Without question, the most difficult aspect of my work as an astrologer is to do with managing people’s expectations, this is inordinately tricky, because it is very straightforward to make a few fairly accurate observations, but people want more than that at the same time as they want less. This might sound contradictory, but it’s only human nature; actually what people want to hear is that all their problems are going to be easily solvable or at least solvable without their having to experience any self-doubt or uncertainty. No surprise, because whilst most everyone realises that they are not living particularly closely to their best potentials, that’s usually okay; a fuzzy general sense of “could do better” is inordinately preferable to “you’re a git”.
I would never tell anyone that they’re a git (not least because every chart contains the potential for git-like behaviour), but I am often quite shocked at just how preconceived people’s self-image can be. I don’t say this out of spite, far from it, it is just a minefield for me in my work because I do not make judgements, I just write what I see, and although I do get the colouration wrong often enough, the general shape or form usually bears out. What that means is that it is easy to get confused about whether the Leo principle plays out in a chart as leadership or creativity principles, but configured tensely the result is the same, there are ego-effects, whether because the native considers themselves a great artist, or that they ought to be ‘in charge’, but either way, there is an issue which could be improved upon. Now life is subjective, so to the tensely configured Leo there may well be no problem; they only want to lead because they’re obviously so damn good at it compared to the other candidates that actually it would be ludicrous to not give them the power they are so clearly born to wield. But to the other person, who is just as well qualified, has worked just as hard, and has the same or even better experience, Leo’s God-given right-to-rule seems like a vanity at best, and pompous arrogance at worst.
This is the conundrum for the astrologer. Do you gloss over the negative potential of a hard Leo configuration, or do you tell them that actually, until they recognise the negative potential of this situation they are going to continue struggling with these power-struggle scenarios in their life?
This is the subjectivity trap of course; often our self-judged best qualities make us very hard work for everyone else. Mr Scorpio’s cool detachment and reserve is to him a real asset and actually he knows so much of that mortal confusion and hoo-har is just beneath him, he’s no headless chicken, but to everyone else? Well, he might think he’s as cool as a cucumber but actually he’s rather aloof and cold for the most part, and actually he’s not as unaffected as he likes to think, because when he goes off, man, you’d better take cover: talk about murderous!
A face to face consultation negates much of the uncertainty because that way you get continual feedback: you can suggest something is so and gauge the reaction before building on it; usually the adjustment required is minor, but it is rather analogous to going on a long journey in the wilderness without a compass, you only need to be a half-degree off course at the start to end-up several miles wide of your target after a couple of hours of trekking. So that is the conundrum, and though there is a solution to it, it’s onerous.
The tried and tested method is to generalise, to make vague, to hint at broad sweeps rather than specifics. The specifics that get worked out in a face to face consultation are so much more hit and miss when you are having to write an entire interpretation without any guidance at all. I am learning that it often helps to gauge some key elements of the themes that appear to be manifesting in the chart by asking a few pointed questions even before I start. I have been burned on that score too many times now, but of course I have my pride too, (Jupiter in Leo?) which encourages me to try and hit the nail on the head even without any feedback.
What it boils down to in the final analysis is the subtle interpersonal energies and frictions that are generated by the astrologer and client. I would hope that most people would be forgiving of a theme being wrongly ascribed. If I say that somebody with Sun square Neptune has some issues with the father being hard to get hold of, possibly absent, maybe impractical or even a drunk then that describes an archetypal sense-impression that is generated from the configuration. It is highly frustrating to be told that “you’re completely wrong about that: my father was a successful artist, but I never saw him much because he was always in his studio!” I have had this happen before, word-for-word!
Another example of this exact type was one young man who had Neptune in the 10th supported by Mars in the 12th. I told him that he really ought to join the navy, because it would suit him very well. I received a blank look and decided to move on, but then a few days later I heard from his sister that all his life her brother had dreamed of working on a cruise ship…
It is such a difficult balance to strike; and without writing a disclaimer at the start, it will probably continue to be a problem; but as with anything in life, experience teaches solutions to even the most intractable of problems and I am confident that I will figure it out eventually. Probably, with Neptune and Mars in the 3rd I will always be plagued to some extent by a general inability to communicate specifics well even if I do so with great enthusiasm.
Visit www.chirotic.com to learn more.