View Full Version : How specific can you get in astrological readings?
I don't mean to come off as a completely ignorant newb, but I'm wondering how specific you can get when reading astrological charts?
From what I have seen and read of astrology in some general books and on astro.com, astrology can be used to project the energies of certain times/days/you yourself/other people and how those things might affect your interactions and day-to-day life.
I can accept this.
But the reason I bring this topic up is that I got a professional reading done, about a year ago, as a gift from a relative. As far as I know, it was all astrological and the woman was not psychic or anything special like that.
However, in the reading she brought up some very specific things - for example, she said that she can look at someone's chart and pinpoint when they lost their virginity. She also made a few "guesses" and predictions about certain things in my life or which ended up unfolding that, while accurate, were not things I would see as showing up in an astrological chart. One strange thing she predicted was that at some point, I was going to get sick and think I was allergic to something or had gotten food poisoning, but really, the problem would be emotional or within my soul. Now, this hasn't happened yet, but I thought it was a strange thing to hear from an astrologer - it made me wonder whether she was saying things just to sound mysterious.
Finally, she told me some very specific things about my future love life - going as far as telling me the year when I would meet or be with the guy I would be able to spend the rest of my life with.
I found this all very strange.
Can purely astrological readings really be this specific? Part of me just doesn't know whether I should trust this woman's predictions, and, consequently, some of the advice she gave. She seemed like a good person when I went to see her, but some people are just good at acting and/or reading others.
I'm sorry if my post indicates a serious lack of research on my part, and if so, perhaps someone can point me in the right direction on learning more.
Oh yeah, and another thing I was curious about was past life stuff. Does that show up in astrological charts? She also mentioned something about my past life and how it affects my purpose/goals in this one. I like the idea of past lives, but I dont see how it would show up in a chart about the planets at the time of your birth in your current life.
After 35 years with astrology, it seems that one can be as specific as one wants to be in terms of making a statement. The basis for being specific, and accurate within the context of your statements, depends upon the experience and the tools that astrologer either chooses to use or has the time to use.
Using just a birth chart is often not enough in order to answer some questions. An astrologer might use several/many different charts and methodologies to provide a specific answer -- and each astrologer might use different charts and methodologies than another might use.
Examples of being specific that come to mind:
At a meeting I read a chart for a lady and stated, "You are a closet astrologer." She agreed noting that she had very little room for her stuff and used a table that folded out of her closet. She had her books and materials there. So, she really was a "closet astrologer."
At a meeting in Boston before some 200 astrologers I was lecturing on the use of Solar Returns. Those having questions were to hand in a prior and a following year precession-corrected or Sidereal Solar Return chart. I was reading the charts from scratch with no prior knowledge or study of the charts. One women just asked, "What has recently happended?" I informed her that a grandchild had died by drowning and that the child had not been recovered for a couple of days." She broke down in tears, as that was a very specific and painful thing to recall. Its hard to be delicate in such a setting.
At a Womans Club church meeting I informed one member not to leave her house on a given day a couple of weeks later between 10 and 11 am as she would have an accident due to bad weather. The weather was bad that day (sleet and snow), she did not heed my advice and backed out of her driveway into the path of another car at 10:45 am.
So, yes, one can be as specific as one wants to be or has the time and skills to be. But, again, being specific is not the same as being right. Noel Tyl once wrote a collection of astrological short stories titled the Missing Moon. One story was about an astrologer who tried to warn his client that he was going to lose his hand on a certain date and time. Everthing seemed wo work against hime in trying to contact his client -- he finally did make contact about 15 minutes after the "predicted loss of the hand" only to find out that the client had lost one of his expensive gloves. Symbology is symbology, and we can see almost anything -- the "specific" things we see are always subject to interpretation, skills, experience, the types and number of charts, and our own common sense.
So, "specific" for me at any given time is not the same as "specific" for someone else. If events do or do not occur as "predicted" we are shown to be "accurate and good" or "incautious and foolish" or somewhere inbetween. Its probably best to err on the side of caution. Dave.
I know it's been a while since I posted this and you replied, but I just wanted to thank you for such a detailed and well-though-out response. It was really helpful, and some of the things you said have actually made me so much more interested in exploring and learning about astrology at some point in the future (when I have more time on my hands heh).
Going back to specifics about my post and your reply....yes, I noticed that in my particular reading, the astrologer had many charts, not just my birth charts...I don't know what they all were though, but I know she had at least 5 papers out that she was looking at when I arrived, and she printed 2 more off at some point in the middle of the reading (she had to ask me some questions before she printed them, so she waited till I was there).
And, of course, all that stuff about how being specific is not the same as being right, I can also understand. It's always safe to take things with a grain of salt, and interpretation of signs, symbols, and the real meaning behind things can be tricky. This, I have learned well from my study of tarot :)
Anyyway, thanks so much, again, for your reply. That thing you said about the woman whose grandchild died is just fascinating. Wow.
That was a great post by dadsnook2000. I would add a couple of factors. I would only add a couple of points. I think the description of the symbolic description was absolutely right on.
I believe astrologers have self-limited their abilities by two means: (1) excess worry about free will, and (2) choosing to learn techniques which are not especially predictive in nature. I would also note that, to an extent, these are partly the same thing.
Consider the 19th c. astrologer A.J. Pearce, whose Textbook was published in 1879. Pearce was one of the first to attempt to delineate a chart by aspects alone, after giving lip service to the signs of the planets. This stuff is rather like our parallel thread on the "meaning" of having Pisces in (sic) the 8th house. This is not the stuff of predictive astrology! By which I don't mean to imply that astrology cannot be a tool for character description, but that, until the mid 20th century, that was never its primary goal.
