Pre-diction (literally fore-tell or pro-gnosis = fore-knowing) is one of the most fascinating aspects of astrology while also being responsible for astrology's bad reputation at various times throughout history. For many laypeople astrology is nothing other than prognosis, which is not true. It is mainly concerned with understanding human nature.
First of all, it is important to understand how astrological prediction works. The natal chart is a graphical representation of the position of the planets at the time of birth. It describes the energies present at birth which then evolve and develop over the course of an individual's life. Triggers such as transits, secondary progressions and eclipses indicate when a particular aspect of the personality is likely to develop or undergo some kind of transformation. The triggered horoscope factor in the natal chart will indicate what themes are involved while the trigger will indicate how these will be affected.
Basically, every horoscope factor (and trigger) is a symbol which can become manifest in many ways, and as long as the relationship to the underlying idea remains, the possible spectrum is virtually limitless (Level of Maturity). The horoscope does not reveal which of these possibilities an individual will experience. The less actively involved a person is in shaping their own life, the easier it is to predict the way in which a particular energy is likely to become manifest. This helps to explain why astrologers were able to make fairly accurate predictions in, for example, the Middle Ages when rigid social structures meant that there was less leeway for personal development in many areas of life. Today individuals are generally able to make more choices about their lives and have more opportunities to go in new directions: For example, it has become increasingly uncommon for a person to stay in the same job till they retire.
An increasing number of astrologers agree that the purpose and aim of predictive methods is to help individuals to become aware of the timing of likely developments and processes and to offer advice on finding the most creative and constructive ways of coping with these.
The more an astrologer is able to make a client aware of what possibilities are open, the more able the latter will be to take responsibility for their own actions. On the other hand, the more an astrologer stresses the unavoidability of fate - whether positive or negative - the more likely it will be that a person takes a passive stance.
A deeper understanding of the processes involved can only be achieved by using descriptions which are as neutral as possible. For example, a possible description of Saturn transiting the Sun might be: The core / centre of the personality (Sun) goes through a process of concentrating on what is essential (Saturn in transit). So much is clear. What is not clear is whether this will manifest as a particular experience. It is also not possible to say if the individual concerned will suffer because of any possible restrictions or experience this as a time in which they can harvest the fruits of their labour.
This is only one of the reasons why an increasing number of astrologers reject the idea of event predictions because there is a danger that they will become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Triggers show inner developments but are not their causes. Psychological Astrology believes that if an individual remains unaware of inner developments they attract external events which force them to confront these. However, it should be remembered that every individual is occasionally confronted with an event whose significance goes beyond their own personality - after all they are part of a community or society. It is quite possible for certain triggers to reflect this fact. As with triggers of a more personal nature, they do not predict concrete events but indicate how a person will react to them and what significance they are likely to attach to them.
- To What Extent Are Life-Events Predictable? (Dane Rudhyar, 1968)
- The Horoscope in Manifestation. A psychological approach to transits and progressions (Liz Greene, 1996)
- 911-predictions (prognoses regarding 9/ 11; astrologyweekly)
- An Astrological Warning of Trouble at Sea (Dennis Elwell; 1987/ 1993)
- Prediction, Providence & the Power of the 'Self' in Horary (Deborah Houlding, 2006)
- astrology-and-science.com (many, mainly sceptical articles and links)
Notes and References
- Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration 18th century