Astrology for Self-Knowledge
Although I'm told they exist, I personally have never met an astrologer who didn't use this art and science to try to learn more about themselves. From our very first experience of trying to see ourselves in a Sun Sign interpretation, we are looking for a type of self-definition which will aid us in a deeper comprehension of who we are and what we're here for.
As someone who was a professional counselor and therapist before I became an astrologer, I take a somewhat different view of this activity than others might.
In many ways, the self-exploration that learning your own chart can reveal is incomparable. Discovering your connections with the outer planets or the unconscious houses can bring about insights that can propel you into whole new levels of understanding about your place in the universe. Discovering a pattern in your chart or a repeating theme can make clear previously cloudy issues of self and relationships that may once have left you baffled.
There is a point however, when we must reach outside of ourselves to gain an objective opinion. This is most important for the student, in my opinion, to keep from becoming so insulated that unconscious preconceptions come to dominate the self-image. This is a psychological mis-step, one that by its very nature, we are unaware of.
A professional interpretation is very helpful once you've gotten the hang of your own chart and can ask relevant questions. For this purpose I suggest that you find an astrologer who can teach - someone who will be able to answer your technical questions. An astrologer who writes is often chosen, but you must bear in mind that writers are not always good teachers. Someone who is accustomed to being questioned in their field will have less ego about it, they will be willing to learn from the student.
As often as you can, exchange charts with other astrologers. I recommend this no matter how experienced you may be, as the fresh perspective is invaluable. Often, even the perceptions of a neophyte can be educational, since they will be using the chart as a lens for their intuition just as you are, and may be able to make some very relevant points.
Astrology as a tool for enlightenment is invaluable, but my recommendation is to not hoard it to yourself as you're learning the subject. Interact with others on a professional or amateur basis, but do interact. In this way you will develop your own style of interpretation and can learn from those who have gone before you.