National Council for Geocosmic Research
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National Council for Geocosmic Research(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
National Council for Geocosmic Research, Inc. (NCGR), is a nonprofit (501-C) organization incorporated in Massachusetts in 1971 for the purpose of raising the standards of astrological education and research. Its membership of over 3,000 is mostly from the United States, though international membership is growing. Most members affiliate with NCGR’s local chapters; as of April 2003, there were 40 established chapters worldwide in 26 countries. Additionally, several special interest groups (SIGs) cross wide geographical areas to foster dialogue among people of similar astrological specialties. A code of ethics, to which members are accountable, provides guidelines for the practice of astrology. NCGR annually publishes two journals —Geocosmic Magazine and NCGR Journal, as well as six newsletters. Many other publications are produced intermittently.
From its 1979 launch in a seminar at Princeton University attended by delegates from chapters, NCGR developed and implemented a four-level education and testing program leading toward certification for astrologers. The first three levels cover basic techniques of astrology and require survey knowledge of its various specialties. The fourth professional level can be tested in four tracks: consulting, research, instructor, or general studies. Each student who achieves Level 4 is entitled to include “CA NCGR” after his or her name, and is identified in a special certified astrologers section on the organization’s web site, www.geocosmic.org. Although NCGR does not require that its members be practicing astrologers, more than 1,000 members have participated in the organization’s testing program at Level 1 or above, and momentum is building. The education curriculum and testing program are widely respected for their excellence and rigor. Those who have successfully tested at Level 3 or above may use that towards substantial credit for the technical course work required by Kepler College of Astrological Arts and Sciences, the first accredited liberal arts college in the United States to offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in astrology.
To briefly summarize the history of NCGR, seven men and women met in Wareham, Massachusetts, on March 6, 1971, at the home of Harry F. Darling, M.D., who became the organization’s first chairman. The official signing of the articles of incorporation took place at 9:02 p.m. The founders included astrologers, medical professionals, scientists, and scholars, all interested in exploring astrology as it related to other disciplines. The name they chose, “geocosmic,” sought to avoid the popular misunderstanding of astrology and set the tone for their purpose with a serious and scholarly approach to the study of correspondences between life on earth (“geo”) and the cycles of the “cosmos”—in particular, that of our solar system.
The first three elected to head NCGR were medical doctors: Darling, followed by Henry Altenberg, M.D., and Donald Wharton, M.D. In 1980, Neil F. Michelsen, a businessman and pioneer of computer technology for astrologers, became chairman, followed by Robert Hand, prominent astrologer, author, and software developer, and the current chair, Maria Kay Simms, astrologer, author, and businesswoman. The late A. Charles Emerson, a teacher, writer, and astrologer in New York City, who was among NCGR’s founders, never served as chairman, but is widely considered to be the “father of NCGR” because of his tireless work to build the organization through its first two decades. Through his efforts, along with that of many astrologers’ countless hours of volunteer service, NCGR moved beyond an initial “techie” reputation to welcome and assist members of all levels of expertise who share its goals of continuing education and the promotion of the highest professional and ethical standards for astrologers.