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Jyotish Star of the Month
By Vachaspati Christina Collins
|Christina Collins: Hello Keiko! We feel so fortunate to interview you today, thank you for granting us an interview for the Jyotish Star!|
Keiko Ito: Hello Christina, thank you very much, I am most grateful to be given this opportunity.
Christina: Tell us, when did you find yourself interested in Vedic Astrology? You began your studies in Jyotish in 2003 with Vachaspati Komilla Sutton, isn’t that right? How did you come to connect with Komilla?
Keiko: I was born in Tokyo, but spent my younger years in Paris, France and Milan, Italy as my father worked there. No one in my family has ever been interested in astrology unfortunately.
Christina: What did you do prior to becoming a Vedic Astrologer? Did you have a different educational path, or, have you always been on your current path, from a young age?
Keiko: I lived in Paris in the early 70s and I distinctly remember being 10 years old and going to the bookshop to buy a magazine called “Astro”. It was a western astrology magazine, and I loved it! Having three planets in the 8th house made me dig deeper in the mystery of life. I studied western astrology on my own for many years but going back and forth between different countries, and being so young, I never really joined any organization.
When I was in my mid-30s, I happened to be in Italy and found a copy of Robert Hand’s “Planets in Transits” which reignited my passion for astrology. Then back in the late 90s I joined an international astrology email list called Festival, later renamed Conjunction. First I was just reading, then started participating, and started going to international conferences which was easy due to my love of travel and knowledge of English. Which led me to that conference in Belgrade, Serbia, organized by my friend Branka Stamenkovic.
Christina: How wonderful that you made such great connections! I do understand that you are a translator as well as an astrologer, could you also please tell us a little something about that? I imagine it comes in handy as an astrologer to be able to give readings in multiple languages!
Keiko: Thanks to my upbringing, I speak Japanese, English, French and Italian, which I use for my work as a translator. When I learned that Mercury was my Atmakaraka, it resonated so much with me, since then I truly consider it is my path to use languages and knowledge of different cultures to help people. So yes, being able to give readings in various languages means exactly that!
Christina: Has your life brought you into any spiritual path, or to a specific meditation path or teacher?
Christina: That is so sweet. Komilla is one of the greats – how lucky you connected with her, someone of such value and worth! Please tell us a little bit about your own writing, do you have books, either that you are writing, have written, or that you recommend to help the aspiring student? Do you plan this for the future?
Keiko: First I should start translating Komilla’s books – which I said I would do for years – a translation of her “The Essentials of Vedic Astrology” in Japanese would be great for beginners and practitioners alike. It is a book written in 1999 but I still go back to read it regularly. There aren’t many books on Jyotish in Japanese so I have to make an effort. I am in Rahu Dasha which does not help settle down but soon I will have Saturn aspecting my Lagna and 4th/9th house so maybe I would be able to sit down at home and just do it! I also like James Kelleher’s books, “Path of Light Volume I and II”, very comprehensive knowledge. And Bepin Behari’s books. There are so many excellent books it is difficult to list everything!
I also enjoy writing New Moon and Full Moon messages on my Facebook page and on my blog. I hope it gives some useful points to focus until the next moon phase and is inspiring to readers.
Christina: Do you have any conferences or events coming up where people could hear you speak in person. Or, live webinars coming up? If so, what topics will you be covering?
Christina: What is your favorite topic in Jyotish?
Keiko: I really like to focus on personal happiness and peace of mind. This is why I like Jyotish so much, for its focus on the Moon. I lectured on the “Mind and the Moon” at the Breaking Down The Borders international conference last week as I am so interested in what brings or disturbs the peace of mind. I strongly believe that if one is not happy oneself it is difficult to make other people happy, so I really like to listen to what people have to say and then see the soothing and disrupting natal and transit factors, then focus on what are the pointers in the natal chart that would heal and bring some relief and peace of mind to the person.
Christina: What advice would you give to the beginner, just starting their studies in Jyotish?
Keiko: Just being interested is an excellent start as there was a reason why one was attracted to Jyotish! There are so many things to learn and so many techniques in Jyotish – I have just finished my first Jupiter learning cycle of 12 years, and I believe I only know a tiny fraction of what it offers. So it is important to have the basics covered intensively first. There is a lot of memorizing to do, but please do not be put off by it, Saturnian patience will definitely pay off. This past June, I taught a Jyotish Beginners Course at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in California and preparing this course was an amazing process as I had to go through all my basic knowledge which was very helpful.
As an example, Komilla has a Foundation Online course every year which begins in March and ends in November. It is great to sit down once a week to take a lesson with like-minded people. There are many online courses and also teachings in person. Jyotish has been a discipline directly taught over centuries from the Guru to the disciple so I believe it is important to recognize the personal teacher to look up to, but also to find a format that fits one’s modern life.
The best way to learn is so personal it is difficult to make a blanket statement but I would suggest to start doing readings to learn from the feedback, as it tells you how people actually “live” their chart and it is truly fascinating.
And last but not least, Jyotish is a sacred science. I will always consider myself to be a student of Jyotish, no matter how many years I’ve practiced. I strongly believe the humility that we are involved in a sacred knowledge is a very important factor in practicing this great science.
Christina: Thank you so much Keiko – for sharing your journey with us at the Jyotish Star.
Keiko Ito Biography: