Every astrologer I have spoken with has pointed out confounding factors as one of the main reasons astrological prediction is never, never 100 percent certain. “People have misconceptions that the astrologer looks into a crystal ball and sees the future perfectly represented,” Brennan explains, “but that’s not really what astrology is.”
It’s here that prediction becomes the favorite word of the future of many astrologers: forecast. Astrological forecasts tend to describe the future more thematically or archetypically than concretely, and the vast majority of astrological forecasts today fall into this category. Prediction has more room for various possible outcomes and allows human error in interpretation. Horoscopes work this way, as do planetary and one-year-ahead forecasts, and this is often exactly what happens during one-on-one consultations between astrologers and their clients.
Like Sam reynolds, an astrologer who started out as a skeptic and served on the board of directors of the international astrology organization ISAR, points out that even character analysis via natal chart is essentially a form of thematic forecasting: “By virtue of looking at your character, [astrology] can express what is likely to manifest, what we are probably dealing with, ”an extension of Heraclitus’ saying that“ character is fate ”. Character influences the way we navigate the circumstances that life throws at us. “Fate has two arms: one of them is yours,” he said. “Astrology is all about learning to work the arm that you can work.”
Working the arm of fate is what the astrologer, the teacher and CUSP co-founder of the application Kirah tabourn made for herself and for her clients. A planning-oriented astrologer, Tabourn sees prediction as providing “more grounding in the present by having a feel for the shape of the future,” including the precious gift of organizing one’s life. “[Astrological timing] helps people to feel that there is a certain structure, an order in things, ”she says. “It helps people make decisions.
If astrology can help us determine “the right time” to make decisions, it follows that astrology can help us discern “the wrong time” as well. Warned is warned, as the old saying goes, and the cyclicality of astrology is uniquely placed to provide a forearm. “When we investigate historical and autobiographical astrological cycles, it is important to see where the repetition occurs,” says writer-astrologer Pallas Augustine. This can include cyclical recurrences of rhyming difficulties, such as relapses in mental or physical health, sensitive topics that require skillful compassion whenever they arise in sessions with the client. Astrological prediction, handled gently and skillfully, can help “spot direction and movement. [going forward] looking at what is different, ”Augustine continues.
However, with knowing that people make choices based on astrology comes an imperative to be as ethical as possible when translating celestial movements for clients. “Our customers and consumers of content are often in a space where they place a lot of weight on what [astrologers] say, ”Tabourn adds. “Being really aware of this power dynamic is super important.”
The downside to astrology’s immense meaning-making potential? This makes the practice vulnerable to misuse by careless types with a questionable commitment to honorable behavior. An astrologer more concerned with being right or (un) famous than being useful runs the very real risk of chasing sensationalism at the expense of integrity. This results in people using astrology as an excuse to be an ambulance hunter or to create viral and fear-mongering content on social media. Astrologers without deliberate training in counseling skills or trauma-informed practice, even those with the best of intentions, run the risk of inadvertently disturbing their clients rather than supporting them. Some professional astrological organizations attempt to resolve these issues through codes of ethics, but because there is no governing body that dictates who can and cannot be called an astrologer, such codes are limited in their ability to rule over irresponsible practitioners. Moreover, these codes, by their very nature, cannot fully address ethical differences between cultures or generational divisions.