Astrology: determinism vs. free will

by Luiza Azancot. Average Reading Time: about 3 minutes.

Many of my astrological consultations begin like this:


In other words, I’m paraphrasing Shakespeare:


This dialogue reveals deeper questions which are the subject of endless philosophical and religious debates. The agents of fate, the divinities who manipulated the threads of our lives, the Moirai, were important figures in Greek mythology. But, in summary, the questions are: Is our destiny predetermined or do we have free will to decide among the choices presented to us? Are we puppets manipulated by invisible forces or are we defining our life’s journey?

In my area, I can add one more question: Does astrology conditions or increases our choices? Are our choices predetermined or do we have free will?

In my opinion, destiny encompasses a combination of factors arising out of the conditions of our birth, events over which we have no control and issues that we can change through awareness, effort and discipline.


I believe that the conditions of our birth are not accidental, that they did not “happen” to us, but are the result of our spiritual and karmic path. Like many of my fellow astrologers, I believe that before we are born we chose the country, the family of origin, the time and date of birth. This choice comes from the soul, that is, a spiritual high place beyond the reach of consciousness. Regardless of personal belief, these factors are predetermined. Here, there is no free will. I am a woman born in Portugal in 1950, in an upper middle class family, and those circumstances largely determined my fate. If I had been born a man, black, in Georgia, USA, around the same time, to farming parents, my starting point would be very different as well my destination.

Secondly, we have no control over certain events, but we have control over our reaction to these events. In a traumatic event, despair and self-pity can be replaced with strength and acceptance. The economic crisis (social event) spurs some people into entrepreneurial tasks, others search their fortunes elsewhere and emigrate and others plunge into depression. The unfolding of the economic crisis is beyond individual control, but we are free to choose our response.

The third group of factors is the most relevant to answer the original question. Another frequent conversation:Dialog2What I should have answered: For many centuries it was believed that astrology would reveal the fate of a person and that the natal chart was deterministic.  Astrology was useful to find out the web that the Moirai wove, and, in that context, perhaps ignorance is a blessing.  The current humanistic approach to astrology still relies on the thought attributed to Hermes Trisgemistus “As above so below” or in another translation “on earth as it is in heaven”. With the development of archetypal psychology, astrology became an instrument of self-knowledge, a liberating tool which through the choices that are presented can enhance my participation in defining my destiny.

In the words of philosopher Richard Tarnas: “ Astrology’s great merit is that it seems to reveal very precisely which archetypes are especially important for each person, how they interact with each other, and when and how they are most likely to be expressed in the course of each life. From this point of view, the birth chart is not the randomly allotted prison-structure of our inexorable fate, but can be seen rather as defining the basic structure of our potential unfolding–suggesting the personal gifts and trials that we have chosen for this lifetime to work with and evolve through. Astrology illuminates the fundamental archetypal dynamics that profoundly condition our lives, which is not to say they absolutely determine our lives. “

Astrology allows for a better understanding of our personality, our complexes, to bring to a conscious level the unconscious drives that make us always act the same way and thus free ourselves from our shadow. Astrology is an extraordinary tool for personal development.  Astrology is the starting point for:

Plant a thought, harvest an act

Plant an act, harvest a habit

Plant a habit, harvest a character

Plant a character, harvest a destiny.


One comment on ‘Astrology: determinism vs. free will’

  1. rositaiguana says:

    Well done! I agree Astrology is a great tool for personal and collective understanding and development. Then choice is required – but not guaranteed….


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