The considerable increase of public interest in astrology during the last few years has intensified problems of a social and psychological nature which have always been present in the astrological field, but at this stage must be seriously taken into consideration. Various solutions are being presented, some of which may create new and even more widespread and deep-seated problems. The issue is one of general significance because it extends beyond the practice of astrology and impinges upon the basic relationship between the freedom of individuals essential to a democratic society and the justifiable concerns of any organized community for the personal welfare of its members.
In a more restricted sense, the problem facing astrologers has been stated as whether or not the practice of astrology should be officially acknowledged as a valid occupation protected by adequate legislation. This means whether the persons practicing astrology should be licensed by the State, or by a kind of nationwide Union or guild able to enforce certain regulations which would protect the general public from frauds or even well-intended but incompetent practitioners. The crux of the matter obviously is the word "enforce." Labor unions are able to enforce their demands because workers are necessary to employers, and to the welfare of the community and the nation. Astrologers are not necessary to society. They are less necessary than artists, musicians or writers of books. In order to be considered necessary they would have to come into a broad category which would include priests, family-counselors, psychologists of various schools, and the many types of spiritual healers.
To be necessary to a society is one thing; another is whether one can be dangerous to individuals, and thus indirectly to the community as a whole. A family counselor or a psychologist can give the kind of advice which can have destructive effects on the persons seeking their help. A totalitarian society which officially professes a strictly atheistic and materialistic life-philosophy, logically regards the priests of organized religions subversive persons teaching deceptive doctrines. In societies controlled by rigidly traditional Churches, astrologers and clairvoyants have been considered charlatans deceiving the naive; thus laws were passed against them. They have been treated with scorn wherever official modern science and its approach to life are practically worshipped as the only way to truth and sanity.
Today some of the most traditional Churches have become tolerant of what they once condemned; scientists are officially dealing with quasi-occult concepts, and many a psychologist is intrigued by astrology, or even makes use of it. Astrology may no longer be regarded as dangerous to the spiritual or moral health of the community as a whole; yet the indisputable fact remains that it can do some kind of psychological harm to the individual who practices it for his own use or who is professionally dealing with clients seeking help. If the practitioner makes mistakes, indulges in negative interpretations, predicts tragedies, and in general fails to understand the psychological state of those to whom he gives advice on the basis of astrology, the results can be serious. This kind of occurrence is certainly not unusual; and during the forty years that I have been writing on astrology, and deeply concerned with what a careless statement about "malefic" planets at birth or impending "bad" aspects could trigger within the mind of a client, I have received numerous letters from anxious or distraught persons who were hoping I could somehow free them from the remembrance of dire predictions. In nearly every case the predictions carelessly magnified the possibility of tragic events, or failed to see the potentiality of using difficulties for the development of character and as yet latent capacities.
As I see it, the main value of giving some kind of official sanction to the practice of astrology is that it would alert the general public, who knows of it only what newspapers and magazines print as Sun-sign readings, to the fact that the practice of astrology is not only a serious matter, but a method of facing life and its problems which can have harmful results if carelessly applied. Of course, every truth can be dangerous: physics and chemistry are susceptible to doing immense harm indirectly if not directly; and many persons experience illness induced by unwisely given drugs and careless, or standardized types of treatment.
What then is the solution? Greater skill alone will no solve everything, as skill may mean many things — "the operation was successful, but the patient died!" Perhaps the most important factor in the wholesome practice of any science, or even any art, is a strong sense of personal responsibility to the human being affected by the practice and this implies a clear and deep understanding of the world "affected." Every practitioner should take full responsibility for the statements, advice or suggestions he or she gives. The more respected the system of knowledge on which the advice or suggestion is based, the greater the responsibility of whoever uses the system. If the knowledge today is called "scientific," and accepted or taught as such by official institutions, the person to who them advice is given on the basis or it implicitly will tend to regard the advice as evidently correct.
For these reasons the problem today facing astrological groups is not only that of protecting the "good name of astrology" from untrained, incompetent or somewhat unscrupulous people who pose as respected astrologers — which actually is what astrologers are most concerned with! — but even more that of educating both astrologers — old and young — and the public eager for their advice and guidance; and by "educating" I do not mean giving instruction in formal classes regarding this or that system of techniques but stating what is involved in being an astrologer and in dealing with people on the basis of astrology, or in coming to astrology for guidance and the solution of one's problems.
This means an objective and unglamoured realization of (1) what astrology fundamentally is, and of (2) what it can be expected to do for, and to a person.
