An astrologer since 1972, Don holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a major in Classics, and a minor in Astrology in the Ancient World in 1976. He continued his graduate work at both Boston University and Brandeis. In 1983 he was voted ‘Best Astrologer’ in the Valley Advocate’s ’Best of’ series. In 1992 he was the featured speaker before 50 astronomers and physicists in a presentation Don likes to call, ‘Athena in the Lion’s Den.’
Athena’s Web was carried by The Advocate Newspapers from 1984 to 1992. From 1992 until 2010 Don was picked up by the Amherst Bulletin. Since February of 1999 the column has been available on-line, and every weekly issue since that date can be found under the ’Columns Archives‘ link. Don is a NCGR Level IV professional astrologer, and has written and produced shows for radio and television. Together with his wife Gail, he led groups to Belize from 1998 to 2000, studying Mayan medicine and relating tales about the stars. He’s produced two one-hour videos which are available for purchase, Myths, Dragons and the Ages in 2003, illustrating the weave of celestial wisdom throughout indigenous cultures around the world.
Based on this theme, but far more extensively researched, Don has just finished work on a book on the planetarium show, entitled
“When the Dragon Wore the Crown, Center and Circle.”
“Putting Starlight back into Myth.”
Life changed considerably after my wife Gail’s passing in July, 2000. Immediately after those dark days Don traveled back and forth across the country, journeying from Nantucket to New York, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona and Colorado largely looking for himself.
While whiling away those long lonely hours behind the steering wheel, the beauty and majesty of this land became increasingly apparent. With Venus in Cancer, love for home and family has grown to include a love for the land. In the spring of 2003, he moved to Boulder and then to Santa Cruz in 2005, where he now resides with his wife, Lisa.
Don married Lisa on August 15, 2006 (the day after she turned 50! I figured she was old enough to know better!), and again a year later on December 11th, 2007. These were the east and west coast editions. Stay tuned for a ceremony coming to a location nearest you! Before the first wedding, we honeymooned in Italy, Sicily, Malta, Greece, Crete and Amsterdam, from the heights of Mount Olympus and back. I think marriage is a wonderful way to conclude a honeymoon, but that’s my opinion.
I am so very proud of my two children Katie (Kathryn Megan Cerow) and Andy (Andrew Alexander Davis Cerow), whom I love very much.
After working full time in a lab at Boston University, while pursuing her Masters in forensics, Katie now lives in Somerville, MA and is working in the area of her graduate degree.
Two grandsons, one son, and father.
Andy completed his AS in Criminal Justice at Greenfield Community College after which he earned his BA in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts. Andy moved to Dallas and spent a couple of years working in IT for a radiology lab as an adjunct to a hospital before returning to Massachusetts in June, 2012 where he now resides.
With my past in the anti-war movements and general sentiment towards the establishment, I told Andy I was a little nervous about him going into criminal justice with Katie working in forensics.
“Just as long as you don’t come after me, Mr A!” I said defensively.
With a gleam in his eye came the reply.
“Dad, you’re the first one I’m comin’ after!”
The purpose of a bio is to give folks an idea of who you are. The following is a story from my past, which, while only a small piece, is one that helped to shape my worldview and enriched my appreciation of different schools of thought.
The following was a paper written as a senior in English class at Framingham South High School during the fall of ’69. It later ran in the school paper but was about an earlier time, five and six years earlier, when I had been attending school in England. Dad had been transferred to a British Army base in Didcott, and from November of ’62 to June of ’65 we lived in England and I became, as much as is possible for an American, an English school boy. As it turned out, this was to be the longest single tour of duty Dad had while serving in the military. While we lived under English skies, Kennedy was shot and we watched as wave after wave of British musical invasions successfully launched onto American soil.
This essay had been entirely forgotten until I ran across an old copy of the school paper tucked away in the yearbook.
There are many ways besides education in which English schools differ from their American counterparts- their form of punishment for instance. In America, when a young boy does something wrong, it’s “I will not talk to Tommy during class, I will not talk to Tommy during class, I will not…” etc., for 100, 500, or 1000 times or whatever. If the situation demands more action, then perhaps suspension, or even expulsion, is the school’s verdict. But in England… ah yes, in England… the penal system is quite different.
“Wait here,” a professor will threaten. The doomed schoolboy, knowing his fate, nervously awaits while the professor leaves the room only to return all too quickly.
“Bend, BOY!” comes the command, whereupon the condemned youth quietly begins a closer inspection of the floor.
“Whack, whack, whack!” The repeated blows from the professor’s bamboo cane come insistently one on top of the other. The English find that pain is a much better means of communication with the pupil. Before leaving England, I was to become quite familiar with this quaint old English custom.
