Thursday, February 03, 2011

A Lapsed Astrologer ~ Rudolf Smit

I recently happened upon an article by a former astrologer from the Netherlands, Rudolf Smit. He lost his belief in astrology. The slippery slide began when he used the wrong natal chart for a client consultation. His full article: Astrology my passion - My life, my personal disaster can be read at Astrology and

Abstract -- Rudolf Smit, founder of this website (astrology and, describes how, as a teenager, he was an ardent amateur astronomer with many technical books on astronomy in his library. Nearly all of them stressed that astrology had no scientific validity, which led him to believe that astrology was nonsense. Later, in his first job, he argued with his boss about astrology, and was told that he should first study astrology before opening his mouth.

So he read about his sun sign and was astonished to find how accurate it was. He then had his birth chart read, not once but twice, and in each case was astonished to find how well it fitted his character and circumstances. From then on astrology became his passion.

He taught himself how to read charts for his friends (everything fitted perfectly), formed the first society of professional astrologers in the Netherlands (this was in 1977), and set up as a part-time professional astrologer (he soon had many clients and the future looked rosy). But one day he accidentally used the wrong chart for a client, who was nevertheless happy with the reading. Two years later it happened again. Very puzzling -- weren't horoscopes supposed to be unique?

Later, with a computer, he spent several years testing the statements made in astrology books, especially statements about events, and found to his horror that almost all could not be confirmed. But he had many happy clients so why worry? Then in 1984 came the crunch. He became aware of the many ways in which clients could be convinced that astrology was true even if it wasn't. And all of them were used by him. Just being warm and caring would do the trick. Worse, any chart would do, hence also the wrong chart.

So his happy world of astrology collapsed. He closed his practice and fell into a clinical depression that lasted three years. Without astrology his life had lost its meaning. Afterwards he regained his interest and became editor of the research journal Correlation for six years, trying to find out which statements of astrology were true.

(Above:Mr Smit testing birth charts with his PET computer in Australia in the 1980s)

Then in 2000 he set up this website for those who wish to know more about scientific findings in astrology, but always remaining sympathetic to its beauty and appeal. This is a true story that anyone interested in astrology should read.
I can understand someone "losing faith" in almost anything (except the power of love). For someone as invested in astrology as Mr. Smit apparently was, his lapse is rather surprising. I have niggling doubts about some parts of astrological doctrine myself, but I find the trick is to stand well back. The closer and into ever more detail one delves, the more avenues for doubt open up. I am absolutely certain that there is a core of truth in astrology, but only a core. From that position I shall never lapse. Even so that core is well worth pursuing, and may contain the seed of something quite unexpected - in fact, something that will seem magical.

I'm interested to see Mr Smit's own natal chart: born on 5 January 1942 in Amsterdam, Netherlands at 9:53 PM (Astrodatabank).

Elementally he has a predominance of planets/points in Earth, none in Water. There's a starting point for his need of absolute proof, lack of intuitive feel which comes usually via Water signs.

Mr Smit's Earthy Capricorn Sun and Mercury alone wouldn't account for his lapse into skepticism, but allied with Grand Trines linking key planets all in Earth signs, well - I see a potential skeptic here, especially as critical Virgo was rising as he came into the world.

I can relate a little bit to Mr Smit. I too have a Grand Trine in Earth - similar to the one on the left (below) linking Neptune, Uranus and Mercury. Perhaps my own Aquarius Sun, Jupiter in Pisces and Cancer rising provide balance sufficient to ride out any doubts about core astrological principles.

Mr Smit's natal Uranus conjunct Saturn is a bit of a bummer for astrology too. Saturn has a restrictive influence upon Uranus's urge towards astrology. In my own chart Saturn is semi-sextile Uranus, which may indicate less of an impediment.

So, my conclusion: In Mr Smit's case the anti-astrological culprit = too much Earthy input which is too closely linked within his natal blueprint. No emphasis on the Watery element to provide balance. Mr Smit might easily have gravitated into the accountancy or architecture - or writing about same. Or perhaps simply staying with astronomy would have offered him a more comfortable ride along life's tangled highways.


batt said...

hi twilight!

i have been following your blog for sometime now... though i dont understand all of it, i am just curious about astrology.. and i find most people faking it.. is there a way i can find some genuine astrologers and learn.. or at the least get my own life reading done?

Gian Paul said...

Very fancy indeed: A friend here in Brazil, Zé Ferrero, ex-astrologer as well and his name translates to "Smit" in the Dutch language, also gave up giving astrological consultancies for payment. He though still is interested in the matter, but here is his story of why he gave up being a "professional":

A new client, executive in some big Brazilian corporation, offered Ferrero/Smit a handsome sum if he managed to convince his lover to believe that after all they did not really make a good match anymore.

