Fate & Free-will In Astrology
What about astrology and free will? Or, more precisely, doesn’t astrology assume that most of life is predetermined and fated? Are we free or is our destiny dictated by the planets? Which part is fate and which part is free-will in our lives?
Let me clarify my position about the issue of determinism and non-determinism.
I think Astrology is far more flexible and less fatalistic than what some astrologers tend to assume. Without making final judgments, astrology leaves plenty of scope for free-will and evolution.
FATE & FREE-WILL IN ASTROLOGY
If an astrological birthchart reflects who we are, and gives us direction as to the evolution to follow, do the planets determine the other conditionings of which we are the object (family heritage, education, culture…etc.)? Does the birth pre-determine the entire biological, psychological and sociological factors that condition us? Or does a birthchart encompass our whole life (in which country we were born, which people we will meet, etc.)? Here are the real questions.
Let’s face it none of us can live with the idea that some divine puppeteer is pulling our strings!
Astrology is above all a tool for self-understanding and evolution. It is a form of applied and advanced psychology, a means to understand our own mechanisms, and why some events are happening to us, or occurred to us at a particular time in our lives. It is also a means to understand others, and may be to judge them less, and love them more.
Through the study of life cycles and the study of Transits (the daily position of planets) or other predictive methods (Solar Return, Progressions, Solar Arcs, etc.), astrology allows us to predict a subject’s behaviour. It is also very much like a weather forecast of our life, leaving plenty of room for free-will.
Astrology does not remove our free will in any way, and does not replace our own initiative or eliminate freedom of choice. However, what astrology proves is that we are bound by our temperament, our choice of personality and character, and our family patterns. For example, we cannot decide for ourselves in which country we will be born or what family we will have. In other words, we are only free within limits, i.e. free within those parameters.
On the other hand, we have freedom in the way in which we handle our circumstances, whether they be difficult or easy.
It is comfortable to see free will and determinism as being completely incompatible and mutually exclusive terms, however, there appears to be an intimate connection between them. The great argument from both religious and secular opponents against astrology is that, if true, it presupposes a certain fate or predetermination about the course of individual and collective development.
However, astrology illuminates certain trends and not bedrock certainties. The motto of the medieval astrologer was, “the stars incline, they do not compel.” Thus, astrology assumes that the greater consciousness and knowledge that can be applied to the deep structures of consciousness, the greater degrees of freedom one has to re-orient one’s self to these informing energies or archetypes.
Thus, as a parallel, as science has discovered some fundamental physical “laws” of the universe, the greater ability to manipulate, transcend, and work in cooperation with these “laws.” It would be an impossibility to transcend the earth’s orbit without a thorough accounting of the effects of the force that once made that transcendence impossible, namely, gravity. The altering of physical and psychological traits would be unfeasible without discovering the base template of the genetic code. The possibility of agriculture was only a reality once natural cycles were thoroughly exploited.
Higher degrees of consciousness are really only possible by examining the unconscious. In all of these examples, certain givens or determinants that once obstructed and limited action and free will were the gatekeepers that ultimately increased exponentially one’s degrees of freedom once properly understood. Astrology is not an exception.
Astrology does assume that certain traits, tendencies, and probabilities do exist but that one increases–not decreases–one’s efficacy and self-knowledge by seeing through these deep structures. Thus, astrology does assume a certain degree of determinism that, once understood, leads to increased free will, not fatalism.
It is wrong to say that astrology is fatalistic, and also wrong to assume that we have complete freedom when we are already restricted by our own unconscious automatisms… and therefore by our own life choices.
Let’s not forget the human and psychological dimension of astrology. Astrology has to remain human.