People tend to be wary of astrologers. The future is complicated and people are complicated, it’s difficult to imagine that there are people who are able to help us steer ourselves where we want to go in life or help us understand ourselves or our lives on a deeper level. However, many who haven’t tried an astrologer or have tried bad astrologers (look, I know you’re out there) often have a list of things they don’t like about astrologers and astrology itself. It could be something as understandable as “it hasn’t been proven” to something as accusatory as “astrologers are just cons”. It’s when this line gets crossed that we need to take a look at what’s going on more closely.
Why do people think of astrologers as con artists? Can it really be something as simple as “it’s unproven”? The more I think about it the more I’ve come to realize that astrologers are a lot like doctors. Except when doctors do things that astrologers do, no one claims doctors are con artists. That’s not to say that there aren’t any genuinely bad doctors or astrologers, certainly there are, just that doctors get away with a lot more than astrologers do when they do the same things. How are doctors and astrologers similar? Let’s take it from the top.
Astrologers and doctors expect similar things from their clients; information. As astrologers, we need information in order to make things make sense to us so they can make sense to the client. Planets have a plethora of individual symbolism to make them make sense in any context, but it’s the information that the client provides us that helps astrologers narrow down just what the heck any given planet is supposed to mean. However, clients will often become resistant to divulging information or give false information. “Shouldn’t you know? You’re the astrologer.” I’m sorry, what? Yeah, I’m an astrologer, not a psychic. So…help me out here. Doctors require information from their patients in order to diagnose properly. Try going into a doctor’s office and sitting on the exam table and say “Shouldn’t you know what’s wrong with me? You’re the doctor!”
People are people, and people make mistakes. Astrologers can be off in their predications, and doctors can be wrong in their diagnosis. Symptoms and diseases are complex. A simple look at WebMD’s symptom checker will let you know that much. One night I had to check symptoms for fever and cold chills and my results were a possible 17 different ailments ranging from the flu to syphilis, we might need to narrow that down a bit. Doctors can misdiagnose a patient, but no one treats it like the end of the world. As long as the misdiagnosis didn’t cause any problems, no one seems to care that a doctor called it incorrect. However, if an astrologer makes a mistake and gets a reading wrong, well then the whole subject of astrology must be fake and everyone who is an astrologer must be a charlatan. That makes sense.
People tend to be shocked when they hear that astrologers charge for their time and services. In my personal life, even friends of mine are surprised to find out that I charge for readings, thinking that they’re just fun parlor tricks that should be free. One of the things astrologers hope to do is help people throughout their lives, and many people are taken aback when they find out that astrologers ask for money in exchange for that help. “Why would you charge for helping people? It must be all about the money to you.” Astrology isn’t something that comes naturally to people. There is no such thing as an intuitive or psychic astrologer, saying such undermines the amount of work and study that goes into being a good and useful astrologer. There are people who understand it easier, certainly, but there’s no psychic force that helps astrologers “tune-in” to anything in a chart. Astrology is not a gift, it’s work. Astrology is constant studying and constant learning. People put in more hours studying astrology than they do for most college degrees, so of course they would ask for compensation in using those learned skills. No one becomes offended when doctors ask for money, and these people save lives! Shouldn’t that be a free service? How could you put a price on a life? No one asks or considers these questions seriously. All they know is there are doctors and nursing staff that help them get better, and those people certainly aren’t doing it just for the satisfaction of saving another human life. Sure, it’s a nice benefit, but no one would be there it if didn’t pay anything. Medicine is also a constantly evolving field, and doctors are required to keep reading materials long after obtaining their doctorate in order to stay current on the latest medical technologies.
Now, astrology obviously hasn’t been scientifically proven (and in fact may be unable to be tested properly) like medical sciences have, so there’s a bit of a room for doubt among the general populace. However, when one has a bad experience with a doctor, we simply start going to another. We take this leap of faith with a doctor that what he gives us will help us and not harm us, and with the growing list of side effects that seem to roll off of the bottles of most medicines, that’s a pretty big jump to take with someone we hardly ever see and change every few years. I think if we’re willing to take that gamble with our health, we should be a bit more lax on our view of astrologers.