Astrologers are an odd bunch. They speak a language that most don’t understand. They see patterns in the sky: it talks to them. And they are driven to bring this message to others. This is what Michael Lutin says about astrologers, “We’re a community of people and we don’t belong to the rest of the world, because once you step into metaphysics in any profound or deep way, and once you commit yourself to this life, you’re never going to completely be in their world again.”
It can get lonely and you can feel very isolated if you’re pursuing a passion that’s not mainstream. That didn’t happen to me. When I got into astrology big time last year, I already had a bunch of astrologers as my Facebook friends. Fine writers, great astrologers, and kindred spirits. Maybe it was my progressed Moon in Aquarius and in my natal Eleventh House that made me reach out to total strangers on Facebook and request them to add me as their “friend.” Not random strangers, but people with whom I share a deep passion for astrology. Once I entered the astrology “loop” on Facebook, others start adding me: friends of friends, both astrologers and astrology enthusiasts. I now have more than a hundred such people from all over the world as “friends.”
Facebook is a great interface for forming “communities” with people who share your interests. And especially so with astrology. I was telling someone that there is no one in my “real” life I can talk to about this subject. She replied that is how it is with astrology, its practitioners are spread all over the world. They are physically apart but connected by an ancient tradition and they come together occasionally at conferences around the world. But it does not have to be like this whether you are an astrologer or an astrology buff. If the regular give- and-take of a mental connection is what you’re after, then you can do no better than by connecting with others on Facebook.
The past few years, marked by the mutual reception of Neptune in Aquarius and Uranus in Pisces have seen the phenomenal growth of social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook. Facebook beats all other social networks hands down in popularity. Maybe because along with being easy to use, it is also highly versatile: you can post pictures, add links and share your thoughts. You can also create pages to publicize events, books and your work. All it costs is a click of a button.
Like all things, Facebook is many things to many people. Some use it for business networking, some for fun, and some combine both. If you are uncomfortable mixing business with pleasure, here is what astrologer and Internet guru, Jeffrey Kishner says in his article Social Networking and Astrology Blogger Boundaries, “So how do you set some boundaries on Facebook without feeling like you’re losing potential business? One solution that only creates more work is to create two separate Facebook profiles – one for your personal life and one as a professional astrologer. The problem with this strategy is the headache involved in having to sign into two different accounts. But there is a better way – a solution in which you only need one Facebook account, while still being able to set some parameters: the Fan page. All you have to do is set it up and you’re good to go.”
Incidentally, I have written for Jeffrey’s very popular astrology website Sasstrology. How does someone like me, living in Bangalore meet a New Yorker like Jeffrey? Why, on Facebook, of course! Apart from collaborating on writing projects, I have also been introduced to blogs of many astrologers via my friends’ links. Almost everyone is on Facebook. Writers that I have admired for years and whose books are my prized possessions are now a click away if I want to send them a note thanking them for their work.
Most astrologers are always happy to meet their kind on Facebook. Finally, there are people who will share your enthusiasm about the fact that Jupiter will soon conjunct your ascendant! Almost every school of astrology is represented: western, vedic, evolutionary, modern, traditional, you name it. And for the most part, everyone coexists in peace. Not just that, I believe, we are all enriched by seeing things from another’s perspective. Everyone learns more through an exchange of views and hence everyone wins.
If you are a reader and want to interact with your favorite astrologer on Facebook, then go ahead. Most are happy to meet people who enjoy their work. If you are worried about invading their privacy, then ask them if they have a fan page. Chances are their blog is linked to their personal or fan page on Facebook. In that case, don’t worry, just add them. In my experience, if you’re adding someone you don’t know, then it’s always polite to send a little note with your friend request. You’ll be surprised at how many people don’t do this.
Another thing to remember when you’re friends with professional astrologers is that they are professionals. Asking for freebies is a strict no-no. So how do you benefit? Well, you get to know them as people and get to know about their work. It helps you choose from amongst many astrologers when you want a personal reading. The first personal reading I ever had was from someone I got to know through Facebook. He awed me and still does with his astrological knowledge.
Since this article is targeted at people who don’t use Facebook, but would like to know more about it, here are a few tips:
- It’s really easy to sign up. Go here and follow the instructions: www.facebook.com
- If you’re worried about privacy, then go to the Privacy Setting page in your account and select “only friends” for all the options on Profile Settings.
- I also recommend that you deselect Public Search Results in the Search options. That way, people will not be able to google your Facebook page.
- You can also create “lists” for different sets of people and choose how much of your Facebook activity each set of people can view.
- Be careful about how much personal information you list on your profile. You do not owe anyone private information about yourself. List what you are comfortable sharing.
If you want to get started with the astrology loop, here are some of my favorite pages (just click on the name):
Big Sky Astrology
The Mountain Astrologer Magazine (also check out their Discussions page)
The Astrology Blog
Four Moons Astrology
I don’t have a fan page, I just use my personal page (http://www.facebook.com/neetiray) to have a lot of fun trading links, asking questions, sharing information and just hanging out with the coolest friends that I’ve never met. A young friend of mine told me recently that there are so many connectivity tools on the Internet right now. Why not indulge your Eleventh House need of finding your tribe and do what EM Forster said: “Only connect”?
Note: This article is featured in Uranus in Aries: Claiming a Self-Reliant Future published on Auntie Moon as Part of the 2010 International Astrology Day Blogathon. The purpose of this web-based event is to create a permanent library of articles about how to deal with the stresses of the Cardinal T-Square of Pluto, Saturn and Uranus. The main page for the Blogathon collections is at The Cardinal T-Square of 2010: Saturn, Uranus, Pluto.