Article fist appeared in Prediction Magazine, June 05, page 21.
Published here with permission.
Roy Gillett is the President of the Astrological Association of Great Britain. Since deciding to become a full-time astrologer in 1976, he has worked as a financial astrologer in the City of London and has studied, taught and advised on the subject all over the world. Looking a little like a seasoned mariner with a dog-eared treasure map, Roy Gillett ceremoniously unravelled a large sheet of crumpled, slightly tea-stained, paper over the oak table in his sunny conservatory. It was the first draft of the schedule for this year's Astrological Association Conference, which Gillett has organised for over a decade. He talked enthusiastically about September's affair, which attracts hundreds of astro-enthusiasts from around the globe, this year to include eminent stargazers Liz Greene and Robert Hand.
Gillett's favourite moment from the event happened six years ago. "The most impressive conference happened in 1999 when we managed to book the University of Plymouth for the time of the eclipse. It was a cloudy day but although we didn't see all the pretty effects, the experience of being there with over 600 astrologers from all over the world was highly significant."
“When I first had my chart described to me, it explained why I had behaved as I had throughout my life and why I felt as I did about myself and other people. At one level it gave me permission to be myself and on another it put my ego in perspective.”
Gillett has been a prominent figure in the astrological community for over 30 years so it's inspiring to see his excitement for the subject is as fresh as when he first learned about it in the 1970s. "When I first had my chart described to me, it explained why I had behaved as I had throughout my life and why I felt as I did about myself and other people. At one level it gave me permission to be myself and on another it put my ego in perspective. I felt like I could just be me and that I could let other people be themselves, too. It justified me but it didn't put me on a pedestal and, as an Aquarian, that's a comfortable piece of information to know."
As a schoolteacher, astrology also helped him understand the behaviour of some of his more challenging pupils. But he had to make a decision: continue as a teacher and pay lip service to the subject he loved or put all his energy into finding out whether astrology could be more accepted in society. He chose the latter option.
"We're living in an increasingly powerful and dangerous world and we're trying to explain human behaviour in terms of our own modern obsessions, through psychology and science. We're not really looking at a universal, eternal way of how human reality behaves and therefore we're out of control and undisciplined in our behaviour.
Astrology doesn't tell us what to do, but gives us an understanding of our behaviour. As an idealistic, social reforming schoolteacher, astrology came to me as a very exciting idea, yet at the same time it put me in a quandary because I found, like so many others do when they get involved with astrology, that although it seems to explain and answer many issues, there are a tremendous amount of people that don't want it to do that. They see astrology as an old fashioned system that's irrelevant to a modern, sensible world. But in fact the more you study it, the more you find the complete opposite is true.
"Sometimes the people that don't want to understand how it works ask how it's possible that planets so far away can have an influence over us. I say to them that we exist in a mechanism, the universe, where things move along set courses within certain periods because of the logic of the science of gravitational relationship. And since we're living on this planet, as a part of this mechanism, it would be absolute nonsense to think it wouldn't have any affect on us."
“It isn't the candyfloss store that's causing the problem, but there is a relationship between it and the rest of the ride..”
Describing how planets relate to the cycles of life, he created a vivid analogy: "Imagine you were asleep on a rollercoaster, you've no prior knowledge of the ride, and then you wake up. You're easing up a comfortable slope, coming to a peak. You look down and you see a rather interesting striped awning over a candyfloss store...then aaarghh! ...down you go. Then you go round again and every time you see it, you're blaming the candyfloss store for the fall but it isn't the candyfloss store that's causing the problem, but there is a relationship between it and the rest of the ride."
Infinity and beyond
Gillett is currently concentrating his energies on writing a book about astrology's place in modern life. "The world desperately needs something like astrology. It has more lineage than modern psychology, which only got started in 1880, or even modern physics, which shows us how to manipulate the physical world but doesn't do anything for our feelings or our minds. It would help psychologists if they had respect for astrology, the whole dichotomy between nature and nurture, these kinds of arguments are all answered by astrology by the simple answer: yes to both - the astrological chart is a diagrammatic representation of your nature and it also describes your potential nurturing because it depicts the kind of parents you're likely to have, the sort of background you're more likely to have and so on and so forth.
"There are many areas that would benefit from using astrology and although they intuitively feel threatened by astrology in fact we don't threaten anyone, we're standing here with a helping hand. We're not asking to take over anything or take any money or research funding from anyone; we just want to say give us a chance and listen to us."
“I don't like the idea of anyone thinking I believe in astrology. It's not a matter of faith. It's not like you've got to believe in it because there's no way of proving it, you've got to use it and see if works for you…”
Gillett was asked whether the planets themselves are currently making any symbolic suggestions as to their usefulness in our future. "The sign that rules astrology is Aquarius so whenever you get a concentrated energy or an Aquarian type focus, it's good for astrology, and of course Aquarius is also concerned with the advancement of science. We've had Neptune and Uranus going through Aquarius in recent years and we've seen the development of the internet, and of course the belief in science, the idea that you can do everything with science. However, at the same time astrologers are wiser, stronger and deeper than they have ever been. So how do you reconcile these different levels of Aquarius? One only hopes both science and astrology will become mature enough for us to work together and then we might get somewhere."
Many astrologers have an issue with the idea of 'believing' in their subject, they flinch as a scientist might if asked whether they believe in quantum physics. "I don't like the idea of anyone thinking I believe in astrology. It's not a matter of faith. It's not like you've got to believe in it because there's no way of proving it, you've got to use it and see if works for you. Accept and use it if it does work, reject it if it doesn't. The trouble is that the people who criticise it feel like they've been let down by astrology or have never bothered to study it all.
One of the things Gillett appreciates about astrology is that in a sense it is 'culture free', and does not dictate a particular set of moral standards or ethical constraints. "It's not a system of knowledge based on a Christian, Islamic, Buddhist or Hindu viewpoint. It's not telling you how to behave and it's not a moral system, although there is a logic to the universe and if you try and fight the inevitable you're going to do yourself harm - if you try to jump off the rollercoaster you're gonna hurt yourself. But astrology won't tell you what's right and wrong; it's just telling you what's going on."
As trustee of London's Jamyang Buddhist Centre, Gillett acknowledges that his Buddhist studies complement his astrological interests. "The Buddhist perspective suits astrology because it's the only religion that doesn't have an ultimate deity that you worship. Buddhism and astrology give a complete description of an entirely logical universe on the level of spirit, mind, emotion and body. The two together provide a logic that takes you through reincarnation. When you combine astrology with Buddhism you see that whatever we've done in the past, whatever we're doing now, we're worthy of compassion, respect and anything that will help us be happier in the future. Put the two together and you can lead a better life."
This article has been taken from the June issue of Prediction which also included features on: How To Find Love, Money and Happiness with Crystals, Ghosts on the Tube, Stressed out? Star Sign Solutions and Shell Divination. For all back issues of Prediction call: 01733 385170. To receive the online edition of Prediction, click here
Listen to Podcasts on astrology