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Before You Book That Reading...

Updated: Mar 20

Image: Performance Still: Something For Nothing by Deborah Fisher and Paul Ramirez Jonas. Participants traded valueless objects for "gold" which was used as currency for real and imagined divination services. Presented by No Longer Empty, 2015

I began studying divination techniques as a skeptical artist and frustrated nonprofit executive who was deeply tired of everybody always needing me to know the future. I became an astrologer slowly and reluctantly, because it worked so well and had such a huge positive impact in my life. Astrology can absolutely make lives better in concrete ways. A good reading is also expensive, and a poorly chosen reading can feel like a waste of money. It can even make you feel worse instead of better! Astrology is magic-adjacent. Magic-ish. So it makes sense that people reach for it reflexively in a moment of crisis, or believe it can do more than it can do. But a consultation with an astrologer is really best thought of as a meeting with a professional who has a set of skills. The work you put into booking a reading matters! What follows are some tips to ensure that you are approaching getting a reading with the right frame of mind, are asking good questions, and are figuring out what you need and from whom, before spending any money. 

  1. Take care of yourself first. Are you seeking a reading because you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed right now? I feel you! That makes sense. Take a beat, step away from the screen, and take care of how you feel before spending any money or believing anything any astrologer is saying on social media. Booking a reading at a time of crisis makes a lot of sense! But it does not generally result in a good reading. If you’re in crisis, it’s wise to do something right now to make yourself feel better first, and then start working through the rest of the questions here when you have some space. Take a walk or get some exercise. Have a good ugly cry. Call a friend. Attend that therapy appointment. Avoid astrology content when you already know that you’re feeling vulnerable. Astrology can be a great tool for affirming that you really are not feeling great–there can be solace and larger meaning in seeing your suffering reflected in the skies above. A reading can also help you know when things will change; where to look for any good that’s coming that you might miss because you’re suffering; and how to put a toolkit together to change how you relate to the situation. But none of that works when you are in a state of active crisis. Always get immediate, practical help before you seek astrological help. 

  2. Ask yourself what you really need. Knowing what you’re asking can help you pick a good astrologer for your situation, and help you navigate a somewhat dizzying array of astrological techniques and styles. Are you sitting with persistent patterns in your life; doing family of origin work; or otherwise engaging in self-exploration? You want a natal reading. Are you wondering what lies ahead or trying to make strategic decisions about the future? You want something like a year ahead reading from a predictive astrologer. Do you have a very specific question that has a real answer–wondering about someone’s true feelings, waiting for a check to arrive, or wondering if you will get a job? You have a horary question. Are your questions specifically about moving, or where you live or want to live? You might want to talk to an astrocartographer. Do you have questions about a relationship? You might have a horary question, or you might want a synastry reading

  3. Ask yourself who you need to talk to. In addition to asking yourself what kind of astrology you need, ask yourself who you need to be seeking advice from. The beauty of astrology is that it’s done many ways, by a lot of different people. Maybe you need someone who looks like you, or is affirming of your life choices. Maybe you’re in a specific profession and are asking about your job, so you need someone who has a relevant background. Maybe you should seek the advice of an elder. Maybe you live someplace with a specific culture, and need to go local. Maybe you know that you don’t want to hear what an astrologer is going to tell you, so you need someone who has strong consulting skills. Looking for an astrologer who is going to get where you’re coming from and have relevant experience is good, common sense. 

  4. Give yourself criteria for establishing trust. You want to be open and vulnerable to a reading. The internet is not a trustworthy place. And astrology is completely unregulated! It’s important to negotiate this problem of trust consciously. Before spending any money, ask yourself what makes an astrologer trustworthy to you. A big social media following is not a great indication of trustworthiness! Fearmongering, breathless promises, and outrage are such great ways to get attention on social media. What do really trustworthy astrologers do? Do they guarantee their work? Are they credentialed by professional associations? Do they have reviews or testimonials? Do they offer anything like a free intro session? Do they actively refrain from stoking fear and anxiety on social media? Do you have friends in common? Your answers are what’s important here.

Once you have taken care of yourself; gotten a sense of what you want out of the reading, and who might give you the best and most trustworthy results, I would advise being open to a variety of styles, and paying just a little bit more attention to the consulting skills of the astrologer than the astrology skills or style. The worst readings I have ever gotten have been the most technically proficient ones. The best readings I have ever gotten have not been the most technically amazing–and they haven’t always even been in the style of astrology that I work with! Astrologers can get good results working in all kinds of ways. What matters most, and what has given me the best readings, was the astrologers’ ability to hear and understand me, and value my participation. 

Lastly, remember that a really good reading is co-created by the astrologer and the participant. Think about who you want to engage with, and who is asking the kinds of questions that provoke and engage you. Most astrologers have a significant quantity of content on their websites. Read it to get a sense of who they are and how you might engage with them. Are they wowing you with their expertise, or are they making you ask questions about your life? Are they creating a sense of dread or possibility about the future? 

Doing this kind of work ahead of time will result in a better experience that is worth your money! Email me if you have questions, or to sign up for my mailing list for more content like this that is about relating astrology to your life and making better decisions as a consumer of astrology. Or book a free 10 minute intro session if you want to get to know me a little better!

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