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The Counselor - Midwife of the Psyche

The Counselor - Midwife of the Psyche

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Published by Michael Erlewine
An astrological article or book by Michael Erlewine, well-known astrologer with fifty years of experience. This book is copyright by Michael Erlewine and is available free and may be shared, but not sold or bundled. Erlewine can be reached at Michael@Erlewine.net
An astrological article or book by Michael Erlewine, well-known astrologer with fifty years of experience. This book is copyright by Michael Erlewine and is available free and may be shared, but not sold or bundled. Erlewine can be reached at Michael@Erlewine.net

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Published by: Michael Erlewine on Jan 07, 2011
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The Counselor - Midwife of the Spirit
The Counselor - Midwife of the Spirit
 by Michael ErlewineMany professional astrologers make alarge part of their income fromastrological counseling or readings, andyet, in the entire literature of astrology,there is only a mere handful of booksthat even mention the particulars of thecounseling process. The subject matterof what takes place in a reading isseldom discussed by professionalastrologers. the reading process is, infact, an occult subject.Astrologers are not the onlyprofessionals who offer readings ofcounseling sessions: psychic, tarot, andpalm readers do too, not to mention thepsychological profession. There areperhaps as many styles and techniquesof giving readings as there arepractitioners. In this article, I would liketo describe what it is that goes on orhappens during a reading, regardless ofwhich of the many astrologicaltechniques is being used. This is a verydefinite and physical process that takesplace through the counseling session,and insight into that process can benefitus all.Beneath all of the words and socialconventions of a reading, somethingvery akin to massage is happening, butit is the psyche or psychological bodythat is being exercised and not thephysical. This process is seldom, if ever,referred to during the actual reading,and although most clients are aware ofexperiencing a strong change orrelease, the process of what takes placedoes not often reach the consciouslevel.The popular image of what happensduring a reading is that the astrologer'srole is to tell the client something aboutthe self, to give him some information, to"lay it on him," and so forth. An evenmore common image is that theastrologer will be able to pluck from theclient's most intimate life some fact thatno one could have known, as a sign.This will then work to make all of whatthey tell us true! This popular conceptionbears little resemblance to what actuallydoes happen in the counseling session.In trying to think of a way tocommunicate what does happen in thecounseling process, I came upon whatis almost a perfect analogy -- that of amidwife. The function of the midwife isto assist both the mother and the childthrough the birth process. Her entire roleis to facilitate a process that is alreadyunfolding, rather than to initiate or doanything herself. The counselor, orreader, also functions as a midwife, amidwife of that psyche or soul, a midwifeof the Spirit. It is not the function of theastrologer-counselor to embed or fill theclient with knowledge, facts, or direction.Instead, the counselor, like the midwife,can but assist in the unfoldment of thenatural process.Keep in mind that what I am detailinghere happens through or behind all ofthe social conversation and astrologicaltechnique that takes place in a reading.The reading process can be divided intoseveral distinct phases. The first phasereflects the condition or attitude in whichmost clients arrive. Clients seek outastrologers when they find themselvesin a state of inquiry or questioning (oftenconfusion) in their lives. They havenowhere else to turn.In general, clients find themselveslocked into a routine or set of habits,and they have forgotten how in theworld they ever got into their situations.
The Counselor - Midwife of the Spirit
Their commitments and circumstanceshave reached some crucial point andare so confining that their lives appearto be rushing towards a foregoneconclusion with no further options,opportunities, or choices left open. Theyare not only uptight, but most are at theirwit's end. The can no longer respond totheir life situation. They have lost theirability to respond to events, theirresponsibility. The first step in anyreading, then, involves dealing with thiscondition.The majority of clients have not only lostall flexibility, they are into seeking toescape from a particular set ofcircumstances. They have replacedwhatever flexibility they may have hadwith a series of musts, ultimatums, orconditions that must be met if they areto go on. They must get out of thismarriage, they must find a better job,they must find some sympatheticsomeone, and so forth. Most areseeking some release or relief fromwhat they feel to be an unbearablesituation. They have lost all the appetiteor "gameness" that led them to take ontheir responsibilities in the first place.They have ceased to respond to thedemands of their own particular set ofcircumstances. They have had enough,are fed up, and are in the process ofclosing down their minds. Beneathwhatever social veneer that isnecessary, this