The typical stages of the astrology student:
Stage #1: Bitten by the bug
A strong interest in astrology suddenly develops or more likely takes off more fully and you find yourself reading every beginner book you can find. Lasts about 3 -6 months. Typically triggered by an interest in another person. Synastry is often the reason people find astrology in the first place.
Stage #2: You think you know everything
This stage comes in when a semi- good understanding of the signs and houses are in place and a basic understanding of aspects and how they work. You start thinking you will charge money to read people's charts because it's easy and fun to be an astrologer.
Stage #3: You realize you don't everything
...and that astrology is infinitely more complex than you first thought.
As you get deeper into aspects, fixed stars, retrograde planets, declinations, composite charts, transits, progressions, and other layers that astrology offers you begin to feel overwhelmed. Lasts about six to nine months.
Stage #4: The Vedic stage
You have discovered sidereal astrology and immerse yourself in it, unable to understand why others aren't using it. It seems fascinating and you begin to question the validity western astrology all together. The war between sidereal and tropical ensues! Some people never come back from this stage and continue with Vedic astrology only. Most western people learn what they find most valuable and easiest to understand regarding the Vedic way and come back to western astrology, unsure of house systems and if tropical or sidereal is better. Most people struggle for a few years to answer this for themselves. This stage lasts between a year and a lifetime.
(A tip: Its best to avoid mixing systems until you have mastered one of them. You can avoid this stage altogether and advance much more quickly if you just don’t go there)
Stage #5: You are convinced you are called to be a professional astrologer
...even if you have no counseling experience, people skills or business sense.
This is a very sticky situation. You can't tell someone they should not go down this or that path but people do A LOT OF DAMAGE IN THIS STAGE.
It's like a psychotherapist who decides on their own that they know all there is about psychology, leaves school within a few months of starting and begins practicing with very limited knowledge about their profession and the impact they can have. Assisting people in making value decisions about their lives is heavy, heavy stuff. It must be approached with a high degree of ethics, skill and KNOWLEDGE.
(This is also why it’s really important to be extremely careful what astrologers you listen to and read. Most are not licensed or trained in ANYTHING and there is a high instance of mental illness among practicing astrologers)
You MUST have the talent and desire for counseling others. If this is missing, you may be a very knowledgeable astrologer but you are lacking the human component that makes all the difference between a successful astrologer and one who will struggle to make ends meet. Knowledge alone does not equal the ability to assist people with major life decisions.
If you are not interested in being a psychotherapist or a counselor, then astrology is probably not the career for you.
Stage #6: Careful consideration
You realize that being a professional astrologer is difficult to make a living at, if not impossible.
It takes more than just loving astrology to charge money and make it work as a career. You finally get this. You are also not in the market for the incredible responsibility this career brings. The dependents you now have who think you know more than they do are now also a constant drain.
Stage #7: Respect and Reverence
You see that astrology is vast, ancient, and filled with wisdom and deep information. You now have a sacred respect for it after seeing what it can do and what it CANNOT DO. This is the sign of a finished student...when the limits of astrology and the unlimited-ness of yourself are realized. You approach astrology very carefully and realize the magnitude of affecting people's lives with it. You are wary of being a know- it- all because you now realize no one CAN know it all. It's too huge.