Astrology – Questions and Answers

Astrologers are always being asked questions. By open-minded members of the public. By closed-minded-members of the public. By one’s friends and family. By clients. By students. By interviewers for various media outlets.

I thought it might be interesting, and fun, to begin this new blog by running a series of question and answer sessions. 

You supply the questions – preferably by leaving comments on the blog posts, or by email. I will do my best to supply adequate answers!

The first question:

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.

My Answer:

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 (recently demoted by astronomers, but remaining very potent symbolically!).

 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

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 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…. 

 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 2014, 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 what they will do with 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….). 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! 

 There is a great deal more that can be said. But I hope this is sufficient to give my readers a thought-provoking introduction – and to stimulate more astrological questions on any aspect of astrology. So – do send in your questions, preferably via comments on my posts, or by email. I look forward to hearing from you! 

This wonderful cosmos

This wonderful cosmos

To read more of Anne’s varied range of astrological and other writings, check out her blog “Writing from the Twelfth House”.

If you’d like to book an astrological consultation or find out about tuition, click HERE

To read the next post ” Just how stubborn is Taurus? “click HERE


1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see  
“Writing from the Twelfth House”.


Just how stubborn is Taurus? Astrology Questions and Answers 2

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15 responses to “Astrology – Questions and Answers”

  1. Frances says:

    Hi Anne,
    Congratulations on your new blog. That was good thank you. I’m really pleased that you’e doing this blog and looking forward to reading more of your insights, I’m sure it’s going to be very interesting.
    If you’re looking for questions then is it possible to tell from the birth chart which planet might have the most overall effect on your life?
    Would that be your Sun sign’s ruler, or another planet that has a lot of aspects? Or might it change through your life for some reason … say like if Saturn was involved in it?

    • Hello Frances

      great to hear from one of my “old” ( note inverted commas!) students. You always did ask good questions and this one is no exception.

      However – you ( and other folk reading this ) will have to drop by next week to read my answer: I intend to post every week at the weekend and hope that saying this out loud will keep me to it! I look forward to replying to your question and thanks again for being my first visitor.

  2. Anne says:

    Dear Anne,

    I was born on the 11th May and therefore a Taurus, I was also born in 1973 which is the year of the bull in the Chinese horescopes (which is also of interest as I lived in HK for a while).

    How do both areas of astrology combine?

    And am I really as stubborn as a ‘double bull’ would indicate? 😉

  3. Linda Leinen says:

    Congratulations on your new blog, Anne! It was fun to read your answer to my question again, and to see the new questions. I’m looking forward to following along.

    Your mention of probability reminds me – it’s the improbable but entirely real that provides so much of the delight in life. Learning that improbable doesn’t necessarily equal impossible opens us up to a good deal!

    • Linda, I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am that yours is the first question on my new blog. And I BET there will be more from you….
      How heartily I endorse your sentiments; the reductionists seem to be intent these days on pushing all those non-material levels which bring juice, passion, colour and texture to life, out of our reach. But probability and indeterminacy will still rule our lives long after the high priests of reductionism have died off and the limitations of that particular lens are clearly understood throughout our culture. Pity we probably won’t be alive to see that – or maybe we will, in another incarnation?(now there’s a can of worms for the reductionists to jump into. Personally, I prefer to keep an open mind on the possibility of other lives….)

  4. Carole Bone says:

    Hi Anne – what a fantastic idea and of course I just love that your answers embrace not only Astrology but Science too. I am convinced the two will be friends one day one Science has grown up a bit ;-P

    A Question – I often think Mercury is a much underated planet and wondered what your thoughts were on this. If one does not have the ability to process our thoughts, information and even emotions honestly and express them to others in a positive and clear way then it seems to me that it can inhibit positive traits and compound negative ones??

    I am thinking here too of the symbolism illustrating this in mythology as the only God in who could communicate and travel to the underworld.


