The Art of Astrological Prediction
by Hank Friedman
There are several principles of prediction that are very important to keep in mind if one is to be successful in the art of astrological prediction.
1. Seeing the person.
A person is not a dog. You would give a very different prediction to a person than to a dog (or the dog's owner about the dog) if, for example, transiting Jupiter conjoined a planet in the Tenth House. This statement might sound foolish, but in actuality, it highlights a very important principle.
Pay attention to the person you are reading for. In the same way that a dog will respond differently to Jupiter than a person will, so will one person versus another. A person who is set in their ways, or not about to change jobs, or too timid to quit a job, or simply happy in the job they are in, will not respond to a Jupiter/10th house transit in the way that someone who is "itching to change jobs" will. And these types of differences abound in every area of a person's life.
Yes, there are exceptions to this principle. In some cases, people die, get sick, meet their mate, or experience other kinds of events that "happen to them" without their overt participation in creating them.
Additionally, if you predict something that is way beyond the scale of a person's lot in life, e.g. great wealth or great disaster, your prediction is only going to miss the mark. For example, an ordinary person is not usually going to receive an offer to be paid ten times their present salary (because changes are usually incremental). And for clients who espouse the wish to become famous, unless the chart supports the likelihood of fame (e.g. through the presence of strong –Vedic – planetary yogas), such fame will most likely elude them. Don't lead them on.
Similarly, to encourage someone to make a change, who doesn't have the resources or the desire, actually only shows the person that you are not seeing them, and might push them in the wrong direction. Reality counts, and who the person is, their limitations, stage in life, capabilities, and general "lot in life" are very powerful factors influencing what happens to them in the future.
Keep in mind that I am an idealist, and both believe that great changes can occur in people's lives, and have seen many people make tremendous changes in their lives. Nevertheless, after practicing astrology for over 30 years, I've come to realize that just because a major astrological event occurs in a person's chart doesn't mean that any change will take place in their lives. People need to be ready, willing, and able to make the change or it won't happen. (There are also many times when a person is already centered and clear in the area affected by a transit. The transit, in these cases, doesn't have any "work" to do, and will pass by uneventfully.)
Birth charts also indicate – by the strength or weakness of the First House, its occupants, and lord – how resilient a person is and how capable they are of withstanding life's challenges. People receive information very differently from each other. Some take predictions in stride while others may think "the sky is falling." It is very important not to scare people who are sensitive and suggestible, by making dire predictions. It is also important to offer them ways to use future astrological events constructively.
2. The "Fabric" of a Person's Life
Explore the past events in a person's life in order to understand where astrological events are likely to manifest. This a very important principle that needs explaining. For reasons that are often evident astrologically, one person will manifest astrological events as primarily affecting their thoughts, another their emotional life, a third their health, a fourth their finances, a fifth automobile accidents, etc.
In other words, people (and lives) are karmically "wired" differently. Some folk manifest their transits through physical, concrete events and others do not. If the astrologer gets to know the client's history and learns how and where they respond to transits, then predictions will be much more accurate and pertinent to each client.
Sometimes the arena of life where transits affect a person can be seen by the elemental preponderance in a person's chart. People with strong Earth may manifest transits in the arenas of health, money, objects, etc. People with strong Water often have transits stir up their emotions and put them through inner changes. Air people may find their interests, ideas, and relationships influenced more by transits, and Fire people their energy level and their level of involvement with others and projects.
At other times, a particular house in the chart is emphasized , e.g. the tenth house, resulting in authority issues or career and achievement issues being emphasized during astrological events.
Alternatively, the "weakest link" principle may be the best indicator of where a cycle will manifest. For example, if a person has configurations in their birth chart (Western or Vedic) indicating financial ups and downs, then that area of life may be the one most prone to respond to astrological events. I've seen this principle work frequently, e.g. recurrent health crises in a health-challenged chart, repetitive relationship issues triggered by transits in charts with hard aspects to the 7th house, Venus, and the 7th house ruler, etc.
Please don't take these methods of finding the "active" areas of a chart as absolutes, but instead explore with each client where types of changes most commonly occur in their lives.
3. Burning Karma
In metaphysics, there is the understanding that once you have worked through an experience fully, and have learned what you have needed to learn, it need not happen again.
I made a serious mistake, in the first year of my astrological career, during one of my astrology sessions. My client had had the first "swing" of a major Pluto transit, during which he lost his job, marriage, and home all in a period of a couple of months. I looked ahead and saw the same transit approaching in the upcoming Fall, with twice the duration of the previous transit (because Pluto was stationing on the natal planet). I naively predicted, "it should be even more intense in the Fall", when in fact nothing at all happened at that time.
After a bit of research, I came to realize that if a particular passage of a transit is intense, usually none of the other swings have much effect. Note: the outer planet transits of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto – because they are retrograde almost half of the time -- transit a natal point three to five times during a one to two year period (moving forward and backward and forward over the point).
Why would only one swing (or none) be intense? Simply because one "burns the karma" of the transit at that time. That means that one fully experiences and learns all that is necessary, and so nothing more needs to done during the subsequent swings.
I'm finding a similar pattern in the effects of (Vedic) planetary Dasa cycles. A person may run the Dasa of a planet that is not good for relationship, and go through very intense times with their partner, but if they complete their learning, then during the same Dasa, things can "turn a corner" and relationships improve.
