In Part I of the interview with noted Los Angeles astrologer Tanda Tashjian, she focused on what goes into a reading from the astrologer’s perspective to the role astrology should play in a person’s life. In this section, she discusses situations that come up unexpectedly during readings as well as the significance of the sun sign and fate in a person’s chart.
WHAT SHOULD AN ASTROLOGER DO IF A CLIENT BECOMES EMOTIONAL?
Q. If someone comes in for a reading and they’re very depressed that day, is it similar to what can happen in a psychologist’s office? Meaning, your client seems alright till they get in the door, then it’s time to talk about what they really feel and they fall apart. Does that ever happen here because people know you’ll tell them things they might be afraid to hear? Or are you able to keep, not a wall between the two of you, but not let their state of mind influence what you tell them?
A. I know what you’re saying. You do need to have a certain detachment and the detachment isn’t a coolness. It’s more that this person is going through something. If a person is crying or very emotional, of course I’ll try to be helpful. Again, I go back to that concept of service. Whatever happens, you try to be helpful. Sometimes, help is more than saying, “This and this is going to happen,” and reading the chart. It can also be asking, “What is the problem?” And then let the person talk about it and relate their question to the chart. My role as an astrologer is to read the chart. It’s not necessarily working out the problem. If a person is obviously devastated, I would respond to that, of course. But we also want to read the chart in relation to whatever the issue is.
Q. What do you do if a person doesn’t seem to be of sound mind?
A. I think that every person must be respected and taken at, I guess you would say, face value. So if they present as disturbed in that moment, that is fine. If they present as anxious, that’s fine. It’s really that point in time that person is consulting you to help them. And you read for that part of them that is sound enough to reach out. Reading is very interesting, particularly from being on the reader’s side. Because you really want to give the person the best of you. So you have to kind of fit yourself into the person. And maybe that is a little like empathy or an awareness or a connection with them. You want to factor that into your reading. And you want to be positive.
Q. I think that is you, I think your purpose is to be encouraging, to take the information and give the person a feeling that good things are happening.
A. I think it’s much better to build on something positive. I started studying astrology and then I got very interested in Jungian psychology. I read all his books as a teenager. He spoke about the symbolic universe and the inner world and the wealth of knowledge that can come from an individual’s dreams and working with their subconscious mind. And I think that astrology is the interpretation of the chart that comes from the conscious and unconscious mind.
DO PEOPLE ALWAYS EXHIBIT THE TRAITS OF THEIR SUN SIGNS?
Q. Have you ever come across anyone who doesn’t seem to be anything like their chart?
A. Ever is a big word but I would probably say no.
Q. When you see a person every few months, do you take into account what they tell you has happened in between?
Q. People aren’t always that accurate about themselves.
A. But I think that astrology can give you an objective picture. Say, for instance, a person is Aries. Aries is ruled by Mars which is the warrior. It’s the war planet. So Aries has a great passion to live and will fight for what they want. And I think you could say not every Aries does that. Meaning that Aries people who are very passive—
Q. You’ve met very passive Aries?
A. Believe it or not, I have. But there could be something else in the chart that conflicts with that or stops them from expressing that quality. You could read the chart and interpret that this person has a fighting spirit but something else in their chart opposes that and so, they fight themselves. You take these interpretations and aspects and relate them to the unity of the chart.
Q. People always say ‘What’s your sign?’—it’s the classic joke—as if that will explain everything about their behavior. What is the most significant thing in a person’s chart? Is it their sign?
A. It’s the sun sign. Because the sun sign is the path of life.
Q. Yet you say you’ve met Aries who are passive. That’s surprising.
A. It is surprising.
Q. So a lot must be offset, as you say, by other things in that person’s chart.
A. That’s right. You might say, as an Aries, in your theme, in your story line, you want to be a warrior. Maybe you want to do battle with all the things that come into your life. You want to fight for your work, your life, your relationship and for what you believe in. But essentially, the fight is with the self. So for an Aries person who is passive, maybe Saturn or another aspect fights the energy that should be going in that nice Mars straight ahead direction and kicks it to the side. So the person has to deal with that energy, but in a conflicted way.
Q. So much so that they’re so not like their sun sign?
A. Well, somewhere they are. And you want to be able to separate that and show them where they can activate their sun sign qualities. Maybe it’s a person who’s had a lot of failures and is hopeless. And they feel like, “Well, ok, I’m not gonna follow my dream.” Your role is to help at that moment if they’re asking you to help them get that surge of energy back and re-direct it and realize themselves in a more positive way.
IS A PERSON’S CHART THE SAME THING AS FATE?
Q. What role does fate play if they’ve given up their dream? Is that in itself fate and is something like that always in their chart?
A. Sometimes people get off their trajectory. I think there is a fate you can read in charts. And I think when people get so out of alignment with their fate, they get all turned around. It may be one of the higher aspects of astrology to help them re-connect with that path and get back on their line of fate.
Q. So you feel then, the path that’s defined at the moment you’re born is your path basically. If you’ve been angry and resentful for a year, is that your path?
