Local Astrology Groups

Local Groups have an important part to play in the world of astrology. There are many local astrology groups throughout the UK and Ireland. Individuals who run and attend these groups work hard to promote astrology and are to be applauded for their efforts. The Astrological Association does much to encourage and support these local groups. In this issue we are featuring three groups, Brighton and Hove , Plymouth and Leeds. We'll be featuring more groups in future editions of In the Loop.

If your group doesn't have its own website and would like a free page on Astrological Association website with your details and a Google map, then please contact us.

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Brighton and Hove Astrology group by Phoebe Wyss

Brighton and Hove (a mouthful of a city name henceforth to be called B&H - though not to be confused with the chain store!) did not have a local astrology group when I moved there in the late 90s. In the past astrology groups had come and gone - rising to their high-tide peaks and ebbing again in the low tide phase of their cycles as is their wont. So I decided to start one.

I invited a couple of local astrologers to join me in this venture but they both declined, looking on it with suspicion, so for the first few years I ran a one-woman show. It was like being one of those street musicians who play a mouthorgan and a guitar at the same time while striking an enormous drum strapped on their backs with a deft kick of the foot. Great fun! I created the programmes, chaired the meetings, looked after the speakers, took the money, did the accounts, grew the mailing list and advertised our activities as widely as possible.

We had regular weekly meetings from the start with speaker talks every second week interspersed with evenings of astrology-related activities such as astro-drama, quizzes and an astro-oracle board game. And people came - a lot of them however were Brighton butterflies flying in once or twice to sip some nectar and then fluttering away to taste one of the many other groups down the road. But some stayed to learn astrology, or brush it up, and slowly a community of friends was formed.

How did we manage to keep going with weekly meetings for soon eight years you might ask if you live somewhere like Hull or Maidenhead. Well, B&H of course is a special kind of city - the British San Francisco it's been called - with plenty of the population interested in mystical Neptunian and wacky Uranian subjects. The question, however, is to what depth does this interest go? You can only penetrate astrology as deeply as you have penetrated yourself.

The downside to B&H, as I discovered, is that there's such a plethora of alternative and esoteric activities on offer that the punters are spoiled for choice. And there are only four viable evenings to meet in the week. Friday is unpopular because on Fridays the Brighton weekend begins - you know the 'naughty' weekend as popularised by Prinny, the Prince Regent who became George IV and built Brighton's premier tourist attraction the Royal Pavilion, where he laid on lavish parties and seduced his lady guests. On Fridays everyone who is cool flocks to Brighton's clubs and pubs to party and have fun. So I considered starting a campaign to introduce an eight-day week with an extra weekday evening, but that would totally upset all the sacred cosmic geometry and numerology. In the end we settled on Thursdays, it being Jupiter's day.

After soldiering on for five years thus and actually managing to break even, the evenings of plenitude balancing more or less the evenings of dearth, I invited some of the faithful hard core to form a committee and since then we've been keeping the show on the road as a team How comforting not to feel wholly responsible for everything any longer. If I needed worry, there was always something to worry about such as - what if the speaker doesn't arrive? Luckily that only happened twice in seven years - one speaker got stranded when his car broke down, and another was taken ill at the last minute. But both times I was given a few hours notice and could think up a replacement activity to keep everyone amused.

When we at last acquired a digital projector, after my technophobia had been overcome, (me with my retrograde natal Mercury in Pisces in charge of a digital projector!) I could always worry that it might be incompatible with the speaker's laptop, or about the bulb going in the middle of the talk - I had no idea how to change it! Luckily there were only a couple of such emergencies and each time the speaker was flexible and gave the talk without overhead visuals.

Finally the big worry that I could always fall back on was - what if hardly anybody comes and the speaker who has travelled all the way from Bristol or Leicester is disappointed. All you need is one of those umbrella-exterminating B&H gales, when the wind on the seafront is so strong you're bent backwards, and the rain lashes in horizontally under your broken umbrella. People stay at home on such nights. So how embarrassing it would be to introduce a celebrity astrologer we are honoured to have with us to only three or four wet and bedraggled people in the audience! Luckily that never happened. Enough people always turned up, and there were memorable evenings when our venue was crammed so full that some people had to sit on the floor!

At the end of 2013 I retired from my role as chairman passing the baton into the capable hands of Hilary Stewart who now leads the circle. I can attend the meetings this term as just one of the punters - an Aquarian rather than a Leo role that feels so good! I look back on the past seven years in which the astrology circle stood at the centre of my life with great happiness and satisfaction. It was a highly creative challenge, and it gave me the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful and interesting people.

However in the second half of 2013 I felt our tide was on the ebb; death had to be forestalled with rebirth, so I bowed out and lo and behold the tide has now turned and is coming in again. The group having made a new start in many respects in January 2014 is buoyant with the fresh creative energy. Have a look at our programme on our website www.brightonastrologycircle.com

And if you are ever down this way on a Wednesday (our new twice-a-month day of the week for meetings), or you come to B&H for a 'naughty' weekend, why not time your visit to coincide with one of our Astrology Days?

