Written by: Angela Pennington www.angelapennington.com
Published: ACVA Newsletter March 21, 2010
Having accurate knowledge of astrological information is the foundation of a competent astrologer. In the Brihat Samhita Vol. I, Chapter II “Cannons for Astrologer”, Varahamihira narrates at length about the abilities of a well versed astrologer, broadening the scope beyond the understanding of the constellations, planets and houses.
Varahamihira breaks down these attributes in the following way: qualifications, virtues, astronomical calculations, measurements of time, science of astrology, understanding of sacred texts and words of power. For the purposes of this article we will look more closely at the “qualifications and virtues” of an astrologer as these factors managed and developed correctly will aid the astrologer in building a strong character and consulting practice.
Over the course of my study at ACVA, I’ve heard different students asking the same question: “How do we create a positive atmosphere and empower our clients even in dire circumstances?”
An insightful question. Varahamihira essentially devoted a chapter to conduct and presentation in the Brihat Samhita, most likely, students of old as well as new, have given deep thought to the aforementioned. After all, our thought process here effects how we set up our consulting practice and build professional relationships with our clients. A powerful question deserving an in-depth investigation. My exploration began in sacred text, moved to “CVA Ethical Standards and Guidelines” (ACVA 2002) and ended with ACVA teachers who generously offered their expertise from years of operating their own astrological practices. After reviewing, comparing, distilling advice and verse, the following list of Do’s and Dont’s have been compiled for your review and contemplation:
DO create a Positive Impression:
1. Take care of our appearance; maintain good health, be well groomed and modest in dress.
2. Establish clear and respectful professional boundaries.
3. Be organized, on time and alert.
DO create a Positive Atmosphere:
1. Working from home or office; keep the work space organized and clean.
2. Before client meetings, prepare your mind; do a meditation, invoke spiritual guidance.
DO properly Prepare for Meeting:
1. Connect with clients prior to meeting; get clear as to the purpose of the consultation. At this time, it’s important to really listen to what the client is saying and ask them questions.
2. Make sure you have the correct birth information.
3. Take time and explain to the client astrological limitations and the importance of free will and karma.
4. Charts, computers, recorders and other materials should be set up and ready.
5. Clear the consultation space, have an extra pen and paper available, keep beverages on hand.
6. Language; avoid vulgarity, use empowering words, keep astrological jargon to a minimum. (clients want to learn about their personal situation not astrology per se).
7. Accentuate the clients talents and natural abilities.
8. Be honest with upcoming obstacles, describe them and offer remedial measures.
“The predications made by an astrologer who has mastered both the theory and practice of the science of astrology, and astronomy …… inscribed in his intellect and firmly implanted in his heart, will never go wrong.” – Varahamhira
According to Varahamira integrity and pure intention are of great importance. An astrologer must be humble, respect deity and the sages who passed us sacred knowledge. We must remain free of judgement and work towards the greatest good for those who seek the wisdom of the stars. With respect to these teachings, modern day Jyotishi’s strongly advise we DO NOT predict; divorce, disease and death. Predicting these subjects create a negative mindset and disempower people.
Lastly, an ACVA teacher told me about the importance of not giving too much information in one session. For example, covering multiple topics in one session may not be appropriate. The human mind can only take in and digest a certain amount. It’s important to build relationships with clients and when appropriate suggest follow up meetings.
As astrologers, continued work on our own spiritual development is essential. We are eternal students and teachers - all working towards the same enlightenment.
For more information on Astrologer etiquette please read the following articles:
Ethical Standards and Guidelines, ACVA 2002
Qualities and Qualifications of a Vedic Astrologer by Chakrapani Ullal
Vedic Astrology and Transpersonal Counseling by Dennis M. Harness, PH.D.