DO YOU ACCEPT YOURSELF
AS AN ASTROLOGER?
invites you to look inward and to reflect upon how you accept yourself
as an astrologer. It explores the dangers for you, for the
astrological community, and for your clients of an unconscious
rejection of self as an astrologer. It offers a tool for
exploration this issue for yourself and your clients.
When is the last
time you heard: "You are an astrologer? Don't tell me you believe in
all that stuff!". Be honest with yourself. What do you really feel
inside when someone directs such a remark to you ? Do you feel proud
to be an astrologer? Do you just brush the whole thing off as if
nothing had happened? Or, do you feel a little something twitching
inside of you, something unhappy, something reacting to the person's
What do your
friends think and feel about your involvement with astrology? Do all
your friends applaud you for it? Do some of your friends barely
accept this side of you? Have some of your friends tried to deter you
from astrology? Do you have friends with whom you have never shared
your involvement with astrology? Have you lost friends since you
became involved with astrology?
How about your
parents, children, relatives? As an astrologer, are you the pride of
the entire family? Or are you considered to be the weird one in
whom this type of eccentricity is tolerated? Are there any close
relatives who do not even know you are an astrologer because you have
made sure not to mention anything in their presence? Such
discretion may be wise. However, how do you feel about yourself,
about astrology, when you decide to make such accommodations to other
If you have had a
Christian upbringing, or any contact with Christianity in your
childhood, chances are that you have heard many derogatory statements
about astrology and astrologers. You may have heard that astrology and
astrologers should be rejected for all kind of reasons, from astrology
being a mildly superstitious practice to its being the work of the
Devil. You may think that, as an adult, you know better than to pay
attention to such comments. However, deep inside of you lives an
inner child who, in many ways, still lives by the reality of what she
was taught in the past. Deep inside of you lives an inner child who
may have been frightened by such statements. Deep inside of you lives
an inner child who may have difficulty coping with human rejection,
not to mention divine eternal damnation.
Science not only
rejects the astrological profession but makes sure to have great fun
at its expense. Intellectually, you know that science debunks
astrology rather than refuting it. However, each time you hear or read
the so-called scientific comments about astrology, what do you truly
feel inside? What twitches do you feel in your gut?
In many parts of
the world, including the United States, from a legal aspect our
profession is still inconsistently accepted, and in some areas, even
in jeopardy. Even if you live in a state, a county, or a town, where
astrology is legal, what do you feel inside when you think of
astrologers being marginally "tolerated" by the law in today's
forms of rejection, of condemnation, do not exist only in the present;
they do not only stem from what we have heard during our childhood.
They are also part of the collective past of all people. Relatively
speaking, it is not that long ago that the Inquisition burned many of
our former colleagues. Yes, many of our predecessors sat next to many
kings and queens. Yes, century after century, astrologers have
counseled world rulers. Yet, one mistake, and our head was chopped
off! History has a tremendous impact on the human psyche. What do
you feel when you think of the dangers astrologers faced in the
past? Do you ever think that history may repeat itself?
Finally, if you
also call yourself a counselor, do you integrate astrology with your
counseling? Do you wear two totally different hats: astrologer in one
session, counselor in another? If you blend astrology and psychology,
what do you tell your clients? Do you state at the first contact that
astrology is one of your tools? Do you wait until you know more about
the person? Do you keep astrology a secret and use it behind the
of not owning yourself as an astrologer affect your clients, your
relationships to other astrologers, and therefore, the astrological
profession in general, and its place in society.
Last July, I
attended the First International Cycles and Symbols conference, in San
Francisco. This was the first conference in the United States to link
astrology and psychology. I was excited at the prospect of finding
myself among colleagues who openly blend psychology and astrology.
Was I in for a surprise! I found that very few of us openly blend
astrology and psychology. Even many of our leaders in the field of
astro-counseling, many of our teachers in that field, do not, in their
private practice, openly blend the two disciplines. I heard many
state that they, in fact, have two practices: on one side, they see
clients for astrological counseling; on the other side, they see
clients for psychological counseling.
Those who blend
the two fields are extremely cautious in doing so. Most usually wait a
few sessions before introducing the concept of astrology to clients
who come for psychological counseling. At the conference, during a
panel on this issue, several reasons were given for delaying the
introduction of astrology. One reason, unfortunately, is very
legitimate: the fear of losing one's counseling license by openly
declaring oneself an astrologer. Another reason opened my eyes to the
core of the issue: one person said that he waits five or six
sessions before introducing astrology to his clients "because I do not
want my clients to think I am flake". I believe this man does not
inwardly fully accepts himself as an astrologer.
At first, I was
saddened. Then I thought about what I had heard. I remembered that,
not so long ago, I too experienced difficulty going into the business
world and stating: "I am an astrologer". I also thought of several of
my astrology students and the struggle they have identifying
themselves to the world as astrologers. I then realized the depth of
the lack of confidence we astrologers carry about our professional
self-image. Pondering on the content of Anne Wilson Shaef's book
"Women's Reality", and Joan Ticknor's "Manual for Multi-Cultural
Training: Prejudice, Discrimination and Racism" broadened my
From these two
books, I realized that we astrologers have a perception of the world
different from other people. As astrologers we live a different
reality from the reality of most people, a reality many of us have -
or have had - difficulty expressing in today's society. We are
dealing with discrimination, social conditioning, stereotypes,
prejudice and oppression. Group studies verify that our issue about
integrating ourselves into society is a typical minority issue. To
me, a minority is not only determined by ethnic background,
socioeconomic class, gender, or religion. A minority is any group
that cannot express itself within the society in which it lives,
regardless of the reasons. This is why I consider that AS
ASTROLOGERS, WE HAVE A MINORITY CONSCIOUSNESS.
