by Robert Wilkinson
Often it’s hard to distinguish success from failure. When things are ending, it’s natural to feel that some things didn’t work out as we hoped they would. This can show us the way to future successes, if we’re open to seeing what is with new eyes and an open heart and mind.
I wrote some of this over 5 years ago, and rewrote it about a year ago with the title “Can Astrology Predict Success and Failure? Is It Fate or Free Will?” I’m reprinting it now with some important additions because it seems that many have hit the ending of major life chapters, and are now forced to turn to the new, whether they want to or not.
This article has some very important and valuable information for all who are figuring out what they can and cannot do, given the limitations in the natal chart and the transits that seem to be beyond our control. So can any of our changes be predicted with Astrology? How does Astrology work at the intersections of fate and free will?
Today we’ll we take a new look at the benefits and limitations of good timing, and what part our own actions play in the results we get from our efforts. I’ll begin by stating that while the timing of life-altering events is built into our chart, we forever have the ability to choose our responses to what we confront. That alone gives us the power to turn past defeats into future victories, and move from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, and from death to immortality.
In Astrology, the totality of the planets show us the larger gestalt of the moment. By the angular relationships of the planets to each other across their time-structured cycles, we see evolving patterns between various parts of our existence. As these continue their eternal shape-shifting, they indicate times to build, times to break down, times to act, and times to hold back.
Throughout our lives, we're either cooperating or not cooperating with the patterns of the moment. To be clear, our cooperation with Divine Patterns of evolution does not mean things will inevitably turn out the way we want, nor does it mean we necessarily get an easy ride or a pass on a necessary life lesson.
Also just because something seems to fail shouldn't lead us to believe we were necessarily out of alignment with our Higher Purpose. Remember, we often learn as much if not more through our apparent failures, since in our striving we had opportunities to bring forth imagination and perseverance, two Eternal qualities of our Higher Self.
One misconception about Astrology is that many believe that because our birth chart shows it's a "good" time or "bad" time for something, then we are powerless to change the course of events and must accept the inevitable "good" or "bad" that is supposed to follow. This of course ignores the fundamental fact that we alone manifest our lives through the consequences of our actions and inactions.
Early in my quest to know what Astrology is and is not, I found an immortal quote from The Bard related to some timeless wisdom: "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves if we are underlings." This would imply that Astrology's dictum for many thousands of years, "As Above So Below," should be seen as pointing us to patterns so we may take responsibility for the causes and effects we experience this life.
It is our responsibility to learn Divine discrimination so we know when to act as we should and not act as we shouldn't. It is in our actions or non-actions, and whether these are in our best interests and can really get our intention accomplished, that determines much of what happens in our lives. Of course, not all intentions should be fulfilled, and in the defeats that lead us to turn to higher things, we ultimately fulfill our highest intentions, which may not look anything like what our ego desires.
Our stars, whether natal, progressed, transits, or return charts done for specific places, cannot make anything happen of themselves, nor can any Astrological, Tarot, psychic, or "spiritual" self-help reading make a thing happen or not happen. We humans are the ones who anchor energies in action, or not. I offer a brief explanation about why planets do not cause anything in my book "A New Look At Mercury Retrograde:"
Even if we use astrology, we still live our own lives and make our own choices. Invariably, we are either acting, not acting, or being acted upon. Planetary configurations are relevant to us in our chosen field of activity, in our life energies, and the varying circumstances that influence us. An astrological configuration cannot make us act appropriately, or solve a problem in and of itself. Many configurations completely pass us by, with the "good ones" not magically bringing expected good nor the "bad ones" visiting disaster upon us. Any configuration only manifests to the degree we are living life, and not merely being spectators waiting for something to happen.
No matter how great the aspects in our chart are, if we are limited by inner or outer factors we cannot achieve the best use of those aspects. There are limits in Nature, just as there are limits in human disposition, resources, or conditions.
If we avoid looking at key limitations and choose to push forward with something, or fail to follow through at critical moments due to fear, attachment, or buying into illusions, then we will experience failure. These teach us to accept or get beyond those limitations, and not blame circumstances or someone else for our failure.
