Who are the astrologers?
If you search Internet for an image of astrologer, you will be presented with the hundreds of pictures of old men with beards wearing funny hats and star-covered clothes, women with unruly hair holding a crystal ball, persons holding their hands over an image of the Zodiac receiving “messages” from the space, and many other striking images depicting astrologers as magicians or mediums. In reality, astrologers look and act just like everyone else. They don’t wear funny clothes with the stars (well, I have to admit that some of them do). They don’t receive any messages from the images of the Zodiac, and they definitely do not consult the crystal ball.
Most astrologers have a day job: astrology is a very time- and energy-consuming occupation and not a particularly lucrative one! Preparations for a reading require at least several hours of work, calculations, referencing books, analyzing, and thinking. Many astrologers use their astrological knowledge to aid in their profession, especially psychologists, financial consultants, and social workers. Knowing the client’s natal horoscope and interpreting it to get an idea about the natural talents and the character traits or understanding the effect of astrological events on the money markets is a great help in their everyday routine. Many astrologers have advanced degrees in other fields, including different scientific disciplines. Quite a few have made a decision to become full-time astrologers and have quit their day jobs to dedicate all their time to their favorite occupation. These are successful professionals, who have hundreds of loyal clients, write books and articles about astrology and astrological events, teach, and lecture.
How does one become an astrologer? This depends on where you live: in some countries, you can get an astrological course at an accredited institution of higher education. In United States, astrology is still not recognized as a discipline that could be taught in universities. The only once accredited astrological school, the Kepler college, was recognized by the state for several years, but the accreditation was not extended beyond the initial period. It is unfortunate that the enormous amount of cultural inheritance contained within astrological tradition is not available for the public to learn. Independently of whether a person believes that the celestial events affect our life or not, the cultural significance of astrological tradition is irrefutable.
There are a couple of online and in-person schools that offer astrology curricula for the students who have committed to become serious professional astrologers. The whole course usually takes about 3-4 years to complete, and there are advanced programs for specialization in specific fields, for example, in psychological astrology, medical astrology, etc. Many astrologers acquire their knowledge as apprentices, from a more senior colleague. Others are self-taught through individual studies and reading.
It is not necessary to get accreditation or certification to offer astrological readings to clients, but serious astrologers who want to be recognized by the astrological community do take exams and get their certification from national and international astrological organizations, most often from the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR) and the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR).
Most astrologers belong to several astrological societies and groups, regularly attend several conferences per year, and never stop learning.
There are several approaches to erecting the astrological charts and interpreting the horoscopes. Modern Western astrology is the most popular and practiced by most astrologers. However, Traditional Astrology that includes Medieval and Hellenistic approaches became very popular in the recent years. Both the Modern and the Traditional astrologers interpret the natal horoscope and the current astrological events as they pertain to the client’s current situation and the past and future developments, but they use different techniques and interpretation tools. Evolutionary astrology focuses on the soul journey: the past life of the soul, the soul purpose and direction. Another branch of astrology, the Draconic astrology, also studies the souls purpose and path. Uranian astrology developed by Alfred Witte in the beginning of the 20th century is a branch of the Modern astrology, but uses different techniques and considers different features in the horoscope as important ones. Vedic astrologers follow the Indian traditions and use a different Zodiac, which is based on the fixed stars, instead of the Western Zodiac that is based on the Sun cycle. Although the techniques and the approaches differ, astrologers from either school will give you valuable information about yourself and your life journey. However, it helps to decide what you expect from a reading before you book a consultation with a specific astrologer! For example, if you want to consult regarding your marriage, Vedic astrology has a long tradition of matching two people based on their horoscopes. For medical questions, Traditional astrology has a system of interpretations that seems to be superior to other branches of astrology. If you are interested in your soul purpose and your soul past and future, then an evolutionary astrologer is the one to go to. No matter who you choose as your astrologer, be assured that he or she will take your requests very seriously and will spend hours and hours analyzing your chart – not only because you pay him, but because he genuinely loves to do this! Astrologers are an obsessed bunch. If two or more get together, in a couple of minutes they will talk about planets and planetary events!