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 […]

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

Friday repost: A Saturn lesson

Saturn will be moving into Aquarius on March 21, 2020 so I thought it might be a good idea to review the meaning of Saturn.  Astrologer Frederick Woodruff has some interesting things to say about Saturn. 

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The Greeks associated Saturn with gravitas, the quality of substance or depth of personality. Gravitas is a sort of plumb line for the soul and it’s time we employ it. This means creating a way for and welcoming the effects of depression. The Jungian James Hillman has written extensively about depression serving as a curative for the widespread manic activism that dominates our culture. In The Planets Within, Thomas Moore explains: “Feeling low and heavy we are forced to move inward, turning to fantasy rather than the literal action of the ego. And that turn inward is necessary for the soul, for it creates psychic space, a container for deeper reflection where soul increases and the surface of events becomes less important.”

We need this inward turning as a remedial form for establishing balance. In order to make something from nothing — another function of the Saturnian expression — we must first encounter the quiet of the dark, to become inspired and enlivened by that which is beyond the ego’s control — and this can only come from fresh visions, enlivening inculcations from the imaginal realm. Saturn depresses but also establishes. So the second half of the equation is finding a way to give shape to the images, the insights we encounter in Saturn’s gloom-world.

If the Saturnian impulse to create and give substance isn’t utilized — by first welcoming the type of depression that facilitates the process — that same force will turn against us and become tyrannical. Saturn gone wrong places us […]

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By |2020-03-13T13:06:06-04:00March 13th, 2020|Planetary cycles|0 Comments

Seven year growth cycles of the human experience


The number seven has great significance in spiritual numerology (seven planets, seven chakras, seven days of the week, seven heavens in Islam and ancient Judaism, seven deadly sins and seven virtues, etc.) but it also has meaning in human evolution.  Astrologers and astrology enthusiasts will recognize a seven year cycle as being part of the Saturn cycle.  Saturn takes 28 years to circle the Sun, and the synodic cycle of Saturn (relative to its placement in the birthchart) brings about a peak event every seven years.  At age seven we have the opening square of Saturn in the sky to Saturn in the birthchart, at age 14 we have the opposition (180 degree point), at age 21 the closing square, and at age 28-29 we have the Saturn Return.

Philosopher Rudolf Steiner had his own idea about planetary correspondences in these seven year cycles:

The first seven years of life (0-7 years old) were associated with the Moon. During this time, the psychic forces are working to transform the body of the child from one that was inherited from the parents, to one that represents the full personality of the child.

The second seven years (7-14 years old) is associated with Mercury. At this time, the child’s imagination and feeling life takes center stage.

The third seven years (14-21 years old) is associated with Venus, during which time the higher mind of the adolescent takes root, and the psychic development can be disturbed by the strong impulses of puberty.

The next three seven-year segments are associated with the Sun (21-42 years old), and the elements of sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul.

The next seven-year segment is associated with Mars (42-49 years old), when the soul works hard to impress the […]

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By |2018-06-11T13:06:01-04:00January 21st, 2018|Life, Planetary cycles|11 Comments

Sunday Saturn inspiration: “Routine is freedom from time”

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“Routine is not a prison, but the way to freedom from time.  The apparently measured time has immeasurable space within it, and in this it resembles music.”

― May Sarton

I’m afraid I have still been a bit in the Underworld after a very trying twelve months, but a bit more rest and rejuvenation and I will be back in full swing.  The Planetary Illuminations report had to go on hiatus in October but will be back in November.

Saturn is preparing to square my Moon, and as the Prince of Solitude and Structure (Saturn) applies more and more pressure to my emotions and security issues (Moon) I decided it was a good time for some Visioncrafting of my own.  As I made my lists of the things I want to bring into my life in the seven categories of human experience the thing that kept emerging was scheduling time and honoring a routine for the things that bring richness to my inner self: yoga, meditation, walks in the woods…

As a busy business person I am no stranger to calendars and schedules, but when it comes to enriching my inner life I tend to resist conforming my inner world into the rigid world of time.  Saturn sits right on my Sun and is always reminding me, as he so often does, that time is passing quickly.  So in the spiritual side of my life I often long for the space and freedom of spontaneity and the absence of regulation.

I took a break during my Visioncrafting to look for today’s inspiration post, and the first thing to catch my eye was this quote from May Sarton.  Suddenly my […]

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By |2021-05-22T14:57:20-04:00October 27th, 2013|Astrology in my world, Inspiration|3 Comments

Pluto in Capricorn: Passing through the gate of wisdom

Wisdom of the elderlyMy friend Gary shared this article by Michael Meade and it’s so applicable to the current passage of Pluto through Capricorn.  Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, also known as the Greek Kronos, also known as “Father Time.”  Saturn and Capricorn remind us that our life is short and that we must be smart about how we spend the time that is allotted to us.

In traditional cultures, the elders are expected to remember the essential things that everyone else keeps forgetting. After “growing up,” a person is supposed to grow down and become rooted deeper in the ground of being, like an old tree that draws from ever deeper resources. In traditional cultures, the elders were considered to be a valuable resource without whose guidance the whole society could lose its way.

Yet in modern life, instead of people growing “older and wiser,” people can simply grow older and older. People can live longer and longer without becoming any wiser for it. When there is no genuine growth in growing older, aging can become all about loss. The longer people live the more of life they seem to lose. Instead of developing wise and seasoned “elders” who can help others find meaningful ways to live, modern societies are in danger of producing “olders” who blindly seek ways to hold onto life at any cost.

This can be seen as the problem of the olders vs. the elders. Traditionally, elders carry a greater vision of life because they develop insight into their own lives. The elders are those who found threads of purpose and meaning amidst the illusions and delusions of life. Amidst the inevitable troubles of life, the bubble of the “closed ego” bursts and […]

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By |2011-09-20T04:05:21-04:00September 20th, 2011|Life|8 Comments
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