Competency Program

COMPETENCY a.k.a. “Placing Out of Basic Courses”

 

Is the FCEA “Competency Track” for You?

By Steven Forrest

The Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology is a step-by-step “Kindergarten through PhD” training program, aimed at turning intelligent, motivated beginners into professional “Steven Forrest Method” astrologers. The trouble is that many of you are not beginners. A large number of you have attended my classes or studied astrology diligently through my books and other media. We respect the work you have done. The FCEA provides a path for you to place out of the more basic programs.

At each stage of the program, there are exercises and exams. Students enroll in the 100-series, in the self-directed or guided program, aiming ultimately for certification, complete the exercises and take the exams as many times as they want. A big part of the 100-series exam is a chance to engage in an actual chart interpretation, which our team of Forrest-trained tutors evaluates. If a student were to fail the exams, he or she could learn from those errors, and take it again (and again) until he, she, or they passed. In other words, in the FCEA, exams are more about teaching than about judging or shaming anyone.

“Dare to be competent. Competency is what makes everyone remain at peace when things are being handled by you. Watch yourself if everyone feels uncomfortable just because it’s you doing it.”

Say that you already consider yourself to be an intermediate or advanced astrologer. You are very probably right about that – but we do ask you to prove it by doing the exercises and taking the same exams, including your ability to interpret a chart. Pass them, and you will have demonstrated your competency. Were you to fail, that suggests that there are gaps in your foundational knowledge. Then we would invite you to enroll in the course at that level to “fill in the blanks” and sharpen your skills. Once again, our aim is teaching, not judging – but in this case we would hold a mirror before the actual state of your competency.

Administering the competency courses takes some person-power. That is especially true of evaluating your chart interpretation skills. This means there will be a fee involved. Also, critically, unlike a normally-enrolled student, you only get one shot at the competency exams.

Over the past couple of decades, something like 2000 people have attended my Apprenticeship Programs. Many have gone on to become professional evolutionary astrologers, serving their communities. I am really proud of that. Some, unfortunately, even ones who hold certificates, have not done their homework. That has always been the main weakness in the AP – a certificate only proves attendance, not that a person has actually mastered the material, in particular the Steven Forrest Method. On several occasions, this has put me in a painful ethical bind. With my Level one and Level Two certificates, I have essentially endorsed the work of a few people who have not made the necessary effort to become truly competent craftspeople. Their disgruntled clients have sometimes sent me angry emails. All I could do was apologize. Mea culpa.

That is the issue we are addressing with the FCEA’s Competency policy. Our school is more structured and rigorous than the previous Apprenticeship Programs. Again, we are committed to respecting the work you have already done. From wherever you join the program, we will hold your hand all the way through the next steps toward Mastery. But anyone who attains the highest level of FCEA certification is guaranteed actually to have the knowledge and be a master of the craft, just as if he or she had earned a degree from a respected university. As the school develops, we will also be empowering people as teachers of the Steven Forrest Method, and of course the existing programs will involve FCEA-certified tutors whom we have trained even more rigorously. 

Thanks for your understanding. We are trying to cobble together a bridge between my previous teaching and the new world of the FCEA. Our competency courses might seem a bit on the bureaucratic side, but they are the fairest solution we could find.

Steven Forrest Method

Steven Forrest Method:
The Path to Mastery

When does one “attain competency” as an evolutionary astrologer? That is a very slippery question. Here are some parallel questions – when did you grow up? When does a puppy become a dog? When did the modern period begin? We are, after all, talking about an evolutionary process. It flows rather than bursts full-flower into a brand new day.

In the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology program, we arbitrarily define three developmental stages for the advancing student: the Apprentice, the Craftsperson, and finally the Master. 

An Apprentice has done the hard work of establishing the foundation of astrological understanding. The work done in the FCEA 100 series is actually the most important work of the whole program. Calling it “elementary astrology” really rings the wrong bell. Better to call it the core of everything. The Apprentice learns to speak the underlying vocabulary of the universe as it is reflected in human consciousness: signs, planets, houses, aspects, and the lunar nodes. Students who have completed the Apprentice level may not yet be ready to advertise themselves as a professional astrologers – but we can guarantee that, if such graduates were to sit with a friend in need, they could be of genuine help just by looking at that person’s birthchart and speaking out loud the material they’ve learned. And that effective helpfulness, bottom line, is what we would call astrological competency!

There are many things we can say about the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology, but probably the most fundamental one would be that it provides the missing catalyst to Steven’s existing work: structure.

The Craftsperson has gone even further, mastering two more core astrological skills: astrological “prediction” and synastry, which is the astrology of human relationships. These are the topics covered in the FCEA 200 and 300 series. They build on the foundation of the 100-series – the language of the birthchart, in other words – and they constantly refer back to it. One who has graduated as an FCEA Craftsperson is ready to be a member of the ancient guild. He or she has all of the essential competencies of a working counseling astrologer. Add some practice and some experience, and nothing more would really be absolutely necessary in order for that person to be of real service to the community. But of course there is always more to learn . . .

A Master has internalized the astrological fundamentals and has now, with the support of the FCEA community, begun to polish them, mature them, and deepen them. Some more advanced or specialized topics are presented, so our technical training does not come to an end. Steven will teach advanced interpretive programs which are only available to students who have reached this Masters level of competency. Perhaps more importantly, masters will teach each other. Some words you may have seen elsewhere in our website bear repetition here:

Astrological mastery, as defined by the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology, means getting to a level of competence, confidence, and experience in which you can sit down with a stranger and the stranger’s chart and speak meaningfully and helpfully to that person for an hour or two, even if that stranger has chosen to share nothing personal with you until you have actually earned that kind of trust from him or her.

