INTEREST IN ASTROLOGY • FIRST LESSONS
The American ephemeris as they are
The natal chart of the first client. 1986
From left to right: Boris Izraitel, Mikhail Levin (Rector of the Moscow Academy of Astrology) at the first convention of Soviet astrologers. Moscow suburbs, March 28, 1990.
How I spent my entire salary on an American Ephemeris
(Astrology in the USSR)
In 1982, when the author of these lines began to study astrology, acquiring an astrological ephemeris in the Soviet Union was no easy task. We didn’t even dream about personal computers then, never mind the Internet. There was not a single normal book on astrology in Russian! What we then called astrological books was a stitched pile of photocopies, usually of not a very high quality. Finding any material on astrology, and especially the opportunity to hear a lecture by a living astrologer, was considered incredible luck. Astrology was literally esoteric, i.e. unavailable to the vast majority of the country’s citizens.
The famous expression “Per aspera ad astra” (Through the thorns to the stars) describes the astrological educational process in those years pretty accurately. I will illustrate all this with an example from my own life. As I already mentioned, getting an ephemeris in the early 80s in Moscow was a great success. After a year of astrological training, possessing certain theoretical knowledge and skills, I could not apply them and erect a horoscope, since I did not have an ephemeris (Tables showing the positions of heavenly bodies on a number of dates in a regular sequence).
In the spring of 1983 quite suddenly someone brought the genuine Michelesen’s Ephemeris to Moscow directly from America. Personally, I received this ephemeris for only three days. But nevertheless it was a great chance! The question was how to use it.
Before bedtime I realized that I simply had no right to sleep. I had to rewrite the ephemeris all night long; or if possible to memorize them. This is not to say that I had some kind of phenomenal memory, but at school I could remember several pages of text by reading them only twice. Therefore, the idea of memorizing the ephemeris did not seem crazy to me. Hence, the next morning I went to work with a severe headache. Fortunately, the headache did not stop me from continuing to frantically come up with ways to take advantage of my luck. Just before lunch, I figured out that there is only way: Xerox. It may seem strange now that the idea of making a xerox-copy did not come to me right away. To appreciate the point you need to understand the status of xerox-copying in the USSR. Any reproduction of materials on the personal initiative of citizens was prohibited and punishable to the fullest extent of the law. At the time of the events described, Yuri Andropov, former KGB chief, had just become the contry’s top leader. Under his leadership opportunities for xerox-copying became even less available.
Using a copier for personal, and even esoteric, purposes was tantamount to storming a naval base with an axe. So I thought from the very beginning. But somewhere high in the heavens, apparently, a positive scenario was already being prepared.
In our research institute, one had to pass the copy department’s office in order to reach the dining room. Walking along this path past the revered door, I saw that at the very moment when I caught up with it, the door swung open and a nice girl, who looked a little like Brigitte Bardot, emerged. It even seemed to me that the girl smiled slightly at me. This was enough for me to feel the support of the Cosmos in my endeavor. And such support, as I understood much later, means oh how much.
I had never been very entrepreneurial, but at this moment I showed a miraculous amount of acumen and determination.
For starters, I convinced the head of my department of the need to photocopy some foreign magazine. Then, having secured his signature (and without this signature, to go photocopying was a risky venture), I went to the Xerox room. “My” girl was no longer there, but in her place was an equally pleasant young man. After copying the magazine, I confessed to this young man that for my dissertation I urgently needed to copy a large amount of material without a permission from the authorities. When the young man looked at me sternly, I, trembling with fear, but at the same time feeling that the Cosmos was still on my side, promised to generously reward him for the risk. The young man looked around and quietly said: “Where is the stuff?”
It was important here to show the material so that the first thing the copyist saw were the numbers, not the heading “THE AMERICAN EPHEMERIS.”
I have succeeded. “Ahhh, there are only numbers here,” the Xerox operator said almost happily, then thought for two minutes and said so quietly that at first I didn’t hear: “20 kopecks per page.” Perhaps it was not my hearing which was to blame, rather it was my brain, which refused to accept the reality of such a high price. In the 80s in the USSR a movie ticket cost 20 kopecks, and the book of ephemeris consisted of 600 pages. I was immediately deprived of 600 trips to the cinema. Since I went to the cinema no more than 10 times a year, this, in a sense, was tantamount to a lifelong film embargo.
On the other hand, 600 pages multiplied by 20 kopecks constituted just my junior research assistant’s nominal salary of 120 rubles (approx. forty dollars). And in this accuracy I immediately noticed a certain sign of Providence. Up in “the Sky” they were not obliged to know that after various state deductions, including one for childlessness, I received only 103 rubles per month. Therefore, I decided that bargaining was inappropriate.
And the next evening, skipping joyfully, I carried my first Ephemeris home. They served me faithfully for about 10 years; until my first purchase of a personal computer. But that’s another story.
From left to right lecturers of the Moscow Academy of astrology: Boris Izraitel (doctor of astrology), Tatyana Mityaeva (prorector), Mikhail Levin (rector), Galina Levina. Moscow, 1994.
