Steven Forrest and Kelli Fox

Recorded September 24, 2009 Archived September 24, 2009 01:20:39
0:00 / 0:00
Id: SFB000510


Kelli Fox, 42, interviews her colleague Steven Forrest, 60, about his occupation as an astrologer.

Subject Log / Time Code

SF becoming interested in astrology when he was younger. The first book he picked up was called ‘Astrology for Teens’
SF talks about the publishing of his first book, ‘The Inner Sky,’ after a publisher from Bantum books called him and asked him to write a book. He also talks about this event in relationship to his astrological chart
SF discusses why astrology has been met with such skepticism, citing the Enlightenment
KF asks what SF’s daily life is like as an astrologer
SF says his single greatest insight from a life of astrology and doing readings for over 30,000 people is to respect human diversity and to realize there are so many different ways of being human.


  • Steven Forrest
  • Kelli Fox

Recording Location

San Francisco StoryBooth

Partnership Type



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00:13 Kelly Fox 42 September 24th, 2009 contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, California my relationship to Forest very very good friend and someone who I admire greatly and someone who is always in my heart.

00:34 And I am Stephen Forrest and I am 60 which astonishes me it is a September 24th, 2009 and presently located at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. And my relationship to Kelly fox has no dear dear friend and tremendously valued colleague and the astrological world and an inspiration really is as to how to bring astrology out into the larger world.

01:07 Real astrology columnist Rob brezsny one schoology the most brilliant astrologer alive still horoscope will so I called you a premier astrologer in a wise man stinks as you managed to convince the skeptic wild banking the charlatans ism that surrounds popular astrology Robert Downey jr. Says I Marvel at the accuracy. It's Dave's ratings system. Nothing is so grave as to be Beyond repair and correspondingly that there is no rainbow that would be evaporated by poor judgment in the now I can't recommend them highly enough few Steve. When did you first know you wanted to be an astrologer? I felt it before. I knew one of my first memories literally as a small child was wanting a telescope so I could look at the heavens and it was a fairly pitiful dream because I grew up in New York City where on a very clear night. You might see the

02:07 Full moon through the smog back in those days, but I actually did become an amateur astronomer when I was younger and totally absorbed me and my family background cultural background didn't really prepare me to even think of being an astrologer astrology with representatives of superstition and and the thought didn't cross my mind. But when I was about 13 years old, I I developed an interest in palmistry the ancient Psychology was organized primarily through astrological metaphors, but but that translated into palmistry, for example, you have a plain of the Moon and a pint of Jupiter on your hand. So I still have no interest in astrology, but I tend to rage I become a fairly proficient Paul must at least. I know I learned the basics and then when I turned off

03:07 I guess about 17 or 18 the fascination and Magic that arose from looking through telescopes sort of collided with the ancient psychology. I've learned through palmistry and I I just woke up one morning and I wanted an astrology book and I never let go book. It was it was called astrology for teens, but I qualified them I believe but I II astrology book that I got was actually a pretty substantial what it was write your own horoscope by Joseph good of it and what he did was he went through the meaning of each of the planets in each of the signs. So I immediately was taken beyond the realm of you know, a la ru-ru a gem and I are you a Scorpio into

04:07 The more subtle dimensions of the astrological metaphor which included the idea that you might have mercury in Aquarius and Saturn in Virgo and and so on so I really began to cut my teeth in a serious way with Joseph could have just booked that's really fascinating. I didn't know about the the background with the Thomas Train really interesting.

04:32 Background there is no way that would it would lead you necessarily into astrology. Why when you are 13 years old, are you buying and getting really interested in palmistry? That's a very good question. What happened? We saw there's a phrase We astrology issues with a laugh always the Faces by chance by chance. I am quotes. I I met a person whom I perceived to be a woman. I think she was about 16 and it was 13. She was a German woman and I was on vacation with my family in Upstate New York and and and she knew palmistry on just they know. She was one of the kids with us basically and she told me palmistry and that that's how I encountered it. Actually my parents were not antagonistic towards any of this stuff fortunately, but they it just wasn't part of their world.

05:26 So random random mating could be turned around and I really wish I remembered the name of that German woman. I've loved to Google her and see if I could find her just say thank you because she she changed my life or created a monster or

05:46 You could have died in religion. Do you see any connection between astrology and religion there is a connection but they shouldn't be confused with each other. I I think so far if we try to imagine religion without music.

