Astrology, art history and Hare Krishna: the evolution of Jules Ferrari
Imagery: Max Doyle, Guillaume Lechat, Lauren Eiko, Joshua Heath
Words: Emma Vidgen // @emma_vee
Jules Ferrari has always been fascinated by the night sky. “I was obsessed with the planets, I had a big book and my dad bought me Holst’s The Planets, the classical music, and I used to listen to that when I was little,” she says.
After studying art history at Uni, she began working as a painting specialist in auction houses. Maybe it was her ninth house sun (associated with philosophy, travel and adventure), but pretty quickly a conventional future in commercial art lost its appeal. “I went overseas for awhile to Morocco, started reading Ayn Rand, Camus and the Beats and started to realise I didn’t want my life to be working in an office,” Jules says.
On her return to Australia, Jules turned to one of her great loves: music. “I started playing in bands which I did for about eight years,” Jules says. “Songs was the last band I played in…and then left songs to become a Hare Krishna.” Jules began studying astrology and was still playing in bands when she started working in Govinda’s, a Hare Krishna restaurant in Sydney. At the time, she didn’t pay much attention to the “devotees” (the Krishna followers), but when a preacher visited from India, everything changed. “I’ve always been curious about how different cultures and religions have applied meaning to what existence is,” says Jules. “I had a lot of questions and he could just answer them all. So we had a lot of six hour conversations and the philosophy satisfied every question that I had in a way that I’d never been intellectually satisfied before.”
As her Saturn return came to an end, she felt the urge to breakaway again. “Saturn was moving through my first house. Wherever Saturn is in your chart, it’s really changing the foundation of that aspect so for me my identity completely changed,” she says.
Feeling equally inspired by new philosophies and disillusioned with the Sydney scene, Jules sold everything she owned and headed to India. “I had been playing in bands for such a long time and certainly embracing all the stuff that goes along with that, and that sort of lifestyle,” Jules says. “So when I was in the Ashram, in India, it was up at 3:30am, there was a set program, there was established rules on how you relate to one another and there was established hierarchy, I think for me I found a lot more comfort in that if that makes sense, nothing was murky – everything was defined.”
“I have many ideas about what reality might be, but I guess I’m a lot more comfortable with the idea that it doesn’t need to be explained.”
After six months studying Vedic theology, Jules returned home, but something just didn’t feel right. “When I was singing and playing the harmonium in the street, that was fine because it was more in line with me anyway and I wasn’t directly trying to change anyone’s mind about what reality is,” Jules says. The pressure to preach and convert strangers on the street just didn’t resonate. “When it was direct preaching I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t believe in it. I have many ideas about what reality might be, but I guess I’m a lot more comfortable with the idea that it doesn’t need to be explained.”
After a lot of soul-searching, Jules decided to leave the Hare Krishnas. “I had to unravel from that for a good couple of years… The worst thing you can do is to receive the ‘holy knowledge’ and then step away from it,” she says. “So even though I’m quite a liberal minded person I know I still have some shame in there for leaving and disappointing my teacher.”
She found solace in study, resuming her astrology training. “I am someone who gets bored very easily – that’s the Gemini aspect –but astrology is never-ending and there’s so many more avenues to go down,” says Jules. “At the moment I’m reading some lectures about how looking at the 12th house you can read the in-utero experience.”
Five years on, Jules still finds solace in the sky; just don’t ask her to predict your future. “I’m never going to say to someone that on the 12th of August you’re going to meet a blonde haired person and blah blah blah... I don’t think that’s how reality is, we have free will and self-determination,” she says. “You can change the course of your life at any fucking given point... At the core I’m who I’ve always been but I’ve gone through a lot of different explorations of who that person is. I just don’t think reality’s set in stone.”