Monday, September 24, 2012

On Being an Unprofessional Astrologer

Astrologer Liz Greene on the King of Cups (Orpheus) from her Mythic Tarot: "the gifted counsellor and healer who can empathise with and help others, yet who cannot quite trust life enough to take its course. It is characteristic that many of those in the helping professions choose such a vocation because they have been wounded through personal relationships, often those with the parents; and thus they form relationships where they remain ultimately in control and cannot be that deeply hurt again."

Liz Greene, as usual, puts her finger on something. I had a ‘Yes!’ moment when I read it. It explains how I often feel about therapists or professional astrologers: the control thing in the relationship, that to me feels inauthentic. Instinctively, I want the readings I do to be a dialogue, a sort of wandering conversation that eventually covers everything. I think of the people I do readings for as friends rather than 'clients' (‘orrible 'orrible word). I don't agree with those sort of 'professional' boundaries where you keep your own personal life separate. That was what I didn't like about a counselling course I did recently, the uptight ‘professional’ behaviour that was expected. (I was told I suffered from 'resistance' in this respect!)

No, I want to put my feet up, share a glass of wine, create a feeling of ease and equality and friendship and informality, all those things that a ‘professional’ relationship inhibits. And not have any agenda about where it’s going to go or that I’m expected to solve any problems. In that context, I find, the best stuff happens. It’s about being human.

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PS Liz Greene and co-author Juliet Sharman-Burke are doing a day on the Mythic Tarot in Bath in November.  Highly recommended. It really is the best thought-through Tarot ever, and particularly relevant for astrologers, based as it is on the Greek myths. Go to

PPS If you haven't seen it, get the TV series In Treatment to see a (fictional) gifted therapist at work.


Alex said...

Hello and my recognition toyou.

I am a professional astrologer since 1990 and I agree with you regarding the non professional approach during the reading.
Here in Argentina we have Mate, and is very common to meet with friends and shere a round of mate with them. Same with the readings that build a bound, a friendly bound were both are humans aopened to share knowladge and heart. It does enrich the experience.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

about time someone wrote about that element of wounded control over clients feeding into the need to make all these boundaries..point well made.

Lise said...

Yes yes & yes!! Maybe Saturn nudging Scorpio is a potent time for these barriers of teacher - client to move into a more open transparent sharing where each role realizing they are learning from each other vs the parental dynamic that runs the world & does a less than satisfactory job at it!!! Thank you Dharmaruci this has given me big smiles this morning xxxx

clarelhdm said...

Ok..first comment got swallowed up...I agree completely with you. it is especially true if the so-called healer hasn't gone as deep, had as intense experiences, as the so-called 'client'. then the power will go to making the client feel somehow wrong or as if their perception is out.
One point though, my feeling about liz Greene is that she is one of the worst in this regard. She is a strict Jungian, and many of the anecdotes in her writing make it clear that she insists on tight boundaries with her clients. When I met her she was very aloof and detached in manner, and didn't mix with workshop participants. It was some time ago though, so maybe she has changed.

Dharmaruci said...

I agree with you about Liz Greene, she has a wall of barbed wire around her, and she gets quite aggressive if anyone intrudes on it. She seems not to want people to get close on a personal level. And of course people think that's fine because she is very good at what she does, she's the 'guru'.

Christina said...

May I steal your explanation of a "consultation": " Instinctively, I want the readings I do to be a dialogue, a sort of wandering conversation that eventually covers everything." Exactly.
The looser you are and the more you listen and allow a flow of energy in both directions, the better the reading. I'm amazed at how good Skype is for this.
I agree with clare about Greene. I suspect she is describing herself with the King of Cups. I find her an excellent theorist and even philosopher but her work seldom reads as if she has listened to real people.

clarelhdm said...

I really changed my opinion of her when I read Astrology of Fate. Having Pluto con IC myself, and square mars rising, the themes were more than relevant. But it was as if everything was detached from people's pain and their need to live in the real world. She discussed the chart of a client of hers who commits suicude, and she ended with something like 'the Uranus transit could have brought a breakthrough...they should have waited for that' (not the actual words). It was such a cold comment and seemed more interested in proving her theory (jungian and astrological) rather than concern for the obvious terrible distress her client had experienced. After that my love affair with her writing waned somewhat.

TheDeepGoat said...

Interesting discussion about the 'proffesionalism' labels and themes...i have been interested in healing and astrology for years but i have never branched out into 'practicing' as such, ok yeah, plenty of 'informal stuff' and discussions, which can be healing anyway. I live in a conservative city (chester) and round here it is all white coats and total formality for healing type therapies, where in my own place of thinking i would be happier in a tent with loads of sage smudge and the like. but i think that healers are also pounded with projections from their clients, many will throw the mantle of 'guru' over their therapist, and unless the therapist is aware and able to get beyond this it is probably easy to fall into this pattern of 'guruship'i have neptune in the first house and at one time i was easily swayed, having the ability to just basiucally reflect others projections, it has taken some time to work through this....but its all about evolution i think! also, to be authentic healers need time 'out' to get centred and sacred, and the full diary of a 24/7 world must be hard to remain so! interesting discussion, thanks.

Magic Dragon said...

Brilliant. Clear and a joy to read.
The post goes beyond the "client" - healer, professional, etc. relationship, even though you made that point very clear.
There is a reason for letting things flow and get in touch with what is and not to try to control and place issues in set labels-boxes-attitudes. It has more to do with soul to soul contact and recognition instead of personality based relationships. How these factos express themselves is really not that important.