In the essay Fate and Astrology, Robert Hand asserts that no evidence exists that astrology manifests “a fate that imposes a higher power against which free will is powerless” (p. 8). Hand explains that while the motions and patterns of the planets are one component of astrology that is predetermined by natural law, people’s reactions to the effects of astrological movements are not predetermined in the same way. Thus, it would be impossible for the natal chart to show everything that will happen to a person, as the chart does not exist in a vacuum—free will and the unpredictable nature of choice impact people’s reactions to the planets’ movements.
Furthermore, the belief that the natal chart shows everything that will happen to a person in their lifetime requires one to believe that people are passive victims of the makeup and aspects of their natal chart and do not have free will or choice to redirect the energies represented in their chart. Instead, Maritha Pottenger suggests in Complete Horoscope Interpretation that the natal chart is simply “a map of the basic psychological issues and principles we are facing and trying to balance…any principle can have a whole range of possible details” (p. 6). This whole-person approach to the natal chart can help illuminate how to “deal with the psychological principles which lie behind all the details,” the details being determined by a person’s free will (p. 6).
While there are astrologers who use astrology to make predictions, and some who do so quite successfully, I am of the belief that the natal chart does not determine a person’s fate, but rather the underlying energies that drive them as a unique being. Since an individual can only be responsible for their own choices, it’s not realistic to look to astrology for a play by play of what to passively expect in life. In my opinion, astrology is better used as a tool for self-exploration and self-empowerment. It can aid in illuminating areas of one’s life that need attention, and can help uncover powerful talents and tendencies a person might possess. What one does with these talents and tendencies is completely up to them—the natal chart does not mandate what will happen, but merely reflects what is possible.
Hand, R. (2006, February). Fate and astrology: Some ancient insights. Mercury Direct, 2-11.
Holden, J. H. (1996). A history of horoscopic astrology. Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers.
Pottenger, M. (1986). Complete horoscope interpretation: Putting together your planetary profile. San Diego, CA: ACS Publications.
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