is the state of mind ofthe average client.It should be clear why the first stage ofmost readings involves allowing theclient to vent some of this pent-upmaterial. Criticism, complaints, andoutrage are at a peak here. The air canbe filled with complaining, criticism, andanger as the client expressesdissatisfaction, as he or she gets it out.In time, tears and welling emotion canreplace the more acrid, bitter, and evenvenomous outpourings. It is veryimportant that the counselor know howto facilitate this emptying process. Thebasic idea here is that the client hasmoved (in the life situation) from anopen, game, and inquiring attitude, to aclosed and concluding frame of mind.The client is passing judgments and jumping to all kinds of conclusions at theexpense of the process.The situation that leads most individualsto make an appointment with anastrologer is a crucial, pressure-filledperiod in their lives, during which theyhave ceased to respond to the demandsof their particular circumstances andcannot seem to get any response orreflection pertaining to their presentcondition. They no longer know what ishappening to them, and they arereaching outside for some response,feedback, or confirmation (one way orthe other) as to what is going on. Theimportant point here is that, in themajority of cases, the clients are at abreaking or turning point in their lives.Something has to give since they havenothing more to give and have ceasedto respond to their conditions. They areat the point of saying, "the hell with it,"and are forcing themselves to continuewith whatever situation orresponsibilities they may have. Withexceptions, this is the condition ofaverage clients when they enter myoffice. This condition dictates or definesmy approach. The average client is inno mood to benefit from any "words ofwisdom" that I might have about thepossibilities of their natal configurations.They are not quite ready for philosophy.Given these conditions, the obvious firststage in a reading is the venting of this
The Counselor - Midwife of the Spirit
pressure. Let them blow off somesteam. The last thing clients need at thispoint is for me to lay something else onthem. What I do at this point is to askthe clients to detail the generalquestions or areas of their lives (andselves) in which they would like me towork. What I am saying is "talk a bit." Myconcern is to get them talking, and to letthem talk long enough to unload someof this built-up pressure. As a rule, I donot confront the client at this point withany particular demands. I don't questionthem. They may describe several areasof interest, some of which are obviouslyfilled with intense concern. I do notfocus on these areas at this point, butinstead pass over them. I acknowledgeeach question and area of interest andpass on. By not confronting them withthe areas of real question, and byoffering them no resistance, I do notenforce whatever defensiveness theymay feel or expect.For example, I am not opposing theirdecision to leave their husbands andchildren and run off with the localmusician. I am not shocked that theycheat on their wives or have hit theirchildren. I am taking it in and acceptingwhat they are presenting me -- andthat's all. When they push, I give. Ingeneral, my passiveness or listeninghas the effect of drawing them outfurther, often in a bitter criticism,complaints, and the like. The lack ofopposition or resistance tends to inducethem to spill out more than they haveintended, and this spilling over is veryimportant and marks the end of the firststage of a reading.The reasons for the above processshould be clear. Clients have beenunder great pressure and, as often asnot, are very defensive of their right todo whatever they are doing or thinkingof doing. "I'm going to leave my kids andno one is going to say otherwise." Theyhave lost their balance and flexibility andhave replaced these with a hard,resistant attitude. They are desperate tosome degree. When I don't opposethem, but instead accept whatever theysay, this tends to throw them offbalance, and the result is an evengreater release of unloading. During allof this, I am telling them nothing andkeeping our conversation to the socialminimum -- astrological or otherwise --needed to assist in the emptyingprocess. I can be talking all the while,but I am saying nothing. It is a simplefact that they are, at this point, unable tolisten or hold a dialogue as long as theyare holding their breath, so to speak. Iam coaxing them or allowing them tobreathe out, to expire, and to let go ofwhatever they have locked into with adeath-like grip, whatever that may be.This emptying process takes about 10-20 minutes in most cases, but may takean hour or more! The process must beallowed to take its course, until (likevomiting) there is no more forthcoming.Only when this stuff has been expelledor let go will they be in a position forinspiration, ready to take a new look orgrip on themselves. Only then can I gettheir attention.After this emptying has taken place isthe time to begin to draw attention to thevarious areas of concern and toascertain the "facts" of the matter. Theclient has achieved some release at thispoint, has let go of things. It is here thata real dialogue can occur between clientand counselor. Around this time, thebitter accusations and criticism oftenturn to tears and sobbing. There is aletting down, a getting down from the

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