Sunshine Astrologer: An
Interview With Michael Lutin
has been a star in the business,
both personally and professionally, for many years. As well as pursuing
consulting practice, writing long-running columns in Vanity
magazines, and a busy
book-writing and lecture schedule, he is
organizing and directing wonderfully entertaining and enlightening
events, astrological and otherwise. On top of that, he is president of
York chapter of NCGR
daily fills a marvelous website at www.wheresthemoon.com
with his wit and wisdom. His latest book, Sunshines:
The Astrology Of Being Happy,
has just been published by
Simon and Schuster. We
spoke with him on the
eve of his latest
junket, and asked how he got where he is today and what other aspiring
astrologers could learn from his rise to fame and fortune as a
starcaster. -- J.T.
did you come upon astrology?
I was a really young kid I
lived in Europe, in
Paris, and one thing led to another and I started to get interested in
the end of high school. I was working in an art gallery and I got to
Lichtenstein and I really liked his work because it distilled people
archetypes, and at the same time I became interested in Eastern
That really was way before astrology – my
interest was in just how and why people are here
and what they’re
doing here. So my real background came more in terms of Eastern
religion before astrology. That’s why I feel grounded in it.
don’t just use
astrology for every definition of what happens to people. I’m
very happy about
that, that I don’t just rationalize every event, rush to the
ephemeris to find
out everything that’s happening every minute. Some people I
while I was
living in Paris were influential philosophically, and then I got
astrology. I don’t even know exactly how, I think it formed a
progression. I thought for years this can’t be true, this
can’t be right,
somebody must have thought this up. It took me years before I finally
and accepted it. And then I just did.
years, more or less?
ago…the truth is, I really don’t know.
Around the time of the Doors, I remember Jim Morrison,
did you major in, what are your degrees?
degree in Romance
languages, then a special program
for French at Harvard, then I went to Yale for a PhD. program in
languages, but I left that.
were you doing
before you were an astrologer and how
did you make the transition?
working at an art
gallery in France, the only real
job I ever really had, and then when I left that I went traveling
Europe. When I came back to the States I had to do something, so I
writing – I got paid so little, it wasn’t even
– I was writing love
comic books. That got paid so nothing it was just ridiculous. Then I
realized I was going to be an astrologer. I remember exactly where it
was in my friend’s yellow Volkswagen on 72nd
York Avenue, and I thought maybe I should be a novelist or a writer,
and then I
just heard a little voice inside my head saying go ahead, finish any
want to write, but you’re going to be an astrologer. I just
moment and I was really disappointed because I just knew what a
struggle it was
going to be, and from then on that’s what I did.
did your career develop from there?
you do all your
family’s charts and everyone else
you’re trying to control with astrology, and then a friend
give you their
friend. I studied and read everything I could get my hands on at the
started with the Rosicrucian Fellowship, and met Zoltan Mason who gave
me a lot
of books, met a couple of other astrologers I don’t even
studying, doing charts, reading studying, doing charts. I did them for
and then eventually somebody gave me ten dollars to do it. Of course it
two weeks to prepare that
chart and then they had to get their
reading for the ten dollars. Then one thing led to another, and I did
didn’t have a day job after that. I did little things
think I went on a
couple of game shows, helped a publishing company pack books, but I had
other day job. I had nothing, I starved and I went without and it was
struggle for years. For many years it was a very, very difficult time,
I didn’t take money from my parents because they had paid for
After that I didn’t take any money from them, so I lived a
life. It was really terrible, sometimes no lights, really terrible. But
dedicated to it and completely focused in it.
there a moment when things changed much for the better? Was it gradual
there a “big break?”
things happened. One
was I had a friend of mine in a
publishing company and they needed something quickly, and I got a job
$10,000 for three weeks, Sun-sign stuff. They were doing kind of crappy
but I added to it because I’ve always been interested in
charts as well
as Ascendant charts. By then I was practicing astrology. Then one of my
committed suicide, and I felt that I did not have enough training to
the signs of that. So then I really turned my attentions to studying
and being trained in a certain branch of psychotherapy, so that I could
it and never have that happen again.
communicative psychoanalytic psychotherapy,
it’s a school by Robert Langs, M.D. He devised this.
way of dealing with patients and clients that allows the patient and
control the flow of the session, whereas before it was all the
performing the session. That changed my life, and it happened at the
everyone ought to know and take notice
everybody has a
different thing, that’s the thing.
