Freedom or Fate?   

An (Almost) Eternal Question                                                                              

This question has tortured the minds of philosophers as well that of people in general. No doubt, to the astrologer, this is a primary issue, since astrology looks for the interaction between the stars in order to predict human destiny.

With the rebirth of modern astrology in the beginning of the last century, several concepts based on the present issue were raised and it was postulated that ancient astrology was based on immutable destiny without any regard on free will.

The fact is that when Astrology was rediscovered  it had considerable differences from the kind of Art it  was practiced since remote ages until the seventeenth century. Based on the rationalism and in a time where there was no traditional  teachers and ancient books where almost lost or not translated in modern languages, such kind of astrology became muck akin of a  kind of psychological astrology and the predictive tool was lost.

Interesting enough. at the same time Freud developed the psychoanalytic theory, dividing the psychic instances in conscious and unconscious. Then, he spoke in Ego, Id and Superego, making it clear that small part of the mind was conscious and that, using his words, the Ego was a poor guy, having to manage and mediate conflicts between the Id, the pure instinct or the repressed impulses, the impositions of the Superego, and the reality.

Therefore  postulated that except the Ego, the major part of the other two psychic instances was unconscious, and even the moral standards have being created in large part by  unconscious influences. Thus instead of brag for having an human Ego the conscious is a poor thing trying to overcome influences that they had no idea from where they come from.

Freud´s theory initially aroused great rejection, especially with regard to sexuality, to which he gave excessive value for the moral standards of his time. But it was also a stroke  against the rationalism since it  limited the psychics  to the top of an iceberg, with the largest was submerged. Such a theory limited human freedom because the man himself has no access to the major part of his own mind, furthermore he is not able to handle with  thinks he do not know. The psychoanalysis as a self study  became the ideal way to gain some awareness and the increase at least in some degree knowledge e some domain of the mind and perhaps a little more of free will or control of internal states of mind.

Freud´s disciple and dear friend, at least in the beginning of the development of the psychoanalysis, Carl G. Jung finished by disagreeing of the master and adopting a kind of spirituality. Because of this, the friendship between them was broken. Jung sought what was common in the human unconscious and his research revealed that the unconscious had certain standards and archetypal myths that had great importance in the formation of the psyche. He believed in a mystical human side that played an important role in human mind.

Jung was all that the new astrology needed to use astrology the in a “younguian” approach: it gave them some legitimacy, but the problem is that they were mixing two distinct disciplines.

I cannot blame them since I was myself during 20 year a modern astrologer and when in 1980 I got interested in reading Morin I was not able to find a book of his in any place. We must remember that  the internet was in its beginning and there was no Google to send us any tip.

Even with the development of the traditional astrology in the end of the last century the majority of the astrologers became loyal to what was inferred by Alan Leo books or Jung, going astray and  currently remaining in a border between the Jungian psychological counseling and a kind of astrology based on recent concepts. The predictions ceased to be of importance because each person was able to “live” using free willing, a subjective manner of dealing with an astral configuration, so we, as astrologers cannot say much about any outcome.

The native is seen as somebody able to “deal” with astrological aspects, instead of being subject of them. There are no malefic planets for example since it depends on how you live them: astrological life become a bless.

As for Freud and Jung, both teachers were right, and they disagreed because they were like blinds, paraphrasing the old saying, looking to different parts of the elephant and describing it just touching only at its part.

This discussion took me back  to my youth and I hope you will not mind this tour. It was 1960 and I was still very young, attending high school. It would  happen  a formal debate in the school on the subject “determinism versus free will.”  I chose to defend the part of the group who advocated determinism, which was considered a kind of heresy.

The teachers looked at me with earnest air. By the way I got used to this behaviour: later in university when I embraced Freud and the psychoanalysis, many thought that if I was not mad I was following mad people. After that, when the psychoanalysis turn out to be the big idea of the moment I already was disappointed with it and quit to embrace spirituality and astrology, only to cope more social disapprove from my pairs.

Back to the my young age: I knew Freud only by listening about him but I defended determinism because I felt that Freud was right, and it was better to be supported by his ideas than to my strong feelings  in the مكتوب  or  Maktub meaning in Arabic that something was written.

Although my thesis was defended with passion, teachers gave cause to the group that advocated free will, simply because it was the obvious and correct while the determinism was a caveman thing.

Today, fifty years elapsed, it ceased to be something to discuss, in my point of view. On these deep waters of existence we are not sure of anything, and only the study of our own personal astrological chart  against the accidents that occurred  in our life, added to some wisdom, can be able to advise a man to choose one or the other way. That is, we do not vote in favor or against fate or free will by choice, but by studying and living and finally comparing both points of view after a experienced life.

Determinism rests on an apparent view that what came to be reaches its destination route accordingly to what was written before. Now, may I ask you what is the “before” if it has no existence in things that just happened and do not exists anymore, are no more in our hands to look at, being only reminded according to our fail and temperamental memory in the present?

