When Life is perplexing... Ask Astro-Coach The Q&A column combining astrological insights & life coaching wisdon
When life is perplexing--Ask Astro-Coach, the Q&A column combining astrological insights & life coaching wisdom written by San Francisco Life Coach and Astrologer Nicki Michaels. Home | Ask Your Question | FAQ | Your Comments          Visit Nicki Michaels' Beyond Sun Signs

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The sole purpose of the Ask Astro-Coach column is to demonstrate how an astrological perspective supports better informed decisions by providing deeper understanding of real-life situations. It is not meant to replace your own good judgment, nor the services of licensed professionals, such as psychologists, attorneys, physicians, or financial advisors.






graphic: Urania Queen of the Heavens

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Nicki's astrological insights combined with life coaching wisdom might inform your important decisions. Explore the possibility of working with Nicki. Sorry, questions are no longer being accepted for the Ask Astro-Coach column.

Ask Astro-Coach
Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
Technical Questions

General Questions

Q.  What is Ask Astro-Coach?
A.  Ask Astro-Coach is a column written by Nicki Michaels, astrological consultant and life coach. It was originally published in The Mountain Astrologer magazine beginning in June 2003. It's an agony aunt (Dear Abby type) column using astrological insights combined with life coaching wisdom to answer reader's most pressing questions about life, love, career, spiritual dilemmas, life challenges and more.

Q.  What is The Mountain Astrologer?
The Mountain Astrologer magazine is a popular and highly regarded international English language bi-monthly publication. It has articles and columns for everyone interested in astrology, from the horoscope reader to the seasoned astrological professional.

Q.  Who is this column written for?
Ask Astro-Coach is aimed at intermediate to advanced astrology students. While those with little or no astrology background can certainly skim the "astro-jargon" to enjoy the interpretation of a real life drama unfolding, along with the advice offered from a trained life coach and astrologer.

Q.  What type of astrology is this?
A. Humanistic Astrology is the main orientation of this column. This term was coined by Dane Rudhyar in 1935 in his ground breaking book The Astrology of Personality. Rather than predicting the future, humanistic astrology delves into the deeper meaning of events and the context within which they occur. This perspective enables us to learn from the past, break outmoded patterns and be at choice in the future. In his later book, The Astrology of Transformation, Rudhyar defines Transpersonal Astrology, where he describes the role of the astrologer as "one who advocates treading the path of radical transformation [as] he or she speaks for or represents to the client the promptings of the client's higher being and potentialities for transformation. This responsibility is not merely a 'horizontal' one confined to the person-to-person astrologer-client relationship. It is also a 'vertical' or transpersonal one in which the astrologer accepts being the 'agent' or 'mouthpiece' of higher powers urging the client to transform himself or herself, to open the closed center of the mandala of his or her personality to an influx of transcendent power and light."

Q.  Who is Dane Rudhyar?
A.  Dane Rudhyar is considered by many to be the most important astrological innovator of the 20th century. (See answer above.) Aside from his ground breaking work in astrology, Rudhyar was a philosopher, poet, artist, and composer of some note. Read more about the astrological contributions of this inspirational 20th century renaissance man.

Q.  Who is Nicki Michaels?
A.  Nicki Michaels, Ask Astro-Coach columnist is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, and has been a practicing astrological professional since 1974. She was Senior Staff Astrologer for Astro-Phone, the first national astrological telephone consulting service. She received her BA in Astro-Psychology and was on the Adjunct Faculty at Antioch University for six years, teaching undergraduate courses in psychological astrology based on the books of Dane Rudhyar. Nicki is a certified Master Certified Astro-Carto-Grapher, and holds a diploma in the Classical Studies in Horary Course, She began writing Ask Astro-Coach for The Mountain Astrologer in 2003. Nicki maintains a private practice, working with her astrology and coaching clients from all over North America, Europe and beyond. Read more about Nicki's professional background and her life coaching and astrology services.

Q.  How are the questions chosen for Ask Astro-Coach?
A.  Approximately 60 questions are submitted for each column of which only 3 can be chosen for inclusion. All questions that do not comply with our submission guidelines are immediately eliminated. Aside from that, questions are chosen because they are about compelling situations, they give adequate background without being lengthy, and they would be of interest to readers of the column, and they go well together with the other questions for that month's column.

