This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Friday, 12 October 2012

How To Be An Astrologer

So unemployment is beginning to bite, and you have no qualifications worth the mention. What do you do for eating money?
Look up. The answer’s in the stars.
No, no, I’m not telling you to emigrate to Mars (if they ever colonise it) or become an astronomer or something like that. It’s much, much easier, my friend.
You just set up as an astrologer and watch the money walk in.
You don’t know how to go about it? Hey, what am I here for, if not to help and advise? OK, OK, I’m there to entertain you lot too. What the hell do you think I’m doing now?
The first thing we need to talk of is equipment. Unless you want to come across as a real throwback, if you live in Europe or the US, the crystal ball’s out. It’s tacky and so…so…cartoonish. Know what I mean? And if you live in India, well, they’re no longer taken in by semi-precious stones that will cure all ills. Believe me.
No, what you need is a nifty, ultra-modern looking laptop (desktops are too well known, even villagers have all seen one, to impress any more) and some really impressive visualisations (preferably of galaxies and complicated star charts and so on) – plus some programmes, rich with alchemic symbols, that scroll just too fast for anyone to read them and understand it’s all rubbish. Whether you’re in a village or a town, that is what you need. You may lay out Tarot cards if you want, too. But with a lot of people being Tarot amateurs, you have to bone up on the subject. So if you’re lazy, just stick to the laptop.
Nomenclature. Do not call yourself a “palmist” or “fortune teller” unless you want the sort of people who go to gypsies at fairs coming to you. Call yourself an astrofuturologist or something similar. That’s what will get you the high-end crowd, who don’t quite know what an astrophysicist might be, but do know it’s something high-grade in the knowledge spectrum. They will certainly want to come to anyone who sounds like one.    
Premises? Well, any place will do, even your living room. Location isn’t as important here, because the mugs, I mean, clients, will find you just as long as you advertise, advertise, advertise. Get a few cheap flyers printed and pay some idlers to chuck them through car widows and thrust them into passers-by’s hands, and even if only one in twenty turns up, you’ll far more than recoup your costs. Later on, get someone like me (just as soon as I’ve completed my web-design course) to set up a website and you’re all set to go…online. What more do you need?
Well, quite a lot, in fact.
Some amount of basic knowledge goes a long way in impressing the clients. Let’s say the client is a woman with a discoloured line or a groove across her front teeth. If you have a bit of knowledge of dental development, you can do yourself some real good by telling the woman she had “some kind of serious illness when you were three to five years old”. (I suppose I might as well confess that this is an actual favourite trick of mine, but then I am a dentist, so it doesn’t amaze them quite that much, especially since I always tell them how I knew.)
Or say you have a guy before you with a muscular physique but soft hands – with a line of calluses at the base of the fingers. You tell him: “You care for your self image a lot”. That will get him. Don’t tell him “You work out with barbells” – that’s obvious. If he’s a navvy he won’t have soft hands, will he?
Now, all this is just the preliminaries. The real stuff lies in what you tell them.
If you want to be a successful astrologer, there are some things you should never forget.
  1. Don’t be definite. This is of the utmost importance. Make no definite statements, no concrete promises. There is one very, very important word – may. Don’t say, for dog’s sake, “Your son will pass the examinations and get selected for the business management course.” Say, “According to your son’s stars, he islikely to concentrate enough in his studies to do sufficiently well to pass and you can expect that he may be selected.” Get it? Huh?
  2. Sprinkle your predictions with caveats. Your client probably won’t be a Muslim, so you can’t get away with saying only “Inshallah”, but you can still say something like “Your son’s Neptune trine Saturn (or whatever, I’m no expert at this) is in the house of Venus at this time and it is favourable to success in his examinations. But there is a malign influence from the house of Mars, though it is as yet weak. So long as Mercury dwells in Jupiter the influence is counteracted, but I cannot promise anything definite on that point. All in all, his prospects look bright.” Give yourself an escape route.
If you’re in India, there is another ultra-easy way out. Ask for the date and time of birth. Indian astrologers make a great fuss over the exact time of birth (I don’t know whether the emergence of the head from the vagina counts as the moment of birth or the severance of the umbilical cord, and what about Caesareans then?). Then if something goes wrong they say “Oh you must have given me the wrong time of birth, a difference of three seconds might ruin the predictions completely.” You won’t be able to get away with that in America, but then you can try what I said in the previous paragraph.
  1. Deliberately mix traditions. This is a favourite trick of the better known of the Indian astrologers, like Bejan Daruwalla, for instance. They will brazenly use Western astrology, and simultaneously begin every prediction with “Ganesha says…” or something similar, just to confuse the issue and keep the Indian client happy.
  2. Mix techniques. Use a bit of palmistry, a bit of computer analysis, a bit of this and that (face reading or whatever). There’s always a key. Your client might not be taken in by Tarot or faces, but palmistry might be the way to his wallet, or it might be the computer. With a bit of practice, you’ll usually be able to tell which one will fit the particular case in hand.
  3. And now this is the clincher. Claim to have predicted events in the past. Make sure you don’t predict something too recent, because someone might just check up on you. Don’t, for instance, say “I predicted Steve Fossett would vanish without a trace,” or even “I predicted the 9/11 attacks.” No. Say “I predicted that Rajiv Gandhi would be blown away.” Hell, it was nearly twenty years ago. Who’s going to be able to go back and see, especially since there was no internet then? But don’t get carried away and say something like “I predicted the Titanic would hit that iceberg. If only they’d have listened…” Got me?
If someone asks about a specific prediction, you should make up some goes-for-anything verse that might fit any and every situation. No names, no pack drill. It worked for Nostradamus, why shouldn’t it work for you?
Right, then, you’re all set. Try and dress well enough to look respectable and trustworthy. Or else, go the whole hog and get a pointy hat and a big pot of water. One or the other.
Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble
And make sure to send me photos, will you? You will certainly be able to afford them.

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