Welcome to the second installment in our new podcast series, Within Orb! Stellar witch Sasha Ravitch shares the four books that most influenced her development. Plus: astrology books that cost an entire allowance; Can there ever be too much Saturn?; and gathering the ancestors.
View full show notes at our Within Orb pod page!
View the books mentioned on our bookshop.org page, or scroll down for individual links. (By purchasing books through our bookshop.org page, you help support CAELi!)
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Song “Wake Up” used with permission by The E-Block Band.
Episode timestamps (conversation recorded Feb. 2023):
00:32 – A warm welcome to our Libran guest for the week: Sasha Ravitch!
01:40 – The first astrology book Sasha ever read? As for many of us, it was a Linda Goodman book! And there was also the gimungous birthday book from back-in-the-day!
03:29 – Sasha’s desert island books include: 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans by Austin Coppock, Astronomicon by Marcus Manilius, Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil by Liz Greene, and Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars.
09:29 – More on 36 Faces, and how the book has influenced Sasha. Would she take it with her if there were a fire in her house? For sure! (Note: It’s been sold out for years, but a new version will be coming, so stay tuned!)
14:23 – Manilius’s Astronomicon, and why it gets Sasha into her feels when she thinks about it. Do the planets and fixed stars enter our lives at just the right moment? Let’s chat about fixed star Alphecca!
20:01 – Bernadette Brady’s Fixed Stars book, the constellational myths, interconnection, and how the book steered Sasha onto her current path.
28:25 – Last, but certainly not least: Saturn, Saturn, Saturn! Sasha and Jenn take a look at the old devil.
33:33 – What books would Sasha recommend to a beginner? Bernadette Brady’s book, but the other answer may surprise you! Tune in to hear about how and why fairy tales, folklore, philosophy, and psychology are much needed in the astrological landscape.
37:29 – Thanks for listening to Within Orb! If you love the show, please help support it at no cost to you: Follow or subscribe wherever you listen, rate it five stars, or write a kind review! And if you’d like to become a CAELi member or support our work with a contribution of any amount, we’d be delighted! Thanks!
Show notes by Jen Braun, JJ Boots Productions LLC.
Transcript, Episode 2: Within Orb
Jenn Zahrt 00:00
Hi Sasha, welcome to the second episode of within orb, I’m so glad to be here with you. And before we jump straight into the questions of the day, I would love to hear a little more about your background in astrology and where you’re coming from today.
Sasha Ravitch 00:14
Well, as a Libra, it’s always very hard to try and talk about myself. But I first and foremost identify as probably a writer at this point. But my background is in Hellenistic and psychological schools of astrology, though, in the recent years, I’ve veered away significantly from that and have actually pioneered what I call stellar witchcraft, which is incorporating traditional and folkloric approaches to witchcraft through the lens of fixed stars and paranatallata, which was comprised and made much more popular thanks to the great research and works of Bernadette Brady. So that’s where a lot of my heart lies now, writing the invocations, guiding people through cultivating stellar relationship and with the spirits of the other than human world that are identified with the stars themselves.
Jenn Zahrt 01:01
That’s an amazing intersection of topics. And I cannot wait to read what you’re writing. But before I get to that, I want to ask you what is the first astrology book that you ever read?
Sasha Ravitch 01:12
Oh my god, it’s gotta be like Linda Goodman, the first astrology book I ever read. I can’t even remember what it was now. But I swear to God, I picked it up again, typical Libra because it had to do with compatibility, okay, like star signs and love or something like that. And it was from a goodwill and what I remember was that it costs all of my allowance. I was like, maybe 11 or 12. And I brought this to my mom, because I had a crush on a boy at school. And you knew I was going to find out how to make this person like me. So that’s like my, the astrological villain like origin point.
Jenn Zahrt 01:48
You spent all your allowance. It was precious.
Sasha Ravitch 01:51
I remember reading it at the time being like, okay, there’s gotta be more than this. But it definitely set me off on a pretty intense journey. And then there was also the birthday book, which I don’t know if you remember those birthday books that came out?
