by Maurice Fernandez
I came back from the seventh Organization for Professional Astrology (OPA) retreat in Asilomar, California with a hopeful outlook. One reason for my optimism was that I experienced the community of astrologers in a different light. Professionals and amateurs alike were truly interacting in meaningful ways; it was not solely about delivering a presentation and then going back to one’s own personal business. Rather, it was a very creative mode of learning, where astrological knowledge was presented through multiple media. Workshops included creative writing, spiritual development, and counseling training. But more than anything, the retreat — despite the large number of attendees — felt like being with family: warm and intimate.
I first met Bob Mulligan, the founder of OPA, in 2003, when I was very much a newbie to the American astrology community. During our occasional brief exchanges, I gathered that he was leading the organization, and though I was really appreciative of the person himself, his generous character, and his beautiful vision, the last thing on my mind was the thought of belonging to any group. My Aries Midheaven was perfectly happy going solo and enjoying its creative freedom. So, when Bob asked me to lead a group during one of the OPA retreats, my response was to politely decline.