Naturally, I was not the only one to experience such hardships. There was a large, slightly over weight boy in our class by the name of Puvie. His overbearing character rather matched his girth. Having nothing better to do during one of our math classes, he removed his sandal, this being the required in-door shoe, and placed his compass, point first, through the hole in the front. Then, replacing the shoe on his foot, he proceeded to give the chap in front of him, a rather small boy by the name of Bone,
a good swift kick. Poor Bone yelped uncontrollably. The headmaster, teacher of this particular class, turned to find Bone fruitlessly trying to suppress his spasmodic sobs.
“What’s the matter, Bone?” demanded the old boy, for this is what we affectionately, or perhaps unaffectionately, called him.
“N-N-Nothing, Sir” sobbed Bone.
“BONE! What IS the matter?” thundered the old man. At this point Bone, in no shape to argue, gave in.
“S-S-Someone j-jabbed me with a compass, Sir.” The old boy’s gaze immediately became fixed on the two students behind Bone, for in England, each desk holds not one, but two boys.
“Well, Kent?” he demanded, his eyelids coming together as if taking aim. John Kent, seated beside Puvie, cringed and actually retreated from the piercing gaze, if that’s possible from a fixed, sitting position.
“Who, me Sir?” N-No Sir, not me Sir!”
“Well, Brind?” interrogated the old boy, calling Puvie by his surname.
“An, well Sir, I-ah-did drop my compass, Sir, and-ah-I guess I might have accidentally touched him with it on the way up…”
Needless to say, Mr. Brind did his part to further an English tradition that afternoon when he and the cane became as one.
A rather interesting incident presented itself around a Shakespearian play that we, as the school, presented. Because the play was being performed during the evening hours of an ordinary school day, we were obliged to remain at the school and have supper there. The entire cast managed to rise to the occasion and we were able to begin the meal without any ado.
Everything proceeded normally, the teachers being seated at their table and we at ours, until the conclusion of the meal. The teachers, having finished their main course, arose and slowly filed out in one’s and two’s. I’m not sure who it was that first noticed that they had failed to eat their desserts, but in a trice there appeared seven or eight boys, myself being one, pushing and shoving about their table, grasping at the rectangular pieces of iced cake and stowing them into either our mouths or the pockets of our school blazers. Running out of the dining area and back into the classrooms (it was an exceedingly short distance as it was an exceedingly small school), we proceeded to consume our ill-gotten booty. Having thoroughly satisfied ourselves that there were no more crumbs to be found in our pockets, we paused to relax and discuss the upcoming play. No sooner had we done so but in came the old boy smiling to himself. He there informed us that he would see the lot of us the next morning to answer for our hasty, irresponsible actions. It hadn’t occurred to us that we might have done anything wrong, but it certainly had to him.
The next morning came, as most mornings do, and found me not only pregnant with anticipation, but also with underwear. I was determined to be well prepared, not to mention being well padded.
Before the start of school that morning we were all asked to file into the study. We lined up much in the manner of a firing squad, with the old boy as the victim, facing us, from across the room. As it turned out however, he was the one who was to do the firing.
“Right, then!” stated the old boy. “I’ve only one question to ask. Who started it? That is t’say, who took the first piece of cake?”
I think it was the common belief that Matthews, the first boy into the study and therefore the one who had the wall on one side of him and us boys on the other, had been the first to take the cake. With the question thus put to us we all looked down the row towards Matthews who stood there, eyes forward, waiting for someone else to answer the question. Glancing up the line, he noted to his horror that he was being regarded by six other, not so smiling faces. Perhaps in a subconscious effort to throw the blame from himself, he turned his head and eyes in the same direction as ours, only to be met with the blank face of the wall. His mind racing, and realizing the ‘buck’ had been passed to him, he quickly stated,
“Yes, Sir. Well, Sir, I believe it was Kent, Sir.” Unfortunately for Kent, he was absent that day and was therefore not able to defend himself. As a result, we all received a single whack and were instructed that we were not to be so foolish again. When Kent did arrive the next day, he received two whacks without question.
These and many other incidents like them, were to become my fond remembrances of England. For as one professor put it when confronted with the question,
“What, Sir, would you say are the qualities that go into young English lads, to make them such fine English gentlemen?” He replied,
“Why, that’s easy; a little patience, a little understanding, and a lot of beatings.”
The Original Webb School
At right is the second grade class picture. Being from a military family, we moved alot. Dad was in Vietnam in ’60 on his ‘hardship’ tour while the f
amily waited for a year in Florida.
Another thin slice of bio can be found on the Web under a column entitled My Old School. It occurred during the spring of ’69 at a boy’s school in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. It was called ‘The Webb School.’
Yea, you got it. Athena’s WEB was in part a reflection of my learning at The Webb School. I wonder what ol’ Sawney would think?
After the initiation of the radio show in 1978, Don was asked to write a column for the Campus Connection in 1983, a local paper published in Amherst, MA and serving the five college community. During that year, Rob Rainey, a local cartoonist, ran the following strip. Don went on to write for the Advocate Newspapers beginning in 1984.