Where are they now? - Judith Levy
Interview with Judith Levy first published in
Volume 4 March 2015 of the Sophia Project News.
Judith Levy (front row left standing next to Patrick Curry) at her graduation in 2006
Judith Levy joined the Cultural Astronomy and Astrology MA programme in 2004 when it was still in its early days. As an astrologer, businesswoman and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience as a Retail CEO and in business coaching and development, she currently leads a CEO Peer Advisory Board in the Southwest UK for Vistage International, a global business organization that provides private advisory groups for MDs, executives and business owners.
Judith also provides mentoring, coaching support and consultancy services for entrepreneurs and business leaders, particularly women, through her consultancy firm Global Business Guidance. Judith is also in collaboration with her husband Howard Parker through 'Eros and Psyche', a consultancy that offers relationship coaching based in experiential astrology.
Kate Namous talks to Judith Levy about the impact of the MA on her life and work, ten years on from graduation.
KN: Why did you do the MA?
JL: At the time, I'd been a semi-professional astrologer for nearly twenty years, doing readings and teaching astrology, although it was never my main job. And here I was living in Oxford, where the Bodleian Library still has doors that say 'school of natural philosophy' and the astrologer and alchemist Ashmole was one of the greatest figures in public life in the seventeenth century, but all that was thrown out of the establishment during the Enlightenment; so I thought if the study of the cultural nature of cosmology is coming back into academia, I want in, too. Another reason is that I wanted there to be an astrology community in which I could be active. Doing the MA turned out to be really enjoyable - it was intellectually stimulating and socially amazing, I met some wonderful people who I still see regularly.
KN: What modules did you find most interesting?
JL: For me, the most interesting module was the history of astrology. I was able to study astrology's history and roots, as well as other forms of cultural astrology, like medieval astrology. I also saw what people went through over the ages to preserve the knowledge and practices-some were burnt at the stake. It made me realize that astrology is a precious thing that we need to keep alive. It was a marvelous experience to be studying with such an interesting group of people; the conversations in the pub (The Globe in Newton Saint Loe) afterwards were fantastic. I'd never had conversations about astrology at that level: it was groundbreaking.
KN: How did the MA affect your attitude to astrology?
JL: Again it was the history-learning about the Babylonian tradition and how Vedic and Western astrology came from the same roots before the practices started to diverge in late antiquity. And later all this was translated into Latin, so scholars across Europe were all reading the same texts and knowledge could be shared. I learned astrology in Spain in Spanish, and there is a division between the Spanish and English speaking world in astrology, because we don't have a lingua franca as we did in the Middle Ages. For me, with a Jewish background, I am particularly interested in history pertaining to the Babylonians and Chaldeans and understanding connections and symbolism such as the twelve tribes and twelve signs of the zodiac.
KN: What did your dissertation focus on?
JL: My dissertation was on the cultural interface between the worlds of business and astrology. This involved qualitative research into how business astrologers work within the business environment and how business professionals evaluate and make use of astrological methodologies within different aspects of their organization. In short, it was about people, profit and power.
KN: What doors have opened since doing the MA?
JL: It didn't have a huge impact on my career, but it improved my self-esteem and my ability to write and undertake evidence-based rigorous research; it also sharpened up my intellect. The MA increased my interest in astrology, adding more depth and knowledge and improving my grasp of history and context and culture. In my business consultancy and coaching work, I'm now developing a system called 'Business Wellbeing' that uses astrology to look at how to balance the four elements within a business.
KN: What books are you reading now?
JL: 'Saturn, Fatal Attraction' by Adam Smith. And I'm always reading Stephen Arroyo, because I use that in my work.
KN: Any new projects in the pipeline?
JL: My main focus at the moment is Vistage International and how that is blossoming and allowing me to mentor business people and help develop their life and leadership skills. My new venture, Eros and Psyche, focuses on personal relationships-how to find love and make it last. Part of this is about developing new paradigms in how we relate to each other.
KN: Many thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Judith, and for your involvement with the Alumni Association of the MA. We wish you all the best with your business and consultancy ventures.
Fig 2: Judith. CEO of High and Mighty
for the publication Retail Week around
2005, the year of her graduation
Fig 3: The most recent photo
taken by Judith's husband