Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 10, 2014

How to Avoid Using Negative language in Your Predictions

(c)12-10-14 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Donna explains: I always say that serendipity is the law of my life, and that timing is perfection. That belief is very strong for me today as I am finishing an assignment that will appear in the April issue of The Mountain Astrologer. It’s part of an upcoming series of three issues dedicated to predicting.  My particular assignment is to write  about how to make responsible predictions.  It  fits right into our current theme on Skywriter about boundaries and the  long term effect of negative predictions. Here’s a very brief excerpt from my 3000 word article, as it describes a helpful approach to talking about the effects of tough transiting planets.

We  need to avoid negative ways of describing the planet’s effects. Astrologers often talk as though the planets gang up on us and yank our chains. It’s a kind of shorthand, not to be taken literally. However, people can feel powerless if we give them the impression that transiting Saturn is about to put an end to their career or that slow-moving Pluto will be kicking their keister for the next three years.

Here are some alternate ways that express connections between two planets but don’t imply that the planets CAUSE something to happen. Instead say that the aspect: suggests, represents, implies, shows, symbolizes, could indicate that, hints that, can correlate with, goes along with, is associated with, corresponds to, depicts, or portrays a particular behavior or event. (This goes for written predictions on blogs or websites or in published articles as well.)

(P.S. If you like this post and want to join my email subscribers list, sign up in the box at the top right hand side of the the front page.)

Related Posts on Skywriter:

Awful Things Astrologers Say to Clients

How to Avoid Using Negative language in Your Predictions

Setting Healthy Boundaries in Astrology Sessions

Issues that Come Up in Astrological Consulting: Practicing Healthy Boundaries

What your Astrology Chart Says about your Boundary Issues

Boundaries 101 ~ A Course for Neptunians

Boundaries 201–Ten More Tips for Neptunians


6 Common Misconceptions about Boundaries in a Relationship

The 3 Major Ways of Setting Boundaries—Which Type are You?

Neptune and the Cosmic Soup–How Psychic Contagion Depletes Us

Feeling Drained by a Relationship? Cut those Psychic Cords!


  1. Thank you for this excerpt Donna. While brief in words, it packed quite a punch 🙂 I notice this often in my work with clients: use of language is crucial and how astrologers talk with one another is often the incorrect choice in client work. We can joke about when will Saturn finally leave us Scorpio types alone, but be mindful to not imply that planets do something to us and that we are victims. I like the alternate choices you provided as well.

    Another semi-related point I would like to make is that is is our responsibility to properly explain the limits of prediction. I see possibilities, not certainties regarding future outcomes of transits. For example Uranus transiting the 2nd house does not necessarily mean lack of resources. It could mean unusual sources of income, fluctuations in income, fluctuation in self-concept,etc

    I welcome your perspective Donna and perhaps others will also chime in. I tend to attract clients who want to know everything about astrology in one personal reading or who are very challenging regarding how or why astrology works. I am aware it is no accident wht we attract to us the people we do. I just am looking for better ways to establish boundaries in my practice and balance that with still encouraging people to study astrology on their own time if they so desire.

    Looking forward to your series in TMA.


    • Or when is Pluto Scorpio types going to leave us Saturn Capricorn types alone. Whatcis that called when Pluto is in Cap and Saturn is in Scorpio?? Opposites of some kind. I forget.

      • Not opposites, but first cousins, as they share some of each other’s qualities. It’s called mutual reception when each planet in the pair is in the sign the other rules. There’s an article on the topic somewhere on this blog. (Here, Pluto is in Capricorn, which is Saturn ruled, while Saturn in is Scorpio, which is Pluto-ruled.) For the time being, Saturn has moved into Sagittarius, but it will retrograde back into Scorpio from June to September of 2015. Donna

      • mutual reception 🙂 I like both types since I am a Scorp with Saturn in Cap!
        Thanks for indulging me Kristin.

    • All very good points, Linda. It’s important for us as astrologers to recognize our own limits and that of astrology as a profession. And, yes, one of the difficulties in this work is that clients have magical expectations of us. Donna

  2. Hi Donna,

    Thanks so much for this post. I have often over the past few years in discovering astrology found that reading aspects and transits described in a negative difficult way has made me feel very depressed and down. I remember receiving on line an ‘astro year ahead’ and I cried while reading it, so many Chiron transits, Saturn square my sun etc etc and it was just bleak reading. I can and do try to put it into perspective and realise that there are other good things going on too but it can still impact in a negative way. .Maybe I’m just highly impressionable!
    Thank you, I very much appreciate all your knowledge and sharing. Happy Christmas

    • Oh, Jo, I’m so sorry you were given depressing interpretations of the transits. It takes away confidence and hope. People, this is exactly what I was talking about! Donna

  3. How would you describe or put it to a person that Pluto will be transiting their ascendent. Opposing their cancer moon on their descendent. Squaring their natal Pluto in 9th house Libra? 🙂 Pluto is going to kick your butt and its not going to feel good or fair.

    • Kristin, you’re asking for a chart interpretation, and that’s a session, not a comment. I’m retired from doing sessions. Donna

  4. This is so important! While it’s true that some types of transits are more challenging than pleasant, all transits (and especially, I think, the more challenging ones) present opportunities for growth that, if we take advantage of them, offer paths to greater fulfillment in life. It would be the height of arrogance for an astrologer to suggest that any particular thing (disastrous or otherwise) is going to happen to someone as a result of a planetary transit or another type of astrological influence.

    What I find is that people often resist the very changes they need in order to pursue personal growth and fulfillment (I have certainly done this myself, many times!), because change is scary. And if someone is resisting a needed change, a strong transit by square from an outer planet is likely to bring that change about – not because Pluto or Uranus or Saturn is mean and nasty, but because it’s high time for a person to change in order to live in a healthy way.

    So I try to frame things in those terms “if you need X, the planet’s influence may make it far more possible for you to do X than in the past, or it may even force a necessary change you have been resisting, or if you are on the right path, you may suddenly find new opportunities opening up for you…” Not because I’m being tactful – but because all this is true!

    Donna, you have written so wisely in many of these posts about the importance of not provoking fear with astrological predictions. Astrologers who do this are harming both their clients (hopefully not too seriously) and the profession itself, by making astrology into an object of fear and undermining its value as a tool for personal growth.

    • Well phrased, Margaret–a good way to help clients understand what their challenges are….not a smack upside the head, but a needed new stage of mastering life’s challenges. Donna

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