[This interview took place on 7/25/2000. Joseph Jablonski, who is the Director of Sales at Matrix, and Clarke Fountain, the editor of Astro*Talk Online Magazine, spoke by conference phone with Gloria Star. The interview has been edited for length and meaning.]|
CF: What led you to focus on women’s issues in astrology? You’re a well-known astrologer today, but you can’t always have been prominent. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today and in particular how you got to the focus that you’ve arrived at.
GS: Well, lets see. It’s been a long journey, and it’s been a lot of fun so far – and I’m assuming the rest is going to be just as much fun as what has gone before. About women and astrology, I will say this: I am very strongly focused on women primarily because so much of my practice has always involved women and I am in my heart of hearts a feminist in the most positive light you can imagine. Not that I’ve never been anti-male. There’s no anti-male anywhere in any of the bones of my body. [laughs].
CF: Is it that women need a leg up? Is that what you’re saying?
Women, the strength of women and the power of women and doing what I can with my own life to embrace what it means to be a powerful creative, fabulous woman – all of this has been part of my personal journey. And so has realizing that there is an intrinsic value in being woman just as there is an intrinsic value in being man. For so many years, the way our society has gone, I think there’s been a question about the value of a woman, since for modern society and what has brought us into modern society so much value has been associated with what you produce in the outside world around job and income and all of these things.
CF: Doing rather than being, and doing being a man’s world theoretically?
A man’s world, and woman’s world being relegated to the domestic issues which, by the way, are where everything begins anyway. And neither do I see anything devaluing about the roles women that women have traditionally played and I think will be playing strongly; the expression of nurturing, and being the primary influence when it comes to children, children’s issues, home, and all of those sorts of things. Not that men can’t be involved. But my focus on women grew out of my focus on women’s issues politically, because I am kind of a political person, I always have been.
GS: I was one of those people who was rallying out there for the Equal Rights Amendment [ERA] many years ago. At the time I was doing that, I was living in the State of Oklahoma, and that was one of the states that voted it down. I was going in to speak to legislators on a regular basis, lobbying for the ERA, and talking with groups around the state of Oklahoma, going to libraries, talking about what the Equal Rights meant. This was at a time when most of the audiences I was seeing were women who were either the ones who had been burning their bras anyway or the ones cowering in the corners saying “What do you mean – rights?” It was a very interesting polarization to see, and I think that polarization has diminished quite a lot and we’re seeing instead “What is the value of being human: what does being a woman have to do with it, what does being a man have to do with it?”
As for me being a well-known astrologer, it’s just been a little step at a time. I started working as an astrologer mostly because I was learning about it and wanted to share what I was learning and curious and was talking with other people to see what their reactions and responses would be. I would look at their charts and ask them questions. It was more of an asking questions instead of telling sort of process, and my curiosity led to very intensive study of astrology and metaphysics over a few years. I started teaching classes in, again, kind of public forum areas. I would offer lectures at libraries and made endless presentations to service like the Rotarians and Kiwanis Club and the Women’s Club and Business and Professional Women and the Lion’s Club, just talking with people in general. My presentation would be along the lines: “Well, here’s what this is, let’s demystify it and you ask questions and I’ll give you a little information and you ask questions and we’ll have a conversation about this. And that’s really how I began to build my reputation as an astrologer. It was not so much within the “community of astrologers” so to speak. It’s just that the work I was doing in the world was to kind of have a conversation about what this is.
CF: That makes sense to me. From the political exposure you’ve had, I wonder whether you are part of AFAN?[Association for Astrological Networking]
GS: I am. In fact I was there when AFAN was born. I was standing in the hallway at the hotel in Chicago. In that particular conference, I had my youngest child with me, a boy who is now in his late teens, and I was in the hall because he was still of nursing age. It was late at night and I didn’t really want him to be bothering people, but who knew what was going to happen. It was a really interesting dynamic because of what we were looking for. I had attended a number of AFA conferences prior to that, and although there were a lot of business meetings and things like that happening [at those conferences], I think that a lot of people who were attending the conferences and who were members of the organization felt like they were members, but not necessarily in a democratic sense. I think AFAN initially was a call for “can we have some democracy amongst the community of astrologers?” I think there’s been a very positive evolution for AFAN since then in terms of identifying itself separately from just trying to get the AFA to shape up. That may have been the beginning, but it’s certainly not what AFAN is about at this point, which is more speaking and being with media for better exposure of astrology, and looking at and assessing legal issues when they come up – because there are still more states in the United States which do not protect the practice of astrology by law than states that do. Most of the states leave that to county statutes and town statutes, so if a town wishes to make it illegal, they can make it illegal. Every time AFAN has been called in to play a role in challenging the laws, these actions have been taken basically for first amendment rights, and these laws inevitably are overturned.
