The Astrologer as Translator of a Secret Language
I get the eeriest feeling sometimes, when I’m doing readings. Most times, actually. I’m sitting there talking with someone I just met, telling them all about their life in intimate detail. I’m finding things in their chart that I don’t know about them as a person. I have to trust my knowledge of astrology in order to be able to say what I say at all, when the person I’m looking at doesn’t seem at all to match the interpretation that’s coming out of my mouth. And I experience cognitive dissonance between my personal experience of the client and my astrological assessment of their chart.
To be a practicing astrologer is kind of like speaking a foreign language, a language that is the tongue of one person only. It’s as if I am holding the map of this person’s inner country and I am describing the territory of their personal country, even though I am not in that country, never have been and never will be. I am pronouncing the words, sounding out the phrases that are found on the signposts in this person’s inner country. The listener can recognize himself in what I’m saying and is instantly transported into himself in what is sometimes a very deep way. People report to me that they feel incredibly seen and heard during a reading. I understand, because I’ve had that experience myself with astrology. But I cannot help but feel an odd disconnect as the astrologer in me and the everyday person in me part ways.
I think of myself as a good judge of character (doesn’t everybody?) but my sense of people is hugely enhanced by astrology. Without it, I’m a little at sea. I would never think of setting up two friends on a blind date because the everyday side of me is a terrible matchmaker. Yet the astrologer in me can sit with two strangers and talk about intimate, private details of how they connect with each other in their marriage. I can turn to one partner and say, “You have thus-and-so conflict with your partner, don’t you?” “Yes,” they confess, “that’s how it is for me.” Then I turn to the other partner and say, “Does it make you crazy when they do so-and-so?” “Of course!” they reply, “Wouldn’t that make you crazy too?” But I’m no matchmaker. Sometimes all this bends my own mind.
Some people are not living out their potential very fully. They are like folks who have been expatriate their whole lives and have never even seen their own inner landscape. They are very hard to read for, because they insist, “No—that’s not me!” when I start reading them their own map. Some become pensive or sad during the reading, because I tend to read with a positive slant, and they begin to recognize their own path in my words and realize that they have somehow gotten off track. Some resist the information but they often come to me later and tell me that I was actually right on the money. This just adds to the cognitive dissonance.
People are funny. It’s important to be gentle when you are speaking someone’s unknown, secret language to them, even if you don’t really know what you are saying, because you’ve never actually experienced it. Or perhaps especially for that reason.