Spirit Grooves Dialogue with William Stickevers and Michael Erlewine (UAC 2018)
In May 2018 I spoke at the United Astrology Conference (UAC) in Chicago and worked with astrologer Alphee Lavoie of AIR Software to demonstrate and promote his professional software for practitioners. Lavoie was one of my main teachers and mentors early in my astrological training and on the last day of UAC, Alphee recommended to his long-time friend and colleague Michael Erlewine, founder/developer of Matrix Bluestar Software, creator of Local Space Astrology (a technique taught in my 6-week Astrolocality Astrology Course in spring 2019), and recipient of two Marion D. March Regulus Awards (in 1989 for Professional Image and in 2018 for Lifetime Achievement), that he speak with me for his Spirit Grooves Dialogue podcast, which he was recording on the conference trade show floor.
Below is the transcript of that conversation, which Michael Erlewine published on his YouTube channel on June 24, 2018.
Michael Erlewine is an award-wining archivist of popular culture and founder of AMG, the All-Music Guide, the All-Movie Guide, and ClassicPosters.com (rock concert posters), and many other sites.
Erlewine is also a world-famous astrologer, the first person to ever program astrology on home computers and make programs available to professional astrologers. The author of scores of books on astrology and related topics, including hundreds of articles.
Internationally known astrologer and author Noel Tyl (author of 34 books on astrology) has this to say about Michael Erlewine:
“Michael Erlewine is the giant influence whose creativity is forever imprinted on all astrologers’ work since the beginning of the Computer era! He is the man who single-handedly applied computer technology to astrological measurement, research, and interpretation, and has been the formative and leading light of astrology’s modern growth. Erlewine humanized it all, adding perception and incisive practical analyses to modern, computerized astrology. Now, for a second generation of astrologers and their public, Erlewine’s genius continues with StarTypes … and it’s simply amazing!”
Michael Erlewine is also co-director of the Heart Center Meditation, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation center, in operation for almost thirty years.
Early on Erlewine hitchhiked with Bob Dylan, opened for Cream at the Fillmore Auditorium in 1967, the “Summer of Love,” and many other gigs. Later he had a career in music as lead singer and amplified harmonic for the Prime Movers Blues Band, featuring Iggy Pop on drums.
Micheal Erlewine’s website is www.dharmagrooves.com.
Transcript edited for print
Michael Erlewine: Why don’t you tell me why you’re in astrology, what you do in astrology, you do astrology, right?
William Stickevers: Yeah, I’ve been doing astrology since 1987–
ME: Let’s start by having the birth information in case we have to make a chart of it.
WS: Okay, my birth information is March 24th 1965, 10:53 AM in Far Rockaway, New York.
ME: Oh, wow.
WS: And I’ve been doing astrology since 1987, or at least a student of it, and began [an official] professional practice in the early 1990s, and then translated into an international practice by 1996-97. And along that time I had a career as well in classical music and software engineering which I got a degree in as well, and started working with Astrological Institute of Research back in the mid-’90s, and had my own private practice both in Tokyo and in New York from 1996 through 2013.
ME: Now, this is going to be not just an interview but a discussion.
ME: I tell everyone else– that I just don’t know you before, I would’ve told you, but classical music, I know a lot of classical music Tell me more about what you did in classical music.
WS: Yeah, so I majored in music. I went to Temple University in Philadelphia and I studied with the principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I was very active in the classical music world playing with various different orchestras and playing in New York, Germany, and Japan.
ME: What instrument? Clarinet?
ME: Okay, cool. That’s powerful. What kind of classical music do you like? I’m just curious.
WS: I like everything up to Bernstein. My preference and range in terms of playing, especially, I love the big orchestra music, but I also like a lot of the music of Schubert in the more chamber setting.
ME: Quintet in C, something like that?
WS: Yes, especially the Schubert liedermusik where there’s clarinet and soprano.
ME: Schwanegesane, or something like that?
ME: You and I share that.
WS: I have still a big passion for it.
ME: What about ragtime and any jazz? You ever play jazz?
WS: No, I never I never got to the jazz level from that. When I was performing on Broadway, I would have to play certain jazz licks, but it wasn’t what we would call proper jazz.
ME: You probably don’t know but I founded the largest music database in the world, which is called All Music Guide, allmusic.com. And I had 150 employees and 500 freelance writers. But that wasn’t– I studied classical music, not as a performer, but especially Bach and Mozart and, well, everyone.
WS: Right, the Masters.
