Astrological Musings

Astrological Musings

“If you could predict death, would you?”

Most professionals agree that predicting death in the chart of a client or a client’s loved one is unethical. Last weekend I watched a movie I had rented called First Snow, a thriller which I really enjoyed in which a sharkish salesman goes for a psychic reading in which the psychic makes some predictions about his business and then has a vision which disturbs him greatly and causes him to terminate the session. The salesman doesn’t believe in any of it, but then the business predictions come true. He also has a health scare, and goes back to the psychic demanding to know what he saw. The psychic tells him to put his affairs in order, that he will be safe only until the first snow. Suddenly a believer but having learned anything about the metaphysical order of life, the salesman is taken over by anxiety and fears. He goes back to the psychic with a gun and says, “You never should have told me!!”


Recently I heard a story from a client about a Tarot reading that she gave to a friend in which the Death card came up in answer to a question about the health of her husband. The Death card in Tarot rarely means death, and of course when we see the Death card we want to assure the client that Death is not the meaning. In this case, however, the husband died and the reader was upset that she had not provided her client with the guidance that she needed.

Some schools of thought believe that the moment of death is predetermined; I am not among those that hold this belief. In my view we make choices every moment that change the path on which we walk, and this is why predicting the future is so treacherous and so often wrong. Christine Davis, a traditional astrologer, has written a post (thanks Elsa!) on this subject in which she reviews a book called Celestial Philosophy that is now almost 200 years old. She writes:

Worsdale has parked some of the critical how-to information in the very final pages of the book, explaining how one determines the Giver of Life and the various killing events. I only just found those pages this afternoon, after jumping around from chart to chart, wondering when he was going to explain this key point. Each chart (which is composed in the older box-style rather than the round chart modern readers are more accustomed to viewing) is accompanied by lists of planetary events, motions, and directions, both in the zodiac and in mundo. The method, if I understand correctly, involves choosing the Giver of Life (Hyleg, Apheta) from several possible candidates based on the conditions presented in the birth chart, then composing and studying these long lists of events to determine when that Giver of Life is sufficiently threatened as to be extinguished.

I have seen articles on well-respected traditional astrology blogs that do predict death and I have wondered about this, since to predict the death of a client goes so deeply against the code of ethics that most modern astrologers subscribe to. I have heard the same debate on Tarot boards, and I think it’s a subject well worth discussing.

  • Jennifer

    Well, I asked Nina Gryphon if my dad was going to die within 3 months and she answered it (and someone else has asked that question too). So I have been on one side of that.

    I think it depends on situation. It’s one thing to predict death for someone who’s young and healthy and if they did die, it’d be by some random accident that you may or may not think is coming. I wouldn’t predict that, I’d say “be careful.”

    But when it’s a case of the person being asked about having a long illness, like in my case or the case of the woman you cited (I’m guessing that was the case), I would say to answer the question honestly. To some degree, by that point it will (a) be inevitable, and (b) on some level, the querent knows this is a strong possibility if they are directly asking. And they should know.

    Just my thinking on it

  • Lynn

    I have seen that on Nina’s site as well, and wondered about it. I confess it shocked me, and I have tremendous respect for Nina’s work even though our styles are very different. Was she correct in the case of your dad? And did it help you any

  • Christine N. Davis

    Lynn, it’s such a provocative topic, isn’t it? Thanks so much for mentioning my review on your blog.

    I still have lots to learn about the tradition. One thing the old scholars make clear is that they *always* calculated the length of life before delineating the chart. No point talking about what happens at age XYZ if you’re not going to get there…

    I would agree with you, Jennifer (hi there!) – if the querent asks directly, we can only assume that they are preparing themselves to hear a straight answer.

    I’m still not sure I would want to know, myself..

  • Jay

    I don’t believe it’s ethical to predict when someone will die. And the thought can be implanted in the person and become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I’m reminded of a story told to me years ago about a woman asking an astrologer about her husband’s health. The astrologer told the woman of her husband’s impending death. So, night after night for months, the woman would lie in bed next to her husband fearful and thinking about his dying. And he did die. The astrologer was sued.

    We do have an effect with beliefs, thoughts and emotions, not only on our own energy field but that of others, and especially family members.

