Many think that they are expressing a truth about the person studied, when in fact they express a truth about themselves. – Helena Anhava, Finnish aphorist
According to a Finnish astrologer, Heikki Heimola, astrologers may become so engrossed in their interesting subject that their neighbors are no longer neighbors, they are just astrological types, Arians, Cancers, Scorpions; and because of this they may no longer be given any space to be themselves as individuals, they are categorized, they are now just Saturnians, Jupiterians, Neptunians or whatever.
With this categorization tendency the astrologer may no longer see all the varieties and nuances, in extreme cases the astrologer may even forget the fact that there are always opposite types in each sign, that every aspect may work itself out in opposite ways. Some Scorpios are not classic deep-probing and secretive Plutonians, they resemble more down-to-earthy Taureans; some Virgoans are nit-picking and hard-working critics, but others are more like gentle and all too accepting Pisceans… Some Saturnians are ambitious and disciplined, others nothing of the kind.
THROUGH MY EYES?
- That is the astrologer’s constant problem: he is looking at people through his own eyes and tends to project his own psychology on everybody. – Gregory Szanto.
- “The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defines its prejudice, and then make it the representative of the whole class”, wrote Walter Lippman.
In astrology this happens quite often: it’s so easy to find example cases to support our favorite prejudices and interpretations – and then to forget all about those numerous exceptions, Virgo’s that are never pedantic or critical, Librans who are good decision-makers, Scorpios that are nice and superficial, Sagittarians that are home-bodies and hate travelling…
Seeing the world subjectively, through our own eyes only, is what we all do sometimes; it’s human and understandable, it happens everywhere. We all live in different worlds and have different experiences that color our perceptions. Even the best of us can never claim to see other people objectively, without a personal bias. Yet some of the pitfalls causing most trouble could easily be avoided. For instance, we could always refrain from giving unasked astrological comments, advice, opinions or interpretations. A compulsive desire to offer our astrological opinions is usually a sure sign of self-projection. Or perhaps a sign of a lust for power…
And we could also avoid a lot of havoc if we always focused on the strengths and positive features in any chart, not on its weaknesses and problems, no matter how apparent or how striking they might be. If the native doesn’t show an interest in problem situations, why should the astrologer. Thus, interpret and describe weaknesses only when you are specifically asked to do so – and even then with special caution always remembering the terrific power astrological suggestions can have.
And we should also always keep in mind how vulnerable some clients are, often without showing any outer signs of their vulnerability. In fact, the most vulnerable ones are often those clients who look just the opposite – the man at the edge often hides her or his desperation deepest. As we can never be sure that we are not projecting ourselves, concentrating on the positive characteristics we would at least be projecting our best selves and thus doing less harm. And perhaps we might even projecting something truly worth projecting.
The astrologer presumes that he or she has a chart ABOUT someone but it also seems to be about something else. The ‘something else’ often turns out to be the astrologer. – Maggie Hyde
In some cases this ‘something else’ Maggie Hyde talks about – the astrologer’s self-projection – can even take so much space that very little is left for the client’s true personality. This may happen even in professional consultations but is especially common in private debates or discussions between astrologers. Yet it’s more dangerous in professional consultations because clients, with very little astrological (or psychological) knowledge, may not be aware of what is happening and thus can’t voice their objections. In such cases the delienation can act like a confusing suggestion creating a fog around the client and her or his self-image.
Another pitfall is created by clients who do not act like their charts at all. Astrologers are often claiming that such people have not found themselves or are not living according to their best potentials. But how do we know that? Or do we? The chart itself doesn’t say anything about it. And I do think that we claim too much saying that the chart should be – in all cases – a kind of 1-1 image of the native. In some cases it reflects the native surprisingly well, in other cases it reflects the environment better. Why this happens, we may not know, but there might still be a deep meaning in this.
Thus, who are we to say that the chart owner should act like her or his chart. Perhaps there is a higher purpose in the lives of some people that we know nothing about. In 1937 Edgar Cayce’s readings said that only 30 % of people living on earth act like they are supposed to act according to their astrological charts, as interpreted using classical astrological rules. Some act in a totally opposite way than expected, others do not act at all like their charts suggest.
Be that as it may, I think we should always remember that an interpretation that is astrologically quite correct may in some cases still not fit the client at all, or may even be almost opposite to the client’s nature and fate. Perhaps we ought to remember how Carl G. Jung said that every psychic truth must be turned into its opposite in order it to be wholly true. A man is neurotic either because he represses or doesn’t repress, or he lives according to desire principle or doesn’t live according to it. The horoscope is in this respect surprisingly similar to dreams. Either you are like a configuration in your chart or you are not like that at all. Or should not be like that.
Thus, although for most people it would probably be best to be like their horoscopes suggest, for some natives that clearly isn’t so. May, a Neptunian, is a good example. According to May, competent astrologers have been actively arguing against May’s own self-understanding and life experiences. May has drawn her own conclusions about this:
I think that those astrologers see me as I might have been if I had lived in a vacuum or alone in the world, thus without my debilitating circumstances. This has had two consequences: They have grossly overstated my opportunities suggesting that I can make choices that are definitely not possible in my life situation. And they have understated the character strength I have developed in fighting against my surroundings.
In other words, May thinks that astrologers are quite biased in nature/nurture issues: they vouch for nature and neglect nurture. Most astrologers seemed to describe May as a one-to-one image of her chart, without even considering the possibility that some aspects acted out – if at all – through circumstances without touching May at all. Some astrologers seemed to give accurate descriptions of May’s family members but claimed that those descriptions were about May: They talked like I were the only person in the universe and ascribed characteristics of other people to me.
And May has been, as can be expected, quite baffled and confused. May’s case may be a very rare one but it is hardly the only one. I think that there must be many similar cases but probably very few clients have as much self-awareness as May has and thus as much ability to ward off interpretations that don’t fit at all. Probably most astrologers never hear about such clients at all, they just disappear and think that there is nothing for them in astrology. Yet, there might be if we all learned to be more skeptical about our own interpretations and thus more ready to listen to our clients’ views.
Astrologers need to be careful, because, as I’ve said, the chart is in the eye of the beholder. – Richard Idemon