ME: I had all the Bach Cantatas which are like two-hundred and something. But I loved his contrapuntal stuff: Art of the Fugue, Musical Offering, trio sonatas, and stuff like that. Anyway, we don’t have to talk about that and I just– bond with you a little bit on that.
WS: Yeah, I appreciate that.
ME: So tell me what it is that you do astrologically that is interesting to you and that other people value you for?
WS: Well, my astrology has evolved quite a bit from the early days when I studied with a Jungian psychological astrologer who worked with Liz Greene back in the ’80s and early ’90s when that was a big thing.
ME: And what was his name?
WS: Robert Cook, Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island.
WS: And I got quite a bit of training with him. And then I started working with Alphee Lavoie getting training in horary and electional.
WS: Then later on with the development of black box technology using projected forecast with transits and various other means of techniques and forecasting.
ME: That’s cool.
WS: And then also going very deep into the research part of it, you know, the astrological research module that first came out. And while I was learning that, I was getting a degree in computer science and writing coding.
ME: What kind of coding?
WS: At the time we were doing C++.
WS: And so then I got into astrological magic–
ME: What is that?
WS: Astrological magic. I started working with Christopher Warnock, I took a course with him. It’s astrological talismanic magic, and the source material was Cornelius Agrippa and Picatrix.
ME: What do you end up doing with them?
WS: Well, you create talismans using very precise electional criteria and images that are associated with those particular elections to constellate planetary energy or a particular outcome from a particular election with using very specific rituals, very specific imagery, very specific talismanic images, very specific materials that would galvanize and game-change a particular outcome or an issue one was struggling with. But basically from the standpoint of how I’ve come to understand it is [to] accelerate and intensify the process of individuation and self-actualization. So I was very immersed in that for a number of years — and still am — and actually was responsible for getting the Picatrix translated into Japanese and have a very big presence in Japan doing astrological magic for the Japanese people. Then later on I got into financial astrology, investing. I lived in the Lower West Side of Manhattan and worked with hedge fund, financial quantum trading. Did that for a number of years with astrology. Alphee and I were developing out the various different astrological modules and forecast systems with that. Then I moved to San Francisco and took a deep dive into archetypal astrology studying.
ME: What’s that, tell me what that is.
WS: Well, studying about the various different — understanding of much broader cartography of the psyche that includes the perinatal matrix, the transpersonal realm within the framework of the findings of Jung. And then using a particular form of astrology that addresses that, that operates beyond the postmodern materialistic worldview. Most psychology today is really trying to operate within an academic materialistic postmodern framework where the work of Richard Tarnas and particularly [Stanislav] Grof together with their work at Esalen broke through that using a radically different world view of an enchanted universe of a transpersonal realm, and a perinatal matrix in which where the natal horoscope acts as a gateway between the transpersonal realm and the areas of psyche that integrate with ego, animus, the persona and such, and the process of individualization that’s related particularly with psycho-spiritual death-rebirth processes, spiritual emergency. So I got very much into that. And then understanding the archetypal framework of how astrology from a pan-psychist viewpoint, looking at astrology, looking at everything in terms of reality from a pan-psychic perspective to really get a deeper understanding of what astrology truly is.
Astrology is probably one of the most powerful and effective tools to getting to the core soul mission of what one is here to do in this life.
ME: What is astrology truly?
WS: Astrology truly is the measure of consciousness. It’s really about consciousness. Everything is conscious, whether this microphone I’m talking into or whether we’re talking about the effects of a particular planetary alignment expressing its archetypal contents on the world stage or on a personal level. So they’re all really manifestations of consciousness.
ME: And what is astrology valuable for?
WS: It’s valuable because it gives a certain level of self-reflection. Its real value is our ability to enhance, to give enough internal reflection and to enhance our ability to grow, to evolve as individuals. I mean, ultimately what we’re talking about here is enlightenment in a true sense of the word. Moving along the path of enlightenment. Moving along the path of the true self, of the soul’s code and calling. This is really what it comes down to. And astrology is probably one of the most powerful and effective tools to getting to the core soul mission of what one is here to do in this life.
ME: Question I have for you, are you familiar with the word samsāra?
WS: Yes, I’m familiar with it but can you remind me of the–
ME: It’s a Buddhist term. And samsāra is simply “this cyclic world that we live in with its ups and downs,” basically. And the opposite of that is called nirvāna. and nirvāna is what you’re referring to as — in Buddhist terms it’s enlightenment.
