A recent BuzzFeed article featured four astrologers talking about how horoscopes and astrology are still a craze on the internet. It’s a favorable story on astrology. I personally know two of the astrologers interviewed. But the other two aren’t astrologers. At all. I take offense to that. In fact, one has described herself as a fake astrologer. They’re writers only, not astrologers who also write like my colleagues Chani Nicholas or Susan Miller. But how would anyone else know that?
And that’s one of astrology’s biggest problems and has been…forever. You don’t need to be licensed or certified to be an astrologer, anywhere. So, yes, you could read only ONE book on astrology or barely know the 12 signs and dub yourself an astrologer. And no one could legally say jack.
It’s a sad truth about a field I’ve studied for more than half of my near 50 years of life. Of course, there are certification programs from schools and astrological organizations like ISAR, NCGR, or AFA. These programs try to bring more standardized learning and practice into the field. But, again, you don’t need those to practice. And the public mostly doesn’t know those programs exist. Many don’t even care if the astrologer seems accurate and clear.
That last point is important. Astrologers tend to talk in arcane terms about planets and signs that aren’t relatable. And that’s perhaps why writers fare better in print and online as fake astrologers than real ones. Twitter was eye-opening to me for that very reason. I could get immediate feedback and questions on concepts that I thought everyone understood. For instance, many didn’t know that they had a moon sign because the moon shifts signs every 2.5 days. So, now I cringe when I see astrologers tweet, “Moon is void of course at 4:54 pm today! Good time to chill!” If the astrologer hasn’t taken the time to explain what “void of course” means, most won’t know why they should chill. It just sounds like a celestial omen to be obeyed. We aren’t mysterious, ancient priests anymore.
And that’s certainly one important benefit of the internet. It opened astrology up to the world. What once could only be known in books and periodicals, underpublicized conferences and meetings, or classes in occult and rare bookstores can be known with a finger glide across your computer’s keyboard.
Yet, it’s still hard to know what’s written or said by a real astrologer. But there are several ways to know.
Again, you don’t need certification or licensing to be an astrologer. Though it’s nice to have a process to know what you don’t know. That can be hard to do when you’re self-taught. The worlds of astrology are vast.
And the only reliable measure for who is a “real” astrologer is that he or she practices or researches astrology. That doesn’t guarantee that anyone does it well or knows it thoroughly. Astrology hasn’t reached that level yet. It might never do so. Some even argue whether it should. Yet, I think it’s important to know who is a real astrologer.
Not everyone can or would be willing to share who has been his or her teachers in astrology. Not all astrologers have had actual living teachers. Many have only been able to rely on books, experimentation, and experience. Not everyone can or should be certified in a program. Not everyone can write or talk about astrology well. But the mark of a real astrologer is his or her commitment to learning and loving astrology. It’s not entertainment for him or her. It’s not just another thing that he or she writes about for pay or a book deal. It’s his or her calling and love. If you love astrology, then show enough love and respect for it to find an astrologer who can give it to you. For real.
*Special shout-out to Sellieve Neptune for asking this on my personal Facebook page.