Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 18, 2014

Suicide Prevention vs. Suicide Prediction: Some Cautions for Astrologers

©6-18-2014 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 My recent post that came out strongly against predicting violence or suicide stirred up a lively—and productive—discussion in the comment section. (Why Astrologers Cannot and Should Not Predict Violence or Suicide.) You might have a look and something to add.

Serendipity is the law of my life, and it’s at work here. It finally got clear this morning that materials from this series need to be included into the new and expanded edition of my Counseling Principles for Astrology that’s in process now. There’s already a chapter on clients in crisis that has a section on suicide, but it needs some of the material we’ll be covering in this and upcoming posts.

Apparently, some readers took my comments to mean that we shouldn’t address people’s difficult chart placements and transits that are driving them to the brink of drastic actions like violence or suicide. Long-time readers know better. I’m not one of those terminally positive astrologers who look at charts through rose-colored glasses and only talk about the woooooonderful effects of tough transits like the Pluto-Uranus square.

People are hurting now with these astrological conditions and hurting badly, and we need to be prepared to let them talk about their realities. In a coming post, we’ll learn more about suicidal people and the warning signs.

 What Can You Do for Desperate Clients?

 However, those who come to us in a desperate ­state need hope for the future. With severely depressed people, I tend not to do­ long-range forecasting. The client can find it terribly discouraging to be told that the same astrological conditions accounting for this current emotional ­black hole are going to repeat themselves several times over the next two to three years. Instead, look for where help can come from, in terms ­of chart aspects such as trines and sextiles both natally and by transit.

Also look for support for the client in terms of personal or social­ agency resources. Support is essential because the astrologer, working alone,­ does not have the resources, the training—or the legal standing—to handle suicidal people. Even ­therapists in private practice make sure to have psychiatric ­backup and to give the client the suicide prevention hot line numbers.

Two Bach flower remedies that may be relevant here are­ Sweet Chestnut, which can alleviate that condition that is called The Dark Night of the Soul,­ and Cherry Plum, for those who fear they will lose control and ­harm themselves or others. You could also recommend give Rescue­ Remedy to such clients. It should be understood that flower remedies alone cannot cure serious emotional difficulties, but they can be a source of comfort and strength while clients find the professional help they need. (See: Hope for Those in the Dark Night of the Soul.)

(Flower essences, also known as flower remedies are an inexpensive and gentle boost to insight and growth. They are an excellent addition to an astrology practice. If you’re not familiar with them, download the introductory chapter from my essence book at flower essence information-ch1 and read the instructions for how to use them.)

Folks, that’s as much as we can do today, but there’s more to come. Let me once again cite the codes of ethics of four major astrology organizations in the United States that specifically prohibit predicting death, which would include suicide. No doubt, organizations in other countries do so as well.

Again, d0 share your thoughts in the comment section. 


  1. We all need to have handy the resources to refer the clients who come to us. There are many ways to gently and tactfully approach a subject when we realize a client may be in a crisis.
    A plus would be to take some college classes in Human Behavior. I have a BS in Human Behavior, and although I am an amateur astrologer doing mostly family and friends, it really helps. Astrological studies and Human Behavior studies go hand in hand.
    Unfortunately, one of my sons-in-law was in crisis and we didn’t know he was….he shot himself with a shotgun. Sad. Since then, we have learned things in which we can use to try to recognize the signs.


    • So sorry to hear about your son-in-law’s tragic death, Carole. So many “if only I’d known” situations out there these days. Donna

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