What is Astrology?
Astrology is a creative, symbolic, intuitive and oftentimes spiritual interpretation of astronomical data. Variants of astrological systems can be found worldwide and traced back to the earliest civilizations in recorded history, such as the Babylonians, Greeks, Indians, Egyptians, Nubians, Iranians, Chinese, and Maya. Regardless of different cultural mythologies and systems, our ancestors all performed methodical observations of the night sky (early astronomy.) These observations were (and are) applied in relationship to earthly experience for human benefit. Ancient astrologers were highly valued as advisors to royalty, military, and priests for their ability to predict events, assess character, and make accurate medical diagnoses.
Some of the things astrologers track include correspondence of solar and lunar phases to growth patterns and human activity, or the repeating apparent cycles of planets and constellations as they relate to predominant behaviors and mood. One of the most common applications of astrology is the natal chart. The natal chart is, most basically, a graphic interpretation of the sky at the exact time and place a person is born. In essence, the natal chart depicts one’s first impression of light and vibration, which, in turn, sets a baseline tone for perception and personality. Natal chart interpretation can be used to assist with issues as wide ranging as: timing for important events and life processes, personality assessment, life path and purpose, financial goals, political strategy, relationship compatibility, health and alternative medical diagnoses, psychological self-understanding, divination, and communication with ancestors and spirit guides.
Today, astrology is practiced all over the globe, through a number of different systems. There are many culture-specific systems (i.e. Indian/Jyotish, Chinese/Shēngxiào, Western/Tropical) and a plethora of different methodologies within each cultural system. My background and training is in Western or Tropical Astrology. This system originates from the Greek and Hellinistic systems. Contrary to common perception, Western astrology is based on seasonal light, not the constellations. Within Western Astrology there are many offshoots and variants. I have been most influenced by Psychological Astrology, Esoteric Astrology, Medical Astrology and Feminist Astrology.
What is Embodied Astrology?
Astrology is inherently embodied. As opposed to astronomy (the scientific method of observation, calculation and analysis of astronomical data), astrology is used to create meaning and provide context for our human lives on Earth. We don’t exist on this planet without our bodies. Therefore, any method for divining meaning, method or prescription for us, will be linked implicitly to our embodiment.
As an embodied astrologer, I seek to articulate and center the embodied experience. I do this in several ways:
I consider the embodied context. Beyond the cookbook formulations of what certain planets, signs or aspects mean, I’m interested in how these qualities and symbols will show up uniquely for each of my clients or other events I’m interpreting. Cultural contexts, life cycle, race, class, (dis)ability and other significant health factors, gender presentation and identification and sexuality are all important elements of a person’s embodied experience. I do my best to consider these elements within my readings, and to apply any astrological associations with as much relevance to these contexts as possible.
Through Medical Astrology methods. As mentioned above, there are many different modalities astrology is applied through. One of the oldest uses of astrology is as a tool for medical diagnosis. The astrological chart is frequently used as a diagnostic tool in Ayurvedic medicine and the foundations of modern Western Medicine were laid by astrologers (Hippocrates, Aristotle and Claudius Ptolemy were all astrologers.) In my practice I consider the chart and placements through the lens of Medical Astrology. I do not give medical diagnoses, but I do utilize the system for insight on where and how my clients bodies are being affected.
Through sensate intuition. There are many different kinds of intuitive and psychic abilities. I identify as a sensate intuitive or clairsentient. When I work with clients I receive powerful impressions in my own body. These impressions often very specifically relate to my client’s psychological state or emotional memories, their current physicality (health, dis-ease, tension habits etc.), and other impulses or motivations they may be experiencing in various levels of their awareness. As an intuitive, the astrological chart serves to guide my attention and inform my interpretations. (To learn more about me and how I work, read the next section “Meet Renee.”)
Hello :) Thank you for joining me here, and for taking the time to get to know me. My name is Renee. I’m a Leo Sun/Rising & Taurus Moon. I currently live and practice in a place now called Portland, OR, traditionally home to the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other tribes and bands of the Columbia and Willamette regions.
I’m a 2nd generation embodied astrologer. My mother was a bodyworker and psychotherapist who applied astrology with her clients, and also very much in raising me! She passed away in 2000, leaving me with her library and a deep love and trust for the astrological process. Through my work as an astrologer, somatic guide and educator, I often feel that she is quite close and assisting me. I continue to be an avid reader and ongoing student of astrology. I have been deeply influenced by the work of Melanie Reinhart, Liz Greene, Alan Oken, Eric Francis, Dane Rudhyar and Demetra George. I have studied with Heidi Rose Robbins and am currently mentoring under Carol Ferris.
On my father’s side, I am the descendent of Jewish mystics and a great-granddaughter of “the mystic oracle of Krakow”, Jacob Silberberg. As a white woman of Jewish and European descent, I try to work closely with my ancestral connections in order to utilize their gifts and contribute to both the ongoing healing of my lineages and the impact of my lineages. I spend a lot of time (personally and professionally) trying to unwind and understand the ways that our bodies and experiences have been shaped by ancestral inheritance.
Most of my exposure to concepts of ancestral inheritance and intergenerational healing have come through the teaching and leadership of Indigenous and Black people and women. I am grateful to many teachers I encountered in my early life when my parents and I lived in/at Big Mountain, Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Santa Fe. I am grateful to Clarissa Pinkola Estes for her writing, which made deep impressions on my heart and brain. I am grateful to, and inspired by the work of Robin Wall Kimmerer, Aurora Levins Morales, Thich Nat Hahn, The Dalai Lama, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Claudia Rankine, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and adrienne marie brown.
I’ve been immersed in somatic practices since age 11. I have worked professionally as a yoga and anatomy teacher since 2004, and as a Somatic Movement Educator since 2013. I’m a SomaSource provider, Registered Yoga Therapist and Somatic Movement Educator. I am an ongoing student of Body-Mind Centering and Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Therapy. I offer a deep bow and humble thanks to Melissa Michaels, Richard Freeman, Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen, Amy Matthews, and Todd Jackson - all of whom I studied with for many years and will continue to come back to for many years to come!
Along with my jobs as described above, I’m also an artist. I hold a BFA in Intermedia and CyberArt from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) and an MFA in Contemporary Art Practices and Social Practice from Portland State University. My work is multi-disciplinary and includes writing, drawing, painting, sculpture, video, sound and performance. I am deeply interested in Social Practice and “life as art.” My lifelong (ongoing) goal is to live in a state of constant artistic play, where my embodied experience is held and supported by creative inquiry, and all of my obligations and jobs are rooted in embodiment and creativity! Inherent in this personal goal is my desire to support others to live this kind of life as well. As an astrologer and somatic guide, I am always considering how to best assist my clients in living their lives authentically, joyfully and from a place of personal creative satisfaction.