Other People’s Charts

Other People’s Charts

by Bob Mulligan

Many astrologers examine other people’s charts for their clients quite routinely.  I don’t.  Before I see a client for the first time I have them read a three page policy statement called, “General Information for Clients.” Here is the paragraph on other people’s charts from this statement:

“You may have curiosity about other people in your life and wish for me to take a look at their chart.   The answer is no.   Even if the person is not a client of mine, I consider it a violation of confidence for me to give you information out of their chart.   You can, however, have a chart comparison done with this person, or you can get an INDRA Report done for them.  By the same token you should know that I will not discuss your chart with anyone else but you.”  

When clients ask me to look at someone else’s chart, the focus is diverted away from their own life.  They start worrying or dreaming in regards to this other person.  

For me it’s an object of faith; whatever we need to know about our own life situation is indicated somehow in our chart.  Also, information gleaned from our own chart comes to us in a form that we can digest and use in our life.  This is because our chart shows symbolically the whole universe from our personal perspective.  Our chart gives advice that will be most helpful for us.

Even with my policy statement, it is with some frequency that clients ask me to look at other people’s charts.  Some years ago, a client asked me to look at his father’s chart to see when he is going to die.  For my client, this was a practical matter. He was scheduled to go to a workshop over the weekend and his dad was quite sick.  I looked at his chart in order to have a professional opinion as to how my client should best spend his weekend.  Was going to the workshop a good idea?  What can my client do to improve his relationship to his father?  My advice was not based on, “Is my father going to die this weekend? Yes or No?”  Reframing the question allowed me to give advice which re-empowered my client.  Call it proactive advice.  Looking at my client’s chart, reframing his question, allowed me to help him.  Looking at his father’s chart, regardless of the advice, would have left my client with the feeling of being at the effect of circumstances beyond his control.  

In Stephen Covey’s book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,”  he suggests that people who are effective spend most of the their time and attention in what he calls their “circle of influence” (where we can make a difference) and less time in their “circle of concern” (things that we worry about).  The circle of influence is the area where your energy can effect change.  The “circle of concern”  are things of natural interest, but where you are powerless to create any effect.  Conscious astrologers automatically pull their clients toward the things they can do something about, their circle of influence.  This is why astrologers focus on the chart of the native instead of the charts of other people in the native’s life.  Focusing on other people pulls us away from our true responsibilities and strengths.  In other words, we should all “mind our own business”; our chart is our business.  Someone else’s chart is their business.

Granted, we can look at historical charts, or the charts of public figures.  We all use other people’s charts in this manner.  Charts of non-clients are a purely heuristic device, to enhance our astrological understanding.  Here, our motive determines the substance of what we are doing.  When our happiness is directly effected by someone else’s life, we are better off not looking at their charts.  This is why astrologers are better off not seeing as a client: a close friend, romantic interest, or family member.  After all, surgeons don’t operate on members of their families.

Of course, astrologers look at other people’s charts all the time,  We look at the charts of our clients.  But this is why it is poor practice to have a dual relationship with a client, it becomes too confusing for both astrologer and client.  Dual relationships mean dual motivations. 

  When my client asked me to look at his father’s chart, I could in fact look at the client’s chart to see what he had to deal with right now.  This allowed me to give an opinion from his perspective.  Is there anything left unsaid or undone between the client and his father?  Since there was a lot of activity connected with the fourth house at the time, was he dealing with changes in his family of origin, his nuclear family, his home, his foundations in life?  We addressed these issues.   It’s important to be clear; though I have an opinion, my client has his life.  He had to make his own decision about what to do over the weekend.

Every astrologer will have his or her own methodology for examining other people in the client’s charts.  Many different systems work quite well.  I use a house-based system for examining other people, symbolically in the birth chart.  This is simple and direct; the spouse is the 7th house, children (especially the 1st) is the 5th house, etc.  In this way it is possible to extract information about people and events that are designed by God to be useable by the native.  The birth chart is the individual’s personal bible.  Everything that is necessary for the person to live a good life is shown in this map.  This map includes everything in the cosmos in symbolic form, from the perspective of the individual. 

When I do a chart comparison for a client, I need both people to be present.  This seems very important and safe.  Both people can ask questions and make statements and it prohibits “talking behind anyone else’s back.”

We are all curious about our girlfriends, spouse, boss, children, etc.  And I have no argument with doing an INDRA report for anyone using anyone else’s chart.  But, one might ask “What is the difference between giving someone a computer generated report on someone else’s life and, as an astrologer, looking at their chart?”  Astrological information, written without reference to a specific individual, is not personal.  When an astrologer looks at an individual’s own unique chart, regardless of how technically unsophisticated the astrologer might be, the aim of the information is personal. Any shift from the generic and universal to the specifically personal level, needs to be between the astrologer and the client over the client’s chart. 

This is for two primary reasons and a few secondary reasons.  One, is that to examine someone else’s chart is an invasion of privacy; two, the shift in focus to another person’s life is generally wrong for the client.

With clients, I make very few exceptions.  One, I will occasionally read a chart of a newborn or small child for the parents.  This is usually an adjunct to counseling them about their parenting skills.  Two, personnel work for companies.  My rule for doing this type of work is; that I work with the head of the company first, the chart of the company is treated as a separate entity, all the key officials down the chain of command have access to the information.  The person whose chart I look at knows what we are doing, has freely given his or her consent, and has access every recorded conversation in which they are mentioned.  There is a protocol for this type of work.

All the twelve issues discussed in my book “Between Astrologers and Clients” have some bearing our discussion of other people’s charts.  However, three issues “Boundaries”, “Confidentiality”, and “Ethical Consideration” merit some special mention.  To read another person’s chart for a third party; is a violation of boundaries, in principle you violate a confidence or trust, and you raise an unconscious doubt in the mind of your client about your own ethics.

   “Other people’s charts” is such a vast subject because it goes to the root of what we as astrologers really think the astrology chart represents, what we think the enterprise of astrology is all about, and what role we see astrologers playing in the lives of their clients.  An astrology chart can be used for many different purposes, but, from it’s highest use we see it as a temple of life.  Astrology’s highest use is self-understanding.  Astrologers have the potential for carrying the client across the terrain of frustration, disappointment, and misunderstanding to genuine self-understanding.  This is a lofty mountain which every astrologer must eventually tread.  “Other people’s charts” and the surrounding issues are one of the many guideposts along the way.