    Psychics are seeing only a portion of the energy – not the whole picture. And they are seeing it as a snapshot at the present moment. Energy is constantly in motion and choices are constantly being made

  • Jennifer

    Answers: yes and yes. If he was likely to die on his own during the last three months of his insurance, it would have been better on my family because at the time, my mother was in full-on denial of the reality of the situation. If not for insurance finally running out, he could have been strung out for god only knows how many more years. Knowing that there was “no hope of rescue” from the ugly situation during the time frame actually helped me to cope with the ugly reality still not changing, instead of hoping for a miracle (yes, for me him dying on his own would have been one, given the situation) the way I might have.

    (He died a month later, after my mother realized that paying $48k a month to keep him alive once the insurance stopped was not reasonable, and she finally agreed to let him go.)

    I would like to point out that after living with impending death for ten years, my perspective on things is probably a lot different than most people. I needed to hear the hard truth because so many people vague things up and blow hope up your ass when you’re in a hopeless situation. I appreciated hearing the truth

  • Dharmaruci

    I once had a client in her 80s who’d nearly died the year before and was OK about the possibility of dying. I was able to tell her when her next encounter with death was likely to be, and therefore how much time she had to do what she was still here to do. She found this helpful.

    I’ve also had a few cases of friends looking after elderly/ill people, and I’ve correctly predicted in these cases (from the charts of of my friends in 2 cases, rather than the ill/old person). I’ve got one prediction still current, and it’s helping the carer feel they haven’t got a life sentence!

    I don’t think predicting anything works abstractly, health and circumstances need to be taken fully into account, no transit is a ‘death’ transit.

    I don’t in principle have a problem predicting the possibility of death to a client, but only if they look like they can handle it. I think it can be very helpful for them

  • Tim Holland

    I wish I had the skill to make such an acurate and precise determination from a chart. What are the precise significators that allow such an firm interpretation

  • Eme

    I would want to know when I’m going to die. Sometimes I procrastinate because I always think, “Bah, there’s always tomorrow” but if I knew that there was an end date, a) it would give me a framework and thus a push to finally do what I think I should do and b) it would make me more appreciative of my time on earth. Also, sometimes when I’m going through a rough patch, it feels as if it’s never going to end, and knowing that there’s an end date would give me more perspective, so to speak. OUr culture is terrified about even discussing death, which is just short-sighted. It’s going to happen and the better we cope with it, the better and fuller our lives will be. We’d stop worrying about incredibly stupid things like staying young forever and start concentrating on those things that really matter: what do we want to leave behind and how will we want to be remembered

  • Beth Owls Daughter

    In perfect synchronicity, I had just posted this on Sunday:

    Thanks for opening this very important discussion, Lynn

  • Bev Walton-Porter

    Hi Lynn,

    In the mid-90s, I had a reading and the lady has been accurate thus far. Unfortunately, she (for some unknown reason), felt the need to tell me outright that I’d only live till age 56. I didn’t want to know that info and it’s stuck in my mind ever since. I’m 43 now, and I often find myself thinking, “Must get [fill in life goal] done soon as I may only have 13 more years.”

    Like many, I believe a person’s life isn’t written in stone and what happens is based on choices we make daily. However, what she told me continues to plague me and I wish she never would have told me that info.

    The lady has since passed, but to date her predictions have been accurate. Needless to say, I’m hoping she’ll be wrong on when I’m supposed to pass on

  • Dharmaruci

    After I wrote my above comment, I sat down and wrote a whole blog on this one! Posted at

  • Lynn

    Wow – what a great discussion.

    I suppose if a client is terminally ill it would be useful to know when death is most likely to occur. Tim, there are astrological indicators but they are not infallible. When you look at charts of those who have died (as I frequently do in this column), there is rarely something that stands out to say yes, of course death occurred at this time. It’s easier to look back then to look forward.

    But for someone like Bev, who was told in her 30s that she would die at age 56, of what use is that? I have a difficult time seeing why this would be helpful and like Jay says, our beliefs often create our reality.

    Which is why that movie “First Snow” was so interesting. The hero became obsessed with the danger around him and found danger where there was none. Then when he WAS in danger that could have done him in, he changed the outcome and survived.

