What about free will?

Posted by Shannon Cunningham on

What about free will?

As the awesome astrologer Julie Simmons says, “You can’t not be who you are- you can be aware.”  In other words- you have a blueprint whether you like it or not, and if you know it, the world becomes a whole lot easier to navigate.

Your natal chart is your blueprint and it includes information like: What are your personal strengths and weaknesses? How do you do relationships? Who were/are your family and what were you meant to learn from them? What’s going to come easy in your life and what is going to come hard? What are your karmic lessons on this journey and how can you best achieve your purpose? Etc. What you choose to do with this information is entirely up to you.

There is no hard and fast fate laid out for you, according to astrology (and any astrologer who tells you different is a charlatan). Yes, astrology can predict energies, events and people that will come into your life but how you respond to them are your decisions to make.

You can cling to a marriage that wheezed it’s last breath in 1942 and which has no hope of teaching you anything except that life is tough right up until the end of your days- if you wish. You could be the best accountant in the world but instead, choose to be a failed clown- if you wish. You could have had exactly the mother you needed in this lifetime but you could hate her for not having given you enough hugs- if you wish. You could have a great opportunity and squander it- if you…. You see where I’m going with all this. I don't have to be all Princess Bride about it.

I think the key to living a truly free life has to do with how conscious we are of who we are. First of all- there is the stuff you come in with- your blueprint & your inner disposition. Then, what happens in your life shapes you: your history, heredity and environment. We all develop patterns and most often, they get established without our consent, at a very young age. These patterns stay with us until the end of our days and the extent to which they are active in our lives is directly related to how conscious we are of them.

Here is one of my favorite poems about developing awareness.

There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk

By Portia Nelson

Chapter 1.

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…
I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I cant believe I am in this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… its a habit.
But, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5.

I walk down another street.

Many people resist awareness because, well, it’s painful. First you have to spend a lot of time looking at your behavior and not being able to change it. Then, you have to do the one step forward, two steps back dance as you try to make changes in your life (which can be downright enervating). And then- a lot of times, you have to make sacrifices! Self-awareness is really hard because it’s the price you have to pay in order to have a big life. And, like anything you practice, it does get easier but it takes a lot of work.

(Here’s a secret I discovered- many people say they want to be free but they don’t mean it. Shaking their fists heavenwards, they cry from their rooftops- give me freedom or give me death! But oh, how the world loves a cage. Look around you. How many people do you know who are trapped? How many people do you know who trace out the same awful patterns in their relationships and jobs year after year, complaining all the while? I've done it. It's easy to do! Patterns are familiar and familiarity breeds comfort and many people prefer living in the terrible cozy known to the freeing cutting-edge new. It’s a part of the human condition.)

So- to the question of What about free will? I say, astrology does not require its abdication. It encourages its application. And it’s free but it ain’t easy.

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