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What is “Astrology’s Place in the Plan”?

Boston Astrologer Isabel Hickey (1903-1980) is the author of two renowned books: Astrology: A Comic Science (1970), and Pluto or Minerva: The Choice is Yours (1973). (1) In 1976 she published It Is ALL Right, about astrology and beyond.

Affectionately called “Boston’s Spiritual Sparkplug,” Isabel was a healer and mystic with a deep understanding of the Bible. “Issie” to her students, influenced a generation of astrologers and was admired by many thought leaders, including Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

Isabel Hickey  Placidus houses, True node
August 19, 1903
12:30 p.m.
Brookline MA; data given to Amy Shapiro by Isabel

In the Introduction to It Is ALL Right, (2) Isabel wrote:

“This book goes forth with the prayer that it will bring healing, hope and understanding to my brothers and sisters everywhere. It is written from my heart to yours. The title for it came a few weeks before the book was finished. In that in-between time — between sleeping and waking — I heard a beautiful voice say: “IT is ALL right. It IS all right. IT IS ALL RIGHT.” With those words came the consciousness of its truth; no matter what happens in the world of appearance it is all right. Right for that moment in time and space — right for the growth of the individual concerned. We ARE vibratorily connected to everything that happens to us. I have found that the reiteration of this sentence changes the feelings in the little self we call the subconscious and changes the consciousness of the outer self. It IS all right.”

It Is ALL Right applies Eastern mysticism to Western culture, illuminating enigmas — such as how to protect yourself with psychic forces, align with your Higher Self, transmute negativity, gain inner peace and energy, creative visualization and more. If a book could reincarnate, it has! It was first in Isabel’s Fellowship House Bookshop, then passed on to her daughter Helen, who saw it through a 10th printing (via New Pathways) before she passed away in 2005. In order to make the book more available and affordable in this pandemic, in 2020 Isabel’s grandson Donald transferred it to me for a New Age Sages paperback and e-book. (3) The following is from Chapter 16, Astrology’s Place in the Plan.

“Astrology’s true purpose is to help us find our way out of dependence on external influences so we can be free souls guided only by the light of our own inner being. Our birth chart shows us where we are in our evolutionary progress. It shows what we have as equipment for our present journey. It shows the talents we have gathered in other lifetimes through experience. It also shows the weaknesses in our character that can cause us difficulties until they are overcome.

We do not come unbound into this livingness. The birth chart shows what we have to work out in the present lifetime. It shows what grade we are in as far as the planetary school is concerned. Astrology also deals with seasons, and the cycles of life. Everything on the earth plane manifests in cycles. There are right times for action as well as wrong times. If we plant tomatoes in December in New England, they do not grow. This is an example of wrong timing.

There are seasons in our mental and emotional vehicles as well as in nature. There is “a time to sew and a time to reap.” Each cycle in our personal lives has its own meaning and its own purpose. Youth, maturity and old age are differing cycles. And understanding of the birth chart helps us to know what cycles are operating, and the right time to launch out into the mainstream of activity and when to wait until the cosmic tides change. There is “a time to be born in a time to die.” In between birth and death, we have time which we can use wisely or waste that time through unwise actions. This is where astrology can be of help.

At the moment of the first breath the incoming entity draws into its magnetic field the energy patterns of that particular time and place. The energy flow in the magnetic field of the earth is synchronized with the energy pattern of the incoming soul. Just as the soul picks its parents before it comes down into matter, so it picks the time of its entrance into a physical body. Whether it is a so-called natural birth, a premature birth or a cesarean birth makes no difference. The doctor on the physical plane may think he has made the decision to induce birth. He has not. It is the soul which decides when the timing is right and is compatible with his appropriate pattern.

A competent and dedicated astrologer can prove the validity of astrology. It is not fatalistic. The wise person can control the energies in his magnetic field and thereby rule his stars. Always the choice is there: to rule or be ruled. Like a skipper steering his boat on a vast ocean, he knows the tides and how to navigate the boat successfully; so the wise man learns to handle his energies and can use the cosmic tides effectively. This is what astrology is all about.

