Maria Kay Simms, contemporary astrologer, was born in Princeton, Illinois, November 18, 1940, to Anne and Frank Simms. Following her B.F.A. in painting from Illinois Wesleyan University, she taught public school for five years, and later was a gallery painter and commercial artist. She began studying astrology in 1973 while living in San Francisco, and later studied with A. Charles Emerson in New York City, becoming a specialist in Cosmobiology and Uranian Astrology.
In 1976, in New Milford, CT, she combined art with astrology in mystic arts, a metaphysical bookshop and arts and crafts gallery, and also started a local chapter of the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR), serving as president for the first three years. In 1982, after election to NCGR's national board, she served as publications director and editor of the NCGR Journal for nine years. Active as an astrological consultant from the mid 1970s, Simms strongly believed that her practice of astrology required credentials beyond her art degree, so she passed the American Federation of Astrologers professional certification exams in 1981, and in 1985, achieved NCGR's Level 4 in consulting. She has been an avid supporter of NCGR's Education Program from its inception.
Simms moved to Florida after divorcing in 1985, did art production for a professional dinner theatre, and freelanced as an astrological consultant and a cover artist for ACS Publications. In 1987, she moved to San Diego, became ACS's art director, and married the owner, Neil F. Michelsen. After Michelsen's passing in 1990, she continued his plan to combine ACS and Astro Computing Services under one corporation, Astro Communications Services, Inc. She served as corporate CEO for eight years, until selling ACS in 1998.
Simms authored several books on astrology and Pagan spirituality, plus text for computer reports and numerous articles. Though her initial approach to astrology was skeptical, and then her specialty technical, Simms found the correspondence of astrology with spirituality to be its highest calling, and the Neopagan path a fulfilling expression of her worldview. In 1988 she began formally studying within an eclectic Wiccan tradition of Gardnerian lineage, and after initiation through third degree, was named a high priestess and began her Circle of the Cosmic Muse in 1991. Through ordination in Community Church of Religious Science (CCRS) in 1994, and also in 1995 through affiliation with Covenant of the Goddess, she holds credentials of legal ministry.
In 1998, Simms moved to New Hampshire, remarried, and in 1999 became the first woman chair of NCGR. She is also on the advisory council for Seattle's Kepler
College of Astrological Arts and Sciences. At this writing, she is serving a second elected term as NCGR chair, and is also working on a new book and new paintings. Simms, who has three grown daughters and two granddaughters, greatly enjoys the serenity of a wooded rural property with plenty of room for family visitors. There she has created a large stone circle garden with marker boulders at the cardinal and solstice points dominated by a seven-foot monolith at Spring Equinox sunrise, as a permanent setting for her Circle gatherings.
Her books are Twelve Wings of the Eagle (1988); Dial Detective 1988; 2d ed., 2001); Search for the Christmas Star (1989); Your Magical Child (1994); Future Signs (1996); The Witches Circle (1996); and A Time for Magick (2001).
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