Today on Catching Stars we have Christina Rodenbeck from The Oxford Astrologer. A fellow Piscean, it’s fitting that we’re featuring her this month…
Have you always been interested in astrology?
Oh my — yes!
It was instant enchantment when someone first told me about the zodiac. I would have been about six years old. A few years later, I read Linda Goodman, and from then on I made sure I knew a person’s Sun sign.
Did you study formally or are you self-taught? Or, perhaps, a combination of the two?
Both. But I am mainly self-taught. I started drawing up charts in my 20s and I didn’t have any idea that there were places I could actually go to study astrology. I used Parker’s Astrology and learned how to do them by hand — however, I wouldn’t even know where to start doing that now!
Eventually, I came across the Astrological Lodge in London and did their introductory course. Then I found the Centre for Psychological Astrology which had, and still has, an incredible line-up of lecturers. I went to a lot of talks there: Liz Green, Lynn Bell, Darby Costello…. among others. I still go to lectures when I can, and organise them in Oxford too.
Most importantly, I have read hundreds of charts for people. And I’ve learned deep astrology by listening attentively to my friends’ and clients’ stories and working with them to understand the patterns and energies of the planets at work.
Do you have a particular philosophy or interest in a specific area of astrology?
I love seeing how astrology works in the real world.
I am fascinated by collective astrology — politics, art and history. One of the reasons I write about subjects as diverse as the Impressionists, or the attack in Cologne this New Year’s Eve, is that I would love more people to know and understand astrology in action in the collective. The more people understand the language and symbolism of astrology, the better.
But the bedrock of what I do is chart readings for individuals. Astrology is the most complex and profound system we have for understanding what it is to be human.
What do you think sun sign astrology can tell us- and why should we pay it more attention?
Well — simultaneously so much and so little.
The Sun represents the ego, our action in the world, our essential self. In-depth Sun sign astrology can guide us through the “solar” world, that is the world where real things happen. This is not always the same as our interior landscape.
If we know how our Suns “shine”, we know what makes us feel good. Most of us are pretty complex creatures, with many different and often conflicting urges and desires, so it’s useful sometimes to focus on that essential core self.
On the other hand, the Sun is just the Sun. We are all our planets.
Your monthly horoscopes are 1000 words per sign each month. That’s a lot of words- and a lot of work each month. How do you do it?
I lock myself in the “boffice” — that is the bedroom with a laptop — for the last week of the month, and let it all come down. It helps that I have Sun, Mars and Mercury in Pisces and Moon-Jupiter in Gemini, so if I can catch the flow, the words do just pour out. My partner edits it all on the last day of the month to check that I’m making sense. So I am very grateful for his help.
A piece of writing only comes alive when it’s read, so the horoscope is a moment of co-operation between the reader and me. An intelligent reader gleans the elements of the horoscope that are relevant to him or her and sets aside the parts that aren’t useful.
I really enjoy the occasional astro profile pieces you put up. The one you did for Bowie springs to mind immediately. Many of the others though, are slightly more offbeat and less obvious characters- which is probably why I like them so much. What is it that attracts you to an event or a person and makes you want to write about it?
I’m interested in people who break rules, who are unusual or extraordinary in some way. Even if I don’t like what they do or stand for, I try to understand them from the inside. I get ideas from books, the radio, conversation, the news.
Like me, you’re a Pisces- and us fishies need to stick together. How does your Pisces sun influence both your writing and the way you read a chart?
Ha! Well, utterly, is the answer. I have faith in the moment, in the magic between me and the client and the synchronicity of our meeting. I try to come to the meeting with an empty mind, an open mind, and allow the chart to speak to me. That trust and faith is Piscean.
Faith in the process is possible the astrology is bone-deep. I’ve been immersed in astrology for years. Now, I don’t have to think about synthesising a chart, it just happens. I think maybe that’s the Pisces too, but it is the result of many years work.
The same applies to the writing. I just start and see where it goes. However, I am a brutal editor. What you read is not what is originally written, but a much cut-down version. I don’t think that’s the Pisces though! More like the Mars-Saturn conjunction.
My Sun is also in the 7th house of partnership, and I do view both writing a piece of text and reading a chart as co-operative acts. It’s me and you, together, doing it, not something I do at you.
By the way, Jo, I always really enjoy your writing about Pisces, because it rings so true to me.
Awwww, thanks. What astrologers have influenced you most over the years?
That’s an interesting question actually, because, of course, it has been different astrologers at different times. Liz Greene is a big influence, and so is Steven Forrest. I also think Grant Lewi was great. Lynn Bell and Bernadette Brady are probably two of the smartest women I’ve ever met, but I think you have to listen to their lectures to really appreciate just how wide-ranging their approach to astrology is.
I enjoy a lot of our fellow bloggers, but I’d like to single out Donna Cunningham. She has decades of experience that she shares on-line, and her approach to astrology is both practical and kind.
What can clients expect from a reading with you?
What do you most like to do when you’re not doing astro related things?
The truthful answer to that is: hang around with my family. I am lucky to have two daughters, a Gemini and a Taurus, who make me laugh and keep me grounded, and I live with the funniest man I know — Uranus & Mercury on the ascendant.
What’s next for Christina Rodenbeck?
I am working on a series of podcasts with my good friend Andrea Soole, who is also a professional astrologer. I’m also putting together a book, but that will be in process for several years. Meanwhile, the blog evolves.
Any tips for budding astrologers?
Question all received opinions in astrology. A lot of astrological writing is just a regurgitation of old texts, many of which are pretty reactionary, especially when it comes to ideas about women, relationships and social hierarchies. Some writing is also incredibly negative. So test stuff out.
Read as many charts as you can, go to as many lectures as you can, read as many differing opinions as you can. Have faith in the process, and have fun.
Some great tips. Thanks for dropping by…
You can find Christina and subscribe to her monthly horoscopes at The Oxford Astrologer.