And there was some logic for that: the exec in question was tired of continuing to carry his lover (in parallel to his wife and family) with him to werever he was going for a new assignment. Especially that the next one was being Paris, city of many attractive "other women".

Ferrero explained that he did not get the promised "big sum of money" as the victim-client (the execs' lover) did not believe what he told her. She actually managed to end up in Paris as well. As she had done for some 20 years with that guy.

Twilight said...

batt ~~~ Hi there!

I'm as sure as I can be that the astrologers whose blogs appear in the links in my sidebar, and in the widget (Astro-Dispatch), are all genuine.

The trick is in finding an astrologer who speaks "your language" (I don't mean literally) - someone who is on your wavelength. This is the important part. It doesn't matter how genuine or skilled an astrolger is if he/she has a style to which you don't naturally, instinctively respond, you won't fully appreciate what they write/say to you.

If you followed a few of the astrology blogs linked in the list marked "TRINES" in the sidebar for a while it would give you some insight into the style of their authors. Most of those astrologers will provide chart readings.

I wrote a post about choosing an astrologer a couple of years ago- this is a link to it:

Good luck!

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~~ Interesting story GP!
A good example of an unscrupulous, unprincipled client!

As there was evidence astrologically that upheld the clent's wishes the astrologer wasn't unprincipled. The client wouldn't have cared if the astrologer fabricated his advice though.

Astrologers can be prey to those intent on mischief! :-(

Astrology Unboxed said...

Hi Twilight:
Very interesting post.I can see where an astrologer would loose his faith in the "stars'.
I have a little bit of the same position as Mr. Smit. I do believe that you do not need a chart to be able to do a great consultation. Listening, intuition, asking questions, being present, understanding and having good intent are sometimes enough for a reading. This has happened to me a few times. But then I have lots of water in my chart including a grand trine.
I can see why you could become a lapsed astrologer. I use astrology as a tool, but I do not depend on it.
@ Gian Paul:
A similar story happened to me with a Brazilian client. He wanted his wife to participate in his reading so I could tell her that he was having an affair.

Wisewebwoman said...

Every time I come here lately, T, my comment gets trashed.

I am hoping this is not an astrological problem.

Interesting man your Smit. I love how you dig this stuff up.


Wisewebwoman said...

Oh the stars are kind to me tonight!

Gian Paul said...

I read Fabienne's comment and would add: Brazil was essentially populated by the indigenous indians (chamanism), the Portuguese ( devout catholics conquering the land by mixing and procreating with all other races) and African Blacks (Macumba and other magical rites).

No anglo-saxon puritans here would have interfered with their "ethics", even as far as the use and abuse of astrology may occasionally have warranted. That's why we say "Brazil,Brazil" around here.

Twilight said...

Astrology Unboxed (Fabienne)~~
As I'm not experienced in consulting, either as a client or practitioner, so am interested to hear your take on this.

I use astrology experimentally really I suppose, knowing "something is happening" but not knowing what it is - makes it a bit of an adventure.


Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes, an interesting character for sure.

I think the chaotic weather might be involved in erratic internet/comment links, WWW. We've had some blips and gurgles this end too.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~~ Different world, quite different is Brazil, it seems! :-)

Anonymous said...

That's why I opted to experiment retiring there. It's for sure not boring or "always the same".

Anonymous said...

This is GIAN PAUL: It's not the chaotic weather which creates the internet problems as reported by WWW and me right now. I did not post under anon. The system is faulty. Because of greed, underinvestment or as some smart guy recently said: stop pushing new gadgets into the net all the time, let people and the system breathe once in a while...

Twilight said...

Anon/Gian Paul~~~ That's very likely true, GP. Enough is never enough, they are always "improving" "extending" offering new and "better" versions, tinkering with something that was fine already. Sigh.

Astrology Unboxed said...

Hi Twilight:

I like the adventure part of you comment.
As for the first part of your comment,I am not sure how to answer it.
I believe that when I said it is possible to do a chart reading without a chart, I was thinking more in terms of consultation skills and the ability to do a "process" with a client and go to the root of the problem and walk the person through it until that person comes to a haha moment that unlocks the difficulties/ problems that person was dealing with.
For that, I believe no chart or astrology is necessary.
what you do need is the ability to listen physically, mentally,intuitively and spiritually in addition to a good understanding of human psychology and lots of personal experience.
Armed with the above, you can process anybody, even strangers and mere acquaintances over the phone.
My ex-boyfriend had this talent. I have seen him do it over and over with speed, accuracy and no astrology, so I know it is possible.I learned from him. Hence my take that astrology is not necessary. But that's me and my experience.
I am not sure if that answers your question, but that from where I am coming from.

