Did you check your horoscope today? Have hope for the fate that hides in the stars? There’s something about astrology that catches many people’s attention, whether it is genuine belief, or simple fun. There are all sorts of different types such as daily horoscopes, which vary from honest to satirical, and personality-based advice. Sometimes, you can find ones that tell you what kind of supervillain archetype your sign is. There are also in-person astrological readings, which you may assume can only be found at festivals for a quick buck -- but there are many professional astrologers, and they hold themselves to that.
In fact, there are several Codes of Ethics that astrologers hold themselves to. These codes act as guidelines that all astrologers are expected to follow -- and they may be more stringent than you expect!
The American College of Vedic Astrology Code of Ethics provides a clear definition of an astrologer’s work, in case you need a refresher.
An astrological consultant is one whose services include discussion of an astrological chart in order to (1) help individuals recognize their strengths and talents, (2) provide insight into life challenges 3) elucidate patterns of growth and development, (4) encourage self-knowledge, (5) suggest the life purpose, (6) reveal periods of challenge and opportunity, (7) explore the meaning of a particular experience or phase of life, or (8) provide guidance as to timing or decisions with regard to a particular course of action, such as financial and business decisions, prasna and muhurtha.
Other codes elaborate (and differ!) on what astrologers can and cannot do. In the Avalon School of Astrology Code of Ethics, astrologers cannot make astrological comments on public figures. This is intended to keep astrological work focused on willing clients and to maintain the reputation of the Avalon School.
By contrast, the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA) Code of Ethics does not hold this requirement. They do, however, specify that any astrological reading done on someone must only be informed by the charts and the correct location, year, month, etc. unless the client is explicitly informed that alternative methods were used.
One of these alternative methods is specified in the American College of Vedic Astrology Code of Ethics; things such as tarot and even just plain intuition are considered outside sources. The client must be informed if any information the astrologer gives them doesn’t come from the charts.
Of the codes mentioned, the American College of Vedic Astrology Code of Ethics is by far the most thorough of the astrology codes in the Ethics Codes Collection. It has guidelines on how to market, what to advise clients in, and what credentials are needed to call yourself an “astrologer.” They even have a subsection explaining the guidelines to doing predictive work in general, like divination. They advise giving clients continuums of meanings, so that they do not feel trapped in one outcome, and ban diviners from calling themselves omniscient or infallible in their predictions. They also ban giving “dire warnings” or predictions that are meant to cause fear in the client -- they specify that all negative readings must be balanced with positive, equally probable, readings.
There is plenty more information where that came from, and it can all be found in the links provided. More interesting ethical codes exist on the Ethics Codes Collection website, so feel free to look around!
The Ethics Code Collection is managed by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. Look forward to a new and improved website come September!
Written by Alice Amell and Tabitha Anderson