Astrology came into my life in 1982: in December of this year I joined a group led by Mikhail Levin. Before that, for about five years, I collected astrological texts where possible, but they were very primitive texts. Real acquaintance with astrology occurred only thanks to the classes in the group of M.Levin.
An important milestone in my development was reading D. Rudhyar’s book “Astrology of personality”. In 1985 thanks to a happy coincidence, I’ve got newly made Russian translation of the book by M. Papush. I realized that astrology was not only pleasant thing to do, but also very helpful in the life of modern man. Rudhyar showed me the real cultural and historical significance of astrology, its role in the Civilization process.
In 1986 I began teaching astrology in a small home group. During the period from 1986 to 2010, I trained more than 200 people in such groups. At the end of the same year, 1986, I had my first clients. Since then, astrological counseling has become my main and favorite activity. Over the past 34 years, I have consulted at least 2,000 people.
In 1990 I participated in the creation of the Moscow Academy of Astrology and became one of the first tutors of the Academy. In 1991 I began publishing a magazine for astrologers – ” Russian Astrology”(later “Russian Astrological Magazine”). In September 1992, I took part in the international astrological conference in London. 1993 – the first foreign publication – the American magazine “The Mountain Astrologer”. From 1990 to 1996, I was a member of the professional Council of the Moscow Union of astrologers, and from 1995 to 1999, I headed The Euro-Asian chapter of NCGR and ran it’s certification program. In 1996 my first book “The Complete guide to Rectification” was published. Since then, seven books and more than 140 articles have been written on a variety of astrological topics.
Boris Izraitel and Felix Velichko, doctor of chemistry, Professor, winner of the USSR state prize, honorary member of Astrological Lodge of London, Vice-rector of the Moscow Academy of astrology (1991-94). Moscow, 2004.
From left to right: Boris Izraitel, Mikhail Levin, Andrey Lavrov, Pavel Sviridov, Pavel Karev. Moscow, September 2003. Source: kometa-love.ru
Meeting 2004 New Year at Sergey Kapitsa’s dacha on Nikolina mountain (Moscow region). Boris Izraitel in the center. To his left, Alina Engelhardt, daughter of academician Vladimir Engelhardt
Boris Izraitel in class at the Moscow Academy of astrology. Moscow, 1995.
When perestroika began, Russian astrology came out of isolation. Educational materials in foreign languages began to leak into the country. And since 1990, foreign astrologers began to infiltrate the territory of the USSR. Since most of the information was in English, I, as a graduate of an English special school, felt responsible for making all the valuable knowledge available to my compatriots. Thus, between 1987 and 1997, translations of English astrological texts took up almost half of my working time. Efforts to organize lectures by specialists from abroad in Russia were also of great importance. Often I was responsible for almost all the logistics of such lectures: from establishing contacts with Western Astrology’s celebrities to simultaneous translation of speeches in Moscow.
Of course, trips to international conferences left the most vivid impressions. The September 1992 conference in London was not only my first astrological conference, but also my very first trip abroad. This was followed by congresses in Paris (1995) and Lucerne (1996). Then there were several conferences in the United States – in Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, and New York. Pretty quickly I realized that the main thing at international conferences is not reports, but communication. Lectures usually repeated what was already known from books; conversations with experienced astrologers are an invaluable source of knowledge. Conversations with Denis Elwell, Nick Campion (London), Lynn Bell, Maurice McCain (Paris, see photo below), Bruno and Louise Huber, Barbara Schermer, Noel Tyl (Lucerne) gave me a lot and marked a new stage in my development as an astrologer.
(Hover over the photos below to read the captions)
I consider the organization of the Russian-language version of astro.com (one of the leading astrological resources of the planet) to be a great success .
A separate Chapter in all international activities was cooperation with the largest astrological Association in the world, the National Council for Geocosmic Research — NCGR (USA). In 1996, NCGR established its Euro-Asian chapter in Moscow, which I have been managing for almost eight years. One of my main functions was to certify Russian-speaking astrologers. In this regard, I myself had to take exams at all levels up to the third (see the Certificate at the top). I was also responsible for the release of the Russian equivalent of the NCGR newsletter, as well as for the American-Russian astrological conferences.
Since 1993, I started sending my articles to foreign magazines. To my surprise, most of my works were published. First of all, this refers to my favorite astrological magazine, The Mountain Astrologer, which is known for high standards and its reputation as the most professional astrological publication going. TMA has published five small articles and one major study between 1993 and 2018. My articles have also appeared in ” Astrological Association Journal “(England),” Astrolog “(Switzerland),”Hamburger Hefte “(Germany), “Welcome to the planet Earth” (USA) , ” AstroKring ” (Netherlands).
I am currently a member of the National Council for Geocosmic Research and the Organization for Professional Astrology (OPA). In 2021, I plan to participate in the 53rd Annual conference of the Astrological Association (UK) and the Astrological Congress of the German Astrological Union.