It’s a big split in our community. You have certain
that we are not therapists and we shouldn’t try to pretend to
that we are divinatory practitioners. They have their valid point of
felt personally that I should have recognized the signs of this guy who
wonderful little person, really wonderful and either refer him out to
who has more training than I do or get more training. I cannot
for other people and I cannot tell people how to direct the course of
lives or their calling. Because one of the things I think is that
not a profession. I don’t think that regular, professional
advertising work for an astrologer. I always think about it when I see
well-known doctor’s advertising in the subway. I
think I’d go to a
plastic surgeon who advertises in the subway. I think that people get
that for us to be more professional means that we have to dress for
advertise. It’s never worked for me. I think that
involved in a calling.
We don’t choose astrology as a profession, it chooses us. So
think that each
person has his or her own way of following that path, which I respect.
are people who – like Bob Schmidt, Lee Lehman, Rob Hand
–are much more
interested in Medieval stuff. They don’t care to do therapy
want to read the chart as they see it, and I think it’s
horary people also. Horary is valid, financial is valid. It’s
the path that
I went on, because it occurred to me that I was not just an empty
through which the Holy Ghost of Astrology passed – I was
affecting people’s minds.
So that’s the road I took.
Lutin's latest book,
The Astrology of Being Happy
is about the relationship of the Sun sign and the lunar nodes
the first Sun sign
job you mentioned, how did you
progress into the publishing area, becoming a writer as well as a
One of the things people most admire is your wonderful ability to
phrase, to perk people up, to catch the reader.
started out writing the regular,
serious astrology stuff, in a very astrological way. Then when I met my
real editor at a magazine, I remember him saying “I
want you to just
write, I want you to write the way you talk to people and make them
then I just stopped being a writer and started being a communicator. I
write anything, I talk to people on paper. That’s the only
I can give
any other writer. First of all, always write about what
don’t try to write about something you’re not
about, because there’s
no such thing as a writer’s bloc. Suppose you have an
to write for,
transiting Chiron in
Aquarius, and somehow you can’t do it. It’s not
can’t do it, it’s
because you’re not thinking about that, you’ve got
something else on your mind.
I always advise people to write what’s on your mind, even if
it’s, “I can’t
write, I’m mad at my grandmother, my dog is sick.”
is on your mind,
write that, and it will lead you into the assignment. That’s
I do, I never
write. People say how can you write so much? When you want to talk to
you just talk to them on paper. It’s not like being some
writer. I must
admit, I’m doing some volunteer work for my old grade school
the Rawson School, and you know what – they don’t
teach grammar anymore.
They don’t teach nouns – the computers I guess do
it’s all some sort
of phonics stuff, who knows – but I remember from the first
I wrote my
very first book, it was called “My Book.” I had a
school education, but
it was such a wonderful education. I was never a good writer, I
don’t think I
was a truth-teller in those days, but I remember I had excellent
grammar and sentence structure. Like who diagrams a sentence today?
even know what a sentence is. When I went to Trinity – that
private Episcopal school – in freshman English I
know what the hell he
was talking about, but boy did I learn. My teacher’s name was
remember all my English teachers – those people have such an
children, for the rest of their lives. So I credit a lot of that to the
foundations of the language.
people often speak
of astrology as a language – some
consider it a structure that’s very one and of a piece with
which it’s expressed.
a good point that you bring up.
When I was younger, before I even knew about astrology, I always liked
languages. I was a Latin student, fluent in Spanish when I was fourteen
old, then became fluent in French. I loved Italian, even studied
always wished I could find a language that everybody could understand.
Then I found
astrology, and it’s great. I went to Russia once to do a
conference, and I’ve
been to Turkey as well, and the languages there are so completely
But all you have to do is put Sun-trine-Jupiter, Venus-square-Mars on
blackboard and everyone in the room understands you. It’s
understand it. That’s one of the other great things about
astrology, it unifies
you with other human beings. Not everybody, because not everybody is
to do astrology – not everybody should be astrology-minded
– but those who do
are linked all over the planet. I love that.
long have you been
writing for Vanity
and Vogue? How
did that all come
Germany? I don’t remember. They called me up, I guess. Vanity
from the therapy
and language aspects of astrology,
do you think there is a physical basis for it? When it comes down to
is it, really?
as much a mystery to you as it is
to me. Sometimes it’s a solid, sometimes it’s
sometimes it’s a gas.
