Before my astrological practice became more professional, I had been doing free readings for friends and acquaintances back in 2019. My first horoscope analyses were very basic, as I only interpreted crucial planets in houses and signs. As my astrological knowledge became more extensive, preparing readings turned out to be more time-consuming, so starting from September 2020 I decided to charge for my services. The initial prices were very low, around 10-13 EUR (12-15 USD). Now, as of July 2021, I offer more than ten types of readings. I try to keep my prices fair and affordable for everyone interested. Why do astrologers charge for readings in the first place, however? I can only speak for myself, but I hope that the following list of reasons will be relatable to other astrologers who might stumble upon this article.
1. Analysing birth charts requires a lot of time and effort. Those who are accustomed to “meme astrology” filled with sweeping statements based on Sun or Moon signs may not always know that professional analysis of horoscopes (even in Western astrology) is a sophisticated art and science with specific rules of interpretation. An astrologer who takes their calling seriously needs to dedicate at least a few hours to complete a reading. Such tasks cannot be simply finished on a lunch break. If the analysis is very detailed, the querent may wait up to a week or two. Therefore, professional astrologers ensure that the time and effort invested into readings is properly rewarded.
2. Astrology is not taken seriously by most modern people who usually think of it as a form of entertainment. In my country, doing astrology or tarot readings is in the same official business category as catching homeless dogs or cleaning shoes. Contrarily, in Vedic times, astrologers often served the function of highly respected counsellors to the kings and royal families. Jyotish was a brahmanical science, one of the Vedāṅga, the six auxiliary disciplines used to support Vedic rituals. It was customary during these times to offer donations to astrologers. According to Prasna Marga, one of the most important astrological texts in India, one should not approach the astrologer empty-handed. It is sad that in our digital century this profession is not as respected as it should be ideally. Therefore, many astrologers, whether they like it or not, are forced by circumstances to set explicit prices for their services. Otherwise, they are bound to encounter empty-handed querents.
3. In our present age, something given for free is unlikely to be treated with care and respect. A person receiving an item or a service free of charge may not completely understand the value of it. Consider the example of parents purchasing an expensive item for their child. No matter how well-behaved the offspring is, there is always a danger of he or she not treating the gift with proper care. The worth of something is fully understood only when a person has to work for it. Astrologers charge for readings to ensure that only people who genuinely seek guidance, help, or self-understanding will be provided with these services. Believe me or not, but in the beginning of my astrological practice I have encountered a few individuals who did not even bother to read the report I had conscientiously written for them. Therefore, serious astrologers need to think about this probability when they offer their services.
4. No matter how passionate, selfless, and idealistic an astrologer is, these qualities are not always understood or appreciated in our present dark age. We are not living in Satya Yuga, the Golden Age of humanity. There is no doubt that idealism is a powerful fuel. If one wishes to be successful in what they are devoted to, however, following ideals has to be combined with practical considerations. While Vedic astrologers were originally not Vaishyas (the third varna mainly associated with traders and merchants), nowadays they need to adapt to changing social situation and learn some basics of marketing.
The list above is by no means exhaustive, but I hope that I have provided my readers with some insights about the controversial topic of charging for readings. Thank you for reading my article.