An Astrologer's Day

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In “An Astrologer’s Day,” R. K. Narayan dramatizes the work of an ancestor of the healing professions. Gurus, witch doctors, shamans, astrologers, fortune tellers, and faith healers derive their authority and their capacity to influence others from both rational and nonrational sources. The rational basis of authority derives from the knowledge, experience, and skill that practitioners bring to their work. The charismatic origins of their authority can be traced to the child’s faith in and obedience to powerful parental figures. No one completely relinquishes the primitive belief in the possibility of merging with the calmness, infallibility, and omnipotence of perfect parental figures. In this story, Narayan demonstrates the artfulness, common sense, exquisite timing, and luck that this astrologer shares with psychotherapists. (12 pp.)

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