The astrological situation in Austria: the process of awakening
Exciting things are going on in the Austrian astrological community for the time being. Peter Fraiss who runs one of the largest European astrology schools in Vienna has been very active since 2005 to make the astrological trade more professional. It started with the creation of a separate sub-division within the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. Formerly, astrology was part of the so-called „energethics", the word is a new creation derived from „energetic" and „ethic". The energethics are harmonizing the personal energy of clients with the aid of kinesiology, Bach flowers, dowsing and similar methods. Establishing astrology as a separate new division was accepted in a unanimous vote by all app. 30-40 astrologers taking part in the meeting, for everyone felt that the goals and methods of the astrologers are quite different from the energethics. In Austria, astrology is a free trade that can be carried on by everyone.
The next step was to define a catalogue of the different fields and working areas within astrology, in order to define a occupational image and be on the safe side in legal matters, especially since searches had been conducted in the houses of energethics who had been accused of quackery or violating the boundaries of the profession (mostly intruding the working area of medical professionals). For the same reason, medical astrology was not incorporated in the list to avoid a conflict with the Austrian Medical Association. We distinguish between psychological, traditional, Chinese and Indian astrology and the private and business application. In June 2006, the occupational image was accepted with just one voice of dissent, it can be downloaded from http://www.astrologinnen.at/ (in German only).
Another major topic was the discussion of a (voluntary) code of ethics. The ISAR code of ethics was used as the first model but I worked hard to reduce the document to the meaningful essence by:
1.removing rules that attempt to make astrologers "holier than the pope"
2.throwing provisions out that only make sense in the context of one of the 4 astrological directions, namely psychological astrology, but not for the others
3.deleting guidelines that are misplaced in any other context then the face-to-face consulting, for instance for financial astrology that is mostly operating on a subscription base
4.removing provisions that may be appropriate for psychologists or therapists but certainly not for astrologers; as astrologers we have to very careful that we are not interfering with other professions (e.g. therapists) but remain within the boundaries of our trade
The ethics code we agreed on is a less than one-paper document with some basic guidelines representing the lowest common denominator among the community, so it can be signed by every astrologer regardless of her/ his background, direction, style, personal philosophy or area of activity, including myself (while I personally see absolutely no way of accepting the ISAR code). In my opinion, this is a very good start, not an attempt to build Rome "over night".
One can be very satisfied with the extent of participation as about 1/3 of the Viennese professional astrologers participated in the meetings.
The next big project is an "astrologer's day" on March 21, 2007, here in Vienna, where several hundreds of participants are expected, including many journalists. With astrology being so present in the mass media, it's very important to correct the bad image of astrology.