ME: And I’ve studied Buddhism for many, many, many– for decades, with great teachers from Tibet. I learned to read Tibetan, been to Tibet. I’ve done all the practices. And the way the Tibetans look at astrology might interest you. They feel that astrology is one of the limbs of the yoga, that it’s not the root. The root is the dharma, and they present it kind of like this. Imagine the world as a sphere, covered with water and the winds blowing, and there’s a sailboat, a little one in there. If you’re a good astrologer, you can help someone to set the sails of their boat to sail somewhere else on the sphere. Maybe if you’re in trouble or having a difficult time or they are, you can show them how to get a more comfortable place. So astrology is very valuable as what they call a relative truth. A truth of samsāra. But it’s part and parcel of samsāra. It will never– astrology cannot lead you to realization or enlightenment. So that I disagree with you with. The dharma can take you to the center of the sphere, where you can see everything in the periphery. That’s what they call realization, or realization is the step stone to enlightenment, it’s the beginning of a path toward enlightenment. You kind of mentioned a little bit of that, but according to them, anyway, and according to me — I’ve been doing astrology for 58 years — it’s not, astrology is so useful as I described. There is an element in astrology that’s a little less positive and it’s simply that it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We can make ourselves more comfortable in this life with astrology but we’re not ever going to leave this life, it’s not a path to realization. It’s not dharma. Dharma is a path to realizing the nature of samsāra, so that nirvāna, which is also called enlightenment — nirvana is the realization, that means not an experience but a realization fully of the nature of samsāra, the nature of what we’re in. Buddhism doesn’t offer you a heaven, or a static place at the end of something, everything takes place right here. And it’s not a steady thing but it’s a process. It’s the process of realization. Like breathing, you don’t stop realizing; you continue to realize. And I don’t know whether you understand any of that but maybe you do.
WS: Well, I think that I would have to say and insist on that astrology is one of the most powerful ways we can get on the path of enlightenment and I think one of the biggest problems in secular society today is very few people out there are on the path of enlightenment no matter how difficult that may be to get on or sustain on that path. I believe astrology is a phenomenally powerful tool to get us along that journey. But enlightenment doesn’t imply happiness or a life of wealth and pleasure or in all those things. It doesn’t imply the trappings of success or that many people believe, or it reduces our struggle. Most people I feel who are on a real path of enlightenment deal with even more struggle because of the greater awareness going on. Like this civilization. The civilization is in the path of tremendous transition right now, so it is going through its own psycho-spiritual death-rebirth. We’re more into the death-decay process before the transformation. We’re seeing that now. It’s a very difficult time. Many people are having their own breakdowns as a process, but this is also part and parcel of what enlightenment is about, from my perspective.
ME: And you’re familiar with just the normal geocentric astrology?
ME: You’ve studied all the techniques? Have you ever looked at your helio chart?
WS: I’ve looked at the helio chart, yes. And I’ve used the helio approach very much with financial movements.
ME: Let’s look at your helio chart right now.
ME: Is that alright with you?
ME: I’m not just here to interview you. I’m here to talk with you. I mean, I’ll take your– and present you.
ME: I see how you like to present yourself and it’s way, way too technical and you’re really losing most of your audience.
ME: And if you want to do that, it’s fine. It’s not like– I follow your train of thought. I’m not arguing with you. It’s fine. It shows you a very clear thinker; I like that. And I’m a pretty clear thinker, but I’ve also learned that if I want to be understood, if I want to communicate I’m going to have to– not dumb it down, but make all the– Words depend on how much sense they make. They don’t make sense to someone, and sense is always a physical experience.
ME: All words are– I’m a systems programmer, so words and pointers. Words are nothing in themselves except a point, and they depend upon how much sense they make.
ME: They don’t make any sense we call it “nonsense.” But sense has to be a physical experience, right.
WS: Sense, it implies that.
ME: All language points to having– it’s like over there, go and be. Like Shakespeare said, you know, “to be or not to be.” Whether you want to watch or whether you want to actually go into immerse yourself– and the sonnets say it really clearly, if you want to go into matter, or into life and live and have an experience, then you would have the opportunity to realize what you’re experiencing. Otherwise your stuff is very, very cogent, but it is not feeling enough.
WS: Feeling enough?
ME: It doesn’t give enough, it doesn’t immerse the person in an experience, enough for me. I’m not picking on it but I’m saying that — and it’s okay if that’s how you want to do it — it would be wonderful. But if you want to really reach regular people or if you want them just to put you on the totem pole, not a problem. But if you want to really lead them to grasping what you’re trying to say you have it dumb it down.
WS: I can dumb it down.
ME: I think you probably can; you’re very smart. So let’s look at your chart for a second. If you want to do that. Are you up for that?
