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Fate vs Free Will in Astrology: Part II, the modern debate

Catch up with Part I, a History, here. 

The question of whether humans are controlled by their fate or have a part to play in their own destiny is as old as time.  Much of our western philosophy comes from the ancient Greeks for whom the gods controlled human destinies despite great efforts of men and women to escape the fates accorded to them.  The Greek concept of hubris is applied to ordinary mortals who attempt to challenge the gods, and therefore their fate.

It’s no surprise, then, that the resurgence of Hellenistic (Greek) astrology brings with it the return of the idea of fate.  Astrologer Chris Brennan, a graduate from Kepler College, is the acclaimed expert in this field.  Chris and I did a podcast on this topic a while back  and he has just published a .

Chris writes:

An important point to make with respect to transits to a person’s natal chart is that they do not only represent internal character traits and psychological states that are being activated or experienced during a given transit, as some modern astrologers argue, but transits also correlate with concrete external events and circumstances that occur in the life of the native at fixed periods.

While we may have a certain amount of leverage as to how we react to the internal psychological states that we experience during a given transit, some of the external events that occur in tandem with the transits are frequently out of our control in a concrete sense. With these concrete external events we are still in a position of being able to slightly modify our perception or internal reaction to these events though. However, the argument could be made that even our ability to modify our reaction to external events may be fated or predetermined as well, since that too depends on our own internal dispositions and character traits at a given point in time, and all of this is contained in our natal chart. Of course, our internal reaction to events changes over time as we grow and develop, and this is largely what the study of transits is all about.

It should be noted that many of the astrologers pursuing the ancient traditions are younger than those of us who came up in the time of psychological astrology.  When we are young, we do tend to play out the dynamics of our chart in a much more unconscious way, and as we age we tend to have more control over our impulses and therefore have more control over our fate.

I have been listening to Chris’s podcast and have heard some of the arguments made by the younger astrologers against the idea of free will and the concept of personal transformation, and the idea that planetary transits bring about predictable concrete events is something that I have seen over and over again in my client practice to be false.  Two charts, virtually identical, will undergo the same planetary cycle with very different results as anyone who has read my profiles of criminals will note.

On the other hand, the idea that we have complete control over our lives and can alchemize the planetary cycles through sheer force of will, is also false.  The natal chart that we are born with is completely out of our control and a gift of fate.  The death of a spouse, the collapse of a company for which we work – these sorts of things are completely out of our control and gifts of fate.  We CAN argue, as Chris proposes, that our ability to react to these events from a more conscious perspective, is due to fate or as I would view it, our level of awareness in our evolutionary journey and perhaps this is true.

All of these arguments come down to personal beliefs, because we have no way to know.

These ideas have led to a great debate among professional astrologers which emerged into the public domain with this article on the Quartz website:

Today, modern psychology has cast astrology as a fantastical way that people of the past project the workings of their minds onto the environment around them. This interpretation leaves far too much wiggle room for astrology to simply sound like affirmations of what people want to hear about themselves and think about the world. Even worse, the nurturing approach psychologists take has polluted modern astrology with watered-down interpretations that seek to protect their clients. Even if an astrological configuration spells trouble, the modern astrologer will describe it as an “opportunity for growth,” as if they were a patronizing middle-manager. Where is the trust in that?

The author of this piece, Ida Benedetto, is apparently not an astrologer.  Her bio says “Ida C. Benedetto is an experience designer who sparks new insight through adventure and play. Her recent research outlines the design of transformative social experiences by comparing sex parties, funerals, and wilderness trips.”  I am not clear how this research qualifies her to expound on the validity of astrology.

While it’s true that many modern astrologers, myself included, lack a scholarly background in astrological studies and ancient methodologies that could be helpful in delineating natal charts with greater accuracy, it’s also true that not everything from the ancient world should be considered as gospel truth today.  Astrology no longer governs astronomy, and as a result we are learning about world that lie beyond our entire universe. Ancient Greece also came up with the practice of bloodletting which was used for much of the past 2,000 years to cure a wide variety of ailments, but you don’t hear too many physicians calling for its return.

The fact is, astrological configurations that spell trouble ARE opportunities for growth.  Presenting a situation of impending doom such as the ones described in this earlier article in a consultation in way which will serve only to frighten a client really serves no purpose.  Certainly it must be pointed out that a challenging period is coming, but then there are the situations such as the ones I talked about in this article in which the deaths of two people occurred under a planetary cycle (a New Moon in the progressed chart) which is not notable for death.  In fact I myself had this same planetary cycle myself last summer.  After these deaths I sought wisdom from my traditional astrology colleagues, but found none.

The fact is, we cannot predict the future – note the failure of astrologers to correctly predict the outcome of the 2016 election using traditional techniques.  We cannot look at an astrological signature in an individual chart and predict with any certainty what will happen under that transit.  As astrological practitioners our first duty is to provide our clients with the information that will be most helpful to them – to prepare them for challenges but not to terrify them by offering predictions that may never come true.

