Sri Yukestwar, Yogananda’s teacher made the following statement on astrology when Yogananda told him he wasn’t a believer:
“It is not a question of belief; the only scientific attitude one should take on any subject is whether it is true. The law of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him. The cosmos would be fairly chaotic if its laws could not operate without the sanction of human belief. Astrology is the study of man’s response to planetary stimuli. The stars have no conscious benevolence or animosity; they merely send forth positive and negative radiations. Of themselves, these do not help or harm humanity, but offer a lawful channel for the outward operation of cause-effect equilibriums which each man has set into motion in the past....
"A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results. “The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasize fate – the result of past good and evil – but to arouse man’s will to escape from his universal thraldom. What he has done, he can undo. None other than himself was the instigator of the causes of whatever effects are now prevalent in his life. He can overcome any limitation, because he created it by his own actions in the first place, and because he possesses spiritual resources that are not subject to planetary pressure.”
I believe that all events that happen to you were created by you, and do not randomly occur. This shifts the mindset from victim to someone who in good faith seeks to correct their karmic imbalances by focusing on lessons inherent in the situations they find themselves in. Astrology can make the unconscious, conscious and therefore enable you to shift thought and behavioural patterns that keep you feeling stuck. This be done along with spiritual work, psychotherapy, seeking out the right healers and teachers and following the teachings of the ancient masters. Your life is not written in stone, as the choices you make now and the way you react to people and events in your life determine the karma for your future lifetimes.
We understand that a natal chart reflects the overall karmic blueprint of the soul, and specifically which karmas are ripe to be experienced in this particular lifetime. In my view, the purpose of astrology is to understand people, to see how the stars shape character and destiny. The soul has accumulated many experiences, and there are fixed karmas which can’t be changed, some karmas which can be changed with a lot of effort, others with moderate effort and some that are easily changeable, if one puts their conscious energy into spiritual practices and service to humanity. The chart illuminates the differences between these karmas of varying degrees of changeability, and so the extent to which fate versus free will differs for each person.
Through astrology, we gain greater awareness of the roots and the divine timing of one’s karma over the lifetime but this does not mean we seek to predict specific events. Lord Shiva taught astrology to Parvati and she taught it to others. He went into his long sleep and when he came out, he decided to check on the astrologers. He was disappointed when he saw the astrologers making specific future predictions. Shiva told them that because you have broken the law, I am cursing all the astrologers and the best among you will never be more than 70% accurate in predicting the future. I take this to mean God gave you free will and that with the deeper self-awareness astrology brings, this tool can help you to more consciously co-create a future you desire.