Yeah, they’re huge
They’re huge. And I had one of those when I was in sixth grade or something, too, and I would bring it to school. And like literally my way of getting people to be friends with me at the time. So it was a weird, I was a weird kid.
Jenn Zahrt 02:16
Oh, that’s Gordon White’s first question.
Sasha Ravitch 02:20
It was like somehow less weird that I brought this giant birthday book to school and would like ply people’s friendship by reading them about themselves. But that was the first time I was like, oh, people like to hear about themselves. I’m gonna remember that
Jenn Zahrt 02:34
that book is safe because it doesn’t overtly say astrology. It’s like you’re born on this day. Here’s the stuff
Sasha Ravitch 02:41
But if you look at it, it’s like sign and then like what things are associated with that sign and then like there’s a back the back sections of the book are like oh, the people that are Taurus, you know, love fashion, you all reductive stuff, but at the time, it was like a gateway drug.
Jenn Zahrt 02:56
Yeah. Okay, so you had entry into astrology books through these two sort of pop culture books. But if you were stuck on a desert island, what are the astrology books you’d bring with you?
Sasha Ravitch 03:08
I’m so glad you asked. I have gathered for this purpose. And while this was very hard to decide, these are the ones that I think probably I refer back to the most, or most informed some of the directions that I took my own practice. So these are my go twos. The first one is 36 faces by Austin Coppock is exploration of all the decans and that I can share why I chose these aftar but I’ll just like introduce them.
Jenn Zahrt 03:35
Okay, cool. Yeah, yeah. As you wish
Sasha Ravitch 03:36
It is the number one one because I don’t know if I would have pursued astrology the way I had if it hadn’t been for Austin’s writing, being like, this speaks to me. I want to do this. That was back in the MySpace days, right. And then my OG I call my favorite of the ancients. Mr. Manilius is with the astronomicon who taught me that actually poetry is an acceptable format for delineations and the communication of significations.
And then Liz Greene’s Saturn, a new look at an old devil, which was one of the pinnacle points for affirming the haunted houses system that I talked a lot about and that I presented at astromagia on. her incredibly robust and fortified way of exploring Saturn is more than like a stereotype more than just a reductive these things bad. hugely, hugely anchored in that sort of deep psychoanalytic perspective that I really loved. Blew my mind and I think I tried to like force everyone around me even people that didn’t give a to about astrology to read it for quite a while. Now there’s a moratorium until eventually allowed to talk about Saturn with most of the people in my life.
Jenn Zahrt 04:52
wait, wait, wait, wait. You’re saying people in your life told you to stop talking about Saturn because we were talking about him too much?
Sasha Ravitch 04:57
Yeah, it got really out of hand. cuz i three years ago or something I started that Saturday devotional this like this book was one of them but I did like a whole year long every day during every Saturn hour I was doing the… I went hard and I learned there is definitely such a thing as too much Saturn and and now I’m in a Venus devotional. but yeah, there was a moratorium like I started becoming a talking point if I tried to bring it up, people told me that I had to go outside. I couldn’t talk about it.
Jenn Zahrt 05:28
You literally got exiled from Saturn.
Sasha Ravitch 05:31
Yeah. Turns out people don’t love talking about responsibility a lot of times or about like sacrifice and why sacrifice is so important to Halloween, our work and everything. You stop getting invited to parties.
Jenn Zahrt 05:52
I’m so sorry.
Sasha Ravitch 05:55
I did it to my myself.
Jenn Zahrt 05:57
Okay, what’s your last book on your list?