This is an interesting debate that is sure to continue!  You can .

 

By | 2018-01-16T08:41:50+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Your 2018 Planetary Calendar

Here is a calendar of the important planetary events of 2018. I will be writing about these events as they occur so check back for more details and explanations about what these events mean for you. You can read the overview of 2018 major planetary cycles here which includes more information about some of these cycles.

Astrology of 2018JANUARY

1/1  New Year Supermoon! 11 Cancer
1/2  Uranus turns direct
1/11 Mercury enters Capricorn
1/15  Jupiter sextile Pluto
1/16  New Moon 26 Capricorn
1/17  Venus enters Aquarius
1/19  Sun enters Aquarius
1/31  Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse 11 Leo
Mercury enters Aquarius

February

2/10  Venus enters Pisces
2/15  New Moon Partial Solar Eclipse 27 Aquarius
2/17  Mercury enters Pisces
2/18  Sun enters Pisces

March

3/1  Full Moon 11 Virgo
3/6 Mercury enters Aries
Venus enters Aries
3/8 Jupiter retrograde
3/17 New Moon 26 Pisces
3/17  Mars enters Capricorn
3/20 Sun enters Aries
3/22  Mercury turns retrograde
3/31 Venus enters Taurus
Full Moon 10 Libra

April

4/14  Jupiter sextile Pluto
4/15 Mercury turns direct
New Moon 26 Aries
4/17 Chiron enters Aries
Saturn turns retrograde
4/19 Sun enters Taurus
4/22 Pluto retrograde
4/24 Venus enters Gemini
4/29 Full Moon 9 Scorpio

May

5/13 Mercury enters Taurus
5/15  New Moon 24 Taurus
5/15  Uranus enters Taurus
5/16  Mars enters Aquarius
5/19  Venus enters Cancer
5/20  Sun enters Gemini
5/25  Jupiter trine Neptune
5/29  Full Moon 8 Sagittarius
Mercury enters Gemini

June

6/12  Mercury enters Cancer
6/13  New Moon 22 Gemini
Venus enters Leo
6/18  Neptune turns retrograde
6/21 Sun enters Cancer
6/26  Mars turns retrograde
6/28  Full Moon 6 Capricorn

July

7/5  Chiron turns retrograde
7/9  Venus enters Virgo
7/10 Jupiter turns direct
7/12  New Moon partial solar eclipse 20 Cancer
7/22  Sun enters Leo
7/26 Mercury retrograde
7/27 Full Moon total lunar eclipse 4 Aquarius

August

8/6  Venus enters Libra
8/7  Uranus turns retrograde
8/11 New Moon partial solar eclipse 18 Leo
8/12  Mars retrogrades back into Capricorn
8/19  Mercury turns direct
8/19  Jupiter trine Neptune
8/23  Sun enters Virgo
8/26  Full Moon 3 Pisces
8/27  Mars turns direct

September

9/5  Mercury enters Virgo
9/6  Saturn turns direct
9/9  Venus enters Scorpio
New Moon 17 Virgo
9/10 Mars enters Aquarius
9/12  Jupiter sextile Pluto
9/21  Mercury enters Libra
9/22  Sun enters Libra
9/24  Full Moon 2 Aries
9/25  Chiron retrogrades back into Pisces
9/30  Pluto turns direct

October

10/5  Venus turns retrograde
10/8  New Moon 15 Libra
10/9  Mercury enters Scorpio
10/23 Sun enters Scorpio
10/24 Full Moon 1 Taurus
10/31 Mercury enters Sagittarius
Venus retrogrades back into Libra

November

11/1  Jupiter trine Chiron
11/6  Uranus square North Node
North Node enters Cancer
Uranus retrogrades back into Aries
11/7  Jupiter trine North Node
New Moon 15 Scorpio
11/8  Jupiter enters Sagittarius
11/15  Mars enters Pisces
11/16  Venus turns direct
Mercury turns retrograde
11/22 Sun enters Sagittarius
11/23  Full Moon 0 Gemini
11/24 Neptune turns direct

December

12/1  Mercury retrogrades back into Scorpio
12/2  Venus enters Scorpio
North Node trine Chiron
12/6  Mercury direct
12/7  New Moon 15 Sagittarius
12/9  Chiron turns direct
12/12  Mercury enters Sagittarius
12/21  Sun enters Capricorn
12/22  Full Moon 0 Cancer
12/31  Mars enters Aries

For a free monthly report of important planetary cycles translated into easy to understand language, subscribe to Lynn’s monthly Planetary Illuminations report!



By | 2018-01-04T08:33:44+00:00 January 4th, 2018|Planetary cycles, Uncategorized|1 Comment

The Astrology of the Summer of Love

It’s hard to believe for anyone who is old enough to have lived through the summer of 1967 which was called the Summer of Love, but this marks the 50th anniversary of that fertile and creative time when traditional values of love and community were turned on its head and some of the best music ever created was born.