CF: That’s great to know. I’m just now learning a little bit about that.
I guess it was always confusing times but it seems to me that the way the media is presenting the roles of the sexes and our whole life roles [make it] very difficult to understand what you need to do, unless your family is giving you solid grounding (and some families don’t). What do you feel are the special challenges for girls coming up today and becoming women?
GS: I think this is one of the times when the young girls are traveling across a pretty wide chasm. I think we are looking at a time where young women – teenagers and women in their early twenties now – are exposed to role models in society where we are finally seeing women who are progressing into positions of power, as women should. This is something that girls my ages only saw rarely. It would be the rare woman who was a legislator. And in the span of our lifetime we have seen women on the Supreme Court of the United States. But within Western culture – and we’ll keep Western Culture separate from some of the other cultures that we have – because you can’t say that women everywhere on the planet have very many rights.[CF: That’s true.] In Western culture, we have these rights to develop our individuality. I think one of the things that is really difficult is the exposure to too much. I think there’s too much stuff that young women are exposed to now. I think there’s confusion about “Well, what am I supposed to focus on? Are relationships supposed to be important, is it supposed to be career? Is it how I look? Am I supposed to be fat or skinny? Am I supposed to be well-educated or do I just have to look good?” I think there is so much out there in the realm of information and propaganda and media exposure through television and the Internet. Much of it is very positive but there is a lot [out there]. It’s like being super-saturated with all kinds of stuff, and I think the biggest challenge is to extract what is important for you as an individual. Plus it is going to be equally important for young girls and young boys, because the boys are just as confused today.
CF: Yes, that’s where astrology comes in.
GS. That’s right. And you know, there is a difference in the way to approach astrology for males or females because we, as women, are driven differently. We absorb things a little differently. I think our biological differences and psychological differences are innately there. I think for that reason, the ways we are going to express ourselves as females and males will be inherently different.
CF: The range overlaps, but the focus tends to be different…
GS: It tends to be different. There is a general concept that when you filter that through a masculine principle or a female or male driver – and this is one of those things where I realize I am getting kind of off base, but in the idea of the “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” kind of thing.
GS: You know, I think there seems to be some validity in this concept [of differences between the sexes]. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been around all of our lives. If people couldn’t have identified with it, nobody would have taken [a book about them so seriously.]
CF (interrupting): I never knew just exactly how typical I was until I read that book and started talking to my lady friend and I understood it wasn’t just her and me.
GS: Right. It’s that difference that makes for all the chemistry and excitement and why we propagate the race, okay. It’s the differences that are necessary and they’re part of the excitement. I mean, heaven forbid that we all be alike. I mean, how horrid would that be? That would be just dreadful! But I certainly think that when you put these drives and filters that are more through a woman or a man – these different characteristics – some things that a woman is going to express are going to go a lot more easily for her than they will go for the guys. I just don’t think, even in today’s world where we are all supposedly very tolerant and people not being whatever the “norm” is [might be okay], it’s still difficult for a woman to get out there and be really assertive and strong and powerful and not be called a ball-buster or a bitch.
CF: It is.
GS: So how’s she supposed to do this? There is a way, but there is a stigma against asserting yourself that is uncomfortable – it is a little bit uncomfortable from the feminine perspective. I don’t quite know how to express this, so let me over-emphasize it. It’s almost like what happened with the males with this emotional sensitivity thing. I now have women complaining: “Well, now that he’s emotional, I’m just exhausted!” [laughter] So what do we do, because there’s all that power behind the emotion that the man puts there [when he finally is able to express it]. And then there is all the extreme sensitivity that the woman puts into the dynamics of assertiveness. It’s like there’s an impassioned aspect [to that assertiveness] that can go too far. So it’s very interesting.
CF: It’s a little like dealing with a missing emphasis in a chart – when people sort of overcompensate.
GS: Right. So I think it is important to start understanding these things. You have the dynamics of the chart to put within all that context and of course human personalities are always complicated. There are all these incongruities, which is one of the things that I think we’ve got to get across in astrology – that there is no one trait that is going to describe anybody as the whole person. You’re going to have a whole confluence of influences that are driving a person and, in that context, there is a dynamic and it’s that dynamic that creates the person.
