Advice on responsible astrological practice – from Donna Cunningham

I believe that it is important for practising astrologers every so often to get on their shouty soapbox on the topics of  what constitutes ethical practice and how does one become a responsible consultant astrologer.

 I have been doing this in posts during July and August 2016 – and I’m glad to say that both here and over on the blog’s Facebook Page, a great deal of interest revealed in Likes, Shares and thoughtful comments has been the result. In concluding the series for the time being ( I’ll be back on the soapbox again some other year!) I could not do better than share with you master astrologer Donna Cunningham’s excellent article on working responsibly with both the natal chart and transits. Donna has read and commented on the above posts, and has generously given me a copy of

A Responsible Approach to Clients’ Tough Transits

to share with my readers. Feel free to download and share, says Donna. The article also lists many of Donna’s other articles on good practice which would be beneficial for all practitioners whatever their level of experience to read. 

This article, an extract from Counseling Principles for Astrologers,  is a treat: practical, sensible, humane, humorous and clearly the work of a very experienced astrologer in which she shares her approaches to a range of challenging  issues which practitioners face every day in reading charts for their fellow citizens. Here is a flavour:

“…We live in very difficult times, and the world at large is in turmoil. The transits are difficult ones, too. Many astrology clients are fearful about their future but hope for good news, while astrologers struggle to make helpful predictions. Sometimes, however, the things we say can leave them even more anxious than they were before. What, then, would be a healing and empowering perspective on the concerns they bring to a session?

It’s extremely important that astrologers and their clients both understand astrology’s limitations. Natal chart features and transits to them may suggest what’s going on, but they do not set the outcome in stone. Any given placement or combination has many expressions—some challenging, some positive, yet all related. There’s no way of predicting precisely how people will express those features, for much depends on their character, history, spiritual evolution, and choices. What a consultation can do is to help them become aware of their options.

Most of us work from the heart and do the best we can to help our clients. As in any service field, the better prepared we are to understand their emotional responses—and our own—during the session, the better we can serve…”

One of my thoughtful commenters pointed out that many brilliant astrologers have evolved – and practice – without formal teaching or certification. She also made the point that going through formal certification can be so arduous, time and money consuming that it leaves little room for the actual practice of chart reading.  Her view is that stating clearly on one’s publicity where one is coming from as an astrologer, and the considerable effort and commitment it has taken to get there, is going to be enough for her.

I can see the validity of all those points. Nevertheless, I think that having the common sense and humility at least to complete a basic counselling skills qualification, to have experience of being a client oneself in whatever therapeutic context seems relevant, and hiring an experienced fellow astrologer for regular supervision sessions to offer a supportive outside view on the joys and sorrows and challenges of one’s practice, even if it takes one several years to put those conditions in place, should be a minimum aspiration for all astrologers – no matter how brilliant or self-taught they may be.

With those few comments which I hope add up to a series of posts which will be challenging, helpful and inspiring, I send out my very best wishes to all prospective astrology clients, astrology practitioners and students – not forgetting interested members of the public who may be following this series.  May your encounter with the great, ancient art of astrology be inspiring and life-enhancing.



700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House



10 responses to “Advice on responsible astrological practice – from Donna Cunningham

  1. Hi, Anne, thanks for passing along my article on transits. I should add that I’m aware that many astrologers don’t have the funds to go back to school for a counseling degree. What I would recommend is to read or download tapes from the many astrologers who now do have a counseling background.

    Also, if there are particular issues or problems that clients often bring to your sessions, read up on what therapists or other experts say about those problems and how the professional deals with them in working with their clients,

    Also, it would be very practical to read up on vocational counseling and on the types of vocations clients ask about. The US Government site has extensive free information on specific vocations, the job descriptions, and whether those jobs are currently growing in popularity or are less and less in demand.

    In short, figure out what kinds of advice you’re asked for in your practice and learn everything you can about those issues–both astrologically and in the psychological literature. My best wishes, Donna Cunningham

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Lost Dudeist Astrology.


  3. Jennifer Rosenberg

    An astrologer recently told me that my father would die this month and I could die in Oct and I should be extremely careful. She told me that I couldn’t move which is what I’m now doing. But she said if I survive 2016 then 2017 would be a great year. She was recommended to me by a very high profile astrologer — who told me in 2004 that I wouldn’t ever marry even though I was in a relationship at that time… he said it was better for me to be alone. Donna Cunningham is the best astrologer in the world — my best reading ever. I should have gone back to you.


    • Jennifer,

      thanks so much for your openness in telling us this grim story. This is why we astrologers need to get on the soapbox and shout about the need for ethical practice. Our community is so fortunate to have had Donna Cunningham all those years – and for her to have made so much of her high-quality writing available so that we can benefit from her common-sense wisdom, humour and compassion. I am so sorry you have had such bad experiences….


    • Oh, Jennifer!! That is absolutely horrendous malpractice. I can’t believe astrologers like that still exist!! People, if you ever get a reading lie that, don’t listen. It is against the code of ethics of all major astrology organizations to predict death. Donna Cunningham

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This ethic is something I always admired in you as my mentor and astrology teacher. I try to pass this on as a matter of some importance to anyone who expresses an interest in learning astrology and my thanks to you for your insight and wisdom over the years ♐️🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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