View Full Version : Free Will / Do we really have it?
I read with great interest an article by Darcy Woodall in the TMA (April/May issue) entitled The Call of the Hungry Soul: The Moon, Food, Saturn and Destiny.
Children born with Moon/Saturn aspects as opposed to Moon/Jupiter or Moon/Venus aspects in their natal chart.
“The unconditional love of a mother is essential to healthy human development. If a baby’s hungry cries are met with warm milk that is sweet and plentiful (Moon/Jupiter) and comforting sounds of pleasure and joy (Moon/Venus) she will learn that her fear will be alleviated with love and understanding.
However, if the milk is long in coming and given impatiently (Moon/Mars) or grudgingly,(Moon/Saturn) the baby will learn that life is cold and painful (Moon/Saturn) and that her efforts to reach out for care and comfort (Moon) are likely to be met with some form of rejection. (Saturn)”
The article goes on to say how children with Moon/Saturn aspects can develop problems with lack of self-regard, eating disorders and so on.
So surely this would show it will be the birth of the child which will determine if the mother will in fact be a nurturing or non-nurturing type. Look at a new born baby’s chart and you’ll have a good idea if mother and baby are in fact going to bond.
This would seem to me as if our lives are already mapped out for us, or am I missing something here?
What do other’s think?
Each of us has a single birth chart. Each of those around us have their own birth chart. How each of these charts interact is a complex web of possibilities. However, each chart does show how the owner of the chart will tend to shape and deal with those interactions -- all of that despite how each of the others will tend to shape and deal with them.
So, our own chart shows us how we might manage interactions from our side of the equation -- but not whether we will prevail or what others will bring to a relationship. I would not be so quick to assign a situation such as you refered to in that magazine artical to a single planetary pair.
Those outlooks are indeed great for a written insight as they can focus a concept and start one thinking. And, given the amount of space that a magazine can offer, we have to deal with constrained concepts -- unless we buy a book. I would start with those planetary pairs as potential indicators but then I would go on to look at all of the Moon's aspects and phase relationships, then look at the parental axis and its occupying planets and rulers and their aspect and phase relationships. Finally, I would consider the Sun and how it helps (or doesn't help) to integrate all of those factors. Dave.
It's interesting to speculate, but no one knows the answer to such a question until they are dead, and there is no guarantee of the answer even then. The second problem is that if your fate is predetermined, there is no one we can visit in this life to check the master list, or even to say if the methods we use to determine such things (astrology, tarot, etc.) amount to anything more than entertainment in the end.
Dave and Bob make excellent points. I agree with Dave that for the author of the TMA article to make sweeping assessments on the basis of one set of planetary relationships is a dubious enterprise; and I concur with Bob that the question of fate versus free will is one of the imponderables that can inhibit living in the present moment. For myself, it seems most likely that our will is freest in terms of how we respond to people, events and circumstances; and that the answer to this question is relative and most likely fits a multiple-choice format, moreso than true/false. My personal opinion is that we exercise our greatest freedom of choice prior to birth, when we gravitate (literally) toward a resonant template reflected in the natal horoscope. Afterward, our free will involves what we do with that model, which has boundaries and gates of opportunity, and which functions according to probabilities. But of course, this can only be speculation.
gloria, I've skimmed that article and found it sophomoric. This is exactly the sort of brand of "psychological astrology" that I find shallow.
As to free will, this is the one fascinating thing I have found about ppl's charts: you can never tell from a natal chart how developed a native is in terms of self awareness. You just cannot tell. And despite what the modern books say, I've found a "hard" looking chart is no more condusive to self insight than a chart w/"lazy" trines up the yin yang. And that is the most important component of will or thelema if you will: self insight and self awareness... I mean, you cannot possess free will in any degree if you are not conscious of your actions. (I know the word "conscious" is problematic, but I'm not like, a cognitive science student and delving very deeply into this debate really makes my head swim!)
Having said that, if a chart cannot indicate to me the potential for someone to develop self insight, that to me suggests that self insight is at least, in part, a choice. I don't know about free will, but I do know there is definite choices available in terms of the manifestation of chart energies if one is willing to work for it.
Speaking as someone with a Moon/Saturn opposition, I'm glad that Darcy Woodall (the author) recognises that not all people with such contacts have eating disorders and that it is possible for someone to creatively integrate the contact into their lives, like the Dalia Lama has done (Breathes sigh of relief).