06:04 We can do that but religion would be weakened. If if music were not part of it the other they have a complimentary kind of relationship and I find that astrology can complement virtually any open-minded religion in a fairly similar way. It's it doesn't preach theologically that anyone but ultimately I think that astrology is about the timing of events in the in our spiritual Journeys in the nature of the the lessons that we are learning and one makes ultimate sense of astrology only in the context of the idea that life is Meaningful and purposeful and that we're here to learn something and and that that ideas, of course Central do just about any religion as well and I compliment each other, right?

06:58 You're recognized alternate written numerous astrology books as well as a normal stalking annabis. But what led you to write your first book being asked I asked him about it in a rather magical way. I I had no particular intention to write. I assume that someday I would write books but I wasn't actively pursuing that I turned off 30 or 31 and had an active astrological practice my telephone rang and it was a literary agent in New York City of actually being very powerful one. And if she represented Mario Puzo adjust near written The Godfather and Pain Associates, she was a heavy hitter and she had heard about my work through a mutual friend of a person for whom I had done a reading and she was basically contacting me to see if I might be interested in writing an astrology book on spec that she would

07:58 Wow, which are so I wrote a proposal and six weeks later. I had to deal with Bantam Books, which she was just completely out of the blue and miraculously the planet Uranus are correlated with the unexpected in the unpredictable was crossing my ascendant at the time. So I expect the unexpected really came too fast for me. That's amazing because you're such a highly-regarded Ulster astrological offering it seemed his another I keep saying random that it's another random chance that somebody I mean, what are the chances it book publish? It would contact you to write a book when you hadn't written a book before I mean that was that to me. That's incredible. We speak of Randomness and I'm thinking of Albert Einstein's famous remark that, you know, God does not play dice with the universe, you know his report against the quantum mechanics paradigm shift and Einstein later repented of saying,

08:58 I think that then he was actually Wright State this pretty rigorously because I could predict in fact did that something in quotes random would happen to me on this predictable date essentially and you know my phone rings and I have a contract with Bantam Books. So if we can predict Randomness you don't we have just entered the realm of the oxymoron because it is predictable if it's truly randoms part of it, but again, you know you were sending his

09:39 Expect the unexpected. That was an old book author. He's going to call me with a deal but it just turned out that way and the ascending of course is who you are and how you appear to all this and I'm being a highly regarded and famous in the astrological world at least author. It's just it's incredible and I I want to thank that book publisher somewhere or wherever she is out there that you know, you've create she she contacted you as a rider and hints all your wonderful books. That was already Jackson. I can't she saw your now actually married to the prominent American novelist Thomas pynchon.

10:25 So, what did you think when you got this phone call where you like? Oh, I predicted something like this would happen today. Here it is or what went through your mind when it when she was like, will you write a book first thought in all honesty was this was one of my Idiot Friends pulling my leg early 1980s and in North Carolina, you know, it's not really connected to the the big world at also. My my literal first reaction was it was somebody joking with me, but I you know quickly figured out that that wasn't the case and I did because astrology has

11:11 It in the words of Johannes Kepler astrology has compelled my unwilling belief. That's a very beautiful quote. You didn't want to believe in astrology. But as soon as he open to to the possibility that it was real it compelled his unwilling belief and that it happened to me considerably prior to the story of me getting the book contract. And so I knew would great confidence that something unexpected was going to happen if it would be a change in the scene with my life and in a major way, I have to always the complication talking about astrology is that one can slip into jargon very easily amused everybody. So let me just say that

12:00 The position of the planet Uranus in my birth chart is in the sign Gemini which correlates with writing and it's in the 8th house, which among other things will correlate with what we might call the occult. And so the nature of the planet Uranus for me also invoke the idea of writing and potentially the idea of the astrology. So Uranus hitting my ascendant had that specific quality of meaning if there was another layer of detail in other words, like having the Uranus in Gemini in the it already predisposed. It was just a matter of the trigga coming along the prompt you to write. The first Vulcan has become the famous author speaks is an extended argument for the intellectual and philosophical plausibility of astrology. What was your inspiration behind this work? Have you encountered many non-believers or even antagonist to Old astrology?