Twilight said...

Astrology Unboxed (Fabienne)~~
What you describe is a gift far more rare than the ability to interpret an astrological chart!
When allied to interpretation of a chart though - something very special will occur.

Anonymous said...

I understand Smit's journey. I'm on that slippery path myself.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~ Oh dear! :-(
I do understand though.
The path might become less slippy as one reaches the lower levels - the air is not so thin here, and there's more to see. ;-)

nexus7 said...

So that is Smit's chart?

Why not compare it with Gauquelin's . who in fact, I hear, was strongly Jupiterian, but took the Saturnian pathe of looking for 'objective' proofs - he committed suicide.

Well yes, there s the Earth factor, thouigh he was Fiery too with the Moon and Ascendant in Leo.

The Moon in the 12th there, and I do think there is merit in Gauquelin's research, seems to be in a moderately strong Gauquelin position - he must have had a superb bedside manner with his clients and probably did have the knack for making his clients feel 'special' and unique - the Leonine knack for seeing the potential in people - and this knack may have been what made him a good counsellor, who jst 'happened' to se astrology, and maybe, in fact, relied more on this than astrology itself.

The Saturn factor may be a theme of experiencing a major disappointment or sense of disillusionment, many times previously, like a 6-year-old being told thast Santa did not exist. The tension between that romantic Leo and the Saturn/Capricorn 'time to put childish things away' theme.

In fact, Saturn and Uranus make excellent astrologers normally.

But the 'science' thing may come from somewhere as blinkered as the one that replaces the 'romantic' or 'enchanted' view.

I am a lapsed astrologer too. But for very different reasons. I did not get on with the dogmatism that is maybe an inevitable component of any predominantly neo-platonic system of thought.

Twilight said...

nexus7 ~~~ Hi there!
Thank you for adding your thoughts here. It's interesting to hear from others who have "lapsed" from earlier certainty on astrology. Although, from what you've written, you haven't lapsed completely, maybe just from actual practice of astrology.

I too object to the dogma, but continue to "believe" on my own terms. Not being a professional astrologer nor part of any organisation, that's okay in my case. I'd not last long in an organisation, even if they'd have me (which they wouldn't). ;-)

Thanks for the suggestion - I'll take a look at Gauquelin's chart and compare it with Smit's. Maybe compose a new post on the topic.

The Fire in Smit's chart is interesting, yet I think the lack of Water might be the real culprit. A lot of Earth could still accept astrology as long as some Watery balance was present. Cancer rising maybe? - I think that ascendant + Jupiter in Pisces saves me from a serious lapse. :-)

nexus7 said...

Hello there Twilight.

I used to do psychic fairs, where I sed Tarot too. Interestingly, the philosophy there was that book learning was frowned upon as rather inferior to cxlairvoyance: 'Spirit is all you need.'

In this contect, astrology, along with all other forms of divination, were just means to an end.

However, I do happen to suspoect that astrology isn't just a means to clairvoance, though I know that writers like Curry and Cornelius make this hypothethesis sound seductive.

There is a 'science' of saorts to it, though Tarnas makes it clear that there is a bit of a partivcle-wave issue to the whole 'objectivity' question where he discusses synchronicity.

I enjoyed working with the public on charts actually, maybe I will go back to it again, it is actually astrologers.

However, things are changing, and there now seem to be more kinds of astrology around being practised, and a more post-modern, critical approach being adopted, since it found its way through the front door of one or two universities (I got my own course kicked out of the Open Studies uni I taught, my syllabus sent to Eysenck - that was in the early 90's.

When I first encountered astrology and astrologers, almost all the astrologers I met were influenced by Bailey/Balvatsky, and it was these especially I could not get on with).

It couldhave been the lack of water in Smid's case, but then he did have a prominent Moon to make up for that. It 'has' to be that very angular Saturn, I am sure.

Twilight said...

nexus7 ~~~ Hi again!

I tinker around with my tarot deck occasionally - not sure why. as experiment to see whether/how often it works, I guess.

I cannot stomach anything connected to Madam Blavatsky and theosophy. I like to look on astrology's main strength to be in indicating personality and potential - not for prediction, except in a very, very broad sense.....that someone with a certain natal configuration or transit to it might be inclined to do such and such or go in a certain direction. No more than that.

I'm convinced that "something IS happening" in astrology, but we don't know what it is - and it's either not as much as astrologers think it is - or else it's a great deal more. I doubt I'll live long enough to find the answer to that one. ;-)

Thanks again for your input.