Astrology

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 which you can listen to here and he has just published a comprehensive bible on the subject as well.

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.

read more here…

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?

read more here…

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 read more about it here on Chris’s website.

 

Share
By | 2018-01-19T11:10:06+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Astrology, Fate, Featured posts|0 Comments

Fate vs free will in astrology: Part I, a history involving Pluto

modern astrologyEven though Pluto was not discovered until 1930, its influence is evident in the evolution of modern astrology. The renaissance of astrology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries began with Alan Leo and the birth of the publication “Modern Astrology” in 1895 when Pluto was in the information gathering sign of Gemini.  Gemini is more concerned with the sharing of information than finding any kind of ultimate truth, and Alan Leo, who was a Theosophist, was primarily concerned with spreading the language of astrology to the masses via what we now call horoscope columns.

In England, astrology under Pluto in Gemini was a more academic affair but the “cookbook” texts of Charles Carter similarly helped to spread the language of astrology to more people than ever before. Carter’s words on fate illustrate the way in which the idea of predetermination was beginning to fade:

As regards the higher part of man’s nature, his rational, moral, and aesthetic faculties, it is my firm belief that, if we chose to unfold them, no stellar influence can prevent us, though it may place obstacles and hindrances in our path. There are parts of our lives which the stars do seem to a large extent to dominate, and there is a yet greater part which they undoubtedly can affect, both favourably and adversely. It is for us to place our treasure where they cannot penetrate; no easy task, it is true, but probably the one most worth performing.

The discovery of Pluto in the 1930s coincided with the scientific breakthroughs required to release the atomic bomb which symbolizes Pluto’s destructive force which sometimes requires complete annihilation followed by a necessary rebuilding phase.  But it also coincided with the groundbreaking work of Freud and especially Carl Jung into the workings of the human psyche and the idea that if humans were able to better understand themselves, they could change the world around them and ultimately, their destiny.

The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves. ~Carl Jung, Aion, Christ: A Symbol of the Self, Pages 70-71, Para 126.

read more about Carl Jung here. 

The work of Carl Jung helped to influence and inspire the development of modern astrology, with the bulk of Jung’s writings being published while Pluto was in Leo, the sign of individual expression and self-mastery, between 1937 and 1957.  Depth psychology asked the question: “What is the Self?” – a very Pluto in Leo idea.

Dane Rudhyar came of age under Pluto in Leo and was influenced by the quest for the ultimate expression of the Self and the idea that humans are not bound to a particular destiny but have the power to transcend one’s fate by utilizing the influence of the astrological chart rather than be a victim of it.  Rudhyar called this practice “transpersonal astrology”:

The humanistic astrologer tries to present to his client’s consciousness a concrete, existential picture of what the chart signifies – the tensions to be resolved as well as the special abilities, the conflicts to be harmonized, the possibilities of disintegration to be avoided, and the opportunities that can be expected for individual self-fulfillment. In other worlds, he tries to assist the client in what Carl Jung calls “the integration of the personality” – how to be a whole person.

The transpersonal astrologer sees the astrological situation with which he is dealing in a different light – a sharp, penetrating light that illumines and guides a process of transformation. In that light, everything in the chart is to be used for transformation; and this may mainly be self-transformation, or in a more fated, because transpersonal way, the transformation of the individual’s socio-cultural environment in which his destiny is to act as a transforming agent. In such a light a basic conflict shown in the birth-chart need not be “harmonized” in terms of individual fulfillment; it may have instead to be used as a dynamic instrumentality able to produce definite effects in whatever has to be transformed. The goal is not personal happiness, but effectively focused action.

Rudhyar’s works were not popularized until the resurgence in interest in astrology of the 1960s and the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in the conservative sign of Virgo. During that period (between 1956 and 1972) the traditional societal rules were broken wide open, and new ways of living were embraced. Rudhyar did more than anyone else to popularize astrology and opened the doors to other modern astrologers with which we are now quite familiar: Stephen Arroyo, Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas, etc. The emphasis on psychological astrology came to a head while Pluto was in the deep thinking sign of Scorpio (1983-1995) and was followed by an interest in astrological history under Project Hindsight with Pluto in Sagittarius, the sign that inspires a search for greater knowledge (1995-2008).

Project Hindsight was dedicated to studying and translating the astrological works of the ancient Greeks who originated what we now call western astrology.  Thanks to Kepler College which was founded in 2000, serious astrology students were able to study these ancient texts and techniques and in 2008 when Pluto moved into traditional Capricorn, the debate over the legitimacy of modern astrology (including psychological astrology, transpersonal astrology, evolutionary astrology and what I call transformational astrology) began.

