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Understanding Astrological Predictions

Opinions about astrological prediction are generally divided: 'Mysterious! Magical!', say some; 'Nonsense!', reply others. In fact, both views are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of how astrology really 'works'. In this article, I will use a story to show both the true value of astrological prediction, as well as its limits.

Let's imagine that a girl named Ellen goes to an astrologer, who, after studying Ellen's natal chart in relation to this month's planetary positions, tells her that next weekend she will meet a fine young man with whom she will begin a relationship. And that's exactly what happens. Ellen exclaims to Sue, a friend of hers: 'It's magic! Everything happened just like my astrologer predicted!' Sue, impressed by this, makes an appointment with the same astrologer. In her session, she is told that yes, she will indeed find that job she's been looking for, and will have it by May. Sue, delighted, goes home and waits for a response from the company to which she had applied, yet May comes and goes, and she doesn't receive a call from them. 'What a fool I was!', she remarks when she sees Ellen, 'I should have known: astrology is nonsense!'

Which one of the two girls is correct in her opinion? One might say that they both are, since after all, astrology seems to have 'worked' for Ellen, yet not for Sue. Yet I think it would be more correct to say, on the contrary, that neither girl was correct in her conclusion, since in each case, that conclusion was based on the acceptance of a faulty idea of astrology, that idea being one which many people, both 'believers' as well as 'sceptics' share: namely, that astrology indeed purports to be able to reliably predict what will happen in the future.

At this point, many readers, both the believers and the sceptics, will be disagreeing with me: 'Well, astrology DOES INDEED claim to predict the future, doesn't it?', you may say. And you are right in a way: many astrologers do say that they can tell you what is awaiting you in the future. This is a claim which no 'true believer' would ever dispute, and one that no self-respecting sceptic would fail to criticize, or even ridicule. Opinions on the subject thus would seem to be hopelessly polarized. The solution lies in distinguishing what many astrologers CLAIM from that which in fact astrology can really DO.

More than twenty-five years of experience as an astrologer has convinced me that

  • astrology cannot make precise predictions about your future

  • astrology can indeed reveal the tendencies of your future

And what is the difference? Well, if an astrologer tells you that next Tuesday you will be walking down the street, and will accidently trip and fall, breaking your left wrist as it cracks against a fire hydrant, that would be a pretty precise prediction, wouldn't it? But no astrologer I've ever known makes predictions of such a nature. More likely, an astrologer would say: 'There is danger of an accident next Tuesday; try to be more careful than usual!' This is not a precise prediction, but a statement, based on astrological techniques, about an increased probability of a certain type of event occurring. This is the real strength of astrology: not to tell you what is going to happen (since that is beyond its capabilities), but to inform you about the probabilities of certain types of events happening.

Those of you who may be seeking to know just what's going to happen in the future might be disappointed by that last sentence, though you shouldn't be. After all, if the future were totally predetermined, and if it were possible to predict future events exactly, what would be the point? If something unpleasant were predicted for you, you'd have to be living in constant dread, and if a positive event were foretold, you might just sit back smugly and wait for it to happen, and would thus be robbed of that sudden, wonderful sense of amazement that you would have felt if you hadn't known it was going to happen!

The true value of predictive astrology is to show you the probabilities so that you may take full advantage of the fortunate times in order to fully prosper, and take special care during the more unfortunate periods, and thus have a better chance of avoiding mishaps, overcoming negative thoughts, making the best out of unpleasant situations, etc.

Using astrology to find out when to expect the 'ups and downs' of life will not only give you concrete advantages in many situations, but above all, it can help you achieve a greater understanding of the intimate relationship which exists between our lives and the cosmic forces which are continually shaping them.

David Bolton, astrologer, harpsichordist and language teacher, is co-creator of 'Omnicycles' astrology software, that creates personal graphs showing the future trends for many areas of your life. Get your free demo at:

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