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When Bad Readings Happen to Good Astrologers

bad readDespite your best efforts, sincerity, and careful preparation, some astrology readings suck anyway.

It’s true. There are days when your most sincere efforts at astrobrilliance fall flat– when, despite your good vibes about your client and your careful preparation, the thing just does not gel.

There are a number of reactions an astrologer may have to this phenomenon, from neurotic (it’s my fault, I’m a terrible astrologer and clearly the universe does not want me to be doing this for people) to sociopathic (why does a brilliantly observant astrologer like myself keep getting these terrible clients?). The vast majority of us, I suspect, fall somewhere in between.

What makes some readings so sucky, and why do they happen even to sincere and technically proficient- even gifted- astrologers?

Not so great expectations

Most people have weird expectations about astrology readings. And well they should, when their exposure to astrology has overwhelmingly been through such affronts to mankind as daily newspaper sun sign columns and Cosmo’s Bedside Astrologer. Most clients who have come to me through ads in mainstream publications fall into this category, and despite my best efforts at educating them (in ten minutes or less, over the phone) as to what I do, they often show up expecting to find me in a turban, peering into a crystal ball–which shows a complete lack of understanding of both the modern astrologer’s tools (charts of the sky) and wardrobe (turban optional).

My beloved and well meaning coworkers thought the same thing when I left my office job to be a full time astrologer: their send-off gifts to me were a beautiful and expensive crystal ball and an exquisite black gauze lounge outfit covered with celestial images. I imagine they’d be heartbroken to see me at work, plying my trade in leggings and a big shirt in front of a desk buried in cryptic computer-generated charts while the crystal ball acts as a most excellent paperweight for my desk.

Be of good humor and boundless patience; many clients will be receptive to your message and to a more enlightened approach to astrology, but changing their perceptions and expectations takes time.

Sometimes the client is not ready for your message.

It’s a bummer feeling to prep for several hours and go into a reading with the feeling that you’ve come up with something very special to offer your client–only to have it fall flat, as your client stares at you with stony incomprehension or shakes their head in emphatic denial of your entire thesis. Do you really and truly suck that bad as an astrologer, as a counselor, as a human being?

No, and there’s nothing wrong with your client either. Maybe they’re in denial. Maybe they haven’t put two and two together. Maybe they hear every word you’re saying, find it wonderfully valuable and insightful, but for whatever reason are extremely reluctant to reveal their feelings to you. Yes, it’s nice to get validation for your words of wisdom, but it’s probably unreasonable to expect to get it from a client, who after all has other things foremost in his or her mind. If you find this happening with every client, though, consult an experienced peer or mentor; your counseling techniques or technical skills may need sharpening.

Sometimes you’re too close to the client’s issues.

Beware of making too many assumptions about a client based on similarities between their chart and yours. Someone comes to me with a packed ninth house (like mine), Saturn in the second house (like me), or a seventh house moon (like guess who), and it’s very tempting for me to sit and riff away with a specificity and total confidence that may fall far short of the mark. Does he or she share your Moon/Mars conjunction? Explore relationships with mom, certainly, but don’t project your own mom issues onto the client.

And just a thought…

…Maybe it’s important for either your own growth or the growth of your client, that you “fail” every once in awhile. Maybe your ego needs a reality check; maybe your client needs to learn something about the falibility of “authority” figures, so they can have more confidence in their own responses to situations.

Again, too many of these bummer readings may be a sign that your method is fundamentally flawed. If you find yourself in this situation, improve your astrological education. Learn more effective ways of communicating your ideas, and of “reading” your clients’ nonverbal communication. Find a teacher, a mentor, or a sympathetic peer to give you some sincere feedback.

And by all means, get back on that astrological horse and try, try again. We need you.

April Elliott Kent



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