Your new report, "Career and Vocation", is about to be launched. What can your readers expect?
A great many people have no idea what direction to go in because they don't understand themselves. Even when they train, they base their decisions on whether there's a market need. They ask questions like, "Is there a job opening here?" or "Can I make any money if I do this job?" This isn't the way to find any real satisfaction in what you do. You've got to move from the inside out. Before you begin the issue of training or choosing a university programme, you have to know something about who you are and what kinds of things you love; what you value and what your skills are; what you're good at and what you're not good at. Once you have a pretty good picture of these things, you can make a more intelligent choice about what sort of direction to go in. Vocation is not about finding a job that makes money, it's about feeling that you're living a useful life by doing something that you love. You can then develop your aptitudes in service of that, rather than choosing a job simply to pay for the rent or the weekly groceries. One has to move from the inside out, rather than from the outside in. The report is meant to give insights on that level. One needs to foster more of a psychological attitude to work, rather than looking at it as a purely external thing.
Do you give the reader any advice on what sort of a job to look for?
Not in a specific sense. The programme is not going to tell anyone what particular job is exactly right. A horoscope cannot be that specific. It's not going to spare one the actual labour of thinking for oneself. It gives general guidelines. For example, someone may have an aptitude for working with people - they may be sensitive, tactful, and deeply concerned with people's welfare. That's a vocation. There are many jobs that could come under the general umbrella of "the Carer": a therapist, a counsellor, a teacher, a certain kind of lawyer, a personnel director. If the general umbrella makes sense, the specific job is more likely to fall in place.
Are there certain planets and constellations that play an important role in these interpretations?
To some extent, yes. But I think vocation really involves the whole chart. Traditionally, astrologers look at the 10th or 6th houses, or the sign at the MC. That doesn't really work. Vocation is about the whole person, and finding something that can satisfy as many parts of that whole person as possible. In part of the programme, I focus quite strongly on the Sun, because the Sun has a lot to do with the individual's feeling of being someone special and having a special destiny or purpose in life. But that's only one part of it. The whole chart has to be considered.
What sort of issues are addressed?
The first part of the programme is about the overall way the individual looks at life - the best-adapted mode of perception and the basic strengths of the temperament. It goes into whether the person is more mentally oriented or more tactile, whether they are highly imaginative or more inclined to interact with the world on a feeling level. It's a general overview, and it immediately becomes clear that certain kinds of work won't be suitable for certain temperaments. For example, if someone has a very lively mind and a lot of intellectual curiosity, and they have a job where they fill envelopes or stuff boxes all day, they are going to end up hating every minute of it.
The second part is more detailed, and
goes into specific aptitudes and skills. It's based on
the whole chart, although particular factors may be highlighted.
There's an emphasis on "What are you good at?" and "What
kind of working environment will be most pleasing to you?" Some
people need to work in a team, some do well in more institutionalised
structures, some prefer working on their own. The report
goes into personal issues like this.
The next part deals with limitations and conflicts that one might need to be aware of. These are not necessarily flaws or things people "do wrong". But we all have limits. There are certain innate areas of difficulty, and there's not a lot of point in trying to make yourself be something you're not. Some limitations can be very creative, if you know what they are. You can work with them and turn them into an advantage.
The final part has three sections. There's
a section dealing with how the individual works with others;
it describes their particular issues in work relationships,
if there are any special issues. Someone might not really
enjoy the company of others, or they may be too controlling
toward others. Then there's a section which deals with
particular fears and anxieties with regard to achievement
and success, if there are any. This section is concerned
with where the deepest insecurities might lie and what
they might be about.
Finally, there's a section dealing with what success really means to that individual. People measure success very differently. For some people, its material - they feel successful because they have a beautiful home or a lot of money in the bank. To other people, this doesn't matter at all, as long as they feel useful, or they've helped others, or they've been loyal to an artistic vision. The final section is about the person's deepest values, which show what they need to do in order to feel they have really made the best of their life.
Can someone's vocation change as he or she grows older?
In a superficial sense, yes. People change direction all the time. Some take a very long time finding a direction. So, on the surface, yes, people change. But the core of the person doesn't really change. Usually, when somebody goes through a lot of different working situations, they're either trying to find something which really suits them, or they're going through different external expressions which all come from the same core. Someone might start off as a therapist and then decide they're going to train as a doctor, and then give that up and become an astrologer or a healer, but you'll see the same inner thread running through all these external forms. They have the same core. There is an unchanging essence in all of us, which is what the birth chart portrays. A sense of vocation develops over the course of a lifetime. With many people it develops very slowly; they may not really feel they've found their vocation until they reach the middle part of life, or sometimes even the latter part. And they're constantly looking for it and trying different things. The core of the person from which a sense of vocation arises has something that remains constant. The closer you get to expressing this core, the more fulfilled you will be in your work.
