As an astrologer, I know that love is a crucial concern for most of my clients. Career and money are important, but they’re just not in the same league – which has always struck me as being strange.

Having enough money to buy food, and put a roof over one’s head, is logically a lot more important than romantic trivia, especially in the context of a global recession. Yet few things in life are logical, and there are times when we need some psychological insight to work out what’s going on.

If we take career and money, our success and failure usually come down to our own decisions. We know that someone with good business skills will do well for themselves, regardless of the economic climate. We also know that there are many ways to make money, whether it’s working fourteen hours a day or gambling on horses. It might be tough, but where there’s a will there’s a way.

However in love it’s a situation that’s much more difficult. If there’s someone out there that we’re crazy about, it’s possible that there’s zero chance of winning them over. They might be interested in someone else, happily married or, heaven forbid, they might find us unattractive.

When we’re faced with this situation, it’s difficult to know what to do. Logically we should give up and focus on someone else, but very often our emotions refuse to let go. We might then decide on desperate measures.

For example magic. That’s right, using spells and other weird stuff to win someone’s heart. And that’s where the astrologer often comes in. A lovestruck client might think that they’re seeing an astrologer so that they can understand the future, but in reality they want the astrologer to change the future.

The client believes that by predicting romantic bliss I can actually create it. So my prediction is rather like a spell, that can bring two people together.

Which is ridiculous. Can a weather forecaster make it rain by predicting rain? Can an economist end a recession by telling the world that next month’s factory output will increase? Yet that’s what my clients want, and when I don’t provide the goods I sometimes get an angry reaction. Me, the selfish magician, doesn’t want to help!

I suppose life would be easier if I really was a magician. Saying the right words, or maybe even making talismans or performing rituals. A magical energy would be created, and my clients would be happy.

However aside from practicality, there’s a problem of Karma. Love spells might seem harmless, but arguably they’re a form of black magic, for two reasons. Firstly one’s using spiritual energy to satisfy one’s desires. Secondly, one is attempting to interfere with another person’s free will.

Of course there is an assumption here that magic works.

A lot of people do believe that spells and charms can create real changes, and you don’t have to look very far to find people offering their occult services. Yet if magic does work, there must be an element of emotional detachment.

If you’re obsessed with someone, and you’re desperate to win their heart, then the strength of your feelings will probably kill the magic. After all, the golden rule of magic is that you do the operation and you then forget about it. Which means that a love charm is more likely to work if it’s made by a third party – the village witch, a voodoo priest, the internet wizard.

Not surprisingly the chances of love magic working are very slim, especially if you do it yourself. This is a good thing. If you, or the person you hire, creates a genuine effect, then the Karmic price could be huge. You’re tying yourself to dark and debased forces, that could drag you down into a deep pit, for years, decades or even life times.

I’m not saying, though, that magic can’t work. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, or even nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, it’s fraud, delusion or luck. But there’s always that occasional incident that defies explanation.

A gifted, if morally distorted, practitioner can sometimes create a psychic, or sympathetic, link between a talisman and a human target – often facilitated by the target’s DNA, such as hair, nail clippings or body fluids.

However this definition of magic is probably too limited, and is a result of me watching too many horror films. In practice a broader approach is required, that takes into account the concept of natural magic, which is an integral part of an astrologer’s work.

Natural magic, as opposed to much of sympathetic magic, is working with nature rather than against it. You’re not changing the natural course of events, you’re instead working with the natural energy of people and situations.

In terms of the horoscope, most of us have the capacity to have a love life. Yet no two love lives are the same, and a strategy that brings romance to one person will bring misery and disaster to another. We have to understand the nature of the horoscope, and this will tell us what kind of love life someone should be aiming for.

Let’s take an example from Hindu astrology. Kuja dosa.

This is an affliction involving the planet Mars. It’s very common, and it can cause big problems in one’s married life. People with kuja dosa are attracting marriage partners who treat them badly, and if they marry the first person they meet there could be real regrets.

Fortunately, there’s a way round the problem.

When a married couple both have kuja dosa, the condition cancels itself out. The couple can’t hurt each other, and there’s an excellent chance of a happy marriage. Therefore through knowledge of one’s horoscope, and the horoscopes of potential marriage partners, one can find romantic happiness. So one is using natural magic to find lasting love, and there’s little danger of bad Karma.

We next move to a more borderline application of astrology. It still comes under the heading of natural magic, but there are some ethical issues. Very often I will have a client who is very focused on one person, and has access to their horoscope. This means that they will give me two horoscopes to work with, their own and their target lover.

Once I have a horoscope, I can usually extract a fairly accurate picture of someone’s personality. I can then advise my client on the best way of attracting a particular person. How to behave, what to say, even what kind of clothes to wear. In an extreme case, I can advise about timing – in other words, using astrology to find a perfect moment to make a romantic move.

Perhaps, by telling my clients about their target lover’s strengths and weaknesses, I’m messing around with someone’s free will. So to protect myself from charges of unethical conduct, I should insist that the target lover has given permission for their horoscope to be analysed and discussed.

When I practice astrology I’m not conjuring up spirits, or making talismans, but I am definitely performing a type of magic. Although if I really believe that there is little or no chance of a relationship happening, I’ll tell my client, as tactfully as possible.

Natural magic is about working with the world as it is, and if two people are fundamentally incompatible there’s not much one can do.

However in an ideal world, we shouldn’t obsess about particular individuals. If we want to be successful in love, we have to focus on ourselves, and use our own horoscopes to understand our potential for romantic happiness.

We also have to understand the natural rhythms of our lives, that astrology’s very good at revealing. There are times in our life when finding love is a near-impossibility, regardless of how many witches and wizards we consult.

Yet if love isn’t possible, other things will be, for example career success, educational achievement or spiritual development. If only some of my clients would realise this!

By arnia