It is not easy to present a definition of astrology which would be acceptable to all astrologers. In the following I have tried to stay clear of certain words which are tendentious, and simply to state what constitutes the minimal implications of the use of the term, astrology. However, in this paper, I am primarily concerned with natal astrology — the type of astrology which deals with the birth-charts of individual persons or collective social "persons" (nations, large and solid institutions, etc.) or more generally of any organized and relatively steady system of interdependent activities which can be considered a whole — an organism having a beginning and characteristic phases of growth and disintegration.
This being taken in consideration, astrology can be defined as the practical and psychological application of the theory according to which there is a direct relationship between the periodical motions of celestial bodies surrounding the earth and (1) recognizable patterns of events, (2) the basic structural factors in the character of living organisms, and the development of this character throughout the life-span.
The practice of astrology rest upon this theory. It is a "theory" in the sense in which we speak of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The theory itself cannot be proven absolutely true, yet its consequences can be tested; and if this is done carefully the results are on the whole positive. The theory "works." It is based on the premise that we live in an ordered universe in which everything is in motion and subject to periodical changes according to cosmic laws. Astronomy simply observes, analyzes and defines the operation of these laws; astrology claims that this operation is meaningful and at least to some extent purposeful when related to the formation and development of human beings. What causes the relationship (or parallelism) between the dynamics processes with the universe and those taking place within the lives of any human being, at the biological and the psychological-mental levels, is a question which, today as in past eras, various schools of astrology have tried to answer in many ways. The answer differs, and so do the methods used to evaluate the significance of this parallelism, yet the principle that there is such a correspondence, however it may be interpreted, is implied in all forms of astrology.
The essential factor in astrology is therefore the study of the motions of celestial bodies within the cosmic space surrounding the earth and its inhabitants. Two basic factors are involved: the celestial bodies (mostly the Sun, Moon and planets), and the space in which they move. This space can be divided in several ways. The most usual today is that which produces a zodiac divided into 12 sections. However, a zodiac can be considered either as a field of cosmic "influences" which are aroused and focused by the passage of the (apparently moving) Sun, Moon and planets, or simply as an abstract frame of reference enabling us to plot the movements of the celestial bodies and to measure their angular relationships in geocentric space.
Moreover, two types of zodiac are now being used; most astrologers in the Western world are using the "tropical" zodiac — the zodiac of 12 signs — while in India, and recently a notable number in America and Europe, are using the "sidereal" zodiac based on 12 constellations. (These constellations are groups of stars which lie close to and divide the ecliptic — i.e. the apparent annual path of the Sun in the sky).
The type of astrology featured in "Sun-sign forecasts" — in newspapers, magazines and yearly analyses — so far has always made use of the zodiac of signs, which is related to the sequence of the seasons. Its main concern is the positions of the Sun, Moon and planets in zodiacal signs, each of which is given broad but specific characteristics. As it is based primarily on the sign in which at birth the Sun is located — that is, on the month in which a person was born — the meanings of "your birth sign" and the forecasts presented in Sun-sign readings can at best be very general. They divide all human beings in merely twelve categories, each category theoretically reacting to life-situations in specific ways and displaying more or less common features of character.
The nature of whatever impact the cosmic environment at a particular time may have to an individual can only be ascertained when a horoscope is precisely calculated for this exact moment and for a strictly defined locality on the earth's surface. In natal astrology the foundation for a significant astrological interpretation of a person's temperament and life-development must be a birth-chart exactly calculated for the moment of the first breath. Other subsidiary charts can also be used; but the birth-charts remains the basic factor in astrology. It is taken as the beginning of individualized and at least relatively independent existence in the open cosmic environment. Before birth the embryo developed within a closed environment completely bound by the mother's womb; and it is only as the first breath occurs that the basic rhythm of the organism — blood circulation and breathing — operate in an individualized manner.
Any person claiming to be an astrologer able to advise clients on a strictly astrological basis should be able to erect an accurate birth-chart for a precise birth-moment and locality. Only in some special instances could this be dispensed with if the astrologer uses a horary chart to answer a specific question posed by the client. Even then the use of the birth-chart of the enquirer is most advisable as a background. Horary astrology is a specialized branch of astrology and the majority of modern astrologers either do not use it at all, or are not conversant enough with its special rules to use horary charts reliably. Not only does horary astrology demand as much care in calculating its charts as natal astrology, but it implies a definite approach to the universe and philosophy of life; it belongs to the category of "oracles." It certainly has no place in a "scientific" approach to astrology, using the word, scientific, in its usual modern sense.