So it's really the same issue on different levels?
Yes, exactly. The deepest purpose of this kind of astrological work is to get to the core, rather than being preoccupied by the external "try-ons" that people go through. The individual's life is always characteristic of the individual - there's nothing in it that's random. When people make choices, such as moving from one job to another, it may look as though there's no connection. But there is, and finding this connection will show us what this person is really looking for. What is the search for? What are they really striving towards? The closer one can get to that, the more likely one is to choose a work vehicle that reflects the whole individual as much as possible. No external vehicle can entirely mirror the inside of the person, but if it is sufficiently "right", then one can say, "Yes, this is what I'm meant to be doing, this is rewarding, this is satisfying." Even if there are conflicts, there is a sense being in the right place and of loving what one does. It has to come from the heart, and that doesn't change. The things that we truly love don't change.
Would you advise the use of the horoscope in a professional context, by businesses or employers?
I think it can be very valuable if it is used wisely and without personal prejudice. There needs to be some sophistication on the part of whoever is doing the employing. They shouldn't be too rigid in their judgement. Then a horoscope can be enormously helpful. The horoscope can't say, "This person will perform their work well", because all sorts of things can happen, and people don't always use their full potential. The individual might be happy for a while and then get into conflict with someone else in the office, or decide to go and have a baby. If you're looking for an employee who is comfortable accepting orders and is able to produce routine work in a conscientious way, you need to find someone whose temperament is suited to that kind of position. There are certain temperaments that will have difficulty fitting into this kind of work structure. And if you hire someone who doesn't fit, they will always be waiting for the chance to have something more, and if they can't have something more, they'll leave. Knowing things like that can be very valuable for the employer, and certainly, a horoscope can indicate this. It's not a judgement on whether the person is a good or bad worker, or a good or bad person. They simply may have strengths in an area that doesn't fit the job requirements. On the other hand, the person may be very good at exactly the sort of position you want to fill. In this sense, I think the analysis can be a very valuable tool for employers, as long as it is not used judgementally or to predict the unpredictable.
How can people find a vocation in our times, when job-requirements are changing so quickly and a lot of business is conceived on a short-term basis?
I've tried to address that issue in the way in which the programme is framed. That's why it's not possible to be specific and say that someone should work for a certain company, or that they should do a particular type of job. The technology may move on so quickly that a particular job may not exist in a couple of years. It's the core of the individual that the programme addresses.
The challenge is to understand what one loves, because even though external structures will change in the job market, the spirit that animates an individual's vocation will remain. Of course it's a nuisance if you suddenly find that the company you work for is going down. But if you know who you are and what you have to offer, you can find something else that resonates in the same way. If you have to learn new skills, that's all right, because the motive is there to learn them.
So it's really always about the core ...
Yes. I think that's what vocation is all about. This is why so many people are miserable in their jobs - it never occurs to them that a person's work has to reflect the person. If you love ritual, rhythm, and routine, you can enjoy laying bricks, which can be a true art form and a beautiful thing for a craftsman. But equally, if bricks suddenly disappeared from the list of usable building materials, you could still bring that love of making things in rhythmical patterns to any material you're working with. We look too much at the external world when we start thinking about what we want to do with our lives. We ask, "How can I be successful? Where will I make the most money? What do my parents want me to do? What kind of job would be the most respectable and earn me a place in the community?" We keep looking outside, rather than finding out who we are, what we want to contribute to the world, and what we love and value.
So many people are swamped by constant input, floods of information, demands for new skills, new technologies, cultural uprootedness. How can they cope?
When people feel swamped by chaos, it's often because there's no sense of a core. They have no sense of a centre, and so everything hits them from the outside and they fragment. They don't know what to listen to. Where is the truth? The cultural shifts, the bombardment of information, the technological changes, the current lack of security in work - there is tremendous instability in the world at the moment. The only way to cope with all this flux is to have something inside that is very solid, where you know what you are, what you're good at, and what you love doing. Once you've got that, you can make the adaptations that are required. You might not like all of them, but nobody promised that life would be fair. It all depends on whether or not you can make the necessary adaptations based on a solid sense of self. A person can always learn new skills - you can learn how to use a computer, you can learn another language, you can learn new artistic techniques if you apply yourself. But you can't learn to be someone else.
This interview took place in autumn 2000 with Karin Baasch and Peter Isler.