    Obviously this is just a movie, but I have had so many clients tell me that psychics told them they would die at age this or that. It just seems to me that there are better ways to advise people than this

  • C.

    I think the dividing line on this discussion is whether one is afraid of death or not.
    I’m not. I’d like to know to the same extent I would like to know if there’s a long distance trip or a move in my future…so that I can get ready for it for one.
    How could I, why should I, be afraid of something that’s inevitable?
    And if someone told me I was about to die, or someone I love was about to, I wouldn’t waste that time in negative emotions. I would simply be more “present”, grateful and enjoy what time is left. If it doesn’t happen, so what? I just spent more focused quality time with my loved ones…something we should do everyday because we know it will eventually end, like it or not.
    So might as well make it a good time.
    The ostrich attitude doesn’t work either with Death more than it does with anything else

  • Charles

    I never liked and could agree on the Hindu teachings of everything is preordained. Our life path changes according to the decisions we make. I always tire to explain it to people in the way of how a tree grows and what happens to the tree during his life span. He forms and adjusts according to the environmental surroundings.
    In my practice as a homoeopath I have seen many people who shortened or extended their lifespan. The shortening of live mostly caused by anxieties and decisions made in live for the sake of appearance. In short our EGO has more to do with when we die than anything else

  • Charles

    What I forgot to say is I think in a lot of circumstances it is very helpfull if you know when you have critical aspects- Also if you have terminal ill persons. But the problem is always will the person handle this knowledge. I am for one would want to know when things could get critical so I could organize my personal “things” before my possible demise.
    I recently had to organise within my t family 3 burials and all that comes with it. It would have been so much easier for me if the my relatives would have realized that life ends. When one is over 80 one can not expect to live for ever. One should but his/her life in order and especially make peace with oneself, family and where ever needed

  • C.

    Charles,actually,the ego IS what dies, so yes, it would have everything to do with it.
    Looking at it that way, the ego is born and the ego dies..the chart talk of character of that ego…
    “Destiny” = Character + Time.Our character predisposes us to makes all our choices. For eemple I[m a Scorpio, so no, I’m not afraid of Death.
    No,it’s not written in stone, it’s written in the skies. So we are free at any momnet to actively change our character,or the way we make choices ( ie consciously) and thus change our destiny. What’s in the sky, is like an auto-pilot map.
    The minute the auto-pilot is off all
    “pre-destination” is opened to alteration.
    Sometimes a warning of coming death is the wake up call some NEED to change their destination…and that may be the whole purpose here. It has been said that prophecies and prediction are there as a warning- not a condemnation. and that a dire prophecy that has come true has not fulfilled it’s purpose- to give someone the time to change course

  • Adele Aldridge


    Your discussion reminded me of something that happened to me that I will share just because you mentioned the Tarot. I was living in California at the time and belonged to a woman’s Tarot group and had Tarot cards out on my table most of the time. My brother came over with his girls around age 6 and 8. One of my nieces became intrigued with the cards and asked me to show them to her and do a reading. She had a question she wanted to ask about a boy she knew.

    As she turned over the cards, the death card came up in the spot designated as the past. I told my niece something to the effect not to worry bout that card and a number of possibilities it could mean as I struggled to explain in terms for a very young person to understand a symbolic language.

    My niece sat quietly respectfully listening to me, as we went through each card. When we came to the death card staring ominously at us she said, “My cousin committed suicide last week.” I was stunned! I am sure the rest of the reading was relevant as well but that was more than twenty years ago and I don’t remember.

    The upshot of that Tarot reading was that every time my brother brought his girls over for a visit I was requested to do a Tarot reading by my niece. However, she always insisted that her sister and father leave the room. I will never forget that particular experience with the death card

  • Rain

    Since in Tarot the death card means change, it would depend on the cards around it whether it might be physical death or death of a phase of life or a relationship. I have seen it many times and never felt it had to mean something even dire.

    Looking at this from the position of a client of psychics and astrologers, I would want to know if they knew something important and the time of physical death is important. Given that I’d want them to tell me, I also would find it very hard to believe any astrologer could predict a year of death; so for me I would listen but with a grain of salt personally. Psychics vary for how accurate they are at best. I have had many readings and very few of those nailed what happened– not to say I don’t believe they can.

