“The past … is filled with repeating cycles of strength and weakness, wisdom and stupidity, empire and ashes. To study history is to study humanity. And to try to foretell the future without studying history is like trying to learn to read without bothering to learn the alphabet.”
“How many combinations of unintended consequences and human reactions to them does it take to detour us into a future that seems to defy any obvious trend? Not many. That’s why predicting the future accurately is so difficult.”
“It’s also true that where we stand determines what we’re able to see.”
“No matter how hard we try to foresee the future, there are always these surprises. The only safe prediction is that there always will be.”
“So why try to predict the future at all if it’s so difficult, so nearly impossible? Because making predictions is one way to give warning when we see ourselves drifting in dangerous directions. Because prediction is a useful way of pointing out safer, wiser courses. Because, most of all, our tomorrow is the child of our today. Through thought and deed, we exert a great deal of influence over this child, even though we can’t control it absolutely. Best to think about it, though. Best to try to shape it into something good. Best to do that for any child.”
-Octavia E. Butler, “A Few Rules for Predicting the Future,” Essence Magazine (May 2000): 165-166.
Butler was writing about predicting the future as a science fiction author, but I take these insights seriously as an astrologer and tarot reader who spends much of my days casting my gaze toward the future.
I share these words from Octavia E. Butler with all of us who are trying to imagine worlds to comes—including those of us engaged in divinatory practices.