Understanding Astrological Prediction

Few areas of astrology stir up as much controversy as prediction. Questions about what can be predicted and with how much accuracy are important to astrologers and their clients - and for good reasons. Prediction implies all kinds of things about how much free will we have, and how much of life is fated.

Until fairly recently, our understanding of prediction, fate, and free will was pretty limited. Philosophers tied themselves in logical knots about these things. Mystics knew the answer, but it’s always been hard to get people to listen to mystics.

Let’s start off by thinking about another kind of prediction, meteorological forecasting. The weather person has a pretty tough job of trying to figure out how a number of constantly changing and interacting factors are going create weather patterns over the next few days. Although predicting the weather is complex, they do a pretty good job of it (snowstorms that fail to materialize aside).

You’ll notice, though, that while the weather forecast may tell you that tomorrow it’s going to rain, they don’t tell you that you are going to get soaked. That’s because they figure (correctly), that armed with the information about the impending rain, you will either choose to stay home, or go out with an umbrella and galoshes (okay, no galoshes - maybe boots).

Astrological prediction is a lot like that. Looking at the planets involved and the areas of the chart affected, astrologers can do a pretty good job of describing what kinds of challenges and opportunities are coming up, and in what areas of life. They can describe the flavor of the time, identify common pitfalls, and suggest an overall strategy for getting the most out of the transitions. In other words, they can say that it will probably rain (or snow) and that it would be good to take an umbrella out or to stay in for a bit.

Back in the day, people were much more tightly bound to their roles in society. Everyone acted pretty much according to the script set out for them. There wasn’t a lot of improvisation for many people, and since they were going to act in a very predictable way, it was often possible to forecast just what would happen to them.

In other words, if we can see that it is going to rain, and we know that the person will go outside without an umbrella (because don’t see changing their habits as an option), then we actually could predict that they will get soaked. But the more aware we are, the more choices we have, the less precise prediction becomes.

Let’s see an example of how this works. I had a client consult me because she was concerned about her career. Ownership of the company changed, and it was obvious that the business itself was not going to remain the same for very long. She had been working in the same place for about a dozen years, and was very reluctant to make any moves despite having recently received some very attractive job offers.

As soon as I looked at her chart, I saw that Uranus - a revolutionary, change-oriented, smasher of the status quo - was sitting right on her midheaven, a point associated with career. Some kind of change seemed inevitable.

It appeared that there were a few choices for her. She could accept that the company she was working for was changing and that her job was no longer secure, and decide to take one of the new offers. Or she could recognize that the company was changing and accept the uncertainty that now surrounded her job, as well as significant changes to her role. At this point, she had options. There were choices to make, and she could take a creative role in her future.

What she did was to stay at the same company and try to maintain the status quo as long as possible. About six months after our consultation, she was let go (along with a number of her coworkers). The options for a new job were still there, although perhaps a little less appealing. In fact, she moved around quite a bit over the next few years, experimenting with new roles in different companies.

She learned quite a bit about herself and her adaptability in the process - which was probably the lesson that Uranus in her house of career was aiming to teach. Because she was initially so attached to stability in her career, I doubt that any of the choices available to her at the time of our meeting would have been much less stressful for her. But the point is that early in the process she had a choice, while after making that choice and committing to it, external forces took over.

In general, if we bring great awareness, compassion, and love to a situation, we have a remarkable range of choices to make - probably only limited by our imagination. If we are contracted, fearful, and protective, our freedom to choose diminishes. When we have little or no awareness at all, we may be blindsided by fate.

If the astrologer can know something about the level of awareness the client has on the issue, it is a great help. In theory, if we were to know that the client has a very role-driven, traditional approach to the issue, then we might be able to make a definitive prediction.

Still, it would be better to try to help the client to see that they have some choice, some freedom, some creative input to their lives, rather than making a concrete prediction. That’s a very different role for astrologers - one that not every astrologer is up to, and not every client wants. Helping clients to have more freedom and responsibility for their lives may not “Wow!” them like a hard prediction, but it is far more helpful for their long-term growth and development.

Finally, we have to recognize that each of us has some areas of life where we are really on top of things, and some areas where we are less developed. My client was a bit protective and inflexible where career is concerned, but she had a very different attitude to personal relationships. Other people have the opposite picture - they are captains of their destiny at work, but clingy children in their romantic lives.

Family relationships, finances, health, friendship, home, career, romance, sex, religion - each area of life can be developed to a different degree in each of us. Factoring in awareness makes prediction complex - but that’s appropriate when we realize how complex we all are.