Thursday, June 23, 2011
At the End of My Rope with Electional Clients
I'm at a point where I am seriously considering dropping doing elections altogether, it's just too much aggravation!
How did I get to this state? Let me lay out the typical electional client scenario. The client knows a little bit about modern natal astrology. They have a limited date and/or time range available, usually in the next 30-90 days, but often less. I had a recent client who had less than week available.
I look at the date and time range, and give what I consider to be the best of the times and dates available.
The client gets the analysis, in which I layout the factors I considered and invariably says, "I'm worried about X or Y or Z" They then say, "I like date A, B or C better, could you please look at them for me?"
From the client side this is all very understandable, they are trying to find the absolute best time to do whatever it is they want to do, and from their knowledge of astrology they can see that there are MAJOR PROBLEMS with the election I propose, whereas the election they suggest is MUCH, MUCH BETTER!
The problem is that the client doesn't understand the following:
(1) Traditional astrology is different than modern astrology
(2) Electional astrology is different than natal astrology
(3) NO ELECTION IS PERFECT!
How about some examples? Traditional versus modern: A recent client was concerned about Saturn in the 1st, except that Saturn was dignified by exaltation, triplicity and face and finally direct. As Bonatti says in his Aphorisms
The 44th is, To consider if the Significators, Fortune or Infortune, be in his own House, Exaltation, Triplicity, Terms or Face (but the latter being not of that virtue with the rest, ‘tis necessary it should be assisted with another Dignity, which is Hayz or Light); for in such case the Infortune loses his sting; and being rein’d in like a wild horse from doing mischief, his malice is converted into good, and though this seems strange, yet the ancients affirm and I myself have often found it true by experience.
Natal versus Horary: same client was concerned about the Moon square Saturn, and was not particularly mollified when I pointed out the aspect was separating. In horary and electional applying versus separating is a key different, applying showing current and future events, separation past or events that will not come about Christian Astrology pages 109-10
NO ELECTION IS PERFECT! This is the hardest concept for clients to grasp. Again the client yesterday, I explained it by saying, "What if I was a matchmaker and you said, 'get me the best date that walks down the street in the next 20 minutes' I do and they say, 'Hey this guy is short and fat, I want someone like Brad Pitt or maybe George Clooney' How likely is it that Brad Pitt is going to walk down the street in the next 20 minutes?
We are almost always dealing with a very small set of possible elections due to practical considerations, often we are limited to business hours, for example. We usually have a limited date range to deal with. This means that we cannot get the perfect election and invariably have to settle for the best that we can get, rather than the election of the century. There will almost always be negative factors in the chart, and the best we can do is minimize the negative and maximize the positive as much as possible.
This is not what client want to hear. They want to hear that everything is wonderful with their elections. I'd love to be able to do that, but I have to work with what the Heavens provide me with.
This problem is compounded by the client, not understanding traditional and/or electional astrology and thinking that innocuous factors are negative or otherwise misunderstanding how traditional elections are done. A constant problem is looking at irrelevant houses, "I don't like Saturn in the 3rd" in a business election for example. In natal astrology, yes we look at all the houses. In horary and electional we concentrate on certain key houses. Besides, Saturn and other negative factors have to be SOMEWHERE in the chart, we can't whisk them out of existence!
Finally the client is worried, worried they won't get whatever they are hoping for from the election, worried about X, Y or Z from their limited astrological knowledge and worried that clearly I don't know what I'm doing since I gave them such a piece of $^%& election.
So they tell me, "I'm worried" and they suggest other elections. What I don't understand about this is, if I am so inept that I overlooked important negative factors in my suggested election, isn't my opinion worthless? Why bother with me further at all, why try to get my seemingly useless seal of approval on further elections?
From my standpoint, 99% of the time the concerns that the electional client expresses are either irrelevant, confused or factors that we are stuck with due to the limited range of dates and times available. For $55 I don't have time to spend an extra hour, patiently explaining the intricacies of traditional electional and going through endless elections until the client is satisfied, when they don't know what they are doing.
Ultimately the problem is that what electional clients are looking for is a secretary or personal assistant to pop up charts for them to repeatedly reject, until they finally find one that they like.
As an attorney, this is like having a client want to edit my briefs and change my legal arguments. It's definitely the clients' role to decide the ultimate objective and to set the practical parameters, time, date and location for the election. At that point I take over and use my expertise to get the best possible election that I can using these parameters. The client can decide that they will not use the election, but it is rude and foolish to try to micro manage an expert. If you know enough to micro manage you can do the work yourself presumably!
So I don't know. If I didn't have to earn a living, I think I might just quit doing elections. It's a no win scenario! I thought I would put this out there as a warning for fellow professional astrologers and also to see if anyone had a bright suggestions about how I can perhaps alter clients' expectations or better deal with them in the context of elections. I have started doing a big disclaimer on my website, which is also sent to every electional client. See Electional ordering with disclaimer