The Stars in Our Sky
A conversation with Eda Ocak
a teacher, student, writer, astrologer
The Stars in Our Sky. For those who have spent some time in Bali, you may know just how global our community is. From all corners of the world, people come and they go. The red thread that ties many together is the mysterious journey and calling that bring them here. In these immensely rich global communities, even if perhaps somewhat transient at times, here at Sawidji we are extremely fortunate to meet many wonderful friends. Their stories, still being written are a mirror for reflection, a well of wisdom and sometimes also .. good for a laugh.
Bali is part of my student journeyEda Ocak
My conversation with Eda is not tidy. There was not a clear subject that we followed from start to finish. It started with how Eda Ocak, the professional student ended up sitting here with me in Ubud, Bali. It reflects very clearly this voraciousness for learning, each subject we touched on is consumed and enjoyed. Like the many stars in our sky, each has its own light.
‘What Is the Meaning of Life?’
We did not start with small talk. The conversation started with the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’ followed by bemused laughter from the both of us. Well, if we are asking questions, we may as well ask the biggest question of all. Eda shared some of her earlier memories.
“Since you were born you have to do this and that and many obligations. It was difficult for me to understand. Why do I have to learn all the things that I learned in school, there did not seem to be enough reason there to compel me to learn those things. In respect to religion, it gives answers about your existence. In my upbringing I was lucky that my family was quite neutral about religion. They didn’t question, they just did what they were told. When I asked big questions, I got simple sometimes childish answers.
I was told there was an angel on my right and left shoulder and as a child I honestly wondered ‘Is there really an angel on my left and right shoulder?’ So this journey of questioning continued. When I looked for a deeper meaning I couldn’t find answers..” Eda Ocak
The Student Learning by Experience
“I continued my life of course, but you need meaning to continue your life. You can call this an existential crisis. Often I was dazed and depressed and going through the motions of just trying to survive.
But you can say that when this crisis happened it was magical.”Eda Ocak
As I’m talking together with Eda about her experiences, the journey that has brought her here, both on the surface and the internal one, I am moved. We all live in the world so outwardly and there are so many things we have to learn just to get through being a global citizen. I had this thought though, that we are all going through another existence at the same time. However, this other existence is one that is under the covers, unseen and mysterious. Like adrift in the ocean in a boat without a rudder. Learning the currents and winds of the ocean with no prior knowledge, we just have go through it.
Eda went through a crisis. An existential crisis you could say. but this powerful need to search for meaning is a blessing . It propels one to go seeking . The innate student blossoms in these conditions.
The Wonder of Books
“Books have always been my guide and I felt I needed to buy a book. I went to the bookstore and found this book on Buddhism. But Maybe it wasn’t time yet for me to understand about Buddha Dharma and I started to read about many other things. I found myself in the new age spiritualism unfortunately.
They take many things from many cultures. In my case, the new age spiritualism I encountered was superficial and chaotic.. After some time I realised even after I have been doing all these things I am still lost and unhappy.
I understand then that either there is something wrong with me or the path I am on is wrong, because it doesn’t take me anywhere.”Eda Ocak
A New Subject
“That was the time I started studying Buddhism. Learning the traditions, taking lessons from teachers. There is a strong aspect of Buddhism that drew me. First of all, it is talking about fundamental truths about existence. For example impermanence. This seems like such an obvious truth we all know, but we actually do not truly understand this. Many go through their lives not truly absorbing that everything in it is actually impermanent. Yet nearly everyone suffers when they experience loss of one kind or another.” Eda Ocak
As a student, the academic and pragmatic approach of Buddhist studies is one that resonated well with Eda. There is a method, there is reason and there are sound results. Eda’s studies in Buddhist meditations also awakens her deep passion for writing. Right now Eda is in the process of writing a book. And this journey, all of this, is a part of that.