A. Well then you get into free will. A lot of times the chart will express the panoply of choices. If you make a good choice, there’s prosperity and if you don’t make a good choice, then you suffer the consequences. If you say, “I’m gonna take this and run with it,” it might prosper and it might not. Probably it will prosper. Probably it’s a fate that is an option to follow. If you don’t take it, you might feel “I chose against it.” But at that turning point, it is your choice. Just because something is fated, doesn’t mean you must choose it. Sometimes it’s fated because of something that has gone before. It’s a very mystical answer.
Q. Are you saying that fate can be altered by the person, by choices they make?
A. Yes. A person’s destiny can be altered. I’m not sure you can alter the fate. Let me say it a different way. I think sometimes you can speed things up. Sometimes a person can be, so to speak, chasing their tail for many years. Sometimes a person can cut to the chase and make a choice and not chase their tail anymore. But that takes great strength and will to be able to change your pattern. I think you could do that, but it is going against your pattern. I think that spiritually there are many different ways of doing astrology. There’s the fortune-telling way, the more humanist psychological, the philosophical and then the spiritual esoteric. And if you can kind of blend all of those together, that’s a good reading. But spiritually in a chart, you can see where the person is and what they need to learn at this point. And maybe you can help them better realize that by the choices they make.
Q. I’ve always been interested when someone says they were abused early in life and then spend the rest of their lives using that as their defining moment—rather than seeing it was horrible, understanding it as best they can and going on with their life. Instead, it’s all they talk about. When a person chooses the abuse as the defining moment of their life, are they altering their destiny as you mentioned before?
A. I think every moment you are making choices. To be better informed about the free choices you can make is something astrology can do. You are creating the future from the present and you can choose how you respond to the present. For instance, if there’s a Saturn transit at the time, perhaps you are being asked to learn about patience or discipline or integrity. How does that factor into your present situation and how can you embody those qualities? Astrology can help you better understand what is being asked of you at that moment. It gives you a sense of the narrative in your life–what you need to learn and what your challenges are. How you live that narrative is your choice.
THE ESSENCE OF WHAT ASTROLOGY IS
Q. Would you say that astrology, as I hear you describe it, has to combine something scientific, based on data and math with…what? Spirituality? Intuition?
Q. Is that what you feel is the essence of astrology? Science and the symbolic?
A. The conscious and the unconscious mind. I’m talking about interpretation. A chart is science, but it’s interpreted in a symbolic way. You’re like an interpreter. That really is what you are.
Q. I think that’s what distinguishes a good astrologer from a not so good astrologer. They can see the numbers and they can see this planet is here and that planet is there. But if they don’t know what to do with that, if they don’t know how to relate it to the person they’re talking to—
A. To go back to your earlier question, it’s not just an independent interpretation. It has to be related to the person that you’re seeing.
Q. Even when you don’t know them at all?
A. Of course.
Q. You do get to know some people better than others.
A. Yes, but some people you don’t. It has to be something that the person feels they can relate to on any given day. It might be professional, might be romantic. But the idea is that you’re all trying to move toward…like in Daoism, you want to harmonize with nature. This would be harmonizing with your astrological nature.
Q. Don’t you think it’s fascinating that the specific moment a person comes into the world, so much becomes the guiding force between that moment and when they die?
A. I do. But I also think that the yin and the yang are the most important things.
A. Because the beginning describes what you can do. And the ending is the summation of what you have done.
Tanda’s interest in astrology began early. She started studying the subject at the age of thirteen and gave her first reading when she was only eighteen and a student at Antioch College in Ohio. Around that time, she also began to teach astrology and did charts for her first clients. She became a serious student of Jungian philosophy and was taken by his descriptions of the symbolic universe, the wealth of knowledge found in dreams and most importantly by his depiction of the conscious and unconscious mind. Today, Tanda defines astrology as the interpretation of the chart that comes from the conscious and unconscious mind. After more formal study with astrologers Liz Kelly and Linda Greene and an internship with avant garde filmmaker, Harry Smith, whose work focused on Qabbalistic astrological principles, Tanda moved to Los Angeles. Following several years in the film industry, her interest in understanding mind led her to study meditation and go back to school. She has since taught meditation in classes and retreats. She also has had a separate practice as a psychotherapist for over twenty years. Her website is tandaastrology.com.
Bobbi Goldin has worked as a writer in advertising and entertainment in a variety of capacties. An award-winning copywriter, she’s created campaigns on well over 100 products at several top NY ad agencies including one that won a multi-million dollar airline account for Ted Bates. In politics, she worked on ads for a New York senator, was Press Secretary for a Congressional candidate in Manhattan and wrote press releases for one of the city’s most popular mayors while she was still a teenager. In Los Angeles, she seguéd into the entertainment industry, creating campaigns for dozens of films for the major Hollywood studios and vendors, writing theatrical trailers, TV spots and posters and she has re-titled many films. She’s also worked as an on-air producer at several networks. As a professional songwriter, her songs have been cut by pop and country artists, placed in TV shows and film soundtracks. Her publishing company, Bobtale Music, owns the copyright on several hundred songs. As a journalist, she’s written arts criticism for a Long Island newspaper and had a column in Avenues magazine. Currently, she is funding a video game start-up for female teens.