John Townley Home
Contact Us Order
Home Astro*Reports Astro*News John Susan

Whether it's a column  in newspaper or Net, or a one-to-one consultation, what can/should an astrologer really offer? 

By John  Townley

In these times of change you might not want to believe in, personally, what good is astrology? How does it enable anyone to cope with the current set of financial and personal crises so many people are going through, triggered by the radically changing skies and the concomitant rough waters down below? Can astrology, or an astrologer, help? Wife Susan (an astrologer and intuitive herself) recently asked me, “Why aren’t you sending out a message of hope and comfort, reassurance in trying times? That’s what people really need from astrology. Like what Michael Lutin does, for individual Sun signs. Not just more theory about what’s going on in the sky and how it might affect things in general.”

In other words, can/should I comfort you (individually and collectively), just by saying how dicey this Libra Saturn square Pluto is for your relationships and how we’re all in the same boat? And of course suggest it’s going to get better…unless it doesn’t. But hey, you’ll still learn something from it…or you won’t. And if I told you that, as a popular journalist, would I be lying to some (and deluding them) while actually helping others cope? Finally, is astrology something to take comfort in at all, especially in a general, across-the-board sort of way?

The most popular style of "modern" astrology is more like going to see a shrink to get your planets analyzed.

To address whether any of that’s appropriate or even possible, you have to ask, what is an astrologer? A fortuneteller? A counselor? An amateur shrink? A minister? A spiritual guru? A sympathetic shoulder to cry on? A window of celestial wisdom onto the “bigger picture” and your place in it? Or, is it someone who simply studies the possible links between the sky above and events below – who connects planetary placements and motions and associated individual and mass behavior (and perhaps the inner character that behavior portrays)?

In practice, across history, the answer has swung from one pole to another -- or rather, hopped from one function to another. In Western Classical and Renaissance times, astrology was used primarily to predict events and their nature, for individuals and states, secondarily to describe personal character, and only marginally to personally advise or comfort the individual. It described the wheels of destiny – what you did with that knowledge was your concern. Personal counseling and comfort, along with physical healing, from the beginning lay in the lap of the medicine man/woman, or later the priest/minister/rabbi/mullah. Astrology might offer predictions for the outcome of your ills, based on a unified theory of medicine and sky rulerships, but you went to an astrologer only to find out a diagnosis and if you’d live or die, not to get treated or cured, which was the doctor or surgeon’s responsibility on the physical side and the priest’s on the spiritual/emotional side..

But, as modern science and medicine displaced astrology as the purveyor of explanations and cures, and religion defensively co-opted the gates to the world of the spirit, only the soft middle ground of personal sorrow and need remained, where neither scientific nor religious dogma served sufficiently well to comfort. Psychology and the social sciences evolved to fill in that gap, where ad hoc treatment along with disputed and contradictory theories reigned, and for over a century astrology found a haven there, almost losing its the process. It was so good at describing personality traits that one set of astrologers, like some sort of eccentric aunt, increasingly clung to psychology (and were welcomed in return by Jung). But, it was also still an alternate cosmology, seeming to explain the mysterious, so another set retained and repurposed it as an occult alternative to both religion and sympathetic magic. Later, New Agers mixed and matched all possibilities with oblivious disregard for consistency, and the recent growth in ecological awareness is causing some now to view astrology more like another approach to environmental science, where inner and outer influences, many not fully observed or understood, meet at individual, social, and evolutionary levels.

Is it your future you want told, or perhaps a guru to see you through? An astrologer can do a little bit of each, sort of... 

So, across the last century, earnest people have come to astrologers originally to tell their fortunes (which can be done well enough to impress), then later to tell them about themselves and their inner, unresolved conflicts (it’s good at that, too), even as an alternative to religion (it’s lousy at that), and recently as another key to how they fit into the rest of the world, by style and action. Because in a supposedly rational world, the astrologer is the last in a series of persons people turn to when trying to figure out their problems, astrologers have become ad hoc counselors and amateur shrinks, and in many cases, trained counselors and psychiatrists have become astrologers as well. In fact, if you’re going to succeed in this business, outside of being a stock market astrologer or someone who mainly advises people on timing, you need to have pretty good counseling skills in a variety of areas.

When I first began “practicing” astrology in the very early 1970s, I quickly found that counseling was really the name of the game, and that it was a totally separate skill from astrology. It required gathering as much knowledge as possible about the main areas of counseling need (love, wealth, and health – sex, money, and death – are the major three). That meant you had to be a human resources expert who could spot different talents and know where the jobs were, how they came and went in personal life and general economic cycles, so I spent a lot of time studying that. You also needed to know a lot about sex and love – and I had the good fortune of working as editor of a major sexual psychology magazine, in daily contact with the leading sexologists of the day. Health? Astrology, having not really upgraded its medical principles since Galen, has always been poor at that, except to spot stress levels, so I have pretty much stayed out of that one. But you know, I could have done well at counseling in any of those areas without ever having been an astrologer. Above all, counseling is about possessing a combination of empathy, sympathy, knowledge, and wisdom that can be delivered with or without an astrological flavor. It can be done in various cases equally as well by a good doctor, priest, psychiatrist, or bartender. The required talents are a sharp mind, a good ear, and an open heart.

A priest can comfort you with the Spirit, a bartender can do it with spirits, a doctor can write you a scrip...but an astrologer?  

So what can I say from a specifically astrological point of view to make anyone feel better about what’s happening in these tumultuous times of painful and wrenching change? Not much, except when and where to expect the next wave to come crashing through – and something about its nature, so you can deal better with it. On a one-to-one, individual chart level, in a consultation, we can converse endlessly on just how and when you as a client or friend will experience these, and what might be done about it, replete with lots of understanding suggestions from years of practice as a counselor with an astrological approach. From one consultation to the next, you can get a lot done, and astrology provides some good tools to work with.

As a writer and journalist, however, I can only report on the details of the latest sky developments, their general impact, and how one will evolve into the next – along with research and speculation on how this whole mysterious, incredibly complex cosmic astrology machine actually works. Like a foreign correspondent, I’m reporting on the action live as it happens, with full coverage of what it looks like on the road ahead and why. After that it’s up to you to decide what to do and where to cast your life vote as the road rises to meet you. Any comfort in that? Some, perhaps…

But if you want more, you’ll have to book an appointment…       


Not a newsletter subscriber already?    Subscribe Free Here!

Let us know what you think! Write us:

And every day, keep in touch with our Astrology In The News section...please take a look!
-- Breaking news from around the globe, plus articles, reviews, it's all happening there, changes daily...

  Copyright © John Townley 2009. All rights reserved.
About Us | Astro*Reports | Readings | John | Susan | Books | Articles | Astro*News/Views | Astro*LinksMusic | Site Map