13:00 I have encountered.

13:03 Countless the legions of people who are antagonistic skeptical about astrology infect the you know, if I say, I'm an astrologer to a stranger of sometimes people are just fascinated and interested but it's not unusual for someone to immediately assume. I'm an idiot. You know that that I've essentially announced that you know, because I believe in astrology and the it's often said that there is no scientific evidence for astrology and that is simply not true. You know that that's all that's a distortion. And so one of the reasons I wrote the night speech was to Simply put together of an extended essay for why astrology it was something that we could actually believe him. You know that there are rational reasons to believe in it. There are there's not only evidence of all sorts of Nature's for at operation but there

14:03 Physical theories for how it might work on their controversial but it's not it's not a completely airheaded idea. Why do people have this opinion about astrology? Where did it come from?

14:17 That's a really juicy question.

14:21 The The Fairly standard academic answer it is that the the so-called Enlightenment began if you know Isaac Newton and so on the Scientific Revolution when people began to look at the world more objectively and analytically and and not so superstitiously so to speak that's a rather prejudicial word, but that's usually how it's represented another astrology essentially fell out of Grace when that old worldview collapsed and was replaced with science religion got through it's not so much scientific as far as I know and the Superstition and I'm saying that in quotes such as astrology didn't pass the test will pass the muster so to speak I think that the claims of religion are they don't step on the feet of science too much. They're sort of in a separate category.

15:21 Astrology, even though it's different from astronomy. It's using the same kind of language. And so I think that it was more threatening to to the folks who were defending what amounted to the new emerging religion of the myth of an objective Universe the do you know, the the myth of causality Rider same if not, not like these are wrong ideas. But but more to frame them is belief systems. It's it's very interesting enough to a hundred years ago along comes. Well quantum mechanics and Albert Einstein and all of that and and

16:01 Almost the entire edifice of science as it arose in the enlightenment so-called has been completely dead in the water for a hundred years and the the the astrological presumptions actually blend much more easily with a kind of quantum interpretation of the universe than they do with the old push-pull causality, you know, time-based models, right and just for my understanding of history of his throat the history of astrology astrologers with the scholars with the Learned man, or they work with royalties it true. Can you tell me more about the right back to the rise of universities for exam pulling on it? Like medieval Europe and I don't think there was a single University that didn't have a department of astrology. It was it was right up there with every every other every other academic disciplines.

17:01 I'm. And that lasted for really several hundred years and then of course, you will go back into the the literally the dawn of recorded history and you know, who's who's sitting on top of the pyramids are the ziggurats and what are they doing? And of course the answer is the usually described does astronomer priests with a hyphen. But of course there astrologers to Divine the will of the Gods from the Motions of the planets astrology and astronomy is one in the same. There was no distinction the world's oldest profession.

17:39 That's very funny. You write several books for bed and double die deal and then you write some for ACS, which is a specialized astrological Publishing House. You lost several volumes have been published by around seven pools, press what's the story day? Would you ever write for mainstream publisher again? Are you I would gladly reipro mainstream publisher again, if they if they allowed me to write 2 in a way that was seriously respectful of astrology. It wouldn't have to be tedious how you know, I get my books are off our deep, but they're

18:17 Fun. Yes, they are definitely uncomfortable telling jokes and then if we don't laugh we cry and neurology is very seriously about the raw realities of life. So we need some humor in there. I would be delighted to write a book for a mainstream publisher. If they if they would allow me to write it intelligently generally speaking the the thrust of the mainstream market with astrology is soft is pretty much the it's kind of a bottom feeder Market which is sad, but but true, you've got to best keep it really simple man. At worst make it stupid because they are catering to a general audience and from my understanding sun sign astrology is what people know out there. And is that what they're expecting you to not about you that is true, but I believe that one could do very intelligent sun sign astrology if it's simple as

19:17 Neurology. It's simpler than astrology astrology should be but one can do it well, but the pressure to sort of Pander to two people who

19:30 The scope of their imagination is essentially will I get rich will I get a new car? You know that kind of thing in your God bless them to I don't mean to sound judgmental but I am not particularly good at addressing those kinds of needs. I thought they don't move me. They don't interest me the people for whom I would rather work as I was as a professional astrologer in the counseling context in the people for whom I I write our our our folks who are serious about the their psychological and spiritual Journeys sand and you know, apply examination and intelligence to to looking at their own lives, and I'm not taking responsibility for their own decisions and rather than looking for the quick fix. So they're quick give me the racehorse tips for next week with the right and it became harder and harder to find Publishers who are willing to do that even in summer.

