During the third week of October just as Jupiter, the planet of opportunity and expansion moved into Scorpio, the sign of transformation, I went to an astrological retreat just outside beautiful Zion park in Utah. Hosted by OPA, the Organization for Professional Astrology, the conference was called “The Art of Living and Dying.”
100 astrologers from all over the world (Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Greece and even Turkey) gathered together listen to lectures and work together in small groups to become better astrologers. I go to this conference/retreat whenever it’s offered because what I receive there nourishes me on so many different levels: social, informational/mental, emotional and just plain feeling supported.
Astrologers tend to work alone either in an office or out of our homes. Our work demands intense study and concentration and we spend our time behind closed doors one on one with clients. Even if we have colleagues in town, we might not see them often. Going to a retreat with other “career astrologers” like me, becomes a place to meet new folks and catch up with people I know who have been doing the day to day work of being an astrologer. We all speak the same language and that, along with the shared struggle of being in a profession that is misunderstood and maligned, brings us even closer together.
Astrology is a field that is wide open to different interpretations and different disciplines. We all interpret the cosmos through the lens of our individual ideologies and life experiences. This makes for a very rich exchange of ideas. I particularly enjoyed listening to the lectures from astrologers from Greece and Turkey. Did you know that Sunspot activity is tied to earthquakes? Because there isn’t any formal continuing education for astrologers, these retreats often serve that function.
This was my third “certification track” experience where four practicing astrologers meet for three days with a group leader and talk about a problem reading or client, give each other readings for critique, and share business plans. I found this to be the perfect antidote to the professional isolation I often feel. Just like therapists often work with “supervision”, we’ve found a way to bring that into our profession and make each other better.
If you’re a student of astrology, or even just a fan, going to a small retreat hosted by OPA can be a chance to make new friends, learn how much you already know, learn new things you didn’t even know existed, and become part of a rich and friendly astrological community. I highly recommend it.