In 1997, I left a medical group in Fort Myers, Florida to start a new job in Miami Beach that allowed me to practice medicine and also enjoy free time. That is when I learned about Iris, an intuitive astrologer, who would become my teacher and friend. I also met a small group of people who were starting new lives in Miami. We all met because of a sign: “Yoga on the beach, 6pm.”
In one yoga session, while discussing her budding business venture, my friend Fiona told me about her yearly visits to Iris, an intuitive astrologer, who seemed to be able to answer practical and specific questions such as different job and investment prospects, relationships, and even about the timing of certain activities. What Fiona described was like an annual health exam with a family doctor to ensure a healthy and productive life, but with an intuitive. As a physician, a yearly checkup made sense to me, but with regard to a psychic who was an astrologer? I had to check this out.
A few months after I found out about Iris, I booked a reading with her to get more details about my life and to see how she worked. She greeted me with a monologue and explained that she was warming up and getting to a heightened state. As she constructed my astrological chart, she advised that the best way to use her skills was just to listen and give short answers when asked. And to “write it down.” She continued, “I’m going to check dates to see if I’m analyzing your chart or if I need to correct the math. What happened when you were six or seven years old?”
I replied, “My family moved from the Philippines to the United States.”
“The move with your family changed your destiny. Different locations, different people will give different influences, good or bad, depending on the environment and opportunities presented. We’re like plants. If someone takes care of us, we can do well. If we’re neglected, we won’t. An orchid would thrive in Miami but won’t do well in the desert unless tended to. But it also depends on your constitution, what your character is. “
During the reading, I kept silent because I didn’t want to disrupt her train of thought. As if reading my mind, Iris said, “The astrologer reads you. The psychic becomes you. I confirm what I see with astrology. I think I got you. The time of birth you gave me was a little off, but I think I rectified your chart. I ask people to give me the time that’s written on the birth certificate. Sometimes that’s different from what the mother remembers. In some countries, they don’t even document the time of birth. Then, I ask questions to see if important events occurred when the chart shows something would’ve happened. By confirming dates in your life, I see if the time of birth that you gave me is correct or if I need to rectify it.
I likened Iris’s method of explaining a chart to my job as a doctor describing the course of medical disease to my patient. If a patient had a stroke, I might say, “You eat more than enough, and you likely prefer rich food. As you got older, the tendency to develop high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure manifested so that even with exercise and medication, your arteries still built up a lot of cholesterol plaque. You have the genetic predisposition for a cerebrovascular accident (stroke), but it’s your environment, having access to rich food, and the habits that you’ve developed that manifested your stroke.”
As a doctor, I studied how a disease progressed and the possible ways it manifested, but I didn’t know when organ damage would appear. I didn’t know when the heart attack or stroke would happen until the conditions became symptomatic. I only treated the symptoms. Iris had studied what the planets and the different combinations meant from the information passed down from the collective observations of ancient astrologers. She took the birth data of where the planets were located from an ephemeris and then plotted them on an astrological chart. From this astrologic map she was able to explain which tendencies would likely manifest in a person’s life—and when.
Iris stated, “Astrology is the map of your potential.” She described the trajectory of my past experiences and how the astrological chart confirmed the choices I made toward higher education. She went on to say, “Your natal chart is like a road map in time with the starting point being the date, time, and place of your birth. And the planets in the sky don’t just stay in one place. As they move in their orbits, I also calculate how the planets revolve in a progressed chart that will also reflect the changes in your life. The planets will move through the twelve different houses in your horoscope and continue to describe how you are changing, how you are maturing in your relationships, work, and even in your home life, but to confirm what I’m seeing for the future, I have to make sure I got your past right.”
Iris explained, “Astrology helps you to become aware of your strengths, weaknesses, and options, so you can make better choices. All the planets contribute to your character. Your Saturn gives you a strong sense of discipline to overcome obstacles, to learn the lessons that he presents to you. It was hard, but didn’t you finish medical school? There’s a give and take in life; you can’t have everything. Saturn also represents limitations and is living in the fifth house, which also represents children. Children are a kind of creativity. It’ll be hard for you to have kids. It’s not that you can’t have children, but there would be obstacles. Are you in a relationship now? Are you interested in pursuing one?”
“No. I had an accident at eight years old and I sustained many internal injuries so I have adhesions that could complicate pregnancy.”
“How you live your life also depends on your environment. Not just location but who you surround yourself with. You go to astrology classes. You’re here now. You’re asking questions. This is where you’re putting your efforts. Not everybody is supposed to have kids. Not everyone can be a doctor.”
The reading with Iris was like an analytic psychotherapy session but using the shortcut of astrology to get to the point in one visit. She homed in on an internal struggle that caused me anxiety but that I had successfully deflected from my consciousness.
When I was eighteen, I had the unrealistic expectation that by the age of twenty-five I would have five children and be in medical school. There was no question in my mind that I would be married as well. Reality kept getting in the way. After getting established with my career, my attention kept getting sidetracked to more interesting topics, such as how intuitives functioned. During the reading with Iris, I became aware of a part of myself I had not been conscious of. I had told myself, it’s okay. I had time. My biological clock was not ticking yet. Iris’s seemingly innocent comment, “Not everybody is supposed to have kids,” hit a chord with me.
Later that afternoon, as I walked on the beach, I thought about what she said. I’d been fooling myself into thinking that I could have it all—a family life, a career, and an unfettered life exploring the esoteric arts. The family life that I laid out as an eighteen-year-old was never going to get off the back burner, but a part of me didn’t want to let it go. I still held onto the convictions of my younger self. Unconsciously, I was trying to keep a promise to my eighteen-year-old self whose worldview I had outgrown. Iris brought into the forefront my internal struggle and allowed me to accept that marriage and a family were not the answer to my question of “What’s next?”
The concept that what is happening in the sky can explain what has happened in the past and provide future possibilities for an individual’s life is hard to accept unless you experience it.
Astrology, just like medicine and other sciences, has fundamental rules, which means it can be learned. Interpretation and prediction follow guidelines. Once I started studying the subject, the prediction aspect of astrology became less and less like magic. I share my experiences told through the lens of astrology in my memoir, Open for Interpretation, because I feel that astrology can be helpful for any individual who wants to learn about themselves, whether they become a student of the subject or seek professional advice.
Open for Interpretation: A Doctor’s Journey into Astrology will be available in June, 2023. Alicia Blando, MD can be contacted at www.aliciablando.com