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An Interview with Paul Westran

Interview by Garry Phillipson

Paul Westran is the author of When Stars Collide - Why We Love, Who We Love and When We Love Them and, by virtue of his painstaking and extensive research into progressed Venus synastry, is a world authority on this emerging new branch of relationship astrology. A former police crime analyst and information systems developer, he became an astrologer. Originally from Sheffield in the UK, he now lives in Perth, Western Australia with his partner, Sarah, (a former police officer who became a psychologist).

Q: Could we begin with your professional background? You worked as a police crime analyst and computer programmer, and these are hard-headed, grounded, practical disciplines. Which probably aren't the first words the person on the boulevard would think of if asked to describe an astrologer. Do you think this background gives a particular perspective to your work?

A: Yes. I am open-minded and also discriminating in what I believe. Although I am certainly not a sceptic in the modern sense, (that being someone who is not open-minded and belongs to the international community of radical rationalists), I am suspicious of ideas and beliefs of all kinds. My relationship with and understanding of astrology pre-dates my work with the police and information technology and it developed from a suspicion that it might be true, rather than a completely accepting and uncritical belief.

I am fairly good at pattern matching, although I'm not brilliant, I am persistent and I think this is a really useful trait in both astrological research and crime analysis.


Q: How about the people you worked with, what did they think of astrology?

A: I heard two police officers (both male) talking. They realised that they were born days apart. One said to the other "You'll be Cancer too, then" and the other one said "No, I'm just inside Leo". Enough said.

I think police officers are like seafarers, some are superstitious and although modern police work is weighted heavily towards solid evidence, most will tell you that they rely on hunches from time to time, suggesting that intuition is still part of the role. The only problem I have ever encountered was, interestingly, with a police officer in the UK who read popular science books and who was an avid science fiction fan. He believed that astrologers must, by definition, be con-artists, because he believed everything that people like Richard Dawkins (and, funnily enough, Douglas Adams) wrote on the subject. It's the old "someone in authority must know better" syndrome, and as Richard Dawkins calls us all charlatans, there are some people who believe this uncritically. So much for his raison d'etre.


Q: I guess most people will know you mainly as the author of 'When Stars Collide'. Now, if I search on 'astrology' on Amazon, it offers me 3,369 different books. So I wonder if you could explain what you felt you had to offer which wasn't already available?

A: OK, my book is the first ever to examine in detail the role that progressed planets play in relationships. It is based on a great deal of research and the results of this research suggest that the phenomenon of synastry is a true and demonstrable fact and it affects everyone. I have demonstrated this using 1300 public-record relationships. There are a couple of hundred mentioned and described in the book.

In relationship astrology there are several different techniques. The most common is to compare the angles between planets. I do this in When Stars Collide in very great detail because of a really simple fact - progressed planetary aspects have to be very close to being exact to have any effect. When you couple this with the fact that they change over time, you have the ingredients of an experiment to see if progressed planets define who we attract and who we will be attracted to at different times in our lives. Progressed charts have been used for hundreds of years, but they have never been experimented with in the same way that the natal chart is experimented with. It appears that, either, people didn't believe in them, or, no one ever figured out a way of experimenting with them. The idea that the progressed chart affects relationships is new and if it is true, as I believe I have adequately evidenced, we can start to use this to develop new ideas about astrology.


Q: I'd like to find out what your hopes are for your book. Take an individual reader; they get the book because (like many of us) they find relationships to be alternately wonderful and terrible, and constantly baffling. What do you hope they will get from reading it?

A: I think that insight into why change takes place is a wonderful thing. Probably more in the long-term, but it is never a bad thing. Relationships require effort and if you can see a reason for a problem, you have a potential solution. Although I focus quite a lot on the reasons why relationships end, I think that if the people whose relationships I discuss, were to have been given the benefit of the knowledge I am imparting in the book, it might have saved either their relationship or their time.

