Updated: Jan 17
Some people go to an astrologer because they are curious. Others go because they are in crisis and want answers or guidance. In any case, it is wise to realize that astrologers differ from one to another. In Western Astrology, there are different kinds and levels of training and expertise, and different beliefs as to what the role of an astrologer is. There is mundane astrology which deals with cycles of geopolitical events; horary, which is astrology for the moment a question is posed; electional, for deciding the best time to begin an enterprise; financial, which deals with cycles of economics and market investing; and natal, which focuses on the individual person. Within natal astrology there are even more specialties such as: medical, vocational, locational, spiritual, evolutionary, predictive, relationship, and psychological. Likewise, there are different schools of astrology which focus on various specialized techniques for analyzing and interpreting the natal chart. These may offer rigorous, supervised instruction and examination.
Astrologers also continue to be self taught through books, conferences, lectures, and individual teachers. In order to create and maintain standards of excellence, differing professional astrological organizations offer testing for certification. For example, ISAR (International Society for Astrological Research) and NCGR (National Council for Geocosmic Research) offer testing for various levels of expertise. It is highly recommended that a client consult an astrologer who has been educated through a professional program or who has passed the examinations for professional excellence.
Astrology has evolved considerably over the years, and depending upon training, philosophy, and ethics, astrologers differ in how they perceive their role in relationship to the client. Some astrologer continue the practice of looking at the chart and using the symbols to describe a client’s personal characteristics along with possible challenges and gifts. This seems to be the kind of “reading” which many of the general public still expect. There are also those astrologers who focus on describing past life influences, karmic lessons, and one’s path or purpose in life. This kind of reading is increasingly being sought by the general public.
As a psychological astrologer, I can best explain the less well known counseling or “therapeutic astrology”. This kind of astrology session is usually conducted by an astrologer who has had training in counseling, human development, and psychology as these relate to the astrological symbols. In theses sessions, the astrologer uses the chart as a guide while listening to the client describe his or her concern about their life experiences. As the client tells their story, the astrologer hears the chart symbols being spoken and can zero in on what part of the chart, or what planetary configuration(s) may be especially involved and needing further exploration. One goal of this kind of astrology session is for the client to develop insight into their psychological functioning, insight into the kinds of beliefs they have about themselves, and what kind of stories they are telling themselves which may be hindering greater fulfillment and expression in life. In the process, this kind of astrology session may also explore the client’s perception of early childhood experiences. Another goal of this kind of session is for the astrologer to be able to explain more integrated and functional ways that the client may express the astrological symbols related to their concern. What are the requirements or skills which the client may need to develop in order to better integrate the challenging configurations symbolizing the client’s difficulties? A client may desire two or three sessions in order to delve more deeply into various ways of understanding the chart symbols or to discuss different areas of life.
In looking for an astrologer, then, it’s important to have clarity about what you wish to accomplish or how you wish to benefit from an astrological session. It’s important to learn ahead of time what the astrologer offers and what their training is, rather than assume that all astrologers work the same way. Decide if it is important for you to be able to ask questions and to be able to dialogue with the astrologer, rather than having to assume that they have all the answers or that they are necessarily right in what they say. Research the different kinds of astrology to help you decide what kind of relationship you want to have with the astrologer of your choice.