Sasha Ravitch 06:01
and that is going to be Bernadette Brady fixed stars. And so much of my work is almost this point for the predominantly looking at the stellar spectrum of the firmament. And there are so many great treatises on the folklore and the myth. But to see it collected to see the connections need to see the real human examples extrapolated in this mythopoetic lens was so deeply moving to me as a person whose whole life like revolved around the necessity of fairytales been true from you know, when I was a child to now where most of my work is helping people to resource themselves within their own sort of Enchanted Forest within their own process of catastrophism. And seeing these splayed out with such a tender and passionate and reverent focus for the aliveness of these myths, I was like, this is the direction this is what it is, I spent all of my time rambling through this world of astrology and finding all these things that I loved, and finding things that resonated and I gravitated toward, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago, where I allowed myself this sort of journey into the fixed stars that I found, I think, like, my place in astrology,
Jenn Zahrt 07:14
that’s awesome. And I love that the fixed stars that’s like the beyond Saturn wheel in cosmology, right? So it’s like you did that Saturn work, and you literally, almost, you know, theoretically broke through to the other side.
Sasha Ravitch 07:29
Yes. There’s lot of things that were not super great about what three years of this deep Saturn devotional period was right. And that was actually it started when he was opposite my moon by transit, and teaching me in that way. But really, we often forget, I think that Saturn is the gatekeeper of the stars, right, that he is the full access point to all the planets beneath him and to what is beyond him in the firmament. And I really do think that paying that sort of sacrificial pound of flesh to him, right allows you access to legacy in the stars, ultimately, are the legacy bearers of all story that has ever existed from the Neanderthals to contemporary stories that we discover today, right? Like, this is this beautiful typography. And Saturn has time himself shepherds us into that relationship, but not without the sacrifice. When everything is an initiation of some sort. Everything has to hurt, you have to lose a little of yourself along the way, if you want the space to bring new things in.
Jenn Zahrt 08:27
Oh, you just did what I love about astrology and astrologers, you talked about everything in existence and nonexistence in one breath. It’s amazing. It’s just like, yeah, we’re going all the way back to the origins of what we know to be human, right? And looking up in our stories are embedded in these fireballs that poke through the darkness of matter. And yeah, I just think that’s a wonderful collection of texts that you have there.
So let’s go back to Austin for a minute and just sit with the 36. deacons. What about that book, beyond his amazing writing, really shifted your perspective? What is the sort of takeaway that you would impart to a new person who’s never met that book? I think the second edition is on its way. But the edition you just held up, it’s been sold out for years.
Sasha Ravitch 09:20
This was a precious precious gift from JM Hammadi. Well, it must have been about four years now ago. So there’s actually a lot to it. So I mean, for those who have read it know that there is a wealth of information, especially for talismanic purposes within it about the certain dignities that planets can find in decanic faces, etc. But what really compelled me beyond obviously, Austin’s incredible prose style, was how you managed to organize it in a way that was so full of depth, but also really accessible and like immediately applicable. I find that to be kind of a gold standard in a source book. kind of component where you can literally scroll to Okay, well, my sun is in the third decan of Scorpio, and read all this collection of esoteric that is written in a way so that you can use it so that you can understand it and identify with it. But that it also opens up so many more doors for you to explore whether it’s different references that he might have to Buddhist traditions, or whether it’s quoting different Islamic texts, right? Like there’s just so much to go through. And even in the back index, where he assigns decans of different spirits. So how do we have relationships with spirits, right? Like all of these are our living breathing entities of creatures and how do I get my hands dirty? Right? How do we interact with something? He gives you these entryways, right the deities that are associated or even gods as he sees them associated with the different decans as well. And that allows you to initiate some direct relationship with the idea of being in a living deeply, deeply alive like writing with creation cosmos. That’s so much more exciting I think, than having to read flat significations or delineation so you get a little bit of everything you get what it means to be a magical practitioner, right? Because he’s been such a pillar in the astrological community, especially with astrological magical Renaissance two that we’ve seen, allowed me to be like, Okay, wait, we can do magic with astrology, right? Like it’s not, I don’t have to divide these things. I don’t have to have my magic practice on one side of my astrology practice somewhere else, as well as the thing that we also seek from astrology, which is personality identification, right? Like, oh, I do identify with being that kind of person that makes sense that that would be indicative of where my sun falls, right? And then two direction around how to engage and how to engage in a safe way right with as little fallout as possible, because he’s explicit about where those things go. So that organization is so comprehensive, and I think so masterful prior to, you know, even being aware of how masterful it was going to be. And I know, like I work on my own individual writing products, I’m always kind of keeping that method in mind, like, How can this be accessible? How can it be conducive to meaning making? How can it be conducive to relationship building? And like, how can we do that with causing as little backlash to our our lives and the lives of those around us as possible?