While the definition of astrology I have presented is essentially valid wherever astrology is used, it should be clear to everyone — fan, student and practitioner — that there are numerous schools and systems of astrology. Every culture of the past has had its own specific way of approaching and interpreting the parallel relationship between the motions or positions of celestial bodies and various series of events during a life-time or the bio-psychological features and purpose of a human person. Not only have different frames of reference for planetary motions and a number of secondary factors derived from such motion been devised, but the fundamental approach to astrology and the character and purpose of the practice have greatly differed. They are still differing today.
If we look at the situation in the Western world we find at least two basic types of approaches. I have called them the event-oriented and the person-centered approaches. Most people deeply interested in natal astrology combine them to some extent; yet each approach is based on a specific way of thinking about, interpreting and applying astrological data. One type of approach often denies the validity of the data the other uses, or of the conclusions being reached. This, of course, also happens in modern psychology and just as much in medicine.
The event-oriented type in its most popular aspect is a form of fortune-telling, in as much as it primarily stresses the prediction of future events. In its highest or more sophisticated form it becomes the recently much talked about "scientific" approach to astrology, emphasizing "research," statistics and increasingly complex mathematical calculations.
For the "person-centered" type of astrologer, astrology is a form of personal guidance aiming at assisting an individual in the process of actualizing as fully as possible his or her birth-potential. He is therefore concerned with events only in so far as they can be given a deeper, more encompassing meaning in terms of the whole life-pattern and the individuality of the person whose birth-chart is being studied. This type of astrologer considers predictions as potentially dangerous to the client because they can induce fear or unwarranted expectations as much as, and usually much more than they can be used wisely to prepare for occurrences, the precise nature of which can very rarely be ascertained by the astrologer, unless he is clairvoyant — and clairvoyance too can be unreliable.
The statistics-based knowledge of the meaning of various factors in astrology can be most valuable in dealing with large groups of charts, and in checking on the validity of the traditional teachings concerning the characteristic of signs, planets and interplanetary aspects; yet it is of little use when the astrologer faces an individual client with particular problems which are at least in some respect unique. No vital statistic gives a 100% rating. If 70% of the cases analyzed indicates that persons with a planet in a certain position achieve success in a field or contract a particular kind of illness, the individual person facing the astrologer could always fall within the 30% category. Statistical research does NOT deal with individual cases; but it can indicate the relative validity of the more frequently used astrological characteristics and techniques — thus increasing the credibility of the basic theory of astrology; and most astrologers today are very eager to see this done.
Recent discoveries in astronomy, cosmic physics and chemistry tend to add credibility to the theory, in so far as they reveal the close linking between, and even interdependence of all factors in a particular cosmic environment, such as the solar system. This nevertheless does not of itself validate the manner in which these cosmic correlation's are applied to individual persons in astrology. The astrologer who is primarily interested in the psychological welfare of his clients — and of himself as his own client! — tends to consider astrology as a universal language rather than as an empirical science having produced a consistent body of laws concerning the direct "influence" of celestial entities upon human beings. Both approaches to astrology undoubtedly are valid; they refer to two different types of temperament and minds.
As a person devotes himself or herself to the study of astrology, or even as he himself or herself comes to an astrologer asking advice, it would be well if all that has been stated in the foregoing were seriously considered, for so much depends on the attitude of mind and feeling in which one approaches astrology and any particular astrologer. The same can be said of going to a psychoanalyst.
To know that something "is" should lead to ask further: what is it for?
Yet most people do not bother asking what astrology can do for them, what it can bring to their consciousness and their life, or exactly why it could be valuable for them to have their birth-chart "read." Astrology has become fashionable. It intrigues or fascinates. And quite naturally we are curious to know what an astrologer might say about ourselves and especially about our future. This is a future-oriented age. People feel that mankind is passing through a critical period, perhaps a transition to something wonderful — or is it to a nuclear holocaust? — or (personally speaking) loss of job, sudden fortune, breakdown, divorce or ideal love? Everybody feels he is going somewhere, but hardly anyone knows where. Perhaps "the stars" will tell. What is the risk. It might be fun.