I can say from experience that astrology can be of aid in our ongoing. It shows where the road is smooth, and you can proceed without strain. It shows where the road will be rough, and it will be necessary to slow down, to proceed with caution and at a slow pace. It shows where the road is washed out, and you would be wise to take a detour. It shows when there are emotional storms coming up on the horizon. If squalls are coming up, it is smart to steer your lifeboat into a safe harbor to wait for the storm to pass. An understanding of the energies operating at that time keeps one from rushing into the storm. In everyday life if it is raining you put on a raincoat and take your umbrella and protect yourself against the storm. You do not resent the storm. The storms and beautiful days are all part of the living and learning process. This makes common sense, which among all the senses is the most uncommon one.

An understanding of astrology can be used to help man on his inner journey. When used in the right manner, it can be a tremendous help. A mini lesson in astrology may be of help. The planets are the energies that are operating, i.e., WHAT is operating. The signs that the planets are placed in show HOW the energies operate. The twelve houses show the areas of operation or the circumstances; WHERE the planets will operate.

When in astrologer talks of aspects in the birth chart, he is talking about the discordant or harmonious contacts between the planetary energies. These contacts show the wise use or abuse of energies in past lifetimes. If these energies are discordant in what are called mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Pisces and Sagittarius), they are faults that are just beginning to manifest, and can be changed by right thinking. If the energies are in cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), they are faults of the last lifetime, and can be changed by constructive action. If the discordances are in fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius) they can be difficult, for the entity has set up his personal will against the will of his High Self for many lifetimes, which creates problems that can only be solved by the person’s relinquishment of his will. It must be a complete surrender.

A division of the signs that is very important is called the quadruplicities; the elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water. These elements are present in all living matter. The amount of energy one has in these elements depends, not on the Sun sign, but how many planets there are in each element. The individual with many planets in Fire signs is spirited, full of zest and enthusiasm and has boundless energy. He is the bouncy type that is always ready to go. The Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are the Earth signs. These individuals are stolid, practical, materialistic and down-to-earth. They count success by how much money and how many possessions a person owns. The Water signs – Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces – are emotional and live their lives through their feelings. They are sympathetic, affectionate, moody and psychic. More important to them than material things, is affection. They want to be loved. Their lesson is to learn that to get it they must give it. The Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. These types are the intellectuals, and everything must be perceived through their minds. These four faces of God are in everything in the universe.

These elements show where our energies are concentrated, for they relate to the four bodies through which we function. Fire relates to the spirit, Water to the emotional body, Air to the mind and Earth to the physical body. These are the components that make up the physical body.”

Further in Chapter 16, Isabel brings us into the Aquarian age:

“As our planet revolves around the Sun in a yearly cycle, so our Sun revolves around another sun in a cosmic cycle of two 25,800 years. This is called the precession of the equinoxes. The movement of the vernal equinox goes backward along the ecliptic at the rate of about 30’ every 2,150 years or 50 seconds every year. Just as the calendar year is divided into twelve months, so the cosmic year is divided into twelve cycles we call ages. At the present time, we have been leaving the Piscean age and entering the age of Aquarius. For each age there is a great teacher, representative from the Most High sent to earth and called the Avatar of that age. Moses was the Avatar of Taurean age. The bull is the symbol of the sign Taurus. The story in the Bible of Moses destroying the golden calf was symbolic of his breaking up the worship of the bull. The Mithric religion of that time worshipped the bull. After that age ended, the Arian age followed, and Abraham was the leader. Aries is symbolized by the ram and the lamb. The lamb became the symbol of the Messiah. The Old Testament is full of symbolism that deals with the Arian age. The Shepherd Kings – the Shepherd who watched over his flock – washed in the blood of the lamb – the Lord is my Shepherd – the Lamb of God slain from the beginning of the world – Ram in India the name for God, – Isaac sacrificing his son to please God and then putting a ram in his son’s place; these are all symbols of the Aries dispensation.

