You're concerned that astrology is misunderstood. How so?
We take profound expressions and weave them into pop culture and minimize their greater meaning. The columns you see in the paper, a lot of people think that's what astrology is. A large percentage of the population does know their sun sign [and] the sun is ... where we need to express ourselves to be happy. But we also have the moon and Venus and the ascendant -- there are many layers of meaning in the natal horoscope. Nothing happens for [all] Leos all together -- there's just no way there's 12 distinct personality types. Sun-sign columns have served to keep astrology alive, but they have greatly minimized the sacredness of what I feel is a God-given language to help people navigate their path on earth.
What would you do differently?
I'd speak toward the collective of what's going on around the major planetary alignments. I basically try to draw the collective expression of [what] we can see politically, environmentally, socially, economically, and distill it down to a more personal level. Because everything expressed in the outer world is a manifestation of our collective energy.
So you definitely believe in a zeitgeist?
Yes. There are certain energetic patterns that have emerged throughout the course of humanity. During those times, new consciousness is introduced. Even the level of crisis that we are facing now, globally, is astrologically affected. For me, astrology is a way to look within very deeply and befriend all the different parts of the self as they are reflected in the natal chart, and to cultivate self-acceptance and self-compassion, which eventually leads to the healing of all humanity. The Buddha said, "If you want to heal the world, heal yourself." I'm not here to predict people's futures; however, you can see very distinct cycles, and people recognize that energy when you point it out to them. There's a spectrum of how, for instance, a Pluto transiting your chart can express itself. The more conscious you are of the energy, then the more evolutionary the experience will be.
Do you think people disbelieve astrology, then, because their horoscopes don't come true?
Yes. ... It's such a sacred language. And it really went underground with the rise of technology, the rise of the scientific revolution. ...
You mean the 1800s, the Enlightenment?
Yes, and with the rise of the church. [But] before those churches became huge institutions, they had their own astrologers. There was an astrologer in the Vatican. Astrology was part of the fabric of a Renaissance education, along with music and art and writing and astronomy. Astronomy and astrology were one in the same. The three kings we hear about at Christmastime, they were astrologers. And that's why they were watching that star, which [we] think now was a comet. But then it split off [and now] scientists tend to diss astrology. [But] when you think about what has been established scientifically, it's based upon empirical observation. And astrology has been undergoing empirical observation for 2,500 years.
Do you have any family heritage in this field?
No, but my grandparents were from Italy, so there was a certain mystic spirituality that resonated with my Catholic upbringing. And I have witnessed my grandmother doing certain rituals, to ward off evil spirits. There probably is some witchcraft, or legacy of that in my family, because they were rural farm people who lived very close to the earth. But there's no one that I know of that formally did this.
Are there parallels between history and astrology?
Right now, for the last eight years or so, Pluto has been in the sign of Sagittarius, so huge themes of Sagittarius [are] being brought out in the collective expression in their darkest, most ominous, destructive forms. Ideologies, philosophies, religious beliefs ... the Oklahoma City bombing happened almost exactly when Pluto went into Sagittarius. ... What we're seeing is extreme expressions. Fundamentalism in the Middle East and fundamentalism in the West has risen tremendously. The way our government has said "The Axis of Evil" -- that's very Pluto-in-Sagittarius. That's saying, "We're not going to look at our own contribution to creating harm, we're going to take our own inner darkness and say 'you're to blame.'"