Dr Seuss vs Dr Freud

Wednesday September 7th 2011
Dr Seuss (2 March 1904). You’ll see how he fits in at the end.

My friend P the psychotherapist, came around for dinner the other night.

I know she’s rather dubious about my chosen career but she’s also curious. She asked me how often I like to see a client. I told her, truthfully, that often once was enough; occasionally someone might want two or three successive sessions. I explained that some people come annually for a kind of health check, but I didn’t necessarily expect it, and some people come whenever their life reaches a crisis for a top up and a look at the transits.

“Essentially,” I said, “it’s up to the client.”

And I noticed a quickly-concealed look of surprise on her face.

“It’s a lousy business-model,” I quipped, thinking of how psychotherapy can go on once a week for years or even decades.

Sigmund Freud (6 May 1856) had some crazy ideas

“Yes, but, you know, for me, I think just once would be unethical,” she replied. It was my turn to be surprised. (Unethical how?) The conversation turned to other things, but it left me wondering about the differences between  astrology and  psychotherapy.

After all, the goal of both disciplines is basically the same: to help people to know themselves.
But unlike a psychotherapist, an astrologer is not necessarily seeking to “cure” you or change you or label you.

People go to a therapist when they feel there is something wrong with them; people come to an astrologer when life is not going quite according to plan – or just if they feel they need some clarity.
An astrologer is trying to reveal the world to you, trying to show how your life, your character, your circumstances and your world create a complex piece of music that you need to sing.

The aim of astrology, of this astrologer anyway, is to set you free, to show you a little bit of the tune, help you read the music and then set you off on your improv. Whenever you feel you have lost the beat, you can come back to check rhythm, but essentially your life’s symphony is yours to conduct, compose and enjoy.

Dr Seuss puts it better than I ever could:

“You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

from Oh, The Places You’ll Go – a favourite in our house

That is what I want astrology to do for people.

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  1. P says:

    Astrology and psychology seem like two halves of a whole.

    With astrology, you learn what cards you are dealt.

    With psychology, you may not find out that somehting is wrong with you, but that the cards you believe you have been playing with can be used in a different way, and with different strategies.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That is what I felt after our conversation. But I also felt as if a weight had been lifted.

  3. Lachesis says:

    Mostly, I know where I’m going. In fact, almost always. Just sometimes the rain or the mist fogs my windscreen a bit and I need to wipe it clear again. That’s when I need an astrologer. Windscreen wipers. Not a Kwik Fit/psychotherapy windscreen replacement.

  4. Christina says:

    @P – When analysing the natal chart that is true but when it comes to current transits and trends astrology offers different solutions too – one of which may be sending someone off for a bit of therapy!

    The ability of an astrologer to predict timing, of course, makes a huge difference and to help you see patterns in your life and in the lives of others.

    @Anon – I’m glad I could help.

    @Lachesis – excellent analogy

  5. Alan says:

    Thanks Christina – in my experience this is exactly how astrology works when it is done properly.

    It is a lateral (indeed, other worldly) way of analysing a situation that can help tease out issues that are hidden in your conscious or subconscious mind. Kinda Freudian?

    I would question your musical analogy. For me it is not about singing. The chart makes you LISTEN properly to the music that’s playing in your personal universe. It’s no coincidence that astrology, like music, is a system of rhythms, harmonics and reverberations based on fundamental mathematical truths.

  6. Christina says:

    @Alan – you know what – I think you’re right. Listening is exactly what astrology makes you do. I prefer it to the symphony too.


  7. A footnote to the first sentence in the 3 volume biography of Freud by Ernest Jones indicates that he might have been born on March 6, not May 6. Check that chart . . you’ll be surprised what you see.

  8. Isy Aweigh says:

    Music is an excellent analogy (speaking as a sometime flautist.) The musician absolutely has to listen, watch, and feel the flow of the pattern, in order to play the part correctly.

    In this analogy, I see psychotherapy as the teacher who shows you how to hold your particular instrument and apply pressure or air to it. Astrology puts your part of the sheet music on your stand (on the right page), indicates the conductor, and shows you how to customize your grip or embouchure to get a better sound.

    But then, flautists are the odd ones. A professional musician once told me the flautists showed up nude one day, and nobody was terribly surprised.

  9. Christina says:

    @astrodreamer – wow. I’m slightly boggled by that. It would be very different indeed. What is the source of the – widely accepted – May 6 chart I wonder.

    @Isy Aweigh – yes I think the music analogy is really coming together thanks to you and Alan. I like what he says about the underlying mathematics.

    I would like to see certain flautists nude. Others…eh maybe not so much

  10. Christina says:

    Here is a discussion of the Freud dates on Astrodatabank. They are pretty sure it’s May.


  11. Astrodatabank’s discussion is quite superficial, as are most of their examinations, which is annoying since they seem to represent rigorousness. Also they are inactive so corrections and reconsiderations are out of the question. I published a paper on the Freud question in the Astrological Journal in 2000, and have accumulated more evidence and argument since then. I can email you a copy if you’d like. Some of the new argument appears on my site here:


  12. Christina says:

    Yeah – I looked at your site this morning and really enjoyed it. Please email me the Freud piece.

    Isn’t it a pity that astrodatabank is not active any more. It means everything goes flabby and hideously out of date – as you say – and it is such a great resource, especially now that it’s hooked up with astrodienst. Who has control of it now? Do you know?

  13. I think Astrodienst does, they sort of took over the hosting of the existing data, but I guess they don’t have the wherewithall to run it as an ongoing project.

    Too bad.

  14. Christina says:

    It could be run along the lines of wikipedia.

  15. Yes, exactly, it should be transferred to a Wiki template. The Philosophical Investigations site is set up on WikiSpot. There are others. I wonder who has the time and knowledge to work it up.

    There is of course the Wikipedia astrology team who stay on top of the Wikipedia astrology articles. They flounder around — under the inhibiting scrutiny of the Wikipedia pseudoscience police. They would be well advised to take over the Databank which is one branch of astrology that could profit from that objective environment. God knows, if Wikipedia thinks it’s important to bring up all kinds of absurd pop cultural references in every serious article — as if it were somehow ‘data’ — then why not encourage accurate birthdata? Theoretically, every biography in Wikipedia could immediately reference birthdata from an actively researched and correctible source —