Relationships for me are only part of the book. There is an underlying philosophical issue and that is, basically the results are persuasive enough to suggest that astrologers should re-examine the nature of the horoscope - in my view the secondary progressed chart is the equivalent to a dynamic natal chart, but this suggests something else - because progressions are symbolic "fractal-like" entities, NOT literal cause-and-effect entities like natal charts and transits, it can tell us some very interesting things about the universe in which we live. I believe (at the moment) that progressed synastry is evidence that we live in something like the Bohm Pribram Holographic Universe. Effectively there is more to get from the book than relationship information - it works on several levels.


Q: Pursuing this question of your hopes for the book, how about the bigger picture? What kind of impact would you hope to see it make on society at large?

A: I think it will be difficult, though by no means impossible, to completely dismiss what I'm saying out of hand. I may be wrong, but because the thirty three Venus patterns that I maintain are conducive to relationship formation, are so common in relationships, it is highly likely that even if you disbelieve what I say or feel it might be worth attacking the idea, that you have actually entered into more than one relationship that will prove my point. (I have a number of data from scientific sceptic's relationships and they contain very consistent Venus synastry).

Essentially every time you fall in love you could be either proving me right or proving me wrong. The vast majority of the ordinary (non-celebrity) relationships that I come across have Venus trines, conjunctions or oppositions, as described in the book, within two degrees at the time of the relationship.

I don't think human nature, and particularly that of scientists, is accepting enough of astrology to admit this sort of thing, though. I hope real people find the book enlightening and they learn a little more about real astrology.


Q: Suppose someone says to you, 'Well, this book of yours sounds like it could be interesting - but I need to be convinced.' You have, let's say, ten minutes to give them a handle on your central theme. What do you show them?

A: I have to introduce several concepts to the reader who is new to astrology and I have to do this in simple terms so forgive the shorthand:

•  The horoscope changes, based on the positions of planets immediately after birth.

•  To find the position of the planets for your twenty-fifth year we count forward twenty-five days after your birth.

•  You now have two horoscopes and your birth chart is still very important. In relationships we pay special attention to the exact degree-positions of Venus, the Sun and Mars in your birth chart.

•  The exact degree-position of Venus, the Sun and Mars on the progressed date (25 days after your birth) are also very important to your relationships, because they correspond geometrically with the positions of the same planets in the natal and progressed horoscopes of the people who will be attracted to you, who you will attract and who you will have good sex with.

•  If you are dating and you want to know who you will have a good physical relationship with, and depending on your gender, or more accurately, your preferred role in a relationship, you should select a partner whose progressed Venus or progressed Mars is either 120 degrees away from your progressed Mars or progressed Venus respectively or perhaps in opposition or conjunction depending on your preference of relationship.

•  If you want to settle down with someone, then we must line up the planets in another formation, perhaps your progressed or natal Venus and your potential partner's progressed or natal Sun respectively (or vice versa).

•  If you want romance, we must line up Venus in your chart with Venus in your potential partner's chart.

•  It doesn't matter of you are gay or straight, the same patterns are found in all intimate relationships where conventional feelings of attraction and love are present.

•  Let's take a look at your previous relationships to see what you've enjoyed most in the past. It is very unlikely that you have not encountered some of these Venus patterns in past relationships. If you have mostly gone for Venus oppositions, perhaps a 120 degree trine will be more successful this time.

Usually at this point demonstrating that previous relationships contain patterns from the book is good evidence in itself.


Q: What would you say you, personally, have learned from researching and writing the book?

A: I think we live in a hologram and I think there is external meaning to life. Astrology gives us glimpses.it could be the foundation of something very important which might look a bit like a science one day. I think astrology is far more accurate than I previously thought, it's a question of knowing where to look.


Garry Phillipson

Garry is author of Astrology in the Year Zero, a book which surveys astrology by looking at the experiences and beliefs of both astrologers and sceptics. You can find out more about his work on his web site and read more of his interviews with top astrologers on the Skyscript web site.

Garry Phillipson - www.astrozero.co.uk


Copyright Garry Phillipson and www.PositiveAstrology.com