There are many astrology students who feel confident in astrological techniques and the knowledge of their own birth-chart. Yet, for some reason, there is often a lack of confidence in how to effectively read the charts of other people.
What is the stumbling block? Perhaps there is a feeling of not being good enough or that there is more to learn. Or is it that there is not enough understanding of what a 'reading' is, or involves; that is the philosophical underpinnings of astrology?
To cast some light on the above issues, perhaps it is as well to consider some guidelines to what an astrological reading is not:
1) A reading does not entail a minute interpretation or delineation of every single facet of a nativity. This is a practical consideration really as it would take many hours of time and effort to remotely get near to such a goal.
2) Readings should not be used as a stage to demonstrate your astrological prowess or lack of it. As a reading is for the benefit of the client, it is more effective to demonstrate ones ability to tune into the clients needs than to seek to impress with fancy sounding jargon.
3) Although we all need confirmation in whatever we do, it is important to have some confidence in oneself and not spend much of your clients time trying to gain assurance that what you think about that person is indeed right. In my earlier years as an astrologer it was necessary to work hard at finding out what areas of astrology I was confident in and could competently share with a client and what areas I was still learning and could but prefix with such statements as "I think" or "other astrologers have found that with such and such .... this is generally the case". This technique for distinguishing what is surety from what is likelihood is an important one to maintain at any stage of ones career.
4) Readings should not be wholly based on particular learned astrological styles or methodologies. If the reader is not careful, all the theoretical and technical knowledge in the world can be more of a hindrance than use to the seeing process.
5) If someone comes to you for a reading and you start talking about planets, aspects and so on willy-nilly, the person will be totally confused. It is this fact that stops the student from practicing. Despite all the astrological knowledge in the world, the chart in essence remains a mystery. The chart can be abstracted, but has no meaning or connectivity to the actual person for whom the chart is supposed to represent. A reading involves an understanding that no amount of astrological study can ever provide. It is arguable if the road towards effective readings can ever be taught. Certainly, if the teaching confines itself solely to astrological technicalities, then the teaching is lacking. However things are not quite as hopeless as the above may sound. One can gain a deep understanding of astrology if, as well as studying the art of astrology, one does enough work on understanding and developing the self. Thus to master how to effectively read astrological birth-charts one must master not only the astrological language but also oneself.