I don't think the problem here is the Freewill/Destiny argument (on which both Dave and Astraea have made excellent comments) - I think the problem is more one of what Olivia Barclay calls 'psychobabble' - slapping a great deal of tendentious psychology onto a single aspect.
Dave rightly points out that if we need to learn more about the relationship of parent and child synastry is likely to be far more productive.
However, the Moon is not THE significator of the mother - though it might be A significator in some circumstances. If we have one chart to go off and we wish to learn more about the person's mother, then the ruler of the tenth is the appropriate significator.
Woodall gives two charts to support her hypothesis, one is that of Sarah Ferguson and the other that of 'Lauren'. In the case of Sarah Ferguson her mother is signified by the Sun (ruler of the tenth) which is in Fall in Libra and in the twelfth, which is a place of accidental debility- she probably was more interested in Horses (ruled by the twelfth) than Sarah's upbringing.
Sarah's own significator is Mars, ruler of her Ascendant and combust in Libra (and also in Detriment) - Combust shows that her mother outshines her and that Sarah is also to an extent hidden and weak. Both significators are weak and badly placed and if there was a problem between them, Astrologically this is just as good a symbol of the problem.
For Lauren, the Mother is represented by Jupiter, Retrograde, alone and in the eighth. Jupiter has dignity by face (associated by Lilly with being 'fearful', which fits the description). The significator of the Mother is again highly debilitated
Now I'm not claiming that my analysis is better - far from it - it's just as dangerously simplistic - but I do point out that problem relationships here are not dependent on Moon/Saturn for their symbolism - indeed Moon/Saturn might be safely ignored and we might still 'see' Mother/Daughter problems.
I didn't read the article, but what struck me with the passage quoted is that if you remove the astrology references, it reads like decades-old patriarchal psychiatry blame-the-mother claptrap.
The unconditional love of a mother is essential to healthy human development. If a baby's hungry cries are met with warm milk that is sweet and plentiful and comforting sounds of pleasure and joy she will learn that her fear will be alleviated with love and understanding.
However, if the milk is long in coming and given impatiently or grudgingly, the baby will learn that life is cold and painful and that her efforts to reach out for care and comfort are likely to be met with some form of rejection.
As far as free will goes, I absolutely believe that we have it. We make our own choices, whether we were influenced by the stars at birth or by family dynamics or experiences in school or whatever.
I'm still not fully decided about the free will issue.
In the past few years, tho, I'm leaning way more towards the side of Determinism.
Free Will implies that we have no limitations about our direction in life. That we make choices without any sort of imposed framework.
But, as in Determinism, as I understand it, we still have choice, but we make decisions within a certain framework dependent upon our characteristics, traits, personality (astrology); dependent upon time and geography; basic biology or instinct (survival, procreation, etc.). (These are jsut a few which come immediately to mind and there may be more!)
Determinism doesn't say there isn't any choice, rather it implies that when options arise we make our choices based upon predescribed limitations and are based less in our creative minds.
Someone please correct me if I've got Determinism wrong! It's a tricky subject :)
Those who believe entirely in Free Will -- how do you see the other side?
Thank you all very much.
You know, with respect to Darcy Woodhall whose article I found extremely interesting and thought-provoking, (maybe too much so) the excerpt was merely to show the reasoning behind my question. An example if you like.
One important thing I have learned here. Just because an article is in print in a respected magazine doesn’t mean, however well intentioned, it is without flaws.
The main thing is that your replies have shed light on my original question, but I think we have to admit.... the jury is still out on that one!!
And that even a highly respected Astrologer can become over-enthusiastic about one single chart element, when we are always taught to look for confirmatory evidence before making hard and fast interpretations.
A few years ago Psychologically oriented Astrologers used to blast traditionalists for being too 'fate' oriented. I do think that all of us need to reflect that any aspect can manifest in a number of ways depending on the rest of the chart, our interaction with other people and indeed transits, progressions and other Astrological phenomena. We should take care that we don't simply work from formula - 'ah yes Moon is Mother, Saturn is restriction, distance and coldness therefore Moon/Saturn contact equals cold and distant Mother'. There is determinism with that approach - the interpretation is determined by the textbook not by the evidence at hand. There is no thought about alternative meanings.
Dave is always warning against taking the textbook view - there are times when he is right - those times where we unthinkingly copy out the book (even if we wrote it ourselves!)