"I asked Him to choose a career for me and he chose astrology."
Pat: Bob, you have been an astrologer for decades. Could you reach back into your memory and tell us how you got involved and how this moved you to become a professional astrologer?
Bob: In June of 1970, I became a follower of Avatar Meher Baba. As I was finishing graduate school with a Masters degree in philosophy in the fall of 1973, He asked me to choose a career. At the time I was working for the University and more or less assumed I would spend the rest of my life in academia. I asked Him to choose a career for me, and He chose astrology. I have done astrology since that day.
It's clear that astrology has evolved during the latter half of the 20th Century. What was, in your opinion, the most significant development during that period of time?
Bob: There were three extremely significant developments during the second half of the twentieth century. First, there was the dramatic improvement of astrological technique; second, there was the rediscovery of our past traditions; and third, there was a global cultural synthesis.
Astrological technique improved because we had many more, smart, well educated people entering the field. People came into the field with PhD’s in statistics, math, psychology, astronomy, engineering and so on. This in itself upgraded the standards. New astrologers demand a higher degree of understandable correlations between the planetary patterns and circumstances on the planet. We had the computer revolution making it possible to do chart calculations quickly. I paid $100 for my first hand calculator and it only added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided. Five years later I was writing chart calculation programs for my personal computer. Now, computer programs are available very inexpensively that perform every conceivable kind of calculation instantaneously, making it possible to test thousands of different hypotheses quickly. There was an explosion of quality publications in the field, magazines, books, and newsletters giving the conscious astrologer a vast array of literature to spark deeper examination of ideas in the field.
Ptolemy's THE WORLD
"With the availability of studying techniques from the ancient and medieval world, we started to understand and refine modern techniques."
Robert Hand, Robert Zollar, and Robert Schmidt were primarily responsible for recovering large pieces of astrological history by translating thousands of documents from Greek, Latin, and Arabic. With the availability of studying techniques from the ancient and medieval world, we started to understand and refine our modern techniques.
Our emerging one world culture is not just east meets west, where you can go to a French/Chinese fusion restaurant in Omaha; the synthesis is a deep coming together of different disciplines where mathematics, psychology, sociology all have impact on each other. Today a student working on an MBA learns about music, advertising, and diet in many different countries. Why? Because our world is becoming smaller and information is moving quicker. We are all consciously more connected to each other. This fusion laid the basis for astrology to be seen in its truest form, the single intellectual connecting thread between all cultures. Every indigenous society has some form of astrology, which is as natural to the mind as an organizing tool as water, food, and oxygen are to the body, or love is to the emotions.
Because of the internet, "we have a more enlightened, better educated consumer for astrology."
Pat: At one time newspaper Sun Sign columns were all most people knew about astrology. But in our web connected world it seems that the internet is changing the way we perceive and learn astrology. Do you believe astrology is undergoing accelerated growth and if so what effect might that acceleration have on the future of professional astrology?
Bob: For one thing, we have a more enlightened, better educated consumer for astrology. On the internet you can get lots of very accurate astrology for free or very little, so it has changed the equation some. Also, it has made it possible for any professional astrologer to have a global clientele. I use a variety of services to connect with clients in a dozen different countries; I use a calling company called Pingo to talk to people in India, Japan, England, Italy and so on. Of course Skype is nice to actually see people that you are talking with. Emails and instant messaging make it possible to answer questions and get information in real time. I have a four year correspondence school in astrology called “The Mastery of Astrology™.” It used to take weeks to communicate with students in India and Norway, now it is immediate. Of course, the material has changed as the media has changed. It is much easier to be a professional astrologer and earn a living at it now than it was when I entered the field in 1974. Sun sign columns are still with us, although now they are on the internet as well as the newspapers. Rick Levine’s sun sign column on Tarot.com is read every day by over 17 million people. What newspaper has that subscription base?
Pat: You are the author of Between Astrologers and Clients. What do you mean when you say that the client/astrologer relationship is transformational in nature, and how is this type of relationship different from a client/psychologist relationship?
The Astrologer's Tool - The Birth Chart
"Astrologers have a tool, allowing them to see deeper into the causes of circumstances in their client's lives."
Bob: Astrologers have a tool, allowing them to see deeper into the causes of circumstances in their client’s lives. This permits the astrologer and client to forgo a lengthy reconstruction of the client’s past based on the client’s reporting. When both the astrologer and client are engaged in making changes in the client’s life the situation it is very exciting. Information in their astrology reveals layer upon layer of past life information which gives context to the circumstances in this lifetime. A psychologist working without an astrological tool is at a distinct disadvantage; it is like driving an automobile blindfolded; it can be done but it seems a needless handicap.
Gifted professional astrologers know why their clients are coming to see them; they understand the source of the person’s pain, expectations, and fears. Good astrologers can see not only what their clients are, but what they may become. Also, astrologers have a road map to know what a client needs to do and how they need to do it to materialize their potential.
