As I enlarge this series on Astrological Choices I want to discuss the choices of an astrologer as to why you want to study astrology in the first place. Are you learning astrology out of simple curiosity, nothing serious, just having fun? That is as good a reason as any. Are you learning astrology for the purpose of self-help, understanding yourself and your life better on multiple levels? Astrology is the best self-help tool I ever encountered in my long study of life and living. Are you learning astrology so you can go farther than simple curiosity, fun or self-help, perhaps so far as reading or teaching others about astrology?Simple curiosity? Many start with the ever-popular newspaper, magazine or online astrology columns with favorites emerging for those that seem to truly illustrate or illuminate their life and experience. I have done many of these columns over the years for print, radio and television. While twelve sentences aimed at the entire world population tends to be a bit generic, much thought and effort must go into these columns. They are not just random sentences generated from a flip attitude. From columns you can graduate to the popular astrology magazines that give more detail and depth to the issues under discussion as well as the usual sun-sign column readings. From there I would suggest quality sun-sign books. Why? Learning about self-identity (sun-sign) issues on a sign by sign basis does set a good stage for you to do deeper study. Past that point you are no longer satisfying idle curiosity or just plain fun. Past that point you need to move past the columns, the magazines and the sun-sign books and get into solid textbooks and teaching tools.Self Help? As I said earlier, self-help does not get better than astrology in my estimation. I have had several psychologists as clients and have been told that even a clinician can use assistance in their own lives and that I was helpful. Psychology is a marvelous tool to help you get your life in order and live more successfully. Astrology falls into a similar self-help system but is based on a visual study of our solar system cycles. Having a diagram does help objectify and clarify the self-help elements. I read somewhere that 75% of a healing is done upon recognition of the problem and the balance of 25% is the healing process itself. You do know it is not easy to recognize your own foibles. Once your foibles are recognized through the energy patterns visible in the natal wheel, the history and influence of those foibles can be gauged through the lifetime progressions and the experiences that occur as you work your way through the lessons. In other words, the natal map shows the foibles, the progression shows the development of those issues, and the transits, eclipses, solar returns, etc. help you understand the timing and handling of the experience itself. Where do you begin to recognize your foibles, which is difficult to do for most people? Look to your 12th house and your aspects. Study them one item at a time, particularly those that are currently active by progression or other triggering. Why the 12th house? That is the house of self-undoing, just how do I shoot myself in the foot, my blind spot that may be self-sabotaging. The aspects seem to be the general lesson plans so I would look at them as well.You want to be an astrologer? Now we are talking my language. I mentioned at the end of the fun or curiosity stage that is was time to move past the popular columns, magazines and sun-sign books. Now you need to get serious about your study, your choice of reading material, your willingness to devote the months and years of work to develop a new language and a new skill. Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing is fun to do; but if you want a deeper application you must be willing to do the effort. Good books, lots of practice wheels, perseverance, a great memory and all the ingredients mentioned are necessary to turn you into a good astrologer. Anyone can learn astrology if they are willing to put in the effort. However, only you can turn yourself into an astrologer through your own efforts. There are tons of mediocre astrologers out there. Do not aspire to join the mediocre level, aspire to surpass it for yourself, your client and for the body of work we call astrology. I’ve met so many people who have read a couple of books or worked on a couple of charts and think of themselves as astrologers. They are students, pure and simple, not astrologers as yet. We will all be students for the whole of the time we study astrology because it encompasses all of life and experience. Past the point of fun and curiosity, this study is not for the frivolous.You want to be a teacher? Get ready to study even more. I mentioned that astrology covers all of life and experience. That is a pretty tall order for any human and none of us can ever learn all there is to know. Most astrologers are very good at certain facets of human experience, such as natal, self-help, predictive, relational, health, stock market or financial cycles, weather patterns, political or corporate issues to name a few. These are specialists and at times they do read more than one category. A teacher must know astrology in a broader sense, more categories, with the ability to see beyond specific categories into the field at large. A teacher must focus on the development of the student not impress them with the depth of the teacher’s knowledge (which is truly a necessary asset to a teacher). The idea of teaching is that the student can work the material and develop the skill. I’ve been to workshops where the speaker was magnificent as a speaker, but I could not use the material once I was alone. That is not a successful lesson or teacher.Perhaps someone can teach you to do a specific technique and you are or will become better at that technique than your teacher. This is normal. A teacher may use their experience and study just to develop their teaching skill and the techniques they teach. I remember many years ago when I taught a private student karmic astrology, that student blew right by me in the first lesson. I was awed by the innate skill of that student. I asked why they wanted to study with me since they could do far more than I could ever show them. I got an interesting answer. The student said they were very disjointed or disorganized in their efforts and had to rely more on a psychic sense than astrology to put the reading together for their clients. My body of information and teaching methods helped that student to organize their skills and to place their reliance on astrology and not just psychic flashes. The student (or reader) could still use those psychic insights as they are useful in all walks of life. What was learned was a framework with which to work with the client in a more coherent or comprehensive way. That experience taught this teacher something. My skill is as a teacher and my students can become far better astrologers than I will ever be and that must be okay with me. My job is to teach the skill set. My student’s job is to take that skill set to the next level. We want our children to do better and be better than us. A student is a child of your mind. You should want the very best for them and that should include becoming better than what you taught them.There is more to this discussion of why you want to learn astrology. For now I think it is enough for you to think about your personal interests, your motivations, your level of anticipated development, your willingness to devote the time and attention necessary to develop the skill, and your intended application. Are you curious and want to have fun? Go for it. Are you interested in understanding and self-help for your own life? Outstanding, that is a great usage. Are you interested in developing your astrological skills to help others as a professional reader? Go for quality. Are you a natural teacher, ready to help others with what you have come to understand? There are a few good astrological teachers available. I encourage you to use your experience to help others learn.