We have been in the Pisces age for 2000 years. Pisces is a water sign and its ruler, Neptune, rules the ocean. The Avatar of the Piscean age was Jesus. All through the New Testament the symbols portrayed the age of Pisces. The disciples were fishermen – “I will make you fishers of men” – the loaves and fishes – the sign of Pisces was the symbol the Christians used to notify their followers where the secret meetings would be – the mitred hat of the Catholic Bishop is in the form of a fish; these were all symbols of the age. Baptism was with water.

Now the Aquarian age is coming in. The keyword of Aquarius is I KNOW. It is an Air sign and deals with the mind. To the faith of the Piscean age will be added knowledge. We will know why we have certain belief systems. The many therapy groups of all kinds springing up all over the country are teaching how to come to dominion over thoughts and feelings. These are Aquarian concepts being brought to human consciousness. It is a group conscious age. It will be the age of true brotherhood, but we are in the process of cleaning up all the evils of the past before true brotherhood can come. There is always the necessity to clear out the poisons before the body can be healthy. Until the evils come to the surface and are recognized, they cannot be transmuted. Every area of living – collectively and personally – is being challenged, and what is wrong is coming to light.”

Prophetic, indeed, given all we have witnessed in recent years, and to this day!

Issie spoke to what the chart revealed like a light shining on your soul. I am grateful to have found her at a young age, as her teachings have guided my life. She taught: Before seeing a client, tune in, ask for guidance, picture your Higher Self connecting with the other’s Higher Self, to show you what he/she needs to hear for his/her highest good. This will give you confidence to know what to discuss, no matter how sensitive the topic. When Higher Powers guide the session, it creates a meaningful experience that serves both client and astrologer, bringing to life what it means to consider – be with the stars (con-sider), ever-moving cosmic energies that remind us of our universal heritage. The chart gives clues to the lessons or karmic burdens of a soul. Issie taught us to be spiritual detectives to lift the karmic veils and use astrology as a tool to transmute karma with grace and forgiveness.

Issie believed that consciousness determines reality, and people with the same chart can have different fates, based on their circumstances of birth and the soul’s karma: “We do not come unbound into this livingness.” For example, the 12th house ruler, it’s aspects, dignities, modal dominance, and outer planet aspects give clues of what the person has carried over from past lives, to form a cohesive soul picture. At the core of her chart evaluations was a compassion that sought the best in others, recognizing that we all do “the best we can with what we know.” She taught that astrologers carry a karmic burden for how our words make others feel. We are accountable spiritually for our interpretations and predictions, as our words carry enormous suggestive weight.

To learn how Isabel Hickey’s insights apply to you, see Your Cosmic Blueprint report. To learn more, her autobiography Never Mind includes memoirs by me and her grandson, Jay Hickey. Both available at the New Age Sages link below.

Footnotes:

(1) These first books by Isabel were posthumously combined and republished by CRCS with my editorial help, at the request of Helen Hickey. Helen and I later created a natal report drawn from Isabel’s text with Astrolabe: Your Cosmic Blueprint: A Seeker’s Guide, available via New Age Sages.

(2) The cover design by Isabel is a meditative graphic, with many meanings. Two that I appreciate are the wheel of reincarnation, and the oscillating polarities of space, time and consciousness.

(3) For years, resellers, taking advantage of its out-of-print status, were charging $50 – $300 for a copy.

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12 Responses to "What is “Astrology’s Place in the Plan”?"

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  • Andre Dionne says:

    After reading her books, I met ‘Issie’ during a lecture she gave in Ottawa (Canada) in 1979. Astrology was just a tool she grabbed in her evolution. The real message was Her. She was recommending a book by Stephen Arroyo ‘Astrology, Karma and Transformation.” I read it in the bus going back home and everything opened up. 2 weeks later, I started to teach astrology. 40 years later, she remains an inspiration and a guide I can turn to when when searching for answers.
    Thank you Amy for putting her back in the lineage of our Art.

