Astrology Astrology FAQ:
Basics for the Beginner or Student of Astrology
by Michael Star, Astrologer (c)1997 JUN 16
in STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine.

Kelly's Questions, Michael's Answers

4. Are there any special talents or training needed to become an astrologer? If so, what are they?

Link-to: | Question 1| Question 2| Question 3| Question 4| Question 5|

 Received: from for
 Date: Sat, 29 Mar 1997 15:28:05 -0500 (EST)
 Dear Reader,
 For my eighth grade English report I chose the topic of 
 Astrology. I have to interview three people, and I was 
 wondering if you could answer some questions for me. My 
 report is due on April 10, so it would help a lot if you 
 could reply before then.  Here are the questions...

Since sending my email reply to Kelly, I have edited and added to the original answers to create this series of Astrology FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) pages for the STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine website. Her questions were good ones, and probably represent the kind of questions many children, teenagers, and adults ask about Astrology. I hope that my answers based on my experience with Astrology will be helpful to the many people who may read them here on the world wide web. These are one man's opinions, and you are welcome to take what truth you see here, or to ignore what does not resonate with your personal view of what is true for you.
-- Michael Star, Astrologer

Hi Kelly!

I'm glad you wrote to look for some answers to your questions, as it has stimulated me to write quite a long explanation, as you will see...

4. Are there any special talents or training needed to become an astrologer? If so, what are they?

Link-to: | Question 1| Question 2| Question 3| Question 4| Question 5|

Michael's ANSWER 4:

An Astrologer will call on several types of talent when he is casting a birth chart, interpreting a horoscope, or consulting with a client.

If the Astrologer is intuitive (has some ESP or psychic sense) it can help, just as being intuitive can help a medical doctor make a better diagnosis from a medical examination, case history, and test data. But it is not necessary to have ESP to be a good Astrologer. It certainly helps, but is not required.

If you are going to calculate horoscope charts by hand, it would help to be good at mathematics; or if you are going to use a computer program to calculate your horoscope charts, it would help to be good with computers.

I think that if you had a talent for explaining complex things to people in a simpler way, that would help you explain their horoscopes to them in a way which they could understand without being an Astrologer themselves. If the counsel you give is not clearly understood by those you counsel, it will not be of much use, will it? You also need to know how much to explain at one time, to choose the most relevant things the client needs to know at the time, and what the client will be willing to look at. This is a trait or quality called "Discernment", which is strong in the Sign of Virgo.

You not only have to have the knowledge, you have to know WHEN it is APPROPRIATE to apply it or share it. As you acquire this ability, you are aquiring what is called "Wisdom", which is something beyond mere Knowledge. In the Bible, Jesus warns his disciples not to "cast your pearls before swine" - which means "don't share your wisdom and knowledge with people who are not ready to hear it or to use it wisely for a good purpose".

I think that if you have the kind of mind that can see PATTERNS in things -- like the person who can see the picture in a jigsaw puzzle before it is half-finished, or is good at seeing the clues in the pictures revealed in the TV game show called "Jeopardy" -- then that would help an Astrologer interpret horoscopes better and gain a better understanding of how everything fits together, how the same themes or issues keep coming up in the client's life until he learns to deal with them in a positive way. Seeing "the big picture" is a trait which is strong in "the Sign of Sagittarius". Some call it "Vision", as in "visionary". I call it "seeing how it all fits together" or "seeing the forest and not just the trees".

Sagittarians tend to be "seekers of Truth" and "Philosophers" and even religious leaders or "prophets", which is just another way of saying they can see "the big picture" - what is going on in a larger sense than what is obvious in the smaller details. We see things happen or see how people act - but what MAKES the things happen that way or what MAKES people act that way? Seeking the "meaning" of things instead of just looking at them is the kind of thing Sagittarius is known for. If you can do this as a consulting astrologer, or as a lecturer or writer or teacher in the field of astrology, you can help people find meaning in their lives and understand why they choose to act as they do or why certain patterns of event or behaviour keep repeating in their lives in slightly different forms. Then they can choose to change the pattern if they are finding it is not helping them to be happy.

The ability to "think symbolically" is something I learned several years after I thought I knew a lot about Astrology, and I think it made me a much better Astrologer. I feel that symbolic thinking is similar to "lateral thinking" as opposed to "literal thinking". It is like using "metaphors" and "similes" in poetry and literature and song-writing - to sing "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine; You make me happy..." is not much different than saying "your Sun is in Leo, the Sign ruled by the Sun and the natural Ruler of the Fifth House of Creative Self Expression and Romance". It is quite ironic that the ability to interpret Shakespeare's metaphors and symbolism in his classic plays and poems is something I disliked in high school, but now appreciate as an adult Astrologer who needs to interpret the symbolism of the Signs and Planets!

Learning about Mythology - such as the Greek gods and heroes -- can help you understand the kind of symbolism that Astrology uses. The Planets are associated with Greek or Roman "gods" whose characteristics are symbolically similar to the themes of the Planet. Dr Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychologist who was once a partner of Dr Sigmund Freud, invented a word called Archetype to describe a symbol like a god or hero who represented certain basic qualities such as wisdom, strength, courage, or compassion. The "archetype" has many different symbolic themes, not just one; but one example of an archetype would be the Greek mythological hero, Hercules, who is an archetype representing strength, courage, honor, and service to mankind - among other things. When you think of Hercules, you think of those qualities. That's how a symbol works.

