Within Orb Episode 39 with Jenn Zahrt

Surprise!!! CAELi’s executive director Dr. Jenn Zahrt sits down in the hot seat with producer and guest host Jen Braun for an April Fools’ Day episode! In addition to founding the Celestial Arts Education Library, Jenn is an astrologer, author, publisher, poet, translator, and teacher. In this one-of-a-kind, personal interview, Jenn shares the significant life event that had her questioning her spirituality at a tender young age, and the history and mission of CAELi. Join the double Jennns as they chat about: rescuing multiple book collections; granular research into various editions of the same text; astrology as nouns and verbs; herbs, planets, and astrological medicine; how temperament fosters tolerance; writing daily horoscopes; the concept of beginner’s mind when learning astrology; the pencil-thin astrology book you didn’t know you needed; the importance of humanistic astrology; multiplicity in what many think of as “traditional astrology”; Liz Greene’s hidden gem; and fusing medieval astrology with solar arcs and midpoints. All that, plus: anthropological fantasies, eating jalapeños for anger, and… jam with us if you owned a Walkman, too!

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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 – Dr. Jenn Zahrt, PhD is an author, publisher, and teacher of cultural astronomy and astrology. In 2022, she wrapped up a five-year jaunt as an Honorary Research Fellow at the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She is an Emerita Trustee of Kepler College and has just joined their faculty! She also serves on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR). Her publishing company, Revelore Press, has multiple books forthcoming, so stay tuned! Jenn founded the Celestial Arts Education Library in 2021, and curates over 10,000 volumes of astrological books, journals, and newsletters. Learn more about CAELi at: www.caeli.institute.

01:15 – Learn about the winding pathway that led Jenn to found CAELi, the rare volumes housed at the library, and discover why becoming a CAELi member is a win-win! (And the book that jumped off the shelf at Jenn back in the day was Der Geist der Astrologie or The Spirit of Astrology by Oscar A. H. Schmitz, which helped to get her book gears turning!)

11:13 – Hey, you! Yeah, you there, reading these show notes! Will you please help others find the show? It just takes a sec, so go ahead: rate Within Orb five stars, write a cute little review, follow the show in your favorite podcatcher, engage with us on YouTube, and/or buy that astrology book you’ve been craving over at bookshop.org. And thanks for listening – without you, we wouldn’t have a show! So, you rock. And roll!

13:26 – Want to sponsor a show on Within Orb? Let’s connect! Reach out at: podcast(at)withinorb(dot)com

14:14 – Jenn’s first astrology book was Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology: The Classic Guide to Modern Astrology. After being grounded as a teen, she headed to the bookstore to buy this title, along with an ephemeris (a now well-worn copy of The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century at Midnight by Neil F. Michelsen to be precise), an atlas for the Americas, an atlas for the rest of the world, and The Koch Book of Tables also by Neil F. Michelsen. Astrology and Alan were answering big questions in a satisfying way! (And thanks to high school teacher Gary Lorentzen for pointing Jenn in this direction; check out Episode 20, Gary Lorentzen: Astro-History, Language, & Measuring Time.) Early on, and before she found classical texts, she dove into Jeff Wolf Green’s Pluto books and anything else she could find second-hand.

18:32 – Interlude: Join CAELi as a trial member and snag yourself a Saturn stress-relief ball. (Yes, you read that right!)

19:19 – If Jenn were wandering lost in the Badlands, which books would she bring? If she trips, falls, needs a poultice, or breaks a leg, she’ll need Jane Ridder-Patrick’s A Handbook of Medical Astrology, 2nd Ed. Also, this one addresses a deeper level of consciousness beyond just the physical.

24:19 – Jenn’s second text would be A Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer by Michael R. Meyer, with a preface by Dane Rudhyar. Jenn would love to go back and study this book more, and it’s a fantastic resource for looking at all elements of astrological practice. For folks who write daily horoscopes, you need this one in your collection!

29:33 – Jenn’s third title may be tiny, but it packs a serious punch: The Rules of Chart Interpretation by Rod Suskin. Rod wrote this thin little book for his students; it’s the most distilled, succinct application of traditional astrology anywhere! (And hey, for someone sitting in a room of 10,000 astrology books, that’s saying something!) Listen to Rod on Episode 26, Rod Suskin: On the Textual Nexus of Commanding Space & Time.

32:28 – For beginners who have some fluency in astrology, Jenn first recommends Astrologies: Plurality and Diversity in the History of Astrology edited by Nick Campion and Liz Greene. Why? Because by the end, what you think you know astrology is, is not! Next, pick up Sky and Symbol, also edited by Nick Campion and Liz Greene – you don’t want to miss Liz Greene’s article included in this anthology, which will help you understand how astrology entered Jung’s world. It’s also one of the best chapters Liz has ever written! (And it’s a cool bonus that Jenn also has an article in this book!) Finally, Jenn encourages reading Fertility Astrology: A Modern Medieval Textbook by Nicola Smuts-Allsop, because it’s a great tactical intro to medieval astrology in a modern context.

41:39 – Find Jenn at her digital lily-pad: https://jennzahrt.com/. And join her ongoing Leaps and Bounds class over at CAELi, when you want to get your hands dirty!

42:52 – 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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