Within Orb Episode 34 with Michael J Morris

Astrologer, tarot reader, writer, and educator Michael J Morris joins host Jenn Zahrt from Columbus, Ohio to dive into books, astrology, feminist science studies, and more! Join the PhD duo for a chat that includes: feminist theories; exploring connections not always apparent; the concept of meaning-making; scientific objectivity; the interrelationship between epistemology, ontology, ethics, and politics; quantum physics; how the only lasting truth is change; and emergent strategy. Plus: getting out of our head and into our body, the God trick, and… small is good!!

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Transcripts available upon request.

Song “Wake Up” used with permission by The E-Block Band.


Episode timestamps (conversation recorded Feb. 2024):

00:31 – Michael is an astrologer, witch, tarot reader, dance artist, writer, and teacher. Michael has a consultation practice, is a teaching assistant for Kelly Surtees’s online courses, and is a guide in AFAN’s mentorship program (Association for Astrological Networking). They also write for the CHANI app, are a contributing artist and facilitator with Livable Futures, and teach in the Foundations in Embodied Ancestral Inquiry course. Michael holds a PhD in Dance Studies from The Ohio State University. Their astrology is rooted in Hellenistic traditions but is also shaped by feminist methods of thought.

03:09 – Michael’s first astrology book was Astrology: A Cosmic Science by Isabel M. Hickey. This text helped them begin to understand the complexity of the astrological tradition beyond Sun sign horoscopes in the newspaper!

06:24 – If Michael were stuck on a desert island, what books would they bring? Using two schools of thought, Michael’s astrology texts would include triple doses of Demetra George! But aside from Demetra’s Astrology and the Authentic Self: Integrating Traditional and Modern Astrology to Uncover the Essence of the Birth Chart and Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: A Manual of Traditional Techniques, Volumes I & II), Michael would expand the framework to look at feminist science studies. And in that view, they would first select an essay entitled, “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” by Donna Haraway (from the text Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature).

17:14 – Interlude: Join CAELi and snag yourself a Saturn stress-relief ball. (Yes, you read that right!)

18:02 – Michael’s second text is Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning by Karen Barad. This one offers thoughtful questions – for example, exploring the idea that what something is (ontology) depends upon how we attempt to know it (epistemology).

27:05 – Michael’s third choice is Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown. Exploring our relationship to change through a study of the more-than-human world, brown’s work is inspired by Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents.

32:06 – For beginners, Michael suggests Chani Nicholas’s vibrant You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance. Their next rec is the previously mentioned Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: A Manual of Traditional Techniques, Volumes I & II by Demetra George. You can build an astrological practice from the ground up, simply using these three texts!

34:56 – Find Michael at their website: https://www.michaeljmorris.co/. And on social, their Instagram handle is @cowitchcraftofferings.

37:00 – 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 happy 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.

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