In an astrological consultation an astrologer may interpret a client's horoscope, or apply the techniques of horary astrology or electional astrology when trying to ascertain a favourable time to begin a venture.
In the majority of cases, the natal chart as a means of personal growth is the main focus of attention. Such a session usually lasts around one to two hours. (It is also possible to have a consultation over the telephone or to order a written interpretation.) It is virtually impossible to give a detailed description of a 'typical' consultation because they are as varied in style as the individual astrologers. Most people consult an astrologer in times of crisis. In such cases (psychological) astrology can help by making meaningful connections between apparently unconnected events or phases in life that would otherwise remain hidden. Being able to recognise meaningful connections can be very useful when searching for solutions to the client's problems. This process is aided by highlighting triggers which can show which particular horoscope factors and their associated themes happen to be emphasised at the present time.
The advantage of such a consultation is that the client can breathe life into the astrologer's interpretation by making connections to actual personal experiences.
The term consultation could be seen to imply that the astrologers task is to give concrete advice to clients on how to cope with particular situations and events, and indeed many people who turn to astrologers expect some kind of concrete advice. However, there are conflicting opinions within astrological circles on whether giving any kind of concrete advice is really appropriate, just as opinions are divided on whether the prediction of an event is either possible or makes any sense. Stephen Arroyo calls this "The art of not giving advice". Astrologers who feel this way about astrology assume that a consultation automatically activates a process leading to increased self-awareness. Arroyo says: "For example, I've often met clients months after a consultation and discovered that they either failed to follow my oh so clever advice (whether they thought they should or not) or that some event occurred shortly after our discussion that shed new light on all their problems or put them into a completely new context."
If one assumes that every astrological symbol encompasses a wide spectrum of meaning which is dependent on an individual's (level of maturity), then both the solution to any problem and the problem itself are to be found within the horoscope itself. The process is always complex and cannot be solved with patent remedies.
The astrologer giving advice should always
- Accept a client's rejection of a particular interpretation
- Try to avoid allowing his/her own system of values and world view to colour the proceedings
- Avoid being judgmental during a consultation
Although manipulation, fear-mongering or compartmentalisation are considered deeply unethical and should be avoided, they do sometimes inadvertently occur.
One possible problem resulting from a one-off astrological consultation is that the astrologer has no way of knowing what (if any) long-term consequences may result. However, many people continue to visit their astrologer at regular intervals so that they can discuss the ongoing developments in their lives.
In order to try and ensure responsible consultations the DAV – the initials which stand for the German Astrological Society – obliges all their members to sign an oath to their profession.
Client Styles and Your Shadow (Harness)
Six challenging client styles
- The Professional
Sees diviners frequently, wants them to make decisions for them.
- The Skeptic / Confounder
Does not believe astrology is legitimate Wants to stump or confound the astrologer. May deny accuracy of interpretation even if correct. Often happens when consultation is given as a gift.
- The Agreeable Client
Over-idealizes the astrologer as infallible, or god-like. Potential to swing to opposite extreme.
- The Confessional
Confesses misdeeds to seek absolution or approval.
- Rescue Me
Expects the astrologer to magically make everything better/perfect.
- The Victim
Believes negative aspects in chart mean they are being punished. Need help turning life around by becoming more active participant.
The astrologer’s shadow
- Narcissism and grandiosity
Need to acknowledge the limitations of astrology, and astrologers are fallible.
- Awareness of one’s own philosophical and religious assumptions (how those may or may not agree with the client’s beliefs)
- Wikipedia: Eisegesis (Beware of biases)
- Five Issues in Astrological Counselling (Joseph Crane)
- Happiness in Medieval Astrology (Benjamin Dykes, 2004)
- On the Perils of Telling People What to Do: The Razor's Edge of Astrological Counseling (Ray Grasse 2001/ 2015; Astrodienst)
- English for Astrologers – No Astrologese Please (Donna Cunningham, 2009)
- Astrology Consultations: Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Reading (Brennan's Podcast, 2021)
- In episode 303 astrologers Leisa Schaim and Chris Brennan talk about some tips for getting the most out of an astrological consultation as a client, as well as some possible pitfalls to avoid
- Dennis Harness on Astrological Counseling Styles (Brennan's Podcast, 2018)
- Interview version of Vedic Astrology and Transpersonal Counseling (Article by Harness)
- How to Choose a Professional Astrologer (Brennan's Podcast, 2017; audio)
- Bernard Rosenblum: The Astrologer's Guide to Counseling: Astrology's Role in the Helping Professions. 143 pages. Crcs Pubns; 1983. ISBN-10: 0916360148 ISBN-13: 978-0916360146
Notes and References
- Stephen Arroyo: Astrology, Karma and Transformation. 255 pages. Crcs Pubns; 2 Rev Exp edition (November 1992). ISBN-10: 0916360547 ISBN-13: 978-0916360542