Astrology—the Limits of Prediction

by Alex Miller on November 1, 2012

The Limits of Astrological Prediction

Whoever wins the 2012 US presidential election, there will be cosmic egg on the faces of some astrologers who picked the loser. If Obama loses, there will be a lot more egg to go around, since seemingly most astrologers have decided he’s got the edge.

I am not one of those astrologers. It’s a complex call, but as I see it, Mitt Romney has better transits. Traditionally speaking, that should indicate he comes out on top for the day.

Except that it’s a lot more complicated than that, and any prediction that “comes true” is really just a lucky, if educated, guess.

It all goes back to that damnable Free Will. If only Fate were completely in control, these things would go a lot smoother, and we’d be living in a much more orderly, if boring, universe.

You see, the quality of the transits notwithstanding, astrology can’t really guarantee anything. It suggests an outcome, it shows us what is more likely, indicates where our focus will, or should be. But it can’t truly predict, in any iron-clad, definitive way. Life is by its very nature unpredictable.

Think of it this way. I’m a writer. Say I get phenomenally good astrological transits for publishing. Does that mean I’ll be published? Not so much.

For one thing, writer or no, I actually have to have a manuscript ready to publish. No book, no contract. So taking advantage of that fabulous publishing transit means having done the prep work in advance. And it really ought to be a good book (not that there isn’t a lot of crap out there), something worth publishing.

And publishers are not going to come knocking on my door, begging to print my deathless prose. For my superlative transit to work, I have to take the initiative, go to them, and that also means doing my homework. If I have a mystery novel to sell, I probably ought to approach a publisher who publishes mysteries. If I submit my mystery to a company that publishes scientific textbooks, all the best transits in the world are not going to make a difference.

And then, it’s not just my transits to consider. I don’t live in a vacuum. If my fabulous personal publishing transit came along in January 2009, as the global economy crashed and burned, there’s less of a chance it will be effective. And publishing companies have charts, too, even if we have no idea what they are. So maybe when I approach them, they’re in a retrenchment mode, and not taking on new projects, tempting as mine might be.

Also to be considered is my competition for that publishing dollar. Astrological transits represent the “fate” portion of the equation, but if the “free will” of my prep isn’t up to snuff, another author with lesser transits will knock my manuscript right out of the running, and fate be damned. So there’s a lot to consider. It’s not as simple as picking a winner or a loser based on the astrology of the native and the day.

In the case of politics, it can be even more complex, particularly here in the US, where winning the popular vote does not always mean victory (remember 2000?). Mitt Romney may arguably have better astrological transits on Election Day; I happen to think he does. But is he ready? Has he prepped properly for the event? The fact that he’s gotten as far as he has shows he’s done at least some of his homework, but is he ready to ace the final exam?

If people just plain don’t like him, if they can’t identify with him, or believe he understands and cares about folks like them, then the best transits in the world won’t bring him a win. If he fails to demonstrate capacity, competence, good judgment and a responsible, adult attitude, he’s toast, even if Jupiter and Venus hold hands over his Sun and Saturn, singing “Kumbaya.”

We can see an example of this “performance versus potential” in Romney’s campaign so far. The GOP planners pretty badly muffed the convention, normally a time for the candidate to introduce himself to the public and receive a “bounce” in the polls. But the convention’s organizers chose not to run Romney’s beautifully crafted biographical film during the hour of prime time network coverage which would have guaranteed the largest audience. Instead they used that time to feature Clint Eastwood debating an empty chair, a dubious decision at best. Also, Romney’s performance on the stump has been less than stellar, his interactions stiff and forced, and littered with gaffes, including pirated sound bytes from high-powered donor speeches which cast the candidate in a very bad light indeed. And Romney’s poll numbers suffered.

But as soon as he stepped up to the plate, took his prep seriously and knocked that first debate out of the park, the fate portion of the thing kicked in immediately, and he was suddenly on top, eroding Obama’s lead not just nationally, but in those vital battleground states as well. Within two weeks a more than 20-point deficit among women nationally was reduced to a single point. In taking charge of his free will, Romney allowed the potential of his fate to activate, and if that pattern holds, on Election Night he should find himself dusting off that victory speech he’s been working on for seven years.

Obama-Romney debate

Obama-Romney debate

And there’s another question regarding Fate and Free Will. Does Fate guarantee an outcome, or merely indicate a potential? Is Fate immutable, or is it subject to malign human intervention? If Barack Obama loses in November, will it be because he was fated to do so, or was his fate trumped by e-vote fraud? Or was that in fact his fate, to lose due to fraud? Not to get too angels-dancing-on-pinheads here, but it’s an interesting quandary.

It's all a crapshootWhoever becomes president on November 6, there will be astrologer winners and losers—all of them good, competent professionals who backed the right horse or the wrong one. Try not to think too harshly of the losers, or idolize the winners (unless that’s me, of course!).

After all, it’s really just a cosmic crapshoot.

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