©11-18-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
One question sent to my astrology advice column in Dell Horoscope was about a reader’s difficulties with her various mentors, all fitting a certain pattern. And so I was lead to consider what astrological features would show the mentorship process.
Joyce Mason of The Radical Virgo feels it’s related to Chiron. He was teacher to a number of famous Greeks, but to me it’s a combination of Saturn and the 9th house. A mentor is a teacher, but a special kind of teacher, like Master’s level independent studies type of teacher.
It’s also an 11th house connection, but again, with a bit of Saturn involved, making this an older, more experienced friend—but NOT someone who’s going to act as a parent.
A huge mistake is to expect the mentor to take on a Mommy or Daddy set of responsibilities in areas where you lack maturity. It’s not fair to the mentor, it short-circuits your own development, and it winds up warping or even destroying the relationship.
(Warning: if you DO find a would-be mentor who’s willing to be Mommy or Daddy, then when you finally do grow up and need to cut them loose–or heaven forbid, wind up surpassing them in your field–there’s hell to pay!)
Another reason I think Saturn is involved is because Saturn rules boundaries, and boundaries or the lack thereof can make or break a mentorship relationship.
I had some excellent mentors in high school, college and early on in my astrology career, and I owe them so much. (It’s a positive expression of my Venus-Saturn conjunction in the 11th house. There have got to be rewards for a placement like that, right?) Over the years, I paid it forward by functioning as a mentor to a number of very worthy people, mostly in astrology, and loved the role.
Here’s a question I have been wrestling with for a while. Now and again someone I don’t know from Adam will write to ask me if I will be their mentor. Some of them don’t even bother to spell check their request. These unsolicited proposals always put me off seriously, but then I’d feel guilty that maybe I was being elitist.
(Now that I’m older, I honestly don’t have the stamina to be committed to someone in that way. Rather than working with individual clients or students, my focus at this point in my life is to leave behind as much of my knowledge and experience as possible to the field as a whole, with this blog as the chosen venue.)
In thinking through who I’ve been comfortable mentoring, it was usually someone I knew and whose work I was already familiar with. (It’s really not a commitment that it’s fair to ask of a stranger.)
Most importantly, I have to feel that their work or their mind shows great potential. In short, these are hard-working, businesslike, high quality people I believe in and whose work has integrity and a deep commitment to honesty. As one of the commenters below noted, it’s a shared committment to a set of standards.
Sometimes they are people I run across and am favorably impressed with, such as some of the first-time authors in The Mountain Astrologer. I make it a practice to write them a fan letter or note on their blog, and so the relationship develops from that. I had wonderful encouragement on my writing from my early mentor Rod Chase, and I remember what it felt like.
Joyce’s exposition of mentorship as related to Chiron is here on her “spirited living” blog, Hot Flashbacks/Cool Insights: http://hotflashbackscoolinsights.blogspot.com/2008/10/mentors-and-my-favorite-myth.html.
See an earlier article about mentorship here: “Conventional Wisdom”–Is the Advice of our Mentors an Asset or a Thought Form that Holds Us Back?
What about you, reader? Have you ever had a mentor or been a mentor? What is your experience of this complex yet important relationship? And what astrological connections did you see? Tell us about it in the comment section.
Note: Though I’m not available as a mentor, I haven’t run out of things to say by a long sight! The book I’m proudest of is Counseling Principles for Astrologers: Becoming an Effective Change Agent, a text for the consulting astrologer. It takes my background of a Master’s degree in Social Work and translates it to the framework of the astrology session. There are chapters on:
- how begin, focus, and end a session effectively
- communicating clearly and initiating a dialogue
- vocational astrology sessions
- working with the charts of children and teens
- ethical issues that arise in the course of a session
- referring clients to other professionals for further work
- building a practice
If you’re a professional astrologer or studying to become one, add this book to your professional library for $15 at Moon Maven Publications.