10.21.2004

Choice And Consequence

(Author's Note: My hiatus has ended. Actually, it ended yesterday, but I was too busy catching up on work to do much of anything else. Glad to be blogging, though...)

I once knew someone with such dedicated drive and ambition, that she could have gotten almost anything she wanted to go after. It is a tragedy that she chose to pursue self-destruction...with a high degree of achievement.

The lesson there was not about personality. It was about choice, and the consequences that followed.

When an astrological source offers information on a sign's traits, it often carries a list of the positives and negatives associated with that sign. That is relatively helpful on a surface level, but I have seen very few texts which point out that the source of a sign's strengths is also the foundation for its weaknesses. The contrast is not always easy to see until you look at the structures of a sign, like with its Mode and Element. But the ability to choose remains inherent.

This means that "I am that way because of my chart" makes for a weak excuse when it comes to bad behavior. A Fixed sign, for example, does not have to be stubborn by default. That is a choice that has been made; perhaps long learned and much used (and cue the old dogs with new tricks), but it is still a choice. For example, the ability to be stubborn springs from the innate talent for stabilization that the Fixed Mode has, not the other way around. Or, to put it another way, stubbornness is a means to a Fixed end, not the source of Fixed behavior.

The same can be said for pointing at the Cardinal Mode to explain demanding or manipulative behaviors, or the Mutable Mode for shifty attitudes or aimless meandering. Or Fire Elements for violence, Earth for greed, Air for mind games, Water for deceptions. The list of examples could go on and on, but while all of these things manifest from the capabilities of any given Element or Mode, the choice to use them positively or negatively still exists.

That's not to say it is always an easy choice, especially when you are fully able to accomplish your goals by doing something in a specific way. The temptation to go that direction will be strong. But once you start down those paths it may can become harder to alter the habit. This is especially true for Fixed signs, and almost as troublesome for Cardinal signs. Mutable signs tend to have an easier time stepping away from bad habits, but they also slip back into them more readily.

Also, developing "bad" traits may be a more natural outcome, because using the same skills in a good way may require learning and development. As they say, life doesn't come with a training manual. Though "learning to live" is undeniably based on a personal history of events, a chart will also reflect complications in a personality that can aggravate learning in various areas. In most charts there are places where a person would have to go out of their way to learn how to use an inherent skill positively...no matter what their history was.

The opposite can be true as well, where someone may have to learn to use certain negative traits when necessary, because they overwhelmingly develop positive ones to the point of interference. For example, an Air sign usually finds it easy to give their decisions intellectual support, but an overwhelming desire to be socially accomodating can lead to an inability to say no! to others, despite the fact that they could back up any resistance with perfectly logical explanations.

Whatever the case, the natal chart is not a free pass. That's a mental trap that can be easier to fall into than one might think. I personally find it difficult to disapprove when someone (whose chart I know) does something detrimental. I get the motivations, the ideas, and the desires behind that choice, and this makes it harder for me to hold it against them. Nevertheless, a wrong choice is still a wrong choice, and I know there is another way for the same skill to manifest and be used.

Compatiblity is something natal astrology famously has to offer. But natal astrology can also be used to encourage self-awareness, so that strengths may be used wisely and personal fallacies may be treated accordingly. Though others might disagree, I consider this the most valuable aspect of natal astrology.

8 Comments:

Blogger VW said...

Thank you for this explanation. I have been talking to my friend about her chart and the stuff I'm giving her. (Nope, not done yet... didn't realize how much there was to do.) And this is one of the topics we discussed, sorta. How the information effects you or doesn't effect you. We are still both amazed how it is pretty much right on target for her, yet how she/you still had choices as to how you used your 'strengths'. Thanks again!

10:49 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Hey! I missed you! Glad you're back. Another great post which has me thinking. This is so much to digest. I feel like I need to make some sort of table with traits and correlations or something, so that I could organize all of this better. Does any such thing exist? I still have some trouble when I look at my own chart and try to figure out how it all applies, though I've had a few "eureka" moments. Well, I will faithfully plow ahead.

