An Interview with Russell von Ohlhausen
Where do you currently reside and practice?
Russell: I am currently located in South Austin, Texas where I facilitate a community day-retreat space, in an unusual place where the edge of suburbia meets the raw Texas natural environs. My practice is geared towards conscious catalyzation and dealing with transpersonal causes & effects of the transcendent experience. All paths are merely angles and amplitudes of light conscious, which is the essence of astrology. Most of my work centers around a ‘head, heart & hands’ approach to becoming a more ‘astro-conscious’ being in this lifetime by exploring the cosmic mind.
What’s the worst thing and then, the best thing about you?
R: Well, as long we are not talking about our past misdeeds and personal triumphs but rather our character traits and attributes. I personally believe that both the best & worst thing about me are one and the same. I am addicted to ‘thinking’. I love to find & put together the pieces of the Grand Cosmic Puzzle. It is both my passion and obsession, blessing & curse. My practice of compassion does not always triumph over my own intolerance of prejudice, dogma, narrow-mindedness, drama, over-emotionality and all of the mechanisms employed by those who are caught up in self-centeredness. So though as a Cancerean, I am rather empathetic, as a Uranian I tend to call people out on egoic manipulation rather than enable it, nor do I ‘suffer fools gladly’, which does not always win a lot friends over but it does allow for more conscious ones.
You never tried…
R: I can honestly say there isn’t much in the world I have not tried! With the exception of man-made hard drugs I have sampled most all of the buffet of life. I was deprived in my upbringing of a number of temptations & vices that others my age were exposed to. That being said, once I reached my early 30’s, I decided ’what the heck’ and indulged in various forbidden fruits. Basically, I let my Sagittarius Ascendant loose on the world for a while in order to experience its highs and lows.
You can’t refuse…
R: With Moon & Saturn in Taurus in the 5th, I have a fairly well-disciplined ability to refuse most of the Earthly delights… except Skittles….the original flavored ones. I can never say no to Skittles…
What is playtime for you?
R: Of all of the questions, this is probably the most difficult one for me to answer. So much of what I do has been tied to conscious-raising work. My pleasure comes from sharing pieces of astrological knowledge with open-minds. I would have to say that ‘dance’ is my playtime. Two years ago people would have thought I had lost my mind by saying that. I have found that the connection to movement actually balances my energy, allowing more information and wisdom to be assimilated on a cellular level. By using ‘conscious dance’ as my playtime, I get the best of both worlds.
You call yourself an astrology researcher, tell us more what that means.
R: I sometimes jokingly say, “I am not really an astrologer.” I do periodic horoscope readings and counseling with others in many of the typical areas in which astrology gives guidance. The term “astrologer” generally carries the connation of giving horoscopic readings to clients, whereas in the past it was synonymous with the term “natural philosopher”. I prefer the latter. My passion is ontology. I call myself an ‘ontologist’, someone who probes the metaphysical connections of the ‘nature of being’. My personal belief is that many, if not most, astrologers are far-removed from the physical and energetic phenomena that govern the connections between the planetary realm and organic psycho-biological realm. In the middle of the 17th century the growing schism between science and meta-science was solidified, and remains as yet unbridged. Astrologers advance in the endlessly variety of techniques that can be applied to reading a chart but still have almost no knowledge of the fundamental forces that underlay this natural mechanism and a limited connection to the night sky. As an astrological researcher, I do hope to fill in some of the gaps in this bridge in order to one day reaffirm astrology’s place as a “science” in the modern world.
Your Astrology teachers?
R: Another tough question for me, as I did not take a formatted scholastic route. As a Sagittarius Ascendent with Mercury in Gemini, I was a natural autodidact – everyone else’s pace was just too slow. My first astrological understandings took place quite early, around the age of 3. Though not an astrologer per se, my grandmother had a mystical side and taught me the connections of gemstones to the months, signs and the planets, and the ancient mythologies connection to the movements within the constellations. So the bulk of my childhood was steeped in these kinds studies of nature, myth and the heavens, for which I am eternally grateful. In the formative years of my early teens, again I was influenced by general mythology found in the character driven role playing games where the occult was very much a part of the craft, (yes, I played Dungeons & Dragons as a kid; in fact, at 12, my halfling mage character name was ‘Zodiac’). My natal chart is rather clear about self-learning, and my astrological path has reflected that. Jeanne Dixon, Julia & Derek Parker, Alan Leo, Dane Rudyar were the authors who were most influential.. The most guidance on the choices of my focus within astrology came from astrologers Anne Beversdorf and Laura Waldman, with the right wisdom at the right time. I also have to give a shout out to David Cochrane, Michael Erlewine, Mike Lutin, Rob Hand, Alex Trenoweth & Will Morris for direct encouragement and casual mentorship over the years.
Your Astrology hero?
R: Michel Gauquelin – as a researcher, his struggle has inspired me the most. If one is not familiar with his story and what he did for astrology, I would suggest reading more about him and his seminal work The Mars Effect
Your 3 favorite Astrology books?
- Oedipus Judiacus – by William Drummond published 1811
- Secret Teachings of All Ages – by Manly P. Hall published 1928
- The Bible – by God, (though I am fairly certain there was a holy ghost-writer) published in installments over 4,000 years, compiled as an anthology in 382AD
As a panelist for selecting scholarship recipients, what do you specifically look for?
R: Passion… I look for passion in the voice and in a person’s path. Not merely ‘enthusiasm’ or technical skill acquired but what drives you to learn and profess ‘the divine science’. Having been on other selection committees in the past, I look for those select individuals who are creative, open, willing and their life’s intention is driven by the higher knowledge.
Any advice for those who would like to become professional astrologers?
R: The path of astrology is “a calling”. When I was young and I heard that term, I did not understand what it truly meant. When choosing to follow an astrological path as a profession, one really needs to hone critical thinking skills, refine discernment and the subtleties of language in order to be as skilled as a surgeon with getting to heart of an issue when helping others. I also believe that the best astrologers integrate a spiritual practice within their astrological work. I feel like that is almost required to become a well-rounded astrologer. There is ‘a source’ behind the celestial influence, call it ‘god’, call it energy, call it ‘the fire within’ – it guides us to the calling on our path, as we guide others to theirs.
Your animal totem?
R: Fox… I have always been fond of the keen, clever & sly fox. My given name of Russell is actually an old French term for ‘red fox’. The foxes qualities are desire, passion, intensity, expression, adaptably, quick-thinking, among others; in the ancient lore of many cultures, the trickster persona that in reality is the noble messenger of the ancient wisdoms was the role of the fox.