A time to be born and a time to die: can astrology predict death?
Can astrology predict someone’s death? What would you look for in an astrology chart if you were looking for death?”
Recently, a student asked me this in an astrology group I run, and I figured the answer may be of interest to others who wonder the same thing.
This question is a morbid but fascinating one. Vedic astrologers firmly believe that they can accurately predict death – the day and even the hour, as well as the cause; as a general rule, however, Western astrologers tend not to believe that this is possible. Some astrologers who work with what are termed “traditional” or “classical” systems, do use techniques which are said to be able to predict death – but with not terribly impressive results, it must be said.
To begin with, whether or not you think an astrologer can predict death will depend on whether or not you believe in free will; classical astrology takes a more fatalistic, pre-ordained view, but most modern astrologers are big on free will. Including me. If you don’t think you’re destined to die at a particular time, then it stands to reason that the date or circumstances of your passing cannot be predicted.
Of course, there are extremely serious ethical and moral implications in predicting death by any kind of divination. It is rarely helpful and it can literally destroy lives; I struggle to think of any circumstances under which I would agree to attempt to do this for a client, and it would never even cross my mind to do it for myself or my loved ones. Would I do it if there were a foolproof, tried and tested method of spotting death via astrology? No, I probably wouldn’t, and I’m somewhat thankful that it isn’t, in my mind, do-able.
It is, however, relatively simple to look at someone’s natal and progressed charts and recent transits AFTER death and pinpoint factors which might have been a signpost towards what was going to happen. The magic of hindsight, and all that. However, no astrologer has ever been able to come up with a reliable “death signature” which works for all or even many charts of different people. The best that can be said is that something significant, astrologically speaking, is often going on at the time of death – but what that something is, is individual for each of us. Remember also that for many of the spiritually minded among us, a death here is actually a birth into another place – so perhaps the elusive astrological ‘death’ signature is actually a birth signature. If, like me, you believe in life after death, then perhaps we should be looking for indicators of a joyful new beginning, not a sad ending.
If anything, I believe that death is easier to find in the chart of a loved one of the subject, as periods of great emotional upheaval (such as grief) are certainly pin point-able – but with humans being the fragile souls we are, there are so many things that could be causing that upheaval at any given time, with death of a loved one being only one possibility out of many.
For some, death is a violent, unpredictable, traumatic affair. For others, it is a peaceful release, a blessing even. Some people fear death, others positively embrace it. All of these attitudes towards death, and ways of meeting death, will be indicated very differently in astrology. Astrological indicators for an expected death following a long illness may suggest relief and release rather than anguish; on the other hand, astrological indicators for a sudden, violent, shocking or traumatic death will probably suggest chaos, trauma, loss and drama. However, any set of astrological indicators which ultimately preside over someone’s death may also have occurred at various other times in that person’s life with less drastic outcomes.
Evidence shows us that any planet, any sign and any aspect can be occurring at the moment of someone’s death. There is no statistical truth in the belief that signs like Scorpio are more likely to be activated at the time of someone’s death – astrology is much more complex than that. In terms of planets, some deaths occur under the influence of Old Father Time, Saturn. He can bring a death of old age, but he can also bring a lingering, drawn out death at any age. Unpredictable Uranus may preside over an accidental or sudden death, but so might Mars – with added violence.
Watery, mystical, illusory Neptune might rule over a death caused by drug overdose or drowning, but might also preside over a peaceful, sleeping departure from this existence. Gentle Venus too can be prominent in a “good death”, where the individual and his or her family are prepared, accepting and as peaceful as it is possible to be in such circumstances. Dramatic Pluto could show his colours during a violent death, or death in the cause of a battle or struggle of some kind, not necessarily a physical one. Even good old feel-good, optimistic Jupiter, generally considered the most auspicious of all planets, can be significant in death, for someone who embraces it as a transition into the next life.
Even if there were a defined ‘death signature’ we could look for in an astrology chart, its accuracy in any ‘death day’ prediction would depend heavily on a very accurate birth time having been provided by the subject. In a country like mine, the UK, where birth time is not recorded on the birth certificate (except in Scotland), the chances of having a time of birth accurate to the minute are low. Even in countries which do record the time of birth, it is likely to be often a few moments out, depending on the circumstances of the birth and how quickly someone had a chance to record the time. Without a fully accurate birth time, attempts at astrological timing (for any event at all) are much hindered.
The best (or worst?) astrology can really do, when it comes to death, is to highlight advance energy trends, both positive and negative. Astrology is a tool for understanding life, not a calculator for predicting the end of life. We all go through many crisis points in our life, one of which may ultimately result in our death – or not. While astrologers will occupy themselves no doubt for centuries to come with the question of finding that elusive death signature, many of us will secretly be rather relieved that such a thing remains out of reach, and that our eventual deaths remain as individual, astrologically speaking, as our births.