Demystifying Astrology: A Conversation with Debra Silverman
Astrology. Is it just for the gullible? What does it even mean? Is it a separate religion or yet another form of confirmation bias?
Many of us hear the word Astrology and have an immediate reaction; typically it’s a slight giggle with a wave of a hand or an eye roll to dismiss the topic.
Like many of you probably reading this, I had been a long-time skeptic of Astrology: someone, who still had a subtle, childlike interest in the topic, but because I had no real resonance with the blurbs I’d read on the back of the newspaper growing up (or on some shady looking internet site that looked like it was made in 1997 with blinking ads everywhere), I never took Astrology seriously and, instead, just used it for entertainment. I had a million questions armed and ready to poke holes in the theories of Astrology, and just as many logical reasons to support why I believed Astrology was illegitimate, unfounded, and coincidental; simply something to be seen as either circumstantial, or incorrect entirely.
In came Debra Silverman, a renowned Astrologer Therapist with 40 years of professional experience in blending her background in Psychology with Esoteric (Soul-Centered) Astrology. She is also the author of The Missing Element and host of her own YouTube Channel with over 7 Million views. With her equal blend of practicality and spirituality, I knew I had to I sit down with Debra Silverman again to get to the bottom of all this stars and planets “woo-woo” talk, and to find out more about how she made everything finally “click” for me. So without further ado, below is a deep dive conversation with a modern day seer:
[Crystal Warren]: Since many of the readers may only associate Astrology with the short caption on the back of the newspaper, like I know I had done, I wanted to first start off by seeing if you could give us a background of both Astrology and Psychology as well as explain how they work together?
[Debra Silverman] : Yes! Well, Astrology is the oldest science on Earth and has to do with the timetables put in place by an ancient civilization through the hieroglyphics and oral tradition that was passed down for so long, we still have it today. So [there is] this influence brought to us through an ancient culture that is downloading a Matrix, or a system, that helps people understand the cosmos. It helps gives people a big picture of their presence in the [grand] scheme of things as an individual, as well as of the times that we are in, but from the largest vantage point.
Astrology is questionable, because while it’s the oldest science on Earth, the research is very limited. It’s not based on traditional science, but it does have its entirety based on Astronomy, which is Mathematics. There is no question about where the planets are and the movements of them. That’s all non-debatable. And yet, Astrology has this very cosmic, universal language that has passed the test of time.
On the other hand, Psychology is a very new science, and was only brought to us in the 1930’s by Freud and Jung, and it has a brand-new language. We never knew the word ‘unconscious’. We never knew what it was to have an Ego or Id. Psychology is a modern day science that is only addressing the nature of [our] psyche [such as], do [we] love [our] mothers? [While] both systems have been judged for being inaccurate, psychology only very recently became a popular, acceptable reality. Today [we] can go get a therapy session, which used to be taboo, and consequently Astrology gets judged because it is based on something mystical, magical, and nonlinear.
But now for the first time in herstory, I call it her-story instead of his-story [she laughs], it allows us to marry the old and the new, and to identify the unique karma, or dharma, of an individual based on the psyche of the psychology where [our] childhood brought [us,] as well as on the inheritance from the stars when [we] were born.
So it’s this wonderful marriage between the old and the new, between the spiritual and the mental. There’s a quote by Carl Jung that said, ‘Psychology will be a dinosaur science, until it includes astrology.’ — You see, Carl Jung was an astrologer — people didn’t know that — he was trained and every session he did as a therapist, he had an executed chart in front of him that his daughter drew for him beforehand. But people didn’t know that until now, so it only became recently acceptable to say, ‘Ok, yeah there’s this thing called Astrology that combines with Psychology, and they’re a perfect marriage.’ — but we’re on the front edge, it’s brand new. Very few therapists are using it. I was probably one of the first that made it up when I got started, but come to find out Carl Jung was doing it, so I didn’t make it up after all [she laughs], but it’s a very undeveloped domain.
[C.W.]: Perfect segue into my next question actually — Since it is very undeveloped as you said — did you have any doubts with the path that you were on, or was there anything specific that confirmed you were doing the right thing and needed to keep moving forward?
[D.S.]: Well, I had a dream when I was very young, when I first started where they were screaming at me in the dream, ‘Stop acting so dumb; you’ve been doing Astrology for lifetimes!!’ Then I woke up startled out of the dream and [it] was so strong [that] I started charging people the next day. So I got a cloud confirmation at a very young age, I was probably 21 or 22, so that settled that. In Graduate school I did research — ready? — on Chronic Mental patients and their charts [where] I found this huge correlation between the planet Uranus and mental illness. So you could say I never really met much resistance because I’m a personality type that couldn’t care less what you think anyway, but I probably could have gotten a lot of resistance had I not had that personality type.
