Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jupiter in Taurus and the Value of Real Astrological Knowledge

The people in the city I've moved to are cheap. Exceptionally cheap. Exasperatingly cheap. This is not something they would take as an insult, either. It's actually an odd point of pride.

It's a prairie city, but that doesn't explain it completely. I've lived in a few prairie cities, and this one takes the cake.

It's a fairly provincial city - meaning, it has some very set, old school attitudes. Most people are born and raised here. Not a lot of "outsiders" come through, and there is not a lot of exposure to what's going on in the rest of the world. It's a petri dish culture, so what grows and develops here is distinctly of this city.

That has its pluses and minuses, to be sure. There's a deeply-rooted socio-political alternative culture, especially as related to social justice issues, which I, of course, like.

(There are also a tonne of freemasons here - who have teamed up with the New Age - which I don't dig so much, but that's another story...)

I'm a minimalist, so I understand non-consumerism. But this is not non-consumerism. People still want stuff. They just want it for less than the stated price. They want something for nothing, basically. The chiselling down has been developed into a fine art here, and I find it difficult to deal with when interacting with people face-to-face. It's very slippery.

To be clear, this is coming from people who are actually quite comfortable financially. In addition to rampant poverty, there is a lot of money here. A lot of it is old money, though, so they keep it on the down low.

There are a number of high-end boutiques that do very well in this city, and you'd better believe people are not haggling over price there. The pubs and restaurants are doing fine. Bands are playing to packed houses. The malls are humming.

People can always find the money when they really want something, and this is why I do not give discounts.

One of the biggest problems is that people here do not seem aware of the value of astrological information from a professional astrologer. This happens, in part, because there are a lot of astrology hobbyists out there, and they're often willing to practise on people for free or for cheap. I'm not a hobbyist, though. And when people here in El Cheapoville ask me what my rates are, I can feel their minds being boggled.

One woman in her senior years was absolutely baffled by my price for a 15-minute reading.

"But...but, fifteen minutes is a very small amount of time!"

What I'd like to explain in this post is the process that goes into a professional astrology reading - at least, from me - in hopes that it will help explain the value of the readings.

For the people who are boggled by the prices, I would like them to be aware of these points:

1. The process of doing an astrology reading requires a very concentrated and focused energy. It's energy-intensive work, and it deals with multiple layers. Readings require psychic energy, keen emotional intuition, analytical skills, strong navigation, and the use of my special mix of astrological techniques - and this energy expenditure needs to be compensated accordingly.

2. I don't do cold readings. What this means is I don't set up a half-hour reading, print off the chart and then interact with the chart only for that scheduled 30 minutes. For me, that actually wouldn't produce the most effective reading. The information presented in a reading isn't pulled out of thin air. There's a whole process involved of studying charts, finding the pertinent information to be integrated, and then coming up with a coherent presentation of that information. To prepare for a reading, I put in between half an hour and 1.5 hours of intensive prep work. I may look at one chart; I may look at four. It all depends what the person is asking and where I need to go to find the information. I consult the ephemerides. I make notes. And then I let things percolate. By the time it's all consolidated into the reading, it is hopefully effective and to-the-point.

3. The full value of a reading may not be apparent immediately after, but the information from an astrology reading will stay with you and assist you for months or years after the reading. Good astrological information and perspective can help you make stronger, more well-informed decisions, keeping you out of situations that are not in your best interests and saving you time, energy, heartache and money. A single point in an astrology reading can explain and validate huge parts of your life experience, providing self-awareness that can literally change your life's course for the better. It's potent stuff.

4. I'm a self-taught astrologer with my own style which means that, though I've been influenced by other astrologers (we all have), I have developed my own system of astrology that you cannot get anywhere else.

5. Astrology is not a hobby for me. This is how I make my living, along with other supplemental work, and it's how I expect I will be making my living for a while to come. So I don't do astrology readings for fun. This is work. Consider it along the lines of metaphysical dentistry.

Another situation I'm running into that I'm surprised is still so ingrained here is the idea that if what you do has a "spiritual" aspect to it (what doesn't, really?), it's wrong to charge money for it. This actually makes no sense to me. Everyone is entitled to live life as he/she sees fit, but I truly resent people putting their stuff on me regarding this subject. To me, work is work. Work requires energy, and it requires a reciprocal energy exchange in the form of money if one is to survive in this society. People saying this stuff are generally financially supported in other ways, often doing "spiritual" work on the side, and can afford to take that type of stance. That's not my scenario.

6. Hey, I'm Willow. I'm a cool chick, and I know my stuff. I ask for what I think a session with me is worth. If you don't agree, you can seek out a cheaper alternative.

Anyway, I realize most people who read this blog already understand this stuff. I just wanted to put this out there because of the friction I'm coming up against in this new city. For the quality of the reading a person receives from me, my rates are very reasonable, and I'd like to reinforce that point.


Anonymous said...

I, for one, think your readings are worth every penny!

Another weird thing that I've heard about the place you live now is that when people want money instead of presents for their weddings, they put the word "Enclosure" on their wedding invitations, and then everyone just gives them cash. If they did that here, no one would know what it meant, and even if they did know, it would be seen as incredibly tacky.

Another example of the cheap attitude and lack of respect for other people and gifts given from the heart.

freeforall said...

