Grady counselor follows passion, writes book about astrology


Olivia Podber

For some, astrology is a pseudoscience, a scam, a fraud. But for Lamar Young, a guidance counselor at Grady High School and author of the recently published book, “What’s the Deal with my Sign? An Insight on Astrology,” astrology is an invigorating and profound way to look at life.

“It [astrology] helps with our understanding of ourselves and our connections with others,” said Young. “Astrology furthers our understanding of our world. I think as we evolve, we are in a quest to try and interpret our purpose and why we’re here, and so through that aspect, being that astrology is educational, it’s very enlightening.”

Young has worked as a counselor at Grady for years, but he has had the dream to write his book about astrology since his childhood.

“It’s been something that I’ve been interested in since 9 years old. I have to attribute this to my maternal aunt, who was a heavy reader of the subject,” said Young. “When she was in college, I would dig through her books and a lot of them happened to be astrology based. She would discuss them with me, and that got my interest peaked. From there, I just read on my own and took it to the next level, which eventually led to me producing a publication.”

Astrology, defined as being the “science” of studying human behavior and events as they pertain to the planets and stars in the universe, has always been controversial. Many people disregard astrology and astrologers, claiming the assertions made are ambiguous, especially the horoscopes, and have no actual scientific backing. Horoscopes are astrological forecasts and have been subject to scrutiny for as long as they have been around. But Young takes a different approach when researching and writing about the subjects.

“My angle can be compared to looking at a cup of coffee with the whip cream at the top,” said Young. “I just skim the surface of it. With that are the typical characteristics that go with a sign, like personality traits, compatibility with someone. The deeper part of what I do is talk about the four elements that exist in the world as we know it, which are fire, earth, water and air. I address them in the book and how the 12 Zodiac Signs go into those elements and how they’re complementary to each other.”

Grady junior and astrology enthusiast Walden Jones respects people who have cynical opinions towards astrology, but thinks that if they approached it in the way that Young and other astronomers do, they would be less quick to judge.

“I think people are so cynical of astrology because they don’t understand it,” said Jones. “If they were able to see how it’s all backed in math and the reason of planets and stars aligning, they might not be so critical.”

Young decided definitively to write “What’s the Deal with my Sign? An Insight on Astrology” after hearing from his friends and family for years that he should.

“When I’m at a social gathering, I always bring up the topic, and it got to the point where people kept saying, “You know, Lamar, you need to write a book because you’re always talking about signs and how it connects with the weather and the four elements and people’s personalities…just put a book together,” said Young. “So I did.”

Head librarian at Grady, Lisa Taft, thinks Young has set a positive example for students.

“I think it’s a great example of pursuing your interests to a very focused degree and really delving into something and exploring it,” said Taft. “I think he’s fantastic. I really wanted to promote it [at Grady] and invited students to come and hear about the book. They had a lot of questions about the writing process, publishing a book and distributing it.”

According to Young, while astrology hasn’t changed his life in ways besides making it “more fun,” the writing process has had a perceivable impact on his outlook of himself and his personality.

“I didn’t know that I could actually be as creative as I could in putting together a manuscript,” said Young. “Sure, I’ve gone to college, I’ve gotten a couple of grad degrees, but to actually put together a publication, that was transformative.”

Many authors find themselves having to sacrifice parts of their lives or jobs to write a book. But for Young, this was never and will never be a problem.

Writing is driven by passion as I really enjoy the topic. So consequently there’s no issue with balancing between that my time spent as a counselor at Grady,” said Young.

Taft, however, questions how he hasn’t run out of fuel, with all of his ordeals eating up his time and effort.

“I don’t know when he sleeps,” said Taft. “He’s just a wonderful resource here at Grady, going above and beyond constantly to make sure students are well informed, so I’m not really sure how he did it, but he did. And now he has a second book in the works. I think he’s done a fine job, but I’m just not sure how he has time to relax.”

After receiving positive feedback from fans of his book, Young decided to continue his passion for astrology by writing a sequel.

“I’m in the process, a little bit over half done with part two. I hope to have this second product out by the summer of 2017. My publishers have been great; they’ve been very supportive,” said Young. “In this [second book], I wanted to make it more narrative, to see if there was a relationship between zodiac signs, if there were similarities between people’s character traits. That’s the angle I’m going to go with on part two, and I’m excited to see where it will lead.”IMG_0034