An Interview with Russell von Ohlhausen
What on earth made you choose (or end up with) Astrology as a profession?
Russell: As it is in my nature to do, I would have to refute this question entirely! It was nothing “on Earth” that made me choose Astrology as a professional endeavor and I still struggle with classifying myself as an “astrologer” or any specific title, for that matter. Uranus was exactly at midheaven when I was born with Pluto just behind it in the 9th house. For me, I don’t think there was any escaping the pull of those powerful planets and the information coming in from starlight which came with that. I was born to be cosmologically inclined, whether I wanted to or not. At a very early age I was overly curious about words, expanded ideas, histories, mythologies and probably most of all ‘space’. My grandmother and grandfather were my guardians when I was young, and though humble, they had a respectable grasp on what was important in the world. I was taught about astro-mythology when I inquired about the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space missions which had captured the fascination of most families like mine in the late 60’s early 70’s. Around age 3, I learned about the concept of astrological signs when I asked my grandmother about her ring of five birthstones which represented each of her children’s birth months. I was probably one of the only 3 year olds who actually requested to go back the planetarium multiple times to hear the stories of the cars told over and over again. I got a lesson from my grandfather & my uncle on differences of the midheavens around age 4, when I asked what “Zenith” meant on the Zenith television. These early “lessons” were intended for me, to light the ember for my Sagittarius Fire ascendent to dominate most of my childhood, which ultimately required me to accept that astrology is all around us… Since I couldn’t beat it, I joined it…
Was it challenging for you to come out of the Astrology closet? (elaborate if possible)
R:When I was younger, I always a bit of a weirdo with too much information and yet, not enough wisdom to make sense of it all. Even though I grew up open-minded, my experience within the dogma of the Christian religion turned me into a bit of cynic. Around my second Saturn square, age 21, I went through a period of extreme skepticism towards mystical and spiritual ideas. I called myself an “atheist” for all of about 6 weeks. Yet, the planets already had another plan for me. I was to quickly embark on a unique re-awakening. To take on this 180˚ shift was essentially a life-changing experience, which by my Saturn Return entailed a spiritual journey to Tibet, a move from my hometown, a complete change of life, friends & ‘family’ and to fully embrace the most heretical ideas held by the person I had been just a few years before. Even though I had quickly become “the astrologer” among my new peers, I could not answer the most basic questions of a possible fundamental mechanism, which would allow for the psychological correspondence with the celestial bodies. I was also not satisfied with astrology’s general lack of rigor (nor vision for it) or professional cohesion, which, to this day, I feel is our widest chasm to cross; and to bridge this chasm we must participate in higher dialogue. And I must admit that summing up myself under one title, “an astrologer” still is a challenge for me. I feel that ‘astrology’ should and eventually will entail much more than it currently implies, which will make ‘being in the closest’ about these beliefs, no longer an issue.
As an astrologer, who would you like to honor, acknowledge, and why?
R: I would like to acknowledge two astrologers, neither living and neither very often mentioned in the context of modern astrology. The first is Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn or Ibn Sina (Avicinna) the Islamic Golden Age polymath from Persia sometimes referred to as “the most influential philosopher of the pre-modern era”. The post-history of the Ibn Sina story is interesting in that many authorities claim that he attempted to refute astrology, while others openly accept that he was an outstanding astrologer in his own right. (Though I may sometimes voice my opinion regarding some practices or interpretations, I have a firm understanding of the natural philosophy and the celestial correspondences which underly the cosmic fabric, which is how I feel the facts may have been skewed regarding Sina’s treatises on astrology.) An acute and deep understanding of astrology is what distinguished his work in medicine and metaphysics.
The second astrologer is his more widely-accepted Persian counterpart, Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī or Al-Biruni, who substantially contributed to most all of the sciences of his day – including astronomy & astrology. Though he too began to draw early lines between mathematical astronomy and certain astrological techniques & divinations, he firmly endorsed astrology as science in its own right and merit. (Just as could be said for Isaac Newton, 700 years later, despite what modern scholars chose to ignore today.) I feel that these two contemporaries, held a light in the darkness of the ancient world and should be honored among the great contributors of the astrological traditions.
Tell us your Moon sign, and how you experience it.
R: I was born at 12˚ Taurus Moon in the 5th. I am admittedly a bit biased, but my Moon in Taurus, I feel, has been my saving grace through most of life. In the most dire of situations, I often do my best work or find my clearest strengths. Though, I know that at times it has kept me “stuck” in many affairs of the heart, I feel that given proper energy, Taurus Moon is the most reliable emotionally, especially when accompanied by a sympathetic and sensual disposition.
A tip or two about what does it take to succeed as a practicing astrologer. Tell us your Moon sign, and how you experience it.
R: Well, assuming ‘success as practicing astrologer’ may be a bit of a loaded question! For those who are generally horoscopic astrologers, success is usually measured by clients and dollars. I tend to gauge my successes on the faces of the people I am speaking to or the emails from those who have read something I wrote that revealed a new way to perceive or a deeper understanding of our celestial connection. Devotion and diligence to all that astrology is intended to be, is what it will take to succeed as an astrologer in the future.
What do you think is the future of Astrology (as a field)? What would be the next step to take?
R: Our recent pass of Uranus through Aries, has ushered a new “Astrological Spring”, the seeds of which have blown across the globe and who’s shoots are now flourishing as the Earth energy is activated with Uranus in Taurus. As we move forward, ‘astrology’ of the later 21st & 22nd centuries will begin to look much different than it does today, in my opinion. In many places, you can already see that this germination and new shift towards reintegration has taken root. Astrology, as it has become today, was never intended as a stand alone practice or discipline.
Astrologers will be required to expand their scope beyond the ego-directed natal readings and back to its ancient purposes of collective spiritual enlightenment. I believe that we will see something of a “Vulcan Synthesis” of spirituality and science. And by ‘Vulcan’, I am not referring to the rarely mentioned Roman God of Fire and Lava, instead I mean the Star Trek, Spock, Vulcanian salute, blend of mysticism, logic and technology of a more integrated species. I feel that astrologers must also become ‘scientists’ once again and contemporary physicists must re-embrace the spiritual dimension that we can no longer afford to ignore. For what is a real scientist but one who reshapes their own presupposed hypothesis to better fit the facts as we understand them (however improbable those facts might seem to be), rather than the majority of ‘modern scientists’ who reshape or ignore historical knowledge or what may seem to be illogical facts to fit a personal contemporary hypothesis.
The study of stars is the wisest of intellectual sciences, yet as Spock says in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, “Logic is not the end of wisdom, but the beginning.”
Can you give us a pic of yourself when you first started discovering astrology, and maybe a few photos of the younger?
R: Okay… I don’t have a lot photos from my childhood but I am sure they will make for a good laugh…!