I recently made the trip from my new hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia to Calgary, Alberta to speak at the Canadian Astrology Conference.
This is some 971km. There are options to get there. Of course, you can fly, rent a car and drive yourself or take the coach.
I chose the latter option. It was the cheapest choice at just CDN$154 return.
I went on Greyhound and there may be others who offer this service but I don’t know about them.
As the bus was leaving at 6:30 am from Pacific Central Station in Vancouver I actually left my home at 5 am and got a taxi the station.
You have to check in at the station and get your tag for the hold bag,
You may take one bag and put it in the hold under the coach. And take one small cabin bag into the bus with you. There are overhead shelves for this.
As we boarded the coach is was crisp to say the least as I shivered on the 6C platform.
I had a seat by myself as the coach was half full and the seat next to me was empty. This was nice as I could plonk my carry-on bag right next to me.
At the first stop the cops boarded and checked everyone’s ID and tickets which seemed odd but there you are.
Onwards eastwards we stopped every now and then to pick up more passengers. Then a ten-minute halt where you can get off and dash to the loo.
On again. Finally, at around midway we stopped for 25 minutes in Kelowna. Everyone had to get off as they refueled the coach. I walked over to Starbucks for a grande latte and a croissant. Quite a rush really as heck I didn’t want to miss the bus.
Back on and more stops here and there at places I’ve never even heard of like Salmon Arm and Golden. Did salmons have arms? Is it a fishing joke about having a salmon arm to catch fish like a green thumb to grow a garden? And what about Golden? Was gold found there? I am sorry to say I had no clue.
We arrived in Calgary town centre at11:50 pm.. Yes, it took that long.
I hailed a taxi to the hotel and settled into my room by 00:30am. Phew!
That was Thursday.
On Friday I gave my presentation and there is more on that here.
Saturday good times to be had but had to leave the proceedings early at 9:30pm as quite tired and I had an early start in the morning.
My alarm went off at 5:00 am. Up and showered, packed and checked out of the hotel.
Hopped into another cab back to the bus station. The coach pulled out at 7:30 am sharp and we were on our way back home.
This time no wifi on the bus and no electric sockets to charge your phone. Good thing I had juiced it up before I left the hotel.
It was a long journey back home as we arrived at the Vancouver bus station at 9:30 pm. I was met by hubby and we went the final stretch together in yet another taxi.
In my front door at 10:15 pm having been travelling for almost sixteen hours.
In the cabin you can take one small bag like a backpack or handbag. Here are some ideas on what to have in it.
* Water to drink.
* Food – More on this later.
* Pen and notebook.
* Computer laptop.
* Reading glasses.
* Ticket to ride.
* Lip balm.
* Pashmina (women) scarf (men) fold as a neck pillow to sleep on.
* Ear buds, phone and charger.
What to Put into Your Hold Bag
In a medium bag like a suitcase that goes in the cabin of an aeroplane. If your bag is bigger than that you are hauling too much junk.
* Clothes, shoes, cosmetics and toiletries.
* Other stuff that can be slung around.
Don’t use your best luggage for a coach trip. On a bus your bag will slide around in the hold and there are bigger bags and heavy boxes shifting about down there.
Don’t put anything in the hold that you may ever need again as your bag may get removed at a bus stop that you don’t get off at never to be seen again. These things happen.
What to Wear on a Coach Trip for 18 Hours
Flat shoes, trainers or other comfortable shoes.
Black leggings or jeans.
Light jacket with top pockets.
Pashmina or scarf
Food and Drink on the Coach
Pre-make your snacks at home before you leave for an 18-hour coach ride.
In sealed plastic bags put enough food for a four-hour time slot. So label each snack bag with the time you may eat the contents like for instance; 10 am, 2 pm and 6 pm. This is so you don’t eat the lot in the first hour.
Eating on a bus is usually done because of boredom.it is mindless snacking.
If you take your own food you won’t be tempted to but burgers and fries at every stop creating a logjam in your digestive system and a hole in your pocket.
