I wrote this a while ago for a website which now appears to be defunct (hope it wasn't something I said!) I'm re-airing it as a change from Arty-Farty this Friday.Lauren Bacall's famous line to Bogart: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? Just put your lips together, and blow," sounds good, it's catchy, but it doesn't always work. The equivalent advice on choosing an astrologer would be to stick a pin in a magazine page filled with astrologers' advertisements, then invest your hard earned cash with the impaled astrologer. If you were very lucky that might, just might, work.
There are so many variables and imponderables when choosing an astrologer, just as there are in learning to whistle well. Some extra effort will make disappointment less likely.
First consideration: how much money are you able or willing to invest?
Second, what kind of advice and insight are you looking for?
Third, and in some ways most important of all, how best to find someone on your own wavelength? Someone who speaks your language - not only literally, but metaphorically.
If money is no object, you have the option of choosing a consultation with an internationally famous astrologer. You might find there's a long waiting list though. And, unless the third requirement is fulfilled you might well waste your investment. What a disappointment it would be to find that the person sitting opposite you, or on the end of the phone, is speaking in terms and style you neither understand, relate to, nor enjoy.
To discover whether a particular astrologer is on your wavelength: read, read and read - anything and everything you can find that he or she has written, or in the case of video input, spoken.
If you are seeking an answer to a specific question, an horary astrologer is the one you need. Financial matters call for an expert in financial astrology, personal and relationship problems are the domain of most astrologers un-connected with the specialist ranges. Astrologers' websites and adverts will almost always specify their area of expertise.
With a modest amount of cash available, there's plenty of choice in all areas. Most astrologers who offer a service keep a website regularly updated, these sites often contain a selection of the astrologers' own articles, from which you can detect their general style. Some astrology bloggers, many of whom appear regularly on the Astro Dispatch widget in my sidebar, are also professional astrologers and their blogs provide an excellent source to discover someone to whose style you can easily relate. These astrologers, and others in the "TRINES" links in my sidebar, write regularly on a variety of astro-topics. Here you have the best chance there is of getting to "know" an astrologer before investing your cash.
For those seriously strapped for cash - many of us these days - some on-line astrologers might be willing to do a brief report or answer a question, for a small donation of your choosing. Otherwise, a reasonably priced computer produced report on your natal chart is a quick and economical solution. These do vary in quality, but many offer a lot of useful information, especially to a person fairly new to astrology. It's helpful to establish whether the astrologer in question has actually written the data for their computer reports, or if it has been obtained from commercially available software. I'm not saying the latter is bad, just that the former is way, way better, and worth any extra cost.
Some are cynical about computer produced reports, I share the doubt in certain circumstances. There are charlatans in astrology, as in all spheres of life. Again, research via the internet will illuminate the genuine astrologers, and show up the purely money-making enterprises with no grounding of expertise.
If you have some knowledge of astrology yourself, catching a look at an astrologer's own natal chart, sometimes available in their books or websites, might give you a hint of their wavelength. Sun and/or Moon and/or Mercury compatible with your own would be a good start.
Those who have been interested astrology for several years could probably take a stab at interpreting their own natal charts. I find this a useful exercise, and it helps in relating to any report produced by a professional. In the case of a specific problem or question though, consulting a professional from the outset is preferable. A professional is able to be quite objective, while you yourself are too close to any matter troubling you.
First and foremost invest time and effort in identifying an astrologer who appears to be on your wavelength, only then invest your cash, as much as you can easily afford, in a consultation or report. Good luck!