Studying with Steven

Studying with Steven

Over the years, countless thousands of people have studied astrology with Steven Forrest. A couple thousand have done it in his flagship Apprenticeship Programs. Those intensives met regularly in California, Kansas, and North Carolina, plus Australia and Italy starting in 1998. He has also taught countless weekend workshops around the world. His annual programs in China, for example, which have run since 2011, have introduced many hundreds of Asian students to the methods of evolutionary astrology. Beyond those face-to-face meetings, there are serious students whom Steven has never met personally. They have been studying with him via his bestselling books or his many videos and recorded lectures. Some have attained high levels of mastery.

All of that teaching has been a good thing, but the problem Steven has always faced was “the little red schoolhouse” syndrome – beginners and advanced students all in the same room at the same time. How could he meet such a wide spectrum of needs? Another expression of the same underlying issue has simply been the inherent potential chaos of such a multifaceted system – astrology is complicated and students have often been confronted with the whole thing all at once. It’s simply too much for most people. It leads to confusion. Maybe, for example, Steven is teaching an advanced program on the solar arcs of the nodal axis. A new student signs up, unsure of exactly how many signs are in the Zodiac. Someone who should buy The Inner Sky goes to his online shop and settles on The Book of Neptune – it’s a fine book, but it is not a good starting place. That, or someone with an established professional practice signs up for a class in which Steven is patiently explaining that the Zodiac contains twelve signs

There are many things we can say about the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology, but probably the most fundamental one would be that it provides the missing catalyst to Steven’s existing work: structure.

Clearly, Steven’s next step had to be bringing some order to the confusion. There are many things we can say about the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology, but probably the most fundamental one would be that it provides the missing catalyst to Steven’s existing work: structure. A student in the FCEA will be guided efficiently, caringly, and often personally, along a step-by-step path leading to astrological mastery. No one will have to go back and pick up any missing pieces. Nothing of importance will be left out. A graduate of the FCEA program will stand on the solid, confident ground of knowing Steven’s full system of interpretation.

Steven himself plans to continue teaching personally, both in live classes and in online formats. Most of his live teaching will be advanced work, available to students who have made progress in the FCEA curriculum. His “little red schoolhouse” material has all been recorded in various media, including the hundreds of videos he has made especially for the FCEA. From now on, he anticipates teaching serious students at a Master’s level in what amounts to “university” format.

For Participants in Previous AP Programs

For Participants in Previous Apprenticeship Programs

 Over the years, about two thousand people have attended Steven’s Astrological Apprenticeship programs. Each program ran four or five days. Those who attended three such programs were awarded a Level One certificate. Those who attended six such sessions achieved a Level Two certificate. Many continued to attend beyond six programs, extending their astrological educations and also enjoying being part of an extraordinary spiritual community.

Holders of either kind of certificate were able, if they chose, to be listed in a Directory on Steven’s popular website. Many built professional practices.

Still, unlike the FCEA, there was no testing or evaluation of the students. In all honesty, the certificates merely “certified” the presence of a warm body in a chair. The level of education actually attained was governed purely by the motivational level of the students themselves. Many were highly motivated. Some were there for other reasons. 

Additionally, Steven conducted several small masters’ classes in his home. There, many of his Level Two students actually demonstrated their ability to present astrological interpretations. They achieved a Master’s certificate.

For Steven, the transition from his Apprenticeship Programs to the FCEA presents some awkward situations.

On one hand, we want to credit the hard work done by his apprentices. On the other hand, we do not want to compromise the integrity and future reputation of the FCEA by automatically “grandparenting” anyone with a Level One certificate into some kind of accreditation by the FCEA. 

Here is the solution.

The Apprentice has earliest foundational stages of the FCEA program involve a series of automated multiple choice tests. Former AP students can take those exams, pass them, and  place out of basic training. For an advanced student, these exams will be annoying and will doubtless feel kind of “bureaucratic.” They will not take long to do, and the student’s knowledge will then be established and proven. Any former AP student who fails these tests will understandably feel disgruntled. Hopefully that feeling will be balanced with the realization that in doing this kind of astrology, people place their souls in our hands. To learn that there are dangerous gaps in your knowledge before you take on that kind of karma is  blessing in the long run.

The Craftsperson has gone even further, mastering two more core astrological skills: astrological “prediction” and synastry, which is the astrology of human relationships. These are the topics covered in the FCEA 200 and 300 series. They build on the foundation of the 100-series – the language of the birthchart, in other words – and they constantly refer back to it. One who has graduated as an FCEA Craftsperson is ready to be a member of the ancient guild. He or she has all of the essential competencies of a working counseling astrologer. Add some practice and some experience, and nothing more would really be absolutely necessary in order for that person to be of real service to the community. But of course there is always more to learn…

A Master has internalized the astrological fundamentals and has now, with the support of the FCEA community, begun to polish them, mature them, and deepen them. Some more advanced or specialized topics are presented, so our technical training does not come to an end. Steven will teach advanced interpretive programs, which are only available to students who have reached this Masters level of competency. Perhaps more importantly, masters will teach each other. Some words you may have seen elsewhere in our website bear repetition here:

Astrological mastery, as defined by the Forrest Center for Evolutionary Astrology, means getting to a level of competence, confidence, and experience in which you can sit down with a stranger and the stranger’s chart and speak meaningfully and helpfully to that person for an hour or two, even if that stranger has chosen to share nothing personal with you until you have actually earned that kind of trust from him or her.