When people ask me “What do you do for a living?” and I say “I’m an astrologer,” reactions range from an enthusiastic “how cool!” to an uncomfortable “um, what did you say?”
To those who are curious, I’m always happy to talk about astrology and share my journey. So, for your reading pleasure, here are some of my answers…
How is astrology useful?
What should I expect from an astrology consultation?
How should I choose a professional astrologer?
There are many kinds of astrologers practicing today –from people who’ve read a book or two to those who’ve spent 40 years studying ancient techniques. Some astrologers are excellent listeners and communicators, and some are better with working with charts. So, how do you choose the right astrologer for you?
I’d suggest you start by finding someone reputable. Many practicing astrologers have websites, and you can read about their background and training. There are a number of professional astrology associations, schools and certificate programs that set basic standards and ethics for the practice of astrology. When you’re doing your research, look for some constellation of these things in an astrologer’s biography.
Second, seek out an astrologer you would enjoy spending time with. Each person is unique, including astrologers, and we have our own points of view too. Finding someone you resonate with will make the experience more productive for you. If an astrologer provides sample audios or videos, check them out. Also, you can always give an astrologer a call and ask a few questions before booking an appointment.
Most astrologers have a phone practice, so you can consult with an astrologer anywhere in the world. But if meeting face-to-face with someone is important to you, you’ll want to limit your search to someone who lives close by.
And finally, if your focus is on a certain area of your life, it’s good to find an astrologer who specializes in that area. For example, I love working with people who are changing careers or building businesses. But I don’t give investment advice. However, I know astrologers who do, and will refer people to them.
Remember, the choice is yours. Astrology is a legitimate art that has been practiced for thousands of years, but that doesn’t mean all practitioners are equally legitimate, or can meet your specific needs. So, above all, use your common sense.
How did you start studying astrology?
No one was more surprised than I that I would study astrology. Like most people, the only thing I knew about astrology was from reading the daily horoscopes in the newspaper. The predictions were sometimes humorous, but had little resemblance to my daily life. Astrology, I thought, was a silly notion for silly people.
Then one day while in graduate school, I spent a rainy morning wandering the stacks of a used bookstore. A book on how to cast a natal chart caught my eye. I picked it up, casually flipping through the pages. It gave instructions on how to calculate where the Sun, Moon and planets appeared in the sky at the time of one’s birth, as well as simple interpretations for what those positions might signify. It sounded like an amusing way to spend an otherwise dreary afternoon, so, on a whim, I bought the book.
Once I got back to my apartment, I made myself a cup of tea and settled down at my desk with my new book and some graph paper. In an hour or so I’d constructed a rudimentary birth chart, listing the positions of the planets. After that, I sat back and began looking up the interpretations for each planet, looking forward to a good laugh.
Instead, what I found astounded me.
Everything I read sounded exactly like me. My analytical intellect and insatiable curiosity, my discomfort with my emotions, even my slightly rebellious streak, were all spelled out in black and white. I sat at my desk, stunned. I couldn’t see how it was possible that the positions of the planets – just distant specs of light millions and billions of miles away from the Earth – could have any affect on my life, let alone describe me so accurately.
I speculated that perhaps I was simply projecting my understanding of myself into the interpretations, merely hearing what I wanted to hear. So in true Mercury-in-Virgo fashion, I went back to the bookstore. I bought several more astrology “cookbooks,” read the interpretations, and found the same astonishing results. Soon I’d amassed a pile of books. I copied the interpretations for my planets from all of them into my computer. I had more than 80 pages of single-spaced text before I conceded that perhaps there was something to this astrology thing.
Over the years, studying my chart helped me navigate the waters of my own psyche. Through astrology I grew into an understanding that the unique constellation of energies reflected in my personality was simply the way I was, and nothing of which to be ashamed. I found creative ways to address challenging psychological issues, learning to untie my own neurotic knots.
More than anything, astrology provided a language for me to “read” the narrative threads of my life, weaving a tapestry of past, present and future to form a compelling tale that gave my existence meaning and purpose.
Why did you become a professional astrologer?
As my friends and family learned of my astrological “hobby,” they began to give me their birth data. At first, doing readings for others was little more than a party trick. But, as I learned more about astrology, my readings became more in-depth; sometimes I would spend two or three hours with someone reflecting on his or her chart. Eventually, even Internet acquaintances began asking for astrological insights.
And so, my astrology business was born. The more I work with others to explore their astrological mythology, the more in awe I am at both the incredible diversity and deep interconnectedness of human experience. If each of us is the Hero of our own Journey, astrology can provide a map of the labyrinthine paths we travel. Without it, my adventure wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
Today, my astrology practice includes clients in Austin and around the U.S. I’ve been a member of two national astrology associations, the International Society for Astrological Research and the National Council for Geocosmic Research; a writer at Astrology.com, MySign.com and AstrologyHub.com; and a faculty member of Kepler College.
Do you have any thoughts about how astrology “works”?
I honestly don’t know. I suspect there is something there… something beyond coincidence — even meaningful coincidence. Astrology impacts more than how we feel. There are hints that it even effects how we look, and how things grow in nature. I think we need a deeper understanding of the nature of reality to really tackle this question.
Fortunately, even if we don’t understand the mechanism, we can still use astrology as a useful tool.
A birth chart provides a symbolic representation of our potential as a human being. It gives clues about our talents and our challenges, our likes and dislikes.
How we develop this potential through the choices we make creates our character. The choices that we have made in the past — our “karma” — shape the choices we will make today – our “free will.” So, through the study of astrology, rather than marching inexorably and unconsciously toward our “fate,” we can become greater masters of it.
Astrology therefore helps us perceive an overview of the flow of our lives, to view the choices we have made more objectively. By raising our consciousness in this way, we are able to “surf with the cosmic waves” and make better, more constructive choices. We shape our choices, and thus, alter our destiny.
What is a Star Party?