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Lee's Avatar
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Okay, I give up! I've e-mailed Robert Blaschke. I'll let you know what kind of response I get.

-- Lee
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Further to Astrological Institute info


Excellent, Lee! At the very least, you will be able to form a personal impression of Robert Blaschke. I'll be interested in learning what he has to say.

This afternoon, I heard from one of the people I wrote to concerning the fate of the Astrological Institute in Scottsdale. Though its owner, Joyce Jensen, has died, the work of the school has been assumed by the Northstar College of Astrology, under the tutelage of Jody Russell. The school does not have a website at this time. Ms. Russell is also the principal of a massage and healing academy called the Rainstar University.

The Northstar College of Astrology offers astrology courses at two levels. The Astrology program consists of 32 credit hours of study and leads to a diploma; the Astrological Studies course consists of 62 credit hours and culminates in an Associate of Applied Sciences (AAP) degree. The college is accredited by the state of Arizona.

If you wish to inquire further, Ms. Russell can be contacted at jody@rainstaruniversity.com. The address of Northstar College of Astrology is 4443 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale AZ 85251. The telephone number is (480) 421-0009.

I have not heard of Ms. Russell, but if she has taken the helm of Joyce Jensen's school, she is probably a capable astrologer. Not knowing her, I really can't say.

I look forward to your next update!
Top   #42
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Okay, I got a response from Robert Blaschke.

Concerning his course, he says it is "mostly designed for
intermediate to advanced students who are ready to start their practice, and enter into astrological self-employment."

I did mention my concerns about the Christ-centeredness of his approach, but he did not address this in his response.

He referred me to a survey of corresponence courses in a 2001 issue of Mountain Astrologer, and this was helpful, because I can order that issue from them, which I'm going to do.

He also says (I'm sure he wouldn't mind my quoting him), "Bob Mulligan and Carole Devine are colleagues of mine, and each has a highly recommended course. I, myself, am from the school of thought that throws away more astrological knowledge than one would use, because, in practice, you are primarily working with a few common techniques with your clients, and much of the study of other areas of interest in astrology can interfere with the
practical focus necessary for client work."

I found this statement sort of puzzling, I'm not sure what he's suggesting in terms of what I should do. He almost seems to be saying, "don't take a correspondence course, they'll just teach you a bunch of stuff you won't use," but he doesn't recommend any alternative options. Maybe I'm just reading too closely into what he wrote.

I just noticed on the English Huber School site that they're holding workshops and seminars for a week starting today, so this may explain why they haven't responded to me, perhaps they're all out of the office, getting ready for their workshops.

Astraea, thanks so much for the info on the Scottsdale school, I'll look into it.

-- Lee
Top   #43
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quote. "Bob Mulligan and Carole Devine are colleagues of mine, and each has a highly recommended course. I, myself, am from the school of thought that throws away more astrological knowledge than one would use, because, in practice, you are primarily working with a few common techniques with your clients, and much of the study of other areas of interest in astrology can interfere with the
practical focus necessary for client work."quote

it sounds to me that
1. they are his collegues and he highly respects them and recomends their courses.
2. the differnce he percieves in their courses and his own is he comes from a pratical point of view and doens't focus so much on every astrology techique in the universe but rather only that would you will be using with your clients, as so much intest of astrology can actually hinder one own astrology client reading.

i would take that to mean that using the tarot as an example lee.
if one goes out and applies every little obscure they could to the reading they giving the client, it would turn into a big big long reading, when a simple direct way would of worked better.

so his course is more pratical he feels just based on his school of thoughts.
Top   #44
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Robert Blaschke


Lee -- thank you very much for your update concerning Robert Blaschke's reply. I find it a bit perplexing. I tend to agree with Holmes' assessment of that particularly ambiguous paragraph. Mr. Blaschke does seem to be directing you to either Bob Mulligan's or Carole Devine's school, presumably because they both teach basics, and beyond -- whereas he, Blaschke, confines himself to the intermediate and advanced student, with an eye to helping them establish practices based on the most-used techniques in the astrologer's toolkit. Well...I'm puzzled. I had such a strong sense that he would be a good contact person, and I am sorry that it doesn't appear to have worked out that way.

As to his suggestion that you acquire the issue of The Mountain Astrologer which listed correspondence courses -- that, I find even more perplexing, since the issue is two years old and a great deal has changed since then; you are already much more current in your knowledge of available courses than the listings you would find there.

I will be interested to learn how you feel about the Scottsdale school. Unless the Northstar College of Astrology appeals to you, it would seem that the most viable options thus far are the Bob Mulligan, Carole Devine, and Huber schools. I received another e-mail this morning from a colleague, who told me that Bob Mulligan's school has been in continuous operation since the early 1970's -- that is an almost unprecedented "track record."

