Well folks, I believe with the discussion turning toward certification and what-not, were have indeed hit on a nerve.
I very much understand Bruce Scofield’s post on ways we have tried to elevate astrology to the level of whatever it is that society demands that might earn their respect. And while movement in that direction can be helpful, my own feeling is that we need something more than just imitating academic institutions.
In fact, I personally find it sad to see astrologers parading around in caps and gowns, and at the same time declaring that anyone without this or that degree that they have cannot speak here or there or do this or that. Give me a break!
The essence of astrology has always been spiritual in nature. I was recently at the UAC convention in Denver last May where some 1500 astrologers gathered. And while there were a very eclectic bunch of folk at the convention, my own take is that almost every astrologer there would give up almost everything else before they would sacrifice their claim to have some kind of spiritual basis. We identify with and value our spiritual nature.
Spiritual credentials are hard to test, and ending up as a bunch of priests and nuns is not on any astrologer’s short list that I know of. And I am afraid that academia as I have come to know it from exposure to it in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I grew up is at least as filled with infighting as anything astrologers do – politics to the death. That is not really us, either.
Education? I am all for teaching classes and did it myself for many years. I even had my own school of astrology, complete with diplomas. I also wrote two books, some 1100 pages of lessons, on “How to Use Astrology,” so I am not looking down on that kind of teaching. Yet it only can go so far, at least in my experience.
As for astrology as a predictive science (like predicting the stock market) I have written about this many times and the gist of my view is: we can’t do it. If we could, we would have made a lot of money, which I see no signs of. I have had the good fortune to be friends with some of the finest researchers in our field, astrologers like Michel Gauquelin, Thomas Shanks, and others. The sum of what they told me is that we have more or less drawn a blank. What does that tell us?
A good astrologer cannot be measured by how erudite they are or how many degrees they hold. Scholarship is fine, but it alone does not make a good astrologer. I have always found it interesting that astrology can be for some so complex (an intricate algebra of life), and yet in the hands of others as simple as an oracle that allows the universe to speak to us. How do we measure that? Or are we to winnow out anything oracular, spontaneous, or mystic in astrology, and judge it only by its measurements – a calculus? Which is the baby and which the bathwater, and who should make that decision?
No, as far as I can see, we are stuck with the wild and crazy bunch that we are. As I have mentioned until readers must by now be tired of, I feel the only real new avenue for development is the development of our mind, our awareness, and that is usually grouped in with the spiritual side of astrology.
Bruce Scofield writes:
“So if astrologers lived up to a standard that would command society's respect, I would bet that would compensate for things like a lack of a mechanism or other uncertainties in the subject (which are surely no worse than those found in other fields, especially medicine).”
Now this is my favorite part of his post, and I will expand on it somewhat. If we were able to become more of the kind, compassionate, and loving beings we aspire to, the world would indeed beat a path to our door. And the only way I know to discover those attributes already deep within us is to develop our awareness of them, the awareness that we are, at the last, all of us, kind, loving, and compassionate. But we have to each realize that and that takes awareness, and it may take some work on our part to develop that awareness.
Yes, astrology needs to become more ‘professional’, but in this profession I suggest that means to be more in touch with our own inner nature, the true nature of our own mind, so that any contact with our clients (using whatever astrological techniques make sense to us) might help to unite them with the surrounding cosmos, help them to find the missing link between themselves and the great mystery of life we all share. We can do that.