Thursday, March 18, 2010
Fate, Providence and Traditional Astrology
I was just re-reading Gregory Shaw's Theurgy and the Soul (Penn State, 1995) on the late Neoplatonic philosopher Iamblichus.
At page 43, Shaw discusses Iamblichos' views on providence and fate which restrict the choices of individuals due to the emanation of the Cosmos from the One and the spiritual connection of all things. "Embodied life could be experienced as a bondage to fate or as an opportunity to live under divine providence, depending on how the soul used its powers."
Because there is a patterning to reality and existence, all things are not possible. We can see this as an evil external force restricting our ego choice, ie fate, or see the underlying purpose of the patterning, which in the Hermetic and Neoplatonic view, despite the existence of evil, is good overall, though not necessarily good as the individual ego may see it.
Think of the small child that wants to get into the cupboard and eat all of the cookies. "Oh mala fortuna, that I cannot gorge myself" Yet he is thereby saved from a gut ache! Greater wisdom brings greater understanding.
As far as giving people bad news and telling them things they do not wish to hear, this is indeed part of the work of a traditional astrologer, if the astrologer wishes to tell their clients the truth. Since traditional astrology is accurate and precisely reflects reality, we can hardly avoid giving bad news on occasion. But this is hardly restricted to astrologers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, many professions have a similar function.
A long time ago I decided I would prefer to be accurate than always satisfy my clients. My better clients appreciate it and come back. I do, of course, have a steady stream of clients who are unconsciously paying me to tell them that everything is going to be fine. They are disappointed when I say it won't be.
Now Lilly advises us not to oppress our clients with our judgments and there is no reason to hit people over the head with bad news. But the fact is that these clients are going to be unhappy no matter what. They go to the 900 psychic who says "everything will be great!" but it isn't and the client is unhappy. They come to me, I saw it won't work out, it doesn't and the client is unhappy.