I have referred here before to Alan Leo's deliberate attempt to change the nature of his astrology from predictive to descriptive in an attempt to evade arrest and conviction under Great Britain's fortune-telling laws. However, Nick Campion has found a long-hand delineation of Leo's for a private client that shows that he was still using the old time predictive methods there.
However, the second factor is often equally unknown by many modern astrologers. This piece comes from the history of psychology. World War II, and the horrors of Nazism, was extremely traumatic not merely for the millions of victims, but for psychology as well. How could one explain the mindset of the Nazis who perpetrated such atrocities?
Psychology went in several different directions to explain this, basically following the maxims of the schools already existing. Behaviorism studied the behavior of subjects who were put in a position to torture others. But others rejected this kind of research and developed new paradigms based on individual choice: the people like Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers who instead emphasized how these behaviorist models might be true on some level, but that nonetheless, each individual has the ability to transcend this kind of base programming, and, in the process, experience life in a much more meaningful, fulfilling way. From these ideas, we get transcendental psychology, person-centered psychology, experiential psychology, the hierarchy of needs, and so forth. And these schools in turn were very nfluential on such younger astrologers of those days as Rudhyar and Marc Edmund Jones.
What perhaps got lost in the headiness of choice is that most of the time people simply don't choose: they operate on auto-pilot. And it is in precisely the realm of auto-pilot that astrology can be so incredibly predictive.
By the Seventies, lines had been drawn in the sand. The emerging field of psychological astrology was mostly rejecting even the *possibility* of prediction, while the nascent seeds of neoclassicism and Neo-Vedic were about to reject even the *possibility* of choice. As usual, truth seems to float between extremes.
And in the meantime, many astrologers, who could have cared less about the rhetoric anyway, developed particular specialties. The funny thing about the story about the prediction of losing virginity is that it parallels a story I heard from my best friend in college, who talked about the janitor at her high school who could always tell when any girl had had sex for the first time. I suppose any of the rest of us could develop these same skills with proper diligence and practice! But I suppose that it points to the fact that, given sufficient interest, people will try to find a way!
Leephd said, "I believe astrologers have self-limited their abilities by two means: (1) excess worry about free will, and (2) choosing to learn techniques which are not especially predictive in nature."
REPLY: In a group I founded wherein 25+ people met once each week for seven straight years, I can't forget the strong discussions (?) about fate and freewill by those who had yet to learn a minimal amount of astrology. It is a waste of time, IMHO, until you know enough to satisfy yourself as to the answer. Now, learning techniques and "areas" of astrology is very important. I don't see that many of today's students taking a crash course in "everything", instead they touch upon natal astrology and seem to mostly stop. Where is the curiosity that comes from the thrill of doing each new chart and discovering another piece of the universe?
Leephd said, "Consider the 19th c. astrologer A.J. Pearce, whose Textbook was published in 1879. Pearce was one of the first to attempt to delineate a chart by aspects alone..."
REPLY: This should be a familiar theme for those who have participate in my Planet Series where aspects and simple phases were used to show how to make astrology simple and clear. From a short and concise understanding one can then proceed to adding details ad-nauseum, but you have to have a solid framework before doing that. Aspects patterns and phase relationships are one way to easily develop and arrive at a good starting point.
Lee, your comments about the impact of WWII are most interesting and quite appropriate. Yet, we can't forget the Ebertin school and their futher development of mid-point and solar arc applications -- used for both natal and predictive work. (Edited) This work covered over a half-centure, spanning WWI and WW2 and beyond. It was the war period that seems to have influenced the harsh interpretive views of Ebertin. Also, the Uranian school seems to have emerged into the public view following the spread of Ebertin's work, although the basis for that body of work was also done much earlier in the 1900's I believe. (End of edit) Other than starting with Jeff Mayo of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, I was quickly introduced to mid-points and equal arcs very early in my studies. What a contrasting view to start with compared to more "conventional" studies. This is why I can't encourage early-studies astrologers enough to branch out and expose themselves to other ideas.
In the 70's and early 80's I was heavily influenced in the "conventional" schools by Rudhyar and Noel Tyl. Talk about a "needs" focus that was so clearly and strongly demonstrated, Tyl's 12 set paperback edition had to be a prime influence on many of that period. But, right beside this I was also exposed to two other areas; 1) Fagan and Bradely and the whole Sidereal school, and 2) Rudhyar's Lunation Cycle and the works of Marc Robertson from the Seattle area -- both of which focused on cycles.
From these two diverse groups, Fagan and Robertson, I developed a greater appreciation of cycles and their broader meaning to us other than as just "snapshot" transits. When I discovered the solar-sidereal time cycle in the Solar Return charts and how to progress it on a daily basis, my predictive work became very focused and exact. Couple that tool with mid-points and it seemed that anything could be forseen if one wanted to do enough work. Not true, of course, but prediction seemed "automatic" to me in those days.
As we mature in our astrological experience we find that we can be accurate but first we must know the client's symbols and his/her use of them, we must know to some extent how they seem to have absorbed some portions of their chart and where they might have grown into the full potential of the chart (or even grown beyond the chart in some ways). Only when we intuitively sense their personhood and their chart's meaning to them can we confidently do some prediction. Of course, it is fun to take shots in the dark and be willing to be right much of the time as well as occassionaly being off. But, if someone has a serious issue, we owe it to them and ourselves to be serious about what we offer.
So, in summary, I always try to have fun with my astrology and I don't hesitate to go out on a limb, but when it has to be used for a serious issue then we have to know our limits and our capabilities and then do our best. Dave