Why I Don’t Write Free Horoscopes

 The Fortune Teller by Georges de la Tour

The Fortune Teller by Georges de la Tour

I know that not everybody in the world will want to subscribe to my horoscopes, and that is really okay with me. Lots of people love the membership! My ideal clients are going to find me and love what I do, and other people will move on to find a better fit for them. Some people just want to get a natal chart reading, or book an annual consultation, or read the blog. It’s all good.

I do find it odd, though, when I receive an email from an indignant internet stranger who is taking the time to let me know that they would never pay for horoscopes! The implied question in each of these emails seems to be: why would you charge money for something that I can find for free? 

So here’s why I charge money for horoscopes.

I was already a writer before I became an astrologer. Professional writing is paid work.

I am a professional writer. I always charge for writing, because it’s how I make my living, and it’s real work. Good astrological interpretation and horoscope writing takes a lot of knowledge, time, and effort. So if you want detailed, thoughtful horoscopes like mine, the chances are good that you’ll be asked to pay something for them.

Some of my writing is free. The writing I do for the blog, the Lunar Letter, and social media is available to anyone. It’s free to you partly because I want to provide some content to people who can’t currently afford my services. I’m also willing to do some of my writing without charging for it directly because it pays off in marketing, which eventually gets me paying clients. So it’s an investment of time on my part that does give me a return.

Most astrologers do not write horoscopes for free.

Some astrologers use an advertising revenue model, in which they get paid for horoscopes and other content by selling ad space on their websites. We think of content that is paid for with ad-based revenue models as “free” because we’re so used to ads that we’re not conscious of them. But subconsciously, you’re paying for it, because if you see enough ads for Billy’s Burgers, you’re going to start craving Billy’s Burgers. Either that or you’re using an ad blocker to bypass Billy’s, which is why the old ad revenue models are breaking down--a big reason I choose to keep this site ad-free.

Some astrologers are paid by publishers who then get a return on their investment by advertising. When I write “free” horoscopes for other publishers, like the literary horoscopes for Read It Forward, I get paid for those. You subscribe to the Read It Forward newsletter in order to gain access to the literary horoscopes, so Penguin Random House gets a return on their investment in my writing by advertising to you. I mean, they’re advertising books, so I’m morally cool with that. Sorry to pull back the curtain on all of this dirty book money!

Other astrologers choose a donation-based revenue model. This is equally valid, and displays good faith that is often reciprocated by people who are genuinely grateful for their writing. If you benefit from the horoscopes of an astrologer who relies on donations, consider giving something in return for their efforts.

A few astrologers use free horoscopes as a marketing tool. Everyone’s different. Some astrologers may just enjoy writing horoscopes and don’t want to charge for them, but I think it’s way more likely that the goal is to get subscribers and website visitors in return for their efforts. I’m willing to bet that these astrologers are getting good returns on their writing by selling readings and other products. Either that or they’re v. tired because they started a project that demands attention every week and now it’s a surprisingly intense commitment. If you benefit from an astrologer’s free horoscopes, you should consider booking a reading with her. At least buy her a cup of coffee to help her stay awake while she channels the literal future into your inbox every week.

And some astrologers (like me) use a membership revenue model. I happen to like the one-to-one transaction of a membership fee because it strikes me as clean and simple. We have reached a point in history where writers are making less than ever. Not that writers were ever rolling in it. People are so used to getting “free” content (or blocking ads), that we seem to have forgotten how good writing used to cost money. This way, I don’t have to write for a lot of people who don’t pay me or come up with extra rewards for my donors. I also have future plans to add more features to the membership section, so using this model gives me room for growth. If you choose to subscribe, you get horoscopes, and you help to keep this site ad-free. Thank you!

It’s all about value.

If you feel upset when you find out that I’m charging money for horoscopes...why is that?

A lot of strong negative reactions seem to come from the idea that spiritual work and writing should be kept separate from material needs. Here’s what I think about that. Money is an appropriate energy exchange for astrological work and writing given our current system, which requires a monetary exchange for food, shelter, clothing, and other material goods. Accepting money for spiritual work is about understanding how the spiritual and material spiral together. Money doesn’t have to be “bad”; it can be a nourishing, supportive energy in our lives. Expecting healers to work for free or very little is also largely sexist. Womxn do the majority of this type of spiritual, counseling, astrology, tarot, and healing work. The assumption that we shouldn’t expect payment for that is directly related to the way we have devalued the caretaking work that womxn have been doing for centuries.

On the other side of it, strong negative reactions come from a place of devaluing astrology. I remember the shame I felt years ago when a friend asked, his voice knife-edged with judgement, how much I paid for my psychic reading. I knew that I wasn’t “supposed” to pay to see psychics, because it’s a “waste” of money, according to the way we’re socialized. Other people judge us for how we spend our money. The monoculture doesn’t value astrology, so we’re often chastised (even by our own inner critics) when we value it with our dollars. But I decided a long time ago that this is valuable to me, and if you believe that too, separate your choices from the judgement of other people. Choose what you value. Connect with people who share those values. Rebel.

Maybe your reaction is just telling you that you personally don’t value my horoscopes enough to pay for them. How cool that you’re getting in touch with your own value system and relationship to money. Doing this kind of inner work around finances can change your life.

I only charge each member $5 a month (or $1.25 per week, or $.0002 per written word).

84% of my website visitors are in the U.S.A., which means you’re probably among the 1% of global wealth, which means you can usually afford a cup of coffee when you want one, so you can technically afford horoscopes for the price of one small regular coffee per week or one large latte per month. We all make choices about how we spend our money based on our current circumstances and what we value. I totally understand if you can’t or don’t want to make room in your budget for my horoscopes. However, I do aim for a generally affordable price that still honors my work.

My horoscopes offer an affordable alternative or supplement to personal consultations.

A personal consultation helps you navigate the astrology of the moment based on your very own natal chart, which is kind of like getting a customized treasure map for your life. Horoscopes are more like road signs. They can tell you how far you have to go to the next exit or warn you about that pothole, but everyone’s driving the same road. They’re a lower-cost alternative to getting your very own path illuminated for you. They can also be a terrific supplement to personal consultations because they offer weekly inspiration to reassure you that you’re headed in the right direction. I aim to offer a variety of services, from low-cost to higher investments, so that anyone who wants to can benefit from Rebel Astrology.

If you still want free spaceweather reports, please do read the blog, sign up for the Lunar Letter, and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. It’s all free! You are truly welcome to it! I’m so happy when people are interested enough to spend time with my writing.

Wow, you read this all the way to the end. Thanks for listening!

So is this membership for you? You’re welcome to test the waters when you sign up for a free trial.