Hieraclitus said that we never bath in the waters of the same river. How true are these words!

The future, in turn, is something that is expected, contained and restrained causing anxiety about  what may or may not be happen: the future is an interrogation. How can we change what we do not have?

Seeing past and future against these perspectives how we can construct a basis for an astrological chart interpretation? In which bases predictive astrology can be practiced? How can we know through heavens, planets and houses and according to way they are configured how is the native´s parents, children, finances, honors and adversity, siblings, health, etc.?

The only possible answer is that we see the astrological chart as the present. All is contained there: the past or future, but we do not distinguish what is one or the other.The present contains both.

To score them we developed techniques based on our mental temporalprocesses.

Past and future does not exist in the chart: but our mind based on time tries to put some temporal order on it.

The determinism is created by our own mind because all that exists contains the past and the future. The natal chart is like a seed. The orange seed creates a tree which is able to turn into an orange tree which will be strong and fruitful, or not so much, but it is determined to produce, if able, only oranges and not, even with chemical  amalgamation, other sort of fruits, like bananas.

While classical astrology describes the psychological characteristics of the individual, this is not its main idea. Even taking into account Moon, Ascendant and Mercury, to talk about the person of the native, is only one of the traditional astrologer´s focus.

As we are humans inserted in our memories and expectations we know that the native will or still has been married, prosperous, unfaithful, etc. because this is the present of his chart. Ordering in time all this material requires something very human: the notion of time.

Directions are the way that astrologers use temporality to put the chart in the context of time.
Thinking that this issue of determinism against  free will was of much dispute among philosophers and nowadays, I would like to made some more considerations to endorse my rationale.

At the beginning of Western philosophy the traditional astrology that we have notice emerged among people of Greek language, based on Neoplatonic and Stoic philosophy.

The Greek philosophers when thinking about this kind of matter suggested that the primordial seed being released it is the fate of anything, or hermamene, the organizing principle. Focusing on such seed the laws of necessity acts, the organizational principle,  that I  understand as being the laws of physics, a  unavoidable event in Earth. Perhaps this order provides the temporality phenomena in our world. The interesting part is the existence of Tucké, Fortuna, which provides random experiences. For example, against all odds, you do not take that plane that will explode in the air, or have got good luck in the lottery, where millions lose fortunes. In a humbler picture, you go to the city to buy bread and find a debtor and …you get paid.

Sure, Tuché can act as a misfortune: against all odds the horse you bet loses or even being able to a job you lose the train, arriving later, and other person was contracted, etc.

My question is : in what extent all this  examples were not able to be delineated, predicted. There are people who was doomed to win in games of all sorts. We can hardly think in this kinf of  fact as many coincidences happening to one only persons. In the same way there are others that always lose. Tuché being aspected by its rulership or exaltation lord explains the good fortune, but the Fortune, and at this point I agree to the philosophers, is not able to maintain anything not seeded or not provided in the chart as a whole.

Valens thinks such fortunes are fleeting and illusory and that the nativity at the end follow
its course, based on the radical chart, Hermamene and the Necessity, the physical laws and ordering (directions) happening accordingly to the first chart, the natal chart.

I have myself some dramatic  examples of this kind of thing:  people who were born with an unlucky, poor and sick,  with a good Part of Fortune, aspected by its ruler. This kind of charts happens to rose by Tuché for many years for later be defect in consequence sometimes of the Fortune itself that exposed the native to risks highlighted in the natal chart.

In the Timaeus, Plato’s famous work, it is said that when the Demiurge has created Earth and all that is contained in it, accordingly to the beautiful and love, the elements interfered  and  the order was not perfect. So it is possible that chance or Tuché was one of those things interfering in the order. They, the philosophers, did not think in this way, but my idea is that elements, initially were winds, with no big powers before Dorotheus got fanatic by them. I hardly believe that originally a thing made by the Demiurge was able to be destroyed by confuse elements. Before Dorotheus there was not given such importance to the elements. Anyway  for a reason or another Earth wasn´t an ideal plae to construct the beautifull and the lovely Demiurge´s idea and even  so, he decided “it was good”.

Human beings  need to believe in good luck and hope, there is some of demiurge in them, so they can go on. They prefer to believe in his own power and in his will to overcome the worst of human life: the generation and corruption, the inexorable fate of existence that distresses humanity: we are born, we grow and we die. What power we have about it, except through the interference of the physical laws?

And they are powerful: with our rational minds we have been able to do extraordinary things, but I do not know to what extent this road will be every time a happy one. Our rational mind elevated largely the rank of life, but the fact of maintaining a life that sometimes no longer brings any pleasure perhaps is not a good thing. I refer to exaggeration: people who live to see the point of the third passage of Saturn, and repeat in extreme old age which was already in the birth chart, that is, physical dependence, limitation, contempt of kin or, conversely, if the chart point in this direction, have four or five caregivers and live as babies.