There’s a solid part to it, a liquid part to it, and there
lot of outer
planet stuff that forces you to be completely open to every possibility
manifestation in order for you to be an astrologer. You can’t
for the scientific, you simply can’t.
there a scientific
course, we know there is. We know
Saturn is slowing down to go direct, and we see its effect and
indisputable if you’re an astrology person. Whether its
synchronistic and we’re
all part of it, or it’s something connected with our
complex, who knows? But in November you could have said in early April
going to turn around and the stuff that was slowing down is going to
and I think you’d be right. And since we’re not
some sort of scientific connection to it. But, then comes in the
What does it mean? Why does it mean it? Why are we connected to it?
hell are we here for? You come up with the questions that
answered. Love certainly has something to do with it. Learning about
and non-attachment seems to be something universal for every human
from that, I wouldn’t even venture a guess, except that
who has ever seriously
investigated it has never escaped it.
we’re a community of people and we
don’t belong to the rest of the world, because once you step
in any profound or deep way, and once you commit yourself to this life,
never going to completely be in their world again.
career, what was
your best move, your worst move?
Do you have things about which you say “God, if I’d
done that I’d be in a
totally different place”?
I can’t tell you my worst mistake,
because it’s too embarrassing, but I’m paying for
On my best days I
think by best move was to discover astrology, on bad days I think it
But you mean best
moves, professional moves?
coming into the profession want to
know how to do it right. It’s one thing to be interested in
astrology even as a
calling, another to make enough at it so you can spend all your time
would say one of the things you want
to always do is have love and respect for the people who are going to
service, even though they may have a completely different philosophy or
lifestyle from yours. I think the urge to communicate when
respect for people’s distance helps. We all want to
people, but we have to be open to those who are open to us and not
people. Each one of us has a different audience. Rick Tarnas published
Tarnas’s IQ is about 467. Rick Tarnas speaks to philosophers
people of consciousness
– he is not speaking to people who read TV guide. So Rick
When you’re in his presence, you’re in the presence
person with a gigantic
mind and a love of people, but he doesn’t try to be a fortune
cookie. So with
each person. My skill was developed because I was always the class
clown – I
was voted that in high school. I was always putting on shows, making
things, probably to cover up my own death anxiety. Therefore it was
me to develop a writing style that was at once idealistic and cynical
same time. So I think you have to know your audience, find your
completely committed and believe in prosperity and bounty, the
things. Well, I don’t know if I really believe in those
moments when I just thought “I’m too old to get a
job!” I remember saying that
to myself so often. “Oh my God, I’m too old to get
What am I going to
do? I’m too old, I can’t even decide to go get
job.” But I had to keep on moving forward.
think one of the pitfalls of our
colleagues is feeling removed from the world. I didn’t turn
things were going wonderful in life, and I don’t think people
You know, you
don’t get a client who just won the Oscar, you get the client
the Oscar, know what I mean? A lot of people in our community moved
the world because the world was incomprehensible to them. I think we
Raised in families that we didn’t fit into, a big common
the things you
do, is there one where you either
enjoy it most or make the most money?
I love it all, and if I did it
for the money I wouldn’t be an astrologer. I love doing all
done at conferences – so fun, and all meaningful even though
lot of the
meanings were hidden. I love writing for magazines, I love writing
love my clients, I never get tired of them. I get physically tired,
from working, but I never get tired of them.
And what brings the most money? That’s hard. I mean, some
people out in the real world would say that no money we make is real
you have an overhead of $30,000 every month, they don’t think
it’s a lot of
money. So it’s all relative. What do I make the most money at
– I think I do a
lot of things to make my overhead. I don’t like to depend on
clients for the
money, because they can feel it, and that’s why
that I can do some
other things. You do as much as you can. But I would advise astrologers
they’re going to be a practitioner is to get training of some
kind, both in
terms of counseling and of course astrology training or certification,
as they can get. Then I would advise them to develop speaking abilities
speak for groups, to write articles for your magazine and Mountain
other venues, because it is going
to be what people read that you wrote that they can apply to themselves
will draw them to you, and not advertising.
Don’t tell me you’re a great astrologer.
Write to me something about Mars transiting Gemini that I can think “Oooh,
that’s right” and
that will connect
me to you – each astrologer gets the people whom he or she is
supposed to have,
because every client we have teaches us something more. We can impart
them, but every client we have teaches us.
I’ve just finished a book called Sunshines:
The Astrology Of Being Happy.
It’s with Simon and Schuster and will be out in the fall.
I’m really excited to death about that, and I have a
couple of other
projects that I’m working on now – one is an
project, the other a
broadcast project, and I have another book I would love to do soon.
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