How becoming an astrologer taught me vulnerability
As I’m getting the light, video call, and notes all set up, I notice that I’m nervous. I often get this feeling before giving astrology readings. Most often it’s related to the hope that my words relate to the client and are useful in some way. The added pressure of recording this particular reading to post online didn’t help. However, this time around the nervousness went beyond just my self-centeredness. I was about to do a reading for my brother. I had never sat so openly and objectively in front of him, much less talked about big topics like his life mission or life struggles. I was about to do all that, and I was feeling vulnerable.
When I first started learning astrology, I was really surprised to find out how much of what’s relayed to the client in a birth chart reading comes from interpretation. I expected astrology to be much more of a science, rather than a fine art. Rather quickly, I found out that astrology is like a language. Teachers tell us the words and the grammar, but at the end of the day we have the freedom in drafting the sentences. We can write in a direct or in a friendly way. We can draft long fictional stories or short snappy poems. Either way, we get from the words to the sentences by imagining what it is like to be the client. What is it like as a person of this age, to experience the combination of a fire moon and an air Sun? How would that look in my every day? How would I act? How would I see the world? I quickly found out that as an astrologer I had to put myself in the client’s shoes and for that, I had to abandon my own perceptions and biases.
Our worldview is a protection mechanism that allows us to make sense of chaotic life in a cohesive and nicely wrapped up package. However, while serving an essential role in categorizing life’s craziness, it also prevents us from truly understanding the experiences of others. I like to think that I know my brother’s struggles quite intimately. After all, we lived together 20 some years as we were growing up. The truth is though, that I have a certain image of him, all wrapped up in a nice box. It sits next to my other boxes: one for me, one for my sister and one for each of my parents. This shelf is my childhood self, and the basis of who I am today. All of a sudden, with the reading approaching, I had to step out of my box and open his. By opening the box, I was also opening the opportunity to find out that perhaps not everything was the way it seemed.
In the Cambridge Dictionary the word vulnerable is defined as ‘able to be easily physically or mentally hurt, influenced, or attacked’. Even though I don’t like to think of my mental space being attacked during readings, it is susceptible to influence. A reading is a space where I let go of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and address the human sitting across from me in a non-judgmental way. It is an hour of discomfort when I understand that both perceptions (mine and the client’s) are equally valid. And afterwards it’s a period of questioning my spirit experiences as to what really is true, or if there even is such a thing as truth. Without vulnerability a reading is not possible.
It's a good exercise. Even though I consider myself quite open minded and reflective, astrology presents me with the continuous opportunity to abandon my own viewpoint, over and over again. At the end of the day astrology for me is a practice, not where I predict people’s lives, but where I practice being human. For a few hours a day I put on different costumes, each cloak transporting me to different lives. For that short hour, I practice being a human, each time with different childhoods, circumstances, and viewpoints. And after each reading, I come out faced with my own life again, where I continue being my own human.