WS: Sure. Good ol’ Bluestar.
ME: This is the new Bluestar.
WS: Yes, I know, 3.0.
ME: It’s not so old. I wrote, I designed the program.
WS: Yep, that [chart] looks right.
ME: Okay, so I look at it this way. [Pulls up helio chart] This is how the earth saw the solar system when you were born, at some kind of an oblique angle so that it’s not necessarily what was going on actually. It doesn’t really matter about the signs, so we get a completely different picture here.
WS: What type of chart are we looking at here?
WS: Heliocentric, okay.
ME: Yeah, this is a chart traditionally of the circumstances you’re in. Basically we call it the karma chart, or a chart of your persona. And, yeah, there’s some balance here, but the spaces are a little bit balanced, and I just wanted to see– But this to me– and I’ve done this for many, many years and looked at tens of thousands of charts. I had financial conferences and all the greatest, Arch, and all those people. But most of those have never made any money, just so you know. Because I had to pay for their way to even come to the conference, so what does that tell me. That tells me they shouldn’t be advising other people how to make if they can’t make money themselves.
WS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean these are the same guys who said Bitcoin would be zero this time last year. Now it’s worth nearly $10,000.
ME: Well, blockchain, Bitcoins and blockchain are the future, but it’s had a rough time trying to get there–
WS: Oh sure. Well, it’s only been nine, ten years since its inception, right.
ME: …and a lot of people lost a lot– I know, it certainly is a beautiful– but how stupid would it be it’s only going to be successful when the banks get a hold of it, right. Is it going to be like that?
WS: But there’s no way for them to have 51 percent ownership and control of the distributed ledger system.
ME: I know, but you must probably know better– I’m not following it lately, but I was– people lost a lot of money because it collapsed. You can update me too. How is it doing now? Is blockchain starting to…
WS: Well, you know, you got to look at it from this time last year, it was what, a thousand dollars and it went to $19,000, now it’s hitting around $7,000, $8,000. It’s been hovering around $10,000, more or less, since January, going up and down from there.
ME: Right, I’m there.
WS: So, if you look at if someone made an investment a year ago at this time they made more money than they would have ever made in any market including any hedge fund manager on Wall Street.
WS: So I think the fact that a majority of these so-called world class financial astrologers that you had to pay their way completely missed the mark on Bitcoin tells me you’re right — they shouldn’t be advising anyone.
ME: Well, this was quite a few years ago.
ME: You know, Norm Winsky, and Arch, and Bill Meridian–
WS: Yeah, Norm Winsky keeps telling me Bitcoin will never hit a thousand last year and now he’s telling me it’s going to go to zero.
[passerby interrupts to say hello to Michael Erlewine]
WS: Sorry, am I–
ME: No, that’s okay. I’m mainly here to do [these discussions] but I try to be useful to people–
WS: Okay, in other capacities.
ME: In other capacities. I mean, I’m not selling anything here [at the conference trade show]. I just came to do this because I’d like to know what people like yourself are doing.
ME: And you’re young and really bright. And that’s not unusual but it’s pretty unusual. But let’s look here [at your chart].
WS: Okay, sure, I’d like to hear what you think.
ME: The helio[centric chart] really represents our archetype. It represents– well, I could go into a long thing but it represents the tribe that we belong to, the kind of group of people that we’re a part of.
ME: You have the makings of a T-square, sort of, with Jupiter. And in Sanskrit the word for Jupiter is guru, and it’s basically about our path. And when you talk about the path, at least in Indian astrology which I know, and Tibetan astrology which I know, and Chinese astrology.
WS: The path, right, to enlightenment. That’s the guru who leads you, who guides you.
ME: Yeah, it’s the guru. So, the closest you get to being practical would be to help people to find their path. That’s what that tells me. But more important is it really– you have– this is almost a mystic rectangle. Mystic rectangles point to psychological prowess, having a strong side but they also point to– some dramatic people have this, it’s not really exact but it’s a little bit there. In helio, it doesn’t matter how exact it is; it matters only if it’s there. Because there’s nothing else there.
ME: So they also tend to fall into syndromes which they can’t get out of. They’re psychologists but they’re psychologists that can’t “psychologize” themselves very well.
ME: You see what I’m saying. So this is what’s called a wedge. So what you really have a lot of mental energy — wedges, trines, and sextiles especially when they form a pattern or type mean you’re going to make a living with your mind. And you’re doing it. But the downfall of this, we all have–
WS: We all have Achilles heels.
