About AFOA

The AFOA usually meets on the third Friday of each month at Earth Fare-Westgate, (66 Westgate Parkway, Asheville, NC). All meetings are free, and everyone is welcome!

The Asheville Friends of Astrology is a group of professional and amateur astrologers. We gather monthly for presentations, conversation and mutual support.

PURPOSE AND BENEFITS OF THE SOCIETY: The purpose and benefits of the society include:

SOCIAL A place where those who love astrology can gather, speak their common language, and get to know each other better

EDUCATIONAL A place where we can all learn more about astrology through lectures, drawing on each other’s knowledge, and other means

SUPPORT  It’s easier for us to help each other, both personally and professionally, if we know each other!

RAISE ASTROLOGY’S PROFILE By regularly publicizing each month’s meeting, we will help make everyone in WNC more aware of astrology and the benefits it offers. This will:

  • help WNC’s professional astrologers attract more clients
  • encourage more people to learn and use astrology, and
  • encourage more people to enjoy the numerous benefits that astrology offers.



Asheville Friends of Astrology was formed by a group of Asheville astrologers seeking fellowship and mutual benefit on September 13, 2006 at 7:30 pm. (See the organization’s birthchart below.) The idea was to form an astrology club that could meet regularly.

The founding gathering took place at Benjamin Bernstein and Mary (now Spiritsong) O’Shannon’s home. Gathered together were Benjamin and Mary, Christina Bowden, Taryn Brandon, Gary Caton, Deane Mae Driscoll, Christy Gunther, Lee Lehman, Maggie Meister, Barbara Morales, Molly Olsen, Kelly Lee Phillips, and Kim Tigar. Many of this group had met informally before, and Ronnie Watkins was also a founding member but could not make it to this meeting because of a broken leg.

Kelly was the chief organizing force in the beginning and Benjamin (who was Kelly’s student at the time) took on the role of Facilitator (and also handled the A/V equipment). Soon, AFOA started meeting in the community room at Earth Fare in the Westgate shopping center. Kim served as speaker coordinator initially before that role was taken by Ronnie Watkins in early 2013. Benjamin was succeeded by Gary Caton as the group’s Facilitator. Ted Figura took on the Facilitator role when Gary stepped down at the end of 2014.

Others, besides the founding members and current officers, who have been active in the organization in the past include Sajit Greene, Eric Myers, and Jim Rogers. Past speakers and their topics can be found under the Archives tab of this website.


astro society founding members

Founding members, photographed by Molly Olsen at the organizational meeting on 9/13/06: FIRST ROW: Gary Caton, Christina Bowden, Kim Tigar, Mary O’Shannon
SECOND ROW: Barbara Morales, Christy Gunther, Lee Lehman, Deane Mae Driscoll THIRD ROW: Benjamin Bernstein, Maggie Meister, Taryn Brandon, Kelly Lee Phipps


Facilitator – Ted Figura

Treasurer – Deborah Hellman

Speaker Coordinator – Ronnie Watkins

Webmaster – Vacant