Prominent Greek painter "Tsarouchis" once said: "In modern Greece you are (professionally, socially) whatever you claim to be". Laws are rather loosly applied in my country. Combine this with the fact that Greece is the poorest country in Western Europe - going now through a huge crisis - and with the fact that astrology renders VERY WELL in Greece - twice to thrice the average wages and in several cases 5 - 10 times the average wages!) then you will realize why so many crafty people claim today TO BE ASTROLOGERS in Greece! Thus, a huge circuit of lucrative, uncultured "astrologers" is dominating the scene, putting aside, marginalizing, calumniating and even intimidating the (actually few) cultured Astrologers (who are seen as a major threat to these people's' interests). Needless to say that in Greece there is no Astrological Federation or Association (how convenient to the self-proclaimed "astrologers")! You may read below how the Greek lucrative astrological circuit devised a particular plot in order to silence my "annoying" voice - as I have been for many years fervently professing a cultured astrology in modern Greece:
It all began on the 15th of May 2009, when for the first time in modern Greek history 32 astrologers (and "astrologers" as you will see) gathered in Athens in order to discuss the establishment of a formal association of Greek astrologers (still in 2010 we don't have one). True astrology, the cultured one is almost nonexistent in Greece and the scene is completely dominated by lucrative "astrologers" - see also the article 'Why has quality astrology declined. The Greek grim case" here.
Personally, I have been working for the promotion of cultured astrology in Greece since the early 90's, while I have been always stressing to my Greek fellow astrologers the need to create an astrological association (I have written hundreds of relative articles on the Internet). So I was glad when I received a phone call from my former student Evita Zachariadou who announced me that with some other astrologers they had organized this special meeting. I went to it experiencing a strong heartbeat, as if I were a young boy in love. I was thinking that the dream was about to become true, as the Greek astrologers were finally meeting and beginning procedures in order to establish - at last - an astrological federation.
When I arrived at the venue I noticed that the "big-shot" astrologers (the celebrity astrologers of the TV and media) were not present, although they had received an invitation. This did not surprise me much, as I knew that these people's main concern is their (huge) personal interests, which they put above everything else and a decent Greek astrological association would just reduce their profits, fame and might. There were two semi-famous astrologers (Christos Paizes and Perikles Karaminas) along-with their students. Paizes and Karaminas - apart from coming to the specific meeting - did not participate further in the cause of creating a Greek federation. They rather preferred to be "observers" in the whole procedure. All in all, the procedures in this meeting were democratic. Whoever wanted it, could express his/her point of view in his/her turn. Consequently it was decided to establish - by a secret vote - a preliminary seven-members committee that would work out all the relative details and prepare the big convention, that would finally bring us to the establishment of the Association of Greek astrologers. To my astonishment (most of the people that were present I didn't know personally) I was voted for this preliminary seven-members committee. The composition of the committee is alphabetically listed below:
- Gazis Thomas
- Galanou Mary
- Konti Vasia
- Rizopoulos Ioannis (John)
- Panagiotopoulos Ioannis
- Sotiraki Smaro
- Zachariadou Evita
From the very first moment I started working for the purposes of the Committee, assuming that everybody else was doing the same. The committee convened four times in the very next weeks and then sometimes via "skype". I was present at all the meetings, dialoguing constantly and fully collaborating with all the other committee members. I did translate in Greek the whole statute of the Italian Federation of Astrologers (C.I.D.A, federation which I am representing it in Greece). We agreed that this statute would constitute the pilot upon which we would build the Greek statute. In common with the other members we were defining the articles, proposing additional ideas, commenting etc. Simultaneously we were taking care of other aspects of the future Federation, as the code of ethics, the certification of the professional astrologers, subscriptions etc.). My personal point of view was that they should be certified only those astrologers who would pass the relative exams, proving thus their knowledge and their general formation. But the members of the committee Evita Zachariadou, Vasia Konti and Mary Galanou were opposing this thesis, claiming that the basic premise for an astrologer to be certified should be him/her working for more than 5 years in the astrological phone line services or seeing clients for more than 5 years. If somebody covered this premise then s/he should be certified as an astrologer without taking any kind of exams!
A crucial detail here: back in 2005 I created with my wife a (non profit) greek astrological site for the promotion of the cultured astrology in Greece. It turned to be a rather succesful site and among the many members we had 6-7 very active individuals who were continuously posting. Although they never admited it publicly these individuals were actually members of the same "clique" (as I discovered later on). And the fact is that from some point on they tried to control our site and write whatever THEY wanted! They even tried to pass on some VERY DARK points of view and when they met resistance from my part they started collectively discrediting me in any possible way. Actually, from that moment on I became a permanent target of prejudice and manic furor from these people - who are actually running the so called "Bandits" blog (Bandits = Simmoria in Greek). The important thing is that these individuals (Koronakis, Saloniki, Matsotas, Bardopoulos and their "friends") are tightly related to certain members of the here mentioned committee! And their furor is such that they even started (on July 2010) an International smear campaign against me (please click the following link to see a relative post of theirs in English: http://simmoria.blogspot.com/2010/07/thomas-gazis-his-dismissal-from.html )
A few days after this meeting a man who was actually acting as a "torpedo" remotely controlled by "The Bandits" - Simmoria" group, John Bardopoulos, began writing provocative posts on the committee's web forum. Supposedly he was only interested in questioning the administrator and the procedures of the forum, contesting how democratic they were, but in reality he was skilfully and methodically discrediting personally me. You have to note here that the "torpedo" man John Bardopoulos has been for decades an intimate friend to the two main members of the "Bandits" group (Koronakis and Matsotas) and to the member of the Committee Ioannis Rizopoulos - who is also tightly related to "The Bandits".