I have also found, by the way, that I cannot predict which swing of a particular transit will be strong, if any of them. Sometimes it's the first swing, sometimes it's the one where the transiting planet stations on the natal point, sometimes it's the last swing, and sometimes the entire transit passes without incident. I know that many astrologers hold the belief that if another, faster planet also transits the natal point (during the outer planet transit), that the minor transit will trigger the major transit. In my experience I have not found the triggering effect to operate.
4. The Death/Rebirth cycles of Pluto
While Dasas are the "crown jewel of prediction" in Vedic astrology, outer planet transits are the "crown jewel of prediction" in Western astrology. Twice I taught full year trainings in Western astrology, and each time, in one of the final sessions, I asked class members to bring to class the date of a major event in their lives. We looked at progressions, transits, and returns to see which astrological method indicated their life event. Universally, it was the outer transits that were the accurate predictors.
I've come to learn that the transits of Pluto to the Sun are the most influential transits in a person's life. In watching people experience these events, I've seen a very consistent pattern. The person first goes through a period of "death", i.e. pain, loss, intense emotional purging; and then has a life-changing breakthrough, i.e. "rebirth", that lifts them to a new level in their journey.
Pluto transits to other points can also be very significant, especially to the Ascendant, the Moon, and the Ruler of the Chart, with similar Great Endings followed by Great Beginnings.
Note: I've also seen that sometimes Pluto transits can remove something or someone very meaningful from one's life, with no apparent Great Beginning, so the person experiences only loss. Pluto was transiting both my Sun (I was 5 months old) and at the same time, my sister's Sun (who was 5 years old) – with the Sun representing father -- and opposed my Mother's Descendant (representing her husband), when my father was crushed to death when a lightning bolt hit a tree that fell on his car while he was stopped at a red light. I can only surmise that all of our lives were meant to take this turning, and that whatever beginnings happened at that point brought us to where we are today, a very close and loving family.
5. Oncoming Trains.
Imagine sitting in a train station waiting for your train to arrive. At some point, you begin to hear the train approach, and your attention shifts in anticipation. Then as the train gets closer, its sound increases more and more until it finally pulls into the station. If it turns out not to be your train, as you watch it pull out of the station, its intensity and presence leaves your consciousness very quickly.
Similarly, you might vaguely feel a transit approaching when it is far from your natal planet, but I have reliably found that it really has a notable presence on the day it enters one degree from the natal point. As it continues to get closer to actually transiting the natal point, the intensity grows, BUT if you align with its energy, then it no longer has much effect even if it hasn't yet passed over your natal point.
Finally, immediately after the transiting planet has passed over the natal planet (finished making its exact aspect) its influence subsides very quickly (often in a matter of days), unless, of course, the impact is so great that it takes us time to assimilate the event.
During one major transit, it became very clear that while during the approach from one degree to exact, the energy was very intense, after the transit passed exactness, the pressure was completely off, and I was in the "digestion phase" wherein I got to assimilate what I had learned and to grow from the experience.
6. A Change of Art
For years, when I gave predictive astrology readings (as opposed to birth chart readings), I felt trapped by the very format for the reading that I myself had constructed. I would go through each of the major transits and then the Solar Return (and progressions, if any "spoke" to me), and in the end, my clients were satisfied.
But I felt that these sessions weren't "organic" enough, although at the time I didn't know how to rise to a new level.
As I began blending Vedic astrology into my Western Astrology readings, the task of synthesizing such different systems forced me to loosen up. This was a significant breakthrough. Additionally, Vedic astrological methods afforded me the capability to look at a person's life in both much more detail and with a much wider scope. I found myself being able to answer specific questions (e.g. when is it likely I will meet my next mate) much more easily. As well as see the general flow of their lives.
Lately, I've experienced an even greater "Change of Art". I am now so completely devoted to meeting the specific needs of each person who comes to me, that my predictive readings have "morphed" beyond any structure, and take the form that they need to for each individual. My sessions have become much more "theme-based", addressing the questions and issues that arise during the session. This is very gratifying to me, because it increases my creative flow considerably and enables me to serve each client more fully.
7. Aligning to the Heavens
When unforseen events happen in our lives, we often react to them by contracting. We may tighten our bellies, pull in our chests, secrete adrenaline, experience a wave of emotions, and engage our mental defenses.
All of these reactions are usually counterproductive. They make us less flexible, less alert, and less able to most appropriately handle what is happening. These behaviors may have their roots in karmic or early instinctive patterns, or may simply be what we modeled and internalized from our parents' reactions (or other early childhood events).
As we mature, we come to realize that how we respond to events in our lives is very important.
We learn not to magnify difficulties, to let down our defenses, to take our initial emotional reactions less seriously, and to see through the maze of our projections and story-telling.
In other words, we learn to see reality as it is, proportionately, and to respond in a clear and centered fashion.
This takes hard work. We have to dismantle all of the counterproductive mental, emotional, and interactive patterns that we have learned, and find ways to comfort ourselves, regain calm, and see things clearly.
When astrological events or cycles occur, the same tasks are needed. By first becoming conscious of the changing energy, and then aligning with it instead of resisting it, and then working to find what we can learn from it, we make the most of the celestial weather.
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