The Value of Astrology
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
—Henry David Thoreau
I’ve been interested in having this conversation (not just with the astrological community), but especially with the public, for the last three years after attending my first astrology conference (which was NORWAC 2015) and meeting several other astrologers in real life.
At that time, I had been consulting clients in astrology for two years, and had a very clear idea of how challenging it can be to make a solid living off of consults as a professional astrologer. What’s interesting is that many of the people I speak with (friends and new acquaintances) seem to voice the common held notion that astrologers are banking and making a killing from their craft. While I certainly know there are some doing very well for themselves and certainly there are professionals who are able to sustain themselves from a full time practice or by consulting as well as teaching and writing, most working astrologers that I know hold at least one other occupation in order to pay the bills.
I remember having a long conversation next to a businessman on my flight over to Seattle, before that conference, who expressed how astrologers make tons of money (based off of his business consulting experience) when I told him I was on my way to a conference for astrologers. I found this somewhat of a funny and ironic statement since I was attending the conference on a scholarship that AFAN (the association for astrological networking) had rewarded me with after submitting an essay on why I wanted to attend, but needed financial assistance to do so. Funnily enough, the first collegiate degree I obtained was a bachelor’s in Business administration (which I find for the most part useless as a degree, though I also don’t find much satisfaction in the majority of marketing practices--- mostly because the manipulation aspect of it all leaves a bad taste in my mouth). I don’t think business people are evil, but I think there is a lot of dark stuff around a majority of common practices.
So anyways, after the conference I had intended to create and disseminate a survey for other astrologers’ clients to get an idea of what the perceived value of astrology really is, considering that I know several practitioners complain about people asking for free readings or being offended when the request is declined*.
*And just for the record, most astrologers will agree that asking for a free reading (when they charge for it and it is their income) is like asking any other professional or business for a handout. Sometimes people will say something like, “Hey, I know you’re really into astrology and have a lot of knowledge about it. Could you tell me about this in my chart?...” It’s like saying to your doctor, masseuse, or accountant, “Hey, I know you’re really into and knowledge about medicine, massage therapy, or money! Could you give me some advice about my x.y.z?”
Although a majority of astrologers would consider their work to be spiritual in nature, it doesn’t mean an exchange doesn’t need to happen. For many of us (or for those who spend the majority of their effort on maintaining astrology as their primary vocation), the most flexible form of currency (money) is what sustains us the furthest.
Long story short, I never completed the creation of the survey, but the idea stuck with me for a long time. Fast-forward a few years and I’ve decided to have a conversation with a couple of other professionals in the field about the value of astrology. That said, I decided to look deeper into some of the biggest factors that would dictate what the “value of astrology is”.
Because astrology can be used in so many ways and the skill and expertise of each astrologer varies widely, so too can the fees of an astrologer’s services. Some may offer birth chart consultations and psycho-spiritual insight, some financial advice, some magical, and some electional (to name a few examples).
So is there a general price range that astrological services should have? While some astrologers book out months in advance and some consult billionaires in financial and business matters which you’d expected to charge high prices to reflect that--should all astrologers being aiming to charge the same?
What about sliding scales or offering options to those that can't dish out $100 plus for a reading? Do astrologers who offer this demean the practice? Do astrologers have to base their prices on what others are charging or does it mean that they don't value themselves or aren't good at what they do if their prices don't reflect those of others with similar experience and skill?
Often clients come to astrologers during time of crisis and to the degree that the astrologer is up to the task of providing insight or some kind of remedial advice, the client receives an arguably valuable service.
I'd have to say that or brings comfort knowing that more people don't believe in astrology, than those that do because astrology is not something to believe in. It's something to be experienced. It's an observation of the quality of time, but because of the focus on subjective experience it is seen as less valuable and not too be trusted.
People compare its value to that of science because objectivity is seen as more valuable. But is that not also just a cultural value?!
One of the biggest aspects to consider when considering the “worth” of astrology is that: By business metrics, astrology fits into the booming “self-help” industry
What are the statistics and significant trends in the self-help industry, today?
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Sources used for this podcast episode include:
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