Most professionals agree that predicting death in the chart of a client or a client’s loved one is unethical. Last weekend I watched a movie I had rented called First Snow, a thriller which I really enjoyed in which a sharkish salesman goes for a psychic reading in which the psychic makes some predictions about his business and then has a vision which disturbs him greatly and causes him to terminate the session. The salesman doesn’t believe in any of it, but then the business predictions come true. He also has a health scare, and goes back to the psychic demanding to know what he saw. The psychic tells him to put his affairs in order, that he will be safe only until the first snow. Suddenly a believer but having learned anything about the metaphysical order of life, the salesman is taken over by anxiety and fears. He goes back to the psychic with a gun and says, “You never should have told me!!”

Recently I heard a story from a client about a Tarot reading that she gave to a friend in which the Death card came up in answer to a question about the health of her husband. The Death card in Tarot rarely means death, and of course when we see the Death card we want to assure the client that Death is not the meaning. In this case, however, the husband died and the reader was upset that she had not provided her client with the guidance that she needed.

Some schools of thought believe that the moment of death is predetermined; I am not among those that hold this belief. In my view we make choices every moment that change the path on which we walk, and this is why predicting the future is so treacherous and so often wrong. Christine Davis, a traditional astrologer, has written a post (thanks Elsa!) on this subject in which she reviews a book called Celestial Philosophy that is now almost 200 years old. She writes:

Worsdale has parked some of the critical how-to information in the very final pages of the book, explaining how one determines the Giver of Life and the various killing events. I only just found those pages this afternoon, after jumping around from chart to chart, wondering when he was going to explain this key point. Each chart (which is composed in the older box-style rather than the round chart modern readers are more accustomed to viewing) is accompanied by lists of planetary events, motions, and directions, both in the zodiac and in mundo. The method, if I understand correctly, involves choosing the Giver of Life (Hyleg, Apheta) from several possible candidates based on the conditions presented in the birth chart, then composing and studying these long lists of events to determine when that Giver of Life is sufficiently threatened as to be extinguished.

I have seen articles on well-respected traditional astrology blogs that do predict death and I have wondered about this, since to predict the death of a client goes so deeply against the code of ethics that most modern astrologers subscribe to. I have heard the same debate on Tarot boards, and I think it’s a subject well worth discussing.

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