The shuddering motion on a bus tends towards creating the situation of constipation.
Eat snacks like:
Cheese cubes or wedges.
Chicken strips – precooked and lightly seasoned.
Sandwiches – cheese on bread and butter pre-cut into fingers or soldiers as this is easier to eat on the move than a massive chunk of bread.
Grapes – The perfect fruit and no must core or peel to dispose of like with apples or oranges.
Bottled water – one bottle to sip when your mouth is dry. Don’t chug or you’ll be dashing to the loo every stop.
What not to eat or drink on a coach
Avoid snacks like:
Open coffee or other drink.
Alcohol is not allowed inside the bus.
No smoking on the bus.
The coach has a dinky toilet and basin at the back.
I believe the washroom is not really used by most people for that purpose which it is intended. Typically passengers prefer to wait until they stop at a scheduled break and then use the lavatory in the building.
I believe the back of the coach washroom is for those unfortunate souls who get travel sick. The tiny cubicle is almost like a Roman vomitarium. Let’s hear it for Caesar.
The journey over the Canadian Rockies is uphill then down dale and the roads are windy and switchback like. The bus heaves and rolls. Yes, folks throw up. Thus the washroom
What to do on a long bus ride
Read a book
Crochet or knit
Write your journal
Chat lightly with the person next to you or across the aisle
Listen to your audiobooks.
What not to do on a long bus ride
Bug the guy in front of you by kicking the seat, twanging the footrest or heaving on his chair back as you try to stand up. All of this is spectacularly annoTalk loudly either to others on your phone.
Many astrologers do make some money from astrology. Anything from US$1 to US$999 per month.
Many astrologers work in this area with a variable income that can vary each month and it depends on how many charts they read and other activities.
Income of over US$1000 per month
Some astrologers make a reasonable amount. Here the benchmark is more than US$1000 per month. So that is around US$12000 per year.
But, does it provide for a full time living off astrology alone?
Perhaps not, but it does augment your day job, and it provides an outlet for the creative work that astrology can be.
If you live in Africa (as I did for over thirty years) or Asia you are likely to find this adequate income.
Income of over US$5000 per month
Very few astrologer fall into this category but it can be done. Here the income is enough to sustain astrology as a full-time job, career and vocation and you can comfortably budget for tax at around 20%.
With a net income of US$4000, anyone can manage, even those of us living in expensive cities in the first world.
As you start to get into astrology and read horoscopes there is a natural sequence to charts that you will read.
Some of you who begin with astrology may stop sooner than others who may go on to be competent astrologers.
Several of you will go on to be aspiring astrologers and competent astrologers and be able to provide an acceptable solid reading. You may read for friends and family or in a casual way.
A few of you will become experts and exceptional chart readers and can read any and every chart that comes your way. You are likely to attract clients at this stage.
Chart number 1: Your own chart.
You will always start with your own chart and certainly, this chart will be with you through your astrology journey. You will read it in a simple way and then develop your interpretations into more complex methods in the future.
You will work on this chart for the rest of your life.
Charts numbered 2-10: Your immediate family’s charts
This includes your husband, wife, kids, parents and siblings etc. They are people you know very well and have known for many years. Now you can benefit from some basic chart reading skills.
At this point you are a hobbyist astrologer
Charts numbered 11-18: Charts of people who you do know.
These are the charts of friends and people you know well enough to ask for their chart details, “so you can practice.” You will do these charts for free and enjoy the time spent pouring over each unique chart.
At this point you are a student astrologer
Charts numbered 18-25: Gateway charts
These charts you will draw up for people who are technically “clients.”
You will tentatively explain that you are opening an astrology business and although you are still a junior astrologer, you wish to read their charts in a professional manner to practice your readings and your professional practice competency. You are aware of how your outer planet signature attracts clients.
You will charge them a moderate fee of around US$5-10 or barter for a cup of coffee.
These charts are for your gateway clients and they get you into being a professional astrologer. There may be more charts in this group but if you are determined that astrology is for you then you will only need about six practice runs and these are the charts you will use.
