Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where I'm Coming From

I started my study of astrology on June 7, 1971. I had been curious about astrology since 1960 when I read an article in Parade magazine by an astrologer that predicted that John F. Kennedy would defeat Richard Nixon in that November's presidential election. I felt that Nixon, as the sitting Vice-President, who “pinch-hit” for Eisenhower dring Ike's illnesses, was more qualified than Senator Kennedy.  Nixon lost, much to my disappointment, but I was now motivated to learn astrology so that I could make accurate forecasts. This was not just about elections, I wanted to make all kinds of predictions about the future and to be accurate about it.

Before I began my studies, I would buy any book that talked about astrology, but all I seemed to be able to find were books that said how wonderful astrology is. Heck, I always considered astrology to be wonderful, but I couldn't seem to find anything to show me what I really wanted to know—how to calculate a horoscope. Then in 1970, I acquired a roommate named Craig Fox who loaned me copy of My World of Astrology by Sydney Omarr. That book taught me a little bit more, but still left me hungry. I did not have to be convinced that astrology was valid and worthwhile. Then, finally, in 1971, I discovered a metaphysical bookstore in Portland, the Arcane Book Store, that had what I needed.

The Arcane Book Store was owned by Press Roberts and his wife Ima. If I may borrow a phrase from the Readers' Digest, Press was the most unforgettable character I ever met. I follows logically that many of my astrological beliefs are wither the same as I learned from Press or they are somewhat inspired by what I learned from him. One of Press's habits that I've adopted is to refer to people by their ascendants, rather than their Sun signs.  Since 2000, I have absorbed a great deal of knowledge from Noel Tyl and his books, with a particular focus on solar arcs and midpoints.

Press's classes were mostly learning by doing. In each class, a person was chosen arbitrarily to write his or her chart on the blackboard, and Press would read it to teach the principles of delineation. We were expected to have a basic knowledge of what the planets in the signs or houses would suggest to us. Press taught about hemisphere emphasis, element and quality stress, chart patterns a la Marc Edmund Jones—those topics that are more intermediate than the absolute basics. Then about halfway through most class sessions, Press would get bored and revert his focus to his favorite topic—medical astrology. Press was a retired licensed practical nurse, and Ima a was a active registered nurse. Every class contained so much off-the-cuff medical astology that I couldn't help learning it—and learning it well. I must say that although I am neither a physician nor a nurse, I can read a chart medically, even better than many of the “big names” out there.

Press took up astrology in January 1946. Interestingly, Zipporah Dobyns also began her studies in 1946. And they did have a number of similarities in their styles. Press got a lot of value by equating signs and houses. Zip did also, but she would also equate the natural ruler of the sign in question.  Press did his forecasting based strongly on transits and progressions, with quite a bit on emphasis on lunations.

Press was born roughly 11 hours before Queen Elizabeth of England, and coincidentally, her daughter,  Princess Anne and I share the same date of birth.  Press's eldest son was also a 1950 Leo, born July 29, 1950.  What's more, my second co-author, Joan McEvers, also had a son born July 29, 1950.

Don Borkowski
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