Some people simply have no idea what it means to be an astrologer.
I get asked all the time if I read palms, or cards, or minds.
Other people assume I must mean that I'm an ASTRONOMER.
And though the two fields of study were linked for many millenia, I couldn't tell you the difference between an asteroid and a meteor if my life depended on it...
(A famous astronomer happens to live on my street, and we finally met at a neighbor's party the other night. I told him what I do, and he actually said to me - I'm NOT making this up! - "Die, mortal enemy, die!"
He was joking, of course - at least, I hope he was.)
Though we do get surrounded at dinner parties by curious guests wanting to "talk shop," not everyone is so enthusiastic about astrology.
In olden times, being an astrologer was considered a VERY big deal.
Astrologers were thought to be actual "messengers of the gods" and were only employed by royalty and heads of state.
In India, astrologers were believed to be "the mouthpiece of God" and a person's chart was God's "inexplicable wish" for them.
But advising rulers and sitting atop such a lofty spiritual pedestal has its downside...
History is full of tales of astrologers losing their heads for getting involved in world affairs.
One such amazing tale involves Queen Elizabeth I.
Before she was queen, her half-sister, Queen Mary Tudor (also known as "Bloody Mary" for killing so many Protestants) employed an astrologer.
His name was John Dee, and he was on hand to advise Her Highness about all matters of the day.
England was in the throes of religious turmoil, as Henry VIII had kicked out the Catholic church and established the Church of England just over a decade before.
Elizabeth was seen as a symbol of this "new faith" as Henry had acted so that he could divorce his wife (which was forbidden in the Catholic church) and marry Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn.
But "Bloody Mary" was Catholic. And when she took the throne, there were several Protestant rebellions and uprisings in Elizabeth's name.
So what did the violent queen do to her own sister?
Lock her in the dreaded Tower of London, of course!
The very place where Elizabeth's own mother had been beheaded by her father for trumped up charges of incest and who knows what...
(And you thought your family had drama.)
To Elizabeth, being sent to the Tower meant certain death.
She was quite sure she'd never leave its walls.
Her despair was so great that she did what EVERYONE does when they're that anxious.
She called an astrologer!
That's right - she had John Dee, her evil sister's own astrologer, cast her horoscope.
And what did he see?
He predicted the unthinkable...
He told the young, terrified princess that not only would she NOT die, she would become queen.