- Religion and Philosophy
Does Astrology recognize free will?
How much Free Will is Free?
If you've answered yes to any of the first three questions or no to the last three, then you have experienced destiny as it is understood by astrologers. If none of these apply to you, then you are not an Earthling (and I would very much like to see your chart.) But, astrology confines itself to the study of Earthling life and in the case of terrestrial beings, free will is an illusion that is not supported by the practice of astrology.
I used a quiz to lead people to the deeper truth embedded in every natal chart, but occasionally glossed over by astrologers reading for clients (for good reasons, as we shall see.) Astrology is the study of predetermination. Of destiny. Of the path in life that the individual will follow, not design to their own tastes and preferences.
I believe this is so because for most of human history a person was who they were born to be. If a baby was born to a family of serfs on a feudal estate, the child grew up to be a serf. If the parents were aristocrats, the child grew up to fullfill that role. People married people of their own class and engaged in the activities of their station. For ninety-nine percent of human history, and certainly covering the time period that astrology evolved, this was the truth of human life.
This is not something that modern chart holders often like to hear. Free Will is certainly a treasured part of American culture, and many other countries around the globe. People want to believe that every person can grow up to be whatever they want if they just try and believe in themselves and refuse to be discouraged. Millions of self-help books foster this thinking and, in the short term, can yield some useful benefits. In the long-term, however, the chart wins out because the chart holder is fighting their own inclinations. And, at the end of the day, will power fails.
Is an astrologer helping their client - in the long run - by continuing to encourage them to pursue something that is not in the chart? It's a tricky question. I have a client who has an empty seventh house, ruled by Aquarius, and a terribly afflicted Saturn and Uranus. Even a beginning astrologer coudl see that this is the chart of a spinster, someone who will not find it easy to find a mate. In fact, will not find one at all. (The fifth house is also a disaster.)
So, naturally, the chart holder really desires, above all things, to be married. It put me in a tricky spot.
Another client has a very strong Pluto trine Mars in Capricorn, from the second to the tenth house. In this chart, the indications are all there for overwhemlming ambition that turns to workaholism. This customer got so stressed out from her uber-successful career that she sold her home, traveled the world studying advanced yoga, holistic cooking and meditation, and returned to live on the opposite coast in a much more laid-back community.
And, immediately got a job, got promoted and went right back to her old ways. Because she has this tendency natally. Her question to me was "will I find less stressful work?" Another tricky spot for me. The client wants me to say yes, the chart says no.
In situations like this, I think very carefully about what to say. I tell the person the truth, but very tactfully, "I don't see marriage, but I see that you are very high-minded and idealistic. If you meet other people with same ideals, you could develop a fullfilling social life."
To my hard-driving executive, I was more blunt. "You are creating this situation over and over. You must stop blaming external circumstances and find a way to positively channel the strong ambition you were born with."
In your natal chart, your path is laid out as specifically as the combination of genes in your DNA. A good astrologer can help you understand the gifts and liabilities in your own chart. And in the long run, finding a way to work with your own natal potential is more productive than pie in the sky daydreaming. At the end of the day, astrology does not believe in free will.