Consequences Of Change
In previous columns we have defined
the purpose of the counseling astrologer as leading the client to
better personal awareness. This column addresses one aspect of
professionalism in our practice that I believe we need to consider
seriously. It has to do with ethics and it concerns specifically our
responsibility for the changes clients makes in their lives and the
consequences of these changes.
Indeed, with Uranus as one of our
rulers, we astrologers have an ideal: to change the world, to set the
world free. This is a beautiful Aquarian, humanitarian concept! But
have we ever stopped and considered the down-to-earth consequences of
being successful? Are we truly ready, ourselves, to handle the all
the consequences such changes would entail? How far and how fast do
we really want to make these changes?
Extraordinary changes are happening right now throughout the world, such
as the emergence of Eastern Europe from the oppression it has
experienced for so long, and the freeing of Nelson Mandela, symbol of
liberation far beyond the borders of South Africa.
As soon as the Berlin Wall crumbled, however, many questions emerged
about the consequences of a free Eastern Europe, consequences at all
levels and for the whole world. Suddenly, a question arises among
many Americans and others: is Russia still a threat to America? If
not, what are the consequences for a country which has put so much
energy into focusing on Russia as an enemy for so many years? The
consequences are not only for the United States but are far-reaching
for all its allies as well. The consequences are not only political:
they are military, financial, social, psychological, and possibly
spiritual. They touch the core belief system of many.
In my practice, I have found that the
crumbling of the Berlin Wall did not occur only in Germany; with the
Saturn/Neptune conjunction, it has also occurred symbolically within
many people who are now willing to set themselves free from
themselves, from what society imposes on them -- who are willing to
take full responsibility for their own lives. I hold the following
theory: the inner willingness of so many people throughout the world
to be responsible for their own lives, to trust themselves, brought
the Wall down because it allowed them to take peaceful action; in
turn, the willingness to take inner and outer responsibility for
change is now spreading more openly because people have seen actual
concrete results that give them a stronger belief in themselves.
In the same way that freedom through taking personal responsibility
suddenly emerges and spreads throughout the world, our counseling work
can also have more far-reaching consequences than we ever expected.
These consequences not only directly affect our clients'lives, but the
lives of their immediate families, the life of their communities, and,
on a bigger scale than we may think - while remaining realistic about
our influence upon the world - the life of society at large.
Are our clients ready to handle such
consequences? Are our clients'families ready to handle the
consequences? I believe it is our responsibility to be aware of the
possible consequences of change for our clients and to bring our
clients to this awareness so that they can make more clearly informed
choices. How good are we at helping our clients anticipate the
effects of these changes without making definitive predictions about
Furthermore, what kind of example are
we for our clients? Are we, personally, ready and willing to handle
the changes we dream of for ourselves and our society? Or are we
giving lip service to some aspects of the changing process? Are there
areas were we need to exercise restraint on our desire for change?
Are there areas where we need to participate more actively (and
willingly) in the changing process?
The natal and progressed charts
accompanying this column are used with the permission of a client with
whom I did extensive work while she was visiting California. She
rapidly found a new sense of self as a woman. However, knowing that
she was returning to her alcoholic husband, anticipating that the
Capricorn transits could put a damper on her excitement, we spent part
of our last session getting her ready to return home.
With her permission, I quote from a
letter I recently received:
" As you predicted I returned to my
home with a different sense of myself than when I left. This found
and continues to find expression in many ways.
"One important ingredient is a new desire for honesty. [...], I am
finding it easier to recognize what my real feelings are and to
acknowledge not cover them up. The desire to be honest and the
carrying out of this desire has enabled me to allow the ones I love to
begin to honestly speak their truth. And of course peace and mutual
respect and much more tenderness are the result of this new way in my
"I have become more of a risk taker.
Fear of failure and fear of authority figures still are present to
some extent. But every time I step out in faith and courage to do
something I want despite my fears of failure, it is a victory for the
new way - and the many small triumphs are making a new way and a far
more comfortable way of living every day.
"I guess another way of saying some of
this is that I am trying to stop beating up on myself. I am trying to
be gentle with me and I am trying to find out who I truly am and what
I truly want to be and do. It's a great adventure and the good part
is, as you predicted, that it overflows to how I am with others and
then how they too are transformed. It's slow, really a day at a time,
"The biggest single difference is my
husband. I have never known him to be so content. He is very
involved with the house and garden projects - finding a lot of
satisfaction and joy in his repairing, fixing, and growing a garden.