ME: Well, you know algebras? Algebras bring out one thing and suppress something else but they’re different. But so do these charts because, you know, there’s the geo chart, there’s the helio chart, I developed another technique called local space.
WS: Local space, yeah.
ME: That’s my technique, based on azimuth and altitude.
ME: And then there’s right ascension, declination, that’s all over electro astrology. So I’m always more interested– this is a pretty extreme chart. Very unusual. We have oppositions almost at cross with themselves. This is much more usable to me, and the way I have taught it for now 40 years or so, this really is your key to the city or whatever, this is what you’re going to– When you burn through whatever you’re doing in your geo chart, the way you appeared, this is what’s going to end up–
WS: Where you’re ultimately going to end up.
ME: What’s taking you if you know anything about rebirth or have any thoughts about that–
WS: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
ME: The one chart is your karma chart that we looked at. But the question is what is it that drives the karma chart. And it’s shown here. This is the stuff that when you have a rebirth will be helping to create a new personality. So we won’t have to go into that unless that’s something you’re familiar with.
WS: I understand. No, I do. The authentic self, the true self.
ME: The true self is what, as you get older. Other stuff just blows off.
WS: Right. Assuming the process of individuation hasn’t been–
ME: Yeah, you brought that up. We should talk a little about individuation and what you mean.
WS: So what I mean by that is that the aspects of self that are operating unconsciously, whether in the personal unconscious or operating in the transpersonal realm–
ME: Transpersonal, meaning… you mean the outer planets?
WS: Transpersonal meaning, no, that go deeper beyond the personal consciousness. So there’s several levels, you have the personal conscious where a lot of–
ME: But how are you expressing that astrologically? That’s what I’d like to know, how you’re doing that. I mean, if we’re talking astrology. If we’re not, we’re just talking what you just said, that’s a different deal.
WS: Well, the transpersonal realm is where the various different archetypal complexes like anima, animus would be operating along with the self in the transpersonal realm that begin to move up and manifest into psyche, into the personal, into the ego which is the process of individuation. That’s ultimately how I see it.
ME: Let’s slow down a second. Describe what you mean by ‘the process of individuation.’
WS: Where the unconscious–
ME: You mean, stuff coming up–
WS: Stuff coming up from the unconscious that is very much tied with the actualization and the integration of the self — or the true self — into the ego complex, into consciousness.
ME: But consciousness is separate from the ego complex so…
WS: Well, I’m saying into ego consciousness, that’s what I meant to say.
ME: Okay, ego consciousness. Okay, and what about ego consciousness?
WS: Ego consciousness where one has a distinctive sense of identity.
ME: You mean our persona.
WS: Well, yeah. Now, the persona is obviously the front end or the front end of ego consciousness but it is not part and parcel of ego consciousness. So the person you dress and what you project to others in the branding and the image that you project would be more connected with the persona, but that is much more of a temporal and changeable set of conditions versus where the ego, ego consciousness, the sense of a very distinct and defined sense of individualism, personality, etc. remains pretty much constant throughout life.
ME: Are you talking about Ātman?
ME: Okay, then you would subscribe to the Hindu concept of reincarnation of a soul.
ME: Okay, but– I’m a Buddhist. We don’t. What we say is that there is something that is called āvasānas, and in Sanskrit it’s called the ālāyavijñāna. Ālāyavijñāna is also called the alive consciousness or storehouse-consciousness. Our every action — just like I’m recording this — everything we do is recorded, but it isn’t recorded like shaping a person. It’s recorded almost like a random database. Not random but we can search for attributes and stuff but they don’t cohere. And like a great barge in time, the persona in Buddhism is burn off and loss at death. Self is not permanent at all. It’s just simply abandoned at the end of our life. But what does persist is the traces, what are called vāsas, they actually call them smells, things that we’ve rubbed up against. They’re desires, urges. This stuff moves forward and when we are reborn with parents and new DNA in a new situation, these urges bubble up, are called up and create an entirely new person. There’s no soul that’s transformed. So I’m just, we don’t have to argue it, I’m just saying you might to understand the difference between an Ātman and a Buddhist concept.
ME: So, something to know about. But the Buddhists are concerned about — and I’ve been practicing with them for decades, doing their way of purification. There are a whole bunch of preliminary practices called the preliminary practices, the common practices, extraordinary practices, and a special extraordinary practices. But their whole point is to cause the self, our sense of attachment, to thin out — just like the cervix thins out before a baby can be born — until we begin to be able to see beyond ourselves, see through it like transparency. That’s their approach. I’m just trying to integrate– everything you say is like a mantra, it’s really– you’re thinking it through very, very clearly. But doesn’t mean that it still makes much sense. And this is my complaint of you — I mean kindly, in a friendly, in a discussion way, right.