20:30 To some extent within the even somewhat more technical astrological World. There was still some dumbing-down pressure and I was quite delighted to switch over to our 7 plus price the story there was not something I intended but my my my wife Judy I had written a series of historical fantasy novels and she was so she came very close to getting them published with some major Publishers, but she couldn't really bring that to pass. And so she decided to take the bull by the horns and just start her own independent press on books and I was good and your God bless you and she dived into that project and I actually did very very well with it and kind of open my eyes that you will let sucked. Let's published by publishing in astrology book and you don't sell quite as many but you get a lot more of the money and so financially I found it really wasn't

21:30 A different and then the Delight is you know, if I want to use a big word, you know, I can so I do that sometimes I'm laughing because knowing Jodi and making that decision to create your own Publishing House, you know suits her personality. It's so yeah, she's an aquarium. So, you know, nobody's going to tell her what not to do. Mine is so spoiled by a square to Neptune Jody is monumentally efficient and organized and productive and I'm more of you know left handed right brain kind of person. So you make it perfect match. We work really well together you make coffee what happens next?

22:27 Rowlett CIA make the sign of the cross and then I punch get messages. I put a lot of time into email, you know what my clients twin people have questions and so on but generally by you by 9 or 10. I'm either recording an astrological reading for someone that all mail to them or work sitting with someone in person. You know, who's who's made an appointment and come for a reading? I'm pretty well known in the astrological world at this point, but my daily life is mostly the astrological Country Doctor. So to speak just do impractical private and Hands-On work with people and had the client by so I'm guessing for a long time people have followed you forever seems people at work with for Wilfred.

23:23 Decades and it just a couple of weeks ago. I had a wonderful experience a thirty-seven-year-old mother-of-two contacted me for a reading and reminded me that I've actually done a reading for her 20 years earlier when she was 17 first time I'd heard from her in and all those years and I she grown up and obviously gotten on with her life and and yet, you know 20 years later we we connect again and and I I love that kind of thing. It's like a watching somebody's life like a a slideshow. Most of my clients will come in or typically every two years or so, you know, I I don't I don't I don't want to be the kind of astrologer that tell somebody what color shirt to put on each morning and I don't want to be in that kind of have you had people that actually expect that yes, but other I quickly discovered something, you know, I I I will participate in that it doesn't interest me enough. I I I prefer to a new kind of take the longer.

24:23 If you would people somebody's in a crisis in there an old client, then I'll let you know sometimes Dive In and Out in a much more detailed sort of way. If if I can be helpful, but mostly is I was saying people, you know, somebody come get her basic birth chart reading and then anytime after that we'll we'll do a current events call the transit in progressions kind of reading on and typically after that the average client would come every every two or three years, you know, when we'd sit and have a have a deep talk and that's that's that image. I was using a minute ago about like a slideshow of somebody's life, you know, if every two or three years you just have a a really profound, you know, so, how are you doing conversation? And then and then two or three years later you get another another look at it. It gives you a real sense of the symphonic development of a person's life. Right? And I know it from my very limited experience as it can Sony astrologer. I wasn't be put off because I I seem to have attracted these it one woman who called me seven.

25:23 Times in one day at a front and maybe cuz I didn't want to type that sort of responsibility to make a decision in someone's life because that's not how I regarded myself to be it was more about inside and guidance rather than all. Yes, you're going to wear a yellow shirt tomorrow. So that was my own experience. So when when I I know you've been Consulting and many many years and I just I have a high regard for that for that reason for my own experience profound Lee meaningful life of all the things I'd do, you know the writing in teaching and so on that the client work is right at the top of the list as far as what just satisfies my soul, you know, making a making a difference in somebody's life that wakeley making a difference in somebody's life. And that's how I regard the profession of his out of an astrologer is that

26:17 If I'm a what I'd for someone who I never had an astrological reading you say you do these readings what what is that? What does that mean? You do a birth chart reading or current events reading? What are you doing? What are you doing? When you have a consultation good question will basically just do Elemental answer is the birth chart is is a map of the sky at the time and the place of a person's birth. So we will you know, see the moon was setting and Mercury was rising and you know, things like that just it's simply a physical map of the sky and from it we get a get a sense of

