predict the futureSometimes I think being an astrologer is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Step into my world for a moment. People bring you their package of problems and lay them at your feet. Sometimes it’s as exciting as Christmas morning to unwrap them together – because we begin to see them quite differently this time, and discover the possibility of a truer, more relevant present. Why, that monster in the closet is just trying to give me a cookie! And that’s the gift of astrology, learning to understand just exactly what it is we’ve been given here. Hmm. Well, looks like a lump of coal, Jethro – but is it? Life is full of opportunities; it seems our greatest difficulty lies in recognizing them.

But still.

People like you, like me, come to astrologers for answers.

And I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked “what will happen if…” or “just tell me what to do!” As hard as it may be to admit, we all understand the experience of wanting mommy or daddy to swoop into the middle of a life dilemma and say “Do this, honey.” We’ve all wanted someone to make a terribly difficult decision for us. For an astrologer to give a relationship the gold seal stamp of approval – “yes, you two will grow old together into a golden sunset…” We’ve all wanted to be reassured, told this too will pass. Or at least have our hand held.

I, Jessica Shepherd, can’t pretend to know what decision you’re going to make or even tell you what to do. (There, I said it)

Here’s what I can do with astrology. Astrology can be this reassuring, validating force. It can, by describing subtle energies influencing you over distinct time frames, function as a cosmological-psychological and even spiritual life support team of planets. “Yes, that describes my circumstances to a “t” and there is an end in sight…!” But if you ask me to ask it to make a decision for you, predict the future success of your relationship, or tell you what to do – it makes a whinnying noise, rolls over and plays dead. Why?

Maybe it’s because we’re trying to work the workhorse of physical reality, to the exclusion of two other levels – the emotional and the spiritual.

My teacher Steven Forrest describes life happening at three distinct levels – the physical, the emotional and the spiritual. The physical dimension is life in the material world – any physical event, beginning, ending or action – like moving to Panama. The emotional dimension describes the thoughts and feelings we’re having at the time – oh, what will I do for money? Can I build an ashram there? Will I thrive? And it also describes our capacity to self-reflect about who we are and why we think and behave the way we do – I can’t think about this idea realistically, my parents told me I should have been an accountant. Then there’s the spiritual level, which always presents us with questions of meaning, purpose and awake readiness – I’m at the stage of my life where I’m ready to release my belongings, my attachment to my career, house and things – and do my Divine mission. (this describes a real-life client’s transiting Neptune-Moon process)

In my experience, regardless of whether we acknowledge them together or apart, all three levels, the physical, emotional and spiritual come up during an astrology reading. When our connection and rapport stimulates all three levels during the conversation, that’s a deliciously complete reading! Still some folks want the information dispensed one way in a straightforward, boom-there-it-is fashion; others need an emergency tourniquette, “please, tell me when the bleeding will stop!”

Given what you share, the stars illumine, and the mystery and magic of our personal connection, I do my best. But I can’t ever know how your unique combination of personal readiness and “free will” will play out. As my dear friend and astrologer Holiday Mathis says, Carpe Destiny! It’s up to you to seize your destiny.

So. If I, as an astrologer, were to jump straight to the physical level world of predictions and neglect the other two I set us both up for failure. I have no idea where you are in your spiritual journey. I have no idea whether a challenging influence will make you want to hide in a cave or draw out resilience in you to conquer the world. So instead I ask, what are your thoughts and feelings about where you are right now? Are you any good at “doing” this type of energy (discipline, patience, bliss, nurturance)? Oh, and that feeling, limiting belief or hesitation – that’s juicy information. How do you believe this next step relates to your evolving spiritual purpose?

All are relevant to your question. To tell you “what will happen next” without considering your feelings and your personal accountability to those, I open myself to making best guesses. I will probably miss the point entirely and so will you. And in my mind and in my heart – that’s not helpful.

I should mention the type of astrology I practice has everything to do with my approach. I’m informed by a synthesis of several branches of astrology, but mostly Evolutionary Astrology which by definition means to unfold, open out and expand. This is very different from strictly predictive astrology. For me, prediction is inferred – like the practice of measuring probabilities, nothing is black or white, but a continuum of possibilities you continue to influence with your will, emotions, thoughts, attitudes, conditioned responses etc. For example, this year you’ll have a higher probability of encountering certain influences (love, spirituality, hard work) over others. But you’ll always respond to those in a way that’s uniquely you.

Finally, yes. I mean, maybe.

Some of your questions might be definitively answered through the process, but more often this happens: they fill out. Your questions grow wider, more relevant. Your questions deepen and unfold. Maybe something in you shimmers, wakes up, rises to the occasion. And you are guided to reach your own answer. Just like life.

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