Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Learning Astrology


October 29, 2004 (with picture)


Hello Eric:


I often write to you and I really do like what you say. Even though I know It is hard to get our letters posted, I'd like you to tell us what is the best way to learn astrology? I have a long-term dream to build a school in the woods for children for them to learn astronomy, astrology and the mysteries of nature. I do have a very profound inclination for astrology but here in Canada (Quebec), they are no big school who teach it as I heard there are in England. Could you please suggest a book or a web site that would provide accurate information. I don't like interpretation, I'd rather use symbols, that's the best thing for me in tarot, runes, etc. I am this very intellectual person on the surface but I am deeply drawn to the mysteries of the unknown and of the psyche. I guess those are the longest studies I've been doing (all my life was devoted to this), even though I studied law to make a living. Proud to be a Taurean born on April 20, 1974, yellow lunar human. If you have time and see something unusual in my chart, I'd really like to know. Thank you and your dear assistant Chelsea for her follow-up! Thank you, too, to Jonathan Cainer, Yasmin Boland, Michael Lutin and all those spooky astrologers for their inspiration.





Dear Cari,


I've been doing a series on this site about the best ways to learn astrology. But I've gotten a little off the original track of my intentions for that series, and thanks for bringing me back. I think that that the best way to learn astrology is by involving yourself with nature. Since I mentioned Rosendale in the last answer, I'll tell a little story about learning astrology.


I think this takes place in the spring of 1995, in the first months of my astrological practice. I was living in Rosendale, about 75 miles north of New York City, which used to be a mining town. Out the door of my apartment/office was a hillside and along this hillside was a mile-long cliffside into which were dug hundreds of mine shafts.


So one day, right before the New Moon, I went hiking up there with my friend Nikki, one of many mysterious Virgo women in my life. We began wandering around the mine area looking for a place to hang out for the exact moment of the New Moon. We found one and descended a little way into this mining area, arriving about 15 minutes before the exact lunation. And we just sat there quietly.


Then something really interesting happened. There was a kind of dimensional opening as the New Moon passed. For one thing it felt like we were the only two people on Earth, which is not such a difficult feeling to have inside a mine. But there was a whole assortment of visual and psychic effects as well. It was almost as if we were looking at one another through a kind of watery light that seemed to make everything ripple a little (this was not an eclipse and it was pretty shadowy there, but light enough to see one another). I would describe the feeling as being in a psychic echo chamber, only it was subtle.


Neither of us were on any kind of drugs, or alcohol, by the way. We were just very close to the Earth during a lunar event.


We were both aware of what was happening, but didn't say anything. We just stayed with the feeling and then, as the lunation passed, the dimensional door seemed to close, gently but steadily. I had read about this kind of effect in Barbara Hand Clow's book on Chiron, but I didn't think it would be so palpable. But there it was. I am sure it had something to do with being in the Earth like that and with the chemistry I had with Nikki, but it happened.


So, next thing, I walked up the side of the mine, which felt more like a cave, and took a look around. And there, in the next mine over, was the most magnificent space, what looked like it was designed to be a temple and altar. It was kind of a perch or shelf about 30 feet into the Earth; it had a fire pit; and to the left and the right, there were openings leading to a vast underground chamber. For the next year, this became the place I would do the Earth-centered part of learning astrology, making fire, having ceremonies, drumming, camping out and exploring the ancient mines. I became very good at working with open fire down there, and, sitting in that space, could explore the feelings of the fire and earth elements, connect with their elemental spirits, and actually learn about nature from nature.


All these mine spaces are actually made of quarter-billion year fossilized old sea-floor. The fossil record is just looking right at you because the sea floor turned over and became the ceiling of the temple, which came down pretty low in some places so you could look at it and touch it. The rock is called dolomite. If you bake it, grind it up and mix it with water, it becomes cement so smooth and so hard you have to use dynamite to get rid of it. The stuff is still built into the foundations of the federal Capital Building's wings, where the House and Senate meet; into Kennedy Airport; the Brooklyn Bridge; and into thousands of buildings in the New York area and many other places. I was particularly fascinated by the connection of this land to the wings of the Capital, where congress meets to make laws. We did quite a lot of drumming good vibes into that mine, assuming there was a vibratory connection to everyplace that rock wound up.


All the while, I was fully aware that I was doing the Earth-grounded part of my training, that is, of tuning into the most dense layers of reality here and becoming closely aligned with the vibration of the Earth, its spirit, its smells and its feelings. The Chironian, as this space became known, was the scene of many New Moon, Full Moon, Solstice and Equinox celebrations, as well as a huge celebration and ritual the night of the Mars-Chiron conjunction in Virgo on July 7, 1995. It also served as a divination chamber, where a set of hand-made runes given to me by a client were kept (they are now kept elsewhere). We also had notable experiences with animals showing up there at highly symbolic moments, which in physical form and real life introduced me to the idea of a 'totem' with no prior book knowledge.


I have taken responsibility for maintaining the Chironian since finding it nearly nine years ago and will usually make a visit when I'm in the Hudson Valley. The stone fire pit, left by my predecessors at the site and which I loved to work on and repair, is a thing to behold.


I think you get the message. This ritual and experiential aspect of astrology is, I think, one of its most important dimensions. This part of the work does not involve mental interpretation, but rather direct experience of an event. We are rather accustomed to translating everything astrological into words, and I do plenty of it, for sure. Yet aspects are events in space and time, and they can be experienced and accessed directly. This puts the data directly into the body, where it belongs, and where it can be accessed when you're looking at symbols or interpreting a chart.


And it brings astrology back to the Earth, where it belongs. It recalls a time when astrologers provided a technical aspect of the priesthood, assisting in the timing of Earth-based rituals at certain times of year. Usually, speaking of Celtic times and places, these rituals were held in physical spaces where there was considerable symbolic energy integrated; Avebury Henge west of London comes to mind (a 5,000 year old stone circle which takes about an hour to get to from the city, and can be done in a day trip). These symbols can become friends, acquaintances and allies.


Building a direct relationship with the Earth and its elements, and living astrology through ritual and experience of aspects, makes it a lot easier to experience 'symbols' as intelligent entities who provide the actual source of information or, at least, grounding, when we are working on a chart or reading a spread. It takes astrology out of the abstract and helps us to live and breathe it as a natural and fully integrated part of life. This includes experiencing and marking in time the passage of the seasons, the high sabbats at the Cross Quarter days, and the phases of the Moon.


Especially for adults -- and especially for kids -- this is a fine place to begin the study of Earth worship that is the firm ground on which astrology stands, the fire that infuses it with passion, the air which it breathes, and the water that grants the compassion to make it a safe and sane way of life.