Interview - March 2015
Interview with Michael Bergen - OPA's Career Astrologer, March 2015
What is your childhood background?
I grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. (‘Saturday Night Fever’ was filmed on my block.) I as talented at sports, especially soccer. At 16, I represented the New York State Olympic team in a game against the Canadian National Team. I was also gifted in Math and Science. I didn’t start reading books until 16, since I was extremely restless and physically active.
What is your religious/parental background?
I was raised by atheistic parents. My mother was an accountant of Jewish background. My father was a social worker of Mennonite background.
Do you have a family?
I met and fell in love with my wife in 1992, who was my first girlfriend. We have two girls, aged 5 & 6, who I have been home with since birth.
What is your spiritual orientation?
Being faithful of God’s presence, Taoism
What is the best thing about you?
Kindness, sense of humor, loyalty
What is the worst thing about you?
Overly independent (in thought and action), overly dependent (in relationships)
What is your evolutionary lesson in this life?
To be more sensitive to others and less self-absorbed
What is your appearance?
I appear very laid-back and have a monotone voice.
What are your favorite places on Earth?
What is your favorite book?
The Impersonal Life, by Anonymous
Do you have hobbies?
I love Electronic music, Visionary art, being in parks, and watching soccer.
What is the best thing about being an astrologer?
The incredible amount of information gained about people and life. My self-awareness and awareness of the divine are greatly improved by astrological knowledge.
What is the worst thing about being an astrologer?
The social stigma. It is difficult to casually mention being an astrologer. People have very mixed reactions and I usually don’t feel like getting into a big discussion and risk being judged.
Can you tell us about your educational experiences?
I went to Brooklyn Technical H.S., where I took two years of college Chemistry. At Brown University, I double majored in Applied Math & Economics, with the intention of pursuing a career on Wall Street. At 32, I went to Brooklyn College to gain a Masters Degree in Math Education in order to become a teacher.
How long have you been practicing astrology? How did it start?
In 1993, I befriended a man in a NYC museum who introduced me to astrology. I completely fell in love with it and felt that astrology was my destined career path.
How did you learn astrology?
I read many, many books to learn how to calculated charts by hand and interpret them. After I graduated from college in 1994, I met with a teacher, John Somoza, once a week for about 9 months. He introduced me to NCGR, through which I attended many classes and workshops. I then studied Vedic astrology, which led to a pursuit of higher wisdom due to its relation with the Vedic scriptures. Astrology became a background interest for about ten years, as I read just about every book that I thought could increase my understanding of life. Inwardly, however, I still fantasized about becoming an astrologer.
What led to your renewed focus on astrology?
In my early 30’s, when I was working as a high school math teacher, I started to experiment with the use of 9th harmonic charts in the Tropical zodiac. Eventually, I became totally convinced of its accuracy. I wasn’t even looking at the 1st harmonic chart at the time and my investigations only included 9th harmonic signs placements and aspects.
What inspired you to write your book “The Astrology Code”?
I felt that I had made some very important discoveries and wanted to share them with the world. I knew that I wouldn’t be taken seriously unless I somehow ‘proved’ it to people. In early 2008, while waiting for my first daughter to be born, I bought Lois Rodden’s AstroDatabank software and started putting study groups together. After seeing the
results of the 9th harmonic studies, I decided to expand the research into every technique that the software could enable me to do. I am very fortunate that the SolarFire and JigSaw programs exist and are so well integrated. This made statistical analysis much easier.
In your book, there are many new ideas presented about astrology? How did you come to your conclusions?
Most of the conclusions, such as the reversal of meanings between Libra and Aquarius, were the result of statistical evidence. I did not anticipate these results at all. The development of structural models of the planets, zodiac, elements, and quadrants came through years of contemplation. I had many moments of inspiration, but also times of doubt and revision.
What challenges did you encounter while researching and writing the book?
Every technique I studied required decisions to be made, such as aspect orbs. What I show in “The Astrology Code” is the method I found to give the most meaning, even if it is inconsistent with conventional definitions. I then had to figure out how to best present the findings through charts, diagrams, and tables. Another challenge was designing the book. I couldn’t find anyone I wanted to do it and had to learn to do everything myself, using InDesign and Photoshop. This was a blessing in disguise since it allowed me to rethink and revise it at will, which I did countless times.
How do you view your future? What do you see happening in your life going forward?
I am currently doing research into predictive, mundane and relationship astrology techniques. I hope to publish these results in the next 3 to 5 years. I would be excited to work with others on projects such as creating written reports, course materials,research projects, and, of course, teaching.
How do you view the future of astrology in our culture?
In the long term, I see astrology becoming totally integrated with our culture. It will instigate a greater sense of unity with our divine source and each other. Astrology serves as a gateway into spiritual inquiry since it is applicable to the practical aspects of our lives yet indicates to us that universal intelligence is very real. However, for astrology to ever be totally accepted by modern, intelligent people, it needs to be shown how and why it works. Each technique must make conceptual sense and be supported by findings. As this happens, people will increasingly demand that astrologers are educated on the best research and utilize its findings, just like medical practitioners.