Life, Fate, and Freewill

fate vs determinism

One of the great, centuries-old debates, which continues among astrologers today, is around the concepts of fate and freewill. Some astrologers believe in a deterministic fate and uphold the notion that we can do nothing to change our fates. Those astrologers believe planets cause events and when there is clear understanding of the planets, based on planetary locations in the zodiac and their relationships to one another, one’s fate can be predicted.

On the other end of the spectrum are astrologers who believe life is partially predetermined and that fate can be mitigated. I’m aligned with this perspective of life here on planet earth.

I’m not satisfied that there is ONE definitive explanation for the role of planets and their interactions and everyone else has it wrong. There was a spectrum of beliefs millennia ago as there is today, and so the discussion continues.

I do believe certain things in life are fated. But we have the ability to make choices and because we can make choices our potentially fated lives can have outcomes that are different from the “predictable” outcome. I’ve watched the 2006 movie Deja Vu several times, and I think it’s the question of whether or not fate can be changed, and if so, how it can be changed, that intrigues me.

A lot of things are predictable, which is a primary reason astrology just works. I’ve observed what I sometimes refer to as apparent “influences” on people and events due to a planet’s location and relationships to other planets in a horoscope chart. But I can’t predict with 100 percent accuracy  how someone will respond to any given influence. An example that validates for me the less deterministic perspective is that of babies who are born within seconds of each other and who then essentially share the same fate if we look only to the stars and planets for an explanation of their individual life outcomes. The Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew, are a lot alike, but they’re also different, as is true of most twins. Twins can have very different life experiences and it’s unlikely their lives will end in the same way or at the same time.

Interestingly, it was after watching the 2016 movie Arrival that my thoughts coalesced about whether the planets and their movements through the heavens are predictive (of fate) or symbolic in nature. In the movie, alien creatures use what look like symbols in their effort to communicate with linguistics professor Louise Banks about the reason 12 spaceships have landed in various locations on earth. The space aliens would project a black cloud-like substance from their “hands” and the substance would converge into different circular shapes. It occurred to me that we arrange and rearrange letters from our 26-letter alphabet in different ways to form words that have meaning. It was only after Banks was able to understand the symbols by learning various associations that she could interpret the message they’d come here to share with humans.

Movies are themselves a visual collection of symbols (images) that represent ideas,  archetypes, concepts, etc., that are combined, moved around, and recombined to create and convey messages.

In the same way that letters in an alphabet are combined and recombined to represent words that represent the variety here on earth, the sun and orbiting planets (as viewed by us based on their position in our zodiac) apply to and separate from a variety of relationships with each other (by conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition) to represent the variety of events in our world. Astrologers are like linguists who provide on-the-spot services to communicate by translating a symbolic language that is not common to both speakers. We’re the interpreters of the symbols that combine in a variety of ways to create greater meaning.

Finally, while I’m more comfortable with the notion that planets do not cause events, I know that they represent events. And understanding what the the planets and their movements represent, or symbolize, can help us understand and make use, through choices, of the meaning, knowledge, and wisdom contained  in the messages.

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