The power dynamic between the astrologer and client is something I’ve been thinking a lot about this week. With a stellium in Scorpio squaring Saturn I’m not unfamiliar with the exploration of what power and authority are and how they can be handled well, or not so well! I’ve often felt very humbled by the power and trust invested in me and my skills as an astrologer. When you give an astrologer your birth details, you give them an insight into who you really are and the gifts, talents, challenges and battles you live with every day. You also offer trust that they will work with that knowledge responsibly and with integrity. An incident at the weekend made me think about these issues again and it’s been playing on my mind. It worries me that for a variety of reasons this trust may not always be handled with the respect it deserves.
Before I explain what happened and take this any further, I want to just mention Caroline Casey. She’s a wonderful astrologer who wrote Making the Gods Work for You. If you haven’t read it, get hold of a copy (unfortunately out of print, but available second hand) and read it!! Her chapter on Saturn is a wonderful take on an energy many people struggle with, or are simply scared of. And when I say many people, I’m not excluding astrologers from this. Many only ever read Saturn in a negative way. A Saturn transit is always scary; Saturn aspects are always bad news; if the great malefic is coming your way hide under your table and brace yourself! Caroline Casey talks about the issue of authority and the root of the word being ‘author’. She explains how Saturn simply wants us to be our own author, to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. Oh, and work hard because that’s how you really make progress, but hard work isn’t easy – the clue’s in the name! Stop blaming everyone else and ‘giving away your goat’ (as in Capricorn, ruled by Saturn) and author your own life. Imagine if everyone took responsibility for their own actions, what would the world look like? If people didn’t try and find blame or attribute actions and meaning to other people, wouldn’t the world be a whole lot more adult?!?
Think about this a little bit more. Who do you give your goat up to? Parents, employer, partner, government? How often do you think about doing something and think, oh no, can’t do that, what would they think? We all do it or have done it, but every time you do this you give up your goat to someone. Of course a variation on this is taking a position of authority, but without taking full responsibility for the consequences of our actions, which brings me back to what got me started…
At the weekend I came across an astrology blog via Twitter which I just couldn’t help but comment on. I suppose it pushed my own personal Saturn button that just can’t stand seeing authority and responsibility misused. It’s not going to come as any surprise at this point to know that the post was about Saturn, specifically Saturn transiting through Scorpio and the impact of this on anyone with a Moon in this sign. Ok, the Moon is in fall in Scorpio, any astrologer worth their salt is going to tell you this. And yes, a Saturn transit to the Moon is challenging energy, I agree with this too. However, there is NOT one simple way to read such a transit AND they are not all bad! Think of the person who during this transit learns to deal with deep, dark emotions in a really responsible way or the person who is able to work really hard and responsibly in a situation other people are just too scared to face. We would read any part of the natal chart, transits or progressions as having a spectrum of possibilities, some easier than others.
This is the ‘bell curve’ approach we were taught with Astro Logos. A really basic example would be someone with Mars in Aries, an easier expression would be someone enthusiastic, energetic who is able to start things off and get them moving, but a more difficult expression would be someone quick-tempered, who rushes into things impulsively without thinking them through. A simple illustration but you get the idea.
Having commented on the blog that I thought there might be other ways to read this transit, I received pretty short shrift in response. I simply couldn’t help myself and I tried again! This is definitely my Saturn weak spot; if you put yourself in a position of authority, use your power responsibly. So, I posted a second time trying to explain my viewpoint. The result? I’ve been blocked from that particular astrologer’s blog.
So, going back to where I started and what I see as my responsibility as an astrologer. What concerned me about the interaction wasn’t that I’ve been blocked, I’ll cope. However, I feel as astrologers we have a responsibility to offer our clients the whole range of possibilities their chart offers to them. Some of these are more difficult; we all know we have parts of ourselves that we struggle with and we keep making the same mistakes as the universe gives us more and more chances to learn the lessons we need to learn. Some transits are definitely more challenging, life isn’t all cosy and easy, but it isn’t meant to be. This is a journey, we’re supposed to be learning and often we only really learn from the crunchy bits or the mistakes. My responsibility as an astrologer is to talk through the entire possibilities of a transit. If it’s a challenging clash of energies, how can the client look to deal with this best? What action can they take (be their own author!) in using the energy to their benefit? How does this relate to their birth chart and how have they dealt with similar energy in the past? If I don’t offer them the full range of options then I’ve failed them and I’ve abused their trust in me.
The other responsibility I feel astrologers have is to each other and themselves. Talk to each other, challenge each other, play with the ideas and learn from each other. Perhaps it’s the fact that Matthew and I come from a background working in universities, we’re used to critiquing others or being critiqued (constantly!). I realise not everyone may be as comfortable or used to this approach, but getting feedback from others, reflecting on this and taking appropriate action is how we learn. If we close down the discussion or aren’t willing to hear any dissenting views then we won’t grow ourselves. If you really want to help people develop and learn about themselves, then you have to be willing to do the work on yourself too.