For some people a smattering of astrology and an easy familiarity with zodiacal signs and the names and popular attributes of the planets can be fun — and interesting topic of conversation, even a good way to show off at a party and to impress chance acquaintances: "What is your sign? etc." There is no great risk involved in such an approach. It belongs to an insecure and restless society in which bored or anxious individuals rush around from one thing to another, from one cult or one guru to another, somehow hoping that a deep inner emptiness might be filled. Everything is exciting; and nothing is taken very seriously. The end result is usually confusion.
Other people become truly fascinated by astrology, perhaps because it seems to them an open door to a greater reality. You stand at the threshold and you try to discover what is the vast world of planets and constellations, what does it really mean, how it can best be explored, rendered familiar. Astrology is old; it has an aura of mystery. It apparently is based on something which groups of men on all continents have found essential. One plays with its symbols, trying to make them fit everyday realities, to use them as lamps to light the way on repeated journeys into one's own depths — journey's toward one's real self, one's essential being. Besides does not astrology reveal to us what the members of our family, our associates and friends really are, underneath their everyday facades or their passing moods, in love or anger? We so want to know how people tick! And knowledge is power; or so we think. Many games of one-up-manship can be played with astrology — not to mention even less kind possibilities.
Many young people today study astrology — not too deeply perhaps — because some rather easy money can be made once they can calculate with fair proficiency the main data required for the erection of birth-charts and impress their friends with their interpretative ability. In the process their everyday mind and language become filled with astrological terms. They become caught in a world of symbols. Any astrologer should be aware of the danger of "professionalism," as the professional tends to refer constantly everything in his or others' life to his specialty and to be so involved in the language he uses that his mind becomes set in that particular line of thinking. It then loses the ability to see that astrology is only one approach to the solution of life-problems — one among many others.
The deeper and more enlightened student or practitioner very often is a person who has come to astrology as the result of his eager search for a religious or philosophical interpretation of life which led him to the study of archaic or Oriental wisdom. Finding that astrology has played such a capital role in ancient cultures and is still revered in Asiatic countries, he seeks to understand the basic reasons for such a universal use. This leads him to the study of the works of contemporary thinkers who deal with astrology as a particularly significant and practical application of metaphysical concepts which have a far wider relevance than their use in astrology.
A number of college-trained psychologists and even medical doctors are now studying or using astrology in order to able to approach their own professional problems in terms of a new dimension of existence — just as doctors today are studying the ancient Chinese method of acupuncture which also is the practical application of a basic life-philosophy: Taoism. Then there are also men whose keen intellect, conditioned by strictly empirical and materialistic attitudes of modern science, felt urged to investigate astrology to prove its utter fallacy, yet who reluctantly came to recognize the validity of at least its main premises, and have cautiously endorsed some of its traditional findings.
If these different ways which lead modern men and women to astrology have been mentioned here it is because so much depends on how astrology has been approached when the interested person begins to study and — often much too soon — to practice what he or she has learnt from textbooks or classes conducted perhaps by teachers who themselves have a very narrow and strictly technical understanding of what they teach. Any teaching of astrology should start with the question: Why do you want to learn astrology? What do you expect it will bring you; and to what use are you planning to put your knowledge?
The same questions should also come to mind of anyone asking astrological advice. One of the real possibilities of psychological harm, or at least confusion, faced by anyone consulting an astrologer results from the enquirer's false expectations of what the astrologer can reveal to him. Many people expect that the professional astrologer they consult will be able to tell them exactly what will happen to them and how whatever type of activity they are engaged in will work out. Others expect neatly formulated solutions for their psychological problems, and possibly definite reassurance as to the validity of their ambitions, their marriage or their new love. They expect from astrology what many young people are equally certain their guru can do for them — freeing them from anxiety, insecurity and doubts, and above all telling them precisely what to do and when to it.
This normally is too much to demand from astrology; even if in rare instances a wise and psychologically sensitive astrologer may show the way out of some obvious difficulty and indicate the best of several courses of action — or, what is easier, what the worse ones are.
In our democratic society which theoretically features the right and duty of the individual person to determine his own line of behavior and to choose freely his life-work the astrologer's task should be to throw light on the options confronting the individual, to present any life-situation in an objective and un-emotional manner and, if possible, in terms of what the situation means in a particular phase in the entire life-long development of the person. Perhaps the astrologer's most important task is to give to past events and personal crises a new, more constructive meaning by carefully pointing out why and how they were necessary to the person's growth in character, strength and wisdom — thus, where they fit in the entire schedule of actualization of capacities and faculties which were only potential at birth. To transform events — especially difficult and painful ones — into essential phases in the total process of "self-actualization" and fulfillment of destiny: this is primarily what natal astrology should be able to do for those who believe in it and use it for themselves or for clients.
