Why Do People Go to an Astrologer?
Why Do People Go to an Astrologer?
By Bob Mulligan
A recurring question asked of me over the years has been, “Why go see an astrologer?” This is an important question. It behooves us as astrologers to have thought about it and to have examined it close up, amongst ourselves. Not just so we have a good automatic answer for the question, but more importantly, so we continue to reach an ever deeper understanding and appreciation for our own work.
A good place for us to start this exploration is by remembering our own first visit to an astrologer. Recalling our reasons for seeking out astrological advice is a helpful beginning framework for understanding our own client’s motivation. My first visit to an astrologer was to have a chart comparison done with my girlfriend (After all, I am a Libran). I was really wanting to know if we were a good match. So was my girlfriend.
Through the years I’ve asked lots of people why they visit astrologers. I ask this of all my own clients. After some thought and discussion, it seems that that there are a mixture of underlying motives for seeking astrological advice. However, for our purposes here, we can easily pile all our various answers into some very basic categories.
There are three main defining reasons people visit astrologers: 1) To find out about the future; 2) To find out who they are; 3) To talk to someone who can help them understand, why they act the way they do, why certain things happen to them. Even though these three motivations relate to each other, it’s worthwhile separating them, because when examined individually they each reveal unique information about our work.
1) When you think about it, if someone wants to find out about the future, seeing a good psychic is often more accurate than seeing an astrologer. For that matter, some other kind of divinator (palmist, numerologist, tarot card reader, omenologist, etc.) could be faster and more accurate than an astrologer. But still people seek out astrologers. Innately, each person knows that the value of information about future events is extremely limited when it is presented to us, disconnected from any personal causality. At best, it has only short-term meaning in our lives. To have any real potency, we need to understand why something is happening. Astrologers, accessing the cosmic context of events, understand and connect their clients directly to the happenings in their lives. Further, astrologers assist clients in seeing the options in their circumstances.
Astrologers have a task helping clients with prediction. It is important to give the client the information they desire without creating turbulence in the clients mind. Bad prediction has a way of fueling fear and fantasy in the mind of the client. Good prediction is mind balancing and re-empowering as it helps clients gather insights as to how they have created what is occurring in their lives. When these things are desirable, astrologers wants to help their clients see how to continue the good times. When the future looks bleak, astrologers have a mission, to help clients change their personal future by changing themselves.
We all remember when Ronald Regan was president; Nancy Regan consulted the astrologer Joan Quigley for advice about her husband’s circumstances. Nancy documented this in her book “My Turn” and Joan in her book “What Does Joan Say?” Apparently, Nancy was driven by her fear to seek Joan’s advice. Clients often want to hear that things will get better, and that this getting better has to do with the change of cosmic forces, and nothing to do with anything they do. An unconscious astrologer can easily fall into the trap of letting clients believe that they are completely independent of the cosmos, that it is some random force “out there” rewarding or punishing them. An adequate astrologer helps clients see and feel their connection to the cosmos. This act, in turn, frees clients from the past as well as the future, to live more and more in the present moment. Astrologers accomplish this through leading their clients to observe how they themselves create the events of their lives. As clients recognize this and become more active within their own “sphere of influence”, they gain more power in their lives. Doing this, individuals come closer into and more involved with, the present moment. Astrology is the perfect discipline to achieve this task. When astrologers aren’t doing this, they are doing less than they could for their clients.
After all, astrology is mental healing. Of the three major paths to God – power, knowledge, and bliss, astrology is clearly the path of knowledge or gyana yoga. Knowledge produces freedom, which in turn produces bliss. Correctly practiced, power develops along side of the knowledge on our quest for higher understanding.
2) When we turn our attention to our second reason people go to astrologers, to find out who they are, it is fair to assume that seeing some sort of psychologist could give one more accurate information. After all psychologists have many different tools at their disposal to hurry along the process for discovering what kind if person you are. Testing has been used more or less successfully to delineate and prioritize peoples talents and preferences. Myers/Briggs, Couter’s preference exams, career aptitude tests, and hundreds of other vocational and personality tests have a long recognized history in western culture as being able to give some insight into the nature of individuals.
Astrology, however, can carry this same process of external measurement of the self, further faster. Through the ability to not only pick out your preferences and talents, but to put them in a larger arena, and longer historical line of development, astrologers can ground your understanding of your various talents and preferences. Psychological testing would tell you that you have writing talent. Further, a sufficiently skilled psychologist can perhaps tell you why you are a writer. However, any satisfactory astrologer can tell when you become a writer, why you do this, and what further options are available for use with your talents. For a variety of reasons, most astrologers, most of the time, don’t get this far in there work with clients. But the point is, they could because the frame of reference contains this capacity.
3) The third reason that people go to astrologers is to understand why events happen to them and why they have their personal habits. We all know that this requires some process of dialogue. But why should anyone think that dialoguing with an astrologer is an appropriate way to reveal why things happen, or why we do the things we do? After all, there is an almost endless string of people with whom you can discuss yourself.
You can ventilate your issues by talking to a host of different kinds of counselors to discover the “whys” of events and self-action. For that matter, a friend, psychic hotline person, a family member, priest or minister, a neighbor, a stranger on the bus, therapist, social worker, a lawyer, an accountant, etc. would be a valid source of information or sounding board. So why an astrologer, when anyone with a background in some form of therapy would seem a safer bet?
Astrologers do something that other people can’t do, which is, speed up the entry process into real self-discovery. Astrology provides us with a method for getting clients involved in the real substance of their story line. i.e. A skilled psychologist can tell you that you are in denial. However, even a moderately skilled astrologer can tell you – what you are in denial about, how you avoid the subject, and why you do so. In other words, astrology has the ability to carry you deeper and faster into the pressing issues of your life by giving you the entire context of your current situation. And this is the brilliance of astrology; the symbol system gives the astrologer the inner context of your situation even before you visit the astrologer for the first time. However, even though astrology can reveal your life in a flash, it takes time working with the astrologer to understand the meaning of your life. Self-understanding always takes time, its just faster, deeper, and safer with a competent astrologer.
Now beyond our discussion of these motives, we need also remind ourselves to take stock of the mental attitude of new clients. This process allows our work to progress quickly and carry a deeper and more lasting effect. Our clients “mind set” of basic attitudes and expectations correctly addressed gives our work excitement and significance.
Certainly, someone can visit an astrologer out of mere curiosity, but often people come in pain. There is always the hope that the astrologer can relieve the pain or at least point the direction for pain relief. A further mind set that sends people to astrologers is that they are in fear. The hope in the client is that the astrologer can give news that will remove the thing feared. Progressive astrologers will always set goals aimed at removing the fear itself in the client, rather than the thing of which the client is afraid. This may sound like a minor distinction, but it isn’t. On one hand, astrologers could easily encourage clients to just get away from a person or situation with which they are having difficulties. Astrologers could just advise clients in a manner that just cheers them up. However, clients can’t run or hide from the real cause of their fear, which is inside of them. Skilled astrologers can help clients deal with the contents of their inner nature and reintegrate this essence with the cosmos. This process is necessary in order to overcome fear.
There are other times when clients approach us with unrealistically high expectations for their futures, looking for validation for their insights. In these circumstances, we astrologers are obligated to ground the clients hopes in some practicality. In any event, astrologers can’t ignore the expectations and attitudes of the client. Regardless of why clients seek advice from astrologers, regardless of how profound the effect astrologers have on the client, customer satisfaction is the backbone of every service profession. And this we should never forget.