Inspiration for the Writer
“The inspiration came last year. Last year was one of the hardest times in my life. Another crisis, not existential, much more emotional. I went to a small village in Turkey where I rented a house. Though I sought this isolation, I felt a lack of strong female guidance. “
“Specifically spiritual guidance that came from a woman and not from a man. I started to wonder why we don’t have such a lineage of women. Because I am studying and practicing Dharma. I wanted to know the stories of other women who are practicing Dharma.” Eda Ocak
“How they struggled with life and how they coped with lifes’ struggles. What did they do when they felt lonely? How did they they manage their spiritual life and daily life together. When I started to research about this, I still only found mainly stories about male masters.Their knowledge and teachings. The ancient ones were mainly men.
This journey of searching for these women, I finally began to find my companions. I could read their stories and their poems. When my heart was heavy, their strength helped me feel lighter.”
This voraciousness to learn makes one propelled to seek and discover. Perhaps there is an elemental link between our deep mysteries and our questions of existence that intrinsically lead us to look skyward. To the untouchable mysteries and wonders of the distant sky. I am not surprised that in Eda’s hunger for knowledge and search for life’s true meaning, and having searched in many directions it inevitably led her to the Stars in Our Sky.
And you’re an Astrologer too?
There are movements in astrological methods as well. For those that study astrology, there is the classical school of astrology and there is the new Evolutionary school of astrology. The main difference between the two is the matter of perspective. The classical school is more traditional in its thinking. That astrology, the mapping of your birth chart is your fate, and somewhat akin to pre-destiny.
Whilst evolutionary astrology takes more the view that we study the chart of our birth to have a better understanding of self that we may navigate through our lives with a clearer direction. The souls’ evolution. Essentially to have a better understanding of who we are and what our life path is trying to achieve.
So for the past 10 years you have worked in astrology, what can someone expect from this session with you?
“Maybe I can say what they shouldn’t expect.. For example, it is not fortune telling. I do not provide answers for decisions that they are meant to make themselves. Or advise for health matters or financials..
My perspective and approach to astrology is not that you have a certain destiny or fate. That it is written in your birth chart. Instead, I see the birth chart as full of possibilities. I am here to show these possibilities to you. People can sometimes be single minded in how they perceive themselves.
A session can show you that you have more options and alternatives. A different perspective. To open their life path rather than continue to be closed to them.”Eda Ocak
Why we Look to the Stars in Our Sky
“Also there is another dimension to it. Sometimes you may wonder why you have psychological patterns in your life. Perhaps you are curious. Some people go to therapists or they may have self observations. So astrology is one option to show you the big picture, where you may gain some distance and see who you are. Why you are experiencing certain behaviours and why some patterns keep recurring. It can give clues how to get through those periods. My clients often say they are surprised that it was not what they expected. They often feel empowered.”
Finally some clients, they feel they are heard and seen.. acknowledged.. this is the best part for me.. I feel connected when it happens.Eda Ocak
When we began this conversation I mentioned it was not tidy, but it is beautiful. Perhaps like our lives, that is somehow mapped by the stars in our sky. It is not always clear, but it holds its own wonderful light. This mystery and depth of ones inner journey. How we meet the travellers of the world not just as journeymen and women different lands but journeymen of their self discovery. I myself have a love of learning. This is perhaps why there is such joy in sharing words and thoughts with Eda Ocak.
She is a self professed professional student, even though she herself is a teacher. I understand this to mean one who is always learning. That in life we are hungry for knowledge. Truth seekers, or just seekers. One of the most wonderful qualities when one understands they are always learning is a humbling modesty. Regardless of their vast achievements and their exceptional gifts, such individuals are full of humility. Through their journeys they continue their search not simply to gain more knowledge, but it is the search for better understanding.
The Stars in Our Sky
Eda Ocak is available for Astrological Birth Chart Readings by appointment. She is also sharing her knowledge on Evolutionary Astrology. She serves mentorship and study programs for those who wish to learn Astrology as well as Calm Abiding Meditation.