    • Hi Andre!
      Loved your memory of Issie and how she inspired you! One correction: Isabel was VERY resistant to becoming an Astrologer! When in a meditation the guidance came that was be her path, she was upset by that, being in a Catholic family that disapproved of astrology. The guidance pressed, and she obeyed it, against her ‘little’ will! She often said “Leo needs to get off the thrown, and put God on” – knowing that Higher Guidance may push us out of our comfort zone to grow in ways that we’d rather not, on an ego level.
      You are otherwise right; astrology was only one of many healing tools in her spiritual path, not her prime focus, though she committed herself fully to it.
      Many of us know the pangs of rejection for choosing to be an astrologer – it cost Issie the acceptance of her family. She continued loving them anyway, (as her H8 Nep-Moon conj would expect, lonely though it was).
      Thanks again for your kind response!
      Blessings,
      Amy

  • Thank you to Amy for writing this and to Mary for sharing with us. The world needs to be reminded of Isabel. My first natal astrology interpretation from a professional astrologer was with Isabel Hickey in 1979-1980. How time flies! Need to go back to read my notes again from our telephone conversation! Planning to reread her books, too.

    • Thanks Tanz! She was an amazing light, as Tom Jackson said at her “graduation” celebration in 1980: “Unborn generations should know about Issie. The philosophy that she taught is what the world needs.”

  • I cannot express how happy I am that you published this wonderful article, TMA! I am a huge fan of Isabelle Hickey! I consider Ms. Hickey’s Astrology, A Cosmic Science a staple in my understanding and practice of Astrology. I recommend it to students, and gift it to friends. I also appreciate her 2nd book, Minerva or Pluto. Her stock of Astrological wisdom was stunning.

    I did not know (or possibly knew and forgot thinking it was out of print and unavailable) there was a 3rd book by her, and I will be going to New Age Sages immediately after posting this to order It’s All Right, Your Cosmic Blueprint, and her autobiography Never Mind.
    Thank you again, TMA, with this timely information.

    • Hi Peggy,

      Thank you, we are so happy to have Amy’s wonderful memories. And, I did not know that she and Isabel’s daughter wrote a computer program..

      Certain to be of interest to all those astrologers too young to be familiar with her books..

      Mary

  • Thank you, Peggy and Mary ??!
    I’m truly grateful for the warm reception!
    I ‘felt’ Issie while writing the blog, and am aware that others feel her in her writings, too. These days, I sense her aiding souls who’ve departed during this pandemic. She often said, souls who leave abruptly in a confused state may need help transitioning. She helped many souls transition while ‘here’ so I have no doubt that she continues to do her part. One reason she loved the nickname “Issie” is because it would remind us that “Issie Is!”
    ??

  • What a wonderful find published on my birthday!

    Tonight I am going through my Star Rovers organization files from my Boston days in the late seventies and early eighties… so grateful to be have been part of the community of astrologers in my twenties.

    I found an article written by Amy on the message of Isabel Hickey. Issie and Zip Dobyns were so inspiring and instrumental to my spiritual path leading to ordained ministry and becoming a spiritual therapist. Coming full circle I will be teaching an astrology class next week: telling others about Issie and the joys of learning astrology. Thank you, Amy.

    • Hi Anne – your response touches my heart! Thanks for sharing it – I feel the same. Good memories, like wine, improve with age!
      Blessings,
      Amy

  • Lalia Wilson says:

    I also met Isabel in the 70s. She was a grande dame of Astrology by then.

    In the article you talk about the procession of the zodiac. It is correct that the Great Sidereal Year is approximately 2600 years, and that the degree changes about every 72 years. However there is a math error regarding the “50 seconds” change per year. A second is one-sixtieth of a degree. Thus for the degree to change every 72 years, it will only move 0.83 seconds per year.

  • Hi Lalia,
    Thanks for your comments. Re Precession of the Equinox, from http://www.britannica.com/science/precession-of-the-equinoxes it states: “The equinoxes drift westward along the ecliptic at the rate of 50.3 arcseconds annually as the celestial equator moves with Earth’s precession.”
    Seems to me that leap year variations are a factor.
    Regards,
    Amy