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Fond Farewells: Dr. Star talks about his final column and what lies ahead


An interview with Dr. Star
“I never expected to be speaking openly like this, using my own name!” — Carl Boudreau — photo by Rachel Jessen

“This is the interview I never expected to give,” Dr. Star says at a table in a busy cafe. He is bundled for the cold in earth tones drinking coffee. Dr. Star is a Little Village staple and a figure beloved by readers since the paper’s inception in 2001, but he is retiring from his position as the magazine’s astrologer and this will be the last issue that includes his horoscopes.

“There was always a sort of crypto-quality about Dr. Star, for two reasons, both equally weighty,” he says. “One was that I started this when I still had a number of personal connections to the U of I history department, which had [in the early 2000s] just invested all this time and effort into turning me into a good, rational, empirical historian. It’s a skill I treasure, a wonderful gift to be trained that way. But I couldn’t face them knowing that their recent history graduate was doing an astrology column!

“Secondly, I never expected to be going this long in Little Village. I was one of the original writers there at the beginning [of the publication], and I was concerned about being asked to do astrology charts all the time, because it’s labor intensive for me. Between not wanting to offend the sensibilities of the history department and keeping my privacy, I never expected to be speaking openly like this, using my own name!”

Uncloaked from within his patterned tapestry of celestial prescience, Dr. Star is Carl Boudreau, a scholar who joined the Transcendental Meditation movement in the early ‘80s when he was living in Rhode Island. Later, he moved to Fairfield where he had a cosmic epiphany.

“I had just completed the morning’s meditation program in the men’s Golden Dome, and I was hit, almost by a gust of invisible wind, or a lightning bolt, by this notion that told me I needed to go to graduate school!”

He ended up at the University of Iowa. “I learned to think empirically and rationally, almost learning to think all over again,” he explains. “I learned to reason historically. You need to train and cultivate your intellectual mind with other intellectual minds. Once you’ve gone through a PhD program, the world starts looking very different. I really became an admirer and respecter of historians, but there was no way, in my mind, that I’d be a historian. It was an elaborate exercise in self-development.”

Planetary Alignment

“Becoming an astrologer is a hard thing to explain to your mom,” Carl laughs with the confidence of an infinite possibility of laughter.

“I was monumentally over-educated,” Carl says of his path to astrological enlightenment, or at least supreme intrigue. “I had studied religious studies, history and was well read in a lot of better esoteric texts. Read a lot of stuff about metaphysics; had a doctorate. I also had a pronounced intuition, like an ESP—something I never consciously developed, but was there. And I learned to read things critically and analyze them … I’d been taught to be an observer of the real world and history. Intuitive, empirical, differential and inductive logic. Astrology is part of my reality, and it’s hard to explain that … to people who ridicule it.

“Then I think there’s a whole other level if you’re into meditation or spiritual practices or schools of thought, and you look at the architecture of astrology, you’ll find that astrology ties in directly to the most practical ways to observe life’s purpose.”

In Defense Of Astrology

“I’ve never had a chance to defend astrology openly,” Carl explains, “as it’s, by definition, fringy stuff. I have an old history professor who walked by me in Java House doing a reading of a chart and he just laughed openly.

“We astrologers—or users of intuition, explorers of new-age or alternative psychology or notions of reality—have a name for people who judge: ‘dogmatic materialists.’

“In astrology, if you look at a chart, it’s a framework by which you can organize and systematize these levels of cognitive development and apply it to any conceivable body of field of knowledge. Aside from strictly logical or mathematical thinking, everything fits into astrology. It’s a universal language. Everywhere you go, you’ll find people with some feel for astrology. It’s in the background of nearly every field … it’s a universal connector.

“I was able to use it to harness my own cognitive faculties and reach a broad audience. If you don’t just stand there and patooey, ‘BAH, ASTROLOGY!’—suppose these things do correlate with real events. I think that if you can get a person past dogmatic materialism and debunking and get down to basics, it’s surprising how many people who have an appreciation for this, even if they keep quiet about it.

“It’s hard to find people in academic circles who give credence to astrology. I think people really are locked into this parody of logical, mathematical thinking, mostly ideologues, sound very logical to themselves. Their reasoning seems syllogistic, but it’s mostly brute, macho, intellectual bullying with a logical patina. They’ve hammered illogical things into logical-seeming forms. It’s a very slippery business …

“It’s not their goal to come to an understanding, it’s their goal to dismiss you. It’s usually very naïve people who throw arguments [against astrology] at you. These guys have the most simplistic logical/mathematical understanding of what reason and argument is; my experience with academics is that their particular compromise with reality and the tenets of reason is the only one that’s acceptable, not realizing that most fields have made their own compromises for the particularities of those fields’ understandings.

“But that’s my defense of astrology,” he concludes.

Past, Present And Future

Now that Dr. Star is done writing for Little Village, where in the universe will Carl Boudreau go?

“I’ve started doing life purpose readings now,” he says. “I used to do them, but people would ask me questions about what to do with problematic relationships, finances, job choices…

“I once sat down with a woman. She said, ‘I know what financial people think of this transaction. I want to hear what an astrologer thinks.’ People have used me as a Magic 8 Ball; they’d never want to hear what I said, they’d want one piece of information to blow open everything. Finally, I just stopped. This was around 2006, 2007…

“I then began to understand the theory of astrology on its own terms, to see its inner workings and that you could, by doing a particular kind of reading, help people maximize their potential.

“You come into this life and you really do have a life purpose written in your chart. If you go in that direction, you’ll maximize all this potential and minimize negatives. This connects with the goal of meditation: to synchronize your life with your life goals! You harmonize life. This is a real thing.”

In his time (and space) beyond Little Village, Carl looks forward to continuing his practice of giving personal readings rather than general, brief charts. “Rather than take money to answer specific questions, I would ask a modest fee to design these questions to tell them what they NEED to know, and I [devote] five to six days to devising a chart for them. I have a waiting list of about 50 people, and each reading takes about a week. Devising a chart is like writing a research paper. You have to research, draft and internalize material. It isn’t until several stages later where it all clicks. You can’t just sit down in an hour and make it all click.”

“Now I’m retired,” the former Dr. Star says with a smile, “and something I’ve wanted to do is meditate, to focus on meditating beyond the flow of noise from work life. What I’ve hoped to do is more rigorously systematically meditate, instead of using it as a tool for dealing with daily life. Meditation accesses your own mind’s supercomputer; it helps you organize your life. It’s a kind of life navigation. That’s its intended purpose.

“I saw this column as a labor of love. It was one of the stays of my existence. I got a lot of really good feedback. I can’t count the number of people who have told me that my column has helped them through difficult times. I really conceived of it as a way to broadcast love. That may be corny, but that’s why I did it. I can’t say what it meant to me to hear, as I once did at the Tobacco Bowl, a young man open the Little Village and shout, ‘Yes! Dr. Star says I’m gonna pass this exam!’ It was a very conscious, literal labor of love, and now I need to devote more time to the readings, to delve more deeply into the theory and practice of astrology.”

Carl Boudreau blogs, answers questions and takes readings at carlboudreau.blogspot.com.

Russell Jaffe is a symbiotically autonomous man doing symbiotically autonomous things.


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