ASA Members & Area Astrologers who have been a part of our lives…
Charles McClelland was a well-known driving force for astrology in Austin. Charles’ wish to pass peacefully in his home surrounded by loved oneswas granted on the morning of August 21, 2017. To those who knew Charles, it seems only fitting that his death and a total solar eclipse in North America should occur on the same day. Charles was born March 7, 1943, in Paris, Arkansas, in the township of Short Mountain, as the eldest child of Charles Alfred McClelland and Vera Mae Bashaw McClelland. From Colorado University in Boulder Charles held a BA in philosophy, magna cum laude. He also attended Rice University; and earned graduate hours in math, philosophy, and computer science from The University of Texas at Austin. At Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc.
Charles worked as a mathematics editor from 1988 until his retirement in 1999. His discovery of astrology in the summer of 1965 was the decisive experience that shaped Charles’s worldview. From that point forward, astrology and philosophy were the twin passions of his life. He also enjoyed literature, writing short essays, classical music, film, art and, not least, conversations with friends. Over the years Charles participated in many spiritual groups in Austin, including the Jung Society, the Sufi Order, The INACS organization and the Astrological Society of Austin. He also created the Consciousness Study Group.
Gina Lalli passed away peacefully on the morning of February 16th at Dell Seton Hospital. She was 89 years old.
As a young adult, Gina moved to New York City and continued what would be a lifetime of learning. She studied modern dance under Drid Williams, with whom her friendship continued for a lifetime. While in Manhattan, she became a yoga student of Swami Vishnudevananda through whom she met Swami Chidananda, sparking a lifelong spiritual quest in her. And after seeing a performance by the Uday Shankar Dance Company, she became fascinated with Indian classical dance. From 1952 she studied Bharata Natyam with Nala Najan in NYC for two years. She spent two summers studying Sanskrit at the University of Philadelphia. Over the course of sixteen years from 1954 to 1970, Gina spent up to eighteen months at a stretch in India during her four trips to study two completely different classical styles of dance; Kathak, from the North and Bharata Natyam, from the South.
In 1971, on the invitation of a friend, Gina presented a full length Kathak solo performance in the sleepy Texas town of Austin. As she stamped her final rhythmic sequence, the drought-ridden city was quenched with a thunderous downpour. This enigmatic event and delightful audience reaction compelled Gina to move from NYC and make Austin her home. Over the next several decades, Gina would become a central figure in the cultural and artistic landscape of this growing city. The Austin Critics inducted Gina into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2003. She also received the Texas Non-Profit Theater Award for her performance in Playhouse Creatures. She kept herself active by serving on the adjudication panel for the City of Austin arts funding. Alongside her artistic activities she also taught classes on Indian spiritual texts like Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras. As a voracious book collector, reader and scholar, she deepened her international impact on Indian dance with numerous articles published in the Journal of Anthropological Studies.
Gina also acted in a few feature films including Richard Linklater’s cult classic “Slacker” in 1990. Gina was also in two films by Walter Reuben, “The David Whiting Story” in 2013 in which she played numerous roles including Ayn Rand. The film went on to win the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Independent Film Award. She also appeared in Reuben’s “The Big Raincheck” in 2015.
Yet another of Gina’s lasting gifts to the world was through her astrological brilliance. She began studying astrology in Manhattan and changed many lives through the deeply insightful readings she gave throughout the years. Trained as a mathematician, she had inherent intuitive skills that she gave to others through astrological guidance. With her sometimes uncanny readings, Gina seemed to have an answer to that conundrum, “If we can remember the past, why can we not remember the future?”
A memorial celebrating Gina’s extraordinary life is planned for later this spring.