around the middle of the 1970s, a San Francisco entrepreneur had the idea
of selling individual chandelier ornaments as personal jewelry,
the start of the crystals craze that was still going strong in the New-Age
'80s. Another budding entrepreneur, Jim Lewis, saw this idea as an opportunity
to finance an astrological vision he had - plotting individual horoscopes
on a map of the world. Jim sold the crystals on street corners around the
Berkeley campus and trekked across country with a friend to
make sales to gift shops, living on a shoestring budget and putting as
much of the crystal money as he could in the bank. These funds were eventually
used to finance the magazine ads that sold his first Astro*Carto*Graphy
maps to the public.
The energy Jim put it into the this enterprise was matched in countless other projects he was involved in over his lifetime. Foremost among these where astrologers are concerned was the Association for Astrological Networking (AFAN), started by Jim and others in the early 1980s. At that time, there was concern among many (particularly in the US) that existing astrological organizations often did not address certain matters of vital importance to astrologers, particularly in regard to astrology's public image and its legal status. AFAN's founders knew that new organizations driven at first by a passionate vision often settle into a comfortable routine of collecting dues, sending out newsletters and holding conferences, eventually setting aside the vision and, in the process, leaving unattended many questions crucial to astrologers in their work and in their lives. Those organizing AFAN faced the problem of starting a new organization that could concentrate on those important issues while avoiding organizational problems which might distract them from this.
AFAN became the means of addressing those questions, especially those concerned with astrology's public image and its status before the law. Its unique "network" structure was designed to keep it focused on its central issues, avoiding accumulations of power or self-interest within the organization that might divert it from these. It continues today, fifteen years later, as a legacy from Jim and the many others who started and nurtured it, with its vision and purpose still intact.
Jim's dedication in this area of his life was matched in everything he did, and he was just as passionately involved in other projects, such as working for the rights of HIV-positive prisoners in the California penal system. But this dedication was not reserved just for groups, as he was always ready to give his time, a sympathetic ear, or a shoulder to cry on, to any friend in need. More than that, he was a witty, engaging companion at dinner, or on a tour of some local site when he came visiting. His friends miss him, but his work continues in this book, in AFAN, and via "Continuum," which provides resources on locational astrology and makes grants for various purposes to the astrological community.
For his development of Astro*Carto*Graphy, Jim received the first Marc Edmund Jones award in 1978, and a Regulus Award for Research and Innovation at UAC 1992. Prior to his death in 1995, Jim's colleagues voted to present him the AFAN Service Award, which has since been renamed the Jim Lewis Community Service Award.