The Cascadian bioregion has long been home to the advancement of the celestial arts in the United States.
For decades Maggie A. Nalbandian (1937–2015) ran the bookstore Astrology Et Al, now owned by her son Gregory Nalbandian. In 1984, the Nalbandian family also founded the nation’s largest, longest-running regional conference NORWAC, which still survives, even in the face of the global pandemic. In the early 1990s, a plan was hatched to create a College of Astrological Arts and Sciences, which eventually became christened Kepler College.
Many talented astrologers have grown up in the verdant bioregion of Cascadia, including the founder of CAELi, Dr. Jenn Zahrt. Nestled in the capital of Washington State, this membership-based astrological research library carries the torch lit by Maggie and her colleagues.
Currently there are five major collections housed in CAELi:
- The Kepler College Maggie A. Nalbandian Memorial Collection — a robust collection of collections, the impressive, former Maggie A. Nalbandian library forms the core of our holdings.
- Michael Erlewine’s Heart Center Library — Regulus Award–winning astrologer Michael Erlewine donated this 2,000-volume collection at the closing of his own facility in Big Rapids, MI.
- The Mountain Astrologer Library — TMA has donating their entire collection of review copies of astrology books (curated by Mary Plumb).
- The Sigrid Joel collection — a selection of 150 German astrology books from the 1910s–1970s donated by Dr. Linda Leaman. Astrologer Sigrid Joel came to the US as a survivor of Nazi Germany.
- The Cynthia Smit collection — a robust collection of books from the estate of the late traditional astrologer Cynthia Smit from North Carolina.
Read more about our staff and advisory board below.
Dr. Jenn Zahrt
Dr. Jenn Zahrt is an author, publisher, and teacher of cultural astronomy and astrology. From 2017-2022, she was 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 now serves on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR).
Philip Graves is a researcher and writer on the history and literature of astrology. He founded and maintains an extensive multilingual astrological library now based in Wales, United Kingdom. Philip has a degree in French and a working knowledge of Swedish, German, Latin and Spanish. His other interests include music, creative writing and herbs.
Bear Ryver is a professional astrologer helping his clients hone strategies for grounded growth and embodied empowerment by bringing them back to the BASICS. Winner of OPA’s Most Promising Astrologer in 2018, Bear has lectured at conferences like NORWAC and ISAR. He holds certifications in Hellenistic, Electional, and Horary astrology, and specializes in Intersectional Astrology. He was a teacher for the Portland School of Astrology, and has volunteered as a mentor for AFAN. When he’s not talking stars or pulling cards, you can find him climbing rocks and playing guitar.
Alex Mikinaak is a historian, teacher, and practitioner of contemporary relational astrology. A lifelong Cascadian, Alex lives in Olympia, Washington.
Jen Braun, MS, LPCC is the president and founder of JJ Boots Productions, LLC. Before standing at the crossroads of astrology, podcasting, and wellness, Jen spent over two decades working with teens in the field of adoption and foster care. When Jen’s not podcasting, you can find her studying astrology charts and writing. To learn more about Jen, visit:
Morgan Singer creates art with plants, magic, and sheer grit. Born and raised in rural Washington, with deep ancestral roots in Appalachia and Ireland, she tends the land around CAELi and keeps the library running smoothly.
Jeff M. Salazar
Jeff Salazar has been involved in every aspect of the book arts, from fierce reader to bookbinder and is an advocate of all things literary. He received a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Washington-Tacoma and currently works as a design bookbinder at Boston Harbor Bookbindery.
George is a writer, an astrologer, and occasional playwright from Toronto. He is a recent grad of UWTSD's MA program in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology where he wrote on the use of gendered language through astrological history.
J W Dotson
J.W. Dotson MD is a psychiatrist whose interests include ethnobotany, alchemy, astrological magic, traditional astrology, medical astrology and the history of medicine. He is fascinated by the strange borderlands of fragrance which he explores at his website uncannyscents.com as well as through the classes he teaches at The Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles.
Dr. Al Cummins
Dr Alexander Cummins is a contemporary cunning man and historian. His magical specialities are the dead (folk necromancy), divination (geomancy) and the grimoires. He received his doctorate on early modern magical approaches to the passions.
His published works include An Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magicke with Phil Legard (Scarlet Imprint, 2020), A Book of the Magi: Lore, Prayers, and Spellcraft of the Three Holy Kings (Revelore Press, 2018) and The Starry Rubric (Hadean Press, 2012) as well as contributions to collections by both academic and occult publishers.
Dr. Cummins gives classes and workshops online and in person. His work and services can be found at
Dr. Cummins Homepage
Andrew is a life-long poet and wordlover, director of The McLuhan Institute, dedicated to media study in the McLuhan tradition. TMI was founded in 2018 to preserve, promote, and carry on the work of Marshall and Eric McLuhan
The McLuhan Institute
Wonder Bright is an astrologer living in Portland, Oregon. She works with her clients to help them use whatever sliver of free will they possess to embrace their fates and step more fully into their lives. She uses traditional techniques to arrive at wholly modern conclusions, and this column is devoted to describing how. For more, you can find her at:
The Stars of Wonder
Dr. Nick Campion
Nicholas Campion is Associate Professor in Cosmology and Culture, and Principal Lecturer in the Institute of Education and Humanities at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He is course director of the University’s distance-learning MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. His many books include the classic, Book of World Horoscopes (Aquarian Press, 1987), the two-volume History of Western Astrology (Continuum, 2008/9), Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions (New York University Press, 2012) and Astrology, Prophecy and the New Age (Ashgate, 2012). Edited volumes include The Harmony Debates (Sophia Centre Press, 2020) and, with Liz Greene, Astrologies (Sophia Centre Press, 2011). He is editor of Culture and Cosmos. His main interest is in how astrological knowledge is constructed and represented, and in competing truth-claims between different schools of thought in astrology, in any time-period and every culture.