|By Charlotte Benson|
Interview on June 10, 2009
Charlotte Benson: Christina thanks for taking the time to chat with me today.
Christina Collins: Yes, well thank you for all you do - interviewing everyone for our ACVA News cover story!
Charlotte: How did you get started in astrology?
|Christina: I wrote about this in one of my past editorials in May Light Notes my first teacher was my maternal Grandfather who began my studies by teaching me astronomy from the night sky. I continued learning on my own over these many years, with many teachers, but mostly from experience.|
I like the idea of doing as many charts as possible to study specific concepts. You can only learn so much from books. And, a lot of ancient texts have different translations in the west. Like in propitiation, where the ancient texts might say to give a gift of cows to a Brahmin, in present day we use cash instead of cows for currency. Though I did have someone take that very seriously and he gave me a little toy metal cow. It was years ago, and I still have it. It really meant something deep to me at the time.
Charlotte: So you’ve studied a long time, what were your first sources, what are your major influences.
Christina: My Grandfather had the western sidereal books by DeLuce and others,. He, began teaching me in 1955 when I was seven or so. I think I‘ve been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and I have met many teachers in India as well.
Charlotte: You became quite immersed in the TM (Transcendental Meditation) movement, in its early development in the US - did that kind of spiritual training influence your practice of Astrology?
Christina: Of course, I cannot leave out Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, I taught TM for decades, and through him, and that path, I learned much. Vedic Study, and Sanskrit pronunciation. Though I taught Jyotish before the Maharishi Jyotish program was developed and offered to the public.
I also want to mention my Chinese Guru, The Teacher. Because of my studies and work with him, I became confident in my profession. He also teaches us to become more intuitive.
Chakrapani Ullal, in Los Angeles has been the biggest Jyotish influence, in that he inspired me to do Muhurta consultations. Once when we were all teaching at a conference in Hawaii, He announced that I should do Muhurta, always, and as a major focus. It really thrilled me because I really look up to Chakrapani as my Jyotish Guru, and as Mentor.
|Charlotte: Were you influenced by certain books? Or did you just leap into experiential consulting, working with clients?|
Christina: Yes, the books of the Great B.V. Raman, who amazingly I met, and had the good fortune to know his wife as well.
I am happy to call his daughter, Gayatri Devi Vasudev a friend, a mentor and a teacher of mine.
Charlotte: You developed an interesting practice in Hollywood - that must have been educational?! (laughter)
Christina: You know, that’s an interesting question, and one I have been asked before, when I was interviewed by CNN (worldwide news for Asia and Europe) in India after I received the Jyotish Vachaspati title. They asked me, “Do you have movie star clients?” They were really sweet, curious and innocent in their questions. I’ll answer you, like I answered them. People are people. No matter what their job is – their issues and worries are pretty much universally the same. Just the context changes. Like, am I going to get this Movie? Instead of When will I get a job? Will I get married? We really are, all the same I think.
Charlotte: What astrological signatures in your chart support your career as a Jyotishi? I know some people are not that comfortable with giving out the birth information.
Christina: Hmmm, well I mind and I don’t mind. What about my chart did you want to know?
|Charlotte: What is it in your chart that made you become not just an astrologer, but a great and internationally known astrologer?|
Christina: Well, thank you! It is the yogas in the chart and the Mercury with Ketu conjunction in the Navamsa.
Charlotte: And what are the yogas that make you an astrologer?
Christina: Hamsa, several Laxshmi Yogas, Dharma / Karma raja yoga. The self employment yogas. The eleventh house in Ashtakavarga is strong.
Charlotte: Those planets must be working for you, since you were honored with the titles Jyotish Kovid and Jyotish Vachaspati. Tell us about the title Jyotish Vachaspati title, how did that evolve?
Christina: I received a letter from the ICAS (Indian Council for Astrological Sciences) in India, that a professional member had recommended that I receive the title. There were six of us in the USA. Five men also received it.
Charlotte: Congratulations - it's an amazing distinction to be the only lady Jyotishi in America to have received these designations
Christina: Well, to quote my Father when he was interviewed on the TV news show 60 Minutes in the early 1970's as the first physician to start up stand alone clinics (they called them “Doc in the Box”). He was wearing cowboy boots. He crossed his leg and said “ah heck, I’m just the first one to do it!” I feel there are some very worthy women vedic astrologers in the United States who I hope will be joining in receiving the title in the near future!
|Charlotte: You were a founding Board member of ACVA. Thank you for your seva in doing that!|
Christina: The kudos go to all of us, yourself included.
Charlotte: From having observed your life for the past 15 years, or so, I know that a large part of your career revolves around teaching Astrology. What advice do you have for students currently studying the Science of Light?
