Joan: When did you first became interested in studying astrology yourself and what sparked your interest?
Nina: started out with Theodora Lau’s book on Chinese Astrology and read it with my grandma around age 9 or 10. We were both amazed how accurate it was regarding family and friends. Then I ran into Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs (1st edition!) in a sketchy used bookstore at age 11, and became hooked.
Joan: Did you start off with an interest in Financial astrology or did it develop later?
Nina:I became interested in Financial Astrology in law school, shortly after I became interested in the stock market. It worked rather well in conjunction with more mainstream stock and financial analysis.
Joan: Do you focus exclusively on financial astrology or do you also practice other branches of astrology and if yes what are they?
Nina: A big part of my practice is traditional natal, horary, and electional astrology. Some of my clients come strictly for financial consultations (horaries on stock purchases, or general financial outlook for the year, for example). For me personally, the vast majority of my astrological inquiries are financial, whether in the horary or stock analysis context. I am also very interested in mundane astrology of wars and politics, and developed a method for determining the party of the next US President, using Aries Ingresses, which I discussed on the UAC Presidential Panel in 2012. In addition, I have been researching the right and wrong predictions of WWII. Recently, I acquired a German astrology book from 1924 where the author absolutely gets the prediction right fifteen years in advance, in contrast to many English astrologers who were in denial well into 1939. It’s hard to divorce one’s emotions from astrology, and no one wanted another massive war so soon after WWI.
Joan: If a client’s natal chart shows ‘difficulties with money’ how would you approach the reading?
Nina: It depends on the nature of the difficulty; there are so many possibilities! Some clients are spendthrifts; they are risk-takers who earn a lot, but they cannot hold on to money. Others are less good at earning, but they are savers. Yet another group has family wealth, and there are special issues around money and control in that setting. Usually, clients are not surprised by my assessment of their financial situation or personality traits pertaining to money, as they have been living with it all their lives. People feel validated and are relieved to discuss issues openly they may not even discuss with a therapist, and are glad not to be judged.
Joan: Are there any books on Financial Astrology that you would recommend??
Nina: All types of astrology can be financial. As a traditionalist, I like William Lilly’s Christian Astrology. He was a Taurus, so his writing is very pragmatic and down-to-earth, with a strong focus on money and real estate, whether he was discussing horary or natal astrology. I like Bill Meridian’s books on stock research as well.
Joan: Finances are so pragmatic but some believe the universe can best be understood through numbers – what do you think?
Nina: Yes, in many ways. I am fascinated with the Pythagorean school of numerological metaphysics, and have a wonderful book on it that I reread every now and then to remind myself that numbers are not just quantities; they have qualities as well. This field of metaphysics contains many intersections with astrology and traditional cosmology. The book is *The Theology of Arithmetic,* and it is attributed to Iamblichus, a 4th century Neoplatonist. For example, the number five is described as “lack of strife…because aether, the fifth element, which is set apart on its own, remains unchanging, while there is strife and change among the things under it, from the moon to the Earth…” The thought was that the sphere under the Moon is full of change, life and death, while the spheres of the planets and stars were of the nature of aether and as such were perfect and unchanging. The above passage might be one argument for attributing the quality of stability to aspects such as quintiles (the 72-degree aspects derived from dividing 360 by five). While I have not done the research of linking Pythagorean numerical qualities to aspects, it is an intriguing area of inquiry.
Joan: What house system do you prefer and why?
Nina:I like Placidus and Regiomontanus, though if I or many of my clients lived further up north, I would look into using other systems, such as Whole Sign, regularly.
Joan: Do you have a preference: modern or classical rulerships and why?
Nina: Classical. I hew fairly closely to the tradition, and recall reading that Pluto rules Scorpio because an astrological association in Germany in the 1930s took a vote on it. On the other hand, the visible seven planets have many analogies in nature and culture (the seven colors, seven musical tones, the days of the week, etc.) that developed over thousands of years. Observational astrology/ astronomy (really, archaeoastronomy) is a key part of our heritage as astrologers, which we forget when looking at a piece of paper where all the celestial bodies’ symbols are the same size.
Joan: Do you see any value or any need for astrologers to take formal training and certification?
