Astrology: is it a descriptive or a predictive art?

From your comments on the Facebook Page, this blog, and emails, this month of June 2015, nearly over, has been spent by lots of you in a Mercurial, Saturnian and Neptunian fog. You will have read that yours truly’s highlight – as Mercury went direct and Neptune turned retro – was almost being blown up during a domestic gas leak whilst engaged in a podiatry session, which we completed on the pavement outside our building. I don’t give up easily…

A consequence of a period of exceptional fogginess and disruption was that I missed a very important anniversary. Two years ago, on 1st of June 2013, was the date of my first post on Astrology: Questions and Answers.

This new blog was birthed in May 2013 on a page on  Glasgow, Scotland,UK’s popular West End Website, a brilliant local community resource. However, the response via questions and comments was so positive that I decided to set up a whole blog dedicated to Astrology Questions and Answers. Here, then, to celebrate our second anniversary, is the very first question, which is having its very first airing on this site, having first appeared on the West End Website. Enjoy, and many thanks to all you readers, commenters, emailers and questioners for making those first two years such fun!

Questions, cosmic questions!

Questions, cosmic questions!

Would it be fair, then, to say that astrology is descriptive rather than predictive? It occurs to me that much of the fascination with newspaper ‘astrology’ columns is related to their use as fortune-telling!

……from Linda Leinen, USA…….and my favourite blogger, at the wonderful 

The Task At Hand.

It’s fair to say that astrology is both descriptive and predictive. There are many facets to this statement. However, just a few examples should throw at least some light on Linda’s interesting question.


 A properly drawn up horoscope using your date, place, and time of birth can allow me to provide you with a clear description of the characters who are acting out the play of your particular life, to use a familiar but useful analogy.The Sun represents only one character, thereby revealing right away how limited popular Sun Sign astrology is. The other characters are represented by the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (for latest on this contested planet’s status, click HERE ).

The astronomical relationships between the nine planets plus the moon, when drawn onto the horoscope (see picture below – click on the image to enlarge) show the conversations, debates, disagreements and compromises happening between the major characters on your life’s stage.

Charles Dickens

Their action takes place against the backdrop of the twelve Houses of the horoscope, each representing a particular sphere of life. Then I have to take the Ascendant (how you appear to the world) the Midheaven (speaking of vocation/life direction) and several other factors including Chiron (where both wounding and healing take place)) into account. In addition, I need to consider and feed back what the interactions between all those factors are.

Reading a horoscope effectively needs both an experienced, self aware, sensitive astrologer and a client who truly wishes to reflect on their gifts, pains, preoccupations, fears, motivations etc in an honest and open way. A horoscope can be seen as the static drawing of a pattern of living energy ie a human being.

Thus, as an astrologer, I am working with explaining and discussing a number of different levels of manifestation which can and do arise from each symbol. Your birth horoscope is determined by your date, place and time of birth – factors over which we apparently have no control. This can be seen as the fated dimension.

But what you do with those energies depends to a considerable degree (impossible to work out exactly – no wonder reductionist science finds astrology so provoking!) on the levels of conscious self awareness you bring to the choices you make as life unfolds. Therein free will probably lies….

However – you really have to experience a quality astrology reading fully to understand its power and value.


Yes, any competent astrologer can predict very accurately when planetary influences from the unfolding energies through time and space, both in the present and in the future, are going to engage with the energy patterns which can be read from a birth horoscope. S/he can also plot out with complete accuracy how long this engagement is going to last; anything from a few days to several years.

But one can only speculate about the level of manifestation of those energies….

Speculation, Mediaeval Style

Speculation, Mediaeval Style

 A simplified example: Venus in your natal horoscope represents relationship(s). The planet Uranus represents the urge to break down old patterns and is unpredictable, disruptive in its impact. If this planet is going to be exactly engaging with your natal Venus, eg for the whole of 2015, then I think you can work out without me telling you that this will not be the most peaceful uneventful year in your relationship life!

I can in this way predict the core of Uranus’ (or any planet’s) impact on any part of a client’s horoscope.Working out what the branches of manifestation arising from that core might be, however, is not something which can be done exactly. Of a few guesses, one might be accurate. Then there is the danger to the client that if I choose a specific branch which I think might manifest, this could well collapse a whole range of possible outcomes into one only. In this way, I as the astrologer may be helping self-fulfilling prophecy along the way.

Personally, I think it is sufficient to describe the core manifestation of a planet’s impact, and work with the person regarding how best to use this information.

A concluding observation on prediction. It is an inexact pursuit for all who attempt it, from economists through weather forecasters through astrologers.The latter failed to spot that World War Two was about to break out, for example, although there are many examples of astrologers delivering exactly the right level at which energies would manifest (ask google about this, especially the famous prediction about the death of Henry the Second of France….).

Modern science teaches us that we live in a universe which conducts a great dance between order and chaos, where probability and indeterminacy, not exactitude, are the order of the day. I like that!




1050 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

12 responses to “Astrology: is it a descriptive or a predictive art?

  1. Happy Anniversary! Thank you for sharing… “But one can only speculate about the level of manifestation of those energies….” Hear! Hear! I find it interesting that it’s my clients who expect fortunetelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Leslie, many thanks for dropping by and for your ongoing support of my writing.I really appreciate it! Yes, well, to do a pre-emptive strike on the fortunetelling dimension, I send a pdf copy of my professional practice brochure to each enquirer, and only agree to do a reading after they have found out just what my approach is – I make it very clear what I do and what I do not do, as well as what you might expect re qualifications, experience, memberships, supervision, fees etc. This has worked for me very well over a long number of years…and saves a lot of time and energy…


    • Excellent advice; thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome, Leslie. I probably lose a certain number of potential clients by adopting this approach, but that does not bother me. It has meant that the folk who come my way are usually a good “fit”, and the outcome of our meeting is nearly always positive and constructive for both of us as a result.


  3. 26.6.15: from Kathy Robles: via Facebook: I think that astrology is both descriptive and predictive…
    I enjoy your writing – little lights go on in my brain giving me “aha” moments. I’ve dabbled in astrology since I was about 22 or so – very superficial understanding of the art. The older I get, I find I want to deepen to my understanding of astrology because it feels comfortable as a language – a way of talking to myself about my self, if that makes any sense!


  4. Of course it is! As you will see in the post, I’m being deliberately dualist just to get people going – and thinking… Thanks for commenting, Kathy!


  5. I noticed recently that astrology can be predictive in its descriptiveness. I looked at the birth chart for Princess Charlotte soon after she was born and then wrote up my analysis of the factors in her chart. I did not really mean for this to be predictive as such, but I realised that my (publicly posted) conclusions about her chart are either right or wrong (and only time will tell), and therefore are predictive in their descriptiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hardly can believe two years have passed. I’ve learned so much from you in that time. Your blogs are literate, interesting, and thought-provoking. Given that description, I predict increasing popularity and a long, healthy run!


    • Well, Linda, I am indeed delighted with this comment from you – especially since yours was the first question I posted on the West End Website blog page! I’ve truly appreciated your support throughout . Many thanks.


  7. Congratulations! I’ve only been reading off an on but I always seem to make my way back after a long absence. I enjoy your writing and hope to see more!

    Liked by 1 person

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