Over the last few years of giving Astrology Readings there are obviously some things I wish I somehow magically could’ve known, learned, and have integrated at the start of it all and saved myself a bunch of extra stress, haha. (but what’s the point of the journey otherwise! ;) Either way, I figured I would compile a list of snippets of ‘tips’ or ‘advice’ that I would offer to those who are budding into their own unique roles as ones who offer Astrological Insights to others.
So here they are:
1. Have an intake form!
When I first started out attempting to have productive readings with people, and we would sit down, and they’d be like ‘now what’? and I’d be like well… ‘what do you want to know’? and they’d have to think on the spot without any prior intention or clarity about what the purpose of having a reading with me was for… *embarrassing* lol. One of the first major things I learned about giving readings is that it’s best to prompt the client ahead of time to focus on a specific intention for the reading, to really decide on what information or circumstances they are looking for more clarity or guidance on. You can read just about anything and everything from someone’s Natal Chart with the right ‘know how’, and you want to start off knowing where you are going with the reading rather than just aimlessly wandering, or worse yet, getting paralyzed with the overwhelm of options. As soon as I started using an Intake form with clients, I immediately got positive feedback on the experience itself of people having to spend a bit of extra time really sitting with themselves and asking their own inner voice what exactly they were there to find out more about. It also gives me an initial framework through which to begin assessing someone’s chart.
2. Verify the source of birth time.
Many client’s won’t necessarily understand how important an accurate Birth Time is, and won’t always put in the effort to find out their specific minute. It’s your job to implore them to verify their source. Is it from their birth certificate, their mother’s memory, an aunt’s recollection, a sibling’s guesstimate? If someone is unable or doesn’t have access to their Birth time, I will communicate that I cannot guarantee the most resonant interpretations but will still do my best if they are still willing. (If there is no birth-time available at all, look into Chart Rectification).
3. At first, you will over-prepare.
This is normal and natural and will become more manageable and sustainable with time and experience. But In the beginning, every reading I gave felt like a final-exam in high school. I had all these wildly high expectations that I had to meet for daring to put myself in the role of ‘Astrologer’. I felt that if ‘I didn’t know it ALL’ then I would be an imposter. I would research and pretty much write out essays for each person before even sitting down to talk with them! I felt like I needed to know about their life more than they did, like it would be a competition about who knew more about their life, me or them! … I would become overly attached to narratives about their life that I concocted from the symbols and aspects in their chart and project all these random dramatic elements onto them. Then in the reading I would find that the story line I had in my mind was not mostly/always the case. I got too caught up in trying to figure out the ‘specifics’ instead of focusing on where Astrology is the strongest, the overarching themes. Trust yourself that in time you will come into your own groove and system that works for you and find out what is worth preparing for and what is not. Also don’t worry about including every single planet, comet, fixed star, symbol, invocation, term etc. limits are your friend and help keep the reading focused. Finally: “Use sensible orbs” (-Rick Levine)
4. Record the reading.
Have an audio recording device to capture all the magic shared within the reading. When I first started reading without audio recordings, clients would feel pressured to take notes, and generally feel anxious about remembering all the important and valuable information and insights I was bringing up for them. I myself began to feel like precious things were being lost by not having a way to properly document them. With a recording, everyone can relax, the client doesn’t have to focus on both listening, engaging, and also processing note taking, which allows you to utilize your time together more efficiently. The recording becomes a cherished gift that keeps giving as people can re-visit the reading and gain more and more out of it over time.
4. Gauge your client’s Astrological experience level.
In the beginning of my readings, I always ask my new clients about any previous experiences with their chart or with Astrology in general. This helps me figure out how to best shape and present the insights I am there to provide. Readings I have with those who have never seen their chart before, and readings I have with other Astrologers can often sound like I’m speaking two different languages. It’s helpful to know at the beginning how much I will need to extrapolate throughout the reading to make sure I’m staying on the same page as my client and not losing them with a bunch of jargon they aren’t familiar with yet. A basic sense of consideration for their experience as the one receiving a reading.
5. Orient new clients to the basic components of their Chart.
As an Astrologer you know what you’re looking at, your client might have –no idea-. Remember how overwhelming, confusing, and perplexing it was the first time looking at a Natal Chart? That might be how your client feels during their reading, and it might be an unnecessary source of anxiety for them throughout. A way to mitigate this is to offer them a basic introduction to the fundamental components of the chart and how they are used for reference. A simple formula I use is describing the Planets as the ‘what’s’, the Signs as the ‘how’s’, the Houses as the ‘where’s’, and the Aspects as the ‘dialogues’ or ‘lines of communication’ between the energies of the chart. This can empower the client with their own basic way of demystifying what they’re looking at so it’s not so intimidating. There are several ways you can do this, in person at the beginning of the reading, or something I have done now, is make a pre-recorded video that I can refer clients to watch before their reading.