Astrologers have a name for what happened in the 1960s: We call it the “Uranus Pluto conjunction.”  During this time Uranus, planet of revolution and radicalism, conjoined Pluto, planet of transformation through destruction and regeneration, in the conservative sign of Virgo.  This cataclysmic planetary dynamic changed forever the social order (Virgo) and laid the groundwork for the recent upheaval which occurred during the period between 2010 and 2017 when Uranus formed a square (90 degree) aspect to Pluto for the second phase of that revolutionary cycle.

While the first exact conjunction of Uranus and Pluto didn’t occur until October of 1964, the two planets began to align in 1963 and beginning in the early 1960s one could hear the whispers of revolution all over the world.  In 1961 Timothy Leary took his first LSD trip and began researching the effects of psychedelics on mental health.  By 1965 the revolution was in full swing, with the assassination of Malcom X, the Watts riots, the formation of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and so many other great bands, and with them the emergence of the “hippie” archetype. After the San Francisco Examiner wrote an expose of the migration of young Americans to its city, the swarms of youth increased and by 1967 the Human Be-In in San Francisco brought about all kinds of incredible happenings the likes of which no one had ever seen before.

Much of this was fueled by the rise of psychedelics thanks to the harmonious sextile from Neptune to the revolutionary duo Uranus and Pluto. Neptune rules the expansion of consciousness, and this consciousness expansion was the theme during much of the 1960s.  Consciousness raising was a buzzword that spread from the Black Panthers to the housewives rebelling against the doldrums of their daily life.  While Neptune was and will be sextile Pluto between 1948 and 2032, it was in 1966 that Neptune formed that harmonious sextile to Uranus, stimulating the desire to find new ways (Uranus) to find the divine through spirituality, drugs and art (Neptune).

The Summer of Love was a powerful time for those who lived through it.  But change is frightening and difficult, and the openness of that summer could not last forever.  Light soon turned to darkness as human society began to struggle to come to grips with a changing world, and the world has never been the same since.

By | 2017-07-10T07:31:41+00:00 July 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|9 Comments

Memorial day musings 2017

Memorial Day originated as a special day to honor those killed in any kind of military action. But times have changed.

now kills more soldiers in the middle east than die in combat.  Veterans returning from war are dying as the result of a to provide adequate treatment.  Whereas  soldiers have died since 2003 in various US military operations, the US Department of Justice reported that people were killed by police in the US between 2003 and 2009, and the Washington Posts reports that over people have been killed by police each year since they started tracking in 2015.

As is well known, gun violence and medical errors kill far more Americans than terrorism, yet the proposed US budget includes a $54 billion hike in defense spending which includes more Navy ships and Air Force planes, neither of which are effective in the current battle against religious extremism.

Over the past few years Pluto, planet of death and rebirth, has been opposing the Sun in the US astrological chart which has intensified the eruption of murder and violence in the country.  This will likely only increase as we get closer to the time of the US Pluto Return in 2020-2023.

I propose that on this Memorial Day we honor not only the fallen heroes, but also the fallen citizens whose only crime was to be nonwhite; the veterans who returned from war to find their lives decimated and with no hope of a bright future; the innocent victims of the mentally ill who are freely able to purchase assault weapons.

And let’s also remember that freedom goes beyond sending young boys to be cannon fodder for billionaires to enrich their pockets through sales of arms and oil, or to enable individual prejudices against certain groups or religions.

By | 2017-05-28T09:03:15+00:00 May 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|17 Comments

Looking backward to look ahead

happy new yearThe Romans celebrated the first day of the year as a festival to Janus, their god of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. They named the month of January after him, and portrayed him with two faces: one looking back and one looking forward. Janus presided over transition from past to future, the passage from childhood to adulthood and into old age. One of his faces was often portrayed clean-shaven with the other bearded.

Gates and doors are both portals from one experience to another. We enter through a gate and leave a part of ourselves behind; we enter the world of the unknown when we transition from one phase to another. Sometimes we seek change, sometimes we embrace it. Other times we fight it – holding on to the past for dear life. However we approach change it is, of course, inevitable. No matter how hard we wish for the day to remain, the night will come – followed by the next day of new beginnings.

For many, the first day of a new year is a day like any other, and to think otherwise is just a trick of the calendar. But a magical life is filled with symbols and meaning, and the passage through the doorway into a new year can be filled with the magic of transformation.

I love the African concept of “Sankofa,” which literally means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” The word “Sankofa” comes from the Sankofa bird which flies forward while looking backwards. Sankofa teaches that we must look backwards to look forwards, reclaiming and preserving the past as tools for the future. In this way we can pass through the gateways without losing any part of ourselves in the process, achieving a wholeness and grace of spirit.

I wish you all a magical passage into the New Year!

By | 2016-12-31T12:01:28+00:00 January 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|5 Comments
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