Psychology has given us some useful tools; but is a discipline that is less than 100 years old. Astrology is many thousands of years old and has a long empirical history of method and technique. Astrologers are the philosophers of the modern age, and as such are able to answer more profound questions for their clients. Good astrologers inspire greatness in their clients and lead them to be their better selves. Thus, the relationship between astrologers and clients are infinitely more complex than any other professional relationship that people form in life.
Pat: Building astrological community and networks seem important to you. Could you explain why you feel this is so necessary for the profession of astrology?
Bob: One exceptional person, Stuart Brant, built an airplane with his wife and flew from the Portoly Institute in Northern California to Japan in 1970. He owned and ran the Whole Earth catalogue. It was an amazing feat. However, he was building a small plane from a kit to fly two people; he wasn’t building a Boeing 747 to fly 500 people. This takes a community of people all working together. Astrology has been filled with a reasonably large number of “Stuart Brants” for the last many thousand years. But today, we are building an astrological community because we are doing something that is way beyond one person‘s ability to achieve. Astrology can not move forward on the shoulders of exceptional individuals; astrology improves now only through group interaction. Luckily the astrology community is coming together in a spirit of understanding world wide. Many organizations work together for a common cause now. It is important that astrologers learn from each other and treat each other well so we can continue to develop as a field.
The Astrologer/Client Relationship
"Astrologers bring an opportunity to the client to arrive at self-understanding, and thus live a more conscious and fulfilling life."
Pat: There are many different astrological traditions but I've heard you say you are a "general practitioner.” What do you mean by that?
Bob: As in medicine where you have specialist and general practitioners, so do we in astrology. Specialists deal with one type of question or specific issue that a client may have; general practitioners deal with the whole individual and work in a comprehensive manner throughout the individual’s life. I have a professional opinion on anything and everything that comes up in the lives of my clients, but sometimes I refer them to a horary astrologer, or a relocational astrologer, or a financial astrologer for a specific problem or difficulty. I can do this type of specialty work, it is just I enjoy having life long relationships with my clients.
Pat: Can you tell us what role you believe a professional astrologer can fill in a client's life?
Bob: Professional astrologers are case managers. We are the point of first contact for our clients when something comes up in life. Sometimes it is just to answer a question, give a direction or a referral. Often, clients come to see me when they want to understand the meaning of events in their lives. Sometimes something gets triggered in the client and they want to explore their own inner workings… Astrologers bring an opportunity to the client to arrive at self understanding, and thus live a more conscious and fulfilling life.
Pat: Bob, in closing is there something special you'd like to say about yourself, your work, or astrology that we haven't touched on?
Bob: Astrology mirrors the changes in the world. The Organization for Professional Astrology (OPA) has organized a peer review process, making the profession more responsive to the needs of our modern clientele. We are becoming healthier as a profession just as certain aspects of the world culture are emitting positive indications of genuine consciousness. Astrologers are helping individuals and the world see what is truly important; we are in a time of the transformation of all values. I’m so happy to be able to help people reach a deeper level of self understanding. So, 35 years later, I now understand why my Master Avatar Meher Baba gave me this work as a profession.
About Bob Mulligan
Bob Mulligan is an Astrologer, the author of Between Astrologers and Clients, founder of The Astrology Company, through which he offers Astrology Consultations, Educational CDs, DVDs, as well as Astrological Software, including
an astrological chart interpretation program called INDRA, which he authored. He created and runs a four-year correspondence school, The Mastery of Astrology,
training others in various aspects of astrology. Bob is also a past President of the Organization of Professional Astrologers (OPA).
Bob lives in Naples, Florida and travels the world working and lecturing in the field of astrology. He maintains local practices in several cities, including Louisville, San Diego, and New York City. For personal renewal, Bob also spends time in India each year. Following Avatar Meher Baba since 1970, Bob was given astrology as a path of self discovery. This tool, used to help others, has also become his personal path to higher consciousness.
Bob completed a Masters degree in philosophy and started professional practice as an astrologer in 1974.
His contributions to the field of Astrology are invaluable to its advancement in the modern era, and his dedication to educating and serving his fellow Astrologers is commendable.
Most astrologers have trouble earning a living. Success as an astrologer depends on the health of the astrologer-client relationship. This book tells you the secret of this success. All the frustrations, as well as the joy and growth, are carefully documented in Between Astrologers and Clients.
In the Beginning
The whole premise of the book is that the relationship between astrologer and client is a transformational tool. So what is unique about this relationship? How does this relationship help us to understand the profession of astrology? How do we aid each other in personal growth? Basic astrological symbolism describes the universe. This underlying pattern is used as a backdrop to show how astrologers and clients interact. The psychological and behavioral landscape of this relationship emerges from one law. We introduce the twelve fundamental issues that emerge from this one unifying principle...
Dear Bob, I've been reading parts of your book, Between Astrologers and Clients, and am very impressed. It's clear, thoughtful, and fills a much needed gap in the field. Kudos to you for writing a much needed book… I'm wondering if you'd be willing to allow me to print a copy of your chapter on Ethics for "An Anthology on Astrological Ethics" that I'm developing for a Kepler College course. I also plan to provide the book to the general astrological community.
~ Dr. Glenn Perry, Astrologer and teacher at Kepler College in Seattle.