CF: Right. That makes sense to me.
Within the world of astrology, what’s capturing your interest now? Are you exploring any new techniques or approaches or any new ideas or thoughts coming through the astrological community and the world?
GS: Let me try to distill this one down too. I work about eighteen hour days and six, sometimes seven days a week considering things and doing everything from talking to clients to working on all kinds of ideas. On a personal level, what I am doing right now – I have been really intrigued by what is happening with the Internet because I think that it is such an exciting means of communication. So I have been very busy, as you know, working with an internet company, Third Age Media, to develop specific astrology focused for specific demographic groups which will be real astrology, not just sun-sign astrology. And let me say, sun-sign astrology has its validity. I will always argue it and I do write sun-sign material. I probably always will do it, because it is a way to communicate with the public and it is just something that I like to do.
CF: Oh, sure.
GS: And it can be done well and with integrity
CF: It can be. I compare sun-sign astrology in an article of mine to trying to put an ocean in a bottle. It’s not the ocean.
GS: Right, but you can get a taste of it. You can get a taste of it.
CF: That’s true.
GS: And [with that taste, you can] say, “This is salty and wet.” But I’m doing this particular work [ed.- demographically focused astrology] as my current strongest creative focus. However, I’m also busy trying to pull together a report writer for kids that is based on what some may see as a revision of [my book] “Astrology and Your Child.” The book will be out at the end of the year. [I’m also] working on another report writer for that which hopefully will be out sometime next year as well. And then I also have some new concepts for a report writer dealing with some particular life issues that I have been wanting to develop too. So there are all of these kinds of things I’m doing that are about creative ideas.
You know, now that we’ve got computers helping us do math and doing things with the math and with charts that we never dreamed they were going to do, you know, you can come up with a technique every day that you would never, ever, consider utilizing.
CF: That’s true. I see it all the time.
GS: When I first got Win*Star Plus, I’d be going through the options on progressions and running all of these different kinds of progressions that, if I was going to be calculating these by hand, I would never have calculated so many different kinds of progressions. But since the computer can do this for me I thought – “Alright, let me start looking at these vertex arc [[directions]]. What is it, and what do they look like, and can I find an application for this?” And I started learning about these using charts of famous people, just to see if I was gaining anything in particular. And, again, not because I really thought I was going to become a vertex-arc directed expert, but I wanted to know what it was and how it worked. So it’s a lot of these things that I can fill out now that the software offers – for example, asteroids. There are 25,000,000 asteroids -- or however many there are now.
CF: I think there are 6,000 registered ones and there are quite a few more [unregistered ones. I don’t know how many].
GS: Okay, then…6,000 registered asteroids. And there is just a fascination with all these concepts, but I’ll tell you something. You can never know enough about the basics of the chart. and inevitably it always comes back to the basics. Any time I get a chance to do any kind of lectures or classes or conferences or go in and do anything like teaching novice and beginning astrology – it reminds me how significant and rich that basic material is. Plus I have been fascinated with following a lot of historical material that is being translated too. So, I try to just stay awake and alert and that is all I can say about where I am now. I’m trying though. I think it’s working. I want my consciousness to go [on growing]. I’d really like my hips not to go, but my consciousness to go [on growing].
CF: Okay, well you can do something about the one, I think, but I’m not so sure about the other one.
GS: So that’s part of the process. Then of course, there’s the element of working within the astrological community. Because I think it is important for us to get really solid astrological information out there. An frankly, I think one of the things that is happening with this explosion of information via the Internet and so much communication is that we don’t have enough astrology. I think we need better education for astrologers. I have been somewhat involved [in this]. I’m on the board of Kepler College and have been involved with Kepler and I coordinated the Kepler Advocates Network initially. And now they are off doing their initial Symposia and getting things really going, creating a valid curriculum that the world will recognize. Kepler is evolving paradigms which the world [can understand]: a university for astrology.
CF: Right. I think as astrologers also communicate more with one another, the desire to be able to talk to one another will spur people to broaden their knowledge about various techniques even if they don’t use them.
GS: I think so. I think that is part of the value of what happens at conferences. It is nice to get bodies together, but now that we can communicate and share ideas and pass information around and new technologies – that’s always helped us. Books will always be important too, I think. But the exciting thing that has happened is that I have been learning about astrology through my adult life – I really think I got serious about astrology when the astrology we have [now] was in its renaissance. I look now at the number of astrology books which are available and the access to information and the quality of that information – it’s far and away better than anything we had [years ago]. And I started looking for material in the 1960s.
