and the need to sometimes keep that private for their own safety and well being.
CM: Yeah, and as someone who, I mean, I’m a queer astrologer, and I actually am the perfect person to speak on this because I’ve done both now, or not done both, depending on which thing it is, and who we’re talking to because I have one brother who knows that I’m queer, but doesn’t know that I do astrology, haha, because I found the first one easier to talk about with him than the second. Yeah, but obviously the things with danger, like direct physical danger is different now. It’s not quite the same, and so no you can’t make the- it’s not a perfect analogy by any means. However, I will say there are certainly many many many more places I feel comfortable in at this point being out as a queer, pansexual person, than I feel being honest that I’m an astrologer, and not only that, but it’s like, my love, and I want to do it for my whole life, y’know? It’s one thing to say, yeah I’m into astrology. What’s your sign? Verses like, I’m a consulting professional astrologer. I have rates. I do this as my job. This is my- when people ask me what do you do? This is what I say. So, yeah, it’s been a whole thing. I’m working on it, y’know, the first step for me was bringing my books home, and just letting my parents see my books. And then they saw my books, they asked some questions, and they were actually cool about it because they grew up in the ‘70s, so actually older people sometimes seem to be way more understanding to me when I tell them than some younger people who- especially younger people who are not acquainted with the metaphysics, yeah.
CB: Yeah, and it’s interesting also when people do have objections to it, whether they’re coming from a religious standpoint, or coming from a scientific standpoint, and the fact that you- it can be, you can see objections coming from both sides. That’s one of the things that makes it so tricky as an astrologer in society because those are the two biggest demographic locks, and astrologers are not in a good position with either of them.
CM: Mhmm, yes, and y’know, I just need to do it, because I keep experiencing too that every single time, with a few exceptions, that I’m scared to tell somebody, their response is super supportive, or super delighted, and then it turns out that they’re secretly like, oh, but can you then tell me about all of this? So I’ve actually had some technicians at the pharmacy- that was the big thing for me is I didn’t want any pharmacists to know, but I had a couple of my pharmacy technicians who were younger, and it just came up somehow, and they found out, and they were like a swarm. They wanted me to tell them everything about themselves, and I was like, we’re in the pharmacy! We’ve got to get back to work! Haha, but the response was so jovial, and I was so scared, and I shouldn’t have been, y’know? There’s a lot of people out there who have been way supportive when I didn’t think that they would be. I guess my- if I could tell anybody anything about that, like, yeah, it’s scary. Again, it’s something that the more I think that you do it, if you’re safe to do it, if you can, the more that you might find that people are actually really supportive, and are really supportive of you just being your authentic self. People are actually pretty kind about that.
CB: Right, yeah, I think so as well. I was just looking for that speech because it’s still up on youtube. It was a commencement speech that Lee gave at a Kepler college graduation around 2007 or 2008, but it’s actually up on youtube, and it’s titled ‘Is There a Political Dimension to Being an Astrologer?” It looks like it’s on the Kepler youtube channel, so people should search for that and check it out just for reference for some of this discussion, and a little deeper, sort of reflections on it that were, y’know, 12 or 13 years ago now.
CM: Mhmm, yeah. It’s a whole thing.
CB: Alright, well thanks a lot for joining me today for this impromptu podcast. I didn’t even- we threw this together so quickly that I didn’t even say the date, but today was June 8th, 2021, and I don’t know the exact time, but we started right before sunrise- or right before sunset, here in Denver, Colorado, and the ascendant was at about 17 degrees of Sagittarius if anyone wants to work out what time that was in retrospect. Thanks for joining me for this discussion!
CM: Yes, you’re welcome! Thanks so much for having me, it was great!
CB: Yeah! Alright, well good luck with your future career as an astrologer. You’re going to have to check in periodically, and let us know how it’s going, and if you’ve become massively successful. I’ll at least have caught you relatively early in your career, so hopefully you’ll come back and make future appearances on the podcast at some point down the road.
CM: I will take this hypothetical vote of confidence. I will keep you updated!
CB: Okay, thank you!
CM: Thank you.
CB: People should check out Claire’s website at AligningLightAstrology.com, and that’s it for this episode, so thanks everybody for watching this episode of The Astrology Podcast, and we’ll see you again next time!
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