“NCGR San Francisco: My family by affinity” in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (Oct. 14-20, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Oct. 14-20, 2015

NCGR San Francisco: My family by affinity

NCGR stands for the National Council for Geocosmic Research, Inc., a non-profit organization promoting astrological education and research founded in 1971 at Wareham, Massachusetts. The name may say “National,” but aside from Chapters located in 26 states, NCGR also has Chapters in four other countries: Japan, Mexico, Thailand, and Turkey. So far there are over 2500 NCGR members both in the USA and abroad. There are also the so-called Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of which there are currently three: Asteroids, Declination, and Uranian/Cosmobiology. In California, NCGR has four chapters: Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and San Francisco. Ever since December 2012, when I ran for and was voted Recording Secretary of the NCGR San Francisco chapter, I have been a part of its Board of Directors. At this point let me say that of course I have a family by consanguinity, but with my NCGR-SF folksies, definitely it’s my family by affinity.

What moves me to say that? Well, first of all, we are all volunteers, yet I have never seen a more hardworking Board every time we have a speaker coming over. We rent a room at Fort Mason and we have to get the room ready before the guests arrive for the lecture. We need to set up the audio equipment, the refreshments, the chairs and tables, the secondhand books the sales from which fund our scholarship program. We’ve had proven crowd drawers like astrologers Lynn Bell, Christopher Renstrom, and Frank Clifford, for instance. However, no matter who’s speaking, I am personally star-struck all the time since I have read about most of these famous astrologers when I was still a budding astrologer in my teens in the Philippines. Even so, those astrologers don’t need any more publicity. Instead, I am here to give some unsung astrological heroes their due. Who are these people that I’m talking about? NCGR-SF Board members Steve Pincus (President), Joseph (Joe) Kaminski (Vice-President), Aude Guerin (Executive Secretary), Cathy Coleman, PhD (Treasurer & Education Director), Carol Baum (Membership Secretary), and Mary Gow (Media & Graphics Director).

Steve is the owner of Sun Recording Service. He began studying Astrology in 1976 and has maintained an astrological consultation service since 1979. His personal approach to astrology combines contemporary methods with Uranian techniques. He became a certified Astro-Cartographer in 1985 and received his Professional Astrological Certification from the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) at the ISAR 2000 Conference. Steve is producer of the Star Dial System, a 90-degree dial designed by Arlene Kramer. Steve is a member of NCGR, ISAR, the Association for Astrological Networking (AFAN) and the San Francisco Astrological Society (SFAS). He is the current President of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of NCGR and also maintains the chapter’s website: ncgrsanfrancisco.org

Steve received simultaneous Bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He also received a Master’s degree in Mathematics from Pratt. Steve has worked in the aerospace industry as a software engineer from 1968-2012. Born in the Bronx, he moved to California in 1979 and currently resides in Sunnyvale. He has lectured on Uranian Astrology, Cosmobiology, and Astronomy for Astrologers for local astrology organizations and astrological conferences, including the United Astrology Conference (UAC), American Federation of Astrologers (AFA), AFAN, NCGR, ISAR, and the SouthWest Astrology Conference (SWAC). Steve’s love for astrology and drive to preserve the information presented at lectures, workshops and conferences began in the late 1970’s. His recording equipment has evolved over the years from a single Marantz Cassette Recorder to a multi-channel mobile digital studio which clearly records both speaker content and audience interactions.
Joseph F. Kaminski, our chapter’s Veep, is a San Francisco-based astrologer (NCGR Level 3 Certified). Since 1998 he’s been owner of Explorative Communications, a business that focuses on astrological analysis, Reiki healing, writing/editing, and voice production services. Joseph’s studied astrology since the late 1960s when he began intuiting various personality characteristics, sensing key planetary emphasis in some individuals, and observing cycles and patterns affecting him and others. He’s been developing, writing and living by his own philosophy since his teen years. Joseph has been serving as NCGR San Francisco Chapter Vice President for the past 4 years. He’s also a Reiki practitioner, writer, dream journalist and Commissioned Spiritualist Healer. Joe says, “Personal hobbies include the outdoors, camping, backpacking, mountain climbing, scuba diving, geography, travel, gemology, crystals, mysticism, writing, art, and philosophy. Backpacking and mountain climbing bring me close to the magnificence and solitude of nature. Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helen’s and Mt. Shasta include my most memorable mountain climbs. I became a Dive Master during August 1999 and enjoy assisting new divers with becoming more comfortable with the beautiful and colorful marine environment, a dramatic water theater in all directions.”

Now here are the answers to my questions by our scholarly Ms. Cathy Coleman, PhD, our chapter’s Treasurer and Education Director: Q. How did you get started as an astrologer? A. “My younger brother first introduced me to astrology at age 16 or 17. He was a person ahead of his time—knew a little about everything. I gave him a surprise “Scorpio” themed birthday party for his 16th birthday. Then at age 24 in 1976 I moved to Houston, Texas and saw a beginner’s astrology course offered by Jeanne Long, later a famed financial astrologer. I took her beginning course and then an interpretation course. I was hooked by her into a lifelong study of astrology. She was a very organized Capricorn, and made it very easy to learn a lot in each class.” Q. What is your educational/experiential background? A. “I have a doctorate in East-West Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies –and also an M.A. in Family Studies from Washington State U and a B.S. in Home Economics Education from Iowa State (very diverse academic background). I have studied astrology widely. I was one of the first two graduates of the Online School of Astrology; I am a Jim Lewis certified Astro*Carto*Grapher. I was in the first class of the Online School of Vedic Astrology. I have been a practicing astrologer seeing clients since 1983, and have taught classes and lectured on astrology. Of course being president of Kepler College was a big experience in the field in many ways.” Q. What is your current day job? What are your current activities and interests (aside from astrology)? A. “I have recently directed a retreat center, and worked in development and education at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Currently I am searching for new work, amplifying my practice of astrology, and working on building a mediation and coaching practice.”

With Steve, Joe, and Cathy alone, I can already conclude that NCGR San Francisco is in very good hands. But let’s also add Carol, Aude, and Mary into the mix. Carol, our Membership Director, is very much into photography and vocational guidance via astrology for high school students. Aude, our ExecSec who has taken French as a Second Language at the Sorbonne in Paris, is into itinerary planning for French corporate types who happen to be visiting the SF Bay Area. Mary, our Media and Graphics Director, is an award-winning artist who has been exhibiting her paintings for the past 25 years.

All of these, dear readers, are the reasons I want to claim them all as my family by affinity. They’re all brilliant in their own fashion, but when we all come together we work together with humility for the good of the organization. By the end of this year, Steve is stepping down as President after 30 years in the position. However, he will still be supporting us afterwards through his continued recording of NCGR-SF lectures and workshops. Since Steve will not be running for the position anymore, here’s hoping that one or more of you out there, who must be dues-paying members of NCGR, will step up to the plate and nominate yourselves for President. Chapter members will be voting soon.

Astrology is a good part of my evolution as an individual, and that’s why I feel so thankful that I can work on a voluntary basis along with my fellow Board members at the National Council for Geocosmic Research-San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. We all share that same passion for a subject that has fascinated each of us and made mystics out of us, of varying levels of reluctance. I personally believe that the time to be curious and inquiring about metaphysics has come, and as long as NCGR-SF is alive-awake-alert-enthusiastic, then we shall continue bringing you astrological speakers from here or abroad to speak to your respective souls about the topic that occupies a spectrum from an iota to overflowing, but never completely nil, in your hearts: astrology.

Please check out my new Facebook page: facebook.com/blessingsandlight.org


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