(This interview was originally posted over here.)
We may think we know what Astrology is all about from reading a weekly horoscope. But Instructor Amanda Moreno is ready to introduce astrology as a tool that can guide us to a much deeper understanding of ourselves and the world in Astrology for Personal Growth Part 1.
What started you on your path of studying and teaching astrology? What motivates you to teach?
When I was 11, I came across a poster with three paragraphs describing Aquarius, my Sun sign. It was the first time in my life something actually resonated with my experience. I started paying attention, and then dove into astrology in my 20s when I learned that it could be used to understand larger historical events and cycles. In graduate school, I was studying how apocalyptic imagery affects us at the emotional level, and got to bring astrology in as a tool for helping folks navigate big time change in ways that were personally relevant. It was amazing, and I learned so much. Since then, teaching has been a natural progression. I’m really motivated by the fact that astrology is such a rich tool for understanding not only personal stuff, but how our individual lives link to what’s going on at the collective level.
Most people probably have a very basic idea of what astrology is. What more is there to know?
There’s so much to know! But to keep it brief, I think it’s most important to understand that astrology is not a belief that the heavenly bodies cause anything to happen to us. It’s more like the planets reflect what is going on down here on Earth – like a clock reflects the time. In that sense, astrology is more of a language, psychological tool or art than a belief or a science. It invites us to participate in the mystery of life while also giving us some practical tools for growth.
How can astrology facilitate personal growth?
Sometimes the power of astrology lies in its ability to validate our experiences. I was always told that my Aquarian Sun meant I am aloof and detached and hyper-analytical. Sometimes those things are true! But when I discovered I have a Scorpio Moon, I was suddenly better able to understand and work with the parts of me that are highly emotional and very intense. Astrology is also fantastic at helping us to understand cycles of time. Sometimes when a student comes to class, they’re having a hard time with an issue. If, for example, they’re feeling blocked and kind of melancholy we’ll look at what Saturn, the planet of structure and limitations, is doing in their chart. In doing so, we can not only get ideas for how to work with the blockages or feelings of melancholy, but get ideas for a timeline for how long it might last as well.
Does astrology have particular benefits to people as they encounter difficult times?
Astrology is particularly helpful for navigating difficult times. Humans are, at least as far as I can tell, wired to search for meaning. Astrology gives us a sense of things being meaningful, helping us tap into the question of why a specific thing is happening, and how we can navigate it. It also helps us to see the interconnectedness of all things, be they events, people, emotions and so on. I think that during times of such incredible change, as we face a world with so much chaos, astrology serves as a grounding force that helps us to become more of who we are. Plus, it’s really fun to learn.
Now that your class has transitioned online, like so much of our lives, what are the advantages and challenges you see of online learning? How do you hope to overcome those challenges?
I’ve been teaching online classes for a few years now. It’s hard sometimes because I know that I personally really just want to be with people in physical space. I try to make up for that by having room for check-ins and out loud processing. Video helps as well. But there are definitely advantages, too. Accessibility is a big one — for folks who otherwise couldn’t make it to class, but also because the show gets to go on regardless of weather, and we can all show up from within our comfort zones. Plus, we can record sessions much more easily online, which means that missing a class isn’t as much of a barrier and you can also revisit the lessons to get more out of them.
What do you hope people take away from your class, Astrology for Personal Growth?
Oftentimes, I find that folks have one core epiphany or “ah-ha!” moment that changes their life, and that’s always really cool to hear about. I guess what I most hope they take away is a sense of awe and wonder about themselves and the world that will hopefully help them be a little more present in the world. It is that presence within ourselves that allows us to meet the challenges of our times and move through them. I’m always aiming high — I want to help people heal, so that we can change the world for the better. If this class can promote even a little bit of that healing, whatever it looks like, I feel really good about it.