Responsibilities of the Astrologer and the Client
A client seeks the advice of an astrologer when the sequence of events is not favourable for the client. Being impressed with the results, the client seeks the astrologer’s advice with increasing frequency. The questions degenerate from the important (should I change jobs) to the ridiculous (what is the best colour car to get for the dasha I am currently in). The more detailed the questions, the less accurate the advice. The client becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the astrologer and seeks someone else, never really finding the same level of satisfaction as the first readings.
Paying for professional advice is not the same as paying for physical goods. With physical goods, there is usually an expectation of what you will receive and its value to you. If you are not satisfied, there are often avenues that allow you to resolve conflicts. With seeking the advice of a professional in personal matters, the situation is different. You can not look at the "product" beforehand. Certainly, you can (and should) research the person whose advice you are seeking to verify their credentials. You should also obtain references from past clients. Ultimately, though, you have to take a chance that the person you have chosen will give you good advice. Furthermore, if the advice does not work out the way you wanted, there are often issues of whether or not you followed the guidelines given below. The result is conflict between you and the advisor and dissatisfaction on both sides.
A major source of this conflict is a lack of understanding on the part of the astrologer and the client as to what each other’s expectations are and should be. Unrealistic expectations often lead to frustration when they are not met. In this article, I propose some guidelines for both the astrologer and the client. You are of course free to disagree with any and all of these guidelines
Before presenting the proposed guidelines, some general comments are useful for understanding their motivation. First, although we live in a scientific age with advances in physics, technology, biology, and may other fields occurring at an ever-increasing pace, many people still believe in things that are not proven and in many cases considered unscientific. Astrology is near the top of this list. Interestingly enough, many of the people involved with astrology have advanced scientific degrees. Regardless of the level of scientific and technological advancement, people are ultimately emotional beings who are strongly influenced by feelings, intuition, and other subjective influences. This has always been and always will be true.
Second, being human involves making a lot of decisions every day. Most of these decisions are inconsequential (what should I wear, where should I have lunch), but occasionally we are confronted with choices that have major consequences on the course of our lives (should I change jobs, should I marry this person). We do not always gain all the information we would like in order to evaluate the choices, and sometimes the information we would like is not available. For example, in deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, we might want to know if we will have a good relationship with the prospective supervisor. Talking to the person directly and asking others about that person certainly provides some useful information, but at a certain point we need to take a leap of faith that our feelings are correct. Many people feel uncomfortable or insecure when faced with these decisions and look for guidance elsewhere. Astrology is one of the avenues that people turn to. They want the additional information they think they need in order to eliminate that last bit of uncertainty. Or maybe they just do not know what to do and are desperate for any guidance.
Third, there is an interesting feeling you get when you believe you can predict the future. You start to feel really powerful. If you think about it, the physicist and astrologer have the same goal. Both want to identify events based upon what is happening now (although physicists want to understand the reasons why things work the way they do; astrologers may not have the same inquisitiveness about nature). This feeling of power often leads to arrogance, overconfidence, and a loss of objectivity. This result is a loss of sensitivity to the needs of the client, and this is a very undesirable situation. The client may be too emotionally fragile to deal with the advice (especially if it is not what they want to hear), and this can exacerbate the clients’ situation further, rather than helping it.
Finally, those not familiar with the technical aspects of astrology need to understand its limitations. It may be possible to provide general guidance on some issues to some people, but to expect astrology (or anything else) to forecast detailed events is not appropriate. An astrologer may be able to see indications of disease, but to expect them to see its precise severity, when (and if) you will end up hospitalised and for how long is unreasonable. Similarly, some astrologers may be able to correctly forecast the general direction of the stock market for some particular period, but to predict daily price moves is an unreasonable expectation. Despite many claims to the contrary, we have not seen any successful demonstration of daily stock market forecasting.
With these general points in mind, one could present following general guidelines for the client and the Astrologer.
Guidelines for the Client
"Astrology is a perfect science, astrologers can not be perfect."
Through this web site you may have gained some knowledge to understand what Vedic astrology is and what it can do for you. However it is best to experience astrology first-hand, through a reading given by a good astrologer. Only then you will realize how powerful a tool astrology is and how it applies practically into your life and this will be possible only if you consult a good astrologer.
Therefore, it is important to look for an experienced astrologer, not a beginner. The inexperienced astrologer can generate a lot of harm to the seeker and also bring disrepute to the science. It is important for you to understand the following issues before consulting an astrologer.
- Find out the astrologer’s level of expertise. What is his background and the life experiences that he has gained. Is he good in analytical and research studies? Is he an educated person? Is he a spiritual and religious person? Spiritual discipline as prescribed in the scriptures purifies the consciousness and gives the astrologer heightened astrological powers and increased wisdom through which to guide the seeker. Avoid those who are non-vegetarian; consume alcohol, smoke, or take intoxicants; or who have affairs with their clients, or are generally immoral and dissolute. How did they learn Jyotish (from books, professional training)? How many charts have they done, and how many years of experience do they have? To be sure that the astrologer is reputable, you could ask him for a list of references.
