As a professional Counseling Astrologer with a broad and holistic approach, Jason Fleming draws from over 15 years of experience in human resources and corporate recruiting. His focus is partnering with individuals and empowering them toward the actualization of their potentials. He offers private consultations, which are specifically tailored to the needs of his clients. He also teaches beginners and intermediate level astrology classes. He can be found on the web at sagmind.wordpress.com and on Twitter @SagittarianMind.
KH: Thanks for agreeing to talk with me, Jason. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get into astrology?
JF: Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been curious about human behavior and what makes people tick. I didn’t really know it at the time, but I was on a search for something which provided meaning and some type of order to the universe.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I started getting into personality tests. I thought they were very interesting. I then distinctly remember checking Parker’s Astrology out of the library and purchasing a copy of Robin McNaughton’s Sun Sign Personality Guide with my allowance. The next book that I got was called Love Planets by MJ Abadie, and then I was pretty much hooked.
After I started college, I read a lot of stuff, but I viewed astrology as no more than a casual interest at the time. I was saying to myself that I’ll soon graduate and get a “real job.” The Visa (credit card) people were always visiting campus trying to get students to apply for credit cards, so I did. I remember my card had a $500 limit on it or something like that. My first purchase was a computerized birth chart portrait made by Para Research. It came in a nice blue folder. After reading that, I was wowed! Back then, I really didn’t share my interest with too many people. I just kept studying and getting books whenever and wherever I could.
After graduation, I started to look at astrology as something I could use to enhance my personal development, but I hadn’t gotten to the point where I’d decided to use it to help other people. Much of my professional life has been a career in human resources and recruiting, so in a certain way, I’d been helping people with vocational concerns. I always said it’s a matter of trading resumes. One is professional and the other cosmic.
I started practicing professionally in 2009 a couple of months before the ISAR conference in Chicago, which I attended. That really widened my eyes to the vast amount of information available and the opportunity to hear some of the most brilliant minds in astrology convey that information first hand. Now, I hope to be presenting at one of these conferences myself.
KH: It sounds like for a while you had these two sides to your identity, the business side with one set of tools and the astrology side with another set of tools, but these days you use what you've learned from the corporate world to inform your astrology practice. And maybe the other way around. Is that right? If so, what inspired you to bring those things together?
JF: That’s absolutely correct. What I’ve discovered is that many people share the same sets of concerns which center around how they can live a more fulfilling life.
For many clients coming to me with vocational concerns, I’m able to draw on my HR and recruiting experience.
If we think about how much time the average person spends at work during the week, it’s actually more than the time they spend at home. So, if they’re doing something less than optimal, it definitely has an effect on their overall well-being.
Also, in recruiting, I have a resume in front of me where I’m basically interviewing you, asking you questions which will help you to discover what it is exactly that you want out of your next job.
The more effective and insightful my questions are, the closer that person gets to discovering their true aspirations. I would parallel this to the birth chart.
As a guide, I’m asking the questions I’ve formulated based on what I see. If I can tap deeper into underlying needs or what may not have been explored as of yet, it has the potential to open up another window of possibility for the individual. It’s definitely a process of joint discovery.
I think what I’ve learned is that I grow when I integrate transferrable skills. I don’t have to put down one set of talents and pick up another. It’s simply exercising the ones that are needed at the appropriate time.
KH: I love that. I can see how they really compliment each other. Can you give an example of something you've learned from the business world that you bring to your astrology practice?
JF: I’ve learned about the value of recognizing an opportunity even if it’s not directly presented to you. I’ve seen so many positions be created within companies because someone was able to market and package their skills in a way which showed how they would be an asset.
I’ve also learned about the value of long-term vision. Understanding that things are always changing. For example, you may land the job of your dreams and a year later, the company may run into financial problems and have to let you go.
If you viewed landing the job as your ultimate destination instead of just one stop on the journey, you may not have allowed yourself to think beyond, which is important.
The same goes for having to be in a position that we don’t necessarily like. Nothing lasts forever.
KH: So, I first encountered your work on Twitter where your nickname is Sagittarian Mind. As a Taurus Sun with a lot of planets in fixed signs, I kind of look at Sagittarius with awe and think, "I have no idea what that feels like." But I take it it's a sign that resonates for you? What is your experience of Sagg like?
JF: Wow… Great question. No one ever really asked me what it feels like.
Just so you know, I’m a Sagittarius Sun and Sagittarius Rising with a triple conjunction of Venus, Neptune and Mercury in Sagittarius. So, that type of energy literally makes up about 50% of my birth chart. Interestingly enough, when I started my blog some time ago, that was the first and ONLY name that came to me. It also correlates with Mercury in Sagittarius. I want people to get a sense of my basic makeup when they go to the blog: someone who is broad minded with a wide scope of interests and who sees the bigger picture. An individual who’s able to take many disciplines and tie them together and create meaning. Also, someone who approaches astrology from a holistic perspective which deals with the actual person and their potential for development.
I’ve also experienced the more disordered side of Sagittarius that thinks because they believe something strongly, that it constitutes ultimate truth. The righteous indignation that says we have life all figured out. It’s very humbling to realize that we don’t and we probably never will. I’ve learned that many times, it’s far more effective to ask questions which provoke thought and stimulate discussion rather than try to appear as the smartest person in the room.
Every day, I feel as if there’s more to learn and explore. It’s such a big world out there. People with cultures and customs that we really know very little about whose philosophies and cosmology make just as much sense to them as ours does to us. What I’m learning is that seeking to listen and understand has much more mileage than any type of critique which parades my personal worldview as the standard for normative behavior.
KH: That is so beautiful. You're making me wish I had more Sagittarius in my chart.
Are there particular client problems or areas of astrology that are really interesting to you lately? What does your ideal client like?
JF: Thank you. I appreciate you saying that. I can definitely tell you that personal/intimate relationships are definitely something that clients come to me for often. I do a fair share of synastry. Next, I would probably say vocational/career matters. Clients usually inquire in regard to if what they’re doing is in alignment with what’s in their chart. Or, they feel totally unfulfilled and are seeking to figure out what direction may get them there.
As far as an ideal client goes, I really don’t have a picture of that. Although I will say I’m hoping that a person isn’t expected to be told what to do, or have decisions made for them. I try to explain to them that from my perspective, the planets aren’t hovering over us with either “good” or “evil” planetary rays that we’re a helpless recipient of. I look at us as being more co-creators with the universe, so our efforts need to be there in tandem with the energy that’s present.
KH: So, basically, do the work, but know what time it is?
JF: Yes. I think it would be fair to say that.
KH: What astrologers or schools of astrology influence your work the most?
JF: I’ve been influenced heavily by Dane Rudhyar, who is probably my favorite Astrologer. Person-Centered Astrology and The Astrology of Personality are two of my favorite books. Also, Howard Sasportas, Tracy Marks, Steven Forrest and a few others, as well as metaphysical writers like Manly P. Hall and Ernest Holmes.
I think there’s something you can take from everyone, and then you synthesize it with what rings true with you from observation and experience.
The school of astrology that influences my work is the one which stresses the entire individual and their capacity for development. One which views crisis not as catastrophic, but as an opportunity to gain greater self-awareness.
KH: You're naming my heroes! I like the way you think.
Thanks again for talking with me, Jason. I look forward to seeing you on the convention circuit.