[C.W.]: So is that how it organically unfolded? — I remember there was a podcast you had done with Rachel Brathen where you mentioned you didn’t have your average childhood, and later you ran into an Astrologer who had confirmed this work was the perfect path for you. And, well, look at you sitting here today with how successful you’ve become — nailing everyone’s life purpose as well as helping them navigate their life struggles!
[D.S]: That is a really great question. I am the exception to the rule because most people do not find their purpose easily. In my case, it was so well carved out that I couldn’t resist, but that’s the one percentile.
Almost everyone in your audience that you’re writing to, including yourself, they suffer for not knowing what they want to be when they grow up, and that is the nature of the beast. But for me, the message was so loud and clear; and so divinely driven when I was offered my introduction to Astrology at the sweet age of 20 by a woman, which was later confirmed by that dream, [where I] then got to graduate school and decided to make my studies about mental illness and Astrology, who does that?
So it was never vague, and that is unfortunate for me because I came to find out that very few people have a clear sense of what they’re doing — by the way, what people are doing is closer to what they should be doing than they think. [However,] most people really feel lost, but if [they] take out the judgments then [they’ll] see that life really is directing [them]– and this is an important message — while [we] might think it should be lights and cameras, serenades and trumpets to give you the clue [we’re] on the right street, it’s quite the opposite. Typically, people find out what they’re supposed to be doing by doing it wrong and making mistakes — that’s how people learn down here. But that wasn’t the example for me, so I was the exception and I sometimes feel self-conscious about that because I was given such a gift of clarity.
[C.W.]: Well I’m glad you decided to hone your gift and turn it into something more. You’re helping many people, including myself, and if you had to give one tip that could apply to the vast majority of us, who don’t have a clear understanding of their purpose in life, what would you say?
[D.S.]: I would say accept your fate and where you’re at, number one, before you start to reject and go into deep spiritual questioning. Take the indications of where you’re at as the sign that you’re supposed to be there. If in fact, it feels really bad and you feel allergic to your job, or whatever it is, and you feel like you’re completely lost, then yes go see counsel, go see a certified Astrologer. Ask someone for direction. That is the most important thing you can learn.
But the biggest message I can really give people is while the collective is suffering and we have no positive guarantee that we’ll make it through this very interesting entrance into a new era, the individual has not diminished, in fact its increased. The individuality, our permission to be ourselves, the language of Astrology, the language of Numerology, the language of Enneagram, the language of the Meyer Briggs, so on; we’ve got 5000 different variations of how to start studying ourselves, and that’s the contribution we can make to make the difference. Just get to know you, and if you’ve got psychological patterns that are sabotaging you, then you go see a therapist, or an Astrologer; you do whatever you can because the individual is the only way we can get through this next era.
[C.W.]: For those who would want to see an Astrologer — how would you say Astrology helps psychological growth? For instance, what main practical thing can you pull as an example from reading someone’s charts that could help them understand themselves? For me, I quickly realized the reason I felt like a contradiction was because of being what you called a Double Gemini, where my Rising Sign and Moon sign were both in Gemini, but my Sun Sign was Capricorn, but does it work that way for everybody?
[D.S.]: Yes! For everybody, the Sun, Moon and Rising Signs are where [we] begin and then there’s deeper levels. Just like with Psychology, [we’ll] start off with the story [we’re] presenting about [our] problems, and a good therapist will undo/unwind/or unpack the story’s sources from a deeper story that was put in place by [our] childhood. Then a really good therapist, that’s an Astrologer, will then say what’s the karma involved? And they would use the Sun, Moon, and Rising signs to begin. However, the word Karma is directly related to Saturn, which is a whole other conversation, and then there’s an indicator called the North Node, which I nicknamed as the Shortcut to Enlightenment, and is another way [we] can go in towards learning about [ourselves].
But I believe [we] should begin with the Sun, Moon, and Rising Signs because that’s [our] ego; everyone has one — Raise your hand if you have an ego? Oh look everyone is raising their hand [she laughs] — Once [we] have their ego on the table, everyone is like, “Talk about ‘me,’ how do I make friends and influence people — talk about me,” and that’s how we get [them] in. And once [they’re] in, [we] can get more and more specific. Astrology becomes such a gift in articulating unique distinctions about people that they get hooked.
