An astrologist is somebody who studies the position of the planetary bodies within our universe in order to make predictions on future outcomes or interpret the meaning of past events.
The history of astrology goes back to a time (3rd Millennium BC) when astrology and astronomy were inseparably linked. Employing astrological beliefs or methods to interpret the movements of the planets led to the creation of many cultural beliefs which are still in practice today. Virtually every daily newspaper and almost every weekly magazine dedicates a page to the horoscope, which is an interpretive prediction of forthcoming events based on the position of the sun relative to a person’s birth date. Whilst the profession has its believers and doubters, the concepts and interpretive art remain as popular today as ever. Astrology is traditionally linked to esoteric practices such as numerology and palmistry, and is considered by some as a form of “pseudo science”.
Due to the various possible outlets for remuneration, and the fact that most astrologers work in a freelance capacity, the extent of earnings varies greatly. Some practitioners work on a one-to-one client-based method where customers pay the astrologer for a reading. Normally the astrologer will offer the first session at a low rate (or occasionally free) in order to convince the client to use them on a regular basis. Rates vary, but can range up to £130 per hour for a renowned and well-established astrologer.
Others earn their core wage by writing horoscopes for a publication. Again, rates can vary considerably, but a daily slot with a local newspaper can net around £6000 per year, or significantly more for a national newspaper. Magazines that feature horoscopes tend to be weekly publications, but the rate of pay can be decent with a popular colour magazine; you can work on around £90-£100 per horoscope or `article’.
- Timely arrival at meeting point with client, and reading to be delivered within agreed time-scale.
- Meet the client’s expectations in terms of what they may be anticipating from the experience.
- Interpret astrological movement in the correct manner, and explain sufficiently to the client as to how this relates to their personal circumstance.
- Be aware of ethical responsibilities when dealing with people who feel particularly vulnerable.
- Ensure confidentiality and develop trust in relationships with clients.
- Promote astrology as a professional and responsible subject that exists for the benefit of all.
There are no formal academic barriers to entry, although clients may be wary of practising astrologers who do not have some form of formalised paperwork. Those wishing to extend their learning beyond a self-study environment can choose either correspondence courses (learning by mail) or internet-based courses. It is not normally necessary to attend a college on a frequent basis, although some community colleges now offer astrology as part of their short course prospectus. For those wishing to attend a class and share experiences with others, it is recommended that they contact their local study centre or community college for further information.
- A good understanding of planetary movement and its relevance to a given date is crucial, and forms the core of learning to be an astrologer.
- Good general grasp of the principles of astronomy are also helpful, and will provide a good basis for growing the foundation of knowledge.
- Compassionate attitude towards customers, who may be sensitive, vulnerable or concerned about what the future may bring. Discretion is also very important.
- Ability to translate lunar interpretation into involving and relevant rhetoric, in a way that the customer can understand.
- Ability to communicate clearly and with confidence in a one-on-one situation.
Most of the time, an astrology reading performed at the location of the customer’s home or place of choosing would classify as a low-risk area. It is, however, worth the astrologer conducting a brief mental hazard assessment to ensure their safety whilst spending time in an unfamiliar environment.
Some people can find the intimacy of the one-to-one nature of the work quite intimidating, but many prefer it to having to speak in public or deal with a large number of people.
Many people enjoy astronomy and astrology as unpaid amateurs, and once the passion has developed, some consider taking the next step of performing readings for their friends and family. This can be a good way to “test the water” before possibly progressing on to a paid role. It is a relatively cheap and simple business to set up from scratch.
Experience gained during professional one-to-one readings will give the astrologer the confidence to begin pitching to magazines and newspapers, but this can be a difficult nut to crack on the basis that most publications already have a horoscope section, such is the popularity of astrology. Writing a daily column for a big national newspaper is seen as the best paid area of astrology (at least in the UK), and the remuneration can be significant. Astrologers are encouraged to try every available means though, from charity events (to gain recognition) to organised “psychic” evenings, which are both popular and profitable.
Also known as…
- Astrological Interpreter
- Planetary/Celestial Interpreter
- Fortune Teller
What’s it really like?
Annabel Burton is one of the UK’s leading and most respected astrologers, and works with clients of a broad range of age groups and backgrounds.
What made you decide to choose to get into this sort of career?
I had always been interested in ‘star signs’ and horoscopes, and happened to go to an evening class offering astrology. It soon became evident that the subject was far deeper and more expansive than I had realised, and I studied my own birth chart finding correlations between the placement and cycles of planets and my own life experience and character. It became clear that astrology is a valuable tool for self-understanding on an inner level, and can be used also as a means of forecasting and counselling.
Do you have a standard day or a standard type of ‘project’?
I work mainly with clients on a one-to-one basis, although I do write horoscopes based on the chart of the day or month. As I run an Internet business, I can use the current technology to reach a wider audience than previously, for both my standard horoscopes, and also to counsel clients around the world.
What do you like most about the job?
It is dynamic, and changes radically. It brings me into contact with people who I would not have met before, and I have enjoyed working with the media and TV. It is fulfilling in that it makes a difference to people’s lives, and helps them to make choices which are best for them and their future direction.
What do you like least about the job?
Having to be disciplined to write a horoscope every day.
What about academic requirements? Any formal demands, eg HND?
I have gained a Diploma in Astrological Counselling, and there are many schools which offer accredited qualifications. More on this can be found at Association of Professional Astrologers International
What is the next step in your career?
To continue to develop my current role. I am self-employed; there are very few openings for paid and employed astrology work.
What is the starting salary and how does this increase over time with promotion?
Most astrologers work for themselves and some may supplement their income as consultants by teaching, writing, and doing occasional freelance work. You may charge on average from £30 an hour for consultations initially, and then upwards to around £130 an hour, depending on experience. A handful are employed by the major media organisations to write horoscope content which can be very well paid. However, most qualified astrologers do not follow this line of work and tend to avoid being associated with the media celebrity astrologers. As such, their income can be quite low, and as the work is specialised, they may find roles working on premium rate lines promoted by the media or developing a client base through referrals and advertising. In this respect, astrologers are like other self-employed people, responsible for their own tax and national insurance.
If you left this profession, what else would you consider/prefer doing?
Art and design. Definitely.
How far is it possible to progress within this career?
It is possible to be employed by a major media organisation or alternatively, there is an academic route to follow, and there are many astrologers who have written books or specialised in areas such as medical astrology, financial astrology, horary astrology (answering specific questions), electional astrology, or forecasting, to name but a few.
What advice do you have for someone who is looking to get into this as a career?
Most people who study astrology do not find it sufficiently well paid to offer a full time salary. This is often because of unreliable and negative expectations promoted by the scientific community. Astrology is viewed as a ‘pseudo science ‘ so it is important to discover its value through personal experience. Explore the different schools offering courses and become qualified. Find out more at the Association of Professional Astrologers International, where you can be assured of finding accredited and approved organisations. You can join the Astrological Association of Great Britain without qualifications and meet with others interested in astrology, and perhaps join a local astrology group.
What are the most important qualities an applicant must/should possess?
You would need to be self-motivated, have an interest in people, develop counselling skills, be a good communicator, be prepared to study and read quite extensively on the subject, be interested in your own personal development and be non-judgemental and willing to continue your learning.