Nina:I do and have a horary practitioner certificate from John Frawley, though I’ve never once had a client inquire about certification. Until we make it clear to the public why training and certification are valuable, it is going to be a challenging sell to the astrological community, who have to pay for this out of their own pockets.
Joan: What inspires you to continue as an Astrologer?
Nina: I love researching and uncovering hidden knowledge. In the stock market, though it can be a humbling experience, astrology gives one an edge that even the most sophisticated Wall Streeters may not have. What a great feeling that is! I also have the sense that what we do now, astrologically, is for the ages. There are few disciplines where a thousand year old book is instructive in your practice, but we are fortunate to have our astrological ancestors speaking to us through their writings. What we write and teach now has the potential to resonate for a very, very long time.
Joan: What aspect or pattern in your chart do you find most challenging?
Nina:All four fixed signs are strongly represented in my chart; I have had to work on embracing change! On the other hand, it brings with it great stability. Everything has a light and a dark side.
Joan: What aspect or pattern in your chart do you like the most or find the most helpful?
Nina: They’re all pretty helpful, some for qualities I want, some for qualities I need. I suspect my natal Jupiter-Saturn conjunction has been helpful on many occasions.
Joan: Is there an astrology teacher and/or book(s) that have influenced you more than any other?
Nina: William Lilly, the 17th c. English astrologer, is a beloved touchstone for my practice and understanding of astrological principles, and I own a couple of copies of his Christian Astrology because the old ones get very dog-eared. Among the living teachers, I studied with John Frawley, the author of *The Real Astrology,* as well as Deborah Houlding who runs Skyscript.co.uk and is a fine horary astrologer; both are first rate human beings as well as top-notch astrologers.
Joan: How involved are you with your chart on a daily basis?
Nina: Not so much with my natal chart, but with astrology as a whole, in all kinds of ways. On a typical day, I might ask a horary about whether I should buy this stock, then check the planetary hours to find the best time to call opposing counsel to negotiate something. In the evening, I might do some writing of my book or an article for my blog, newsletter, or an astrological magazine.
Joan: Do you teach astrology?
Nina: I do workshops and talks, and have a blog with hundreds (thousands?) of entries at GryphonAstrology.com that breaks astrological principles down into manageable chunks, real horaries, current events, etc. There is an occasional podcast and newsletter as well. I am currently writing an extended study guide/commentary on Guido Bonatti, a 13th century astrologer, whose 146 Considerations are essentially a syllabus for a complete astrological education. Even in my readings, I do nothing but teach, as many of my clients are practicing astrologers themselves and want to understand their horoscopes at a deep level.
Joan: What do you see for the future of astrology?
Nina: I can speak to the United States. I am currently on the board of NCGR as membership director, and it is clear that membership in most astrological orgs is declining. I suspect this is largely demographic, as the baby boomers who were such a mainstay of astrology are retiring and going on fixed incomes, or becoming ill/dying. The other issue is that of money – astrology is a luxury or hobby for most, and we’ve had flat wages for the working and middle class for some decades in the United States, which is taking a toll on discretionary spending for things like astrological association dues, astrology classes, books, etc. This creates a generation of astrologers who must have other means of support; mostly we see people who have day jobs alongside their astrological practice. This is challenging for the community, since people are dividing their time between astrology and their day jobs. I worry it will be a significantly smaller community in twenty years’ time, so communicating and teaching quality astrology will be especially important for all of us.
Joan: What direction are you focusing on in your personal studies and practice?
Nina: As I mentioned, I have been working on my magnum opus, which has been tremendously enriching for my astrological knowledge, and look forward to publishing that for public consumption and education. There is a tremendous hunger for understanding basic astrological principles, and many beginners or even more advanced astrologers I see at workshops are stymied by vague precepts associated with psychological astrology. The structure and completeness that we find in the best old texts is extremely helpful in creating a mental checklist when we look at a chart. For example, according to Bonatti, there are 16 ways for matters to perfect or not perfect (as in a horary chart); having that at one’s fingertips makes horary analysis a great deal easier! I spend a lot of time testing astrological theories with respect to stocks, the markets, and money. The beauty of it is that the financial markets are brutally objective; I am either right or wrong!