On the eve of his first 'Astrology 101' webinar, famed Canadian astrologer, Phil Booth, shares with me his insights into the 2012 phenomenon, Barack Obama's birth chart, and why Don Cherry had better behave this spring.
The Internet and the ‘2012’ phenomenon have conjointly caused a bit of a stir here on Earth – Google them and you'll find stories of cataclysms and the end of time. After hearing of the imminent 'end' a year ago, I lay awake at night agonizing over my lack of spacecraft and unsinkable ships I could use to survive the prophesied mass floods. Heck, I didn't even have a bike to escape with. What I did have was a hefty group of skeptical friends to calm me down by voicing their oppositions. But what if they were wrong? I turned to something I have sought affirmation from many times before: my horoscope.
Before you think I'm illogical, you should know that horoscopes are an extremely, if not the MOST popular incentive for readers on a daily basis – both online and in print. Horoscopes can be fluffed up with goofy predictions of luck and love for entertainment's sake but they're also a principal derivative of a much larger subject field, namely astrology.
Phil Booth, former resident astrologer of BBC Radio South and ‘The Toronto Star,’ and the stargazer behind Boothstars.com, sat down with me to explain why astrology applies to our modern world, and how digital media can help with that.
What's the difference between a psychic and an astrologer? I feel they're often confused for one another.
That's something that always causes me grief and anxiety because astrology is such a deep subject. It's scientific because you're looking at certain planetary configurations that existed at a particular time, like an earthquake, and utilizing it to predict future occurrences. Psychics can connect with spirits, like they did in ancient times. When you read Homer and 'The Iliad,' Odysseus ended up in Hades where the dead reside and he was talking to them. That's a whole other story.
But you're not a psychic.
I'm not a psychic, but I am intuitive. Intuition is when you get a feeling that a thought you're having, or something you're saying, is coming from somewhere else. A statue of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh often has an eagle enveloping his crown. The eagle represents the notion that his intuition is coming from somewhere else — in ancient times they communicated everything in symbolic form. It sounds a bit strange, but sometimes you have to make a certain leap of faith to understand that there are connections in our human experience that link up with our other planetary alignments.
Other civilizations knew that too, right?
Of course! The Mayans weren’t just studying astronomy; they were investing their minds in astrology too. They were interested in knowing the meaning of light, and what the purpose of life is. Today, we’ve sort of lost our sense of purpose. Why do we exist? What are we doing here, and where is it all going? The ancients had deeper meaning than we do – we’ve gotten so cerebral that we’ve lost connection with instinct.
In ancient times, they used astrology in a very spiritual sense, in a metaphysical sense, to understand the meaning of life and where we’re going. That’s why I study astrology as well. When I look at what the planets are doing now, I’m really working on where humanity is going, where civilization is going.
Are the planets doing something differently these days? Because it seems to be that Earth is suffering more floods, tornadoes and earthquakes than it used to.
Some people don’t like to think so, but I do. I was debating this topic over dinner with a friend who claims that natural disasters are occurring at the same rate they always have. I disagree – there’s already been a tornado and two earthquakes today, and I can see their cause in the planets. I see a link-up between three major planets: Uranus is on one end of the sky, Saturn is on the other, and Pluto is sitting in the centre above them to form the shape of an upside-down ‘T’. That’s a strong configuration and may be to blame. Also, the galactic centre is currently very active at 26 or 27 degrees Sagittarius. It might sound strange to someone in the sciences, though not the young guys – they’re a little more open to belief.
What about the San Andreas Fault along the coasts of British Columbia south to California – aren’t its shift and subsequent earthquake long overdue, and when do you see them happening?
I have friends and family in both locations and, if I knew the date of “The Big One” with absolute certainty, I would make an announcement. Because I’m not absolutely certain, there’s no point in scaring everybody. Let’s just say this: if I were asked to go to Vancouver for business, I would go. If I was there and I sensed something in the planets, I hope I would have the intuition to hop in a helicopter and get out!
Prior to the internet and your daily horoscopes on Boothstars.com, would people come see you frequently in-person?
I didn’t actually start studying astrology until 1994. I was playing tennis with my girlfriend at 4:30 p.m. on July 14th – the same day that the Shoemaker-Levy comet was breaking into little pieces – and snapped my Achilles tendon. It happened at the precise moment astronomers announced a piece of the Shoemaker-Levy comet had struck Jupiter. I remember being acutely aware of this coincidence. Since I had a long year of recovery ahead of me, I decided to spend my time learning everything there was to know about astrology.
I studied in London, England and over the course of a few years, my career moved quite quickly. I was on the BBC and had been invited to make predictions on a few reality shows, including ‘Big Brother,’ but I had come back to Canada by that time.
The Internet was still a fledgling thing, but I bought my first computer and software system in 1996. Before then, I saw fewer clients because I had to draw everything by hand and it would take forever.
What do you mean by ‘drawing everything’?
It’s what we call a chart wheel, which illustrates the planetary alignments according to when you’re born, where you’re born, your name, sex, everything.
When I was on ‘The Hour’ with George Stroumboulopoulos, he asked me to do a prediction for Don Cherry in the year ahead. I didn’t have the exact time Don was born but I reckoned he may see a little trouble in May or June for calling guys “pukes” last spring. I recommended Ron MacLean keep a close eye on him this spring.
I can be a little more precise with Barack Obama’s chart because American birth certificates have time of birth printed directly onto them. The President is a Leo and home is very important to him. Obama’s rising sign is Aquarius so he’s very friendly with mass appeal, and he’s a disciplinarian. He has a sharp angle in his chart, though, which indicates unsettled qualities to that person’s origin. With Obama, that may reference his abandonment by his father.
You’re hosting a free webinar this Friday, January 27th at 7pm EST. What can people expect by tuning in?
I’ll be teaching an introduction to astrology. What I’d really like to do is spread the general knowledge on the subject to educate people, and show how man used to connect with nature and their intuition. Most people think of newspaper horoscopes when they think of astrology, and I’d like to show them the discipline itself runs much deeper than that.
Do you have one key message or thought to carry with us throughout 2012?
This year is a major turning point, and we’re really going to know it by the time this year is over. The most important thing is to focus on everything you love in life – family, friends – and put grievances aside. Don’t indulge in anger if something’s really bothering you, sort it out. Just focus on all the beautiful, wonderful things in life. I realize it sounds gushy, but this approach will help you sort through all the year’s changes.
You can register for Phil Booth’s first free webinar on January 27th, 2012 7:00 p.m. EST at BoothStars.com. To book a private reading in person or online, email firstname.lastname@example.org.