The responsibility of karma and free will

art by Raxstar

This article was originally posted in 2019 and very appropriate this week in light of the Mars-ruled Aries Full Moon opposite the Sun/Mars conjunction, squared by Pluto.  Mars represents our idea that we have Free Will and Pluto represents Fate so this question is very relevant right now. 

Sometimes people write me asking for a reading, saying they want to know what their karmic lessons are in this lifetime. One gentleman wrote me saying he wanted a “straight” reading, with no attempt to frame the difficult in positive language. He referred to this article in the New York Times in which scientists have proven that humans have no free will:

The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, as Einstein paraphrased it, that “a human can very well do what he wants, but cannot will what he wants.”

Einstein, among others, found that a comforting idea. “This knowledge of the non-freedom of the will protects me from losing my good humor and taking much too seriously myself and my fellow humans as acting and judging individuals,” he said.

How comforted or depressed this makes you might depend on what you mean by free will. The traditional definition is called “libertarian” or “deep” free will. It holds that humans are free moral agents whose actions are not predetermined. This school of thought says in effect that the whole chain of cause and effect in the history of the universe stops dead in its tracks as you ponder the dessert menu.

At that point, anything is possible. Whatever choice you make is unforced and could have been otherwise, but it is not random. You are responsible for any damage to your pocketbook and your arteries.

“That strikes many people as […]

Share this article...
By |2021-10-08T14:32:12-04:00October 21st, 2021|Fate|1 Comment

Sunday musings: Pondering the Free Will question

Astrologer Ray Grasse posed this question on his Facebook page:

How much free will do we have in dealing with our horoscopes? It’s a complex question, but here’s one way to answer that question.

I had two individuals come to me separately who were born within days of each other, who had extremely similar charts. As it so happened, they both experienced the effects of transiting Saturn over their natal Neptunes around the same time, just one week apart, right before meeting me.

I asked each of them what happened that previous week, since I was curious how the Saturn transit manifested for them. The first one said he reached a tipping point with his long-term substance abuse and joined Alcoholics Anonymous, while the second one sheepishly admitted that he was arrested for drunk driving around that same time!

Think about that. It was the same essential planetary symbolism in both cases, but in the one case the client chose to manifest that energy from the inside out, you might say, by using his Saturnian discipline to take control of his Neptunian escapism, while in the other case the client wound up letting that symbolism manifest from the outside in, by not applying his discipline and letting the world manifest it for him. (It reminds me a bit of the old line by Carl Jung: “When an inner situation is not made conscious it appears outwardly as fate.”) So despite the similarities in their charts and transits, they chose to manifest those patterns in dramatically different ways, one of them more constructively, the other more destructively.

Certainly there is much about our fate we can’t change.  We can’t change the family we are born into.  We […]

Share this article...
By |2019-08-27T10:49:02-04:00June 9th, 2019|Fate, Inspiration|4 Comments

What I believe: Making sense of tragedy

If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.  –Viktor Frankl

finding meaning in life

This week a friend of mine went to work and never came home.  His car was hit by a joyrider driving over 100 mph and he died of his injuries in the hospital, leaving behind a beautiful family with two young boys and a loving wife.   He was active in our community and left a wide swath of grief as we attempt to make some kind of sense of this tragedy.

Perhaps my friend’s wife, who in the span of 36 hours became a new widow, will experience a great blessing from this horrific event – I certainly hope that this is the case.  One of my clients who lost her healthy husband over a year ago after a short illness struggles to understand how this could have happened.  What about the parents of the children who have died in these school shootings?  How can we find meaning in this?

Some will say “It’s all part of God’s plan.”  I don’t know if that is enough.   I do believe that some things are fated and beyond our control.  I do believe that we have a contract for our life and we do come into this life with an astrological chart that describes our psychological tendencies and a path that we are likely to take.  Our free will helps us to make some choices along the way, but when a car hits you from behind at 100 mph there is no choice involved there.  That is fate.  How to […]

Share this article...
By |2019-11-10T19:04:58-05:00January 20th, 2019|Fate, Favorite posts, Inspiration, Life|17 Comments

“Does my chart say I will be…” 2018 edition

I have written on this before, but I think it bears repeating.  I often get this question from readers and clients.  “Does my chart say I will ever be able to have a successful relationship?”  “Does my chart say I can overcome my fear of success?”  “Will I ever be financially secure?”  Or occasionally I will hear from someone who wants to know when their business will be successful, or whether someone they are involved with is for certain their soulmate.

The truth is, while the birthchart will identify challenges and blocks that we need to overcome in order to successfully navigate our life path, and while it certainly will show where we have particularly strong talents or skills in certain areas, it does NOT dictate our fate.

My answer to this question usually is, “Do you WANT to have a successful relationship, overcome your fear of success, become financially secure?”  If you have the desire, you can make it happen.  I have had clients whose charts were not well suited to owning a business, and certainly there are people (myself included) whose charts suggest a lot of trouble and trauma in relationships.  But through effort, when our charts are challenged in certain areas we can still fulfill our dreams.  But it does take effort, and it often takes healing old wounds that hold us back which is not an easy process.

For example, some astrologers would say that an individual with Saturn (the lord of Karma) in the seventh house of marriage will never be married.  But I have seen clients with long-lasting happy marriages with that placement.  I myself have Venus in Scorpio square to Pluto, a terrible aspect for relationships.  And it’s true that I had a […]

Share this article...
By |2019-11-10T19:39:06-05:00June 2nd, 2018|Astrology, Fate|0 Comments

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

Three Fates by Emily Balivet

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 […]

Share this article...
By |2019-06-09T14:19:36-04:00January 16th, 2018|Astrology, Fate, Featured posts, Predictions|0 Comments
Go to Top