On Astrologer’s Ethics
- The stars may be more concerned with the ought of human life than we suspect. The cosmos may be more moral than mechanical. – Dennis Elwell
- You are always and everywhere in a moral conflict unless you are blissfully unconscious, wrote Carl G. Jung.
Without ethical and moral sensitivity an astrologer might just be creating new ethical problems for the client instead of giving her or him tools to handle the existing ones. Excellent professional expertise in astrological techniques is, of course, the bases of all good astrological work, but tools are still just tools. In the long run they are not nearly as important as the personality and the moral status of the astrologer.
What matters most is how the astrologer treats other human beings – professionally or in private, as you can never separate the two. Compared to many other professions the astrologer may even have a bigger responsibility as the astrologer is often seen as a kind of guru spreading cosmic wisdom. This guru effect has a definite negative impact on many clients, because it makes them less able to use their own discriminative powers in evaluating astrologer’s statements and interpretations than they would be in consulting other professionals.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Wherever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm. – Hippocrates
Hippocrates’ words to ancient doctors can be applied even to modern-day astrologers, especially to those astrologers who – instead of offering merely personality descriptions or writing horoscopes for magazines – use the birth-chart as a tool in therapeutic or counseling work. Their special astrological work involves a great ethical responsibility. Understanding, knowledge and insight are not enough, wrote C.G. Jung. Insight “must be converted into an ethical obligation”.
Of course, good intentions are as valuable in astrology as they are everywhere, but in astrology it’s also essential that you know what you are doing and why. In every special case you have to be able to weigh up, whether to say something or not, and you also must have some idea of how your words might influence the client. Or how he or she might use – or misuse – the information you give.
“Anyone who reveals to another person a truth, a law, or any kind of knowledge, especially when that person will most likely to be unable or unwilling to apply the knowledge in a constructive way or will use it destructively, incurs a perhaps grave responsibility”, wrote Dane Rudhyar.
It is not always wise to say everything you may see – or think you see – in the chart.
The client should also be able to trust that the astrologer knows the limits of her or his expertise. In each individual case a good astrologer has to be able to judge quite realistically, whether he or she is qualified to deal with the case in hand, or whether the client would be better served by another astrologer or by some other professional altogether, for instance, a priest, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or a medical doctor. Or even an economist or a social worker in some cases. And the astrologer must always have the courage and character strength to refuse any case in which he or she might not be the best person to help the client.
As the relationship between the astrologer and the client is what decides the ultimate outcome of an astrological consultation, the astrologer should also be ready to refer the client to another astrologer if there is any negativity or lack of rapport. Different clients need different types of astrologers but may not always find the right one because in choosing an astrologer they usually know nothing about the astrologer’s personality. A recommendation by a friend may help them to choose an astrologer who is technically competent and knows her or his subject well, yet there are no guarantees of a good personality match.
LIMITS OF ASTROLOGY
Some astrologers are in danger of looking at a person’s chart and telling that person how they think he or she ought to live, which, of course has to do with the astrologers’ own projections. – Richard Idemon
Like any other tool, astrology has its own limits, although every astrologer seems to have her or his own opinion on where those limits are. Or whether there are any.
“One of astrology’s great values is that it can explain and define what is right and natural for a given person”, claims, for instance, a well-known astrologer, Stephen Arroyo.
In theory this might – perhaps – be true in some ideal cases, but in practice, even if the horoscope showed that much, the astrologer would still see the client’s right and wrong through herself or himself, thus all the astrologer can do is to give her or his subjective opinion. Nothing more.
Getting your destiny mapped out or being told what is right for you may be what some clients expect – remember the image of an astrologer as a seer imparting cosmic wisdom. Because of her or his astrological expertise and experience an astrologer can often make excellent suggestions on what might happen if you do this or that. Or what might be the wisest course of action. But nothing else.
If the astrologer is talking about what is right for the client, the astrologer should always state – quite literally and explicitly – that it is just a personal opinion. Yes, an expert’s opinion, but still an opinion, a speculation, not a fact or an unavoidable truth. It might even be wise to emphasize the opinion-like nature of the statement by saying that other astrologers might see it in a very different way. Only the client herself or himself can decide, what is right and natural in her or his special case, never the astrologer.