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Plymouth Astrology Group by Robert Anderson

There has been an astrology group in Plymouth since the 1970s. It was re-named the Plymouth Astrology Group (PAG) in the 1990s but in essence remains a friendly, non-profit group open to new Members whatever their levels of astrological knowledge and experience.

The PAG is run by a small committee composed of people wide-ranging in age and professional skills. Previous long-standing chairpersons include the late Agnes Shellens and John Fletcher who were both prominent in the Faculty of Astrological Studies. Two current Committee Members are also Trustees of the Astrological Association and one is on the Council of the Association of Professional Astrologers International (APAI).

To be eligible to vote at AGMs and to have reference access to the PAG's extensive library, visiting astrologers can become Members by signing their acceptance of the PAG's articles and code of ethics. There is no annual membership fee - visitors and Members pay for each meeting attended. Admission to evening meetings is presently £3.

Evening meetings are held monthly at a public venue - currently the Plymouth Natural Health & Healing Centre, 175 Outland Road, Plymouth, PL2 3PY. The format of evening meetings is normally discussion of the chart for the day followed by a talk given by a Committee Member or guest speaker. There is time afterwards for socialising & refreshments.

Once a year - usually in October - the PAG organizes a Saturday workshop featuring a nationally known speaker. Previous speakers include Adrian Duncan, Bernard Eccles, Komilla Sutton, Judy Hall, Sasha Fenton, Prudence Jones, John Green, Frank Clifford and Christine Chalklin. Admission charges to workshops vary according to the cost of organizing them but to date have not exceeded £15 per head.

It is also usual to hold two social events each year. The summer social typically includes a trip to somewhere of general interest plus a pub lunch. The winter social is normally held near Christmas.

Although the PAG does not provide astrological readings on a commercial basis, it has in the past run introductory and more advanced astrology courses in addition to normal meetings. If sufficient demand arises in the future such courses could be offered again. The subject-matter of PAG talks and workshops is not restricted to Astrology alone. Interest in allied topics such as Tarot, Palmistry, Numerology, Psychology, Dowsing, Astronomy, Healing, and Spirituality is also catered for from time to time.

Links of friendship to neighbouring local groups are fostered. The PAG has particularly close ties with the Exeter Astrology Group and the groups support each other's workshops and social gatherings. Future meetings are publicised on the PAG's website: www.plymouthastrologygroup.org

The PAG's acting Talks Organizer & Librarian can be contacted on: 0771 455 2159.

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Tricia George runs Leeds Astrology Group, she is Leeds born and bred and has studied and practiced astrology for over thirty years.

Leeds astrologers keep crawling out of their dens and joining together for an exchange of views, news, techniques, systems and gossip about celebrity charts or mundane events, or just to come along and say hello. They all go away inspired and ready to make time to look at charts ready for the next meeting. A few, too few, members are on courses and keep oldies up to date with what is going on with newbies, and in between meetings newcomers phone or e mail to ask for more information about who we are and what we do. Every year one of us is required to go along to a school to give a talk on astrology, usually Tricia-that's me-- and occasionally some of us dare to leave Yorkshire and go to Lancashire to the Bolton group meeting, or Blackpool gatherings, and I think two even ventured far south to an AA meeting ( NO, not alcoholics anon—) and came back buzzing with news, views and left over sarnies..... Astrologers come and go, some move away to the outer limits of the UK, whilst others get caught up in work schedules that allow little to no time for the demanding task of charting stars and planets.

Amazingly however, we do get encouraged by a good turnout for talks such as the one given on Sumerian astrology by Chris Cressey, as well as the convivial meal and get together with Christine Chalklin and her partner Alan who have each made their own unique journey into astrological application with Alan putting his ideas into a book, and Marcos a traditional astrologer, as well as June, John, Alex et al from the Bolton Group, so we plan another speaker event at some stage this year to ensure we all meet up again.

We began 2014 with a new venue, the Calverley Arms, which offers warming log fires, a cosy atmosphere, and great food for those who travel from far away, as well as free parking — hurrah — after the council hiked up charges in the city from free to 4-5 pounds for two evening hours — disgraceful! Meetings are never dull and this year we hope to spread the news about them to Ilkley, Otley and wider afield to boost awareness of our art and craftiness, and to make sure our astro quiz is given the justice it deserves! Meantime make sure you check our meeting place and time for we are a very dynamic group and things change month to month.

Venue: The Calverley Arms, Calverley Lane, Calverley, Pudsey, LS28 5QQ. Time: The first Thursday of every month starting at 8pm

Contact Tricia 07503483466 or tricia.astrology@talktalk.net