Valens, in Book 5, talks about destiny and about the things that modifies it  apparently, but later what is in the natal chart prevails. He talks also about the directions that attenuate facts postponing them but at last the seed reveals itself.

Let me quote a paragraph taken from the Anthology Book V, which is a translation of the same work by Mark Riley.

9K;6P. The Reason Why the Same Results Do Not Happen at Twelve-Year Intervals. Why Bad Results Happen Although Good Were Expected and Vice-Versa. Why Great Good or Bad Results Happen Even Though the Distribution is Located in Empty Signs.

It is necessary to inspect the past, the current, and the future chronocrators and to determine if they are passing from propitious to unpropitious, or from malefic to benefic places. <I say this> because often a nativity experiences an anxious period subject to the law and is condemned because of the chronocratorship of malefics. Later, however, when benefics take over and when the overall chronocratorship indicate that the nativity is secure, the nativity experiences a restoration of rank and livelihood through some defenses and the basis of the nativity advances to greater fortune. But whenever the nativity is carried to an inferior overall chronocratorship, and the chronocrators are in accord, then various disputes,accusations, trials, losses, and hatreds are prepared in advance until the nativity meets the crisis which is fated to happen. In the same way, if a cause of good occurs in the sequence of chronocrators, then friendships, associations and ties with the great, stewardships, legacies, and gifts are prepared.

As a result, those who were lowly and weak in their period of crisis are treated as noble, sensible, and charming because of the terms of good fortune. On the other hand, those who are entirely courageous and well educated (at least, according to the basis of the nativity from the beginning) are condemned and are considered coarse, cowardly, and ineffective, and they are oppressed by their inferiors.

These men bear their abasement nobly and yield to the laws of Fate. In the case of ruling nativities, we find that when the chronocrators are making the transition in succession with the others, even though the time of rule has not yet been reached, some men attain noteworthy and profitable rank, others tarry in na opposite, ruinous condition. As a result, for some men bad things become good and a source of safety; for others even apparent good later becomes a cause of evil.

Fate has decreed for each person the immutable working out of events, reinforcing this decree with many opportunities for good or bad consequences. Through the use of these opportunities, two selfbegotten gods, Hope and Fortune, the assistants of Fate, control man’s life and make it possible for him to bear Fate’s decrees by using their compulsion and deception. One of the two <Fortune> manifests herself to everyone through the forecasted outcome, proving herself to be good and kind at one time, at another time dark and grim. Fortune raises some high only to cast them down, and degrades others only to raise them to glory. The other of the two <Hope> is neither dark nor bright; she moves everywhere in disguise and in secret, smiling on everyone like a flatterer, and she displays many attractive prospects which cannot be attained. She controls men by deceiving them: these men, even though they were wronged and were enslaved to their desires, still are attracted to her again, and full of Hope, believe that their wishes will be fulfilled. They believe her—only to get what they do not expect. If Hope ever does offer solid prospects to anyone, she immediately abandons him and goes on to others. She seems to be close to everyone, but she stays with no one. As a result, those ignorant of the prognostic art—or those not willing to engage in it at all—are led away and enslaved to these previously mentioned gods. They endure all blows and suffer punishment along with their pleasures. Some partially attain what they hoped for, their confidence begins to increase, and they await a permanently favorable outcome—not realizing how precarious and slippery are these accidents of Fortune. Others are disappointed in their expectations not just once, but always; they then surrender body and soul to their passions and live shamed and disgraced—or they simply wait, living as slaves to fickle Fortune and deceitful Hope, and they are entirely unable to achieve anything.


With these stitched considerations I finish this article,  hoping it have been a useful reflection on what is “a given” and what is “free”.

Btw, each individual should think about why to chose this or that point of view and, if you allow me to observe, if the choice was not inherent in the very chart of yours and already indicated for each one.

Clélia Romano, DMA

August 2014

One comment on “Freedom or Fate?   

  1. Hello Clelia,

    Thank you for writing an interesting post.

    My personal opinion is that it is not very fruitful to ponder upon whether our lives are determined, or whether we have the freedom to make choices. My perspective is based on a sceptical thought experiment called the ‘brain in a vat’ experiment.

    The crux of the thought experiment is that, we have no way of determining whether our lives are real, or whether we are being fed false experiences. As far as my consciousness is aware, I am typing this reply to you right now. But how do I know that I am a real living person, and not a computer programme which is simulating a ‘human’ experience?

    Thus for me, the value of the predictions in astrology is practical: can it or can it not predict, with a reasonable degree of certainty, what will happen in a person’s life? If it can, then it is useful. If I know something good will happen, I may be able to take steps to maximise the positive effects. However, if I see that something bad is going to occur, I might want to do something to mitigate the impact.

    Whether my actions will really improve or decrease the impact is irrelevant. What matters most is doing the best that I can.

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