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We know there are millions of customers searching in the holistic marketplace for ideas, products and services to make their lives healthier, more meaningful and purposeful.  Now let’s start to explore how we as holistic practitioners can tap into this marketplace to build successful and prosperous businesses.

A few weeks ago I attended a social gathering of holistic practitioners. The conversation drifted (as it often does in such groups) to how to “get more clients” and make a sustainable living.

My companions were compassionate souls who truly want to make a difference in the world. But as I listened, I could hear echoes of the shadow projections and fears of the business. Things like:

  • Holistic services are considered too “woo-woo” and people aren’t interested
  • Practitioners feel like there’s a scarcity of clients, and are afraid to work with other practitioners because they might lose business

As we embark on the adventure of building a business, let’s start by scouting the terrain. By looking at the latest demographics and psychographics on the people we seek to serve, maybe we can begin to dispel these myths and begin our journey unafraid.

by Jacqueline Menkes, Senior Project, Class of 2008


Jacqui Menkes 2008 graduation picture

I know that it seems like a daunting task that looms at the end of the senior year, the senior project but it need not be. All that is really needed planning and the help of our great teachers. In the article below is the rough sketch of what my senior project idea became. I was curious to know how astrologers fared professionally in comparison to other established professions, including the one that I had been practicing for 40 years. I thought that the best people to ask the question to be the professional astrologers and the place would be United Astrology Conference in Denver. The rest of this article is the outcome of the survey that would morph into my final senior project and go on to be published in the ISAR journal The International Astrologer.


Skeptics have often leveled criticism on the lack of professional standards in astrology and/or professionalism of the astrologers who practice it. The purpose of this research is to follow up on a survey distributed fourteen years ago on the state of professionalism in the practice of astrology among practicing astrologers and to note any change of findings from the prior study. This new survey was conducted at the United Astrology Conference (UAC) in Denver, Colorado in May of 2008.


Upon reviewing the Tunney survey of 1994 that was called Project Focus and the synopsis of the 6-page Tunney survey, it was possible to recognize how the two surveys findings dovetail. The original survey results were presented at the United Astrology Conference in Monterey California in 1995. Of the approximate 5000, surveys sent out across the country the results were based on the 1000 that were returned to them and of that group, 657 were actually analyzed.[1] Though these surveys were taken 14 years apart, it was interesting to note that the same issues on professionalism especially wages and remunerations for services surfaced.

The definition of a professional has changed over time, particularly since WWII. Beginning in the 1950's, fields that required significant education and were practiced primarily by upper middle class individuals, began developing educational standards and increasingly sophisticated certification programs. In those fields (for example, law, medicine or psychology) only those individuals who had passed both the educational and certification requirement could call themselves a professional.

In fields like plumbing, education and certification still apply, but the education is geared primarily toward a practical application of knowledge and so is called vocational.

As astrology became more popular in the 1960's and 1970's, individuals who charged for charts began to call themselves professionals and considered astrology to be a profession. But this is a different definition than that held by the mainstream culture.

In the 1990's and later, astrological organizations developed voluntary certification programs. Although these programs are receiving increasing interest, astrologers today do not have to go through the same level of extensive professional education and certification required by other professions. Without this, astrology remains a vocation that calls itself a profession. The cultural terminology has shifted, but astrology has not yet caught up with that shift.

The trend toward a stricter definition of professional continues, and more fields are developing education and certification programs. Will this trend affect astrologers and their practice?

Video Editorial by Lee Lehman, PhD: Part 1: Profession or Vocation?; Part 2: Profession vs. Vocation