Tag Archives: astrology reading

The ethics of astrological practice: a Question needing an Answer…

I like it when the day throws up a compelling hot topic for my blog first thing – even if I am still half asleep at the time! A particular exchange of questions and answers with two commenters on this blog’s Facebook Page woke me up very quickly. (Their names have been changed)
The Zodiac

The Zodiac

Angela: Do you do astrology ?I would love to have mine done sometime but I don’t know who does it? Any ideas?
 
 Ryan: I’ve stumbled upon dozens of bloggers who give readings, you just have to look…
 
Me: Ryan, it may well be the case that one can stumble upon lots of bloggers doing readings, but Angela needs to be careful to choose someone who is well experienced and qualified, preferably with their work insured and supervised, with an adequate degree of experience in reading horoscopes, counselling training and a well developed sense of awareness of the power and responsibility that is taken on by virtue of reading people’s horoscopes.
 
Donna Cunningham, if you care to visit her excellent blog, has written about the negative and irresponsible things that some people can say when reading their fellow citizens’ charts.
It would be instructive for anyone contemplating booking a reading to go over to Donna’s blog and read about some of this alarming material, which by its existence emphasises the importance of  prospective clients choosing carefully if they wish their charts to be read constructively and responsibly.
Here is a short quote from Donna Cunningham’s 4.12.2014 post, which supports my response to Angela and to Ryan:

“…For many years, I had a monthly advice column in Dell Horoscope Magazine, a Dear Abby type column in which readers wrote their problems and I answered based on their astrology charts. Part of the job description for that column seemed to be putting out fires that other astrologers have set, for I got many letters from readers who were devastated by the way their chart reading was handled.

These letters pointed to the need for true and responsible professional training in our field and the need, especially, for a certain amount of counseling training. Like it or not, counseling is what an astrologer does each time a client comes for a reading….” from Awful Things Astrologers Say to their Clients

Anne W's Horoscope - drawn by hand!

Anne W’s Horoscope – drawn by hand!

I have been an astrology practitioner, teacher and writer for over thirty years now. However, I remain awestruck by the power that astrology holds, when used responsibly with compassion and sensitivity, to offer creative and constructive guidance to clients as their lives unfold.

It is incredibly affirming to be able to say – either directly or by inference, depending on what that particular client needs at that time – “Here is your unique little chip of the cosmos into which you were born. Use the energies therein as best you can, given the gifts and limitations we are all handed at the outset – which I will try to convey to you as honestly and constructively as possible. Try to work with those energies well enough to be able to hand your chip back with a little more light shining through it at the end of your days.”

Feeling connected to an unfolding, meaningful energy weave where each of us has a thread to contribute, is a wonderful antidote to the feelings of anomie, disconnectedness and wondedness which so many people feel at this time of great turbulence and upheaval.

However, the task of placing another person’s life in a context for them which makes their life’s current challenges easier to bear, helping them to work with often very painful circumstances as constructively as possible – how many people come for astrology readings when life is bowling smoothly along? Not many, in my experience! – is not straightforward, easy, or to be embarked upon lightly. It should not be embarked upon lightly or casually.

I can still recall, in the early days of my astrology practice, being extremely grateful that I had had a number of years of social work, psychiatric work, and counselling practice in which to ground my work as an astrologer. There is nothing quite like having to face the limitations of your capacity to help other people, which is a major dimension of social work, to ground you and keep you humble when taking upon yourself the power that being an astrologer brings.

I was fortunate enough to have been a student of Liz Greene’s for most of the 1990s. An entry requirement to study for the Diploma in Psychological Astrology which I completed in 1998, was that all students be in therapy for a year. It was made clear to us, in Liz Greene’s inimitable way, that we should not take upon ourselves the responsibility of  being astrological practitioners without having the experience of a long seat in the client’s chair ourselves.