Jenn Zahrt 12:25
Yeah, I believe that book was published about 10 years ago. So it’s been impressive to see it go from thought form in his mind, to actually having an influence in this astromagical resurgence that we’re seeing now. I remember him talking about it and saying, there’s like kind of two camps. The occultist over here who issue astrology, mostly because like the books that are in CAELi, for example, are a lot of pop culture books that got published the 60s 70s 80s that wouldn’t appeal to somebody that was trying to do hardcore occult work, right. But there is in the history of astrology deeper a marriage of those two subjects. And so Austin making 36 faces was trying to like, bridge that in a modern context to show the occultist how useful Astrology can be in that almost like trying to make talismans without it is just like, working in the dark, like work smart. Not hard, right?
Sasha Ravitch 13:19
I don’t even refer to it as much as I used to. But it’s like when people asked like, what are the items you would take out of your home if there was a fire… it’s like in the top five at this point. It’s got sentimental attachment.
Jenn Zahrt 13:31
For sure, for sure. But it’s also nice to hear how it’s influenced your own writing and that it’s been a role model for infusing things with utility, but also responsibility. Again, there’s that word, I feel like it’s gonna come up a lot today. And also just this awareness of poetry with something that’s more practical, so totally
so Manilius. That’s going all the way to the back. That’s like, oh, you know, yes, Hellenistic Greece. Let’s get in there.
Sasha Ravitch 13:58
I’m getting a little bit emotional. About Manilius. And there’s been so many beautiful translations, but for me, it’s someone that like, came initially with a background as a like a published poet, as a creative writer, as an essayist and tried to wiggle her way into creating a space sort of in the astrological milieu. Manilius I was actually introduced to before I even tried to become like intentional in the public sphere about astrology because I was doing Latin translation in my undergrad. And my Latin professor at the time actually had a list right that we could choose from. And a Latin translation of Manilius, this was just a section and it was a him talking, I think about the fixed star Alphecca. And the children that are born under Corona Borealis, and I would later like find out that this is actually a very important star for me within my chart, but it’s interesting too write with the stars disease. Well the wisps, or like lighthouses, these literal light that takes us in the direction that were meant to be going as part of a greater like destiny is a greater direction or own, you know, heroic arc. That was what this passage of translation for millions did. But there is a emotional embodiment in Manilius uses poetry that shows how deeply he understood planets, stars, zodiacal signs, the different delineations around these things like in his body as lived things. as gods that were emergent for him not as abstract or hypothetical experiences, but rather than the sheer… the poetry of life itself. And beyond the form of it being in the prose state, the way that he moves language to show what is not able to be communicated explicitly, but only through metaphor, only through symbolism, only through heart space experience that like, Ah, yes, I know that I felt that I see that within me, I saw that within this person. I don’t think that we could really do astrology justice without recognizing his role within it as someone who seems to be something of a priest of these spirits themselves, like they came through him, there was a miraculous provenance and the way that he communicates and shares as if he’s telling the stories of these stars of these planets as those stars and those planets themselves. This is he’s got the phone to this thing, and he’s just getting it down. And that’s one of the reasons why he really sticks with me, because I’m especially interested in the way these things show up in our spirits, and how they’re creating this kind of great chain of being so to speak. But on the micro cosmic personal level as well.