- The astrologer should be in a position to guarantee your satisfaction, this will tell a lot about the skills and confidence of the astrologer. He should offer to make sure that you are satisfied with the "quality" of the reading. He can not guarantee that you will be "happy" with the reading, but you should at least be satisfied with the professional way in which the reading was conducted and the level of accuracy, expertise and advice. I always tell my clients "If you are not satisfied with reading then please tell me so that I could spend more time to make you to understand the reading. I always try to make sure that my client is happy and satisfied at the end of the reading. These days, people tend to present themselves as "intuitive" or "psychic" astrologers, which simply means that they speak whatever thoughts enter into their minds. Occasionally you will find good astrologers with true psychic powers but it is important that a good astrologer explains and educates his client about how he came to his conclusions and the findings in the chart.
- Recommending and selling gems and jewels as an astrological remedial measure has become very popular in the world of astrology. Therefore, do not trust those who will try to generate income by selling remedial measures a part of the reading.
- Some Vedic astrologers may use Neptune, Uranus and Pluto in his calculations. They are not practising Vedic astrology as those planets were not known to the ancient Vedic astrologers. Also Vedic astrology is a very advance and ancient science that one should not complicate the issue by adding newly identified planets to the reading. Also one should not mix it with Western astrology and still call it Vedic astrology.
- Accept responsibility for your own actions
- Do not cede decision-making responsibility to others. Seeking advice and information to enable you to make an informed decision are encouraged, but the ultimate decision is yours.
- Accept the fact that sometimes things will not happen as you expected or planned. That is part of life. If things do not happen as you expected, be open to the possibility that the current situation may actually work out better for you. When events go against you, see if there is any way to turn the situation to your advantage (without hurting others).
- Some may consult astrologers in the hope that one will tell them what they wants to hear. It is inappropriate to expect astrology to do our thinking for us. Astrology is a wonderful tool for forming policy, but it is not a substitute for responsible thinking. Astrology is a guidance to life, not a substitute for living.
- When seeking advice, summarise your concerns and questions as clearly as possible. Indicate what you expect to receive, and find out if the astrologer can satisfy your needs.
- If you take someone else’s advice and things do not work out, do not blame the adviser. It was you who made the decision. If you determine that the advice was not good, use it as a measure of the astrologer’s ability. Use this information to decide if you should deal with the astrologer in the future.
- Only consider astrological counselling if all other methods of gaining information are not sufficient to allow you to make an informed decision.
- Do not seek astrological counselling more than twice a year.
The last two guidelines may offend some people. This is not the intent. It is important to develop self-sufficiency and responsibility for our own actions. Astrological counselling, if considered, should only be considered as a last resort. Otherwise, it becomes too easy to become dependent on astrological counselling, without accepting responsibility for your own actions.
How can you benefit the most from your reading:
- Before going to the astrologer find out if he is going to record the session. If not, request permission to record it yourself.
- Before starting the session pre-arrange with the astrologer to turn off the tape recorder when you make a particular signal; this indicates that you wish to discuss something not to be recorded.
- It is good to prepare any questions or aspects of your life that you want cover in the reading. It is generally best to let the astrologer know this in advance so that he will be able to focus extra attention on those areas. Some topics may require extra research.
- Avoid breaking his flow of thought while the astrologer is speaking. Bring a note pad, and if you have a question write it down; if it isn't resolved in the course of the reading, then you should ask it at the end. Breaking the astrologer's stream of thought will cause digression; similarly, asking another question before the previous one has been answered will be distracting.
- Of course the client should offer feedback, both positive and negative, so that the astrologer knows that he is on the right track. Astrology is, after all, a difficult science. If the astrologer makes a mistake, let him know--he will adjust his calculations. If he is right, confirm it by a nod or simple gesture so that the astrologer may continue with confidence.
- Whatever the case, don't just sit there like a piece of wood. Interact. But do so in such a way as is appropriate to the reading. This may mean that you have to go into a long explanation of your situation, or it may mean that you simply listen while he explains. The point is that both of you should stay on track.
- Be honest with your astrologer. You wouldn't lie to your physician, would you? If you don't feel comfortable telling the astrologer the truth about your situation then find an astrologer whom you can trust. Misleading your astrologer could have serious consequences. And don't try to trick or test him. If you intend to have a long-standing relationship with the astrologer, and you want to consult your astrologer in the future, then it is best not to start out with a negative approach. The astrologer will be able to identify that there is doubt in the client’s mind, and this will only hamper the process.
Guidelines for the Astrologer
- Understand that clients trust you with their emotional well being. Be sensitive to the needs of the client. Clearly indicate what information you need, and what the client can expect from you.
- Before providing a professional reading based upon Vedic astrology, analyse the horoscopes of a minimum of 500 people. This should take 2-4 years.
- Before giving guidance to someone with a cultural background that is unfamiliar to you, take the time to understand their cultural issues. What works in Australia may not work in India, and what works in India may not work well in Australia.
- Spend some time analysing your clients’ charts carefully before interpreting them. Do not analyse charts immediately.
- Inform clients of the indications in their chart. Do not predict. Instead of saying "You will become very wealthy", say "Your chart indicates good earning potential".
- Speak the truth but at the same time do not say "You will have a tough life", but rather "Your chart indicate some obstructions in life. Some of the strengths you need to gain in order to overcome these obstructions are…”
- Do not ever think you know enough. Study, read, talk to other astrologers, and learn as much as you can.
- Do not apply any interpretation technique until you have validated it yourself. To be considered validated, it should work at least 75% of the time under repeatable conditions.
- Try to give clients enough information to be self-sufficient. Discourage relationships of dependency.