I hope that the Huber school writes back to you soon, and will be eagerly awaiting that news.
Top   #45
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Well, I've finally made up my mind, to my great relief.

Of the three finalists (Mulligan, Devine, Huber school), none of them panned out.

After ten days I've still heard nothing from Carole Devine. As Astraea says, she's probably just out of town. But this raises an important issue when dealing with an individual teacher. If they go out of town a lot, and if I have a question, do my studies need to grind to a halt for two weeks until the teacher comes back?

I did hear from the Huber school, but they were rather vague about my specifically-phrased questions on course structure and fees. I was not impressed. Although I'm still intrigued by their approach.

I very, very nearly went with Bob Mulligan. A few things stopped me at the last minute. First, the total cost for his course is $4,050, not $2,700 as I had thought (it's not entirely clear on his website). Second, he places great emphasis on becoming a professional astrologer. This is an advantage if one *knows* one wants to be a professional astrologer, but I want to keep my options open and don't want to feel like I'm being pushed in that direction. In order to complete Bob's course, one must spend an entire year studying matters related to having a professional practice and he gives assistance in setting up your own practice. Third, he really wants his students to have a college degree, and if you don't have one, he says he'll "work with" you to ensure you have the proper breadth of education. I can see where he's coming from (he wants astrologers to be well-rounded individuals), but I'm not sure I appreciate the assumption that someone who lacks a college degree (like me) is necessarily deficient in education. I would have preferred it if he had asked first about my backgound instead of jumping to the conclusion that my non-astrological education needs fixing. He did send me a detailed curriculum and his course does look fabulous.

I ended up going back to an early contender -- Joanne Wickenburg. She's certainly the most well-known astrology author of the bunch, and her courses are very reasonably priced. I e-mailed her to ask if a) students can e-mail her with questions, and b), if so, is she often inaccessible because of travel and whatnot. I received an extremely prompt answer that, yes, we can send her questions, and when she travels she takes her computer with her and is thus accessible.

Well, that did it. I just ordered her entire course of 8 modules. (She has a 9th module which prepares one for the AFA exam, but I won't get that module unless/until I know I'm going to take that exam.) Each module is $80. I ordered all 8 at once to qualify for a 10% discount. With shipping, the 8 modules come to $628. Then I had to order three books from Amazon which are required for the chart calculation module: an ephemeris, a table of houses and an atlas. It would have come to $83, but I ordered a used copy of the atlas so the total for the books was $63.

So the total for the entire course with shipping and books was $691.

I'm really looking forward to starting! I want to thank everyone who posted here, everything that everyone said helped me in one way or another. I want to particularly thank Astraea, who gave me invaluable advice both in this thread and by PM.

Hopefully as I learn a little more I can participate a bit in other threads, since I'll hopefully understand what you all are talking about, at least a bit!

-- Lee
Top   #46
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Excellent choice


Lee, I've been jonesin' for an update and am so glad to hear what you decided! Joanne Wickenburg is chairperson of Kepler's Board of Directors, and I think that you made a wise choice.

About the emphasis Bob Mulligan places on having a college degree -- the astrological world is currently split into two camps on the idea of astrology's "respectability." One faction believes that if astrology is ever to be embraced by the world at large, its practitioners need to adhere to established routes of gaining recognition. The other view is that astrology is unlike any other art or science, and to force astrologers into academic conformity is to fundamentally misunderstand astrology. In my view, a reasonable alternative to either extreme is exactly the course you have taken -- to take a course!

Best wishes, and please keep us posted as you progress on this exciting journey!
Top   #47
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Hi folks, I'm resurrecting this ancient (well, six-month-old) thread because I wanted to give a progress report and offer my impressions for the benefit of anyone considering correspondence courses who may stumble across this thread now or in the future.

I'm halfway through the six-module course (the extra two modules I bought, solar returns and horary, are not part of the major six-module course). I've been working pretty steadily on it. Each module consists of five- or six-hour-long cassette tapes and a workbook. The three modules I've done are Introduction to Astrology, Chart Calculation, and Preparing for Interpretation. The next three will be Interpretation, Advanced Interpretation, and Transits/Progressions.

On the positive side, I've certainly learned a lot more than I would have by doing desultory reading. I now have a general idea of the meanings of the houses, signs and planets, which is a real step forward for me because I could never quite get a handle on them before. From the chart calculation module I have a general idea of what's going on three-dimensionally-wise in a horoscope and how time is calculated. I also have the beginnings of a good general understanding of the structure of a chart. Joanne really emphasizes rulerships, in fact she spends a great deal of time discussing house cusps and rulerships before she even gets to aspects.

Joanne seems very thorough, and goes into subjects with, it seems to me, a good amount of depth. Her approach is very psychologically oriented. Even in the first three modules I've had the opportunity to learn about things not usually covered in beginner's astrology books, like decanates.