Jenn Zahrt 16:48
It sounds like this poetic transmission has not been given enough credit for teaching the astrology in ways because we expect when we’re learning something, there’s a textbook and it’s sort of this is how you do this. And here’s the instructions for that. And what you shared is more of a frenzy of experience. And the story itself, washes over you and teaches you something that’s not necessarily lodged in a kind of rational approach.
Sasha Ravitch 17:15
absolutely It’s ecstatic.
Jenn Zahrt 17:19
I think we’re finally maybe with this past years conjunction of Uranus with the North Node in Taurus, we’re like, finally ready as a community for this type of honoring of our embodied wisdoms getting that direct experience that Manilius has captured for his time, and now you’re doing it for our time, in your way. But I mean, there’s a through line to what your four books are on this desert island, I want to go to this desert with you. There’s a through line because there is an element of more of a subtlety of softness or roundness, or kind of meandering, that is not just sort of a blasting, you know, rational, evidence based situation, you know, it’s a different kind of evidence.
Sasha Ravitch 18:00
Yeah, there’s a place for that. And there are astrologers and writers for that. And that was never going to be the role that I was able to occupy and I’m so grateful for these astrological ancestors or Well, I mean, Austin’s living so…
Jenn Zahrt 18:16
He gathered the ancestors, though, kind of like agrippa. Right?
Sasha Ravitch 18:19
this is the collective right like as these ageless and timeless pillars that sort of hold up like almost, you know, if we were to think about what would the angles of my astrological practices hypothetical nativity look like? We would have probably these four people holding up the different spokes that made the thing turn.
Jenn Zahrt 18:39
Yeah. Let’s hop over Saturn and get to Bernadette because Bernadette’s book of fixed stars, also lays out the constellation of myths. And I mean, it sounds like in your pre introduction to these, that this was one that sort of actually truly set you off on your current path.
Sasha Ravitch 18:56
Yeah, the parens technique in general, I have transformed to use for my own witchcraft purposes, including creating a sort of like, I don’t want to use the term horary, right, but a timing technique based around stars that show up on angles. So both the technique itself that she introduces within this fixed book, as well as this incredibly expansive and almost kind of exhaustive at times, exploration of folklore of myth of the way that these things are prescient are always living and immortal within every single eon and era of human existence is so inspiring, and it’s so totalizing and you kind of sink beneath the gravitas of it for a moment and we just feel like humbled by how interconnected we are to everything that’s come before. and well that can have that affected making you feel perhaps like small at first. There’s such a comfort in that right, that safety blanket of eternity that like wraps around you so that you can find your small position within it, then you can find the stories that make up your own personal narrative within it. And for me, it was really pivotal because I noticed where there were gaps, right? Like she focused on so much rich, Mediterranean Levant, some North African, a lot of you know, the Greek and Roman mythos. But for me, only some of that reflects my ancestry, right. So it actually was part of what inspired me to go off and start doing a lot of deeper dives into the folklore and myths of different geographical regions too and how those under usually, the term folk astronomy, right is what you end up finding a lot of these books, especially the more academic and research related articles, and books under the folk astronomy category. how these all help sort of substantiate and affirm and uplift as well, the narratives that she was telling, there’s real consistency there. There’s something that’s universal, and I think that we often, but we want to respect of course, the inherent uniqueness and beauty of indigenous regions, and how distinct everything can be. There’s something that’s really thrilling when you notice that like, wow, this seems to be upheld, like this story attached to this constellation, regardless of whether we’re in Southeast Asia, regardless of whether we’re in Glastonbury. This is a narrative that persists. And I think that, for me is extremely thrilling on like a philosophical and spiritual level.
Jenn Zahrt 21:27
I love how it has inspired you to see, like… you have to know a lot to know what you don’t know and to notice something missing. so it’s really nice to hear, like, you have ancestry that’s not contained within that book. But that’s also a part of participating in the culture of producing your own one in the future, perhaps or supplement to or, you know, adding your vantage point to hers. And then as a collective, we actually can do a different kind of mapping of what we’ve been up to historically and then in the present and making perhaps suggestions for the future.
