There are a lot of widespread misconceptions about astrology. Although the situation has improved over the past 50 years, the public still remains rather misinformed about what astrology is and isn’t. At best, public opinion sees astrology as fortune telling; at worst, trivial words in a horoscope newspaper column. Neither of these views accurately depict what astrology is about or what an astrologer attempts to do during a reading. So if you have never had a reading before, you might have a lot of confused ideas about what the process involves. And this confusion can hinder what you get out of your reading. So, in an effort to help clear things up, here’s a list of points that will help you be prepared for your first astrology reading (or for your next reading, if you have already had one before).
1. How Does Astrology Work? The Holographic Universe
Scientists who have not looked into astrology and who like to denigrate the field will often scoff and say that the planets do not cause behavior in humans–that the planets cannot make people do things. Well, you may be surprised to know that most astrologers would heartily agree with this! Astrologers do not necessarily believe that the planets cause human behavior. Instead, astrological theory operates on the principle of, “As Above, So Below.” Astrology assumes that the Universe is a hologram–that any one small part of the universe resembles the universe as a whole. As a result, the universe can act as a mirror for what is happening on earth. Human life on planet earth is a holographic part of the cosmic whole. So in order to find out what is happening in your life, all you have to do is look into the mirror – the sky above you.
So if the planets are only a mirror of human behavior, then right now you are probably asking yourself, “What, then, actually does control human behavior?” The answer is: who knows? Much ink has been spilled during the past few centuries in an attempt to answer that question. So I’ll leave that one for your favorite philosophical, religious or spiritual theory.
2. Astrologers are not Psychics
A lot of my first-time clients arrive with the notion that they will be speaking with someone who is psychic. But astrology readings are not psychic readings (although, if you are lucky, you might just end up with an astrologer who also happens to be psychic!) Astrologers read charts (not your mind) by applying an ancient system of psychology to a two-dimensional map of the location of the planets at the time of your birth. Knowing how to read this map will reveal an astonishing amount of information about a person, but technically, that information does not come from psychic abilities. Rather, it comes from years of book-study in order to learn the language, techniques, and wisdom that make up the system of astrology.
However, astrology isn’t all just dry book-learning. It also requires daily practice of personally experiencing planetary transits and learning the best way to deal with them so that one can pass this practical knowledge onto others. When you discover a really good astrologer, it is because they have logged in decades of book learning and applied practice in their own lives. As astrologers, we test out astrological theory every day, by using our own daily lives as the experimental subject. As a result, we gain the subjective experience of what transits feel like, which allows us to grasp what our clients are dealing with on a more personal, in-depth level.
3. Dialogue versus Monologue
Because astrologers are not psychic, your reading will be more productive if you speak openly with your astrologer rather than remaining silent and expecting the astrologer to automatically know all there is to know about you. Most astrologers would prefer the reading to be a dialogue where the client actively participates in the reading by asking questions and discussing the ideas being presented to them rather than a monologue where the client merely sits and listens passively to the astrologer delivering a lecture. And some astrologers have training in psychological or educational counseling, too, and so their style is even more dialogue-based and requires the client to actively participate in the reading.
The astrologer will know a great deal about you. But not everything. And so they need your input during your reading. Here’s why: the astrology chart often shows issues appearing in groups or clusters. The 6th house, for example, is the house that relates to a person’s health, but it also relates to other things, such as coworkers and pets. So if an astrologer sees a large number of planets hitting your 6th house, s/he will know that there is definitely an issue brewing in these areas of your life. But the astrologer will have to question you to find out which specific issue it is. Health? Co-worker? Pet? Sometimes it is only one. Sometimes it is all of them! There is no way to know specifically without asking the client. So please do speak up. Once the astrologer can determine which branch is operating in your 6th house, then they can go from there and follow that branch in the chart and speak in a more detailed fashion about your issue. You help the astrologer by guiding them so they can go deeper and deeper into your chart.
4. Forecasting: Probability versus Certainty
While astrology is about much more than forecasting, the majority of clients come to an astrologer for a forecast. Stephen Forrest is an Evolutionary Astrologer who has spoken a lot about the issue of “probability versus certainty” in astrological forecasting. He asserts that astrological predictions are based on probability, not certainty. This is because the wild card called Free Will is always operating in your life. While destiny is always unfolding in your chart and in your life, free will is also operating, and has a lot to do with how you will experience your destiny. We are always co-creating our future with the universe. So…it gets a little tricky to predict the future for a client while it is still being created by the client! So Forrest likes to handle the notion of probability this way: when he does forecasting, he will present the probable outcome to a client. He then will say to his client, “Okay now prove me wrong!” –his meaning being that ultimately, you still have the free will to direct the course of your own path.
