All of us have our personal stories of how we came
to astrology, what motivated us and how it changed our view of life and
of ourselves. This experience, plus our professional, educational and
philosophical background are the things that we bring to our practice of
astrology when we begin to read for other people/clients.
Some practitioners come to astrology from the field
of psychology and therapy, which primarily deals with people’s inner
life, their emotional issues, and how it helps or hinders them in their
response to situations. The discussions, therefore, tend to focus on
helping the client resolve such issues and achieve awareness,
self-growth and a better attitude and balance in life.
Yet, many, if not most astrologers, practice
astrology from a different angle. Some call it spiritual, others
practice good old-fashioned event-oriented astrology, and some even
practice financial and business-related astrology.
The psychological approach is represented in
Bernard Rosenblum book The Astrologer’s Guide To Counseling,
where he discusses the role of the professional astrologer as a
counselor, addressing some of these situations that are specific to
astrology, resorting to the long-studied field of patient-therapist
relationship, its methods and its potential pitfalls.
Rosenblum makes a useful distinction between
providing education, counseling or therapy for the
client. Education is mostly imparting information to the client
where the astrologer does most of the talking with minimum client’s
participation; counseling is working with the client to resolve
specific issues in a dialogue mode which allows the client to take more
responsibility in the process, while the purpose of therapy is to
engender lasting behavioral changes through a longer process established
according to the psychoanalytical model.
Yet, another term must be considered here and that
is the astrological ‘consultant’, as many of us prefer to
call ourselves. This word implies some level of professional objectivity
and personal detachment. At the risk of over-simplification, I will
summarize it as: “Here are the facts and your alternatives. You decide
what you want to do about them”.
The types of astrology described above cater to the
model of the Conscious and the Subconscious Mind only, yet personally, I
believe in the model of the Soul and its Agenda, as can be seen in the
chart. In my model, what is usually referred to as the Subconscious is
actually the Soul, and the Mind is the external conscious reflection of
it. Therefore, above all, we are Metaphysicians, and our role as
astrologers is to nurture and guide the Soul in its journey, as it is
fulfilling its Agenda this time around on earth. It’s not about
dysfunction but about destiny and purpose.
When we begin our journey into professional
astrology, at first it seems that what we need most is technical
astrological skills, in order to achieve and recreate the ‘wow’
experience that we first had. Very quickly we discover that there is a
whole layer of people’s skills that is needed, such as observation and
good listening and compassion, as well as awareness of a whole range of
situations we may encounter when dealing with people who come to us for
advice, whether we are astrological ‘educators’, ‘counselors’,
‘therapists’, ‘metaphysicians’ or simply ‘consultants’.
Regardless of the style of astrology practiced, we
must always remember that the person sitting in front of us in the
consultation room is at a vulnerable or low point in their life.
That’s why they come to us for a reading. At such a moment we are
dealing with their raw emotions, their crisis situation, their dilemmas
and their expectations from us. As in any situation, where one person is
the advisor, the helper and the all-knowing “savior” while the other
is on the receiving end, in the more vulnerable and weaker position,
certain dynamics may arise which can be productive on the one hand, or
counter-productive, and even destructive on the other, if the astrologer
is not aware of these things. Astrology is akin to psychology in that
they both deal with people’s lives and interaction with their
environment on many levels. It is possible to approach these two fields
both from the point of view of similarity or differences. Dr. Rosenblum
aptly points out the similarities in terms of the counseling process,
it’s techniques and its pitfalls in the specific context of astrology.
In my experience, not all astrological clients seek
“hand holding” and emotional help. Some are looking for business
advice or how to approach a current circumstantial crisis, or even
simply don’t wish to share their innermost world with a stranger. The
astrologer must be aware of that too and honor it. The chart on the one
hand, and the immediate encounter with the client on the other, can tell
the astute astrologer what the person is seeking and which role to cast
oneself in. As professionals, we provide a service, and we need to
“read the map” (pun intended) correctly.
Many situations can arise between two people when
one appears to have the key to the other’s innermost world, as well as
the future. The counseling astrologer must be prepared to handle
clients’ exaggerated or unrealistic expectation, anger management,
depression, a sense of hopelessness, dependency, emotional transference,
or simply trying to get close on a personal basis. The astrologer must
also know oneself, one’s own motivation, ego needs and interaction
patterns. All these may come up as issues even in a short-term
relationship between astrologer and client.
In addition, the
practicing astrologer must also be clear on a number of other issues,
which are unique to astrology:
- The purpose of the astrological reading in
general, and how it can help the client.
- Why the client is seeking help.
- How to establish trust and openness with the
client, even if it’s a one-time consultation.
- What the client
expect to hear or is ready to hear, even when they say they “want to
- The specific issues at hand and the best way to
- Which topics to avoid (if any) or work around.
- The kind of astrological period the client is in
right now, or is about to face in the near future.
- How to (or should we) impart “bad news” and
whether it can be “fixed”, or turned around.
- What to say when the client inevitably asks
“Can I change it?”
- How to empower the client and help them find
their own strength and sense of purposefulness.
- What the totality of
all this mean - philosophically and metaphysically.
These questions and issues will come to haunt
us and take us by surprise, right there in the consultation room, if we
don’t prepare for them ahead of time, whatever the type of astrology
that is being practiced.
A topic that is not sufficiently addressed in
general, is the role of astrological technique and how this knowledge
can help the astrologer help the client.
Obviously, technical skills are at the foundation of every
profession, but in the case of astrology, I believe this can be taken
one step further. Incidentally, a while back I attended a demo of a live
client reading at a gathering of professional astrologers. The reader
was very intent on the inner psychology of the client and focused
primarily on her childhood and past relationship with her father, while
the chart was “screaming” for other relevant, external and concrete
manifestation for the ‘here and now’. Identifying such situation is
just as much a responsibility of the astrologer, and this comes from the
The need for identifying the client’s
potentials or determining whether something desirable will come to pass
(i.e. forecast), requires the astrologer to resort to and integrate a
number of reliable skills and techniques. By striving to acquire such
knowledge and use it, the astrologer is better able to uncover this
information, even when far into the future, thus giving the client hope,
assurance, empowering them on their way towards their own personal
destiny and setting up a foundation for healing.
The Astrological Consultation Must Always End
on a High Note.