The first thing I did when I saw the subversive posts of Bardopoulos was to ask for the protection of the seven-member committee - although I could easily delete them by myself, as I was the forum's administrator. As I explained though, I was always acting with the consent of the other committee members. And at this stage I was utterly surprised by the fact that Evita Zachariadou, Yianis Rizopoulos, Vasia Konti and Mary Galanou bluntly refused any protection to me!
The above four were of the opinion that Bardopoulos' subversive posts should remain as they were on the forum! Thus, a paradox was created: a third person was entering undisturbed in the site of the committee, steadily calumniating a member of the committee, which on his turn was barred by four of the committee's members (by the majority that is) and thus could not publicly defend himself! This "quartet" not only was opposing any eventual deleting of the Bardopoulos subversive posts - despite the fact that these posts were actually dynamiting the very foundations of the future Greek Astrology Federation - but they were also leaving a fellow-member of theirs completely exposed to the constant mudslinging of a third party! When I asked Evita Zachariadou why they do this she replied "because Bardopoulos is a "colorful" character and eventually he will be isolated by the Greek astrological community". Bardopoulos though not only is not isolated but today he is a close friend to both Zachariadou and Konti! From my side I did just what I was elementary entitled, once the quartet Rizopoulos, Zachariadou, Konti, Galanou (which as I explained had the majority in the committee) left me totally exposed. I wrote a post responding to the accusations of Bardopoulos. But as soon as I did that the above four fell over me, as if I had committed a crime!
It is at this point that the Rizopoulos, Zachariadou, Konti and Galanou quartet issued an announcement in which they announced my dismissal from the Committee, on the ground that "I was not collaborating with the other members but only litigating, promoting my personal interests and generally scheming!" But this whole announcement is a HUGE and UNHOLY LIE! I believe that nobody else in this Committee has worked so much as I did for the establishment of the federation of Greek astrologers! Nobody collaborated so closely and unpretentious with the other members of the Committee as I did. The tragic-comic thing is that my vulgar dismissal - and my replacement by astrologer Bella Kydonaki - has been the only "work" that this committee ever accomplished. Obviously Ioannis (John) Rizopoulos, Evita Zachariadou, Vasiliki (Vasia) Konti and Mary Galanou presumed that once they dismissed me they would have no more obligations towards those who voted them and towards Greek astrology. Thus, they did not conclude any other work at all and soon - by their own initiave (or rather by the lack of any initiative from their part) - they silently dissolved the committee - selling thus out the cause of a Greek astrological federation!
Obviously these people cared more for their own personal interests and profits. I was just an "annoying" voice to them. A vulnerable voice (not "connected", not famous to the general public,not rich) which they knew they could easily annihilate professionally, socially, morally and psychologically - without (or with very little) consequences for themselves. As they were many against one and as they were taking advantage of the formal vestiges of the committee to accuse me, they thought nobody would ever believe me - they are still claiming today that I am a liar, a psychopath etc. The fact is that the bluntly lucrative astrologers in Greece (who constitute the absolute majority) see me as a lonely "annoying voice" which they can easily silence. I know that I am powerless in front of the countless crafty people who are bluntly profiting out of astrology in Greece but I will keep raising my voice. Each gang of astrologers - bullies (as "The Bandits" - "Simmoria") can easily mock me and "trample" me socially - the public in Greece is not aware of their low "quality". The public's way of thinking is rather simple: "so many Greek astrologers against just one, Thomas Gazis! Then Thomas Gazis must be the bad guy..."! In any case, the greek astrologers-bullies will never succeed in demorilizing me! I will keep exposing their unethical actions no matter how hard they try to intimidate me and annihilate me!
Sometimes I feel my self as a lone "Don Quixote" who is romantically raising the banner of Cultured Astrology in a "deserted" country like Greece, abounding with people who make lots of money vulgarly exploiting astrology, a "Don Quixote" in a landscape woven with various kinds of interests of too many lucrative and unethical people and almost a total absence of that critical mass of people who would be truly interested in Astrology - supporting thus the cause of a Cultured Astrology in Greece.
Regarding now the (still unborn) Greek Astrological Association, the overwhelming majority of the Greek astrologers does not honestly wish it to be materialized - especially if it will be a democratic association and not controlled by their cliques and "circuits". The majority of the Greek astrologers feels fine without an association, because under the present conditions and within the current "anarchic" frame they better promote their personal interests and profiteer without complications. It's not a coincidence we still don't have a "panhellenic" astrological association in Greece but only private astrology "clubs". The fact is that with this "low vibrations" current astrological community there is no immediate future for Astrology in Greece, for many years to come... It is sad because 2000 years ago the Greeks (or at least the Alexandrian Greeks + middle eastern scholars) gave birth to the very horoscopic astrology, the one we are practicing now!
2011 Addendum: In 2011 the very same individuals who are responsible for the "silent dissolution" of the committee - for the formation of a (national) Greek Astrological Federation - founded a private (and apparently lucrative) astrological club named "Pame Astrologia". At the nucleus of this club we encounter the names of Dimitris Koronakis, John Rizopoulos, Katerina Saloniki, Thanasis Matsotas, John Bardopoulos, Evita Zachariadou, Vasia Konti, Mary Galanou.