ACVA Ethics and Standards Guidelines

The American College of Vedic Astrology is an educational and professional organization whose faculty and students are dedicated to the highest quality of Vedic astrology. They recognize that Vedic astrology is irrevocably linked with the Vedic or yogic philosophy of India. faculty and students understand the depth of their commitment to Vedic astrology as Sanatana Dharma, or eternal duty.

Varahamihira gives the following qualifications of an astrologer in his Brihat Samhita (Vol. 1: Ch. 2 : V. 3) “[The astrologer] … must be pure, skillful, bold, eloquent, possessed of a ready wit, a knower of time and place, filled with equanimity, not timid in assembly, victorious in debate with other astrologers, expert, free from vices, well-versed in the art of performing rituals of both curative and preventive types…, ever engaged in worshipping deities, [performing] observances and austerities, possessed of scientific knowledge … and capable of answering questions and prescribing remedies.” In his Brihat Samhita, Vol. 1, Ch. 2, “Canons for [the] Astrologer,” Varahamihira gives more lengthy rules or qualifications for an astrologer. faculty and students should read the statements by Varahamihira and be aware of these ancient principles in their daily life and work as astrologers.

In the classic Prasna Marga, attributed to Namoodiri Brahmin of Kerala, the following are given as Qualifications of an astrologer (Vol 1: Stanza 15): “That person, who has mastery of this science [Vedic astrology], who has a good knowledge of mathematics, who leads a religious life, who is truthful, who is free from conceit and who is well versed in the Vedas, mantras, and tantras, he [she] alone can be called a Daivajnya or seer.”

Obviously, some concepts need to be translated for modern times. For instance, “leading a religious life” does not signify belonging to or practicing only one form of religion. In the Hindu/Vedic tradition, “religious” refers more to a secular way of respecting the Divine presence in all peoples and in the environment. It also refers to one who has a genuine spiritual path and practice. In so doing, one has an inherent respect for all religions, bearing in mind that though spiritual paths may vary, they all have the same goal.

The study of the Vedas and the Upanishads, which underlie all of Vedic astrology, speak of many deities. But all are aspects of the One Supreme Deity, also called the One Underlying Reality.

Vedic astrologers work to develop a valid and reliable body of knowledge based on research, both quantitative and qualitative. They may apply that knowledge to human behavior in a variety of contexts: counselor, consultant, administrator, psychotherapist, and educator. These Ethical Standards and Guidelines have as their primary goal the welfare and protection of individuals and groups with whom astrologers work, as well as the professional astrologer and the professional astrological community.

Towards this end, faculty and students should promote data accuracy, educational services, counseling standards, and ongoing research in astrology across a variety of disciplines. Just as it is a privilege to be a Vedic astrologer, likewise its is incumbent upon a Vedic astrologer to maintain the highest possible moral standards and conduct, thereby totally fulfilling one’s responsibilities to each client and to the public.

The Ethical Standards and Guidelines enables ACVA to clarify the nature of the ethical responsibilities held in common by its faculty and students. All faculty and students of ACVA should adhere to the Ethical Standards and Guidelines.

As there are several disciplines within Vedic astrology, a comprehensive listing of ethical standards and guidelines must endeavor to cover a variety of different situations. What is ethically relevant to a Prasna astrologer may not apply to a Counseling astrologer whose client is struggling with a relationship problem. These guidelines, therefore, strive to recognize the specific ethical standards that apply in the various different disciplines within astrology. It also covers activities such as interactions with the public, teaching, supervision, and research.

We recognize that the development of standards is an ongoing process and that these guidelines are a living document subject to revisions and updates as needed. Every conceivable situation that may occur cannot be expressly covered by this document. The absence of a specific prohibition against a particular kind of conduct does not mean that such conduct is ethical. Accordingly, while the specific wording of these standards is important, the spirit and intent of the principles should always be taken into consideration by those utilizing or interpreting this code.

Adherence to a dynamic set of ethical standards requires a personal commitment to a life-long effort to act ethically; to encourage ethical behavior by one’s colleagues; and to consult with others, as needed, concerning ethical problems.

We wish to acknowledge the International Society for Astrological Research (I.S.A.R.) for providing us with a model for A.C.V.A.’s Ethical Standards and Guidelines.