Coyote Howling at the Moon

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Natal Chart for Bill Herbst
A Small Gallery of Photos

Me as a gap-toothed 2nd grader, followed by a typically dreadful high school senior yearbook picture from 1967 that I will never live down.

My, how quickly things change. 1973 in Boston, playing bass and auditioning for bands while presumably studying in a Gurdjieff group.

1988: picking up a friend at the airport, and with Cory, the first of my
many fabulous Abyssianians, in her favorite perch on my shoulder.

Front view of my wonderful apartment, home since January, 2008.

Back view of my apartment. Lots of windows.

My living room "office," where I work and do phone sessions.

The view onto the balcony of my bedroom upstairs.

The world I see just outside my apartment. The river appears narrow, but is actually 300 yards wide. A giant sand dune rises up beyond, topped by 70 ft. trees. The ocean is on the other side of the dune.

Canada geese foraging in my back yard. This large gaggle lives here half the year.

A deer that lives in the wooded glade next to my house. Each spring she has two fawns.

I was born and raised in a middle-class suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. California-ranch-style, Eisenhower-stable, white-bread-safe. None of that, however, prevented me from growing up seriously disturbed.
Despite my inner demons (or perhaps because of them), I took the bait of education. I was a National Merit Finalist in high school and tried gamely to study undergraduate psychology at Michigan State University and the University of Missouri at Columbia.
Behvioral psychology held little interest for me, however. I was studying psychology to try to save my own troubled life, but rats and mazes and white lab coats just didn't cut it. So, in 1970, when my first earth-shaking love affair caused astrology to thrust itself into my world, to my great surprise I found the insights more deeply relevant and illuminating than my psychology classes. Before long, I was drawing up charts and doing sessions for everyone I knew.
Ah, the halcyon days of youth. During the decade I was in Columbia (1968-1978), I was a member of an urban commune that bought a 300-acre farm and benefited greatly when friends started a non-commercial community radio station (KOPN, now 50,000 watts strong). I love community radio!
In 1973 I went full-time as an astrologer, teaching classes and doing sessions to earn what was then a very meager livelihood. As an in-the-trenches, working astrologer, sessions with clients became the very center of my life and the bedrock of my identity. That's still true today, more than 40 years later. I don't do as many sessions now as I once did; aging and physical disability haven't dimmed my passion, but they have diminished my vitality and slowed me down considerably. Nevertheless, session work with clients remains the fullest expression of my life-purpose. In a very real sense, it's what I live for.
Playing music was a major part of my life in the 1970s. I was a fair-to-middling electric bassist; whatever I lacked in formal training and technical chops was made up for by fearless creativity and an appreciation for the possibilities of my instrument. Not that I was a slouch, mind you. I could have been a professional musician, but I already had a calling with astrology. Still, being a part-time bassist provided more pure enjoyment than anything else I've done in my life. I especially loved performing in a kick-ass Irish music band called Swoop.
That two-year stint playing in Swoop was the most fun I ever had. My 1994 Celtic Fusion CD, "Beyond the Emerald Isle" was an homage to that wonderful period. The 13 songs from the album are linked at the bottom of my home page and can be listened to online or downloaded as mp3s for free.
I'm even more pleased with that music today than 20 years ago when I created it. Still, nothing has ever come close to the sheer exhilaration of performing live onstage.
In 1978, I moved to Minneapolis, and my astrological clientele gradually expanded throughout Minnesota and across the country, all the way to Los Angeles, where the small but select Hollywood clientele I had from the 1980s through the mid-1990s allowed me the unexpected privilege of experiencing the movie biz from behind the scenes. (Oh, the stories I could tell…)
In addition to my day-to-day work as a consulting astrologer, I've authored
two books, published many articles, and written more than 100 essays on astrology, spirituality, politics, and culture. Most of my writing from the 1980s on, including newsletter commentaries, is available on this site.
I've been a contributing author to the journal The Mountain Astrologer throughout its 25-year history. I even did a stint as an Associate Editor from 2002-2004. TMA's publisher Tem Tarriktar was kind enough to publish a long interview with me in the January 2009 issue. Generally, I write at least one article for TMA each year, all of which have been instrumental in establishing my reputation and stature within the astrological community. Many thanks to all the good folks at TMA for their longstanding friendship and generous support.
In 2005, after a quarter-century living in Minneapolis, I left Minnesota, leaving behind many dear beloveds and a longstanding clientele, to move halfway across the continent to the Pacific Northwest. My first stop for two years was Olympia, Washington, which I knew would be temporary, since my final destination was always intended to be Oregon, which had long been for me the mythic promised land.
I made a movie of my four-day drive across the country in May of 2005 called The Trip West. In August of that year I undertook another long driving journey that resulted in a second trip movie, North into Canada. Sure, most "home movies" are stultifyingly dull, but these two "road trip diaries" are quite different, and sufficiently interesting that I feel they're worth embedding here.
There's something about shooting video while driving that's very hypnotic, especially with spectacular scenery, decent videography, "live" voice-over commentary, competent editing, and compelling music. I post these video diaries here mainly so my friends can get a real slice of my life in the final years of my still being hale and hearty, before my cerebellum exploded:

Two years later, after suffering the hemorrhagic stroke in November, 2007,
I moved to Florence, a very small town (pop. 8,000) on the Oregon coast.
My home now is located in an extraordinary setting half a mile from the Pacific Ocean overlooking the Siuslaw River in its final rush from the coastal mountains down to the sea, right next to the biggest sand dune I've ever seen.
I can smell the ocean from my second floor balcony. Large flocks of blackbirds, seagulls, and Canada geese forage daily in my back yard, while hummingbirds congregate at my window feeder. Deer come right up to my patio to feed in the garden.
I've experienced first-hand some of the awe-inspiring wonders of our planet, but I never imagined that I'd have the opportunity to actually live in such a beautiful location as I do now.
Of course, living near the ocean in a subduction zone at sea level carries very real risks. The likelihood is that my house will quite probably be taken out sometime in this century, either by a tsunami from the now overdue major earthquake off the Oregon coast, or eventually by rising ocean levels, which will dramatically affect coastal areas around the globe.
But this is the tenor of our times. The illusion of security is gone forever. We all live with greater uncertainty.
My choice is to take my chances and make my stand here, since my spirit needs the extraordinary natural beauty of this place.

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