    • Hi Carole
      It’s just brilliant to have some of my “old”( careful insertion of inverted commas!!) students show up to support this new venture. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Yes, you always were a one for bowling me googlies via your questions. I shall ponder Mercurially, and reply in the next post. Watch this space….

  5. Hi Anne,

    What a great platform for your talent. All my best wishes for your new venture!

    Since you did my birth chart last year, an experience that was so heart-warming and affirming that I would recommend it to anyone, I have become much clearer about who I am. Every time I listen to the recording I hear something else that resonates. So thank you again for that.

    I am curious to know what might have been happening in the heavens from the last week in February to the last week in March. During that time I had a series of … let’s just call them ‘challenges’ that came so thick and fast I barely had time to catch my breath between them. Any clues? I definitely had a sense that the universe was trying to teach me something. I wasn’t aware of any one else in my close circle lurching from one mini-crisis to the next but I did meet a few people through my work who were having similar experiences around that time.


    • Many thanks for your generous good wishes, Caroline, and for your endorsement of the work I did for you. I am so glad that it has proved helpful. And yes, that was indeed a challenging period. Why? Tune in next week and find out!

  6. Congratulations on launching this new venture Anne! Best wishes, Catriona x

  7. I was told recently the time and date I had planned for my wedding this summer were not ideal; that if we couldn’t change the date, we should at least change the time. What influences can these things really have on the outcomes? And how then should we be prepared to respond?

    • Hi Catriona
      very many thanks for your good wishes. I’m going to respond to your question here, since I already have a stack to keep me going for the next week and it’s still only Wednesday! You have raised an interesting general topic, ie that of Electional Astrology. Your particular question is too personal for me to respond to in a public context so if you email/call me we can perhaps discuss it in a way which will be helpful to you.

      Electional Astrology is one of the many specialisms arising from observing the unfolding planetary pattern in the here-and-now. It involves choosing a moment in time for beginning some new venture which is favourable to that venture. So – a new business, a time for setting off on a journey, a marriage, the timing of surgery(try that one with the NHS- not!): any event of importance to you, in fact. To have this done you should engage the services of a well qualified and experienced astrologer.

      I have no great expertise in this area personally and would always refer clients on, since I think a vital part of any professional’s expertise is knowing one’s limitations and making appropriate referrals to responsible and experienced practitioners.

      However, this doesn’t prevent me from having a view on the topic. I have done the occasional Electional chart for ventures in which I was involved and from that realised how difficult it is to choose the right moment , especially if – as is the case at present – we as a human community are moving through a particularly turbulent and unpredictable energy field and we all to a greater or lesser extent(depending on your individual Horoscope) are plugged into it.

      My view at present is that trying to manipulate the flow of time to our advantage may be a way of unwittingly sidestepping the life challenges which we are supposed at some level to face as part of our growth.I think it is better to use astrological knowledge to decipher and understand the life challenges which come our way in the here-and-now, so that we can lead our lives with greater awareness and honesty both with ourselves and others.

      But in keeping with the indeterminacy and uncertainty which science has revealed in recent times I reserve the right to change my mind regarding this topic at some point in the future…..

  8. David Need says:

    I wonder if the underlying issue related to our sense of a difference between description and prediction doesn’t have to do with time & the possibility that linear time is folded so that the “present” (let’s call it) is palimpsest (thick with) other times. Astrology provides us a language to express or subtle, intuitive sense that things are like this, to say what we cannot otherwise say with the other languages we have. I often feel that when I talk to someone about their transits I am translating (describing) what is going to happen in relation to natal positions–putting the words together. Actual insight–getting a glimpse of what is going to actually happen–sometimes happens, but not always and feels different. In one case I am applying a logic, in the other, I’ve been given a gift for the person. Its not always helpful to know what is going to happen, but it is helpful to have a description–some words–that function as a shelter (a tabernac) for thinking about a period of time.

    • Many thanks David for this valuable observation which takes us into the fascinatingly complex and subtle territories where symbol and science overlap. My aim in this blog is to introduce people initially to territory which is easier to navigate when one is at the beginning of an exploratory journey….

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