explains how social conditioning takes place:
"The norms and
standards for society are communicated and passed on directly or
indirectly through television, newspapers, schools, movies, text
books, parents, teachers, people in authority, peers, etc. These
beliefs and assumptions concerning norms and standards are absorbed,
consciously and unconsciously, to a greater or lesser extent by all
members of society. The norms become the ideal for conduct,
attitudes, and feelings, i.e., become 'the only way to be.' Anyone
not falling within these standards is considered somehow 'wrong', or
'not OK.' This becomes justification for misinformation and
mistreatment (i.e., stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination and
What were your
answers to the questions asked earlier in this column? Did you brush
them off as irrelevant? If you did, you may have become numb to the
issue of oppression of astrology today. "Victims of oppression,
Ticknor writes, many times, become numb and unaware of the
oppression. They suppress knowledge of the situation because it is
too painful to know." The effects of oppression become unconscious,
and therefore, more dangerous.
One of the
consequences of minority consciousness is called internalized
oppression. Joan Ticknor defines it as "the internalization of
society's negative beliefs into one's self-image: The person accepts
society's view of her or himself as the 'way she or he is', 'the way
things are.' Negative judgments about that person become internalized
and result in a self-image which reflects these negative ideas and
beliefs. This usually becomes the expectation, and a self-fulfilling
prophecy, which acts as a hindrance on development of the intellect
and spirit". Guilt has been assumed, the minority member truly
becomes a victim who feels he or she deserves mistreatment.
I believe our
internalized oppression is reflected, among other places, in the
poverty level of most astrologers. How many of us truly support
ourselves and live well from astrology alone? How much are we able -
or willing - to pay for seminars, workshops and conferences? How much
are we willing to financially reward our teachers and speakers? How
much are we willing to charge professional rates for our services?
"The second major
effect of internalized oppression on minorities, Ticknor continues,
is that the individual comes to dislike not only him/herself, but also
her/his own people. (If one does not like and respect oneself, it is
impossible to like others in the same category.)"
In other words,
astrologers internalize society's negative attitudes about astrologers
and therefore generate negative feelings and beliefs about themselves
and all other astrologers. I believe that a few of the ways
astrologers express internalized oppression at the individual level
are the war of the house systems, the orb of aspects, the validity of
asteroids, Sideral versus Tropical. In communication between
astrological organizations, even though great progress has occurred,
withholding cooperation between local chapters is another way to play
out internalized oppression and the lack of trust astrologers have for
each other. Of course this behavior exists among most groups.
However, most groups become a minority as soon as they identify
themselves as different from society. They acquire minority
consciousness and behavior.
The third major
effect of internalized oppression, according to Ticknor, is that
victims become victimizers: "the tendency after being hurt and feeling
victimized is to hurt others who are weaker - the next one down in the
power structure." In most minorities 'the next one down in the power
structure' are the children. For astrologers, I believe 'next ones
down' are our clients and our students. Our clients come to us
because they need help, often because they are in a crisis. They look
upon us as authority figures. Consciously or not, we are in a
position of power. This is why it is of utmost importance that we
reevaluate our self-concept as astrologers in order to eliminate any
possibility of unconsciously victimizing any client. Our students are
often in a similar position. In addition, they are the ones who will
continue - or stop - the victim-victimizer cycle. The choice is ours.
I have found
great wisdom in the Arabic Part of Astrology as defined in R.
Granite's "The Fortunes of Astrology" as Ascendant + Mercury -
Uranus. Natally, by sign, house and aspect, the Arabic Part of
Astrology provides information about our self-image as astrologer, and
our about client's concept of astrology. Like any other point in a
chart, it provides further information by relocation, secondary and
solar arc progressions, and the transiting planets aspecting it. I
have found it very useful in helping my students - and myself - cope
with astrological identity crises.
I experienced my
own struggle with astrology in terms of physical fear, as if something
physical and terrible was going to happen to me if I declared myself
an astrologer. With Scorpio rising, I already have a tendency to
consider the world as a dangerous place to be. My Arabic Part of
Astrology is at 6 Cancer, sesqui-square (135 degrees) my ascendant,
validating the physical aspects of my fears. Being in my eighth
house, my Part of Astrology reinforces my Scorpio energies. It is
trine my Chiron, in Scorpio, in the twelfth house. Maybe this
combination gives me a vantage point on the dark side of astrology!
On the lighter side, however, the Cancer position was validated at the
end of my last counseling workshop, when a student said: "I get it!
Your clients are your children and your are a very good mother!"
Today, transiting Uranus is at 5 Capricorn 43, opposing my Arabic Part
of Astrology which seems to fit this column!
degree of the Arabic Part of Astrology to years and the minutes to
months (5 minutes to a month) can indicate an age when a
psychologically significant event occurred. In the course of this
event, the person possibly made a decision that is now preventing
self-acceptance as an astrologer.
Our own personal
difficulties, if not attended to, can easily get in the way of our
client's growth process. When we do not deal with our problems, at
best, we are unable to offer good consistent guidance to our clients;
at worst, we may become the unconscious victimizers of those who come
to us for help.
The issue here is
not to confront anyone but ourselves. The issue is not to get on the
bandwagon to convince anyone but ourselves about astrology. The issue
is to look deep within and find the parts of ourselves that are not
totally convinced about astrology. The issue is to change some of
these parts, and to learn to be aware of and at peace with, the parts
of ourselves that we can't change - the parts that reject and will
always reject astrology.
Hurzt, "The Fortunes of Astrology", ACS, San Diego, 1980.
Wilson, "Women's Reality", Harper & Row, New York, N.Y.
"Manual for Multi-Cultural Training: Prejudice, Discrimination &
Racism", Part A, Preliminary Printing, Phoenix, AZ, 1989.