Part II will explore this debate further and give me an opportunity to stake out a position in the argument.

 

 

 

Share
By | 2018-01-16T08:43:01+00:00 January 11th, 2018|Astrology, Fate|2 Comments

Tales of the Neptune Retrograde Station

Neptune, the planet of divine creativity and illusion, turned retrograde on June 16th. This is not unusual – the outer planets turn retrograde (appear to move backwards from our perspective on earth) every year. Before a planet changes direction its apparent motion slows to a standstill, just as a car does when making a U-turn.

When a planet is stationary, it captures our attention.  If that planet is affecting something in our chart, it yells at us to take notice.  It shines like a laser beam, a focused point of light streaming its planetary energies to Earth.  And right now, Neptune has the spotlight.

Neptune is an outer planet – its influence is transformational rather than personal.  It inspires us to experience a Self that lies beyond our individual personalities – to experience divinely inspired creativity, to merge with the Soul in meditation, to experience the Godhead in all of its myriad forms.  It also tempts us with fantasy and illusion, fooling us with subterfuge and undermining our ideals.

Neptune will remain retrograde until November 22nd.  During this time the Neptune influence becomes more profoundly personal.  You may feel like you are wading through a thick fog in your life, unable to make a clear decision.  You may find yourself succumbing to strange illnesses for which there are no names.  You may be more susceptible to lies and deception and less able to discriminate clearly.

This is a time to turn within with a greater focus on the inner world than the outer.  Meditation and rest is important during this time as our physical energy may be diminished, especially if Neptune is transiting planets in your own chart.  You may be more sensitive to psychic energies than other times, especially if you tend to be hyper-sensitive, so plan accordingly.

Life on Planet Earth can be more complicated when Neptune is retrograde since it can be difficult to see clearly with the eye of consciousness.  This is a time to build a reliance on the inner eye and the inner voice – the voice of spiritual guidance within that helps us to see everything more clearly.  There can be temptation under Neptune’s influence to attempt a shortcut to divinity through drugs and alcohol, but this is not advised, especially under a retrograde Neptune since the path to addiction is so much stronger now.

The same thinning of the membrane of Self that creates the challenging delusion of Neptune can also bring about tremendous spiritual growth and heightened creative inspiration.  Music, painting, writing – all creative projects will help to utilize this period for greater expansion and mastery.

Share
By | 2017-06-28T11:03:29+00:00 June 20th, 2017|Astrology|1 Comment

Questions about “cusps” and birth signs

[A portion of this article is taken from earlier posts.]  The idea that a person was born on the “cusp” originates from Sun Sign astrology.  Your sign as you know it is actually the sign that the Sun was in at the time you were born.   If you pick up a book or newspaper horoscope about your Sun sign, or as some publications call it, your star sign (if you see a publication that refers to star signs, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction), it will refer to a range of dates for your sign.  This stems from the fact that the Sun doesn’t move from one sign into another on the same date each year and these publications have no way to calculate the exact position of the Sun in your chart.

born on the cusp

Approximate dates of Sun Signs

For example, in this diagram Aries is said to begin on March 21st, but this year the Sun entered Aries on March 20th.

A question I was asked: “I am looking to understand the “CUSP” between a Virgo and a Libra? After reading [horoscopes for] both for several months, I am finding myself more inclined to be or leaning towards Libra. Can you give me any insight that might point me towards my true sign?”

This individual was born at 29 degrees 17 minutes Virgo. If you were born in the last four or five degrees of one sign, the qualities of the next sign begin bleeding through. He is moving away from the characteristics of Virgo, the previous sign, and his focus is more on the next which is Libra. Mercury in his chart is in Libra, so his thought process is filtered through the Libran love of beauty and harmony rather than the Virgo desire for details and safety and this adds to his sense of the Libra qualities.

The Sun sign is the biggest single piece of the chart but it is only one piece. Because the Sun represents our quest or mission, a placement in the last degrees of a sign shows that you are completing that mission and beginning a new one during this lifetime. That is not true for those born at the beginning degrees of a sign; once you have moved into the next sign there is no more bleeding through. Still, the rest of the chart adds a richly layered tapestry of other influences to complete the picture. This individual has Sagittarius rising, a Capricorn Moon, a Leo Mars, Jupiter in Cancer, Venus in Virgo. All very different influences that come together to create a unique individual.