Seen in this light the practice of natal astrology — and, I repeat, natal astrology today is the most important and used form of astrology — is a form of psychological guidance; eventually it could also guide the medical doctor or anyone who accepts the responsibility of counseling other individuals. Because of this, it should be clear that astrology demands of those who practice it not only at least a minimum of skill in calculating and interpreting natal charts, and any secondary chart derived from them, but also at least a degree of psychological understanding of human nature and present-day social problems, and as much personal maturity as is possible.
One may easily test a person's skill in calculating birth-charts, progressions, transits, modes, midpoints, and whatever the system of astrology he uses requires in order to be effectively applied to an individual case; it is obviously much more difficult to test the "maturity" of a person accepting the responsibility of interpreting a client's chart. Yet this psychological-spiritual requirement is just as important, if not more so.
Whether really significant tests could be prepared which a person applying for an authorization or license to practice astrology as a professional would-be required to pass is a matter on which I feel unable to give satisfactory answer. The realization, by the "astrological community" and by potential clients, that ideally, tests for personal maturity would be valuable as a protection to the young and unwary would in itself be a significant step in the direction of making the practice of astrology more psychologically safe and wholesome. However, the general principle of the value of the governmentally enforced licensing of astrologers — or psychologists and other types of professionals who practice can harm people — is one which can be endlessly discussed. Many problems are involved. The first one obviously is whether any licensing does not infringe upon the freedom of speech and behavior of individuals. Many dreadful things can be done "for the good of the people." Where shall the licensing stop? Are politicians licensed before they take office? Should authors of books and publishers be subjected to censorship because what they say can hurt people and pervert their mind or morale? The list of such questions is endless.
When a State or a collectivity of people — like a labor union or a guild — starts to feel it has the right, and indeed the duty, to protect individuals from the harmful actions of other individuals, it is almost impossible to know where to draw the line and give up the paternalistic attitude. Everyone realizes the need for a police force as long as our communities, being so large and heterogeneous, cannot put upon wayward or even inefficient individuals the collective pressure needed to protect their members — not by law-enforcement but by moral and psychological pressure. Such a pressure implies, first and foremost, an effective type of education.
Education begins with the recognition that knowledge is necessary. This leads to the discriminative, objective and non-emotional determination of the kind of knowledge which is necessary. In the field of present-day astrology such a determination is made difficult by the fact that there are so many schools of astrology, each of which unfortunately tends to claim absolute validity for its basic concepts and its techniques. Who therefore could decide what an astrologer should know in order to obtain an official license to practice? Moreover, how could anyone prove that a licensed astrologer is wisely using what he is supposed to know, or did know when he passed the test? What is shown by the medical profession is a rather illuminating instance of how binding an all-powerful, and governmentally protected type of "union" can be. It can not only set old-fashioned kinds of educational standards which deprive the public of crucially needed professionals — professionals operating at several levels of proficiency — but it can also create and widely spread through a powerful propaganda machine a collective belief that only what it considers right and sound should be accepted and indeed permitted. Yet each year some two million persons are in hospitals because of illnesses caused by medical treatments and use of doctor-prescribed drugs. The same thing could be said concerning the field of psychology and psychiatry.
This is not said to condemn any attempt groups of astrologers are making or will make to establish some basic standards for the practice of astrology. It is stated to show what really is at stake. Any form of prohibition can often result in as great damage as the use of what is prohibited — and anyone who lived in America during the days of Prohibition should know, for it is this tragic use of legal power which more than any other social factor was originally responsible for gangdom, police corruption and the lawlessness characteristic of American society. Yet a nation does not learn from experience, and the same thing has been occurring with marijuana which over 55 years ago had happened with alcohol. Besides who can even stop a beginner in astrology from rushing into carelessly interpreting his own and his friends and relatives' birth-charts, progressions and transits?
Only one thing can really be valid: education. This means educating the general public as much as the would-be astrologer. The level of expectancy of the person seeking astrological advice has to be raised. Every person susceptible to going to an astrologer for having his horoscope "read" should be made aware of what he can expect and not rightfully expect — and of the possible harm implied in astrological interpretations, even from a successful and well-accredited astrologer. This is why this paper is written, in the hope it can be made freely available to many thousands of persons who do not understand the limitations of and the nature of the essential data required in the study of personal horoscopes. Each would-be client should be able to ask valid and important questions of the astrologer he consults, or to the friend who, perhaps uninvited, proffers free advice. He should realize that giving his exact birth-time to whoever asks for it can be quite unwise, as unwise as parking one's car with the key inside and visible. If astrology means what its devotees says it does, then it inevitably can be improperly used. What enforceable law or regulation could make certain it is properly used?