I believe that all women are creative. Each and every one of us has something to offer and it can be big or small.
I find that if you bring your talents forward and make time for interesting things it establishes a balance in your life between what has to be done and what you like doing. It is the action of creating that makes the process satisfying.
We all have responsibilities such as having to work for someone else, commuting, launching our kids into the world and maintaining a social life and meaningful personal relationship.
Daily you may face a to-do list and if you don’t do them who will? If you tap into your creativity it can mitigate many of the mundane details of life.
As Women Evolve
Many of the women I see in my astrology practice are in the forty- or fifty-something age group.
They have already brought up their children and made a home for their family. At this point in their lives they want something more. They ask me, “Is this all there is?” or words in the same vein.
After the efforts they have put out for years that are now not needed, they have a good look at their life. The kids have gone their partner now may, or may not, measure up and an uneasy feeling of dissatisfaction has crept in.
Other women relish their newfound freedom and seek ways to make the most of the next phase of life. Either way women want a new direction, purpose and meaning for their life.
This is where an astrology consultation can help. Astrology is the study of the influence that the stars and planets have on life on Earth. Thousands of years of analysis have shown that particular traits are inherent in each zodiac sign.
A professional astrologer can cast your unique birth chart and provide you with a life map for your journey.
Your natal chart is original and contains many combinations of planetary energies all flowing at the same time in different directions. It is the skill of the astrologer to sort through the themes shown in your chart and present a clear picture for you.
I look at all the planets including your Sun and Moon signs and find the message in your chart. It is different for each one of you. Some will call it your soul purpose, others your life path.
Whichever words you choose to use your birth chart shows all the potentials, urges and opportunities that you have and that need to be satisfied in this lifetime.
We cannot all be rocket scientists, and indeed it would be a very different world if we were, but every woman owes it to herself to be what they truly want and not have to bow to what society, or your mother-in-law, or anyone else, thinks you should be.
Reading for Mari
I had a client recently a woman we will call Mari. She came to me in mid-life for a reading. I think initially she was simply curious as she had never consulted an astrologer before. We exchanged pleasantries. I offered her tea and we settled down in a comfortable environment for her reading.
She started off by saying, “What can you see?” and I began discussing her chart and spoke of how I interpreted her chart and who I saw her as through reading her chart and the eyes of astrology.
I had never met her before and soon I was chatting about her motivations and how her nativity was suggesting a certain path. She stopped me then, and said, “I wanted to do that when I was a girl, but I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it.”
I asked her, “Do you still want to do it?”
She thought for a moment and said, “Well I did once but that was a long time ago, I’m a different person now, I have responsibilities.”
I shall break from the story here and tell you that this response is common. That what we wanted to do as children or young people has been shelved in favour of a life that is an existence but pays the rent.
Yes, I know providing a roof is important but to my mind having your dream come alive again is a most desirable state of affairs.
Astrology can help you focus on what is truly important in your life and, to be honest, it could simply be continuing down your present path. But for many women it is a way to re-ignite ideas or passions that have been left to wither on the vine.
Let Your Ideas Breathe
Going back to Mari’s situation. I urged her to consider changing what she was doing, not all at once as transformation can be daunting, but that she let the thoughts of following her long lost passion mull in her head for a while and give her ideas space to breathe.
Two months later I met with Mari again and we discussed how things were going for her. She told me she had signed up for a class to refresh her desired activity and would be starting in the New Year.
She also informed me that she has changed her attitude towards herself and her view of what she wanted her life to be.
Although this was still a work in progress the small changes she had made had improved her overall perspective and brightened her outlook.
If you are an aspiring astrologer or even a full-blown astrologer for that matter, these five items you need to have in order to read charts effectively.
You may be attracted to a different branch of astrology than the next astrologer, but the basics to need are the same.
I am going to share with you the five essential things every aspiring astrologer requires to read a chart.
These items are distilled from many years of experience in my practice where I have cast and read charts for people.
