Q+A Interview with Gene Shaw
Gene has been an NCGR astrologer for over 20 years. He received his Level IV certification in 1998. Gene previously served as the Recording Secretary for the New York City Chapter of NCGR and now serves on the NCGR-PAA Board of Examiners. His astrology work currently focuses on professional rectification. When he’s not reading a chart, Gene’s favorite pastime is studying and loving Hollywood’s glorious “Pre-Code” movies. He resides in Philadelphia.
Q: How did you get interested in astrology and who were some early influences that shaped your path?
A: Well, I think it’s safe to say that the Pluto in Scorpio years were hard for a lot of us, especially for some of us with a lot of Fixed sign energy in our charts. In 1989, I lost someone dear to me, whose death left me stunned and looking for answers. In close proximity to that event, I happened to be reading a Sun sign column in a magazine.
And in a general way relevant to my Sun sign, the writer said something that sounded uncannily like what was happening in my life. So, I thought, “I must look into this astrology business.” But I was a little skeptical, too. I didn’t know any astrologers. So I thought the best way to proceed would be to try to educate myself and judge the merits of astrology through that means. I was self-taught for over a year. Then, one day, in what seemed at the time to be by accident, I met John Marchesella. I started taking his classes, getting involved in NCGR New York, and making cherished friendships with others in the community. Whatever I’ve been able to achieve in my astrology work, I owe everything to John Marchesella. I was also lucky to hear many wonderful speakers at the New York conferences, but I feel especially blessed that I got there in time to hear veterans such as Joanna Shannon and Joan Negus, whose knowledge, skill, and work in the community—especially in the area of astrology education—was nothing short of legendary. I’d like to say also that when I first started studying, Faith McInerney had a local cable TV program that I used to watch every week. As part of her show, she always pointed out the Void-of-Course Moon periods for the week ahead. To this day, I remain a vigilant Void-of-Course Moon watcher. And even though I’ve never told her this, I believe I have Faith to thank as being an early influence in shaping that particular nuance in my astrology work.
Q: Do you have any advice on how to study astrology?
A: Two things: First, if possible, get involved in an astrology class. Personal study and one-on-one study with a teacher are great things. But astrology is a language, and in order to become fluent in that language, one needs to be around others who speak it. I mentioned that I was initially self-taught, and I’ll never forget that on my very first night in an astrology class, I already knew the meanings of the planets, signs, houses, and aspects, for example, but my head couldn’t process it all as my classmates were talking because I’d never heard anyone speak astrology. I believe strongly also, that in spite of all the wonderful books, computer programs, and on-line resources that we have available nowadays, that there still remains something of an oral tradition to the learning of astrology. What I mean is that over the years, I’ve picked up valid and useful bits of information through conversations with astrology teachers and friends that I’ve never found written down in any book. Second, when the time is right, please consider participating in the NCGR-PAA certification program. This year, I have the great honor of being the proctor for the certification exams, taking place in conjunction with the conference on Monday, February 20, 2017. I have served on the board of examiners for a number of years now, working closely with our truly wonderful Director of Education, Shirley Soffer. These examinations are challenging and comprehensive.
The candidate, at each level, will gain knowledge and information through study an preparation. But the intangible reward of the certification program is the self-confidence in one’s astrology skills that increases as the candidate faces the challenge, succeeds, and then is acknowledged by his/her peers as being proficient at each level in the program. Many years back, while still living in New York, I was asked to give my first lecture. But the New York astrology community is a well-informed bunch. As such — and they know that I say it with love— they can sometimes be a tough audience. So I wanted to wait until I had passed Level IV and obtained my certification, before I spoke at a conference. I thought: “Well, if they eat me alive, I’ll still have my Level IV certification!” Fortunately, it worked out all right. But definitely, for me, having my Level IV certification in hand before my first lecture gave me a degree of confidence going in that I wouldn’t have had without it. So, we hope to see a lot of folks turn out for the exams on Monday, February 20.
Gene Shaw AT THE MANY FACES OF ASTROLOGY CONFERENCE
Gene Shaw is giving a lecture entitled 'Rectification Techniques' on Thursday, 02/16/17.
Preview of Presentations
This presentation will emphasize a creative yet technically sound approach for determining an accurate natal chart when the birth data is in doubt. We’ll explore concepts to help the astrologer prepare mentally for what often seems a daunting challenge. This seminar also provides a good advanced level review of the major predictive techniques as applied to rectification. Finally, we’ll observe the complete rectification process, beginning to end, through a number of celebrity charts.