We all know that twenty astrologers analysing the same birth chart will give twenty different analyses, thus twenty different ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ for any client… Perhaps the astrologer might even be able to define what truly is right in one case – usually with a client having a similar type of personality and life situation with the astrologer – yet the astrologer would definitely be wrong in many other cases. To be able to define what is natural for the client, the astrologer would have always to be on a higher level of development than the client, which – obviously – is not always the case.
To be always, or most of the time, able to define the right and the wrong for the client the astrologer would have to be a kind of all-knowing higher power. In addition the astrologer would have to know the client’s surroundings, inner experiences, past conditions, reference group, religion, and many other things as well – even the client’s reincarnational past, not just her or his horoscope.
In short, the astrologer would have to know, in addition to environmental and biographical details, what is written in so-called Akashic Records – or wherever information of our reincarnational background or karma and spiritual development might possibly be found. But Akashic Records aren’t a public gossip column and can’t be used as such. Despite the opposite claims by some enterprising New Age channels and gurus, only the individual himself – and God – can read the records, not the astrologer. Or a medium or a psychic.
LET’S DISCUSS ETHICS…
By tampering with god’s creation, one is unconsciously identifying with god. That is the great moral risk … It is a risk for any astrologer as well as any psychotherapist… – Liz Greene
There isn’t anybody alive who couldn’t harm another human being – completely without any bad intentions and without awareness of doing so. Because every astrologer is, in some way, influencing how the client sees herself or himself, the possibility of harming is always there. And the moral risk. Thus it’s the astrologer’s moral responsibility to develop constantly her or his ethical sensitivity in order to be an uplifting influence and to avoid ego-trips and attempts to define things an astrologer can’t or shouldn’t try to define.
In tampering with another person’s psyche no astrological expertise can ever compensate for a lack of ethical and moral sense or a lack of values. Bad news always spread fast, thus every breach of ethics will be remembered and will have an impact on the way people see astrology in general. One of the main reasons for vehement opposition to astrology may lie in this tampering: People don’t want to give astrologers the right to tamper with people’s minds, especially if astrological practitioners are seen belonging to the wild world of occultists and psychics.
Besides, the public learns the value astrology from the way we use astrology and talk about it. Or fail to do so. If we avoid ethical issues – and ethical discussions – people may feel that astrologers aren’t aware of risks involved in tampering with their clients’ psyches. Or that astrologers do not take risks seriously enough. This means giving excellent weapons to skeptics and others who are trying to denigrate astrology.
Sceptics often claim that they object to astrology purely because of ‘scientific’ reasons, which may be true sometimes. But at least unconsciously they may also be defending their right – and other people’s right – to define what is right for them. Thus, their furious attacks against astrology may not be based on scientific reasons as much as on a desire not to let astrologers play God for their clients by defining what is right for them.
I think that as astrologers and astrology students we should not only take ethical issues very seriously. We should also discuss our ethics and principles, and not only among ourselves. We should also be vocal about our attitudes. Let the public know that ethics and values are a serious consideration for every astrologer! Remembering Neptune’s strong role in astrology we should be extremely careful not to let Neptune cloud moral issues making us accept any laissez-faire principles. We should instead use Neptune’s sensitivity to make us painfully aware of all the ethical issues involved.
At its best Neptune can give astrologers true empathetic sensitivity, understanding and insight into the deepest truth in life: that “life is the same in everyone (Eino Kaila, Moon conjunct Neptune). Work ethics based on this principle will help astrologers do excellent work without ego trips, without trying to tell clients what is right for them, without any desire to play God but instead just a humble attempt to do a good job using the extremely valuable tool we have. Then – and only then – Neptune will truly enlighten us…
When your ethics are right… pure Neptune becomes the revealer… When we live on the lower planes of existence, it can mean the revelation of scandal and wrong-doing… – Carl Payne Tobey