Sasha Ravitch 22:01
Yeah, it lets me sit with clients. And when they come to me from ancestral backgrounds that aren’t reflected in the myths and stories collected, I have a pool that I can call from so that everyone finds your own home in the sky without feeling like they’re being forced into someone else’s kind of relationship.
Jenn Zahrt 22:20
Yeah, I like that. And it’s also in the beginning of Bernadette’s book, she talks about the constellation of Draco, and the tilt of the Earth’s axis coming as a sort of like a astronomical analogy to this myth of falling out of the Garden of Eden and things becoming imperfect. And now we have the sidereal zodiac not matching the tropical zodiac and just, you know, this is where we fall from grace. And I just really appreciated that insight into the hardcore astronomy being applied to this mythology and poetry.
Sasha Ravitch 22:50
Totally. Yeah. And there’s so much I mean, she’s doing real astronomical work. That’s I’ll be honest, sometimes the part where I’m like, I have to reread this several times to understand what we’re talking about. I’m also very appreciative that she includes so many charts, visual charts within the book, too. So
Jenn Zahrt 23:06
So you’re talking about these crossovers? Like this is like the map of the constellation. But there’s other charts, there’s like a… let’s look at Alphecca.
Sasha Ravitch 23:12
yeah, Alphecca… page 116. Okay, you can also understand what with the risings and you know, the different settings of the stars too whether it’s a chronicle from helicals…
Jenn Zahrt 23:30
this map of heliacal rising and setting, it took me forever to figure out how to read it, it was not an easy thing, we see a graph here with a crossover of an X with it’s like one line goes down and solid, and the other line comes up, and it’s dotted. And then you see for different latitudes, and degrees of the Zodiac where exactly the star will be rising and setting throughout the year.
Sasha Ravitch 23:53
Once you’ve got the flowcharts, too, that are like, also super useful. Yeah. And especially for me, because it’s always the technical stuff that my brain, like the story is the words the meaning making, that’s easy part. But astrology is an observable… And especially fixed stars, right? Especially pairing a lot of we’re trying to stick to the observable phenomena. And it’s really important that you can locate yourself within the astronomy of the practice that you are engaging in from also this more creative way as well.
Jenn Zahrt 24:25
Yeah. And it’s also bringing up even through the math and all of the really robust, hard science of the astronomy behind this book. It ultimately comes down to a sensitivity of location where you are now. you have to be absolutely sensitive to your horizon, your vantage point, your location on the surface, and if you need to change that you need to go somewhere else. And I love that about it. Like it’s like sensitive in this way.
Sasha Ravitch 24:50
when I have clients from below the equator, like that were born and I always get to like, discuss some different stars too. Yeah, I mean, that’s part of the thing that you’ve talked about too. Right? When We’re looking at the Astro cartography part of stuff is okay, you don’t like how things are going, leave where you are. Find a place is going to bring that in for you too. And you can do that as much for the constellations as you can for different planetary lines, too.
Jenn Zahrt 25:15
Yeah, I can see that. And I’ve taken a look through fixed stars, specifically to just see in certain places, what is the chain link of heliacal, rising and heliacal setting stars. and noticed that certain stars will never heliacal rise in the north, but they do in the south, at the opposite rate of them going the setting from the north to the south. And it’s like, if you really spend time with it, it actually becomes another way of knowing this community of people stars in this way that you kind of get their behavior, like they actually have regular behavior, we just, it’s, it’s hard to do 72 pieces of information versus, you know, classic 10. But if you take it bit by bit as you have, and you sort of spend time with Alphecca, like everybody who’s listening, go back and look and see what you can learn about Alphecca. It just then they slowly become your friend. And you start to get to meet the model. And you’re like, oh, Sirius is success which can burn and, you know, you kind of get a sense of like, what do they do.
Sasha Ravitch 26:13
You get a fixation. People start showing up in your life with those stars to teach you about them.
