….the “grand, overarching explanation for human behavior” which you talk about in your question shifts: from the human world with its many, continually evolving viewpoints – depending on geographical location and mores – to locating all life on tiny planet Earth within the vast teleology of an unfolding and evolving Cosmos.
Thus a truly contemporary astrology can play its part, as Diaz, Meyers and Smith so eloquently put it recently, through “…. yielding to this broader reality instead of choosing to couch the phenomena of astrology in only familiarly personal ways….”
I’ve just received this question about the practice of astrology and felt impelled to address it as fully as possible! Do drop byAstrology: Questions and Answersto read the whole post – and if you are a professional astrologer who has had to deal with this type of question, I’d be interested to have your comments….
“Horoscope” ‘s Question:
Is it true that REAL astrologers do not charge for their services as it is against the code to take profit out of a gift from God to help people? I read this and saw a medium on tele say it. In these circles it is donations given based on good work.Is this true at all?
Dear Ms/Mr/ X(I am assuming ‘horoscope’ is not your real name)
thank you for raising this interesting question. Before getting down to discussing the issue of payment of fees for any professional service, whether the professional is for example a highly trained,well qualified and experienced astrologer, lawyer, or accountant, it is important to clarify a few points for you.
Your question strongly suggests that you associate the practice of astrology in some way with the practice of mediumship. They are two separate activities. Thus a comment on how mediums operate cannot usefully be applied to the practice of astrology.
Secondly, it would perhaps help you if I made clear that there are broadly speaking two main types of astrology. The first type, popular star sign or sun sign astrology, is the kind which most people know about. …to read more, clickHERE
Astrologers are always being asked questions. By clients. By students. By interviewers for various media outlets. By open-minded members of the public. By closed-minded-members of the public. By one’s friends and family. The list is endless, the questions multifarious, the answers….? Well, that depends….
If you want to find out, drop by The Mountain Astrologer Blog, where I am guest blogger this week, presenting several of the most typical questions asked of me over the years – and some of my answers. Enjoy!
And – for those of you who have not yet discovered it,
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The essence of this important new book is summed up in its subtitle: ‘understanding the ancient discipline in the contemporary world’.
I found it a highly stimulating read which has come my way at an ideal time. Having just returned to the practice of astrology this year after a very long sabbatical, I have found “Integral Astrology” very helpful in ordering my own thinking about what my relationship now is with our ancient art in this turbulent, challenging time.
We stand not only at the start of a new Millennium, but at a liminal point. The dominant paradigm of rational materialism which has determined our world view since the Age of Reason in the 17th/18th Centuries with such success, is creaking and groaning.
Post-modern perspectives on the age-old understanding of ‘As above, so below’ are slowly making their way towards the forefront of contemporary consciousness and culture – bringing new insights from physics, humanistic and transpersonal psychologies, chaos theory etc. They all challenge the materialist view that physical reality ie matter, is the real reality….The strength of Armand Diaz’ book lies in the clear way he weaves together the insights which astrology can and does offer to both individual and collective life, with just those post-modern insights.
In this way, he argues, an Integral Astrology can emerge and take its place within integral theory, which he defines as“….a way of harmonising or synthesising apparently disparate streams of thought and experience: this runs counter to our tendency towards increased specialisation that has dominated the past few hundred years….”
Armand Diaz, with good reason, is worried that astrology, despite its own flowering and moving closer to mainstream culture since its revival from the 1960s onwards, is going to be left out of this shift: running a parallel course with the New Paradigm disciplines, but at a considerable distance from them. His fear is that if we do not re-examine and re-frame our own discipline in the light of contemporary perspectives, not only will astrology be left on the outside of the larger New Paradigm world view, but astrologers will too.
Diaz’ core point, which he emphasises in different ways throughout, is that the level of consciousness at which an individual is operating critically determines the way in which astrological symbolism plays out.
Emerging from this core are two key themes: one relating to astrology, the other to consciousness models. He points out that the development of human consciousness over millennia has produced different perspectives on the interrelationship between earthly and planetary energies and how these are interpreted:
“….no astrology can exist without being embedded in our constructed meanings, and the best way to understand those meanings is to look at the developmental level, culture, and inner/outer perspective they represent….(p135)….just as humans evolve and just as consciousness in the Universe evolves so astrology also evolves….(p 137)
Had I been an astrologer in Chaldean times, for example, I would not have been able to ponder today’s transiting Mars square my natal Mercury (7.9.12). Astrology then was about the king and the kingdom; no individual horoscopes existed. A century ago, sibling conflict might have been predicted. In today’s post-modern consciousness, I am choosing to channel intellectual energy into hand-writing this book review….in between brisk “thinking” walks!
Diaz also briefly and clearly surveys the different astrologies there are which co-exist in our contemporary world – where it is perfectly possible to practice mediaeval astrology, post-modern psychological astrology, AND archetypal cosmology which sets our ancient art clearly in a New Paradigm context, and call them all “astrology.” As Diaz makes it clear, there is no one astrology.
But before this, he offers “….a sampling of ways to think about the evolution of consciousness….” (p 141)
Put very briefly, the models he lays out, centering on Spiral Dynamics, provide a way of thinking about the evolution of human consciousness which links individual, group and collective processes.
His key point is that these models provide a ‘vertical framework’ for describing the upward movement of consciousness from Matter > Life > Mind > Soul > Spirit: the core process behind the Perennial Philosophy which underlies all the differing consciousness models eg Koshas, Chakras, Yoga, Kabbalah right through to post-modern Spiral Dynamics.
However, astrological symbols operate along the ‘horizontal’ plane, ie that of
“ universal conditions that can and do occur at any and all evolutionary levels….” (p14)
He points out that astrology can indicate the timings and types of stresses and challenges encountered by individuals. But it cannot say whether those challenges will lead to evolution of consciousness up the ‘vertical’ scale.
