A few years ago, it was rather difficult even to locate a professional astrologer, much less get an appointment to see one. Also, there was a great deal of skepticism on the part of the general public. Today, in many geographic areas, you may have a choice between several local practitioners as well as numerous legitimate persons who can serve you by mail or long distance. Superstition and doubt concerning the value of Astrology have diminished markedly as this ancient science-art is rapidly regaining its true and deserved position of honor and respect. It will continue to rise with your help in supporting its serious, dedicated, and qualified supporters and practitioners.
BEFORE you "invest," shop around somewhat, as the field of astrological counseling is becoming more and more a "buyer's market." The following information, while offering no pretense of being all-encompassing, can give you guidance in selecting your personal astrologer if you do not now have one, or assist you in evaluating your present astrologer if you do.
MATURITY. While not every practitioner would care to reveal their exact age, maturity is not too difficult for you to judge on rather brief contact in person or by telephone. While chronological age alone is certainly no guarantee of maturity, you would do well to consider favorably those practitioners who have at least experienced their own first Saturn return. (This occurs around age 29.) It is somewhat doubtful that those individuals much younger have really had enough experience with the "trials and tribulations" of life tbemselves to give the type of considered and mature guidance and advice you seek.
ASTROLOGICAL educational, training, and experience . Possibly in no other area does the old saying "Experience is the best teacher" apply more than in the field of Astrology. Your astrologer should be willing to discuss frankly with you the type and amount of astrological education and training they have had, the total number of years of practice, and how intense has been their involvement in astrology. Be highly suspicious of such responses as "several years," "as long as I can remember," etc. While your astrologer does not have to answer, you do have the right to ask. It is important, however, for you to realize that most really-qualified astrologers are in great part self-educated and trained because no universities have offered a complete preparation in the subject in recent decades.
SHOULD you use a full time or part-time astrologer? One who depends on his astrological expertise for his principal livelihood is more likely to be seriously interested in really helping you than another who does astrological charts as a sideline or "just for the fun of it." When it comes to anything so important as you, your success, your contentment and peace of mind, you certainly don't want to be an "experiment" or a "guinea pig" for anyone. This is by no means intended to suggest that all amateur or part-time astrologers are to be avoided, but a good general rule-of-thumb would be for you to favor the full-time professional practitioner.
FEES. It is only natural that you should expect to have to pay for having someone work for you. How much should you be required to pay? Attorneys seem to charge in the neighborhood of fifty dollars perhour [mid 1970's] for counseling only; psychiatrists' fees are somewhere in the same vicinity, or higher. Other professionals involved in counseling generally charge similar amounts. However, because of the public's remembered association of astrology with fortune-telling, even today few astrologers are able to charge as much as most other professional counselors. Even so, they are all too often expected to tell the client "all" about his past; present, and future; solve most if not all his problems; tell him or her when to expect marriage, divorce, great wealth; relieve his or her guilt concerning that clandestine love affair; bolster the flagging ego, etc. -- all this and more in an hour or so for just a very few dollars. In short, some members of a still misinformed society expect a "miracle on a budget" from astrologers.
[IF I may, I would like to relate a personal exerience with a recent client to illustrate my point. While I was reading this particular female's chart, she suddenly exclaimed, "That's really amazing!" Somewhat surprised, I inquired what she meant. She replied, "What you just said! Those are almost the same words my psychiatrist used just this week to describe my real problem." Assuring her how pleased I was to know that Astrology and psychiatry were in agreement in her case, I asked her how long her doctor had taken for his diagnosis and how much it had cost. She replied, "Once a week for seven months at fifty dollars per hour." Incidentally, this is the same lady who had complained so openly when initially I had told her my fee over the telephone -- a fee about equal to one full session with her psychiatrist. (Fees were at 1970's rates.)]
GENERALLY speaking, so far as astrologers go, like anything else you tend to get essentially what you pay for; with good ones, you normally get more than you pay for. Be especially suspicious of so-called "bargains." Anyone who offers to prepare and read your natal chart for an unbelievably low price may give you about what you might "deserve" -- very little of practical or constructive value.
ANOTHER case in point: A potential client visited my center in Dallas, a horoscope form in hand, complaining that she had just had her chart done by "so and so" and all he had told her was that in another life she was an Egyptian princess and that she had an incarnation in China and another in Tibet. He added that the reason she was not getting along with her mother was that her mother had been her father and had beaten her mercilessly in several other lives.
I asked to see the chart she was now waving in the air. A quick check proved it to have the wrong ascendant, incorrect signs on every house cusp, planets in wrong houses, and absolutely no time or distance corrections whatsoever. I asked what she had paid. She answered, "Ten dollars." As stated before, be wary of so-called "bargains."
FRIEND or friendly acquaintance? While it may be true that a close friend or associate might do your horoscope and other astrological work cheaper or even free, it is the exceptional one indeed who can be totally objective while reading your chart. The friend knows you well and may allow a prejudice or a desire not to offend to color the interpretation either negatively or positively.
OF course, you want to deal with your personal astrologer on a friendly basis; but, generally speaklng, you are wise to choose one who is not a close friend; you are also advised not to attempt to become too close or intimate. This is not to say that you can't be cordial, even social; but if you become "buddies," it might be best if you changed practitioners.
MALE or FEMALE? It is not possible to say which sex would be your better choice, since both can be equally qualified. From my own experience, it would seem that females prefer a male astrologer, since about 80 percent of my clientele is female. Many males prefer females as their personal astrologers. The nature of one's problems, needs, and interests could figure importantly in the choice. All other factors being generally equal, you should be guided by whether you feel more at ease in frank discussions with a member of your own or one of the opposite gender.
GENERAL PRACTITIONER or SPECIALIST? Just as in the medical and other professions, there are different branches or specialties in Astrology. By far, the greater number of professional astrologers could be called "general practitioners" or natal (genethliacal) -- or those who study individual birth-charts.
SPECIALISTS generally fall into these major categories: mundane -- the study of worldly and national affairs for the purpose of forecasting widespread trends; medical -- concerned or especially experienced with health matters of the querent, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ones; astro-meteorology -- weather trends and forecasting; natural -- the study of earthquakes, tidal waves, etc.; horary -- a system for seeking answers for immediate problems and questions; esoteric -- the study of deeper or hidden meanings through astrological symbology; electional -- picking the auspicious time to begin projects; and agricultural -- a study related to cycles of planting and harvesting.
ADDITIONAL considerations. Traditionally, "word of mouth" is considered the very best form of advertising. Choosing an astrologer who is recommended by a trusted friend, one who knows from personal experience a practitioner's "track record," is by far your best guide to selecting your personal astrologer. If such a recommendation is not probable, there are other ways to locate and contact professionals. Check the "Yellow Pages" in your telephone book -- under "Astrologers"; but note with care the listings (if any) and what they say. You are cautioned, however, to be somewhat careful of ads (in phone books and elsewhere) which promise too much for too little.
COMMON sense. You probably exercise extreme care in choosing your personal physician, attorney, and spiritual adviser. You are indeed wise to do likewise in your choice of a personal astrologer.