Astrology and the paradox of freewill

Trying to disentangle the freewill versus determinism argument from an astrological perspective isn’t simple.

Country charts from my experience tend to act in a more concrete way than individual charts – which is to say there is less leeway for choice. That isn’t to say it’s always clear how the influences will work out, since my view is that astrology plumbs into an underlying strata of possibilities and potentials. But there does seem to be more room for choice for individuals – if they are (I hate the word) evolved enough. Maybe more conscious is better – they have insight into their behaviour and motivations. Perhaps a country ‘mentality’ is more primitive since it is encased/rooted in a mass of people, most of whom will be ‘unconscious’.

It all goes back to Carl Jung’s thought – ‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” In an odd way, a society’s glue only holds together if most people are sunk below the median line of consciousness. Too many ‘enlightened’ individualists would rip the social order apart.

We all cling onto astrology since it puts a pattern on life to help us along the way. Yet what astrology also tells us is that life is random and unfair. Bad things happen to good people and vice versa. From square one, some people are handed a more beneficial hand of cards, with a helpful chart. That is partly family inheritance but it is also a matter of chance of the influences around when they were born. And also where. If you’re born in a famine in the Ethiopian desert and died of starvation, you’ll have the same chart as a westerner who went on to have a decent-ish life. The astrology won’t tell you everything.

The human psyche is mysteriously complicated and interfaces with the outer world in ways which we really don’t understand. To go back to Jung’s thought – I’ve known people in therapy struggling to become conscious which is no easy process, and hitting a block when the pull back into unconsciousness becomes too strong. The outer world obliges and causes train strikes and delays so they miss therapy appointments. Utterly nothing that is their direct responsibility and yet it coincides precisely with their inner conflict and state of mind.

We all know people whose lives have repeating disasters, minor or major, which appear to be nothing over which they have any control or indeed ‘cause’. Yet they keep happening. ‘Fate’ keeps hitting them over the head. It’s easy enough to say, they need to become more conscious so they can internalise the conflicts that are happening to them in the outer world. But that isn’t possible for many. Psychological transformation is too difficult since it risks pulling down the entire psychic structure.

What the astrology tells us is there are different levels to all the influences. Transformational transiting Pluto in hard aspect to someone’s Moon – the Moon equals house, body, women, childhood, mother. It can have a concrete effect and their house has starts to crumble and the drains back up. Some people somatise and get ill. The emotional effect will brew up fights with female friends/bosses or older female relatives. Or psychologically they can go back to their inner roots, become more conscious of and experience early feelings and clear out old resentments. For most of us there will be several of these effects running concurrently.

But the more conscious an individual is, the less the outer, concrete events will occur. Which isn’t to say that getting ill or having your house fall down is your fault in any direct way. None of us ever get fully conscious and for some it’s a more impossible task than for others.

Other thought from Carl Jung – ‘Free will is the ability to do gladly that which I must do.’ So you’re landed with your birth chart – part family legacy, part the zeitgeist when you were born. You don’t have a choice about the template itself – you’re a Gemini Sun square Uranus Pluto, not a Leo Sun trine Jupiter Neptune. So you have to work within that framework and live it out to its fullest potential. In the first example, there’s no sense in trying to stick yourself into a humdrum box, because your unlived energies will continually tip your life upside down. There’s no choice about who you are, the choice is whether you opt to be yourself.

Whether this answers the initial question about the astrology string-pulling, I don’t know. In many ways it was easier in ye olden pagan days when everything was thought to be ‘fated’ and people accepted they were marionettes of the god’s. But it doesn’t sit comfortably nowadays and anyway isn’t true.

One other thought is attempting to struggle out of my muddled brain. You can be born with a reasonable chart, yet if, decades later, you happen to live through a longish period of continuing tumult in the outer world (as now) it can send your life off track. Would that be obvious from the original birth chart’s energies? Not necessarily, since it shows the time you were born and how you will react to whatever comes your way. What I’m trying to say (I think) is that life is, in part, random which is difficult and scary to grasp. The astrological cycles churn on with little regard for right or wrong, fair or unfair. There is a pattern but no moral content to the influences. It’s not always about progress or the path to enlightenment, often it’s the reverse. And we just have to muddle along as best we can, clinging onto what makes sense and refusing to be swept along by the chaos.

5 thoughts on “Astrology and the paradox of freewill

  1. I was born on same date with my neighbour, both of us have Saturn sun conjunct with Pluto and all other planets in Leo Virgo cusp yet due to free will and my courage, my life is completely different than hers as she still struggles with a handicap daughter and no income and her mental illness. I use this as example always to prove that planets or born on eclipse full doesn’t mean you would be retarded.

  2. This is ‘golden thread’ thinking: and courageously vulnerable. The tiny snippets I’ve gained (and I know they’re tiny) have, always, come about by the most intense struggles but Whatever It Is that’s behind it all knows that it’s the Shadows that have to be fully understood (and integrated?) in this complex web of Consciousness. And whoever said it would be easy, lied! There’s no short cuts and it’s a very personal quest, I’m thinking-and the Unconscious, the testing grounds.

  3. Marjorie. Thank you for your time in trying to assess the “big picture” of how astrology affects us all. It’s too big a subject, I know, but your thoughts are appreciated. Thank you again.

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