4:35 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Oh..I hit publish without writing something that occurred to me when I finished reading. It relates to your position on wrong decisions. I may be saying the same thing as you here, just a bit differently.

I don't really believe in the idea of wrong choices, per se, because bad decisions usually produce valuable lessons that people need in order to grow. Knowledge and understanding are like tools. We're not all born with the same set of tools and the quality varies. Until we understand certain things about life and how it works, we'll be missing critical tools.

For example, if you're climbing a high mountain, you'll need a good ice pick. If you don't believe you really need it, (for whatever reason), you'll make the (bad) decision to trudge on. The experienced climbers know that the pick is needed, but (for whatever reason) you are neither willing nor able to heed their advice. Just because they say so doesn't make it true if you believe otherwise. So, off you climb, without the needed tool and when you reach the ice, you'll probably try to climb without the pick, fail, and head back to get that most necessary pick. If you don't, you'll repeat the process until you finally figure it out. So, was the decision really a wrong one? You were incapable of embracing the knowledge offered by the experienced climbers, so doing it your way was the best you were able to do, given your circumstances. The ONLY way you would learn the lesson you needed (i.e., the "tool") was the hard way. So, the bad decision served you well. If you had been able to take a short cut by heeding the advice, you would have.

Just like you, I can't hold "bad decisions" against people; because I see pus all as doing the best we can, given where we are (i.e., the tools we've acquired.) I think fear is the culprit for so many of these decisions, (I'd propose that it's often the fear of having some treasured and idealized illusion of ourselves destroyed and the consequences of having to deal with that), and fear is something we all understand.

I don't find it difficult to forgive people for becoming victims of their own fear, given its power. That's such a tough one for any of us to overcome. I may not like the fearful actions of others, but understanding the real nature of how our minds work in such a state helps me keep a lot of anger from welling up. (That's much more difficult when I do not understand the logic behind the fear.)

I guess you could say that astrology hints at the type and quality of tools in someone's box.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Lasciate said...

Lisa: I hope I'm reading your question right. Most books on the subject of astrology list positive and negative traits. Some books (such as Parker's Astrology) go into what happens under certain correlations and combinations. But there is no truly absolute list, due to the vast number of possiblities there are. To deal with this overwhelming amount of detail astrology concentrates on definition and operation from a basic level, so that you can logically deduce the outcome of a randomly provided group of angles or aspects.

It's like this: even if you have never(specifically) needed to add 657 to 25, and then divide the result by 3, you could still do so if you had to, because you know how to add and divide. Because of that, you would not need a list that gave the answer to every mathematical possibility.

As for the second comment: yes, to a large degree I am saying that. A person might not heed the advice given, and where you noted "(for whatever reason)" the reason becomes a certain aspect or set of angles in the chart that make it more likely for that individual to plow ahead, for reasons central to who they are, further defined by the situation they are in.

But I was also including choices made that defy your own moral standards. I do believe in wrong choices (defined in that way). Perhaps there are those who have never gone against what they know is right and good, but I know I have made choices that violated by own sense of ethical behavior. What's more, I have used my personal talents to propel and enhance those choices. To me, that makes for a wrong choice...not wrong by method, but wrong by morality.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Lasciate said...

By the way, I can see how the same logic applies in learning both method and morality (I think your pick and mountain analogy is very good). Once you've learned and know better, however, to knowingly go against the better choice makes all the difference...in my opinion.

7:33 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Absolutely.

4:46 PM  
Blogger VW said...

Lisa, Thanks for the comments/questions you make. I am such a beginner and what you add to the comments really helps me grow.

Lasciate, Thanks for making the answers easy for me to understand and work with. I am learning so much!

12:35 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Thanks, VW, and thanks, Lacsiate, for initiating what I think is such a great discussion. I have been buried in obligations and am just breathing some fresh air, for however long that lasts, otherwise I would probably have shared a few more thoughts. Actually, I began to do just that and it just got too lengthy, so I scrapped it. But still, an interesting topic.

4:16 AM  

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