The belief that humans are all at the mercy of unavoidable fate. The term comes from the Latin word 'fatum' (destiny). For some this is an impersonal power which influences all life on Earth, while others believe the individual must submit to the will of God. The latter concept is especially prevalent in Islam. The word Islam itself means "submission" (to the will of Allah).
Fatalism denies the existence of a human free will, but this doesn't necessarily lead to a passive stance. The Stoics and other schools in Antiquity postulated the idea that moral behaviour remains meaningful even if it cannot influence fate. Moreover, knowing one's future permits the individual to face life's impending difficulties with calm and courage.
In astrology fatalism means accepting the impossibility of influencing the basic patterns in the natal chart. In its extreme form, this implies abdicating personal responsibility. Fatalistic astrology denies the possibility that the natal chart could be used as a basis for further development - of whatever kind - and reveals a latent potential that an individual may, or may not, realise. That is why extreme fatalism is rejected by modern astrology (Revised Astrology and Psychological Astrology). On the other hand, if free will totally prevailed, there would be little point in learning astrology, as horoscope factors would have little influence over one's personality and choices in life.
Notes and References
- In Greek mythology a spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris. Another name was Adrasteia, meaning "the inescapable"