A Message from ISAR’s President
WELCOME TO ISAR: THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR ASTROLOGICAL RESEARCH
By entering this cyber page, you are entering a realm where the connection between cycles in human activity and planetary movements are discussed by students, researchers, and professionals of astrology the world over. Our maxim is: “As Above, So Below.”
In this digital age, where so many people find information on the internet, I am often asked, “Why join an astrological organization like ISAR? What can ISAR offer me that I can’t get online?” Let’s look at this issue closely and see if joining ISAR can be valuable at this time in one’s life cycle.
ISAR serves many needs of today’s astrologer and has done so for five decades. These needs include, but are not limited to, the following:
DISSEMINATION OF ASTROLOGICAL TRUTHS AND KNOWLEDGE
The core of any astrological organization is sharing knowledge of astrology. At ISAR, this is accomplished several ways.
ISAR publishes an attractive journal three times per year that is packed with educational articles from both leading and new astrologers around the world.
ISAR issues a weekly e-zine where members share astrological ideas, findings, or questions with one another. There are additional e-zine groups for those interested in specific areas of astrology, such as financial, spiritual, mundane, esoteric and psychological.
ISAR conducts webinars for its members every four months (three times per year). These webinars offer a day of several classes on an important topic to astrologers, like Mundane, Relationships, Natal Interpretation, Forecasting techniques, etc.
ISAR conducts exciting and well-attended conferences every two years, with a faculty of 40-70 of the top astrologers from all over the world. Here you make many new friends or meet old friends who share your language and love of astrology. There is nothing like the actual physical connection between two people who share a love of astrology that enhances one’s learning of this incredible study.
SETTING HIGH STANDARDS IN PROFESSIONALISM WITH ITS CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS
No other astrological organization has as rigorous and comprehensive certification program for astrological competency as ISAR. Not everyone wants to be a professional astrologer, not even within ISAR. And yet being a member certainly does not require one to be a professional astrologer. ISAR welcomes students at all levels!
ISAR’s reputation for professional development in astrology is un-matched. For those who do wish to become skillful practicing astrologers, ISAR’s three-step requirements of Ethics training, Consulting Skills training, and Competency Testing prepares one extremely well for this vocation.
SETTING THE STANDARD IN CONSULTING SKILLS FOR COUNSELING AND CONSULTING ASTROLOGERS
To be an effective and skilled practicing astrologer requires more than just “reading a chart.” Counseling, or consulting, using astrological factors, is as much an art as it is a science. It requires skill in establishing trust with your client. ISAR’s three-day consulting skills training have set a new bar for excellence in astrological consulting. Using these skills, combined with excellent astrological knowledge, the practicing astrologer has the tools necessary to successfully meet his/her clients’ needs.
SETTING STANDARDS IN ETHICS AMONGST ASTROLOGERS
In 2000, ISAR introduced Ethics training to astrologers. It became the cornerstone of ISAR’s certification program, yet it stands on its own as a valuable educational training for astrologers of any level. There are many challenging situations an astrologer will be placed in, whether in terms of client relationships or in dealing with one’s professional colleagues. How do you handle these situations? ISAR’s focus on ethics training provides this type of valuable insight.
ISAR is adding a new dimension in its ethics course, focusing on anti-discrimination issues. ISAR creates a comfortable, inviting organization where everyone feels respected regardless of his or her race, nationality, religion, sexual identity, age, or even birth sign J. Once again, ISAR is proving itself to be innovative and always on the cutting edge of astrological and community awareness.
SUPPORTING PROMISING RESEARCH STUDIES BASED ON ASTROLOGICAL FACTORS
Research is in our title. As one might expect, ISAR provides research grants to promising research projects involving astrological factors. The ISAR Journal, issued three times per year, is always interested in publishing serious research articles. And at every conference, there is a research track in which astrologers may learn the latest research methods and results that hold promise for understanding the correlation between cycles in human activity and planetary movements.
CREATING A STRONG SENSE OF COMMUNITY AMONGST ASTROLOGERS WORLDWIDE – IT IS INTERNATIONAL
Another word in our title is International.
ISAR has international Vice Presidents in over 26 countries worldwide and members in 49 countries. When you join ISAR, you join a well-connected community that spreads around the world, from the Americas, to Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. You see, astrology is not just a study; it is a language – a language of symbols that people the world over understand. And language is the basis for community.
Yet the importance of community to ISAR goes even beyond language and communication via the Internet. ISAR seeks to bring people into contact with one another in so many other ways, such as conferences and webinars. This is where meaningful connections with others develop, and from there important learning occurs. When you share an experience involving astrology with others - when you can talk to others in the wonderful language of astrology – you start to build an exciting and dynamic community, one that grows more and more valuable over time.
WHY JOIN ISAR?
You now have several reasons why becoming a member of ISAR could change your life, and yes, add value to your life in so many ways.
When I think back to where the profession of astrology was when I started my studies as a college senior in 1966, and how far it has progressed, I am amazed. As late as the early 1980s, astrology was primarily discussed over a kitchen table with a few like-minded students. There were grass root local groups that would rent a meeting room and would invite an astrologer to give a talk. Maybe they would host a workshop on a Saturday or Sunday. There were no standards for being a professional astrologer. Very few organizations conducted conferences that paid an astrologer to speak.
This all changed in the early 1980s when ISAR joined forces with AFAN and NCGR to form UAC, the United Astrology Congress. At their first conference in 1986, over 800 professional astrologers attended, and this began a revolution in astrology as not just a viable study, but also a viable vocation. Teachers were paid and treated as professionals. Subsequent UAC conferences have attracted over 1500 attendees.
At the UAC 1995 conference in Monterrey, California, ISAR launched Project FOCUS, a survey that went to over 1000 astrologers worldwide. A list of 100 questions was given to determine where they wanted to see astrology go in the future. The results were startling. The highest rated needs amongst practicing astrologers were certification, counseling skills, and ethics training. Approximately 80% of respondents rated these areas as Astrology’s most pressing needs. And thus began ISAR’s certification initiative, which has completely changed the practice of astrology in the world today.
Astrology is no longer a simple “hobby.” It is a well-developed profession, composed of well-trained counselors, consultants, teachers, and researchers, with many students training every day to enter this noble profession.
We’ve come a long way since the early 1980’s. And much of that progress is due to ISAR, the International Society for Astrological Research. This would not have happened if it were not for groups like ISAR, and those who worked with ISAR, to develop these programs to raise professional standards.
I am proud to be an astrologer, and I am honored to be the president of ISAR. I hope you will join us as we continue to advance the practice of astrology, and to grow this wonderful family – community – of those who love this study and language as much as I do.
Raymond A. Merriman
ISAR President 2015-2017
Astrologers listed here have been certified by ISAR for successfully completing all requirements for certification.
The International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) is an educational organization whose members are dedicated to promoting high standards of ethics in astrological education and research astrology.
This history of ISAR highlights our 22 years of incorporation in California, and is largely retold from my memories as a Board member and officer from that first incorporation in 1979 until 1999, and currently as a Board advisor. All of the original minutes and Board records that I kept are in storage awaiting transcription to the ISAR electronic archives which is hopefully on the agenda in the near future.