    When the papers revealed that Princess Diana had a meeting with her astrologer (or that’s how I remember what the woman was) a few months before she was killed, it made a lot of people wonder how accurate astrology could be. Who knows, however, perhaps the woman did warn her and Diana didn’t see the connection at the time the decision to get into that car arose.

    What I have been told, by most psychics who have read for me, is that whatever is happening can be changed by what we do. A person might be set to die at a certain age because of bad health habits or careless actions that they could alter. The psychic would not have been wrong but things would have changed

  • C

    dr louis turi is only one can predict who death by dragon tail.

  • Marie

    This was a really well written article. You condensed a lot of information and detail into an easy to understand piece. Thanks

  • Marie

    …And Bev…Me too. I hope she’s wrong too

  • Stacey

    Sorry I’m late to this interesting discussion.

    As a Tarot card reader myself, I read the Death card as change – in the Rider Waite deck, you could say the sun is rising. Now, the change could be an actual death, but it could also be recovery. It really depends on the other cards and their placement.

    In terms of astrology, I have never tried to predict this kind of event. However, in other discussions I have seen on this topic, I read that death may not show itself in a chart the same way for everyone – some may welcome it, some may suffer a tragic accident and on and on. Someone suggested that a more accurate indicator may be found in the charts of the person’s loved ones because it would be such a difficult period for them to go through

  • Cheryl

    I have been told recently by a psychic that she seen death all around me…An she did not know who was going to pass first my husband or my dad…..I am skeptical at this point but it is on my mind.

  • Lynn Hayes

    Cheryl, most people in this field feel that it is unethical to tell a client something like this. Even if it’s true, is it useful information? Does it help you to develop as a human being? I think for many people predicting death is a bit of an ego trip. I can’t tell you how many clients I see who say “An astrologer told me I would be dead by 40 and now I’m 45.”

  • katie

    I am a reader as well..I also usually interpret the Death card as Major change and transformation…and see it as definetly wrong to freak people out unnecessarily..I am doing a reading about my sister though who has been ill. I need to know (for myself) if I am seeing that she is dying or just “reading” into things or refusing to see that that is what is being relaid because it is not what I want to hear..what other cards appearing with the Death card would symbolize actual death? Anyone have any feelings on this. …

  • andrea

    i feel people dying and in some cases how they goinf to die and they die. why do i just predict dealth? i do not think i am a psychic.

  • Your Name

    I was recently told by a psychic that someone close to me was going to pass in the upcoming year. After hearing this I obviously started to worry and after inquiring who it was the psychic changed the connection saying it was someone I knew and would be saddened when i heard the news but would not be that affected by it that i knew it was coming…after hearing this i just felt uneasy and now it is all i can think about. The psychic said it was even someone in a wheelchair but I do not know anyone in a wheelchair.
    I think it is unfair to be told of a death of someone you care about espcially if you cannot do anything to stop it. We cannot avoid death… to most it comes too soon. Till that moment people should be allowed the ignorance of not knowing in order to just live.

  • Your Name

    I just had a reader tell me that my father was going to be dying within 3 years. Since she told me I can not stop crying. It has absolutely devastated me. I have never desired knowing of such things. I know I have to respect my fathers choice to leave when he chooses so knowing of the end is horrible to have to live with for the next 3 years. I keep hearing a voice saying “she only predicted in this present moment”, so I will do whatever I can to change this “prediction”.
    I appreciate what you have written as it has put my mind at ease.

  • Lynn Hayes

    I am so sorry that this happened to you, but please remember that no one knows the future and predictions of death, besides being completely unhelpful, are almost never accurate. I do think it’s useful to remember that any of us can be gone tomorrow, so we want to be the best person that we can be today, and love the people in our lives completely while we can.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kat

    You know, I had my chart done by a very good astrologer. He said I would live to be about 81. Now that I am 59, I am very freaked out. I feel like my days are numbered and I am having a difficult time with this. I truly wish he had kept this to himself.

    • Lynn Hayes

      Kat, there is no way that any astrologer can predict your death. Of course our days are all numbered, but worrying about which day will be the day is the fastest way to keep ourselves from actually living.

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