Astrology is really "a symbolic language" and the ability to use the symbols is a definite assest. Symbols are not limited to one or two definitions, as are the words in our language, so to think symbolically lets you see new connections between ideas and themes that you might miss if you limited yourself to traditional definitions and interpretations.

Our own minds actually store information a symbols, not as words -- and so does a computer! We think a computer stores words and numbers, but it actually stores only two symbols: On or Off (binary numbers are composed of bits which are one of two symbols -- 1 or 0 -- and micro-chips process information by being either "on" or "off"). Our own brain can store entire images and smells and other sensations; it is not limited to "on" or "off" like a transistor in a micro-chip or a digital bit on a hard disk or tape or CD, and is thus a far more powerful computer than man will ever design for a very long time. Yet a computer uses only those two symbols to represent words, numbers, images, speech and music. This is the power of symbols - that they are not limited to any one definition or idea, but encompass many variations on the one basic theme which they represent.

You can become an Astrologer for many reasons, such as to understand yourself better, or just to impress your friends or to get dates; or you can become an Astrologer to help others understand themselves, their lives, their choices in life, and the best times for them to make certain choices.

If you truly care about helping others, I think you will be a better Astrologer; and be supported by the Universe and this material world to the extent that you have given of your time and talents to benefit others in some way. I believe we were given our individual gifts for a purpose, and that is to "give" them in service to others, not just to serve ourselves or our self-ish needs. If a musician only played music to himself, the world would never enjoy the gift of his talent or gain the benefits from hearing beautiful music; and if he only played to become famous or make money, he would not be as good a musician as one who loved music and played music as a natural expression of that love.

As for training, you can take Astrology courses at some universities in California and in England, and there are correspondence courses and classes available through various astrological associations like the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA). When you take the course and pass their examination, you can get a certificate and put some letters after your name to indicate you are certified by that organization as qualified to some degree. But most countries' laws do not require such certification for someone to practise astrology. You can learn Astrology from some of the excellent text books available these days (see my ASTROLOGY BOOK LIST at for some examples). You can take informal courses or attend lectures with local astrologers, or attend major astrology conferences where well-known professional astrologers and authors give lectures and workshops on specific topics in Astrology.

Personally, what I did was to read a LOT of books on Astrology and the Tarot, and many of the ones on my Booklist are ones I have read and still own. So I am what is called a "self-taught" Astrologer and Tarot reader. So are many other practising Astrologers, and it's a great way to get started. Just read some good books on how to interpret a horoscope chart, and practice on doing your own and those of your friends who are interested. Study and practice, study more and practice more, and eventually you will feel that you really UNDERSTAND what you are doing!

I know that I learned all the astrological techniques, and could read or remember the interpretations of various things in the horoscope chart; but mostly I was just reciting what I learned from the works of other astrologers. Then I reached a point where it sort of "clicked" - when I started to realize I understood how it all worked, and could make my own interpretations based on my own knowledge and experience and insights.

I think it is pretty much the same in any field of study - you learn the basics the way someone teaches you, then once you have the knowledg and experience, you start to do things in your own unique way - and add some new techniques or knowledge to the subject that may be passed on to others in the field. If you're really innovative and/or knowledgable, you might write a book that gets popular, and then you will be one of the people who help future generations learn the basics or learn some special techniques that enhance or advance the study of the subject.

My personal opinion is that you get your "authority" from your "competence"; not from a piece of paper which says some person or some small group of people think you learned what they want you to learn.

I personally do not have any "papers" or "degrees" in Astrology, but I have learned enough on my own through self-study and practice and experience to write astrology software and interpretations, and write articles on my web site, and give lectures at Astrology clubs and in public libraries. People pay me for astrology readings because they think the readings are worth it to them. If they think I am competent to do astrology for them and value the service I provide, they pay me and they refer other people to me. If they don't think I am competent enough, they don't.

The same goes for lectures or classes - if people think I am teaching well, I get paid and I get asked to do more. Nobody has ever asked me, in my twelve years of doing astrology professionally, to tell them if I have a "degree" or any letters after my name. It's fine to have certifications and degrees to prove you passed someone's test of competence, but the real test will be whether your clients and students want to come back again after they have already seen what you can do for them. In Astrology or any other field, your reputation for doing competent work is more valuable than your diplomas or the letters after your name.

(c)1997 by Michael Star

More of "Kelly's Questions" are answered in each weekly issue of STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine, starting Monday, May 26 1997. Look in the |What's NEW| section of the |HOME| page for the latest weekly topic.

Next question: 5. Is Astrology a real science or did someone just make it up?

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First Published on www JUN 16 1997. Last Updated JAN 31 2000 16:00 EST.

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(c)1997 Michael Star, Astrologer
81 Lakeshore East #51, Mississauga ON,
Canada L5G 4S7

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This page and its contents are copyrighted (c)1997 by Michael Star.
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STAR SIGNS Astrology Zine was first published on the internet on July 27, 1996. Website design, HTML coding, website maintenance, astrology software, and the horoscope interpretations on this page are the work of Michael Star.

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