ME: It’s like, you want to get to know me, and I want to get to know you, this is how we get to know each other. So, I see that you’re dotting all your i’s and crossing all your t’s. Thinking really, really well. But you’re not making enough sense. And, you know, take it for what it’s worth. You know, what I’m saying? You could make a lot more– you have the ability to articulate. Unusual. And you can do it. If you’re enjoying it, then it’s more like a… My dad was a magician. And when I was young, I knew Thurston and all the famous ones, but I got to hate it being dragged around. But you’re doing a lot of misdirection if only because you’d like to hear yourself talk or something because you talk so well. It’s really beautiful. But ultimately it will depend on how much sense you can make, all that ability you have to reach other people. And that would be a worry that I would have. If you’re always doing this, certain people will understand you and certainly everyone would be amazed about it. You know, this guy is unusual and that’s exactly what Alphee said, You gotta talk to this guy. I’m talking to you. And I like what you can do but it’s kind of like a dance, and I don’t see a lot of care of other people from that language to bring them in so that you communicate. You’re making some sense to me; I kind of get it. But if you would be little kinder in gentling it down or dumbing it down — not make it dumber because I like the sharpness of it, but I want it to be more compelling to include me in your thoughts. Does that make any sense to you?
WS: Sure, absolutely. Well, you know, I’m doing the best I can do.
ME: Me too.
WS: Look, I would have to say that really– my real driving interest now is the study of consciousness and I believe astrology is a means, a very effective means of that. In and by itself it has limitations like anything else, but it’s ultimately understanding the nature of, the mystery of ourselves and the mystery of the cosmos. And that it radically alters people’s world views about our place in the universe, the cosmos in a way that challenges the current existing paradigm. Astrology can account for all ranges of experience that goes beyond the current paradigm of physics and science and mechanistic-materialistic perspective.
ME: But it’s limited to samsāra. It’s a dualistic–
WS: But I have to disagree with you; I don’t think you’re right.
WS: I’m a pan-psychist and that’s not a term I just accept. It’s something I’ve come to my own conclusions. I don’t totally agree with Buddhist doctrine. I do believe in the transmigration of souls. I’ve studied Life Between Life hypnotherapy. I’ve gone under Life Between Life hypnotherapy, I’ve put others under it. We’re not talking past life. I’m talking about the realm that souls go back to, the matrix or the domain from where all sentient– all life comes from. And that my experience is that we have particular soul missions that we take on. And these soul missions seem sometimes counterproductive to what is termed– or what one would seek. So, in other words one in their soul’s contract would accept periodic failures or a failed marriage, or have to go through certain experiences out of necessity for certain lessons to be learned.
ME: Yeah, but that’s very Buddhist.
WS: Yeah. So that may– but you know, I don’t believe in things like this just because I believe in things. It’s from my experience and I reserve the right to update and modify my world view as I become more informed and enlightened and more conscious and hopefully more integrated.
ME: Well, that’s what we do. I mean, we all do this.
WS: Right. So you know, I mean that’s what really drives me with astrology. Taking a little bit of what we discussed and putting that more into my astrology. Regardless of whether we’re talking about the price of Bitcoin this time next year or we’re talking about someone who’s going through a mid-life crisis and what that really means at a deeper level. That’s really what drives me to do this stuff. I get a good response. I’ve been able to make a pretty good living out of it. I have a good number of students, some of them have [NCGR-PAA Level III or IV or ISAR certification or] PhD’s, very accomplished in their own secular spheres of work. Some of them are making the transition actually to do this in a more serious professional manner. So I feel I’m being successful and I’m making an impact.
ME: No, I think that’s good. I’m just giving you some feedback that you might not get much of.
WS: No, and I appreciate what you’re saying, and you’re right. I need to articulate a lot of what I’m saying in a way where people can connect with it more, and I’m working on that.
ME: Yeah. Well, I would encourage that. And I don’t mean to deprecate you.
WS: No, I didn’t take it that way.
ME: Because I appreciate it.
WS: Yeah, it’s something I need to get better at.
ME: If you could do it, you could be phenomenally more successful because the common person could grasp what you’re saying. I think you can do it without sacrificing any joy of articulation, which there is. It’s a form of meditation what you do with your voice and what you do with your mind, in what I hear. It’s almost like a mantra but not quite. But it shows me that you absolutely are thinking things through. It’s just that– my job is just to give you feedback.