Although you can have tons more books and goodies that can help with the process, I have trimmed the list down to the five basic necessities that you require to read a chart.
1) An Ephemeris
This is the best book you can have on your desk. An ephemeris contains the planet’s positions, retrogrades, eclipses, lunations and many other interesting facts about what the solar system is actually doing.
Back in the day (before we all had a computer to cast charts) you would need your ephemeris to calculate the chart in the first place.
Now you will reach for your ephemeris to quickly find when Pluto will enter your client’s eighth house for the second time, retrograde in a five-hit transit or to discover if it is going to be an appulse or total eclipse next autumn as you write you horoscopes for the following year.
If you never refer to your ephemeris for charts and forecasting it makes a great spot for your cat to sleep.
Still casting charts by hand I suppose. You do need some way to draw charts quickly and correctly if you read charts for a living.
I use Solar Fire and it is really powerful software and to be honest I don’t use all the features all the time, or even many of the features most of the time, but
I do use the powerful chart processing ability and its calculations for secondary progressions, solar arcs, solar returns, and transits. These are for client work and the chart for right-here right-now to plan my day.
You can get chart calculation apps for your iPhone like Astro Gold and this is wonderful for casting charts on-the-go. I use Astro Gold for pondering the charts of my clients as I always load their birth data into my phone, as well as Solar Fire, before the consultation so I can consider all the ideas I may have about their chart wherever I am in my day.
I can do this because I book clients usually one week ahead because I like to cast their chart and then mull over it for a few days so it can “speak” to me.
If you work differently (and you should follow your path) or work ahead of time as I do then, either way, you need powerful astrology software.
3) The Chart
You need the chart to do the interpretation. Usually, you will print the chart from your computer or draw it by hand.
But just having a plain chart is no good and you have to make notes on it, highlight special planets, draw attention to grand trines or yods and the like. This extra jotting on the chart is best done in color.
Emphasize the ruling planet in yellow wherever it appears on the page even in the aspectarian.
Color the grand trines and mini-grand trines in blue along with the normal blue trines for ease the T-squares in red (red is for squares in general), Thor’s hammers in tangerine (sesquiquadrates are always orange), emerald for yods (quincunxes are green).
You do this in color because after a time when you have looked at hundreds of charts they can easily blend into one in your mind. If you have each chart highlighted in color and the main features, planets, houses and major aspect patterns enhanced it is quicker to scan and immediately get up to speed on that particular chart.
It is a way to streamline your readings and stop you ploughing through all the myriad of details that each chart contains. By adding primary and secondary shades, as a component to clarity, you become more effective and just glancing at the wheel hues can become almost as a mandala when you contemplate many charts.
4) Your Astrology Journal
An astrology journal is every aspiring astrologer’s friend. You will always be learning new interpretations for charts. When you read astrology articles online, blogs or pieces in trade publications there is always something to learn.
It could be a technique or another way to remember planetary placement meanings, if you write them down you don’t have to remember everything.
You may not ever use these tidbits of information but then again you might. Points you find that may not make much sense today may be just what you are looking for in the next chart you read or maybe next year when you tackle another method that is new to you.
Astrologers are always learning and this is what the journal is for.
I use mine when I planning my horoscopes for next year or other writing projects that I may be developing.
5) Herb Tea
As you sit at your desk for a few hours each day working on charts and chatting to people it is nice to have a soothing cup of herb tea at your elbow.
Personally, I enjoy green tea, jasmine tea and now and then a refreshing Earl Grey. If you are not a tea drinker it doesn’t matter but you do need your favorite drink to hand.
Taking a beverage break lets you sit back, ease your shoulders that have become tense leaning in, drawing notes on your charts and making case notes for your charts.
Pausing for a drink gives you a time to breathe and make a moment of stillness in your day.
These are the five basics that should be on your desk. There is room for many more reference books (oh the books), but to cast a chart and read it you only need five things.
Start with these items on your desk and develop your aspiring astrology chart reading skills as you immerse yourself in the magical world of astrology.