Astrological Principles - Making Choices Part 1

THE MOST COMMON of all the arguments surrounding astrology is that regarding freewill and destiny. Many of those who would consign astrology to the rubbish tip state (wrongly) that for astrology to be valid, every detail in life would have to be predestined. Those of us who know something about astrology also know that it is not that simple, and White Eagle tells us that ‘today’s freewill is tomorrow’s destiny’.

What seems predestined today was set in motion by choices made in the past, while choices made today will determine our future path. It seems so obvious put like that, to anyone who understands spiritual law. But just how does astrology illustrate the old conundrum? How does the astrologer know how much real choice a client has (or not) in a particular area of life?

To a degree, the answer to that question must be that the answer cannot be known exactly except in the innermost of the soul concerned, but having said that, there are indications, some more subtle than others.

The most important thing to remember is that each of us ‘sets up’ our own situation of choice and destiny, so you could say that choice is the reality, destiny an illusion, since our destiny is set up by our choices. Part of the astrologer’s role is to recognise that destiny and, as far as he or she is able, to explain it, but also to appreciate how choices can be made for the future.

It is a fact that whatever we may have set in train in the past as our current destiny, we always have a choice in how we react to the circumstances presented, as White Eagle reminds us. This is something the astrologer can usually second-guess to a certain degree. For example, someone with a very watery horoscope will tend to react to events very emotionally and personally; someone with a predominantly airy chart will tend to react in a much more detached and objective way. 

However, both examples still have a choice. The watery person can make a supreme effort and bring objectivity to bear on a situation calling for it; the airy person can make a similar effort in a situation requiring empathy and compassion and bring out those qualities instead of ‘cold’ detachment. In each case, one result is much more likely than the other, but neither is impossible. 

In essence, astrological interpretation is about understanding probabilities, as a mathematician might put it. There is often a very high probability that a person will react to a given situation in a given way, but never, of course, a one hundred percent probability. This is why the predictive side of astrology is so fraught with difficulty.

It is human nature to want a ‘forecast’ for one’s life at times, just as many of us like to know what the weather will do in the next few days or weeks, but just as the weather doesn’t always do what we suppose, so our own future may vary from a ‘standard’ prediction because of our own choices.

The only person for whom an astrologer could make a completely accurate prediction of events would be one who is so unawakened to spiritual truth, so ‘asleep’, that they always took the line of least resistance in any given situation. Then, destiny is obvious and the soul is bound by it inexorably. Once the awakening process is under way, however, things change. The more awakened a soul, the more mature a soul, the less likely it is to take the line of least resistance in any situation, and indeed will sometimes deliberately seek out the hard path because of the enlighenment and growth that can result.

Many of us know the story of Yogananda, who asked his astrologers to pick deliberately the worst possible times to do certain activities, and then proceeded to perform those activities at precisely those times, in order to prove that the human soul is not bound by the stars.

For those of us on the spiritual path, particularly, prediction is a fairly pointless exercise. What our astrologers do, therefore, is, rather than try to predict definite events and situations, to point out the trends of planetary influence which will colour the ensuing period and suggesting, from knowledge of the horoscope, which areas of life are likely to be affected.

Occasionally clients find this tantalising, thinking that the astrologer is hiding lack of ability or insight behind generalisations and broad brushstrokes, but you will see from what I have said that this is not the point. Astrology is not about prediction except ‘accidentally’: the ability to predict at all is merely a byproduct of the astrologer’s insight into a soul’s spiritual path as demonstrated in the natal horoscope.

What the astrologer can usually see is how a soul is most likely to make his or her choices and, when appropriate, confirm that those choices would lead to certain results or, when appropriate, quietly suggest that changing one’s choices might be the best course.

In my experience, clients find astrology most useful in these two ways: one, that the horoscope so often confirms what they already know deep within, were already thinking and feeling, and serves as a booster of confidence that they are set in the right direction, and two, that the horoscope also illustrates where it might be beneficial for them to reconsider and change the choices that might be made in the future. As for us all, clients can only change themselves and it is not the astrologer’s job to force anything, but rather to empower clients by increasing their self-knowledge.

The more we know about ourselves, the more informed and sensible can be our choices, and from the increasing wisdom of those choices comes a destiny full of light and of opportunity for more choices. Thus do we all gradually release ourselves from the (self-imposed) restrictions of destiny and attain real freedom. That astrologers can assist others souls in this process is their great joy and privilege.

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