I had a couple sitting here today — a husband and wife — this wife was a brilliant intellect and the husband kind of an angry physical athlete. So I just said, “Listen, you’re air and want to talk all day; he’s fire and either wants to have sex or work out. You gotta work this out cause; you’re on two different planets.” Once you put words to it, and they feel better and understand each other, then it just changes everything.
[C.W.]: Do you have any main resources to start learning more about yourself, for those that are are self-learners and want to get a jump start?
[D.S]: Here’s how I would start — it’s as simple as going onto YouTube, and searching Debra Silverman and your Sun Sign. Whatever your Sun Sign is, there’s a little 5 minute video, and it’s a short enactment of me playing out these characters, [which] have reached about 6 or 7 million hits, so they’ve been very popular. Just watch the short video to convince you how much the stars are affecting you, as an entertainment tool; then, go to astro.com and find out your birth chart based on the birth date, time and place, so you can find out what your Rising Sign is, then go back and watch that video on YouTube. Then start delving into the questions, like we are doing — What does the chart tell me about me; where is my Mercury; where is my Mars? Break it down in the beginning, there are so many places to go, but then there’s the course I teach, Applied Astrology.
Since, Astrology can be complicated, I teach it at a 6th grade level so it’s very easy to learn. One of my gifts is making abstract languages very practical. I take big ideas and break them down to small bite-sized bits, so you can chew on them and the next thing you know, you’ve had a whole meal and you’re like, ‘‘Why am I so full?’ I’ve been studying for 6 weeks and I’ve gotten so much information.’
So that’s the goal, to make abstract information concrete, and then give practical directives — “this is what you do next” and build from there, until it puts you back into your center.
Some people will read this article because they have always been interested, or drawn, and others will have a resonance, or a memory and awareness, that Astrology is the doorway into the future that will bridge us back to the past — that’s what it is — it bridges the wisdom of the past into the future, so why not cultivate it. Why did we leave it behind? So I’m bringing back, and you’re remembering it, and it makes me so happy.
[C.W.]: And it makes me so happy that you’re bringing it back; you blew my mind and now I’m hooked! So even though you’ve been doing this for so long, and we are all still students constantly learning, what are some books you read, or people you look up to, considering the vast knowledge, encounters, and experiences you’ve had up to now?
[D.S]: You’re asking great questions — um — there was a time in my life where I read a lot of Alice Bailey. She’s an esoteric teacher that is not easy to read, and no one is going to have fun looking at her stuff. There was a time in my life that I was captured by autobiographies, stories of broken people; [there’s a] book that I loved so much, by a woman born in Rwanda — Left To Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza. There’s another great book called, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, a true story about a man who died and came back to tell the story. I loved autobiographies of people who had lived through great trauma, especially Left to Tell, because they realized that God was always the answer.
I’ve always been insatiably starving for spiritual material that was real and wasn’t theory. These stories inspire me and I find great pleasure in authentic embodied language; they’re not theoretical and they take me off the planet. This is why I love Astrology, and I love stories that take me into my experience. So my best teachers have been those who were embodied and alive, and I learned in front of them. I used to love to read, but at this age, I love to read [just] not the way I did before. But I never get bored; I have been researching this since my twenties; its applicable to all aspects of my life!
[C.W.]: Touching on the spiritual aspect, after reading a lot of those autobiographies, I would imagine there’s a correlation between nearing the end of life and having the epiphany/realization that there is a God, or a higher being/power, fill in the blank what word you use here — would you use say there’s a correlation through astrology that may be more explainable to some on why they find themselves turning to faith towards the end of life, if they hadn’t reached that realization prior?
[D.S]: My belief is that at the deepest core of any wisdom, indigenous cultures, religious cultures, philosophy, is there must be faith. Faith is a very abstract word and only becomes important in moments of crisis for most; however, if you cultivate faith throughout your life, if you establish the relationship with the invisible, if you believe in Astrology, or you believe in magic, where you can actually taste it, smell it, and lean into it, then you suddenly become a resource of grounding, or healing, for people and in that role spirituality becomes inevitable. They’re coming to you because you’ve created this wealth, or this foundation, so people begin to lean on you in their times of death, illness, crisis where you then you call on your faith, and then the next thing you know we are all basking in this spiritual sacred energy. And that’s where I like to live and be.
[C.W.]: So it becomes this chain-like reaction, or domino effect, really. Would you agree this is in line with Ram Dass’ theory that we are all on the same journey home, some on different paths, and we are all just helping each other get there along the way?
