MY INTERVIEW WITH AQIL By Destee Q: When and how did you first become interested in astrology? A: I became interested in astrology in 1976. Some years ago I had a discussion with a friend who called me a “negative Capricorn,” something I had never been called before, and, quite frankly, something that I did not understand. I was curious as to its meaning and began reading articles and books on astrology and was amazed at the accuracy of my astrological descriptions. In 1976 I had an astrological profile prepared by a professional, and I was completely overwhelmed by its accuracy. Q: When did you begin creating astrological charts? Is there any type of license or certificate that you must obtain in order to practice astrology? A: I began the practice of constructing natal charts (i.e., horoscopes) early in 1977, after attending a non-accredited course in Basic Astrology at the University of Buffalo in 1976. One does not have to be licensed or certified in order to practice astrology, although most reputable astrologers in this country are members of the highly regarded American Federation of Astrologers, which issues a certificate of membership upon passing a required examination. Q: Briefly describe what goes into a chart. What are the particular parts that make it up? And how do you go about creating one? A: Well, what the astrologer actually does is re-create the Heavens for the time of a person’s birth. He then interprets the cosmic information derived thereof. He does this by constructing a natal chart, which is a map of the Heavens at the time of birth. This chart is based on astronomical data, and shows the positions of the Sun, Moon and planets at a specified moment in time as viewed from a definite locality on planet Earth. In the computation of a horoscope three things are essential: the date, time and place of birth. Although the celestial bodies will be in the same zodiac signs on a given day for all places on Earth, their house (or mundane) placements in the horoscope will be different according to the time and place on Earth from which they are viewed. With these coordinates a horoscope can be constructed, showing the planetary patterns existing on a particular date, at a particular time and place. Q: Can one earn a living as an astrologer? Approximately how much do you charge per chart? And do you know how many charts you have done in your lifetime? A: Just like anyone else, a competent astrologer – one who is proficient in his/her trade – makes a comfortable living. Most charge between $20 and $50 for a natal chart, and about the same for a progressed chart. A professional astrologer prepares thousands of charts during his/her lifetime. Q: What type of satisfaction do you get from telling people about their horoscopes? And do you feel that you have a special gift for predicting one’s future? A: It is not a matter of self-satisfaction. There are factors in my horoscope that indicate that this is my mission and purpose in life. One cannot forecast the future from the study of a horoscope. No reputable astrologer would attempt to predict precisely events and conditions. What he can do is to determine the periods during a lifetime when agreeable or discordant conditions are likely to prevail. From his judgment of the horoscope he can obtain a very clear indication of the basic personality traits, and this enables him to discern how a particular individual will react to a definite set of circumstances. The interpretation of a horoscope is not something that can be acquired overnight. It is a sustained discipline that requires not only perseverance, but also a degree of intuition, in addition to the ability to assess the astrological factors in a realistic and empirical manner. Q: Can you give me a brief history/background of astrology? A: Astrology is the oldest science in the world, actually predating the dawning of antiquity. It had its origins in central east Africa, in the ancient country of Abyssinia, whose modern name is Ethiopia. It traveled to ancient Egypt, to ancient Chaldea and Babylonia, and was common practice among the Hindus of India. Astrology evolved from the ancient worship of the Moon and its phases. Through the long nights before any history books were written, generations upon generations of ancient priest-astrologers sat and contemplated the wondrous and orderly procession of the seasons and the shining stars in the Heavens. Man soon gave them names, and the names were those of the animal spirits he worshipped. Archeologists have unearthed clay tablets recording astrological events that are over 60 centuries old in Mesopotamia. Five thousand years ago the priest-astrologers predicted the flooding of the rivers by watching the starry Heavens and calculating the phases of the Moon. The Assyrian priests discovered the zodiac and its twelve divisions. They learned to calculate the irregular paths of the major planets and predicted eclipses. Astrologers of the ancient world were the Chaldean Wise Men (called “Magi”) who were the first mathematicians, and who arranged the first calendars. These same astrologers were the founding fathers of the first universities, and they built the world’s first skyscrapers (called “ziggurats”) in order to observe the movements of the planets. Aqil, thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us. Giving visitors of this community the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts regarding astrology with you. Thank you very much.