So, Ryan, I do hope that my response to your casual comment, with which no doubt you meant no harm,  has not left you feeling too winded! And I thank you for making it, thereby giving me the opportunity to put forward my own thoughts regarding the great capacity for doing ill as well as good that astrologers take on when they read their fellow citizens’ horoscopes. “At least do no harm” is the bottom line of the medical profession. It should be ours too.

Angela, if you are reading this, do not be too put off. There are many good, competent, compassionate, realistic, empathic astrologers out there. Just take your sweet time to make sure you seek out a good one!

Zodiac

Zodiac

950 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

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

 

 

 

 

The art and practice of astrology: educating the dismissers!

As those of you who follow both this blog and Writing from the Twelfth House will know, I returned in May 2012 to my astrology practice after a very long sabbatical. It is great to be back. And even better to be back teaching, after a small group of my former students asked me – so persuasively that I could not refuse – to set up a ‘refresher’ class for them. We began in late August 2014 ( just as my progressed Moon moved into Aquarius: how literal is that?! ) and are all loving the experience.

It’s been challenging and satisfying to bring many of the insights gained from those ‘retreat’ years of  reading and reflection, into my renewed astrology practice and teaching. I have greatly benefitted from the work of open-minded contemporary scientists, and the developing discipline of archetypal cosmology into which archetypal astrology neatly fits, in conveying to both clients and students at least some of the excitement I feel in realising that there is a new paradigm emerging.

Reaching well beyond the reductionist limitations of materialism, that ancient tenet “As above, so below” is being reframed for our contemporary world – to include astrological symbolism as a valid model for explaining in non-material terms how our world works.

However, in the meantime, in the ‘real’ world, what do we do to counter the Skeptics (sadly, that excellent word “sceptical” has in recent years acquired a very narrow meaning) who dismiss astrology as rubbish? As an aside, I returned very happily to work with my former supervisor, whom I have now known for over 20 years. She remarked to me “Well, Anne, we were regarded as weird before you went into your retreat period. I can assure you that we are regarded as even more weird now!”  

Personally, I have never had much of a problem with this. If challenged, I make a clear distinction between the entertainment wing of our art to which Sun Sign astrology belongs, and the in-depth stuff astrologers practice which crucially depends on date, place and precise time of birth.

If the dismisser persists, I then very politely but persistently enquire for how long that person has actually studied the astrology about which I am talking. When they either directly or by evasion/omission admit that they are dismissing that of which they know nothing, I then suggest –with continuing politeness, since this is crucial – that they go away, do some in-depth study for a few years and then by all means return to the discussion.

This approach has always worked very well for me. Perhaps having my ruling planet Mercury in close conjunction with an exact Saturn/Pluto conjunction, all squared by a third house Jupiter, has something to do with it!

I would be very interested to have some feedback from my readers and Followers regarding their experience of this situation. Do leave a comment with your stories!

Whatever our experience or length of immersion in astrology and its practice, we all need a bit of help in presenting our great subject in an informed and well-thought out way to the world at large, which is often either ignorant, hostile or both. And  brilliant new book has just appeared which will help us to do just that. Here to introduce the book is Armand Diaz, books and articles editor for the Astrological News Service, a joint project of NCGR, ISAR, and AFAN:

Astrology Considered

Astrology Considered

“…Enter Astrology Considered: A Thinking Person’s Guide, a compilation of articles from the Astrology News Service (ANS), an organization devoted to publicizing the true value of astrology. Astrology Considered offers a variety of perspectives on contemporary astrology that show astrology is not a simplistic system but a sophisticated way of viewing intrapersonal, interpersonal, and global dynamics. Happily, it is also an easy read for those who do not speak the sometimes-complex astrological language….”

I have immediately put this book on my Christmas Wish List, and will be sharing the details with my students when I meet with them next week. I do hope lots of you reading this post will follow the link above, and take advantage of a very special offer! And on a practical note, for UK readers the book is available now on Amazon UK, both as Paperback and Kindle Editions.  And many, many thanks to ANS for producing this wonderful-looking collection.

Zodiac

Zodiac

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700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page