How I Met Astrology & What Happened

I first met astrology in my early twenties through a dear elderly friend. It definitely peaked my interest from the start, because of her and our immediate closeness and depth. My friend had the same birth sign as me (a day earlier). It took a few years of being with her and experiencing the ease in our relationship before my interest grew into a desire to learn it. I began studying it at the age of 26 in Palo Alto, California, in the early 70’s. I was fortunate enough to find a brilliant teacher who inspired me.

My life was strange and foreign to me as I stutter-stepped my way through it. Nothing made any sense to me in a meaningful way. I was frustrated, angry and confused. I was hiding behind a façade of being polite, cheerful and “appropriate”. I was very sad and lonely deep deep inside myself, while quietly and constantly worrying and wondering if there was a “way out” of the space I was in. It didn’t occur to me that I was depressed. I had my “act “together and I wanted to believe it, but I didn’t. My well-practiced veneer was beginning to crack. (Secretly, I didn’t like myself, though I told myself and acted as though… I did. I was “nutsy-coo-coo” and I knew it).

About three months later, after attending weekly astrology classes, I randomly picked up a chart one evening from a stack of my classmates charts scattered on my table. (We had traded charts to share our insights with each other during part of our weekly classes. In the meantime, we would spend time looking at them to get insights before the next class.)

As I looked into this chart, I saw the symbols and patterns on the page slightly vibrating in front of me. The more I looked at them, the more my mind opened up and I effortlessly and mysteriously somehow “slipped into” the chart. In doing so, I began to grasp deeper meanings of the planets… their aspects to each other and how that would affect the person’s life.

I didn’t try to figure it out. I just comprehended it or “grokked* it” like in the book Stranger in a Strange Land. My natural interest in astrology seemed to open me up and fill my head and heart with more understanding than my “studying” had previously done. I experienced an intensity in my body of what this person might actually be feeling, as well. I was understanding the dynamics of the chart… mentally, emotionally and physically and I was lit up with excitement by the depth of understanding I was experiencing.

My mind kept filling up with deeper “wisdom” of the underpinnings this person could be going through on multiple levels. I felt sensations of their angst, confusion, and a stalemate position in their life. I also realized how the tension in this chart could be a real “crazy-maker”. I was mentally understanding and intuitively feeling the chart simultaneously. It came to me so easily and unexpectedly that I didn’t think to question any of it.

I sat with the chart for some time, in amazement at how the insights continued to flow into me while I was simply in an open state of awe. I was spellbound as I observed the chart from a different perspective that I didn’t know was possible. I was witnessing what I was learning in the chart and also what I was feeling…on an intuitive level about the chart and without getting lost or caught in it. My head was clear, my heart was open and I felt deep compassion for this person.

Eventually, after some time while marveling in this nurturing space, it dawned on me, “Who’s chart is this?” I casually glanced to find the name, wondering which one of my classmates had this chart…? OMG! I was dumbstruck and flabbergasted! It was … my chart! It belonged to me!!!  (I had a stack of all my classmates charts, including my own!)

The chart slipped out of my hands and dropped to the floor. I leaned forward with my elbows on the table and cradled my face in my hands. I immediately witnessed myself sobbing deeply with long breaths while tears were drenching my hands and dribbling down my arms onto the table. I naturally and instinctively rocked myself forward and backward with my deep sobbing. Then, suddenly I would burst out in bellows of uproarious laughter. I was ecstatic! I wanted to roll with the waves of these feelings… forever….

At times I needed to gasp for air… My sobbing was so hard my body shook while I rocked myself. Then the laughter rolled out of me again. It was such an extraordinary sensation whipping me back and forth from tears of deep grief to roars and joyous laughter. The experience was beyond……far beyond……. THE BEYOND…..Amazing and Awesome!!!

Through all of this, I witnessed myself being filled with pure joy and overflowing with gratitude. My whole body was responding with tears of pure delight as I continued to sob with grief and cry in joyous laughter uncontrollably. I felt totally safe, while continuing to rock back-and-forth and ride the waves and flow with what was happening… to my body. I seemed to be looking at myself from my Self.

In the moment … I allowed myself to express what I had so tenaciously held onto for years…that had become overwhelmingly toxic for me. I had no way of processing it on my own…until then….and I had the good fortune to witness it as well.

In that experience, I realized that it was not about me learning astrology to find out about others. It was about me. I was truly the most worthwhile person for me to learn about. And… that I was the only one to learn about, to find my way out of where I was… Astrology was my path to my own Self-Discovery!!!….Whew!

In short, I became my first “client”, so-to-speak, while continuing to study astrology. I was ready to look and to discover what I was about… to even look at my warts, (and all). It did not seem scary anymore, but fascinating because I was so drawn to it now…to sincerely help myself. I truly knew I needed help. I had experienced compassion for myself and I wanted to do something to help me. I was to begin with me. An unexpected experience and insight had dropped into my lap to help me acknowledge me and my craziness and confusion. What an awesome gift…. from the Universe!

Looking back in time with 20:20 hindsight, I know now that… I had a breakthrough into myself. I became connected to “myself-mySelf”. I had the experience of… spontaneously stepping into my feelings and…”learning who I am” in the moment.. I learned how I was so deeply caught in my own prison of self-denial masked behind my facade.

Discovering astrology changed the course of my life and has carried me forward. From this story, I hope you can see it has been my path to understanding myself. This path has given me the courage to step more deeply into my life. I am grateful for this invaluable experience… A pinnacle in my life. It has opened many doors of opportunity that would otherwise have been missed.

In 2006, I trained as an Imago Educator and Workshop Presenter for couples. I found my background in astrology was a tremendous asset for me during my Imago trainings to understand psychotherapy. Through astrology I understood the “psychological playing field” of my mind to help me see what I was personally dealing with… And “what made me tick (and tock)”. Once I knew that, I could make informed choices in how I could work with myself and learn to move forward in my life.

I appreciate my life and where I am in it. For or over 50 years I have been studying astrology. It has been a most rewarding tool in helping me explore my life and grow. It has helped me step into who I am and who I am becoming… And, in this way I want to continue to serve others by helping them do the same.

– Susan McCallum

Footnote –

*Grok: The Oxford English Dictionary summarizes the meaning of “grok” as “to understand intuitively or by empathy, to establish rapport with” and “to empathize or communicate sympathetically (with); also to experience enjoyment”.