Joan: When did you first became interested in studying astrology and what sparked your interest?
Hillory: I discovered astrology for the first time in any real way in Linda Goodman’s Star Signs. I was looking for information on numerology. I was 23 years old. I found it absolutely fascinating. The descriptions of my Sun and Moon were so very accurate. At the time transiting Pluto was conjunct my Moon, Mars, Neptune Stellium. And Jupiter was conjunct my natal Jupiter and north node. I was amazed that no one had introduced me to this amazing information. All those years of education and my true education, along with the joy of learning, had just begun.
Joan: Some astrologers are intimidated by the 12th house – why are you drawn to it?
Hillory: I am drawn to understand all things hidden. My moon is in Scorpio. When I consciously discovered the complications my 12th house planet caused in my life: then this hidden, self-sabotaging part of my character was no longer in the dark. I was able to move forward much more effectively, though not easily. Rather than let this aspect of my character hold me back I could work with it, harness its gifts and grow. I believe learning to understand this through studying the 12th house was integral to healing. Astrology really is an invaluable tool for personal growth.
Joan: Of course I have to ask, what planets do you have in the 12 house and how do they impact your life?
Hillory: I have Saturn in the 12th house. It creates a deep sense of unworthiness, an overwhelming fear of rejection and abandonment. Fear of entrapment, isolation, success and failure. I am easily undermined by self doubt, inferiority and guilt. Oh, and aging, diagnosis and death.On the bright side, I am able to focus for long periods of time. I can work alone very happily without direction. Which contributes to being able to write and study astrology.
Joan: Do you approach natal and progressed charts the same way?
Hillory: I definitely focus mostly on the natal chart when I am looking to understand what my client needs to know. I do refer to the progressed chart to get a feel for the focus of the current situation but always within the context of the Natal chart and the greater purpose and lessons as shown in that.
Joan: What books/authors on the 12th house focus do you recommend?
Hillory: ” Your Secret Self, Illuminating the Mysteries of the Twelfth House: A Guide to Using Astrology & Your Dreams for Personal Growth” by Tracy Marks. This book is a Godsend. It has been endlessly helpful for me and all of my clients with 12th house complexes.
Joan: How does your particular approach help you to provide a better astrological reading?
Hillory: I approach the chart as a tool to understand the Soul’s purpose. I am focused on growth and what might be in the way of potential fulfillment. I think my empathy is probably what is most appreciated by my clients. I can feel and understand very complex, often hidden and shame-filled emotions that can really hinder people if left un-integrated. People can release some of this material to me during a consultation and feel uplifted and unburdened. I approach my role as Astrologer with reverence. I feel grateful to have been called to it.
Joan: What house system do you prefer and why?
Hillory: I use the Placidus and sometimes the Equal house method. I think Placidus what picked up by default along the way and it had always worked. Though I am going to experiment more closely with the equal house system with my own chart more closely now that I am giving it more thought.
Joan: Do you have a preference: modern or classical rulerships and why?
Hillory: I focus on modern rulership but always keep in mind the classical. I think I do this with the beleif that we are always evolving, Astrology included. Modern works for me.
Joan: Do you see any value or any need for astrologers to take formal training and certification?
Hillory: I can certainly see the value in it. I myself am primarily self tought. I have a Library I adore filled with books that have absolutely proven valid and helpful to me and my clients. I have spent many supine hours learning exactly the next thing I was most curious about. With Mercury Square Uranus in Sagittarius I am deeply suspicious of formal education. I dislike the restriction to my freedom. My partner and I home school, or unschool rather, our 11 year old daughter. I would like to see a world where integrity is intuitively recognized by all and bureaucracy is removed from equation. I see why we want people to be formally educated. But can see too that it is unnecessary- the proof is in the pudding.
Joan: What inspires you to continue as an Astrologer?
Hillory: My Clients definitely. I am at my very best as a human when I am assisting other people to become the very best they can be. It is so deeply satisfying to feel like I am living on purpose. Astrology certainly isn’t something you would choose if you knew better. It is a calling and I can’t not hear it. And, even after 18 years I am still constantly inquiring, learning, and fascinated by all that astrology is. It has been my greatest blessing, a teacher, a friend and a meaningful connection to all that is mysterious and holy.
Joan: What aspect or pattern in your chart do you find most challenging?
Hillory: It’s a toss up between Saturn in the 12th opposition mercury and Venus. Or the Moon Mars Neptune Stellium.
Joan: What aspect or pattern in your chart do you like the most or find the most helpful?
Hillory: The Sun conjunct Jupiter and the north node in the seventh house.
Joan: Is there an astrology teacher and/or book(s) that have influenced you more than any other?
Hillory: Tracy Marks and her work. Jan Spiller and her work. Jeffery Wolf Green’s work on Pluto. Donna Cunningham. James Braha and Sue Thompson. All of these authors have been invaluable. There is more, but these are my mainstays.
Joan: How involved are you with your chart on a daily basis?
Hillory: I am always aware of what’s happening with my chart. There are times where I am always on it and others when I don’t much think about it. It’s a tricky relationship to negotiate. I find too, I can become fearful if I see a difficult transit approaching. My own father survived being blown out of a camping trailer that was totally incinerated. He was severely burned and in a coma for 3 months. This happened when Uranus conjunct his natal mars. So I am aware that these terrible crazy things can be seen in the chart- but I don’t want to spend all my time worried about them. Thus, the tricky negotiation between knowing and blissful ignorance.
Joan: Do you teach astrology?
Hillory: Not now. I have in the past. I created a course called “Everyday Astrology” that was taught through continuing education. I enjoyed it, but once I began writing regularly I discovered I did not enjoy the classroom experience. So now I share what I can through my weekly column, and in my one-on-one sessions.
Joan: What do you see for the future of astrology?
Hillory: I believe astrology is evolving quickly, like everything else on the planet today. I see it becoming much more mainstream, very much like it has since I started studying in 1996. Back then there was not really blogs about astrology or forums to discuss ideas. It was you and a book. Now it’s me and people from all over the world and we can connect like never before. In many ways astrology represents the growing need humanity has for truth and understanding. It provides endless answers to any question. I think it’s value will become more obvious to a much much larger audience as we continue to drastically evolve.
Joan: What direction are you focusing on in your personal studies and practice?
Hillory: I am working to bring astrology to all people. To distill the essence of it and share how this essence can assist personal growth and consciousness. I write my weekly forecast with this in mind. I used to write trying to include all the astrological details, which maybe other astrologer would like, but the ‘regular-Joe’ doesn’t get it when I use astrological jargon. I have learned that I am best received by keeping the astrological language to a complete minimum. I would like to learn more about medical astrology- at the same time I find it daunting and possibly depressing. Also, I am drawn to further study astro-cartography.