However, I have a lot to say on the negative side. First of all, as mentioned in an earlier post, I was careful to e-mail Joanne before I bought the course and ask her if she was available to answer questions via e-mail as I studied, and she answered yes. Since then, I've sent her four e-mails (that's over a time period of six months, so I could hardly be thought of as pestering her), and she only ever answered the first one. I have to assume my e-mails are getting through to her; they're not bouncing back, and the address is the same as is still listed on her website.

My homework assignments are indeed being corrected and returned as promised, but they are corrected by an assistant who merely marks the answers right or wrong, and for the wrong answers provides a one- or two-word explanation of why it's wrong. Now, technically there's nothing wrong with it being done by an assistant, I suppose, but in combination with the fact that Joanne ignores my e-mails, it does seem like I'm not getting the personal attention that she led me to believe I would get. I'm not expecting her to spend hours and hours chatting with me, but it would have been nice if she could have written a few sentences in response to my friendly and politely-worded questions. If I wanted to be really snarky, I would wonder if one had to spend $20,000 a year to be enrolled in her Kepler school in order to receive some personal attention from her. But I'm not that snarky, so I won't wonder that.

Secondly, there are many discrepencies between the page numbers of the workbooks and those which she references on the tape, obviously stemming from the fact that she's reworked the workbooks over the years but not bothered to re-record the tapes. This doesn't really present a problem most of the time, but there were real problems with the chart construction module, because the editions of the reference texts (house tables, ephemeris, American Atlas) are different than the editions available 20 years ago, when the tapes were originally recorded, often containing different values for the same entries. Thus, when discussing a specific chart, almost all the numbers she references on the tape are different than the ones in the books, forcing me to constantly have to make adjustments and figure out whether I've made a mistake in calculating or if this is just another example of her reading an obsolete reference.

She's also inconsistent in her rounding. On one tape, she at one point rounds the number 27.5 up to 28, and then ten minutes later she rounds the same number down to 27. Very frustrating. At one point I got a homework question wrong, and I questioned it, and Joanne's assistant wrote me back a nice note saying that I was right, the question in the workbook was wrong, and that I should feel free to tell them about mistakes that I see. Since then I've noticed several other homework questions where the question is just plain wrong. I appreciated her note but I also feel that it shouldn't be my job to do that. Joanne really needs to sit down and listen to the entire set of tapes with the workbooks and reference texts in front of her, and see for herself that in lots of places they just don't match.

Finally, although at the beginning I enjoyed the taped-lesson approach, and found it helpful to take notes from the tapes as a way of organizing and internalizing what I was learning, I found that this became old real fast. It becomes quite tedious when one has to write down *everything*, rewinding and listening to the same sentence five or six times (Joanne tends to speak in long, convoluted sentences), and I often found myself wishing I could simply read it as text rather than having to listen to it all.

So, at this point, if someone was considering taking a correspondence course, I wouldn't recommend Joanne's. My friends have suggested (in fact they're suggesting quite insistently) that I demand my money back. But I'm reluctant to do this, because the website does say all sales are final, and also the remaining courses do have value to me, and if I decide to finish them, I would rather not be having a war with the teacher while doing so, that would just make the whole thing too unpleasant (as a Libra sun-sign, I like to have things be pleasant!).

So what would I recommend to others, or what would I do if I had the opportunity to start over? I think of all the options, I would say the Canopus Academy, Linda Reid's school, sounds the most promising. For a low-cost option, I think the American Federation of Astrologers course at astrologers.com sounds good. It's all written-out lessons, not tapes, and at this point that sounds much more attractive to me.

For now, having worked steadily and gone through 18 tapes in six months, I'm going to celebrate by taking a break from astrology for a while. I'm a little burned out on it, plus frustrated with the course, and going through the course has become a grind and not fun anymore. I expect after a few months' break, I'll be more motivated and can come back to it refreshed. Meanwhile, I've decided to delve a little bit into the I Ching, which I'm sure will refresh my learning batteries. But I won't be taking an I Ching correspondence course! I don't feel as if I'm jumping around (Gemini-like) between disciplines, because six months of steady work is much more than I usually manage to do when learning things.

Well, anyway, as usual I've written an epic, and I hope I haven't bored everybody to tears. Thanks for putting up with me!!

-- Lee

edited to fix typo
Top   #48
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Lee, this is an excellent critique of the course. Your objections are cogent and point-specific. In your shoes, I believe that I would finish the course, but at the end I would send Joanne this critique. She needs to hear these things and make some adjustments, in my view. I know that she is very busy, but if she is too busy to attend to her obligations to students and honor agreements (verbal or otherwise), something is amiss. You have performed a valuable service to future students by adding this critique to your thread.
Top   #49
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Thanks Astraea, I agree, sending her my complaints at the end is a good idea, then I can be straightforward with her without making my own life unpleasant.

-- Lee
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