Q+A Interview with Brad Kochunas
Brad is an astrology consultant, award winning writer, speakers, educator and mental health professional.
Q: What do you feel is the role of astrologer to the contemporary client?
A: If we are to be true to the association between the archetypal image of Uranus and the discipline of astrology then the role of the psychological astrologer is to disturb the peace. For a person seeking answers or change, psychological astrologers function to destabilize the balance, rock the boat a little, and gently shake the person’s foundations in order that transformation might occur. Clients may have come to us because they have outgrown their life, wanting something larger, deeper, different and not sure how to proceed. Clients are vulnerable, wanting to transition to a larger life but fearful of doing so, not realizing that to reach a new shore they must cast off from the old one.
We do not attempt helpfulness in the martial manner of Hercules battering his way through the Underworld confronting and contesting every situation, but rather with the subtlety, finesse, and compassion of Neptune also associated with our discipline. We want the client to feel held and supported by our presence so that they feel safe to risk. This requires that we too be vulnerable, a fellow pilgrim, and drop the persona of the cosmic know-it-all who somehow translates the will of heaven to lesser mortals.
If astrology is to be truly transformative for the client then she or he is better served if we evoke questions in them that challenge where they are stuck rather than provide answers to the troubling “givens” in their life. By offering answers or solutions, the astrologer becomes a thief stealing away the client’s responsibility.
Q: How would you describe your astrological focus or area of study?
A: As a retired therapist, I practice psychological astrology exclusively in the context of client issues or concerns. I don’t do traditional readings nor do I deal with predictive astrology at all. Psychological astrology provides a framework for imagining a profound intimacy between our individual lives and a living world, done well; it can evoke a fantasy of healing connection with our inner divisiveness, with our relationships, and with the environment.
Q: What are some books that influenced you in your study and practice of astrology? Can you tell us a little about how they were influential?
A: In no particular order; the poetry of Mary Oliver, D. H. Lawrence, Whitman, and Rilke; the writings of James Hillman, Thomas Moore, Robert Romanyshyn, Patrick Harpur and other archetypal writers; the writings of Richard Idemon, Glenn Perry, Greg Bogart, and Rudhyar, and to round it out; most influential in shaping my astrological thinking were Alan Watts, Rollo May, and the Hall & Ames translation of the Dao De Jing.
Q: Do you have any thoughts about the interaction of astrology and culture? Astrology and science? Astrology and entertainment? Astrology and politics?
Astrology as an imaginal discipline (and definitely not a science) should remain in the margins of culture. Things that become popular and trendy in the cultural imagination tend to get trivialized and literalized with historic examples being astrology in the 1960’s, meditation, divination, yoga, entheogens, jazz and blues. It is the nature of popularity to make hackneyed whatever it touches. For more about astrology as an imaginal discipline see http://www.mountainastrologer.com/standards/editor's%20choice/articles/why_ast.html
Q: What is the one question that you always wish someone would ask you about astrology? What would your answer be?
A: “What diminishes astrology?” The answer is, the manner in which astrologers use language and the practice of prediction. Point 1; Because of the way language shapes perception we still live in a Newtonian universe of billiard balls knocking one another about (nouns performing verbs) rather than a net of interdependent relations. Despite astrologers giving lip service to planets as symbols and the natal chart analogized to a clock face or a mirror, our language betrays us. We continue to use astrology as an explanatory mechanism to understand the what, when, and why of what’s going on in our lives. In general, we still speak as if the planets cause behavior and situations and justify our thinking by saying, “As above, so below.” We entirely ignore the full Hermetic statement that includes, “As below, so above,” a phrase that concisely excises causality from the equation, does not privilege the heavens as a causal agent, and references a mutual arising of below with above, essentially eliminating the notion of cosmic puppetry and placing responsibility for our lives squarely on our shoulders.
Point two; any discussion of upcoming transits, progressions, or solar arcs panders to the insecurities of the client detaching them from the present moment where living actually takes place. This is not helping. Discussing the future allows the client to escape his/her present situation and not deal with what is really going on in their life. Worrying about the future and wanting to know about it reflects a Jupiterian lack of faith in the way of one’s life. Nature is prolific and pragmatic, nothing is ever wasted, and whatever happens is all grist for the work of soul-making. To put it a bit more succinctly, “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer, it’s all material.” And the same for the rest of us.
Brad at the Many Faces of Astrology Conference
Brad is giving a lecture entitled Elemental Spirituality. In describing his lecture, he notes:
"In spirituality and spiritual astrology, the predominant imagery is of light and ascension, reflecting the elements of fire and air. This elemental lopsidedness not only fractures the wholeness of spirituality, but it imperils the way we understand astrology as a spiritual tool. This presentation focuses upon rejuvenating earth and water as ways for coming back to our sense, and adding substance and depth to our spirituality and to our astrology."
His lecture will take place on Saturday, 02/18/17.
About BRAD KOCHUNAS
Brad is an astrology consultant, award winning writer, speakers, educator and mental health professional. He spent three decades behind the scenes using astrology in prison mental health. He is a popular presenter at conferences and the author of The Astrological Imagination: Where Psyche and Cosmos Meet.