Beliefnet
Oh My Stars

matthew currie astrology ethics beliefnet

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(Today: a pause from the “Ask An Astrologer” series to address an issue I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while. Next time: back to chart analysis)

I recently came across a posting on Facebook by another astrologer in which he or she (no names!) announced that “once things have calmed down, I will be emailing the families of the victims from the Las Vegas massacre to ask for the birth data of their loved one who passed away. My goal is to get at least 3 charts of the victims. I would love to see if a shortened, violent death can be seen in their birth charts.”

This is my response.

***

Dear _____:

I believe that we should sit down and have a little talk about professional ethics.

What two things do psychiatrists, priests, and astrologers have in common? They deal closely and intimately with people’s lives, and should thus adhere to a certain code of ethics… and when the occasional member of any one of those professions violates those ethics, it makes the rest of them look really bad. Astrology already has a shady enough reputation as it is, and it’s not in anyone’s interest to make that worse. Let me explain to you why what you have in mind is a bad idea — for yourself, for astrology in general, and (worst of all) for the people you want to make a part of this research project.

Have you taken many Psych courses in your time, or known many people who have been traumatized the way the people you intend to contact have been traumatized? If you have, you probably know full well that there’s no such thing as a universal time frame in which we can say “things have calmed down” for all people who have experienced something like this. Some will integrate the experience quickly, and some won’t at all, and most will fall somewhere in between.

Besides, you know full well that some of these people have already started to get phone calls and e-mails from idiots of the “YOUR MOTHER DIDN’T REALLY DIE ILLUMINATI FALSE FLAG CRISIS ACTOR WAKE UP SHEEPLE” variety that still plague the loved ones of Sandy Hook victims to this day. Do you really want to be perceived as being even remotely like one of those people? Really?

But: suppose somehow you manage by accident to not hurt or offend anyone who clearly doesn’t deserve it. What do you actually expect to achieve? If you’re a professional astrologer, you should already know that the birth charts and transits of victims of violence, and those who commit violent acts, and those closely connected to either always show indications of what happened, one way or another. You should already know that this has been demonstrated again and again and again and again and again and again. What new wisdom will your proposed project reveal?

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love a good research project at least as much as the next guy. I’ve made the case before for astrology benefiting from a lot more scientific rigor. But if an astrologer wants to get into astrological research, it should be done by the same rules that psychological researchers should follow. One of those is that you don’t go throwing around e-mails to people you don’t know asking if you can dig into their wounds for educational purposes. If you must do something like this, put an ad out somewhere asking for volunteers. At least that way, instead of causing harm to others and making astrologers in general look bad, you’ll at least only have the cleaner and neater problem of “how do I know these people who are contacting me are valid research subjects, and not just attention-seekers?”

Being an astrologer should come with certain ethical standards, just as is the case with the previously-mentioned psychiatrists and priests. And one of those standards is “first, do no harm.”

So, Dear _____, I ask you as one professional to another: please, don’t make us all look bad just because you’ve got the urge to dig around in people’s tragedies for dubious learning purposes, okay? That, and… as all honest astrologers should stop and ask themselves from time to time: am I doing this for the clients, or just for myself?

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