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Q&A: From Student to Practitioner of Astrology

Q&A: From Student to Practitioner of Astrology

In episode 133 astrologer Adam Elenbaas joins the show to help me answer some questions that were submitted by listeners of the podcast over the past few months.

As with episode 127, we got stuck on the first set of questions, and ended up spending the entire 90 minutes talking about issues related to learning astrology, starting to learn how to read charts, and making the transition from student to practitioner of astrology.

We plan to record a followup where we answer the rest of the questions submitted by listeners, and that will be released early next month.

Below you will find the show notes, which contain an outline of some of the points that we touched on in the discussion, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast at the bottom of the page.


Here are the questions that we answered and used as starting points for the discussion in this episode, which were submitted by a listener and patron named Michael Beeson:

  1. What are the mistakes most beginners make when they start to learn astrology?
  2. What are your core principles when you interpret a chart, and where does construction of delineation come in?
  3. What do you believe a consultation should look like and what purpose it should serve for the client?
  4. What 20% of astrological tools and techniques should I focus on to cover 80% of the tasks of an astrologer?
  5. Who are the best astrologers you know, how did they develop their practice?


Some points touched on or discussed during the course of this episode:

  • Frustration of beginners regarding language acquisition.
  • The need for immersion in order to truly learn chart delineation.
  • Adam on his school’s approach to training.
  • The need for astrology residency programs
  • The issues with lack of structure.
  • Therapy vs astrology.
  • What does a standard astrological consultation look like?
  • Case studies versus live demonstrations of consultations or technique.
  • Abstract knowledge vs experience
  • Making sure that you understand a concept or technique correctly before rejecting it.
  • Avoiding becoming overly focused on minor things that aren’t important in charts.


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 133 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:

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  • The answers were far too long-winded. Clear and concise answers to as many questions as possible would have been a better idea.

    • Point taken. Sometimes with these types of episodes I hesitate to push us forward if it seems like we are on an interesting discussion topic where there are a lot of things to say, and that is kind of what happened here because we started off with a series of good questions that could have been individual episodes on their own.

      That being said, we did record a followup episode that I’m going to release next month where we did get through a lot more questions, although it still took us more than 2 hours to cover them all.

    • I completely agree … too long talking about just one point is just really boring… it is too philosophical.
      It has to be a more practical approach .More down to earth in some way
      I always like Chris Podcasts. He is doing a great job but this Episode was really frustrating for me. Sorry.
      I also doubt that as long as Astrology is not more recognised by our society or acknowledged it can hardly be a real tool which provides some real navigational help for one`s life. Our society not only in the west is too much focused on a linear based way of life (“capitalism” forces us into this kind of seeing life only linear:linear growth …..) and astrology proposes a cyclical world view .So that creates some kind of a very difficult indissoluble dichotomy…
      We have to do more research real hard research i mean..(Sorry english is not my mother tongue.. i am based in Vienna)
      Best Regards Philipp

  • Some people have no compunction at all reading before they are technically ready and that is worse – kind of arrogant and lazy too. This, to my mind is worse than the uber conscientious – not wanting to do any harm giving bad information. At 22:59 observing readings with a chart to refer to – that is fabulous. How I wish I had this years ago. Bravo for doing this. Clients give a lot of information from my limited experience as a reader. LOVED this conversation – thank you.

  • At about 24 minutes into the podcast Adam laments astrologers being reluctant to talk to a client or give a reading in front of an audience. While I agree that in many situations, such a reading may be for ‘educational purposes’ in the presence of ‘students’ and that this would be highly beneficial for the student. What benefit for the client? I resist giving readings in the presence of others – though I am frequently asked to ‘perform’ in this way, for one simple reason….astrology can be very revealing, and a client may not want to have matters they deem highly personal revealed in front of an audience. Just sayin..

    • I agree Cat – it would be like having a therapy session in front of an audience. Easy way around this is to record the reading and give the client chart with no name to the students. This gives the student an idea of how the reading is approached while the client remains anonymous. Also – the student sees how the chart is interpreted (most useful) and how this plays out for the client. Many possibilities so it is intructive to hear the client response. EG -CLIENT RESPONSE – “I don’t see that at all with my mother – that has not been my experience, etc”. I had this happen recently with a client (I have few by the way) who told me she did not see how her father was of benefit to her mother. I was reading the Sun as the father and the Moon as the mother. The Aquarius Sun was in good condition and sextilng the Aries 0 degree Moon with a 6 degree orb. I saw the father as being able to remain detached in a helpful way with the highly impetuous mother. Since there was no passion between the parents the client did not see this as helpful. Later in the discussion it came out that it was an arranged marriage and that even after it was disclosed that the mother had an affair and that the client was a product of that alliance, the father accepted the situation and her as his own. His dispassion was actually helpful. However, when interpreting the Sun as the client and her relationship with her own emotional needs/ means of being nurtured, way of nurturing, feeling response, etc. the sextile became very clear. This was a night chart with the Sun in the third and the Moon in the 5th. Creative writing is what she does as an avocation. Defending with words is also very prevalent. (Mars conjoins that Moon – ouch). Lot comes out in a reading that cannot be forseen. I am all for real readings as a teaching tool.

  • I believe that there exists a sacred space between two people who are engaged in a consultation. It is up to us, as professionals to be sensitive to that space and respect it. I can understand why, in some cases, consulting astrologers to not wish to reveal too much or allow others to observe the consultation.

  • I’d gone through Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in a previous career and their methods of supervision may be a helpful exemplar for teaching? For some background, two thousand full-time hours of CPE supervision is a pre-requisite to apply for board certification as a chaplain, but single units of the supervision can often by elected by seminarians, seasoned clergy, or even laypeople called to pastoral care. I can’t find any resources that quickly explain the process, so I’ll try to explain it briefly:
    – after training around ethics, the needs of one’s role (hospital, hospice, nursing home, etc.) the student begins simply doing the work
    – regularly (at least once a week), students all meet together with the supervisor to present case studies from their experiences and review them. The student may choose a case because they found special challenge, or they’ve demonstrated a strength, or find some other reason for review.
    – in CPE, there are competencies that require demonstration, which offer guidelines and goals towards which the students must reach. This provides direction for the case studies and clarity on one’s growth.
    – diversity is a welcome challenge in these settings, so that diverse opinions – both personal and spiritual – can be brought to bear in the review.
    – as a personal note, these experiences are often emotionally challenging as we confront aspects of ourselves from perspectives we’d never considered.
    – additionally, the student meets regularly with the supervisor alone for personal reflection, guidance, and assistance in processing the group time.

    While this process is geared specifically towards pastoral care of persons in institutions, I think it may be a helpful model to consider when considering mentorship and mutual learning.