Allopathic Astrology

I don’t practice allopathic astrology.

That little phrase came to me yesterday while watching a TED video made by a physician (Lissa Rankin) who left the world of Western medicine to become more holistic, but found herself prescribing herbs instead of pills. While recognizing that remedies from outside - whether pills or herbs - have their place, she eventually realized that the health of the body is a reflection of the health of the mind, heart, and soul. At the deepest level, change needs to come from within.

An astrologer can offer insight into almost any situation, a description of the dynamics taking place within an individual or between people. However, to really be functional, insight has to take root within the client. That isn’t something the astrologer can do, but rather something that is up to the client almost entirely. In fact, astrologers can point in various directions, suggesting the client look here or there in order to gain some perspective on a situation, but can neither make the client see what the astrologer sees, nor fully know how it looks from the client’s perspective.

An allopathic approach to astrology would be one where the astrologer and client both assume that the astrologer knows more about the situation than the client, and so can direct it towards ‘the best possible outcome’ (whatever that is) from without. The client comes in with a set of issues and the astrologer decides what the client should do, and when.

Such an approach is ultimately disempowering for clients (although it no doubt does the astrologer’s ego some good). All of us need to make our own decisions and decide what is best for ourselves. Helpful information and a new perspective - things that astrology can legitimately offer to people - are invaluable. But each of us needs to use the information in a way that allows us to take responsibility for our own lives.

The astrologer has to maintain a nonjudgmental stance with regard to the client's situation, in order to allow them to reach their own decisions. That's one of the things I emphasize in Separating Aspects, that we don't know if a breakup or divorce will be traumatic or empowering for a client, and in fact even a very difficult period of time can be healing and an opportunity for growth.

Ironically, it is probably the expectations of the client as much as the attitude of the astrologer that often leads to an allopathic astrology. It is at the times of greatest vulnerability that we seek others' input and guidance, and are most ready to cede power and control over our lives. Avoiding that is a top priority, but admittedly tricky territory to navigate.