This morning, I read Petros Eleftheriadis’s blog entry about the hard time an astrologer had on Penn & Teller’s show. I saw a clip of it myself and it hurt to see the astrologer trying to figure out a career for this woman whose chart he was reading. I think the planet, or rather, the luminary he was looking at was the moon. As we all know, the moon rules a variety of careers and he listed them all out. The lady said later on that he mentioned almost everything under the sun and was bound to get something right.
But that’s just the thing, a planet can have various fields of activity under its domain. Take Jupiter: If it is connected with your tenth house you could be involved with anything from organized religion to publishing (books, not newspapers or magazines), to work connected with foreign travel or the law. To the astrologically uninitiated, it looks like a long list and since they can’t see the connection to Jupiter, it looks like the astrologer is wildly throwing these options around.
What Mr. Eleftheriadis says on his blog is that astrologers shouldn’t force themselves to find answers to all questions when they look at a chart nor try and find astrological evidence in the chart for everything they see. Donning the mantle of omniscience does more harm than good. This was brought home to me a while back when I was looking at an event chart and could find no obvious astrological markers for it in its chart. While this is more indicative of the gaps in my astrological knowledge than anything else, I still felt intensely frustrated when I didn’t see what I expected to see. I’ve saved the data for another look and will return to it with an open mind after a few days.
On a related note, I’ve been assigning myself astrological homework. I have the option of looking at friends’ charts or the charts of merest acquaintances. I’ve been wondering whether it is best to do a stranger’s chart while you’re learning. Because with people you know really well, you already know the issues that plague their lives. Like my friend whose financial situation is always unstable because of her spouse’s rather erratic career history. She has Saturn in the second house, squaring Uranus exactly, to the minute! Aquarius is intercepted in the eight: I’m taking Aquarius as her husband’s income. The Saturn indicates her money worries and the square tells us that the husband will sometimes be a source of added income and sometimes not bring in anything to their joint finances.
I only saw the above aspect because this theme was playing out very big in her life recently. But you see what I mean? If you had just plunked her chart before me, would I have seen it? But that square is kind of hard to miss. Anyway, I worry about stuff like this especially since I’ve put my homework on hold: to be or not to be. To read a stranger’s chart or read a friend’s? Paralysis. Haven’t looked at any chart at all as a result.
April Elliott Kent says something very useful about this in her post Constructing an Astrology Reading. She advises that you learn about your client’s “non-astrological reality” before doing a reading. It helps you organize your work better and adds value to the consultation. What I got from this was that one does not have to work blind and figure out everything just by looking at the chart. Have you read her post? You should, I’ve linked it, check it out.
One of the things that astrology needs quite badly right now is credibility. I think astrologers educating the general public about astrology and its limitations will help. If you are an astrologer who’s reading this, how many times have people asked you to guess their sun sign, even if you’ve just met them? Yeah, I know. Someone needs to educate the masses: Why can’t that someone be you? And why not start with the next person who wants you to guess their “star” (sun, SUN sign, O ignorant wretch! Star Signs is another book that Linda Goodman wrote!) sign?
Oh, and about that event chart I mentioned, I suspect that Aquarius on the eleventh house explains quite a lot!
P.S. Here’s a great post along similar lines: http://nononsenseastrology.com/?p=2395