Who makes the future?

Who makes the future?

R188 7 train.jpg

I was speaking with a friend on the Manhattan bound 7 train about the difference between the tarot and astrology. She’s a tarot reader (years ago, she turned me on to the practice), and she had a bone to pick: astrology lacks spontaneity. 

The Tarot, as you might guess, derives its power from the spontaneous. It is a quantum question; we don’t know what is on the other side of the card until we flip it over. Like Schrodinger’s (un)alive cat, the images on the other side of the cards remain all 78 possibilities at once. Only when we flip them over do the images solidify. Therefore, the practice of tarot lacks— and this is the key difference between tarot and astrology— determinism. The timeline is always created fresh, everytime we pull a card. 

Not so for astrology. We are able to predict the course of the planets hundreds of years into the future, with great accuracy. Yes, there is always scientific uncertainty; and quantum mechanics does in fact postulate that planetary orbits are affected by probability, though this is mostly negligible. What’s important here, though, is that on any given day I can know, with nearly 100% certainty, that the sun will, in fact, rise tomorrow. 

Of course, the pulling of cards and the motion of the planets represent systems at the extreme ends of scope. When we pull cards, we are operating within a tiny system— the cosmos are much larger. What about a system that is more quotidian in size, a system that millions of people operate within every day? 

The 7 train pulls into Grand Central, like it was determined to do. But it’s also a few minutes late— in fact, the average train in New York is late 58% of the time— so it's also operating within probability. This is how most of us live; somewhere between determinism and chaos. In fact, a more accurate statement is this: determinism is an emergent property. The predictability of enormous systems emerges from much smaller probabilities playing themselves out over and over and over again. One could make a solid argument that astrology is the tarot operating on a much larger scope. You keep pulling cards over and over again, and larger patterns emerge. Many tarot readers have experienced this— in fact, one might call it the basis of the practice itself.

How, then, can we make astrology useful for the individual? To combat the determinism of the larger solar system, we must make the system smaller. That’s where the natal chart comes in— each person has a completely unique chart, a unique point of view. Just like in quantum mechanics, the meaning of events is dependent on the position of the observer. This means that you— yes YOU— have power over your destiny. A professional astrologer can help you interpret your chart and point you in the right direction, but the quantum nature of reality means that no third party can ever make a deterministic prediction. Instead, it is you— determined to create yourself— that holds the key. Bigger than the cards, smaller than the 7 train, you can choose your next destination with intention, even if you still have to choose a stop along the line. This is what the existentialists meant by Freedom. 



Sunday— Gemini Season Begins

Words are incantations. Cast your spells carefully. All speech is an act, speak it into being. 

Now until Thursday— Cancer Mars Square Taurus Jupiter

Cancer Mars Square Taurus Jupiter. Why are you feeling so sensitive? Over-protecting your soul can inhibit your opportunity for growth. Don’t forget that vulnerability is strength.

Saturday– First Quarter Moon in Virgo 

A new challenger approaches. Are you sure that the spells you’re casting are based on reason? Make sure you analyze your own intentions, lest you wish for something you regret.

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