27:01 What one at one level a kind of simple level week we can make descriptive statements about a person's character. You know, it's for example determining if someone is an introvert or an extrovert is generally fairly easy, you know just for me I'll look at the chart the limits of that kind of astrology or are that somebody is an introvert. They probably already know it, you know that they they may be amazed at the astrologer could see it in the chart but nobody has really learned anything on an awful lot of astrology actually works pretty much at that level where it's a party trick. It's proves itself, but it's just a party trick the kind of astrology that that I do one of my sort of bumper sticker lines is that I I aim to go beyond description into prescription which is to say making suggestions for a person about how their life can can be happier.

28:01 How they can be more self actualized and and the individual realities of each chart will help me determine like for example off while just about everyone is motivated by relationship don't work. We've most of us would like to exchange love with another human being people. There's some people from that is absolutely Central, you know that they cannot be who they are but without intimacy and their other people whose Nature's are are more independent on astrologically it's so I wouldn't want to be too rigid about this but it's possible to describe someone who really probably shouldn't be married, you know, for example that they're they're not wired for that. I need to say that. What do you say to that person and they having relationship they are in a marriage. How do you address that? I probably wouldn't flat.

29:01 How to say to anybody you know, you shouldn't be married but most especially if they already are then then you have no business getting there. But but if I saw that kind of indication in the chart and somebody is already married would my intent would be to try to support their marriage. That's the only ethical thing but to recognize that too skilfully support that person's marriage. I would need to emphasize to them that you know, you need a lot of space you need a lot of Independence there people get married and and they're basically surgically joined-at-the-hip, you know from that moment on and now they're thinking the same thoughts having the same friends and and that's okay. That's that's fine. But there's some people not wired for that. So you want your marriage to last Breathing Room space for the wind to blow between you you knowing that that was helpful advice. I think a lot of times people they know that themselves they need to hear it from someone else and unbiased third-party and then they're okay with that.

30:01 So funny how the this map of the sky once it once a person starts to recognize what's going on there people honor it and the end they give it a great deal of authority. And so something that they you know, they feel inside themselves, but their social conditioning has pulled them to your feel bad about themselves were feeling that or try to imagine that there's something else and then you you had this this this vote. It's like yours The voice of God saying, you know, this is who you actually are and you can just see people relax and breathe and you know, thank you, you know you love you. Thank you for letting me be myself again exactly that that's right.

30:43 If clients you write books, you have a prentice's you travel all over the world to lecture. How do you tape up with a dull? And what is the mix of all those things actually look like

30:55 Insanity is the first hahaha I do.

31:03 I think of the work that I do really more as I hope this doesn't sound pretentious but I think of it more as a mission than as a profession I can speak professionally if I if I need to but it is a mission and and so I feel like I'm willing to to work too hard, you know, it's not to be melodramatic. But if I do know if I shaved three years off my life because of the you know, the high levels of stress that are connected with maintaining all this I'd count myself

31:40 Fortunate at Airline the bottom line not that I I were living fewer years in the world, but that I'd gotten so much meaningfulness in my life, you know that the that the modest price of yours and actually my my guess is because this work gets me such a sense of purpose and meaning in my life that my guess is it will probably extend my life, you know, right I can say that a reason to live, right?

32:10 Many would consider you the father of evolutionary astrology. Can you please explain what that is evolutionary astrology particulars you within which I work and it's at the heart of it in Practical terms is that we we emphasize that people are evolving standard astrology, you know, it will describe your personality The evolutionary perspective is suck you say about this personality that you allegedly have we could have made let us say psychiatrically insightful statements about your 10 years ago that are not true any longer because 10 years ago you had Grace enough to to hear that and and change, you know, you have changed you have grown. So at one level we could tell you just don't have a personality in the sense of a of a fixed thing that just sits there to be described. You're actually an evolving being and that's that's enough.