[D.S.]: Yes! And with different first names, and different last names and different religious orders and so on, but in the end, everybody, no matter what their constellations are, is longing to come back home to the part of themselves that remembers that they chose to be here. Once you choose to be here, once you incarnate out of a faithful devotion, this becomes the act of magic; this becomes the art of magic. But when there’s resistance, confusion, distraction and ego, when there’s hunger and everything the opposite of spiritual, then we fall asleep.
[C.W.]: But if we wake up, then the phrase “nothing is impossible” truly becomes manifested, since everything becomes possible when you’re rooted in that faith. “Sky’s the limit” couldn’t be more fitting here. But how do you establish that kind of faith, or cultivate faith in times like today?
[D.S.]: This is where “aha” moments, spiritual awakenings (drug experiences, ayahuasca, mushrooms, psychedelics, near death experiences, falling in love, etc.), — all these things open up the facilities to go beyond this world. Extraordinary states are the axis point to Astrology, in an essence, because [they allows us] to suspend the left brain, in order to have faith. Otherwise, it makes no sense; why have faith? — ‘Well the sun comes up every day, and the moon moves around every single day at the same speed. And we know for sure tomorrow the sun is coming up, that’s faithful.’ Take that and [develop] it into ‘the sky’s the limit’, and then faith becomes this umbrella that is based on a spiritual belief that God is real and angels exist. This other world you get glimpses of when you’re in altered states is real and suddenly you’re like, ‘Oh, that could be real.’
[On the other hand,] you have this mundane experience of reality; where it’s certainly important to pay your taxes and know what your mother’s maiden name is at the bank, or you’ll be in trouble, so you need the practical world, but it should not be without the marriage of the extraordinary.
Ultimately, faith is cultivated with equal doses of a relation with the ground level (and your feet and your food and your body and your love and your puppy and your lover) as well as the spiritual fascination with what is beyond our mind’s understanding. You have to marry both.
[C.W.]: So you’ve mentioned how the ancient prophets and elders saw that society would end up here today, and our generation would be the one to wake up and turn things around, but did they ever talk about what they saw on the other side, if we did not wake up in time?
[D.S.]: Yes, they talked about the Golden Age, about the Aquarian Age, the changing of the Guards, and they talked about the changing of time. The question is — can we survive as a species in this transition, or will we destroy ourselves before we get to that Golden Age, where everything turns the corner and there’s this magical entrance of another society with a different matrix entirely? That’s a good question, and based on results right now, I stand on the fence leaning towards the positive, but not doubting the negative could happen.
Look at England and America, both English speaking countries have had their government turned around — with the Brexit and with Trump. Its chaos and that is what is required to get to the next phase.
The next question that’s important for millennials, or anybody that is interested, is what can I do? The answer is a lot on the inside.
[C.W.]: What advice can you give to those looking for community, guidance, or mentorship in the areas we discussed?
[D.S.]: Join our Community — yes! Become a part of the tribe of Applied Astrologers/“astro maniacs” — yes! Find friends in the metaphysical section of the book store — yes! But be careful because they talk and talk about abstract things, but they can’t figure out how to pay the rent. You want people who can marry the “woo-woo” and the practicality — marry the two worlds.
That’s part of my reputation for example — 1. I say shit 2. I’m to the point 3. I’m so expensive it’s either gonna be worth it, or you throw your money out the window [she laughs.]
[C.W.]: Alright, last question, just for fun — do you have a crush chart you wish you could read for someone?
[D.S.]: I’d love to — I mean it’s just so predictable [she laughs] — do Barbra Streisand because I’m in love with her. I would love to do Oprah because I’m in love with her. I would love to do Obama; I just thought he had the coolest chart ever, which is just so obvious now. I’d love to do Trump’s chart, and I’d love to talk to him about his chart and say, ‘Hey your life lesson is emotions and you don’t even know about it, so let me help you’ [she laughs.] I would love to do Olympic athletes also. I did a whole slew of prostitutes once, that was fascinating — I read the head prostitute’s chart and then all the other girls came to see me, and I got to see the correlation with Astrology there. Super fun.
So what do you say? Ready to leave behind the skepticism and find out the truth behind your stars? If you’d like to dig deeper into some of the topics and resources Debra and I discussed above, you can find more information by visiting her website here, where the “astro maniacs” await, or by contacting Crystal Warren, a Debra Silverman trained Astrologer, to learn more.