matthew currie astrology baby birth chartPreviously on Beliefnet, I answered a question from a concerned mother about a specific detail in her infant daughter’s birth chart. As per usual, I re-posted the link to this blog entry in a few different places, Facebook and otherwise. I was surprised that, not long afterwards, a few people chimed in making some observations of some pretty negative stuff based on that birth chart.

This raises some interesting questions about commenting on a person’s birth chart at all, but specifically that of a child — especially when speaking to that child’s mother. Some astrologers won’t even comment at all on the birth chart of a child, and I can respect that. Personally, I would rather say nothing at all than say something that causes unnecessary harm.

I always tell my clients that if I see bad news for them, I will at least find a gentle way to break it to them. And in all fairness, there are no perfect people, and there are no perfect birth charts. But at the same time, it seems to me unwise (at best) to frighten the parent of a small child.

This may seem pretty self-evident to many of you, but it raises a larger question. What business does an astrologer have delivering any bad news to anyone, at all, ever?

First of all, astrology is an incredibly useful way to illuminate both a person’s inherent strengths and weaknesses, and can determine when periods of difficulty will begin or when they will end. However, this must always be done within the context of the actual person you are talking to. Let me explain.

I believe that we have Free Will. If there is something in your birth chart that indicates that you have an explosive temper, for example, it is still up to you whether or not you decide to club the neighbors half to death one night because their stereo is too loud. The birth chart is the hand you’re dealt, but how you play that hand is at least as important when it comes to whether or not you actually win the game.

But suppose for a moment we don’t have any Free Will at all. Suppose that somehow the birth chart and the transits are the first and final arbiter of how you and everything in your life are going to turn out. Is it then fair to deliver as fatalistic a reading as you can?

No, and for two good reasons. First of all, if humans are simply complex systems operating without Free Will, based on the wiring diagram that their birth chart presents, we need to recognize that complex systems can produce complex results.

Second, as Erin Sullivan first noted in her classic 2001 book The Astrology of Family Dynamics, astrology never lies. However, the unspoken corollary to that statement could very well be “astrologers are quite capable of getting it wrong.” if your client has no Free Will and is simply a complex system producing complex results, what makes you think that your wiring diagram is so much better than theirs that you are automatically going to be right about everything?

That, and in my experience, a small but harmful minority of astrologers seem to enjoy playing the role of Prophet Of Doom. That’s not my thing. I’m here to help people.

But hey: if you enjoy using a belief system that some people consider to be pure unscientific nonsense in order to make others feel bad about things? May I kindly suggest that you give up on astrology and become an economist instead?

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