Creative Connections & Client Communications
Harrummmpf! You've hit a nerve!
In a face-to-face consultation, every busy astrologer learns to spot the client's telltale shifts of position in his/her chair when an especially telling point is reached in conversation. We see and understand this tension-repositioning --the wiggling foot, the strong swallowing, the averted gaze- on TV, for example, when a person is under cross examination during a trial; we can see it in our consultation office when we get close to keystones of developmental significance.
Conducting horoscope analysis by telephone is very difficult: the client is not present, there are no visual aids to help pitch the Level of the horoscope; everything relies on conversation style and content, on listening creatively.
We can increase the acuity of our hearing when we pay strong attention to it.
First of all, make sure that your client is telephoning you privately. -It is best, when making the appointment-for-callback, to advise the client to be private during the call, without distractions or inhibition when the consultation time comes. No children. No pets. No work noise, no TV, music, and no speaker phone (which takes away all intimate contact and perception possibilities) etc.
Second: be extremely aware of what you can deduce from the sound of voice, the accent, the word choice, the pace of conversation. What is the education level? Is the voice attractive enough to be an asset? Is the voice uncomfortable or raw because of regional accent, insensitivity, long-term smoking, unmodulated loudness? Is the voice muted, withdrawn, lacking in presence? What impression may voice and language make on others? What are the reasons for these aural image dimensions, in terms of development revealed through the horoscope? Does the voice change, is the vocabulary suddenly different (usually in very subtle ways) when talking about the father or the mother?
What about the silences that may suddenly occur in the conversation pace pattern? Why did the first one occur? What is happening with the client during the silences?
Is there conspicuous evasion about certain points of discussion? What is your client objective about, and not objective about? Is there something you are doing with your voice that is pushing the client away from trusting you fully? How do you sound to others? Do you have a 'different' sound when you are doing your astrology work?
Why does your client choke up at the mention of what? Can you hear the sudden dryness in the mouth? Can you hear the time-emotion filler of a sip of coffee or a drag on a cigarette?
Are you prepared to manage tears over the telephone? [Have your client get a drink of water; it is impossible to drink water and cry at the same time.]
Another client I had this morning has a horoscope that revolves around three very dramatic, simple-to-see measurement constructs:
1. Saturn retrograde phenomenon, with Saturn conjunct Mars in Cancer, in the 7th; Saturn rules the Ascendant, Mars rules the 4th. There is conspicuous father relationship difficulty that is carried over into adult relationships. This is undeniably clear.
2. Pluto opposes Mercury-Sun-Venus: there is a blanket over his hand grenade; his potential is muffled somehow. Mercury and Venus co-rule the 10th, another parental indicator in the mix. Pluto rules the 11th: much anxiety about being loveable.
3. The Node is quindecile to the Ascendant [See Archives, "Analytical Techniques" in this website]. Undeniable obsessive relationship with the mother; a wound that never heals.
Ralph's mother and father never married. The father disappeared very, very early in Ralph's life. The mother was a teenager when she gave birth to Ralph, and was an immature wash-out for many, many years thereafter. Ralf suffered terribly, completely neglected.
Ralph is now 54 years old. He has never married. He has never been able to ascend and do work of significance, in fulfillment of his remarkable intrinsic potentials. His mother is now something like 71, deeply depressed with guilt about what she may have contributed to her unhappy life and her son's difficulties. [Ralph was raised by a grandmother, who then died during his teenage years.]
In our discussion, all my observations about this situation was corroborated by Ralph. Ralph was remarkably objective, highly informed about himself and his problems, highly intelligent and articulate. The sound of his voice was beautiful, clarion clear, and the flow of his words and his vocabulary were extraordinary. But he was simply a lonely vagabond. -All this just did not fit together. He so needed support and encouragement, even at 54.
Then, one moment in the consultation brought everything to highest focus: Ralph said, "My mother is really suffering; she's so upset about her life and …." And I interrupted --slowly, clearly, and firmly--- with: "And you feel that you are still the cause of your mother's guilt?"
This was an 'assumptive question'. [See "The Creative Astrologer," pages 76-78.] I was taking his Aquarian compassion and idealism and inverting them, imploding them back onto himself, explaining the defensive Eastern orientation of his horoscope, the Ascendant ruler Saturn retrograde, the counterpoint with Self. He felt he should have been a better son, a better person, to reflect fulfillment back upon the mother.
Well, there was absolute silence on the line for about 15 seconds. Then Ralph cleared his throat loudly and harshly…."Harrummmph"…."Harrummmph"…. To relieve the silence, I said, "I feel it too, Ralph."
"Uh…Harrummmph…I never ever thought of this … that way. My goodness!"
Then, I pushed further: "Where in your body, Ralph, in your body, where did you feel the emotional pressure just now?" [See Gendlin work in The Creative Astrologer, pages 81-82]
"…Uh … Uh …," in an intimate, soft tone, "in my heart." [The Sun; his essence, opposed by Pluto, ruler of the 11th, love received, earned, needed.]
---The discussion that then followed was indeed transformational. Ralph was able to begin to change his life perspective -and that is not an overstatement. Through understanding, his routined burden was suddenly far lighter, in every sense of the word. Over the phone, every signal about this point was picked up, I think. While this example shows dramatically the way emotion can be heard in every conversation, if we know to listen creatively. Sometimes it is very subtle, perhaps an extra half-second in response rhythm, establishing a new pattern. [I often note how phone clients, not knowing quite what to expect from me with regard to intensity and perception, start out in a listening frame, somewhat detached, only to change quickly into an deeper emotional-involvement position after the first two to five minutes of talk.
Listen to yourself and your client for these dimensions. You'll be amazed at how much you hear!
Next Update: October 30, 2000