To assess this needs the dynamic of astrologer, horoscope and client, usually over several encounters rather than one. In his final chapter “ Consulting”, Diaz presents a model of astrological practice which, with examples from actual client work, lets one see how the weave of contemporary perspectives from both the sciences and the humanities which he has laid out in this book, all come together in the consulting room. It is challenging, impressive – and helpful in a down-to-earth way.
I would recommend this book to astrologers at all levels of learning their craft. It introduces newcomers to a model which places astrology in the context of New Paradigm perspectives, which they can take forward with confidence as part of the world-changing shift re-claiming that ancient insight ‘As above, so below’for a level of collective consciousness appropriate for the vastly more complex Universe we now know we inhabit. And it gives a good shake-down to the practice of more seasoned astrologers such as myself – who may be in danger of becoming set in our ways…..
As readers of recent posts will know, I resumed my astrology consultancy and teaching practice on 1st May 2012 after a long sabbatical. Taking on my first one-to one student, and preparing to start mentoring her at the end of June, has triggered off memories of interesting highlights from my previous teaching life. Here is a story which I still find intriguing. (to read more in this vein, check out Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness )
After sixteen years of building up work experience in the public sector as a higher education teacher, then social worker, I became self-employed in 1985 and spent the next sixteen years running a private counselling and supervision practice, also working as an astrologer and astrology teacher.
During this latter period, it often used to happen that I would think about a client or a student from whom I hadn’t heard for a while, and they would contact me that or the next day. This happened intermittently, several times a year. I arrived at the point where someone would float into my mind, and I’d think “Ah yes, they’ll be contacting me shortly.” They usually did.
The most vivid example of this type occurred just before the start of one of my Beginners’ Astrology classes, in the autumn of 1999.
On the morning that the class was due to start, I went to photocopy the handouts for that night.There were eight students. However, I was so convinced that someone was going to call at the last minute and ask to join the class, that I did an extra set.
The class was due to start at 4.30 pm. Just after noon, I had a call from a young American woman whose husband was in Scotland doing some studying. She was looking for astrology classes, having seen my details in a magazine. Was I running any? “Yes, the first one starts today at 4.30 pm.” “I’ll be there!” she replied.
As Stuart Holroyd observes in concluding his entry on telepathy, “….research….has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that telepathic communication or interaction is a reality. What kind of reality it is, how it relates to other realities, what it implies in the context of our understanding of nature and human nature, and what it implies for science, which on the whole continues to reject it as an unaccountable anomaly, remain contentious questions.” (‘The Arkana Dictionary of New Perspectives’ published by Arkana (Penguin Books Ltd) 1989, p 172)
500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
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My job as an astrologer is to help other people understand themselves more clearly. I don’t know what the balance is between fate and free will any more than any one else does. But the Birth Chart or Horoscope suggests strongly that we come into this world, not as tabulae rasae ( blank slates) but with certain characters on the stage poised to live out a complex drama as the process of our life unfolds from birth to death.
What astrologers cannot do is describe the whole range of possibilities of expression which arise from each core character on the stage.
There appears to be a dynamic relationship between what you have been given through family physical and psychological inheritance ( the Old Norse word for fate also means genitals!), location, social status, and your own choices in what you do with what has been given.
I think that effective astrologers in consultation are poised on the interface between fate and free will – on the one hand helping clients to confirm who they are, which they probably already know, if they are honest with themselves; but on the other hand helping them to see, and to broaden, the range of possible expression of the energies with which they have been born.
The astrologer’s ego should have a minimal influence on the process of reading another person’s Horoscope. It’s impossible to keep ego completely out of it. It’s impossible to be completely objective, to avoid making mistakes; but what the person takes away should be as much theirs, and as little the astrologers, as is possible.
To maximise this outcome I feel it is very important to have my work regularly supervised by an experienced and well-qualified colleague. I am fortunate to have been able to organise the support of a very experienced astrologer who is also a psychodynamic psychotherapist as I prepare to return to regular practice.
The main focus in this new phase of my astrological work is in vocational guidance, and in helping people who feel themselves to be on a developmental path which is rooted in whatever their sense of meaning may be, to gain an enhanced sense of clarity and perspective. Having been very much influenced by Buddhist philosophy in the last decade, in my own life I try to practice living in the present as effectively and mindfully as possible. Thus I will be looking at the relationship between the patterns present in clients’ natal Horoscopes and how that relates to the here-and-now patterns of the planets in the heavens. Looking at future trends will not be part of my orientation.
I’m only interested in working with clients who are prepared to take responsibility for themselves in relation to the way in which their inner world is connected to the unfolding of their outer life.Astrology appropriately used should enhance the sense of personal responsibility – not take it away and hang it on the planets, or even worse, on the astrologer !
In my view it is important for people not to become too dependent on a symbolic context – astrology and astrologers like relationships, drugs, sex, alcohol or the national lottery can become highly addictive. The great symbolic arts, eg astrology, tarot, palmistry , I Ching, should be consulted with deep respect, and with considerable restraint.
In sum – I think it is my job is to send people away feeling more able to operate constructively and honestly in their world than when they came in,by supporting their courage and confidence to lead their own lives using their own judgement.
However, I also consider it important to have a refer-on list of reputable therapeutic practitioners of varying disciplines, if it becomes apparent from our reading that the person consulting me needs some form of ongoing help. In assessing this, a long background as a counsellor as well as an astrologer I regard as being of immense help to me – and therefore, I hope, to my clients….
Readers’ comments on this post or this series of my reflections on returning to the practice of astrology are welcome. Any rude or offensive comments, however, will be binned!