Whenever I meet someone who’s got a really cool job, who runs a thriving business, or who has completed an amazing project, I always want to know: “How did you do that?”
I’m always curious to hear the “behind-the-scenes story” — who they emailed, what they said, how they got their first client, how they got their foot in the door — the exact steps that they took to achieve their goal.
HOW DID YOU DO THAT? is an interview series where we get to hear the REAL story behind someone’s success—not the polished, neat and tidy version.
To see a complete list of all the interviews that have been completed to date, head over here.
Name: Heidi Rose Robbins
Location: Los Angeles, California
Profession: Astrologer & Poet
How does someone become an astrologer? Do you have to take classes? Is there an exam you need to pass, or something like that? What’s the pathway?
There are many paths! I was born into the profession. My father is the best astrologer I know. I grew up learning the zodiac with my ABC’s. My training was with my father and then later, I read and studied a great deal on my own.
I studied with Alan Oken along the way and I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with astrologers world wide. I have always loved and been inspired by Caroline Casey as well. Certainly, there are classes and certifications available, but my route was a more organic one. The only exam you need to pass is the test of your clients. If they want to work with you, you’ve passed.
When you say, “I’m an astrologer,” do people ever scoff at you, or raise their eyebrows, or say rude things like, “That’s not a real job”? Has anything like that ever happened to you? Did it upset you?
There is almost always a pause after I say that I’m an astrologer. It halts party conversation. People choose their words carefully after that. I always think it’s funny and assure them that it’s all very grounded and has nothing to do with fortune telling. I am always trying to uplift and redeem the science and art of astrology. It’s had a rocky ride.
Then again, more and more people are open to seeking guidance in new ways. Hamlet said, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.” I try to live open to all that wants to grow us. I think within 25 years, astrology will be much more mainstream and many, many more people will be seeking astrological guidance.
In addition to being an astrologer, you’re also a poet. That’s such a beautiful and unusual combination! What does a typical workday look like for you? Walk us through your daily routine.
My astrology business is pretty straightforward. I see several clients each day either in person or via Zoom or Skype. I like to give myself a little time in the morning after dropping the kids at school. But I generally get underway by 9:30 am. I’m best in the sessions if I don’t see more than four people a day and I generally see only three.
My poet self needs a bit more spaciousness so I generally find that I write poems in small spurts. I love to go to Ojai on mini personal retreats and I find that after I’ve been there for about 12 hours, the inspiration starts to come. I wish I could say that I’m great at writing poetry amidst the fray but I need a lot of silent time to let the poems in!
I combine both astrology and poetry in my Radiant Life Retreats which I offer for women 2-3 times a year. So during those retreats, my ‘workday’ becomes a work week, full on, in the most beautiful way.
You mentioned that you learned astrology from your father. Your father was also the director of an opera house in Fargo, North Dakota, where you grew up. You’ve studied acting. It sounds like theater, music, and the performing arts have always been a big part of your life. How has this influenced your career?
I had a very spiritual upbringing but an artistic one as well. I did in fact grow up in opera houses watching my dad direct. I loved it. And I was also deeply influenced by mother choosing to go back to school to become an architect when I was 10. She was one of the first female architecture students at North Dakota State University.
I studied acting all the way through Graduate School at Southern Methodist University. I remember when I completed my MFA, I thought “Hmmmm. I don’t think I want to act. I think I want to be myself.” I didn’t, however, feel Graduate School was wasted in the least because I learned about presence, connection and creative ensemble. I had remarkable teachers and I formed some of the most beautiful and supportive relationships of my life there too. My artist self was deeply nourished and I think that lay the foundation for my poetry performances and offerings as well.
When I teach astrology, I always teach it in part through embodiment. We feel the energies in our bodies. We enact the energies. This all stems from my artistic path. Even though I’m not acting anymore, I feel that I lead an artistic life.
You just started a new podcast called The Radiance Project. What is it about? What kind of people do you have as your guests? Is this something you have wanted to do for a while? Tell us about this new project.
I love this new offering. Ten years ago, I thought about creating a radio program and I even went so far as to create a demo. Then, it stalled and I worked on other things. A few years ago I began to think about it again and finally, after all these years, I said “Now!”
It’s a podcast of Astrology, Poetry and Good Company. I interview all kinds of people. I feel a little like Mr. Rogers. “These are the people in my neighborhood. I love them and I know you will too.” The people in my Los Angeles neighborhood happen to often be involved in movies or TV, so I’ve definitely gotten to speak to a lot of fabulous actors and actresses. But I also just interviewed a most wonderful fireman.
I ask all my guests if they are willing to talk about the Sun, Moon and Rising in their astrological chart. I also choose a poem for each guest and read it to them. Also, with every guest, we discuss a moment when light or love won the day — a radiant moment. It can be tiny. I’m looking for how we all move through our fear or anger and onto lighter, more loving, more generous living towards ourselves and others. This podcast feels like a synthesis of everything I have been working on for the last 20 years. I feel positively joyous about it! Do have a listen!
Looking back over the last 10 years of your career, what’s one of the most discouraging experiences that you can remember? What happened? How did you get through it?
The most challenging part of the last decade was always how to keep in integrity and alignment with my values and still generate income that was commensurate with my output. It’s been a big journey to make a living as an astrologer/poet and there have been many exhausting and yes, discouraging, days. But along the way, I kept creating and offering because it nourished me and I always received the reflection that it was making a difference for my community. I have found that once an authentic community is established, much can be created and the flow of resources grows!
I’m always curious to find out, “How do clients find you?” Where do your clients come from? Do they find you through your website? From word-of-mouth referrals? Somewhere else?
My clients find me through word of mouth. It’s always six degrees of separation. I can trace most of my clients to a previous client. Many have heard about me through referrals on podcasts or many hear about me from a friend. I’ve been practicing for 20 years now, so there’s a certain momentum in the word of mouth.
Many people write poetry in secret, but feel like it’s not “good enough” to share publicly. People feel so much anxiety about putting their work “out there” into public view. Did you ever feel that kind of anxiety? Has it ever felt scary to put your stuff out there?
It’s always scary to press send or give a talk or send the newsletter or publish the book. Always. But it’s also delicious and rewarding and simply what I’ve needed to do. I love poetry so much and I want people to feel like they can understand it and not only understand it but be pierced by it.
Poetry can bypass all our mental chatter and remind us of our very palpable heart and its capacity to love. I am moved each time I watch a new person fall in love with poetry. And of course, I’m doubly moved if one of my poems happens to be the one that opens them. That gives me fuel the next time I have to face my fear.
So many people would love to create an unconventional career, like you have, but they feel scared that there’s no possible way to make a living doing something you love. What are three pieces of advice for someone who’s feeling that way?
1. Keep doing what you love quietly and consistently even if you have to work a day job to do it.
2. Build a community around what you love.
Seek out community or invite people in. Start with three people in your living room. Businesses grow around authentic connection. Build community before you begin to ask for subscribers or customers. Build friendships.
3. Trust that building slowly is still building.
When the moment to dive in completely arrives, you’ll know and you’ll thrive.
Thank you, Heidi! Dear reader, if you’re interested in astrology, be sure to check out The Career Forecast. It’s a free astrological forecast that Heidi and I post each month. Whether you’re job-hunting, running your own business, or wondering about the ideal time to ask for a raise, each Career Forecast reveals the important dates and cosmic shifts that you need to know about. Check it out!
ONE MORE THING…
Do you have “one more quick question” that you’d like to ask Heidi? Email me and tell me what you want to know! I might choose your question for my ONE MORE THING… Podcast (Coming soon!!!)
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