ME: Not to make, not to be an unfriend or anything because that’s not how I feel.
WS: Oh no. I didn’t take it that way at all.
ME: If you keep on this path maybe no one’s going to be able to talk to you this way, but they should. Because I think you will be groomed for something better than you imagined.
WS: Right, and I come from a classical music world where no matter how well you play an orchestral excerpt in front of your teacher, you’re always going to get critique.
ME: I think that’s wonderful. And I love classical music.
WS: And that’s something– I realized the best thing someone can do is to give you really honest constructive feedback to help move you forward. And so because of that background, I never take things personally like maybe some other people do.
ME: Okay, well good, because I’m just trying to be helpful. And I don’t agree with– the problem with astrology — and I’ve been doing it a long time — is that it is of this world, which is good and it can help people improve it. But it never going to release people from the world and we can disagree on that.
WS: Release people? What do you mean by that? I’m just trying to get clarity.
ME: It’s not going to bring enlightenment of people.
WS: I think it can lead one on the path but it will not bring them to enlightenment. That is a completely different–
ME: Okay, the only thing that can do that is something like the Buddhalev which is a method, you know, very strict method. Buddha can’t touch my forehand and enlighten me, he could only show me how to do the path properly.
ME: And so, my worry– and I face the same thing you’re facing in trying to talk to people for a long time, especially these people of which I’m an integral part of for fifty-some years. How to get them — just what you’re saying — how to help them actually get on that path and stop talking about it–
WS: Right, and start doing it.
ME: — and dreaming about it or stop conceptualizing it and thinking that that’s doing it. They’re not doing anything.
WS: Right. Living out of their heads.
ME: There’s two– One thing is to conceptualize it. I mean, you’re a genius at that. Secondly and more difficult is to actually realize what you’re talking about. That’s really tough. But realization comes and goes — that you realize one day and two weeks later you don’t quite remember. But realization is like turning on a light switch. Once you understand how to turn on the light switch, you never lose that. And realization dharmically or conceptually — and you and I would have big talks about consciousness simply because the Buddhists, you know– if you’re talking about phenomenology — which I’m a phenomenologist. And getting people from experience– you can get people pretty easy into experience, but you get them to realize what their experience is is very difficult. And astrology can’t do it but they don’t have to. It’s not meant to do it. You’re absolutely right. It’s meant to help, to get people ready to go on the path. But how are you going to move from getting ready to be on the path? And the way the Buddhists do it is that they have a whole lot of preliminary exercises. They’re very, very difficult. And I’ve done them. And when I was all done I was told them do them again which was horrible. But then they reach a point where they have– in Zen it’s called kenshō, but in Tibetan Buddhism it’s called recognition. A lama literally points out to you the nature of the mind; it’s called the pointing out instructions. And I’ve had great lamas take me in a room and try to do it and I didn’t get it. I was mortified. But, fuck it. I am what I am. And finally maybe I got a little bit of it after a long time of working with them. And helping them to realize the nature of their own mind, it’s that point that they become independent and they don’t need any more teaching. All they need to do is– they feel that– they know how the mind works and more importantly they feel that they can do it. Will they do it, there’s another question. Will they take the time to do it.
ME: So I hear most of what you say. I don’t understand everything but– getting from trying to get on the path to actually getting to the point of recognition is very difficult.
WS: Agreed. I’m in total agreement on that one.
ME: Yeah, I’m trying to figure it out. And I’m learning. I’m still working, I’ve been studying Mahamudra meditation for 30 years, 10-day teachings every year, intensive of it and I’m still learning. And I can’t talk as well as you can, but I can talk well enough. And I’m also interested in making sure that everyone gets something from what I say. And I don’t want to be just someone that they look up to. I want to be– to love and be loved by them, and to be helpful to them in the life. You know, I love Alphee. He’s a wonderful being, right.
WS: Right. Yes.
ME: And there’s a few others like him. But very few like him, even.
WS: Right, he’s truly authentic.
ME: Not very common. He’s a wonderful being. So, that’s what I am about. And, yeah. I like you. I see what you’re doing. If I can be of any help to you, I’ll do whatever I could. But certainly you’re working with, or giving you feedback once in a while, just get you down to earth, right. If you can just be more and more practical so that regular people– I had a whole roomful of people, and 50 people couldn’t even get in. But I was communicating to them stuff that they needed to hear, so that they were crying and doing all kinds of stuff. You’re not at that point — in talking to me in any way, I’m not crying– I don’t cry easy, but I’m saying you could really improve what you do by being able to bring them along with you so that they didn’t have to put you on a pedestal, which is what will happen.
