A Nexus of Probability
the butterly wheels and dips in the limitless sky
Astrology is a method of mapping the celestial energy patterns of planets, luminaries and visible stars in the effort to discover significant environmental and spiritual influences operating in a given place at a given time. Your birth chart is a map of the influences affecting the place of your birth at the moment you took your first breath. This need not mean that your life is eternally fated, but it sets the framework for patterns that will emerge in one form or another over the course of your life. This article has been posted partly in response to the recent article on this site by Ram Ramakrishnan, Astrology, Ethics, Destiny and God.
It is natural for most things and people to follow the predetermined course of events, so therefore their destinies could in theory be computed, assuming they acted at the level of the conditioned world. This may also apply to particular individual cases, or groups of cases, but not to all. For example, it is said that those who are predetermined to know their futures will be predetermined to visit a Naadi reader. Astrology and the like may not be completely universal, but may well be more culturally determined than most astrologers care to notice, or to admit.
But if the essential spirit of things is free and we at a deep level participate in this spirit (called brahman in the Indian tradition), then we too can participate in at least some degree of freedom of action, within the boundaries of our karmic potential for this life.
Now the same karmic outcomes do not apply to the case of a simple bushman in the wilds of South Africa, or a hill tribesman in Burma, as opposed to a rich businessman in New York, or a scion of a noble family in India. Even though the aspect may be identical, its expression will be reliant upon the environment of the subject, plus the psychological and spiritual vibration of the individual concerned. It strikes me that these factors would be very difficult to compute.
This said, there may be other planes, where this paradox may be subverted, at least at certain moments. I call such moments expressions of a nexus of probability.
Astrologers generally believe that all things in our universe are intimately connected and that the psychological, social and other effects of their interconnection may be discovered by examining the relative positions of the planets against the backdrop of the zodiac. Some astrologers believe that planetary energies themselves actually cause events in our lives; others believe, with Carl Jung, that planetary positions are synchronistically connected with our lives – in other words, the sorts of things that cause reactions in human beings also seem to cause the planets to appear located in space and time.
In either case, an astrologer applies an understanding of the meanings of planetary relationships, as revealed in your horoscope, to the interpretation of important events in your own life in the world.
The Stars Incline... They Do Not Compel
There are limitations to the application of such knowledge, however. Astrology is more than just a way of foretelling your inevitable fate. Ptolemy, one of the world's greatest astrologers, said: "The stars incline; they do not compel". He meant that while planetary influences create the groundwork and basis for action in any set of circumstances, there is still an element of free will in all of us.
Our world is more like a massive mind than a mighty machine. The degree to which we have taken charge of our own destiny is the degree to which we, as human beings, have freed ourselves from subjection to the seemingly mechanical influences of the conditioned world.
The horoscope, or birthchart, presents us with what may best be described as a set of probabilities having some potential to operate on many levels simultaneously. Astrologers have observed that the easiest way for most people to go through their lives is to accept the apparently random events that come into their personal space and to suffer or enjoy them as they come without seeming to be able to alter either the direction of movement, or the nature of these events in any significant way. Such people are fated, like animals, to be led through their lives as conditioned beings, having, at best, only the barest illusion of self-control and free will. This is widely supposed to be the human condition.
But the "inner science" of deep occultism shows that at any given moment we are experiencing a nexus of probabilities; a focal point of potential tendencies, some of which may be realised and others not – at least in this lifetime. A veritable maze of conditioning influences affects our lives, our organic systems, at any given time. Astrology provides us with a pathway through this maze, although it should be stressed that the nature of any of these conditioning processes is more influential than inevitable. While we may choose (whether consciously or not) to accept some strong conditioning tendency, we may also, within the limitations of our character, choose to reject such a tendency and to apply a countervailing tendency – as for example the application of the appropriate life practices. Enlightened teachings indicate that intensive self-examination and the determined application of particular techniques enable us to purify our karmic natures and to grow in consciousness.
Read part 2 on the Nexus of Probability and the Spacetime Continuum