A New Year’s Non-Forecast

Happy Artificially Intelligent New Year!

It is a tricky business, yet often expected of and reinforced by astrologers, to give an astrological forecast each year. Correctly interpreting planetary transits is a fiendishly challenging practice. The astrologer must be disciplined not only in astrology, but also in world history and human nature. Even then, the best any of us can do is speculate on how planetary alignments might manifest in the world, based on our understanding (such as it is) of the world and its history to this day. Or we can play with our imagination of the symbols, seeking out meaning and a sense of grounding in a turbulent world. To do all of this requires a real discipline of intellect and emotion. We astrologers are, if we are being true to our craft, martial artists of the mind.

Such a statement is almost eye-rolling from a Mercury-in-Aries native like myself. But I don't mean to be trivial: An astrologer must keep a constantly vigilant eye on what they say and write, being very clear to themselves when they might be invoking confirmation bias, cherry picking, psychological projection, or one of many other dangers that are inherent to the craft.

Part of astrology's value is in stimulating conversations around what could be, to transform and elevate our perspective so that we may see that there is reason to keep going, that whatever vexes us is temporary, and that a cosmic story is unfolding in this world, in our own lives, that is far grander than anything our limited senses can tell us. This is why intellectual and emotional discipline are so important to the astrologer. No transformative perspective can be given if we are weak in mental understanding or emotional honesty.

Those of you who seek out astrological understanding must also be fiercely discerning in what you choose to consume and believe. Yet at the same time, we must carry enough openness to be surprised, challenged, and changed.

I've had clients come into my office with horror stories of things told to them by other astrologers. Statements given to them in a reading may have weighed them down for years. An unchangeable fact, whether a future event or truth about their inner nature, was implanted in their mind with no room for a more enriching perspective. I know I am human and fallible, and have said things incorrectly or missed certain key elements of a chart during a reading. But I have also striven to avoid giving absolute predictions or proclamations that assuage a person's existential fears, or prepare them for some assured calamity. Such predictions are almost always an internal deflection by the astrologer, a statement made to cover over their own insecurities.

Personal predictions are unreliable, in part, because no astrologer can have a full grasp of a client's internal state, especially having just met them. Planetary transits do not affect us from outside with no context, they are reflective of a dynamic inner state, the natural psychic motions occurring within us. I know from careful study of transits and progressions to my own chart that conventional astrological notions — such as Saturn and Mars being "malefic" and Jupiter and Venus being "benefic" — rarely manifest so directly, and can even manifest opposite expectation. What is always the case, however, is the way astrological alignments manifest archetypally, or in terms of quality and thematic ground. Our experience may not match the conventional notion, but the thematic material we are working with always will. Moreover, our experience will always be ultimately positive to us if we have made a good habit out of working cooperatively with whatever is in front of us, here and now.

I sometimes say to my clients that they by no means need astrology to help them get through their lives. Astrology is an amazing tool, but the real magic is in the attention of the human mind and heart. When we are approaching our life intelligently and with heart, then astrology becomes a tool of validation and gentle nudges, rather than any dramatic or sparkling revelations. We then walk our path with the least drama and the greatest potential for peace.

For me, using astrology to make predictions for the outer world — even when delightfully speculative and deliciously poetic — takes a far back seat to the real value that it offers, as a map of the inner psyche. For anyone who feels called to do the deep inner work, astrology can be a great study. There are other studies, of course, most primarily life itself. But our human egos like truth to be revealed in concepts, and since real truth is never concrete in the way the ego wants, astrology offers a middle ground, a symbolic language that transcends normal verbal concepts. Astrology is a bridge between the conceptual world of the ego and the dream world of the soul. What's more, its most obvious, spectacular wonder is that it brings the planets down into our little human lives. What magic is inherent to the realization that there is an undeniable, empirically observable, and perennially dependable correlation between the solar system and the self? How wonderfully impossible and deliciously poetic is that?

Now, stay tuned: My forecast for 2024 is up next. 🙈

Please share your thoughts...

5 Responses to A New Year’s Non-Forecast

    • Very true, and I would never underestimate them (they so big, we so small). I’m sorry you crashed Juan, you know I’ve been praying for you.

      I’m in the same boat, Saturn-wise. You and I have Mars and Saturn on the same axis. I’ve been going through some tough initiation myself, though certainly not to your level. I’ve learned a lot from my trial, don’t want to go through it again but am grateful both for what I’ve gained and let go, and for what grief continues to teach.

  1. Merilee Novinson says:

    Thank you Brian. As one long interested in astrology your observations are so well put and the philosophical aspects you explore are lovely to read and cause me to pause and reflect. Thank you so much.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Lin Schaye says:

    Thank you for your non-forcast. Just reading your beautiful writing makes me happy. Ashville will welcome and celebrate you soon, I’ve no doubt.

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