Journey Through Space | Monthly Forecast | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Journey Through Space 

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On my birthday in 1994, I had my deposition taken by the state Attorney General's trial division. I was in the process of suing SUNY New Paltz in federal court. I am not sure what they were thinking when they declared me persona non grata for my reporting on their PCB and dioxin problem—maybe that I would suddenly abandon my search for truth and justice for the students defrauded into living in those dorms.

What they got was a federal summons and complaint, and a year of litigation, ending with an apology that my civil rights had been violated and a significant cash payout to me—something that the state does not do. The lawsuit received national press coverage in the New York Times.

Still wearing my suit from the deposition, I walked into the bookstore with my then-girlfriend and collaborator Hilary Lanner-Smith, and bought the Rosicrucian Ephemeris of the 20th Century, purchased the New York Post, and started studying astrology that evening. Yes, in the ancient astrology text known as the New York Post.

After my 20-year world tour covering astrology and teaching at conferences, teaching engagements places like Omega Institute, and mentorship with many noted astrologers, studying Patric Walker remains the single most valuable learning experience I've had as an astrology student. And I got that information from a tabloid newspaper, for 25 cents a day.

One year later I began writing the Planet Waves horoscope. When I took up astrology, still deeply immersed in my environmental reporting, I did so consciously bringing in a world-wise ethos. I was accustomed to documenting the veracity of my words with thick binders full of research. I put that same depth of inquiry into astrology, digging into its history, tradition, and modern practice.

As for my writing, astrology gave me the chance to be personal. I learned the most important thing of all from Patric Walker: speak to one reader, not to a group of them. To write a meaningful horoscope, use the same tone as a letter to a trusted friend. It was exactly this kind of personal contact I was looking for when I changed tracks from investigative reporting to astrology.

Almost immediately, I began applying astrology to world events—that is, the charts of news events, people in the news, and trends of all kinds—particularly social trends and the cycles of history.

This has been done before, but I have often found it confusing, too technical, and lacking in a compelling narrative. So, I set out to tell a relevant story that anyone could understand. I am not sure I succeeded (the first use of the word "conjunction" can scare some people away), but I have done my best.

Integrating astrology into the news provides several benefits, the main one being context. Astrology allows one to see the connections between events, and to follow a contemporary event along a story arc into the past and the future. Using astrology, no single incident stands alone; it's connected to everything and everyone around it. Astrology reveals the web of life and the karma that underlies situations. If you know where to look, astrology points to how we can personally take action.

I consider this a model for how to make the news relevant to people, and a new approach to community-based journalism. What we think of as the news has a really serious problem: it's alienating and usually irrelevant. Interconnection and context allow the inclusion of the reader into the scenario, whether it be an understanding of the emotional impact, of the cultural changes implied by a development, or how an individual can adapt to the opportunities and the demands of the present moment.

Looking at the charts for spring 2014, I think that news astrology is going to have its moment. There will be a lot of news—and a lot of astrology lurking underneath it. The process begins to take shape with the Mars retrograde that starts on March 1 (Mars chose the first day of its own month to station retrograde). And it comes to a peak in late April with a grand cross and a potent solar eclipse a few days later. Look for coverage of that in the April issue of Chronogram and check in with Chronogram's 8-Day Week or for immediate updates.

I look forward to meeting you on at 7 pm on Saturday, March 8 at BSP in Kingston.

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