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Has this ever happened to you? You finally get around to washing your car, and the moment you finish, it starts to rain. You may joke that it rained because you washed your car, but the idea that you caused the rain by washing your car is silly. The fact that you washed your car and then it rained is simply a coincidence.
It's human nature to confuse coincidence and causality: it's one of the limitations of the linear mind. Whenever we observe a sequence of events — even events that are clearly unrelated — we unconsciously assume that event A caused event B, which caused event C. What actually happened is that the context at the time allowed for the manifestation of A, B, and C. There's no linear or causal relationship between A, B, or C; they just coincide with each other.
To understand predictive astrology and find practical applications for it, you have to move beyond the linear, Newtonian view of the universe and consider the quantum view.
One of the cornerstones of quantum physics is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Everything in the Universe behaves both as a particle and a wave. A particle occupies a single point in space and time. A wave is a disturbance in space. Waves determine the mass and momentum of an object. In the simplest, broadest terms, the particle nature tells you where the object is, and the wave nature tells you what the object is. The catch is that you can never be entirely certain of both where and what at the same time. The more certain you are of what, the less certain you can be about where; and the more certain you are of where, the less certain you can be about what.
The Universe is infinite, and that means that literally everything is possible. The creative potential of the Universe exists as waves. When a group of waves come together, they begin to change. The peaks and valleys that line up get bigger, and those that don't line up cancel each other out. The waveform becomes more focused and more distinct. It takes on more of the qualities of a particle until the waveform collapses and the infinite potential is reduced to a single, specific outcome.
Consider your dirty car. From the moment you notice your car is dirty, the potential exists that you will wash it. The potential acts like a wave, and that wave contains two possibilities: you either wash your car, or you do not wash your car. When enough waveforms line up, the waveform collapses and you make a decision. You either wash your car, or you don't wash your car. But in either case, the waveform has collapsed to a particle. The potential has resolved into reality.
Predictive Natal Astrology uses the birth chart of the individual as the foundation, and considers a variety of different triggers that activate the potential in the birth chart in different ways. You already have to consider the birth chart in three dimensions, and adding the timing of the different triggers ads yet another dimension. To make sense of this, you have to view it from a quantum perspective.
Each trigger — be it transit, progression, or direction — is a waveform. A single trigger creates almost unlimited possibilities, because each planet in the chart represents a so many different potential expressions. If Mars is triggered, it could make you angry, passionate, or energized; but if Mars rules your Fifth and Tenth Houses, it could also create action in any of your Fifth House affairs (sex, entertainment, children, creativity, risk) or your Tenth House affairs (career, life path, public image, reputation, relationship with your mother). All of these possibilities exist simultaneously, and it's not possible to know if or when any of the waveforms will collapse and become a reality.
However, if you consider the bigger picture and take into account multiple triggers and multiple waveforms, you can get a more accurate view of the context. Repeated triggers group the different waveforms and limit the range of possibilities. The current reality of the individual focuses the options even more. For example, if you don't have any children, a trigger to the Fifth House would have to relate to something else, such as gambling or love affairs. If you're working overtime hoping to get a promotion at work, a Tenth House trigger will probably show up in the context of your career, rather than in the context of your relationship with your mother. You still can't predict a future event with certainty, but you can consider the context and make an educated guess.
Predictive astrologers must give up the illusion of cause and effect. You can't point to a single trigger as the cause of an event. The fact that Uranus was square Mars at the exact moment you were in a car accident is coincidence, not causality.
You can't look at a particle and extrapolate the waveform it came from. You can't look at a set of transits and extrapolate specific events anymore than you can look at a photo of a sled and extrapolate the plot of Citizen Kane.
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Kevin B. Burk is the Headmaster of The Real Astrology Academy. Established in 2013, The Real Astrology Academy provides astrology information, education, and training to astrologers and astrology students around the world. He holds an NCGR-IV Certification in Astrological Counseling, is the author of over a dozen books, including Principles of Practical Natal Astrology: Talented Astrologer Training Book 1, and helps clients around the world through his counseling practice.