Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tribute to a Pioneering Woman

by Julia D. Stege, MFA

Twelve years ago I saw an ad in a new age magazine that read "Herstar: Feminist Astrology. Kalli Halvorson" with a phone number at the end. I had always been interested in both astrology and feminism, but had never heard of someone uniting the two. I just had to meet her.

That began a magical adventure with both of us sharing our gifts with eachother... with me creating her logo and website for Herstar, and she working with me for years as my astrologer. We even became roomates in Rockridge, a beautiful part of Oakland, for several years at a critical time in my life when I was discovering who I really am. Kalli Rose, as she liked to call herself, was always an inspiring example for me of a purposeful woman on the cutting edge, sharing her unique brilliance with the world. When we shared a home, she was often out on travels to some far off land where she could meet and study with astrologers and spiritual leaders from a variety of diciplines.

She contacted me a few years ago and told me she had cancer and was given only a few months to live. I was shocked and immediately made the journey from Sebastopol to Berkeley to see her in our old stomping ground. I remember she took my hand and looked into my eyes. "The best part of this whole thing is the love," she said. And she assured me that if she is meant to leave this plane, she is ready to go. But if she's meant to stay, she will fight. This morning I got the news she had left us for good. She fought for 3 years and finally, on this Winter Solstice, she merged with the cosmos.

In her passing I am compelled to use my gifts once again to offer her the proper send off to her next magical adventure. Kalli Rose was not famous, but among her peers she was truly admired, respected and loved. For many years she bridged and united the very different worlds of feminism and astrology, always with the intention of merging the two so that women could be empowered in their lives and in the world as a whole. She was always surrounded by an amazing selection of powerful women, many of whom came to her aid when she needed it.

Right before she became ill, Kalli Rose pioneerd a Phd program at CIIS in Feminist Astrology. She was to be the first Doctor of Feminist Astrology, finally bringing her experience as a Women's Studies teacher together with her years of deep study into all approaches to astrology, and forging a path for others desiring a unique approach to feminist sprituality.

Kalli Rose was a shining example of a woman who discovered her passion and shared it without apology. Often the brunt of criticism from both of her favored camps, she bravely shined her Leo-Light without faltering. Her presence in my life was a reminder of what's possible for women in this time, and how best to use our hard-won rights. She taught me that spirituality and politics could be united and in fact they must be if we are to succeed in creating the new world we crave, one where everyone is free.

After I moved to Sonoma County, Kalli Rose delved deeply into feminine consciousness and led numerous Pujas and celebrations of Kali Maa.

In a poem she wrote for the feminist anthology "She is Everywhere" in 2005, Kalli Rose wrote a tribute to the goddess Kali which ends thus:

"Kali, Kali, Kali, help me hold
the totality of your inconceivable Mother Reality
in some warm corner of my own lotus heart
I would find it there forever, and become a great lover like you.
My deep space desire is to unite with you
ever more directly and effortlessly,
the sight, the sound, the sense of you
implicit in all things."

As Kalli Rose flies off on this biggest adventure of all, I cheer her on with the knowledge that as always, she knows exactly where she's going and why. As I look into the night sky on this Winter Solstice evening, I scan the great Mother Bear Constellation for a bright trail of star dust following Herstar into the heavens.

In the late 1990s Kalli Rose Halvorson created a series of journals called "Herstar Invocations" and a website entitled "HerstarTM Feminist Astrology: a solar flare of female mind healing sexual bias and imbalance in astrology and cultural astronomy." See for an archived version of the website. Photo of Kalli by Vashti Braha who designed the hat.


  1. Kalli Rose was one of the most courageous and magical women I have ever met. I will never forget her love for me and my husband as well as for the divine music we shared. She will always be one of my heroes. I imagine her now bathed in the light of Ma's love, ecstatic to be right where she is, at Ma's feet.
    Sargam Shah

  2. Thank you so much for this, Julia. What an inspiring, remarkable person Kalli will always be for me. Truly magical.

  3. Dear Julia: Tonight, some months after my beloved sister's passing, your words have moved me to tears. Kalli was an inspiration to so many people, and her messages and beliefs were important for all women to learn about and understand. Thank you for your homage.

  4. I´m devastated. And sorry, because I feel somehow and suddenly like an intruder. I only knew Kalli by mail since twelve years, when I found out her Herstar project and felt so identified (I am astrologer since 30 years and feminist all my life) that I sent to her a donation from which she always was grateful. I was living and working then in China, then I return to Spain, my country, and I looked forward not only know San Francisco but know her. I invited her to Madrid, but she never managed to announce her visit, and I couldn´t make the plan to go there until now. Two years ago she answered me (shortly) a mail, but didn´t told me anything about her illness. And now I will be going to San Francisco (everything is arranged) and I´m feeling shocked and sorry to have been so late. But ¿how could I know? All these years I have thought of her as a sort of twin soul just on the other side of the world and that we will finally meet each other. Now it is already not possible. Thanks for let a place to express my grief.
    Itziar Alberdi