Yeah, I’ll be like, oh, man, I need to learn more about Capella and then it’ll turn out I have like a week straight of only people with like, significant Cappella. And like, Capella conjunct, you know, a luminary or something, too. I book out pretty far in advance. So it’s really creepy to me what it was like, Oh, this was not coincidental that I decided this week, I wanted to learn about a thing. I was being told, like, hey, heads up, refresh yourself a little bit, because you’re going to learn about this thing.
Jenn Zahrt 26:53
Yeah. But I think that’s part of astrology being sentient. as a practice, it’s like you engage with it, and it responds. And then it’s like, Alright, here’s what’s next. Here’s what’s next.
So let’s talk about Saturn. This book. This was a definite game changer in the world of astrology at the time, wasn’t it?
Sasha Ravitch 27:13
It is such a humanizing book. And one of my first real passions in my graduate degree experience were in psychoanalysis, right, especially Freudian and Lacanian. But Jung was in there, of course, as well. And to read Liz Greene’s like deeply knowing, deeply felt sense understanding of like, what it means to be human. And the ways in which as Freud initially meant it like psyche means the spirit, the soul of a person. And psychoanalysis is about understanding the soul of a person. I think she exemplifies that as a craft as an art so expertly, especially when we’re talking about a planet that is the greater malefic, right, that is associated with a lot of the most traumatic, harrowing and difficult or least fun and pleasurable, you know, aspects of being a human that has to live on a planet with other humans. And she does a really elegant kind of choreography around being honest and blunt about how these obstacles can present themselves, while also at no point does she create a sort of fatalistic experience that condemns the opportunity for human redemption? Right? There’s a, I remember, I forget who it was, it was a medical text that Vanessa Irina sent me once. So it’s talking about Saturn as the redeemer of mankind. And that really stuck with me. And I really do feel that’s true, though, it might not be an overt association that we come to. And I think that Liz does a really great job at showing this sort of Sisyphean ordeal. The sort of Sisyphean obstacle of like, suffering is inevitable. Everyone has the wound, everyone has Saturn in their chart. And therefore to there is resource there is strength, there is initiation, there’s lesson, and there’s something really profound. And I think that even when we don’t like certain people, or we have conflict with others, we can all sort of connect over that universal kind of signature of pain and the things that we learn and the ways that we try to live in spite of despite it and because of it.
Jenn Zahrt 29:25
Wow, how would you marry your knowledge of traditional essential dignity to Liz’s version of Saturn, meaning for example, like someone with Saturn in Leo or cancer versus someone who Saturn in Aquarius or Libra, and these types of sacrifices and threshold experiences?
Sasha Ravitch 29:45
Well, the thing that for me was most valuable about this book was for exploration of Saturn through the houses. And it inspired directly a lot of my investigation into planets in these haunted houses, as I call them. because I recognize when the first time I read this and I read the delineation for Saturn in the fourth house, which I don’t have, but which many of my, the people that have been closest to in life had, I noticed everything she said so incredibly on point that I was like, Okay, wait a minute, and that the tenderness to I don’t even at this point specifically remember what she spoke of Saturn through the signs because I think at this point, I’ve created a lot of my own delineations. The first time I read this must have been about eight or nine years ago. But I remember in particular, the way she talked about Saturn also conjunct certain planets. And when that translated, there are certain things I will say that I do not think have perhaps aged in ways that people would now feel super comfortable with, as we especially have become more sensitive to neuro divergence and the way that can show up. And we try not to sort of necessarily read the signatures into the chart, but rather take people as a whole and organic entities. But that’s bound to happen pretty much with any person who is creating a meaning that we will eventually one day have more information about, right? Yeah. And that’s actually a thing that psychoanalysis in general would benefit from allowing to write is for people to grow and for our ways of experiencing people to grow. But the anchorage that you use in real case studies and client examples, both in a therapeutic context where she’s examining people and their full life, right, not just within the hour in the consultation room we receive when we’re looking at the nativity, but also the duration of knowing people’s unconscious in such a complex and extended period of time, I think made it a book that will be one of a kind and useful forever her.