33:10 That's simply direct observation of reality much of conventional astrology tends to be more descriptive evolutionary astrology focuses on the questions the methods of evolution what optimal evolutionary States look like, that's the Practical heart of it and then to be totally honest about it though the logic of evolutionary astrology on holds against. Metaphysical backdrop, where we we do make the Assumption of of reincarnation. It's sort of Buddhist Hindu Druid. Edgar Cayce perennial philosophy kind of background. It's not rigidly affiliated with any particular religion, but we do assume that the evolution of Consciousness through many lifetimes in the idea that in the birth chart are are some hints about who you were and prior lives and and how those unresolved issues might haunt you and

34:10 Crescent manifest in the present with a client I use this language, but I always say to people that. Will first if somebody's actually sitting with me, I'll just ask if it's all right, if I use reincarnation a language. I know I always explain that there are other ways of looking at this we can say what the the past life information could be. Understood is your ancestors, you know when some genetic model or are just how God made you if you prefer that I just added one more point though. I I've I've lost count but I've done readings for thirty or forty thousand people. I've been at this since I was Tiny and I'm 60 now on and I work like a maniac so, you know, I've seen a lot of folks and I always ask them, you know about whether reincarnation is acceptable and only two times. I have a 5 people said no, please don't use reincarnation the language which is interesting and not one of them was.

35:10 When was a professor at Catholic University and he came back? We had a theological position on that one obviously, but he came back about twelve years later and said tell me about my past lives now. So I am down to one psychotherapist in Marin County. Who did Juan Avenue past lives. So that's okay. I did a reading for her without any such references, but it's interesting to me that in a culture such hours Wichita mural nominally a judeo-christian or in or existentialist, you know doesn't really believe in reincarnation officially that that there is a in my experience an almost Universal open this to the possibility of it. You know that people are kind of open to hearing about it.

35:54 Right. What's the single greatest inside astrology is given year.

36:02 Respect for human diversity, you know that that's it in a nutshell.

36:07 We have so many many different perfectly fine perfectly healthy ways of Being Human on this Earth and it's so easy to to find something that works for oneself, you know about believe for a relationship with sexuality or you know, it just anything works works for me and then then to imagine that that same for me it was going to work for everybody else. You know, I'm weak up that sort of proselytizing, you know enthusiasm and astrology is completely cured me of that. You know, what there's the there is so many different realities in so many different perfectly healthy ways of Being Human. I found that it's well that that you summarize that perfect like that's exactly what astrology is taught me as well that people are diverse in their different we come from different experiences and places and it really is wonderfully kind of box people.

37:06 Exactly. What it what a great lesson. If that alone makes me wish that everybody in the world would just have a little exposure to tune Sirius astrology just for the contribution. They could potentially make to social harmony and World Peace someone take their interest in astrology to the next level.

37:26 Toyota good question there many many options nowadays the internet house. Of course, I allowed Villages essentially to form based on people's common interests. And so there's a there's quite a quite an active exchange of information on the internet Among Us trolinger's different forums and so on and that's the way to start to get one's feet wet in the in the world of astrology at night. It's important to gauged who's giving me information and I think it was some sort of put it right telling jokes, but the dog was sitting at the computer answering the questions and like how do you know who is really responding that you really need to be careful who you're actually getting information from you know, I'm probably if somebody wants to go further. I I'm a great believer in in Idaho by person.

38:26 Teacher student kind of relationship. And so if you're living in do you know Peoria go?

38:37 Astrological readings, you know from the local astrologers and know if you find you have rapport with a certain astrologer that maybe they'll just roll out your teaches classes. It's a it's a it's a thin soup spread out all over the world, but ours are astrologers everywhere. If anybody were interested in anyone pursuing the kind of astrology that I do out of out, of course, you know, if I went to Harvard self-aggrandizing Lee as a read my book, so I know I have my apprenticeship programs as well for people who are seriously interested in learning to be professional astrologer sweetheart. I think a total of about 500 people have you know been in my program and has existed for about 15 years and it's either, you know personal a lot of folks are now a astrological offers speaking at conferences many of going on to establish their own practices. Wonderful it. What is the future of astrology look like to you

39:37 Right now it's the Tower of Babel. We have so many different branches of astrology and Vedic astrology and classical Greek astrology and evolutionary psychological and I am concerned about how astrology is losing the community is losing its ability to talk to itself because of the the loss of common language, but I have faith that that's why not chaos is part of a creative process that I don't just understand myself at this moment.

40:12 So, thank you. Thank you Stave.