Hey Willow...I totally agree with you about the "cheap" vibe in this city, and people wanting astrological readings/counsel for nothing. As you know, I've been doing astrology for 35 years, and for some reason, they seem to think the cost of my birthcharts are waaaaay too expensive, despite my years of dedicated study! Sorry...but I don't plunk birth info into a computer program and run off a "standardized report" for $25 bucks. So I hear you.

The best places I've done readings are in cities that are thriving economically, where people make good money and recognizing value, are willing to spend it.

When I first moved here and was asked the cost of my readings, the people asking just about had a fit! I think they figure they should only pay that much to, let's say, Steven Forrest. Now, much as I respect him, I'm just as good an astrologer! I have a warm, personal style that connects with clients and understands the energies they're dealing with. But that is of little value in this city.

So I'm thinking that to practice astrology the way that I would like, a move may be necessary. Goddess forbid this sounds "New Agey," but this location is definitely suffering from "poverty thinking."

A great article in any case and good explanation of the challenges of being a career astrologer. Hope things improve!

Deb said...

And this is why I come here. You have the right to come to terms with a price. Your work can be pretty complicated, and it is time-consuming, and it is perfectly fine for your rate to reflect that. You're not the Cosmopolitan Magazine of Astrology, or a hit-and-run astrologer. You're way better than that. If people don't learn that right away, they'll learn they've wasted their money later.

I know I charge a nominal fee for Tarot readings, but Tarot is not my livelihood, and I just choose to do so. Doesn't mean my rate won't go up in the future, or that I'm bad or good, or that I disagree with how you run things. Also doesn't mean I don't apply at least an hour of serious thought, intuition, writing and editing into a reading. Everything just is. With me, people get more than what they pay for. But I like this. I like doing the extra. I'll never tell people they'll win the lottery or the man of their dreams. And, damn it, again, I enjoy this stuff :).

And not surprised about the hidden money in your city or the presence of cheapskates. Personal story: I gave a gift to someone I know last week. She said "but you're not wealthy". Fine, I'm not a millionaire but am apt at handling money (2nd House Cap), and am simultaneously quietly generous (Leo Moon/Mars, 8th), so do give (of myself; money) here and there to people right next to me who are being dealt a crappy hand all of a sudden. I also give in an effort to support others, volunteer help. I don't contribute to random charities where I don't know where funds are going and everything is manipulated and some douche is living large at the top. I opt to make what I do and give meaningful.

Maybe wealth is in the eye of the beholder? I dunno. I realized, though, based on experience, that the wealthiest people I've come to know are the LEAST likely to share. So your post certainly resonates. Maybe it's how some remain wealthy or gain wealth (lack of spending). Maybe some merely appear wealthy, too, you know?

Keep up the great work and strong attitude!


Anonymous said...

Should anyone actually bring up to you their issue with paying for something that is infused with spirituality, ask them then why art is such a hot commodity and people will pay such a high price for that - much art (including music) is created with a spiritual vibe and people are willing to spend money on that! :)

Willow said...

M'dame...oh, wow! That is bizarre. But fitting, as you say. This place really does have its own odd little culture going on, especially as related to the dollah dollah bills.

freeforall...yes, I actually think this will be a "stop over" city for both of us. It is definitely suffering from poverty thinking...but it's more often coming from people who aren't poor, so it's just bizarre, really. The icing on the cake (and I hope you don't mind me sharing this - if you do, let me know and I'll delete it) is the fact that the Astrology Association here didn't bother paying you for your presentation, while they generally do pay other astrologers. I'm still pissed off about that! Grr.

Deb...I'm not meaning to denigrate tarot. I appreciate those readings. It's just that people often tell me that "so-and-so does tarot" for a certain fee (less than mine), so I wanted to explain what a cold reading was, as most people do tarot that way when in a face-to-face setting. I do understand that it's using the same concentrated energy. I took that part of the post out just to avoid confusion about what I'm saying.

You also bought someone a reading here anonymously. The recipient was very happy and appreciative, so thanks for that.

Melissa said...

Spiritual... Ask for a love offering and see what happens.

Deb said...

"Deb...I'm not meaning to denigrate tarot."

Oh, God. I absolutely did not feel that way, I'm sorry if my words came across that way. I don't feel offended! It's not the subject but the person behind it (and the work done) that's important.

Again, I appreciate what you do, and am glad someone's day was made (although you totally didn't have to publish that)!

:) Deb

Willow said...

I let the cat out of the bag! :-) It was a very, very nice thing to do.

Alice Brown said...

I guess your articles are worth reading everytime. Thanks for passing along such an interesting article on Jupiter in Taurus, i think it was awesomely narrated. Nice share...!!

Jason said...

Totally get you on your worth willow. Its like since astrology is not a glamours position like a doctor, they expect u to be very cheap. Its impossible i have found to try to explain to the common man the actual complexity to astrology.

And the time its taken to learn something who heals people deeper than a broken leg. Were dealing with souls who barely reconize themselves and there self obessesed place in the universe let alone you.

But I think thats half the fun, my scorpio moon tells me the universe/pluto wants to see if we will embrace helping the people we know even in the face non recognition from others.

But by all means charge, because that is how its done and unitl we get to a place of following the animal kindoms free rent laws. Charge to survive charge to thrive. If anything we deserve it. And the universe knows we do. So its in the shock of the price that there minds begin to change. That astrology becomes dignified. As long as its fair.
and im sure you try your hardest to be close to that.