While sometimes things seem to turn around "magically," usually the "success" or "failure" of something involves several factors, among them circumstances, effort, and timing. If these are not correct, then usually we don't achieve the desired results. The last two are within our control, while the first usually isn't. And if the circumstances are not correct, then no amount of effort or right astrological timing will make our project succeed.
"Real world" circumstances influence our choices to act or not act in our best interests, and while we don't control the circumstances, we always control our responses to those circumstances. Some circumstances do not permit "success" as we envision it, and even when they do, if we don't do the right things in the right ways and times, we cannot succeed.
For example, we cannot drive two thousand miles with only $20 for gas (unless we have revolutionary technology!) We cannot catch trout in a bass pond, nor can we plant potatoes in great soil with the Moon in a fertile sign and get a crop when there is snow on the ground. We cannot sell products to people who want to buy something else, or make someone "do the right thing."
We cannot make someone else want to be in a healthy relationship with us if they don't want that. And while we can pray for some things, affirming our willingness to receive them and/or "be attracted to them," we cannot make them come or find fulfillment in that which isn't true for us. Some things are beyond our control.
That brings up a key point. If we visualize a desired end clearly, have the skills and resources that must be used to that end, start it at the right time in the right way, and persevere in doing what we must to achieve the result, then usually we get some measure of success. HOWEVER! If in doing that effort we violate one critical factor, then no matter what, our efforts will never succeed in the way we would like.
Regardless of what we believe is good or desired, we must not violate our integrity and what we're here to learn and Be, or at some point our "truth of being," or karma, or guardian angel, or another Spiritual component in our lives will put a stick in our spokes to keep us from error. Something about "leave us not in temptation" comes to mind. Spirit has many ways and means to redirect us from erroneous aim, whether we think we are in error or not.
If our desires are pulling us away from what we are to learn about selfless service this life, then at some point our desires will be frustrated or wrecked altogether. We can effort mightily toward some end, but if it's a) fundamentally not true for us, or b) is leading us away from our best and Highest Self and purpose for being on Earth, or c) the "failure" is part of our higher path of Self-realization, then our efforts cannot bring us the success we hope for. This helps us learn detachment, dispassion, and discrimination.
When our best efforts have failed, it's important to do reflective work using objectivity and compassion to understand if we were in error, and if possible make appropriate corrections. Of course, usually when we get the lesson we realize those specific conditions will never occur again, and must find a larger application for the truth contained in that lesson.
All fault-finding around "failure" concerning circumstances or any other external thing, even if these were involved in what did or didn't happen, is unhelpful unless we see the "fault" as an error in judgment that needs correcting. Here I feel taking the view that our entire human experience is a series of "experiments in Truth" can help us find a measure of objectivity and dispassion.
Ultimately, our human experience is all about our responsibility to act or not act appropriately, and see what constitutes "right view," "right effort," "right action," and "right realization." We learn about these across many lifetimes, and learn how to master ways to express these through life experiences and accomplishments demonstrating our purpose on Earth.
Of course, compassion also dictates that we remember the hard human truth that even if we do everything correctly, "sometimes the answer is no." A crop failure may not come from our specific actions or inactions, but it's always important to take responsibility for whatever part we did play in the larger event, and if we "failed," examine how we can become better people for the experience.
Our willingness to find appropriate ways to rise to our challenges determines how the outcome of those challenges affects our lives. How we respond determines future possibilities of succeeding in fulfilling our purpose.
Sometimes just rising to the occasion brings forth our better Self, whether we "succeed" or "fail" at whatever. An apparent defeat today can bring forth skills and understandings that could be an important key to future successes.
I'll close this brief essay on our responsibility to drive our own boat and not blame externals for our apparent worldly failures and frustrations with a reminder from The Three Truths: "Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment." Something to consider as we find ourselves at the intersections of Fate Street and Free Will Street as we move and groove down Eternity Boulevard.
If you want more insights into what you’ve just read, you may want to take a look (or new look) at "What Is Astrology" since it explains some fundamental concepts related to where we've gone today.
© Copyright 2008, 2013 Robert Wilkinson