Women And Astrology: But Where Are the Guys?
The 70s offered us an astrological Renaissance where women (and gay men) ruled. But how are things configured now?
When it comes to gender there aren’t many ratio fluctuations within the astrological community. (Mind you, my observations are subjective and based on what I’ve observed in the United States, so there’s my disclaimer.)
Women comprise the largest group of attendees for classes and seminars and conventions. And women hold professional positions more than men, meaning they teach astrology and work full time as astrologers.
A majority of my clients are women, about 90% to be exact. I’d imagine this ratio will evolve now that a kaleidoscopic array of pronouns is available within the culture.
When I started as a student in the mid-70s, the majority of the folks in our class were women. And both of my teachers were women, Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson and Margaret Latvala.
Men back then were usually gay. And almost every guy I interacted with, that was even slightly interested in astrology, was gay as well.
Oddly, the majority of heterosexual men I met were intensely involved with sidereal astrology.
Sidereal astrology’s literal approach to the Zodiac seemed to appeal to the more traditional masculine mindset: Rational, scientific, stubborn, and, well, literal. (Please do not share comments about this post being sexist, I’m proposing an inquiry with different sets of impressions. Mine.)
Kaftans and zodiac medallions
Speaking of impressions, I’m forever grateful to the colorful tribe of students I studied with in those early years—women and men. An array of eccentrics, many of whom I can still picture as if I’d just seen them yesterday.
It wasn’t unusual to see a guy or two show up in class wearing a caftan. And turtlenecks were popular too, a stylish way to display one’s necklace that showed off a Sun sign medallion. That was a wildly popular look, and straight out of central casting.
The women brought flare to the room too and would arrive for class in saris and colorful muumuus or psychedelic shifts and capris, their wrists tinkling with charms and trinkets. This was prior to the big crystal obsession that became fashionable in the mid-80s.
I attended a Satsang in India once where the cult’s guru, during a Q and A, was asked by an American woman if placing a large crystal under her bed could rejuvenate her waning sex life with her husband. Not exactly Rumi, the guru groaned and said, “Only in America would someone think that hiding a large rock under a bed would help with the ways of love.” I busted out laughing.
So this Hollywood jamboree of fellow students and seekers coincided with a fantastic moment in astrology’s history, a fairly short window of time in the 70s where every denizen on the planet knew his or her Sun sign and the Aquarian Age kept dawning and dawning. And spearheading it all, the indefatigable Aries astrologer and author Linda Goodman!
A Book for a Renaissance
I can’t impress on you enough how monumental Goodman’s book Sun Signs was/is. Every time I see Jane Fonda in that scene from the movie Klute, where she hunkers into bed with a copy of Sun Signs, I let out a scream. That scene personified the omnipresent and persistent influence of astrology during those post-counter culture days.
Hardcore astro-academics will sometimes scoff about Goodman’s book but there is yet to arrive a writer who can match, with such eerie clarity, Goodman’s x-ray vision into the Zodiac. Only Liz Greene‘s Astrology For Lovers has come close, with my departed friend Debbi Kempton-Smith‘s Secrets From a Stargazer’s Notebook holding firmly to the number three position.
Anyway, years later, when I worked a stint as a telephone psychic for one of those infomercial networks, (fueled by Dionne Warwick’s promises of fortune and love), I kept detailed logs of the calls I fielded.
Again, within the network, it was always women dialing the phone for guidance about work or romance–usually, the latter which, as a topic for a ‘reading’, occurred ninety percent of the time. I always wondered how exactly astrology was to solve quandaries like: “But if he’s moved in with another woman does that mean he doesn’t love me? What does my horoscope say?”
I’m aware that gender percentages have shifted over the years, especially within astrology’s current renaissance amongst Millenials. But as a consistently booked astrological counselor, the queendom of the feminine still rules my appointment book.
Elsa Elsa has something to say
While discussing this recently with my astrological colleague Elsa Panizzon, she shared some unique views on the topic:
“My practice is a little more balanced than yours,” she said. “Maybe 80/20 favoring women. This ratio has been static for decades with one notable exception. I once had transiting Mars stuck in my 7th house for seven months or so, due to a retrograde. During that period, the sides flipped.”
Me: “How do you mean? What flipped?”
“Well, all of a sudden, four out of every five clients were a man and they wore me out! I’m sorry for how that sounds but I barely found the stamina to stay jacked up on that much testosterone for that long of a period. I hope to retire before it happens again. I am not a locker-room chick.”
I suggested that women seem more porous and intrinsically attuned to cycles, and moods–if only for biological reasons. The undulations that occur within the psyche are more easily registered and allowed for. And guys like to maintain a sense of control. Men, to me, especially heterosexual men, are often trained to be ‘fixers’. I’ve learned a lot about being a good writer by discussing things with men. Any topic will do. Men tend to be more direct; succinct with their thoughts and opinions. And you need that sort of brevity when you’re a writer (should you hope to have readers).
Elsa added, “I agree with you. While there are exceptions, most men I work with have an agenda. There’s a thing they want and they want that thing! They want me to tell them how to get it, by the most direct route. If my first answer is not sufficient, they push for another … and another, and another. I have Mars conjunct Mercury in my chart so I can do this, but all day?”
This is where I cracked up. Carl Jung once described the masculine spirit as knowing what one wants and how to go about getting it.
I asked Panizzon if she felt guys were too focused on immediate results?
“The men are relentless. Sometimes they have a list. I’m answering the questions, thinking, do you know you’re a drill sergeant? That’s the picture in my head. But I respect them. Why be sluggish and ineffectual when you have a choice?”
“Women don’t push like men do. They’re a woman and they let me be a woman. A man who calls … intends to get off the phone and take action, probably, immediately. In fact, I used to have a client who would call me, push me hard for info that I would then deliver. Several of the sessions lasted five or six minutes. He’d say, “I have what I need.” I’d say, “but you have time left…”
“Keep it,” he’d say. “I have to go.” *Click*. That was a great client, don’t you think?”
“Had to be an Aries!” I consider.
She concludes: “So yeah. Men want to control but they’re also competing. They want an edge. This is my experience, anyway. Raw male energy–Mars!”
I told Elsa about the more recent astrology conventions I’d attended and how there were more men in attendance than, say, thirty years ago, even heterosexual men.
Not to imply that people are walking around wearing placards announcing their sexual preferences, but possessing an instinctive eye for “peers” (i.e., gaydar), I can usually tell what’s doing down. (Well, there was that one misreading I did on Kenneth that time in Arizona–yikes).
Elsa again: “A heterosexual man at an astrology conference is invariably surrounded by women, three deep. I’ve never been a joiner, so I have no clue what to do with myself at those conventions. But if heterosexual men, with their heat-seeking missiles, had any clue about the favorable odds at these conferences, they’d abandon yoga classes and sign up for astrology right away.”
What do you think?
So why do women dominate the astrological world? And aren’t there super focused and driven female clients out there too? (Oh yeah!) What do you think about the ratio disparity I’ve highlighted? Accurate? Sexist? Cosmically ordained? Comically ‘off’? I’d like to hear your ideas. Please share below.
And thank you, Elsa, for your great insights.
Visit Elsa Panizzon’s site, one of the longest-running and most lively astrological hangouts online.