I’m still on the ultimate road trip around Britain…if my timing is right, I’m in London as I post this… You can keep up with my travels on and anyways…
Here at Jo Tracey Astrology, we don’t talk much about asteroids, but knowing something abut them can give your work and your self-knowledge even more layers. With that in mind, I spoke with (virtually, of course) Julie Demboski. I also asked her a few bits an pieces about horary astrology- a traditional method of answering single questions at a point in time. If you’re not familiar with her work, you can find her blog over at Juliedemboski.com and her ebooks here.
Have you always been interested in astrology?
It might be more accurate to say I’ve always been interested in human nature—so any system that allows me to learn more about why people do the things they do has always been fascinating for me. Astrology was an early interest, though—I found it an engaging idea that there are externals that can be read that reflect the internal reality and perceptions.
Did you study formally or are you self-taught? Or, perhaps, a combination of the two?
When I first started serious study, about 30 years ago, I was an English speaker living in a rural German town with a husband who traveled for weeks at a time and two pre-school age children. There was no internet for us, so that learning from books was really my only alternative. A car accident and advancing chronic illness made me a bit reclusive; by the time we returned to the States I was beginning to practice, but my exposure to other astrologers in person was non-existent. When we finally did get what I now think of as the proto-internet (dial-up!) the astrological world began to open up for me—but it’s only been in the past few years, as my health has radically improved, we moved from rural to city locations, and the connections possible through the internet have proliferated, that I’ve even begun to attend conferences and workshops. Like all astrologers, I continue to learn, though I think developing in a kind of vacuum had the advantage of making me very thorough—I don’t adopt publicly any technique or use any body until I’m entirely comfortable with it—and it’s meant that I’m entirely internally driven to achieve or create—I don’t feel the pressures I would if I were a more active and integral part of the Astro community.
I haven’t spent much time getting to know the asteroids, but it’s this that is so fascinating about your work. Would you say that this is your specialty, or do you have a particular philosophy or interest in another specific area of astrology?
Thank you! The asteroids interested me because they seem to reveal specific facets of the major energies. I don’t think that asteroids bring anything new to the table, but I do think they can give us details about what’s already there in the major horoscope energies, and to me that’s their value: adding dimension to what we can already see. For instance, Ceres offers us illumination on some parts of the mothering function we normally find in the Moon, as well as revealing Plutonian potentials for the ‘Devouring Mother’, for an appetite for power—and she can tell us quite a bit more, too. Are asteroids my specialty? It seems they’ve become that, although I’m still for the most part only engaged with the most prominent and thoroughly studied of the asteroids. I think it takes time to see what they mean, to tease out the very particular focus of each one.
I notice from your website that you offer horary readings. What can a client expect from a horary reading?
An answer to their in-the-moment concerns, something that helps them define and understand the implications of the alternatives they’re facing. Often what they get is reassurance—people are very intuitive—it helps them to hear they sensed correctly, or that they have nothing to fear.
Following that, what shouldn’t a client expect?
Promises of or guarantees for a desired life result. Too often the querent comes with the idea that the Horary chart will tell them not just about the next move, but will lay out every move, and insure a particular want will be fulfilled. Too, they sometimes seem to have a belief that the astrologer can deliver the answer (and the result) they want—they forget we’re just translators, in the end.
I’ve just read your new Vesta book- Vesta in the natal chart. It’s a great piece of work- well done. It certainly rang some bells for me. Prior to this, I hadn’t had much exposure to Vesta- or indeed the other asteroids. Did you write it for a specific audience?
Thank you so much! I typically write for the professional or amateur who has an interest in the mechanics of association, in building pictures from the disparate parts. I don’t think it takes a deep astrological knowledge to enjoy my books, but it does take a thirst to put it all together, to see the larger implications of the parts as they coalesce within and correspond to the life.
What about Juno through the natal chart? Did you have an audience in mind for that?
I think it’s the same for all my books—I just wanted to write down what I’d observed. I get excited about energies and the patterns they make—and what that seems to mean for understanding behavior and individual choice.
Do you think that the writing gets easier or more difficult as you go along?
I was initially trained as a poet, in an intense mentor-mentee situation where I agonized over every word. That’s understandable in poetry, but a terrible handicap if you’re just trying to communicate. Eventually I trained myself to write very quickly, to get to the essence of what I want to say so that I don’t waste anyone’s time—but that was a long time coming. Certain things I read helped, like the author (it may have been Danielle Steele!) who recommended writing for a certain period of time each day, every day, no matter what you felt like. She said she realized this was the way to approach it when she read something she’d done on an “uninspired” day and she couldn’t tell it from an inspired one! That was a big lesson to me to see writing as a job, and not to allow moods to control output.
What astrologers have influenced you most over the years?
There are so many! The top of the list has to be Noel Tyl. Erin Sullivan, Howard Sasportas, Jeffrey Green, Barbara Hand Clow, Lee Lehman, Donnas Cunningham and Van Toen, March and McEvers, Richard Houck, Melanie Reinhart, Judy Hall, Brian Clark, really I could go on and on. Two who were big influences, chiefly because they seem to have been masters of adept personal observation that added invaluable nuance to interpretation, were Isabelle Hickey and Grant Lewi.
What do you most like to do when you’re not doing astro related things?
Gardening, I love to refinish furniture, painting and mosaic work, reading (besides astrology books!) Our family is close and we spend time with our grown daughters often, sometimes every day. We’re all movie buffs and all like to travel together–I’m looking forward to doing a lot more of that now that I’m not doing a daily subscription service anymore.
What’s next for Julie Demboski? Another book…or something else entirely?
I’m writing something in the science fiction vein right now, so we’ll see how that goes. We’ve been talking about trips to Ireland, Helsinki, and Las Vegas—it’s a toss-up which one we hit first! And I’ve gone back to drawing again; it’s something I used to love to do, but had abandoned for quite a while.
Any tips for budding astrologers?
Read, read, read, and listen, listen, listen, to accomplished astrologers—like a tennis player, you want to find someone more skilled than you to take instruction from—it’s the only way you get better. Try every technique you come across on a wide sample of charts, then keep in your repertoire only what works consistently. For everything you assert in a reading, be prepared (though this is only for yourself) to show how you arrived at that—and don’t conclude anything without a characteristic or propensity showing up at least twice in the chart—this rule keeps you on track and discourages your own mind from filling in the blanks—it’s a natural tendency that good astrologers really must avoid.