I repeat that what can be done is to make widely public the minimal requirements essential to the practice of astrology. It is the responsibility of the person asking for, or even leaning his ears to un-professional astrological judgments, to try to make sure that he or she to whom he is listening at least knows and can intelligently make use of these basic requirements. If he cannot be sure, the only other way is to see another astrologer and discuss with him what he has been told. I would suggest that any astrological organization having nationwide connections should form committees to which written horoscopes or tapes of interviews could be sent by anyone who feels uncertain about the quality of what an astrologer has given him. Such committees — and there should be one in every large city — could exercise formal influence, even though without any official authority to condemn or discredit. A reasonable fee should be charged for any application to review specific and documented instances presented to the committee. It would act as a kind of "consumer's protection" agency able to set for the astrological consumer certain lines of condition and self-protection. It would no take any position concerning the validity of any school, system or technique, for it would only be concerned with whether whoever claims to use a particular approach can actually operate effectively in terms of that approach.
In other worlds, what is required is NOT whether a particular type of system, or an interpretation of the basic data provided by astrology, is valid in itself — for astrologers could never all agree on that — but whether the person practicing the kind of technique he claims to use is able to do so accurately, and with a clear sense of his responsibility to the client whose mind and feelings may be deeply affected by what is told him.
Any professional astrologer asking money for an consultation should also be able to answer at least the simplest questions put to him by a client concerning what astrology is, how it works, and what the terms usually found in magazines and popular books precisely mean. For instance, he should be able to explain the difference between tropical and the sidereal zodiac, the broad meaning of the Aquarian and Piscean Ages, and what the terms progression, directions, midpoints, solar revolutions, planetary cycles, actually represent. Some of the tests proposed for licensing an astrologer seem to me to cover far too much (and in another sense, not enough); just as a psychologist in order to get a State license has to know a mass of academic material which (1) often irrelevant to the actual everyday requirements of his future practice, and (2) is no guarantee of his personal maturity and ability to safely and wisely deal with his patients.
In conclusion may I say that, as I see it, what is important today in the astrological field is not to try to set extensive and categorical "standards" which, it is hoped, would soon have force of law in the practice of astrology, but rather to educate people — and first of all astrologers themselves — in realizing the complexity of the astrological field. One cannot expect all astrologers to agree on the most valid methods to be used in the interpretation of charts, or even on what such an interpretation should cover and what it should reveal to the client. There are altogether different ways of defining and evaluating such fundamental data as zodiacal signs, natal houses, solar houses, aspects, solar charts, progressions, etc. Some systems do not accept the value of houses, but use primarily midpoints defined in a particular way and special charts recently
devised. The use of statistics seems basic to a group of astrologers, and almost meaningless to another. Even methods of calculation differ in several instances.
Thus the only standardizing test could probably be whether or not the would-be practitioner is thoroughly familiar with the use of ephemerides, tables of houses, and such astronomical data as the lengths of the revolutions of the planets, their relative distance from the sun, the meaning of celestial and terrestrial longitude and latitude, of declination, right ascension, time-zones, nodes, parts and mid-points.
An astrological college in which the most important systems of astrology would be taught could no doubt give degrees to its students, indicating proficiency in several branches and systems of astrological interpretation, and an extensive knowledge of the types of astrology used in past and present cultures. But it is questionable that such general knowledge would necessarily improve the quality of the interpretations and advice given to clients; for as an astrologer comes face to face with an eager, perhaps confused or even distraught clients, intellectual knowledge (including statistical knowledge) is not what really matters. The human quality of the relationship brought about by the astrologer's personality and his feeling-responses often is what is most important — and that quality cannot be standardized even less subject to legislation.
Much can be done, nevertheless, to foster a better, more constructive psychological understanding of the character, meaning and purpose of astrology — or, I should rather say, a clear grasp of the nature of the principles and premises on which astrology has always and everywhere been founded, of the various meanings it has been given and the several types of purpose it has been made to serve. This can only be done through an honest, enlightened and thorough program of public education, free from extravagant claims, dogmatic assertions and glamour.
December 6, 1972
From Humanistic to Transpersonal Astrology
Reprinted by permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1973 by Dane Rudhyar
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