Christina: Study with others. Study alone. When you start to feel overwhelmed, put the books down and take a break. Sometimes a break is 15 minutes. Sometimes it is 15 days or 15 months. If you study a little bit every day, the knowledge will become permanent in you. Also, do Prasna. Every time you bump your toe, or receive a present, note the time and look at that chart superimposed as transits over your own chart. Observe the news and do the charts of life's events, like earthquakes, scientific discoveries. Study the charts of great people. They will usually have yogas in their chart which lead to their success in life.
Charlotte: What about plans for the future you might want to share with us? What is your current area of astrological specialization, where’s your main passion? What is your current research?
Christina: I’ve researched earthquakes for many years, I lived in California, which began that study, but now that I’m in Colorado, I thought, what would be something cool to discover?
Charlotte: What did you find?
Christina: Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about doing research on the usually 3 or sometimes 4 cycles of Sadi Sati that an individual experiences in a lifetime. (the 7½ year transit of Saturn in close proximity of the natal Moon)
I was thinking, if Saturn’s sadi sati to the moon has such a profound, slowing down, teaching, and sometimes challenging effect (unless Saturn is a natal benefic by virtue of house ownership). I thought, what if Jupiter’s sadi sati (7½ years) in the 12th house from the moon, the house of the moon, and the 2nd house from the moon had a possible and profound, good or lucky effect. It should be postive and profound (unless Jupiter’s malefic). Of course, any given research should have minimum 100 or 200 charts – and the proper individual feedback. I am putting it out here, because I feel it deserves group effort. Also, for all I know, someone has already done this research, and I just haven’t found it, or read about it yet.
|Charlotte: Speaking of books, what are your favorite books?|
Christina: Besides Parashara's Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, which we call "the Bible" or the authority in Jyotish? Oh, anything by the late Dr. B.V. Raman, everything by Dr. David Frawley, and I also think Dr. Dennis Harness' book on the Nakshatras is a very helpful book for the new student. William Levacy's Beneath a Vedic Sky is an important work. Muhurta I like Kalaprasika by Iyer. This really is just stream of consciousness, I have 3 rooms of 6 foot bookshelves. I can never get enough books on astrology.
Charlotte: Well do you have any books in the works?
Christina: Yes, three, they have been in the works for some time. I am doing a series of "how to" books instead of the traditional type book. Of course with so many planets in Sag and Pisces, I am working on 6 books at the same time. (laughter)
Probably the muhurta book is closest to being finished. My problem is that I keep thinking that I don't know enough yet…and they never get completed. I've always said, when I'm 60, then I'll write my books, I'll be in Sun dasa by then. Now I'm sixty.
Charlotte: Why Sun dasa in particular?
Christina: Well, Venus Dasa was very reclusive for me.
Charlotte: So sun dasa brings you out of your recluse mode?
Christina: well, kind of sort of. I still have a 12th house Sun in the Navamsa.
Charlotte: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, Rani Bhuvana Tara Chandi Saraswati!
Christina: Christina’s fine. I’ve been given numerous names, Narendra Desai called me Laxshmi, in India some people call me Krishnatina, I like Christina Collins. The beginning sounds remind me of Krishna and Kali. I connect to both energies.
Charlotte: One last question - what's in the future for Christina in Colorado? Continuing to look forward to the latest edition of the ACVA News ?
Christina: Yes, I enjoy working with the ACVA News. I envision a time when it becomes a Student Publication, written by the students of ACVA, with perhaps an advisory Editor position instead of being Editor in Chief.
Christina Collins, Jyotish Kovid, Jyotish Vachaspati, began her studies with her grandfather at age 7 and is a third generation sidereal astrologer specializing in the Vedic system. She received her honorary titles from the late Dr. B.V. Raman, former President of the ICAS (Indian Council for Astrological Sciences) in New Delhi and Bangalore, India. She is the first and sole American woman to be honored by the highly held title of Jyotish Vachaspati (Jyotish – the light bearer and Vachaspati – the one who speaks the truth and whose predictions come true.) Co-author in “Hindu Astrology Lessons,” she is Editor and contributor for the ACVA News, the CVA Journal and contributes an astrological column for www.healthywealthynwise.com . She serves as Faculty and resides on the Board of ACVA (American College for Vedic Astrology) www.vedicastrology.org and is CEO of Celestial Resources and The Academy for Vedic Studies where she serves corporate and private international clients from students to celebrities.
Christina’s consultation contact information:
Christina Collins, Jyotish Kovid, Jyotish Vachaspati
Lafayette, (Boulder County) CO, USA
web site: http://www.vedicastrologer.cc
Charlotte Benson (Jyoti Devi)
Diplomate: AFA, NCGR, ISAR
Executive Director, American College of Vedic Astrology, Inc.
President, Arizona Society of Astrologers, Inc.
Phoenix, AZ USA.