For nearly everyone interested in astrology, there will come a time when you consider seeing an astrologer. It may just be out of curiosity. Or it could be you've reached a crossroad in life and want some guidance. Either way, one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself is: “How do I choose an astrologer?”
There are many kinds of astrologers practicing today – from people who’ve read a book or two to those who’ve spent 40 years or more studying ancient techniques. Some astrologers are not only excellent at their craft, but good listeners and communicators, while others may be a terrible match for you and your needs.
So, how do you find the right astrologer for you?
Do your homework
Many practicing astrologers have websites, and they will post a biography where you can read about their background and training. Their website should also tell you about their approach to astrology and indicate an area of focus. Review the website, browse their blogs and see if the information resonates with you.
Even in the digital age, one of the best ways to find services that work for you is still to ask a friend. If you know someone who's visited an astrologer, you can ask them for a referral. You can also read up on reviews of professional astrologers and their services at sites like Yelp, Google+ Local, or Facebook.
Many cities have astrology groups; you can visit one of their meetings to talk to the members, many of whom are professional astrologers themselves.
There are also several paid directories of astrologers online which can give you additional suggestions.
Once you have a few leads for astrologers, it's time to ask some questions so you can evaluate which one is best for you.
What questions? I'm glad you asked!
Are they legitimate?
While many astrologers practice because they truly enjoy helping people achieve their potential, there are those who use astrology as a scam to make money from you. There's also a very gray area in between — people who want to help, but haven't spent much time deepening their craft.
So, if you don't know anything about astrology, how do you sort them out?
There are a number of professional astrology associations, schools and certificate programs that set basic standards and ethics for the practice of astrology; astrologers involved in one or more of these professional activities are more likely to take their practice seriously.
Becoming an expert in the field also brings legitimacy. Like other professions, astrologers present lectures at conferences, write books or articles, or have their own blog. When you’re doing your research, look for some combination of these things in an astrologer’s biography.
Of course, education always helps. In the U.S., there are also established schools of astrology with solid educational programs designed to cover essential astrological and ethical considerations. These include Kepler College, the International Academy of Astrology, the Avalon School of Astrology, and the Midwest School of Astrology. You can also contact the school if you want to check that an astrologer did indeed take classes or successfully complete their program.
There is no “official” astrological certification. However, because so many astrologers are self-taught, several astrological organizations have certification programs to demonstrate a basic level of proficiency. In the U.S., these include the American Federation of Astrologers, the National Council for Geocosmic Research Professional Astrologers Alliance, the International Society for Astrological Research and the Organization for Professional Astrology. A certificate from one of these organizations will demonstrate that an astrologer has reached a basic level of sophistication in their practice.
Do they specialize in or focus on the areas you need?
You wouldn't go to a foot doctor if you were having stomach problems, right? So if you have questions on a specific area of your life, you may want to find an astrologer who specializes in that area.
There are astrologers who focus on spiritual, psychological or relationship development. Others are more concerned with practical answers, such as financial, health or business matters. And some have a combination approach (more like a general practitioner).
Some astrologers also have academic degrees or experience in other areas of study. They have pursued astrology as a passion or as a tool for self-development, but can use their other professional experience to enrich their sessions. For example, there are astrologers who are also psychologists, financial planners or business coaches.
Astrologers also have their own life philosophy — ranging from progressive to conservative, new age to Christian — that colors how they practice. While a good astrologer should empathize with you regardless of your own philosophy, it's difficult to completely divorce oneself from one's own perspective.
Are they local?
Most astrologers have a phone practice, so you can consult with an astrologer anywhere in the world. But if meeting face-to-face with someone is important to you, you’ll want to limit your search to someone who lives close by. The bigger the metropolitan area in which you live, the larger your selection will likely be.
Will they record your session?
If it's important to you, check to see if the astrologer will record your session. If so, how they will provide you with the recording? Or, if they don't record, will they allow you to record the session for yourself?
How much do they charge?
According to a recent survey by the Organization for Professional Astrologers, a professional astrology reading in the U.S. typically ranges between $70 and $175 for a 60-90 minute session.
Price is usually a combination of the experience level of the astrologer, as well as the cost of living in their geographic location. New astrologers may charge less; extremely well-known astrologers more.
If a price sounds too good to be true, or far too high, you might want to investigate further.
Do you have a rapport?
Before you make an appointment, you may want email or call the astrologer and talk with them for a short time before booking a session.
Ask them the questions we just went over. Do they have a client who would be willing to give a testimonial? Does your question or need fit within their specialty area? Do they have someone they can refer you to if your needs do not match their skill set?
Last but not least, do you feel comfortable talking with them? The best astrology sessions are those in which you are in a dialog with your astrologer. Don't expect the astrologer to talk at you (you could just buy a computerized report, if that's what you want), but rather ask you questions about yourself and your concerns.
Also, while an astrologer can help interpret the resonance between what is happening in the sky and your life, do not assume that the astrologer is always right. Together you should search to find the optimal solutions for you. But, ultimately, it is you who must make a decision about what to do with the information.
Summing It Up
Remember, the choice is yours. Astrology is a legitimate art that has been practiced for thousands of years, but that doesn’t mean all practitioners are equally legitimate, or can meet your specific needs. So, above all, use your common sense.