Psychological Astrology Brings Science to the Stars
by Shannon Kelley Gould
If you’re hoping to learn today’s lucky numbers, or whether it’s a good day to ask for a raise or take a blossoming flirtation to the next level, psychological astrology is not for you. If, however, you’re curious about how the universe’s infinite interconnectedness might affect your personality, your behavior, and your relationships, you will likely be fascinated by what Jennifer Freed and Barbara Yaffee’s Psychological Astrology Training Program has to offer.
These ladies are serious. Freed has been a licensed psychotherapist and depth-oriented astrologer for more than 25 years, has served as core faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute, is certified by ISAR (International Society for Astrological Research), and has been teaching psychological astrology for more than 15 years. Barbara Yaffee has been co-teaching the psychological astrology class with Freed for three years; in fact, the two met when Yaffee was one of Freed’s students at Pacifica. “She was my best student,” Freed said of Yaffee, “a genius.”
Freed developed an interest in astrology when she got her first reading at 19 years old. “I felt so seen and known at such a level and depth; it confirmed my interest in the subject.” She went on to study the ages-old discipline, seeking out a scientific approach from local physics professor and astrology aficionado Lynne Stark. “I didn’t want anything too new-agey,” she said.
Their class reflects this scientific perspective and is decidedly not the lightweight fluff you’ll find in your local newspaper next to the crossword puzzle. And frankly, they don’t think much of that sort of “Good communication is in the stars for you today, Gemini” astrology, anyway. “That’s popular because we want quick answers; it’s what I call spiritual materialism, and we seek it out of fear and insecurity. Labeling and stereotyping has to do with people’s grandiosity, this instant gratification culture. That doesn’t interest us,” Freed said. “Predictive, boiled-down astrology this is not.”
What it is, simply put, is a shift in perspective. “To study the history of astrology is to study the history of the world,” Freed said. “It is the only thing that has been in every culture. The universe is our host, we are not the rulers, and we need to come into a more humble relationship with it.” Relaxing into this more humble relationship allows space for the mind to open, to recognize the way in which the force of the cosmos pulls on our deepest selves, and, ultimately, to come to a greater level of self-understanding. That consciousness, Yaffee and Freed agree, also encourages deeper communication and empathy. Psychological astrology, Yaffee said, is a “vehicle, committed to awakening; we want every individual to be the best that they can be.”
Their class covers the basic astrological building blocks — the roadmap to an individual’s personality, as charted by the stars — including elements, signs, houses, points, planets, aspects, and transits, as well as interpretation and analysis, all framed in an archetypal, mythological perspective. Sound heavy? It is, but it’s also empowering. “We are part of the animated universe,” Freed explained. “We are participants in the cosmos, not victims of it; we are its cocreators, with the divine. Our destinies are not fated, but certain tensions are present; it’s completely about how conscious you are of it.” Greater consciousness, they said, brings greater freedom.
In the class, the two employ the expected Pacifica approach, characterized by Jungian therapy*, archetypal analysis, depth psychology, and a tendency toward personal disclosure and straightforward confrontation. In short, it’s not for the faint of heart: Beyond the inevitable math skills required for charting, they recommend that students be the sort who are after a level of honest self-understanding and possess a certain degree of maturity. “It’s rigorous, confrontive; you need to have an interest in exploring your dark side.”
The class — comprised of four, once-monthly weekend classes as well as study groups; about 85 hours of class time; and an additional 20 hours of homework when all is said and done — is taught experientially, with Freed and Yaffee offering both intuitive and intellectual input, so it will work for everyone. In addition to gaining personal knowledge, the two women want their students to come out of the class with real skills they can use, and hope their students will also learn to “take off the blinders, to see with different perceptions.” They note that it can take up to two years to finish the class, but the result is well worth the time.
“The best reading,” said Freed, “confirms what your deepest self already knows, but may awaken something you’ve been asleep about.”
Jungian psychology is the reconciliation of the life of the individual with the world of the supra-personal archetypes, i.e., symbols encountered in all aspects of life such as dreams, art, and religion. 4•1•1 Freed and Yaffee teach two upcoming one-day seminars on October 29 and November 26. The next Psychological Astrology Training Program begins January 7, 2007. For more info, contact Dr. Jennifer Freed at 565-0845 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Barbara Yaffee at 899-1970 x4 or email@example.com, or visit sbastrology.com.