Alison Price chats with Professional Astrologer Kelly Surtees
I first met Kelly Surtees in 2008 when we were both associated with our local group Astrology Toronto. We have worked together on a couple of lectures and conferences since. I have admired her strong astrology knowledge and dynamic presenting skills for a long time. I invited Kelly to visit Vancouver to present a talk and a full-day workshop at The Fraser Valley Astrological Guild in September 2013. You can contact Kelly at email@example.com.
KS: In the beginning, I had no idea one could have a career in astrology! I was passionate about astrology and wanted to share it with people, hence I started seeing clients. I was in my early 20s and working full time in the financial services field. I had almost completed my training as a remedial massage therapist and wanted to try working for myself. I left my safe but soulless corporate job and hung out my shingle. In the beginning, I had some clients I worked with through therapeutic massage, and others I worked with using astrology.
About five years later my business was so busy I had to let something go, so I stopped the massage part of the business and committed to astrology full time. I’ve now been working with astrology for more than 10 years. Like most people who are self-employed, I love the freedom of being my own boss. I love sharing astrology with people, whether they are clients, students or just people I bump into at a weekend barbeque. It adds meaning to my life and I think that’s something everyone can benefit from.
AP: Where does your astrological passion lie?
KS: My passion lies in sharing astrology with people. I love working with clients. Whether we’re trying to uncover life time love themes, timing around health, business or wealth, or are attempting to select ideal times for things like IVF, a marriage or starting something new, the planetary cycles and symbols continue to inspire me – and help provide a useful service.
I am especially passionate about astrology and timing, as I do believe each person’s life is calibrated to a unique ebb and flow cycle, the understanding of which helps one make more aligned choices. Ultimately, astrology’s cycles work, whichever technique you choose, reveals what is most or least likely at given points in life. I like to be efficient and find using these cycles helps me apply the ‘make hay while the sun shines’ adage, and the converse – which is to rest when things are quiet. It’s something that having your own business teaches you in real world ways! So I guess essentially I am passionate about cycles and patterns. I love using the astrological cycles and patterns to help people.
AP: Do you use other New Age techniques such as Tarot in your consultations?
KS: I don’t. I am an astrologer through and through. Clients sometimes mention numerology or palm reading and I go completely blank. I have a basic understanding of some other esoteric disciplines, but find I have so much to work with just from a birth or predictive chart I have no need for anything else.
AP: How do you balance your international client work in both Australia and Canada?
KS: Prior to moving to Canada from Australia in 2008, I had a handful of clients in the US, UK and Europe. Since relocating to the northern hemisphere I have been able to maintain my Aussie client practice, and have continued to expand my global client base.
Juggling time zones is key, and doing it with a little Virgo, aka attention to detail, is a must, to ensure there are no scheduling snafus! Mostly, I’m aware of the different time zones, and ensure my client calendar has openings in most time zones most weeks. There are subtle and not so subtle differences between cultures I’ve had to adjust to, but for the most part the universal nature of astrology can be applied easily in most cases.
AP: What is the best advice can you offer those students thinking about pursuing a career in astrology?
KS: Go for it! Astrology will give you back what you put into it. Like starting any business, be prepared to work very hard, especially in the first 1 – 3 years. Even outside the astrology world, most small business fail in that time. It may be prudent to keep a part time job until your astrology practice is established. Keep in mind too that repeat business for an astrology client is usually once a year.
Having started my business while also offering massage therapy, where clients would book repeat appointments once a month or so, I was very aware that the longer return time between astrology client repeat visits would mean it would take longer to establish a client base. Be patient but consistent. Practically, it’s important to set professional level prices you can actually live on, and to maintain some kind of database and newsletter service.
AP: Can you describe your dream client?
KS: I’ve worked with clients who love astrology and those who have no idea about astrology but are interested in what it might be able to share about their life. Both kinds of clients are fun to work with, in different ways. Those interested in astrology already have some familiarity with the language, and are like sponges, soaking up more. Those unfamiliar with astrology are often inspired by its depth, complexity and level of insight. As one of my sister’s says, I’m a bit of an astro nerd, so I’m happy to work with any client who’s interested enough to make a booking!