I believe that one reason there is so much skepticism about astrology is that people equate astrology with Sun signs and think that astrology means that everyone who is born under the sign of Aries is the same.  This misses the richness and beauty of the astrological pantheon and frankly is the reason I started this blog back in 2005.

Sun sign astrology, or “horoscopes” as they are inaccurately called, is fun and entertaining, but it should not be mistaken for real astrology.

Share
By | 2017-05-15T10:30:44+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Astrology, Lessons|5 Comments

The Black Moon Lilith in Astrology

Black Moon Lilith

“Lilith’s Daughter” by Drusila

As some of you know, I have been exploring the meaning of the Black Moon Lilith ever since I discovered she conjoined my Pluto and South Node, explaining a lot about the trauma in my past and relationship issues.

In my experimentation with clients I have come to think of Lilith as describing a primal female rage against the patriarchy and domination of men.  In the story of Lilith, she was Adam’s first wife and was equal to him. When she refused to lie under him Adam threw her out and asked Jehovah to provide him with a more suitable mate and it was then that Jehovah fashioned Eve out of Adam’s rib to ensure that she would remain submissive to him (except for that whole apple thing).  Lilith “flew away” or was banished, depending on who you believe, and spent the rest of her years howling in the night with rage for her children who were killed by the angels of God.  Under the patriarchal religions of the Piscean age she was transformed into a demon, a succubus,

The Black Moon Lilith (not to be confused with the Dark Moon or the Lilith asteroid)  is not a body in the sky, but a focal point between the Earth and the farthest point of the lunar orbit.  (See this image from Kelley Hunter’s excellent article about Lilith.)

In a regression a few years ago I uncovered an ancient life in which during a bloody battle I was raped and my children murdered in front of me.  I have always been fearful of having children and I felt that the residual anxiety from this ancient life had bled into my current one.  Coincidentally, shortly thereafter I calculated the position of the Black Moon Lilith in my chart and discovered its powerful placement in my conjunction from my Moon (mother/children) to Pluto (death and destruction) which are also aligned with my South Node (the past).  This seemed beyond coincidence to me and drove me to experiment with the Black Moon Lilith in every client chart.  I also noticed that the BML, as she is affectionately known, was tightly aligned with the Moon in the chart of my ex and the Sun in my husband’s chart.

From this research I have found that when  the Black Moon Lilith is aligned with another planet or angle (ascendant or midheaven) in the chart there tends to be, in its mildest form, an innate sense of the inequity of the dominant male culture and desire for justice. and in its most extreme, a profound feminine rage against the patriarchical system in general and sometimes against men in particular.  Men with a strong BML in their chart tend to be drawn to women who exhibit Lilith tendencies – powerful in nature and usually with a strong sexual vibration – although this often manifests as an attraction/repulsion dynamic due to a fear of the power of the Lilith archetype.

Rose McGowan astrologyRecently I listened to a podcast with actor Rose McGowan.  I have seen Ms. McGowan in films and television but knew very little about her.  She has been an outspoken warrior for women’s rights for years, but her naked expressions of rage against the unfairness to women in the film industry and her strong

Rose McGowan astrology

Click chart to enlarge

feminist viewpoints were so profoundly Lilithian I had to investigate further. Sure enough, her chart shows a tight conjunction from the Black Moon Lilith to her Moon and in a square to Pluto.  Last year Ms. McGowan revealed that she had been raped by a studio head, and in the podcast she alludes to other traumas in her past.

The rulership of the world by men began to dominate human consciousness during the Age of Aries, the warrior age (approximately 2000 bce to 0 ce), and continued through the age of Pisces, the religious age (approximately – 0ce to 2100).   It was during the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of the mid-1960s that feminine power began to re-emerge, a harbinger of the Age of Aquarius into which we are transitioning.

I believe that the archetype of the Black Moon Lilith is emerging now to help to heal the damage of the past several thousands of years. The fear of the power of women is evident everywhere in our political system right now as the dying Piscean age gives way to the Aquarius ideals and the men that run the world attempt to bring back masculine dominance.  Lilith teaches that we must learn to normalize the archetype of feminine power into our own psyches and our culture in order to find true harmony in the world, and the only way that this can be done is through reclaiming this power within our own selves as women, and for men to honor and respect and even embrace the wisdom of the dark feminine rather than fear it.

 
SIgn up for my free monthly Planetary Illuminations report!

Share
By | 2017-05-18T12:49:28+00:00 May 7th, 2017|Astrology, People|12 Comments
css.php