Speed Interview – Shelley von Strunckel

Ahead of an Insight Club in 2013 about The Magic Flute, we chatted to astrologist and OAE enthusiast Shelley von Strunckel about Mozart, mysticism and The Matrix…  

How did you get into astrology?
In my teens and 20s, I studied Eastern and Western philosophies out of pure interest; Astrology was just a part of this process of exploration. While it’s taken centre stage in the public eye, exploring philosophy, mysticism in various forms and meditation, which I also teach, remain a passion. Thus my interest in what might be termed ‘metaphysical’ operas.

Has astrology been your only career?
Despite my interest in philosophy, my first career was in merchandising. I was spotted and wonderfully trained by the renown Federated Department Stores Group. There I learned about marketing and, while working during the day, studied the history and psychology of fashion at UCLA night school. What I learned then, about both trends, in fashion, and on the wider world, and how the public responds to trends has, I think, made my approach to astrology and philosophical ideas more practical.  

What star sign are you?
Cancer. Perhaps the most sentimental sign. I cry at all weddings.

What was it like growing up in Hollywood?
I knew it wasn’t ‘normal’. But didn’t know why until I left, when I realised in Hollywood, they believe everything is possible, and prove it regularly.

What attracted you to exploring the mystical elements of classical music?
Because music wasn’t in my home and I didn’t study it in school, but came to it later, I feel that every concert or opera I attend is a discovery. It teaches me something. Gradually I realised that I understand – and enjoy – those with a mystical orientation more than intellectual pieces.

Give us one unusual fact about Mozart’s Magic Flute
Prince Tamino was from Japan.

When was your breakthrough moment?
As an astrologer, being ‘discovered’ by the late, much loved Patric [sic] Walker. That took me from being in one magazine to being in the Evening Standard and syndicated worldwide

Which mobile number do you call the most?
This shows what a ‘foodie’ I am…Waitrose, to book food delivery, and my four favourite restaurants (no, not saying which they are!)

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Neo in the film, The Matrix

What’s your favourite ritual?
An afternoon cuppa. Hot. Strong.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
First, there are those noble individuals who’ve stood up against crushing regimes, and through sheer determination, won – Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
A rational decision isn’t always the best one.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
When I write, Bach Cantatas. For being energized, Adele, for cheering up, The Magic Flute – of course!

Why should people come to the Insight Club on Saturday?
We’ll have a grand time – it will be both informative and informal, and everybody will leave having had fun and learned a lot.