Faculty Open Day 2013 – Saturday 23rd March
Faculty Open Day, the day when the Faculty celebrates students’ exam success, was held on Saturday 23rdMarch 2013, at Hughes Parry Hall, London. Faculty Open Day is traditionally held on the first Saturday after the Spring Equinox and is an opportunity for everyone connected with the Faculty; students past and present, Diploma Holders and tutors to meet up; it is also a chance for prospective students to get a taste of what the Faculty is all about. Sadly, this year, snowstorms prevented some people from travelling into central London but the people who managed to get there created a great atmosphere.
The day began with introductions. Stevi Gaydon, Faculty Day organiser, welcomed the Guest Speaker, Sue Tompkins and the stallholders from the Astrological Association, Astrological Lodge of London, Midheaven Books, Solar Fire and the Sophia Centre. Paolo Cortucci, the Head Tutor, introduced all the tutors and Tatiana Cuoco our admin wizard.
The first three presentations were based on the theme of ‘Astrology: A Tool for Navigating Difficult Times’. Faculty tutor Kim Farley was the first presenter. She began her talk, ‘Calm Seas Make Poor Sailors,’ with the words ‘Worry is a misuse of imagination. Astrology, on the other hand, is a near perfect use of imagination.’ She followed that wonderful line with a mix of poetry, quotes and personal insights into astrology. Kim spoke of the necessity of adversity for growth, how astrology can support that process and her thoughts on how to respond to clients who are experiencing difficult times.
New Diploma Holder Rosemary Smith presented on ‘A Holistic Perspective on Global Crisis: How Chiron Mediates the Uranus-Pluto Squares.’ Rosemary compared the current Pluto/Uranus cycle to those in the past and, using beautiful imagery, suggested that although there is huge upheaval in the world, at the moment the essence of the current cycle differs from the most recent previous cycles because the original conjunction occurred in Virgo (an earth sign). She also argued that Chiron’s sextile aspects to Pluto and Uranus in five of their seven exact squares introduces a healing element into the current configurations.
In the final presentation ‘We Have 30 Minutes to Kill this Story: A Case Study,’ tutor Stevi Gaydon, used the story of Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce to consider how some of our ‘difficult times’ are the result of our own behaviour. She argued that the greater awareness we can gain through astrology supports our internal growth and thus reduces the impact of difficult times on the material level.
Lunchtime gave the students the opportunity to meet their tutors and everyone was able to browse the book stall, talk to the other stall holders about joining a group, using software and/or continuing their education. Old friends were reunited and astrology chat filled the room; there was quite a buzz in the air!
The afternoon programme began with a talk from the Faculty’s new President, Laura Andrikopoulos. Her speech was focused on the wonderful contribution her predecessor, Carole Taylor, has made to the Faculty. Carole, currently Director of Studies, has been actively involved with the Faculty Council for more than a decade and was awarded a Faculty Fellowship in acknowledgement of her pivotal role in its’ development. This very rare honour means Carole is now a lifelong member of the Faculty. Carole, clearly moved by the Award, thanked everyone.
The Awards Ceremony followed. Gloria Roca, the Exam Chair, acknowledged the award winners and spoke about the dedication and time that goes into completing the exams and Sue Tompkins presented the Certificates and Diplomas. This is always a powerful point in the day, a moment of personal glory for the Award winners and an acknowledgement from everyone else of their commitment.
A new session, Life as a Diploma Holder followed. Three Diploma Holders, Gloria Roca, Sue Farebrother and Holly Rogerson talked about their life and activities in astrology since they gained their Diplomas. All three spoke from the heart about their very different journeys. Gloria and Sue teach for the Faculty and have served on Council; both also have vibrant astrological practices and Sue has just published a book. Holly runs an informal monthly class in her small town in Canada and sees a few clients. Very excitingly, Holly delivered her talk via Skype; her image was projected onto the screen so everyone could see her and it brought home the truly international nature of the Faculty. This was an extremely popular session as each story was inspiring and underlined how life-enhancing attaining the Diploma can be.
In the final session of the day our guest speaker Sue Tompkins presented, ‘Stress and Consequence: An Astrologer’s Guide’. Sue’s presentation was light-hearted yet packed with information. She traced the history of stress, a fairly recent term, examined its causes and remedies with reference to astrology and, managed to have the room rocking with laughter at some of her cartoons.
It was a fantastic day and a very joyful event. Some of us continued the celebrations in the local pub!