6. Set time-limits.
Before the reading begins, get set on and communicate a general (or specific) time period for the duration of the Reading with your client (have an end time in mind)! Natal Charts can take you on tangents and through wormholes one after another until the end of eternity… but it’s important to respect your self and your own time and energy needs, and some clients could sit and listen to you talk for hour after hour about their chart. It’s important for you to set those limits and boundaries for yourself as the reader. Of course if it feels right and you feel good about it you can go on however long you have the energy/time for, but at the very least have a time where you check in with yourself and the other person in terms of wrapping it up.
7. Readings function best as Dialogues, not Monologues.
As soon as I learned to open up, stop being so insecure, and start to ask people questions -informed questions led by what I was seeing in their chart- instead of jumping to conclusions based on what I saw… that’s when the Magic of my Readings started to blossom. Slowly I began to realize that empowering clients to chime in with specific stories or memories that came to them during the reading could facilitate an amazing feedback loop which allowed us to get much deeper, gain more access, and connect more dots in their chart. By opening up a back and forth between my view for the themes, and relating them to the lived experience of the client, it allowed us both to dive much further into the roots of their history and energetic patterns, and brought forth more productive and valuable insights to the person I was there to serve.
8. Trust your vision; but stay humble.
You are a unique person with a unique set of perspectives and experiences and knowledge. Yes, you can ALWAYS learn and know more about certain aspects or placements, but no, you will NEVER be able to talk about or express every snippet of insight you have the capacity for. Nor will you solve all of your client’s problems or give them complete and total clarity on every aspect of their life and circumstances. TRUST that the universe brought this client to YOU for what YOU see in their chart, what speaks to YOU, and how you feel most natural and authentic describing it to your client. Trust that you are only bringing them the necessary information that they need at this time and that it is enough. Yes, you will change their life, yes, there is responsibility (great responsibility) in assuming that role, ultimately it is up to the client themselves to make their own meaning of what you see and say about their chart (and you should empower them to be the final authority on their own life –always-; not you.) Which at the same time is to say: communicate your vision on their chart without the need to say things as –definitive- statements or value judgments. Some clients feel incredibly vulnerable sharing their chart with Astrologers and can be very open and receptive to what you have to say. This is why I personally do not make –definitive- statements or value judgments nor assume the hubris that I could ever know –everything- about someone’s chart enough to do so. (Taking into account planet, sign, house, aspects, degree, sect, declination, speed, term, bound, fixed stars, sabian symbol, etc etc etc….) there’s too much yet to know and integrate to be –definitive- about much, so stay humble. Point things out and offer your view, but do not push or pin down. Have patience with your self and your counseling skills; your abilities will grow over time. (And pay attention to ‘confirmation tingles’ – when you get the chill down the back of your neck during a reading is typically a sure sign that what you are speaking on is right on target!)
9. You can still be a person.
Don’t be super afraid to speak from your own personal life experiences, especially if you share a natal aspect or signature with your client, HOWever… make sure you don’t turn around and make it –all about you- or over-share without respecting your own boundaries. Client’s appreciate when I am real with them and when I share my own struggles and strategies in working with my personal chart positions. I utilize my personal experiences as a jumping off point and general way of helping the client make relations to their own lived experience by compare and contrast. Ultimately I’m always searching for what resonates for them, and will often check in by asking how strongly or not something I’ve spoken on is resonating for them to make sure the reading is still being of service and relevant to their needs.
10. Be open to the flow of the reading.
Be present with and attentive to your client and their experience, sometimes you will lead, sometimes they will, sometimes the chart will. Every reading is a form of exploration and sticking too firmly to where you think it’s going can lead to a flat dead-end that can be tricky to recover from. Try to stay present throughout the reading and pay attention to the magic that is happening in the moment. Hold space for people to have realizations, formulate and ask questions, let emotions sink in, etc. it is an intense/intimate experience they are having with you. Sometimes silence itself is the most appropriate space to hold.
11. Client reactions
Some clients will be talkative and engaged and affirm everything you say. Some clients will sit there silently taking it all in and processing privately inside their head, seemingly unresponsive. Others may appear initially defensive. It’s important to learn how to not be overly reliant upon client reactions and first impressions when delivering your insights. Say what you have to say. Sometimes a reading will feel like nothing is landing or hitting the mark for the client… and a week later I will get a message back from that same person expressing how much they resonated with what I had to say. Or sometimes clients won’t initially be able to see the connections I make in their chart, and a few weeks later will tell me how they can now see what I was talking about. An accurate Chart will never lie to you.
12. Be grateful and then release.
It’s an honor to be trusted with a person’s Birth Chart. Respect that. Be grateful that your client trusted you enough to share everything that can be seen in their chart with you. Do not abuse that trust. After a reading is over take some time for your self to ground and re-center. You will likely think of a hundred more things you could have said that you didn’t… Maybe make some after-reading notes while it’s fresh in your mind, what felt good, what didn’t, how would you like to improve, etc. I usually give myself about 15-20 minutes to unravel after a reading. After that I do my best to trust, accept, surrender, and return to living my own life.