We have been doing a little bit of entertaining and taking a course at
the local university, and both or each giving each other the space to
be unique and the love that makes us one.
"[...] I am trying not to so tightly control the world around me. Good
things are happening. I am trying to get a sense of doing the things
that are good for me. [...] I am learning to play. I try to become
more creative. I am loving life, loving myself, [...]."
There is no doubt that such a letter
is a joy to me: not only have I seen the client embrace tremendous
change in just a few weeks, but now I know that individual changes are
holding even when she is back in old situations. Moreover, the changes
are spreading around her through her willingness to change, to be in
charge rather than in control, through her acceptance of others. She
is creating more peace and love around herself, just by being more her
However, such is not always the case.
There has also been the client whom I taught to stand up to her
husband, and who called one night in desperation because her husband
could not take it and threatened to divorce, leaving her and her
eight-month old child without any resources. There has been the
client whose husband became violent when she had the guts to speak up
for herself; fortunately, having the charts and the warning signals,
she left the house without getting hurt until he cooled off. There
was a client who chose not to continue her personal growth because she
was not ready to be in charge of her life, to accept her strengths,
and who felt more comfortable in a physically and financially abusive
And how about when it is our client
who files for divorce? Of course, if we considered the family
situation abusive, we can more easily support the client, but not all
situations are clearly abusive. In the not-so-clear cases, what about
the spouse and his or her feelings?
What are the consequences of our client's changes on their children? We
can hope that the inner peace found by our clients will directly or,
at least, by example, reverberate on the children regardless of their
ages. We can hope that even if they go through difficult times, the
children will learn by our client's example to take care of
themselves. I worked with a mother who, confronted by the drug
addictions of her children, had the willingness to look inside of
herself, then reach out to her oldest daughter and create a beautiful
mutually supportive relationship without losing her parental role.
But a client can also choose to abandon young children, or a child
can get into desperate behavior because of our client's behavior
changes, changes that are necessary for the client's emotional and
What is the extent of our responsibility? Can we be proud when a client
makes a major breakthrough and just shrug our shoulders when such is
not the case? Can we just say: "He/she brought it upon
him/herself!"? Can we say that we are not responsible for what our
clients do with their lives and the consequences of their actions?
I have found that most clients go
through a cycle of discovery. First, they may believe that someone
else is the problem, but soon they realize that the problem is within
themselves. As the healing progresses, as they discover unknown
strengths, they look around and discover that the issue was not just
theirs but has been a family problem, possibly for several
generations. If their willingness to grow continues, they find out
that it is not just their family, but the entire way our society
operates which is questionable.
For example, how can one remain true to him/herself when most advertising
is based on how to impress others? How can one not be codependent
when facing the tremendous pressure from our society to be in a
relationship. Our entire society is based on couples; most
advertising is based on being romantic and sexual, on how to attract a
mate. Most popular songs - from one generation to the next - are
about being in a relationship, express that without a relationship one
is nothing, teach the need to control to hang on to a relationship
regardless of how one feels. Movies, songs, the literature emphasize
that suffering and love go hand in hand.
With more and more people willing to
recover from their various addictions, it is not just our client and
his/her immediate environment which is going to have to change; it is
our entire society which is going to be affected and is going to have
Let's look at a simple, small
example. When many clients stand up for themselves, recognize that
they are one by themselves, that they can manifest their true selves
within as well as without a relationship, their need to impress others
diminishes. This means that the movie industry will have to change
its subject matter, that many industries will not only have to change
their marketing techniques, but possibly their products. Without the
need to impress, how many clients will cosmetic surgeons have?
Without the need to impress, what is the future of the extensive
clothes industry; clothes will still be necessary, but not the need to
be constantly up-to-date with the current fashion. People true to
themselves will want to be in much better health and be in charge of
their health, impacting doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, etc. Changes
within these industries do not just involve corporate executives, it
involves changes for the millions of people they employ and who will
need to find a new way of making a living, a new way of life.
I believe that we need to be conscious that each time we guide a client
to more self-awareness, to taking more responsibility for him or
herself, we add a drop of water in the flow of tremendous changes for
our society, for the world. I believe that, as counselors, we need to
be aware of the consequences of our actions in the short and the long
range. And, who knows, with the upcoming Uranus/Neptune conjunction,
with Saturn and Uranus in Aquarius, these changes may occur much
faster that we realize.
Are we consciously ready to handle
such changes and their consequences?