Fate? Free Will? How do I get out of this thing?

A friend recently wrote me with an important concern when it comes to working astrology into our lives.

His point was basically to wonder if, by paying attention to forecasts such as last week’s, we “dream it in” or create a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially in terms of when astrologers say more “negative” or challenging aspects are on the horizon.

I believe answering this is very personal, and it comes down to understanding and questioning of your own metaphysics.

That’s why astrology is like a meta-philosophy, in that it challenges us to really get straight about how we think the world works.

On one extreme, it’s the idea that everything that happens in our reality, we create and are responsible for.

On the other, the idea that everything is fated, and we are subject to these winds without agency.

As is usually the case, the capital T Truth probably exists most strongly somewhere in between, but even the thought one could nail it down and say, “that’s for sure how reality works” is a stretch.

Instead I like to look at it like an intertidal zone of archetypal power.

We have our own agency, our consciousness, our ability to shape our own experience of objective situations, as well as potentially create new ones carte blanche.

And, we have these forces of external agency, whose motives are hard to understand, whose shapes are like shadows. But whose power makes its mark on our lives all the same, through seemingly fated events.

And we exist somewhere in between this spectrum, between the shore and the sea.

“Free will is the ability to do gladly that which I must.”
CG Jung

This quote from our boi Jung is in line with what Viktor Frankl discovered in the death camps.

At times, it does seem that way, that these external forces are stronger, or pre-eminent. And perhaps that is true.

At others, it seems that we have a lot of choice in the matter, not just in terms of how we react, but in what we make happen.

When we look to the future then, and an astrologer says…”stormy waters ahead,” it’s similar to if we had been planning on going camping, and then tune into a weather report and hear it’s going to rain all weekend.

The fact is, archetypally, there’s no getting out of these specific transits that are coming up. Just like there’s no stopping a rainstorm.

But we get to decide what we’re going to do with that storm. Are we going camping anyway? Are we staying home and cowering in the corner everytime there’s a thunderclap? Are we using that time to clean out the basement or get to work on a creative project?

You have a choice in how you respond, or react. Nothing can take that away from you, except yourself.

This way of seeing assumes that you respect the astrology, that you respect the flow of archetypal energy like you respect an oncoming thunderhead. To ignore it is hubris, yet we so often see people do just that, and then play the victim. No, you’re not a victim. You just weren’t paying attention.

In past times, we had respect for what “the gods” had to say and what they were planning. We knew these gods, had names for them, and knew what pleased or displeased them.

Today, we’ve skewed toward the side of free will and conscious control. The idea that there’s a pantheon of gods seems primitive. But there’s a lot we’ve thrown out with that bathwater. Stuff astrology knows what to do with.

Practiced well and with Soul, Astrology is supposed to give us intel on how to best shape our response to Life. We all know that Life is a vast unknown, and that anything could happen, at anytime.

So with it as a tool, we can see when there’s going to be more “froth,” or when things will be smoother, and we can make choices accordingly.

I’ve had times in the past where I looked at the astrology coming up and thought…wow, that’s going to be amazing, so beautiful, magic. And while it was in some way, those amazing times can also be dispersive, over-indulgent, draining, unfocused.

When we get these “tough” energies coming up, I don’t think it’s a reason to fear. They can really strongly teach us what we need to know. Questions we did not have answers for, especially in terms of who we are, what we’re made of and what we’re supposed to be doing on this planet from our Soul’s perspective, can be brought to bear. We need that knowledge. We need it to become better people, for our people.

People still have (justified) fears when taking in astrological forecasts. They fear for newly birthed relationships, for the health of parents, for the economy. The astrology becomes a scapegoat for their internal doubt.

Looking at the example of a newly formed relationship, it’s black and white to think that “tough astrology = relationships failing.”

Sometimes in the beginning of a relationship what we need most is a galvanizing challenge or issue, not even necessarily between us but in the world, in order to find out where our allegiances really lie.

That can create bonds that are much stronger for the long term. A strong relationship is something built as much from the hard times as the easy and flowing.

You need to know you can count on someone when the stakes are even higher than they are now. How do you find that out? It’s not from enjoying wild, cocaine-fuelled orgies on rooftop patios in exotic beach destinations. Although I’m sure that would be good for something in the long term (just not sure what exactly…)

It’s by going through fire together that real trust is formed. It’s deep. We only get that when we’ve seen some shit together.

So to zoom out again — when tough energy is on the horizon, first, it may not even be as bad as you can imagine, and second, what if it’s “for you” ultimately?

Does your metaphysics imply random chaos that’s meant to just fuck with you and make you unhappy? Or are there reasons for things, some evolutionary flow? Could it be your Soul knows something about this flow?

The bottom line in all of this, I feel, is you. Where are you at as a person, and what control of your “frame” do you believe you have?

To say that life is simply fated and we have no control is a cop-out. And to say we are responsible for and create every smidge of our reality is dangerously hubristic (Icarus comes to mind as an image).

The best answer is this: it’s somewhere in between. And it’s up to you to figure out the exact coordinates of where you are in that blessed intertidal zone.

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