Two questions that are going to arise frequently when one studies astrology is, how many interpretative techniques does one use, and which are the best ones. After being a professional astrologer for 42 years, I have come to the conclusion that the answer to both these questions is that its all up to the practitioner.
Astrology has a veritably endless number of interpretative techniques which can be employed. I think its good to know a lot of these, and to understand basically how they work. But using more techniques is not going to mean that your interpretation will be any more profound. The most important essential when interpretating a chart is inspiration. If your intent is to further the evolution of the person you are reading for, and if you are open to messages coming from your spiritual source, you have placed yourself in a vibration that is most likely to bring forth a reading that will uplift and inspire the one you are reading for.
Many astrologers think that one has to start the reading at a particular place in the chart and then proceed through the reading point by point in a specific order. If you want to do that, that's fine, some people need that sort of structure. But please, let's not play like that's necessary, for it isn't. Life isn't like that. The universe doesn't "start" any where, and then proceed from one thing to another. You can start your astrology reading anywhere. Ask spirit where to start. Ask the higher self of the person you're reading for where to begin. And then feel the current and flow with it.
I have known many astrologers who say that the techniques they use are the best techniques, and who say this only because they are the techniques they feel most comfortable with and know the best. Many astrologers tout their own techniques as a means of competitive advertising, and doing this has lowered the level of excellence of astrology overall, plus turned students off to techniques that could yield them valuable information.
Reading a chart is, to me, like dowsing. I feel my way into it. Sometimes I'm pulled toward focusing on a particular part of the chart, and when I feel that I let myself go with it, for it's probably trying to bring out something that the person I'm reading for needs to hear at that time.
Each one of us is as big as a galaxy. We have a tremendous number of energies that are influencing our being. Realizing that, I would have to say that there is no such thing as a "complete reading," any more than there will every be a completion of poetry writing such that all the poems that can be written will have been written. Our lives are ongoing and continually unfolding. There are always different transits affecting us, different solar and lunar returns, new progressions and a host of other influences at work. As we grow we are always learning to use the various energies of our chart in new ways.
If you feel overwhelmed by the number of techniques you can employ, then you are being too controlling, in that you're feeling you have to somehow "master" or "assimilate" all of them. You doing have to, just as, if you walk through the Amazon Jungle you don't need to know the name of each plant, animal, and mineral you encounter. If you learn about an astrological technique and you don't feel like using it, then don't. Personally I like to learn as many of them as I can, and then utilize whichever of them I intuitively feel will be most helpful at the time.
If all you want to do is read planets in signs and houses, without even looking at aspects, or chart formation, or degrees or any of the other possible things you could work with, it's OK. You could be a marvelous astrologer using a few simple things.
But whatever you use, my strongest suggestion to you is, DON'T GET INTO A RUT. DON'T JUST KEEP GIVING THE SAME INTERPRETATION TO THE SAME INDICATION ALL THE TIME IN A FORMULAIC MANNER. KEEP ASKING YOURSELF -- WHAT MORE COULD THIS MEAN, HOW COULD I EXPAND ON THIS, WHAT, MAYBE AM I MISSING? IN OTHER WORDS, DON'T GET BOXED IN BY YOUR OWN ASSUMPTIONS AND BIASES.
I'm telling you to be more like an Aries, the sign which has this surperb ability to act as if the past never existed and that everythihg is a big surprise because they're seeing it for the first time. And even if you don't have any planets in Aries in your chart, look at the house cusp on which Aries falls -- that will show you where you can always begin again. I have it on my 9th house cusp -- the house of UNDERSTANDING.