Q.  How soon after I submit my question will it be answered?
A.  You will receive an automatic email response to let you know that your question has been received. Should your question by chosen, it may not be answered for several months. You will be notified if it is decided that your question will not be included in a column. If your question is answered, the answer will be emailed to you as soon as it is submitted to The Mountain Astrologer. It will be published approximately four months later in the magazine.

Q.  Will my question be published online?
A.  Every question that is published in The Mountain Astrologer will be posted online in the Ask Astro-Coach Archives two months after the original publication date.

Q.  Will you answer my question even if it's not chosen for the column?
A.  Unfortunately, due to the time involved in calculation and interpretation for each answer, only questions which are included in the column are actually answered. You'll be notified if and when it's decided that your question will not be included in a column. It is recommended that you hire a professional local astrologer to help you with the issue if you still wish to pursue a resolution, or you can schedule an appointment with Nicki Michaels for a personal astrological consultation.

Q.  Will you offer specific predictions?
A.  No. The astrological interpretation in this column is to help you to understand the underlying themes that may be surfacing, to enable you to shift longstanding patterns by offering alternate perspectives and support, to better utilize the opportunities of the time period, and to seek help from other professionals such as a therapist, life coach, financial advisor, etc if appropriate.

Q.  What if I don't know my birth time and I want to submit a question?
A.  Unless your question is of a general nature—one which could be answered without calculating your birth chart,(such as "What does it mean to be born on a cusp?") the accurate birth time is mandatory. It is also important to include the source of your birth data if you want your question to be chosen. See question submission guidelines.

Q.  Why is an accurate birth time so important?
A.  A birth chart is a map that shows the placement of the planets in the sky, above and below the horizon, at the moment of your birth, as seen from the place that you were born. Due to the earth's rotation, this sky map shifts approximately every 4 minutes of time. If the birth time you supply is off by even several minutes, it can change the timing of situations of your life by a year or more. All information derived by an astrologer if based on this birth chart, and current planetary positions in relation to it. Therefore, the accurate birth time is mandatory for an accurate interpretation.

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Technical Questions

Q.  What house system do you use?
A.  Most charts are calculated in the Placidus system. Any charts created for the timing of events (electional charts) are calculated in the Regiomantanus system.

Q.  How are the charts calculated?
A.  Natal, progressed and transit charts are calculated by SolarFire, while transit search (for both transits and secondary progressions) are calculated on WinStar.

Q.  What program do you use for interpretation?
A.  No interpretation program is used in delineating answers for the Ask Astro-Coach column. Nicki Michaels uses her 31 years of experience as an astrological teacher, writer, consultant and columnist to interpret the meaning and to explain the answer to the querent's situation.

Q.  What techniques do you use to understand the current time period?
A. The transits of the outer planets (Jupiter through Pluto), the secondary progressions of the inner planets (Sun through Mars). Solar Arc Midheaven and Ascendant are used, rather than secondary progressed angles.

Q.  I notice that you don't include Chiron or other asteroids. Why?
A. According to Dane Rudhyar, the meaning of each planet is derived from it's placement within the solar system as a whole. The asteroid belt represents a certain type of undifferentiated energy, and therefore from this perspective, no particular asteroid holds the significance of a planet. In chapter 6 of The Astrology of Transformation, Rudhyar said, "I pay very little attention to 'new discoveries' which do not fill an evident place in the basic structure of the solar system — for example, the few asteroids now often used simply because some astronomer took the trouble to calculate their orbits. Similarly, in the Occult astrology to which H. P. Blavatsky refers in The Secret Doctrine only 'sacred planets' are said to be considered, though over a hundred other planets are in existence at one level of physicality or another." Read more about this online in Rudhyar's The Practice of Astrology, The 6th Step.

Q.  What are the natal, transit and progressed orbs are used in the column?
A. In the Ask Astro-Coach column natal aspect orbs are: conjunction, opposition, trine square, orb 10°; sextile orb 5°; semi-square and sesqui-square orb 2°; semi-sextile and inconjunct orb 1°30'. For major transits (Jupiter through Pluto) a 2° orb applying and separating. The time span given for the duration of each transit period begins when the transiting planet enters a 2° orb for the first time and leaves a 2° orb for the final time. Progressed planets to natal—orb is also 2° applying and separating.




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