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Questions & Answers

Master’s Musings, April 2022

Steven Forrest
Every month, we do a Zoom session with all the students in the FCEA in which I try to answer a series of questions that have been submitted in advance. Four times a year we do the same thing with the wider FCEA community – that’s the “Members’ Call.” Guided by a specific question, I also analyze a single submitted chart in each one of these sessions. I look forward to these calls – they’re always a lot of fun. They last an hour and a half, even two hours sometimes, and they fly by. In this newsletter, I want to clarify a few points about the Zoom calls I do in hopes of making them even better.
  • What we’re looking for are questions where the answer will be most helpful, meaningful, and relevant to everyone watching. For example, I’m much more likely to go into depth if someone asks about Venus-Uranus aspects than I am with questions that begin with “In my chart . . .”
  • Sometimes we get half a dozen questions and 25 chart submissions. All the questions get answered, but only one of the charts is ever chosen (and by the way, we use a random number generator to make the choice so it’s totally fair.) The point there is pretty obvious – your odds of getting a general question answered are excellent, but the deck is stacked against you in terms of getting your chart chosen.
  • We’ve had people pretty obviously submit their own chart “as a question” by writing it all out. “Say someone happens to have the Sun in 27 degrees of Pisces square Jupiter in 26 degrees of Gemini, and Jupiter is quincunx the Midheaven at 25 degrees of Capricorn” . . . and so on. Don’t do that!
  • We aim for a 90-minute Zoom call, although we often go a bit over. The general shape of it is 45 minutes of Q&A and 45 minutes for a specific chart analysis. Naturally it doesn’t always work out quite that neatly – but we do have to cap the amount of time spent on the questions. If we get a lot of them, I have to sort through them and choose the ones that seem most generally helpful to everyone.
  • Depending on the complexity of the submitted chart and the number of questions we receive, sometimes we hit two hours and it’s just time to stop. Other times, we have some minutes left. We’ve experimented with breakout rooms for some socializing and also with continuing the Q&A in a more spontaneous way – with follow-up questions and comments. We’re open to any feedback you might have about which path you find most attractive. Please contact us to let us know your thoughts.
  • The FCEA is an international school, with students in Asia and Europe as well the Americas, so scheduling these Zoom calls is a real mess. We’ve settled on alternating 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM Pacific Time. We know that for some of you, those times translate into “less than convenient.” We’re sorry – it’s just the best compromise we could find. If you miss a call, no worry – they are always recorded and made available to you soon after.
  • If you submit a chart and it gets chosen, please don’t submit it again, even with a different question about it. Each of these Zoom sessions will feature a fresh chart.
  • We always honor confidentiality when it is requested, but please make that clear if it’s your desire. If you want to keep your name out of it, there is a place to request anonymity on the sign-up form when you submit your chart. We’ll give you a false name and delete the birth info from the chart we display. Be careful with the wording of your question too.
  • In my old Apprenticeship Groups, students would volunteer to put their own names in “the Sorting Hat.” We’d pick two or three charts and apply whatever principles we had been studying in that session. After I’d done an interpretation, we would invite the students to share their reactions and maybe some relevant biographical information. I miss that! We learned a lot from each other that way and it helped turn the group into a community. No pressure – I meant what I said about confidentiality . . . but I wanted to say this too!
  • A student submitted several questions that were of a philosophical nature, then withdrew them. He felt that broad “perspective” questions were less useful to the other students than more “nuts-and-bolts,“ practical questions. I told him that I disagreed. Just like any other form of human counseling, astrological practice is full of tough judgment calls. Our philosophical and ethical foundation is what gives us the ability to make the right decisions there. Such broad questions are always welcome.
  • As time goes by, we are developing a large library of these Zoom calls. The first iteration is already available to active students and FCEA Members. While a basic search function is available, we are working on a way of further indexing them so you’ll be able to search for a specific segment where I talked about Saturn-Moon aspects, for example. If you are a current student or member, log in to our website and check out the Q&A Call Archive. We welcome your feedback about this, too.
  • Just to keep everything transparent, we want you to know that we’ll be releasing a few of these question and answer segments publicly as part of our campaign to attract new students. To survive, the school still needs to grow a bit more, and that seems like a helpful way of generating interest. These short videos will just feature my “talking head” – we were not able to identify all of the faces, so we’ve (reluctantly) abandoned the idea of showing a screen full of students.
Thanks for participating in these Zoom sessions. I really enjoy them a lot, and we hope that you are finding them helpful. Our next one is scheduled for 8:00 AM PDT on Thursday, April 21st. See you there!
Steven Forrest
April 2022