Jenn Zahrt 31:46
Yeah, I mean, it’s always a new look at an old devil maybe.
Sasha Ravitch 31:50
Yeah, I would love for there to be like a book for this on every planet.
Jenn Zahrt 31:56
Yeah, she does have other books on planets. The Neptune book is enormous. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen that one.
Sasha Ravitch 31:59
Yeah, this in particular. I mean, I feel like this approach each book was pretty unique. But I think out of maybe every planet Saturn was the one that most deserved having this exploration, or we needed it.
Jenn Zahrt 32:11
Yeah, for sure. For sure. So if you were… let’s pivot hard now you’re off the desert island. If you were going to give somebody recommendations of how to get into astrology via a book, what book would you point them to?
Sasha Ravitch 32:25
If it was Star related, I would of course point to Brady and people are trying to learn from the techniques. But I often find that the best way to get into astrology is through not studying just astrology. I often recommend that when people tell me like Oh, I’d love to learn more about for instance, like the way I do things, I’m obviously not speaking for every astrologer or astrologer. But when people ask me like, Okay, well, how did you get into this? How and why do you do it? I’ll tell them the books that really were like a core of my self study education. And I’ll recommend them to you or Austin for your your classes as well if they want it that way. But I always tell them to look to fairy tales, to folklore, to philosophy to psychoanalysis, having a better understanding of all the different ways that everyone has seen the world work that everyone sees people work, these sorts of stories, these sort of concepts, these ways of making meaning, I think are ultimately the foundation of what is most beneficial to mankind about astrology. And in order to be the best sort of astrologer, you can be having a well rounded library of things that make you go oh, yeah, or I know how to apply that. Or that reminds me of something, right? Those are the things that I think give people a unique voice in their astrology so that they aren’t just reciting delineations that they read from a book that really inspired them, but rather, they’re able to facilitate and create something totally new, and therefore add something that no one else can. And that’s what I think makes astrology a richer environment. So that was a long way of answering your question only half of the way I think.
Jenn Zahrt 34:07
no, yeah, you’re basically saying there’s no answer to that question and read everything else except an astrology book.
Sasha Ravitch 34:15
Yeah, and the books but don’t stop with the astrology books, right? You want to learn astrology. I think at the end of the day astrology is about stories, whether those are the stories we tell ourselves, or whether those are stories we tell others or probably interpret the stories of the time period that we are in. And for that you need to be able to pull on other stories.
Jenn Zahrt 34:35
Yeah, I think you know, you’re totally right on in that way, in the sense that like, I think what makes reading certain astrologers amazing is that they have brought in their own cultural frames, and they’re bringing more to the table than just rote astrology. If as if astrology is one kind of practice. I’m not even trying to suggest that by any means. But I think you know, when you talked about Austin, he’s bringing in his magical practice and all of the exposure he’s had to different cultures and his desire and curiosity about other cultures. That’s a hard answer.
Sasha Ravitch 35:07
Astrology is going to be elicited through the vessel of the astrologer. Right. That’s why nourishing and feeding and deepening the realm of the astrologers owe an interest is so vital to a sustaining voice, a voice that doesn’t also just burn out after a while as well just must consume us consume experience, you must consume meaning and you must consume. Everything you see around you is information that you at some point will use that you might need, you know, and it’s worth opening the spectrum of your vision and not being sort of myopic, I think even in the beginning, because everything can be a part of your astrology at some point.
Jenn Zahrt 35:47
Love that. Well, thank you so much for taking time to talk about your love of certain astrology books, and also so many other texts and textualities and poetics and poems, and I look forward to what you end up writing and contributing to this textual world of star stuff.
Sasha Ravitch 36:03
Thank you. More coming soon.
Jenn Zahrt 36:06
Have a wonderful day.