While there may be a challenging issue coming up for you that you cannot avoid, you do have the power to make choices that will determine whether the whole experience ultimately ends up being a positive one or a negative one when hindsight kicks in years down the road. That is not to say that we can always take a difficult situation and make it a happy one. Stuff happens. And not all of it is fun or happy or can be turned into a situation that is fun and happy. But we can always choose to respond to situations in a constructive fashion that paves the way for a smoother course in the future. An astrologer can help you figure out what the best response might be to your particular issues.
5. Astrologers are not Fortune Tellers
Often, astrologers appear to be uninterested in things that their clients are interested in! For example, we do not attempt to predict lottery ticket numbers! Instead, we excel at personality analysis and helping you get to know yourself. We are interested in bringing unconscious elements into your consciousness so that you can understand yourself better and maximize your relationships and your life strategies. Often, during a reading, I will see a client nod and say “Yes, I have been vaguely feeling what you are talking about, but now your words have verified it for me.” That is how I know I am doing my job–when I have managed to bring to light something that was hovering just beneath the surface of your mind.
Astrologers are not so much interested in the actual event that will happen in your future as we are in the meaning of the event and the best way to handle it. And if the astrologer practices Evolutionary Astrology like I do, the focus is on how the event relates to the overall destiny of your life as well as your previous lives. Astrologers are able to look at the events in your life from a much broader perspective than you can when you are personally embroiled in a situation. They are super interested in how your soul is evolving. And they understand that challenging, uncomfortable experiences are the times when the soul evolves the fastest. Clients, meanwhile are much more interested in the actual event that will happen to them. (“What exactly will happen? Will it feel good? Will it feel bad?”) Which brings me to the next point on the list:
6. There is No Such Thing as a “Bad Chart”
People who are new to astrology readings (and even those who are not) are often nervous because they are worried that they will have a “bad chart” with that lots of “bad” things in store for them. Most astrologers do not think in terms of “good versus bad charts” or “good versus bad transits” because they understand the necessity of all transits. Every experience that happens to you is ultimately “good” from your soul’s perspective because it helps you evolve – it forces you to grow, stretch, learn and moves you more toward your destiny—even if it doesn’t feel very good at the time you are going through it. So try not to fear your chart or your current astrological transits, because they are all happening for your benefit. Astrology assumes that the Universe is benign, that it knows what it is doing, and it is all for your highest good.
7. You Don’t Need to Believe Anything Your Astrologer Says
While astrologers might blow your mind with the stuff that they seem to know about you without having met you, that doesn’t mean that you have to take their advice or believe everything they say. And in fact, you should not. An astrologer is like any other person – some are smart, others not so much. Some are sensitive, others can be jerks. And some might simply be having an off day because they have the flu or their kid kept them up all night.
Only utilize what feels right for you—you are the only person who is the true expert on yourself. An astrologer can offer you some insights or prod you to look at things you never really thought about before, but ultimately, you get to decide what you want to do with your life, your relationships, and your future. And if any astrologer (no matter how famous or expensive) speaks to you in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable or unhappy, you do not need to listen to him or her. Remember that you have free will to direct any situation in your life and so what an astrologer says is not set in stone.
8. Find a Good Fit
Finding a good astrologer is sometimes just a matter of fit. Every astrologer has their own niche that they are interested in. Some specialize in career and business astrology, others in love and relationship astrology. And every astrologer will have their own specific type of clientele. For example, because I am a woman who specializes in Evolutionary Astrology, I do not tend to attract clients that are young male hipsters who are solely interested in making a fortune on the stock market or finding a career on Wall Street. Because I cannot relate to their lifestyle in a big way, I would not be a great fit for them. And finding a good fit with the personality of your astrologer is really important. So if you have a reading with someone and it wasn’t that great, by all means, try a different astrologer.
The astrology reading can be a fascinating and enlightening experience. Find an experienced astrologer that you feel comfortable with, and be prepared to actively participate in the reading in an open way. While trying to keep an open mind about the ideas you will hear during your reading, feel free to only accept the advice that resonates with you — that feels intuitively right for you. Don’t forget that forecasts operate according to the law of probability and your free will is still crucial in how your future turns out. And remember, no matter what happens in your life and how challenging it may feel, the Universe is ultimately on your side.