CF: “The A to Z Horoscope Maker” was good in its day, but it certainly was very limited.
GS: It was limited. And you would find – there were these cookbooks and then all of a sudden infinity came with an explosion of information. I think it probably exists on all fronts but in the metaphysical world it was huge. I think that is part of what happened with the evolution of astrology – because so much more information is available and integrated with other areas of life – which is where astrology has to go, by the way. it can’t just be something separate, because astrology is a language that can apply to every facet of life.
CF: Like any major symbol system.
I have what probably is a silly question: we’re probably drawing to a close or near to one but my last question is this. There’s a comment from a Buddhist teacher I know of. He was asked “What’s this thing about men and women?” He said: “Oh, that’s very simple. Men are stupid, and women are crazy.” do you have any comments on that? I think its kind of a cute thing to make as a statement.
GS: I think it’s a cute statement. I think it sounds like one of those challenges you would get from a real thinker, you know? I’m not going to give you an answer.
CF: No, no, no. That’s one of those impossible questions.
GS: That’s right. It is an impossible question. You know, I think that the dynamics, the masculine-feminine dynamics, are always going to fascinate us. Women are always going to curse men and men are always going to curse women. I think that there is this element of our difference, and it doesn’t even matter anything about sexual orientation. It is just male/female kinds of things and in these dynamics we do have our own forms of sanity and creativity and joy and our own forms of insanity and destructiveness.
CF: So you’re saying we must nurture one and discourage the other one?
GS: Discourage the other one if we possibly can. Just find a place to keep it calmed down.
CF: Well, astrology keeps a lot of people busy.
GS: Yes, absolutely. And you know, it’s a great discussion point, whether people want to be arguing or if they want to be coming into a point of clear connectedness. It’s like the discussion of fate versus free will, which is another juicy topic for astrologers.
CF: Astrologers are right on the point between that.
GS: Yes. And I think that the thing that astrology really gives people is an understanding that there is a marvelous marriage between fate and free will. And the more you know about yourself and your drives, the stronger your ability to fulfill and create your destiny becomes.
CF: That seems true to me. I also know that in relationships, knowing from looking at the chart that the other person really is genuinely as strange and individual as I experience them to be, when astrology confirms that it can ease a lot of relationship tension.
GS: It can. It can add to your ability to tolerate someone. Of course, sometimes you realize that you don’t want to tolerate those particular types and that’s the way it is and you’ve had enough, thank you very much.
CF: You can’t fix it, but you don’t have to buy it.
GS: I do really want to encourage anybody who is interested in astrology from a typical viewpoint or from a viewpoint of being insanely addicted to it to learn more about what astrology really is.
CF: How do we get young people to be actually learning astrology?
GS: Actually I think there are a lot of young people interested in astrology. I think it has always been a fascination and it is growing even as we speak. I think we just have to keep giving them information that comes from a valid resource that they can apply to themselves as individuals, and not just make them like everybody else but encourage them to enjoy what is different about themselves.
CF: That’s a hard thing to learn.
GS: Yes. Exploring the whole of astrology – the nature of astrology – I don’t know if we can make this easier because it is not an easy subject…
CF: It sure isn’t.
GS: You know, the more you learn about it, the harder it becomes. But, it’s good to at least translate the language in a clear and embracing way. I do think it is becoming more and more the vernacular instead of being so isolated. It is everywhere. You hear people talking astrology all the time.
CF: I know, it even happens on “Good Morning America.”
GS: Absolutely. It’s kind of phenomenal, isn’t it?
CF: It is.
GS: This morning, when I finished breakfast… (I get up very early, do some work and then I go walk and then I have breakfast around 9 or 9:30) …I switched on “Regis and Kathie Lee” and Harrison Ford was one of the guests. Somebody asked him to comment on something. I think Regis said “What’s your favorite movie?” and Harrison Ford said “Oh, I can’t say what my favorite movie is. That’s like asking me what’s my favorite child. Each is unique. They all have a different sign.” And I just kind of stopped [on hearing that] and went “Yeah!”
CF: And he’s sort of an exemplar of a middle-of-the-road human being.
GS: That’s right. And [astrology] is just part of his thinking about things, and he went on to talk about uniqueness.
CF: So we are getting out there.
GS: We’re getting out there and it is not scaring people so much. That’s the goal: Make astrology accessible. Demystify it a little, and help to bring it to its rightful and respected place in this New Society!
Copyright: Matrix Software