Learning astrology is impossible without looking at charts.  To look at charts is to look into people’s lives, or into events in those lives.  Unless those charts are public domain—or even if they are—such investigation requires delicacy.  Tread lightly, and with respect.  There are human beings in here.

Beyond learning astrology—if one chooses to travel that path—there is becoming an astrologer.  Possibly because of my own experience, I choose to regard it as a calling—a vocation—as stark and as complicated as any other holy charge.  And while anyone can learn the craft, the practice is a different matter entirely.  As Bernadette Brady so eloquently expressed it in her lyrical work on astrological prediction, The Eagle and the Lark, it is a mixture of craft and intuition, each lost without the other.  But you have to learn how to use BOTH.

I repeat, you have to learn how to use BOTH.  OVER TIME.

I have no patience with people who read two or three books and consider themselves experts, in this or any other discipline.  You have to practice to develop rigor and judgment: you have to put in the time to pore over charts and ponder what makes this or that person tick.  Every chart teaches you something new, particularly if it belongs to a person whose life-events are publicly known.  You are dealing with lives (and in some cases, deaths) as you contemplate birth-charts; you are privy to private as well as public information.  Be respectful; be compassionate; and be discreet.  And these things should be engrained long before you ever stare into a client’s eyes.

It can take years.

St. Paul believed that astrology was dangerous, and he railed against it.  So did St. Augustine, despite the prevailing dependence of his time upon medical astrology.  They believed that astrology gave the astrologer too much power over the client, bordering on the blasphemy of “playing God”.  Blasphemous or not, an astrologer DOES have power—power to heal or hurt, to strengthen or to wreck beyond repair.  And with power comes responsibility.   Face it: as an astrologer, you can do DAMAGE:  your words have an effect, for good or for ill.  Are you ready to stand up to that?

The Hippocratic Oath, to which any aspiring doctor must swear, begins, “First, do no harm.”  If we are ready to guide clients in looking at their lives, we should take those words to heart—that, and those of William Butler Yeats:

“Tread softly, for you tread upon my dreams.”