AP: If you were stranded on a desert island which one astrology book would you want with you and why?
KS: Oh wow, that’s a tough one. I actually had to go check my bookshelves for this. The three astrology books I refer back to most often, in the order in which they popped into my mind just now include ‘The Real Astrology’ by John Frawley, ‘The Fated Sky: Astrology in History’ by Benson Bobrick, and ‘The History of Horoscopic Astrology’ by James Herschel Holden. My copies of these books are full of post notes, highlighted sections and dog eared pages! I believe all three should be ‘must haves’ in any astrologer’s home library. I am currently dipping in and out of Firmicus Maternus’ ‘Ancient Astrology Theory and Practice’ and if I was to be stranded on a desert island anytime soon, would grab that one, as I’d finally have the time to pull it part, page by page!
AP: To what do you attribute your success as an astrologer?
KS: I genuinely enjoy working with people, and my passion for astrology runs pretty close to the surface – it’s hard to miss. My thoughts are that when you do anything with passion and joy, other people enjoy your work. It really comes down to ‘love what you do’. It might be a bit simplistic, but it’s worked for me!
KS: I do enjoy exploring astrology’s history and love better understanding which techniques developed when, and in what context. But I am most inspired by how my real life peers use astrology in our modern world. Today, being an astrologer means working in many mediums – print, in person and across the wide variety of online platforms. Some of us have great skills or talents in one or another of these mediums. Watching how other astrologers develop their niche and then share it is most inspiring to me.
AP: Would you like to share some features about your own chart and how you see them play out in your life?
KS: I am laughing out loud at this!! My own chart, well I was born under a New Moon, and often feel like I seed plant with clients and students. Through sessions and classes, ideas or insights emerge, or clarity is discovered, which the client or student then takes into their life as a kernel that encourages growth. That ‘getting started’ process is like magic and I love working in that space. I have a Sag MC trined by Jupiter so I think that says a lot in terms of my love of teaching and sharing astrology, as well as my love of travel, both for work and just to explore.
AP: I understand you are the editor of the Wellness Astrology Guide, can you share with us your role in bringing this publication to press?
KS: As the editor, I am involved in just about everything in terms of theme and content. I pitch a theme to the publisher, and a selection of article ideas to explore that theme. Once the publisher signs off on both theme and article ideas, I then source writers to contribute the different features. I manage any queries the writers have, as well as review and edit their work once submitted. I also write the annual horoscopes for the magazine. Once the editorial work is finalized, I select images and source quotes. Just about everything that you read or see in the magazine I have been involved with. The publishers, Universal Magazines, have an amazing in house editorial and design team who do all the technical work, like layout and sub editing.
AP: You have a new book Saturn in Scorpio please tell us something about it and why you wrote it.
KS: I wrote an eBook (it’s in PDF format) on Saturn in Scorpio for two reasons. First, I was curious to try this eBook thing, and see what was involved and how it might work. Second, I knew Saturn entering a new sign would be an interesting topic which people would want to read more about. I can only see so many clients each month, and wanted to provide a resource for astro enthusiasts who might be interested in some DIY astrology. It includes an exploration of the energy of Saturn in Scorpio, as well as information I’ve gathered through my years of client practice as to how this influence manifests by transit. I discuss Saturn in Scorpio through the houses and to the personal planets.
AP: Where can our readers buy your book and guide?
KS: My Saturn in Scorpio eBook is available online for instant download via this link http://www.kellysurtees.com/page/bits_and_pieces.html
The WellBeing Astrology Guide is available via this link http://kellysurteesastrology.wordpress.com/horoscopes/ – it is shipped globally from Australia
AP: Is there anything else you would like to add?
KS: Thank you to the Fraser Valley Astrology Group for your interest and time.
AP: Thank you for taking the time to share some insights into your astrology life with us.
KS: Thank you!
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