ME: You’ll be respected, but you won’t be loved as much as you should be, and I think that love is really important. And your chart shows me that– are you married?
ME: Okay, well, you need a partner. This kind of chart is absent the T-cross. We have a rough one trying to form, but you need someone to pull you down to earth, and maybe your wife is obviously doing that.
ME: I’ve been married 47 years.
WS: Wow, congratulations.
ME: And I have eight grandkids and all that good stuff.
WS: Wow, big family.
ME: Big family, Catholic family, so. But I’m not Catholic anymore, it was nuts, it was crazy. Drove me nuts. But anyway, yeah. You passed my test whatever it is in the sense that you’re authentic. What you’re doing is an authentic thing. You’re not just bullshitting, but it looks a little like bullshit because it’s harder to understand you than it should be.
WS: Right, than it should be. So it’s something I will work on.
ME: Yeah. Well, those are my advice for you as an astrologer. And looking at your chart that makes a good amount of sense to me.
ME: And yeah, I have books just on this. I give all my books away. I’ve written tons of them. More on dharma. I’m more interested in mind training, help people to– and if you ever need to know about that or if you ever want people to know how to start to easily train their mind, you can talk to me and I can explain something that’s totally simple, that any group of people can begin doing. It takes no energy on their part and it takes no setting some special side to go and meditate or sit in the corner. You do meditation and to benefit from dharma you have to do it all day long. If you don’t do that, it’s like going to church on Sunday; you’re not going to go to heaven, you’re not going to amount to much. But if you ever want to know anything, you can always contact me and I will tell you stuff that then you can share with others, since you’re going to be out with people and I’m not. I came to this, but I don’t come out. And I’m busy. I write an essay each day on Facebook.
ME: I don’t spend any time on Facebook but I write a very articulate — and you can go see them — very articulate essay. Sometimes on astrology but mostly on dharma. So, anyway. Any questions?
WS: No, I want to thank you for this opportunity. I appreciate your feedback and your perspective and I have respect for the work you have done in astrology, the work you’ve done in, I guess, transpersonal development, Buddhism, your contributions in bringing that into the world through the vehicle of astrology. And certainly the contributions you’ve made in terms of Matrix Software, Bluestar — it made a big impact on my life during a very– very early on.
ME: Some of my best work is walking around. That’s the best work that I’ve done, maybe, is trying to help people. I love your idea of trying to get people on the path. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. And anything I can do to help that or anything you can do that I can learn from you, I would be happy to do it because it’s really tricky, really hard. And even if you have reached where you have in your mind, and I can see that, it’s not easy for someone else to do that. And part of your job, if you’re going to really make money is that you’re going to have to help them do that. It’s not enough– I mean, if you help them to make money and stuff, okay, if you can do that, fine. But that doesn’t mean so much to me, how much money someone has or– it’s what you say — getting on the path and then I think they’re okay. You don’t have to worry about them, they don’t have to come back. I would never do with people– I’d see them once, once. Once a year at the most but I would never do therapy with people. That’s never– wanted to see them again because you take from me, that’s what I have to offer.
WS: That’s right.
ME: I’m not going to end up doing this once a week. And some of these people, even here, are coming back again probably because they know that’s as far as it’s going to go. [passerby engages Michael] I’m going to have to stop.
WS: Okay. It was a pleasure. Thank you, Michael.
ME: It was fun. Let’s talk again.
William Stickevers is an astrological consultant, hypnotist, life coach, and business strategist, advising clients from 28 countries for over three decades with strategy and insight to live a more fulfilled life according to their soul’s code and calling.
A trends forecaster, William’s annual global forecasts are backed by a deep study of economies, geopolitics, archetypal cosmology, and modern astrological forecasting techniques. William’s predictions for the outcome of the U.S. Midterm and Presidential Elections are well documented on his blog.
William has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, The Unexplained with Howard Hughes, Beyond Reality Radio with Jason Hawes and JV Johnson, The Jerry Wills Show, and Alan Steinfeld’s New Realities. An international speaker, William has lectured at the New York Open Center, Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), two Funai Media events in Tokyo, Japan, the United Astrology Conference (2018), for the National Center for Geocosmic Research (NYC, Long Island, New Jersey, San Francisco chapters), American Federation of Astrologers (Los Angeles), the Astrological Society of Connecticut, the San Francisco Astrological Society, and in Europe (Munich, Germany, and Bucharest) and Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama).