Astrology Made Easy
The Basics of Astrology
What is Astrology?
Astrology is the study of the stars. The word "stars" in astrology refers to the sun, the planets, and the moon. Astrology has been in use across time as a form of entertainment, part of religion, and part of daily life.
Astrology begot the mapping of the heavens. This mapping is known as an astrological chart. Usually, an astrological chart is made for someone using their birth date. The astrologer needs to know the precise time of the birth, the location of the birth, and the date of birth.
The celestial bodies found on a natal chart are the Sun, the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, and Pluto. Not considered is the Earth, on account that it serves as the observation point in the heavens that is seen reflected from all the different planets. The Sun and Moon are termed planets in astrology, which is sometimes confusing to people.
Houses are a key feature of astrological charts. Each house represents an aspect of life, such as romance, career, or family. There are only 10 planets, however, so any given astrological chart will have up to two vacant houses. Blank spaces represent a life occupied by aspects that require further development.
The sun and its position in the skies also influence your astrological sign. This is the first aspect of astrology studied by astrologers. Next, the position of the planets' influence on the sun sign is studied. Finally, your moon sign and its position are studied, about the houses and other planets in the astrological chart.
In modern astrology, the interpretation of an astrological birth chart as a whole provides insight into the personality of the individual. The birth chart revealed by astrology, later in life, may not appear to make sense. This is due to differences in astrological phenomena, aspects, and other life events experienced over time.
Astrological chart interpretation as well as predicting the future based on the motion of the celestial spheres is the specialty of an astrologer, and the interpretation of this chart is one of the principal studies in this field. In order to get correct predictions, the interpretation of astrological charts is an integral part of the art.
The usage of basic astrology in forecasts is an art form for one reason: astrology isn't only about locating the planets and stars that are associated with someone's birth chart and identifying the current elements of the celestial sphere. Furthermore, the astrologer must be able to identify any event that might influence the person's personality over time. Though it's intriguing, a life-changing event can often be accurately predicted with astrology.
A number of historic events such as the fall of the Roman Empire may have been foretold through astronomical readings. For example, the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11 was associated with astrological phenomena. And the birth of Jesus Christ was also accompanied by astrological events.
Why Is Astrology Important?
Many people do not recognize the importance of astrology. Astrology is an important part of history, as well as our daily lives. Astrology can also predict future events to some degree. It influences our moods, the moods of others, and the reactions that we have to everyday occurrences.
The importance of astrology was well known to people of ancient history. Maps of the stars and evidences of the use of astrology in daily life have been found in pre-historic cave drawings, ancient manuscripts, and Egyptian pyramids. The most recent, and possibly the most astounding, discovery about astrology in history involves the birth of Christ according to the Christian bible.
It has been determined that the star of Bethlehem was actually an astrological event, consisting of many stars and astrological meanings. Scientists and astrologists now believe that it was not a star at all. The wise men from the east understood that the major event would happen in Judah based on the alignment of planets within the constellation of the Lion. In other words, the wise men used astrology to discern the event of the birth, not a star.
The importance of astrology is still well known to many cultures. The people of India and China put great stock in astrology even today. They practice the art of astrology in their daily lives, and base major decisions on the science.
In the Western world, astrology has become more of a form of entertainment. Horoscopes based on sun signs are published in every major newspaper and magazine across the United States. Horoscope scrolls and booklets can be purchased in most supermarket checkout lanes. And so-called astrologists charge $1.99 per minute to get your astrological reading over the phone.
But many people do not understand that astrology in its truest form is actually of the utmost importance. Astrology is quite simply the study of the planets and stars and their influence on our lives. These influences are quite real.
Have you ever noticed that around the time of the new moon you have difficulty making decisions? The phases of the moon actually affect our minds and emotions much more than many people realize. This is only a small part of the importance of astrology.
Perhaps you have noticed that your moods change drastically during stretches of time that seem to have no pattern at all. A study of the planetary movements or alignments during those times might reveal that a pattern actually does exist. The position of the planets in your astrological chart at any given time can be viewed in relation to their position in your birth chart. These comparisons can show reasons for changes in mood and daily reactions to events.
In short, the importance of astrology lies in the direct influence that the moon, sun, and stars play in our lives. Our lives are affected by many people and events. These people and events are influenced by astrology as much as you are.
When you understand how astrology affects others and yourself, you can begin to use the knowledge of those influences to your benefit. When your astrological chart shows that your emotions will be unsteady for a few days, you can put off major decisions until that time has passed. In reality, the importance of astrology is really the importance of your life.
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There are many common misconceptions about astrology in the Western world. Astrology in America has been turned into a form of entertainment and is not taken seriously by many people. However, the truth is that there is a lot of truth and usefulness in the art of astrology. Here are the three most common misconceptions about astrology, and the truth behind the myth.
Common Misconception about Astrology Number One: Horoscopes do not work because astrology is bunk.
The Truth: Horoscopes are entertainment created based on limited aspects of the true study of astrology. Horoscopes are created using the basic sun signs and the influences on them from planetary movements and alignments. Since not every person with a particular sun sign have the same astrological chart, horoscopes are rarely accurate for more than a handful of people.
Real astrology predictions are made by using individual astrological information combined with current astrological influences. These in depth astrology readings are very difficult and complex, and cannot be created reliably on a mass basis. Therefore, horoscopes serve as a basis for entertainment and what may happen based on sun sign alone.
Common Misconception about Astrology Number Two: Astrology is an ancient practice that holds no place in reality, such as Greek and Roman tales of Hercules and gods and goddesses.
The Truth: Astrology has been practiced since pre-historic times. There have been maps of the stars and other evidences found that astrology was practiced by the Egyptians, the Incans, and the Aztecs. Additionally, China and India have long practiced astrology and used its predictions in their daily lives for millennia, and continue to do so.
It is even recently understood that astrology played a large role in the Christian story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The three wise men used astrological phenomena rather than an actual star to discern the events that were about to occur and the fact that they would occur in the land of Judah. Based on this new found information, it is becoming more difficult for people to dismiss astrology as myth and legend.
Common Misconception about Astrology Number Three: Real astrology is not practiced in the United States.
The Truth: Much of the astrology practiced in the United States is not a real study of astrology and is for entertainment purposes only, such as horoscopes. However, there are still real astrology experts in America. While they are few compared to the general consensus of astrologists, and may be difficult to find, there are many of them out there.
The best places to find real astrologists in the United States are in communities where diversity has not driven out the New Age population. True astrologists and New Agers can be found in small communities of large cities and at what is sometimes called "enlightenment festivals." There are also New Age and occult book stores and other shops where you may find real astrology experts. Additionally, you can find real astrologists at pagan festivals and psychic fairs held throughout America at various times of the year.
How Can I Use Astrology?
Granted, the largest number of people who put the most focus into astrology are adult-aged women. Most women see themselves in terms of being both the "keeper" the one who is responsible for all of the other people in her life and her relationships with them; as well as having the generally-female characteristic of feeling that whether her life is good or bad, that it is her place to be in the position of affecting positive changes. It is primarily for these reasons that women make up the majority of astrology-seekers. Through astrology, women can learn more about themselves, their lives, their associates, and their futures; and, in gaining such knowledge, can be in the very beneficial position of assessing their personal strengths and weaknesses, which in turn will provide many opportunities for taking control of one's life.
Fewer men gain a serious interest in astrology. When they do, it is usually less a matter of wanting a general overview of their lives than of needing specific details and answers for specific questions or problems. Men are more likely to focus their interest in astrology on such topics as how to get a particular job, how to make business decisions, and questions about whether or not to relocate to a different area. All of these subjects can be brought up in an astrological reading, and he can find the answers or solutions which he needs in order to be better informed and make decisions which are most likely to have the best outcome for him.
Teenagers and young adults are often curious about astrology. Unfortunately, if they are not properly informed, they may hold the standard belief that astrology is basically about predicting the future and little more. Teens can be best aided by astrology by understanding that the scope of astrology goes far beyond simple predictions; and, even more important, that even predictions themselves are only a matter of what is "likely" to occur-- that the person himself or herself has a great ability to influence what actually does occur, by his or her own responses to the events which happen each day. Astrology works best when viewed as a map of possibility, over which the individual has much influence.
This can be a wonderful asset for any teenager or young adult who is at the stage in life where he or she wishes to make solid decisions and plans for the future. The first part is in seeing one's future predictions in terms of what is likely to occur, and to gain an understanding on how to affect changes to one's course of action in order to result in a positive outcome. Learning that one is not helpless, nor bound to a predetermined destiny, is a wonderful feeling for all but most especially for young people!
The second part of astrology which is very important to youth is being able to gain a deeper understanding into themselves their specific character traits and personalities. It can be a good feeling to learn that many others share similar qualities! And, for a young person who is not entirely comfortable with various aspects of his or her personality, realizing that it is within his or her own power to change the less desirable traits and strengthen those traits which appeal to him or her the most, will go a long way in granting a teenager or young adult the appreciated state of knowing it is within themselves to improve what they wish to improve and rely more heavily on the traits which give them the most potential for a happy, well-adjusted life.
Is Astrology Popular?
It is worth noting that while only approximately thirty-one percent of Americans believe in astrology, according to research, over half of Europeans consider it to be a physical science.
The main types of astrology that are still typically understood are Indian astrology, Western astrology, and Chinese astrology. In the United States, Western astrology is the most popular. One of the prominent facets of Western astrology is using the zodiac sign.
Horoscopes, which are the most basic interpretations, are based on which sign was in effect when a person was born; and whether a person was born on the "cusp," which means the very beginning or very end of the particular sign. In addition to using a sign to determine life events and predict one's future, a sign is also thought to be relevant to learning about certain characteristics related to that person's sign, such as whether someone will become a bully, such as Aries, or a leader, such as Taurus. Given that this may seem strange, it's accurate that many who carefully studied this kind of information found it to be rather accurate. For instance, while Virgos, in general, are not "practical," "fastidious," and "strong-minded," this trait is common among many of the natives born in the sign of this sign; and while all who are born under the sign of Virgo do not develop stomach, intestinal, or reactive issues, this happens to be the case in a significant number of cases.
Another type of astrology is Indian astrology, which is also referred to as Jyotisa, or Vedic astrology. Its foundation is the belief in the connection between the microcosm and the macrocosm—the smaller parts of the universe and the macrocosm. Interest in Vedic astrology is prevalent because it is currently practiced in India, but many Indians rely on it.
Indian astrology has enjoyed worldwide significance in the last seventy years, but it has had a significant place in Indian culture for centuries. Vedic astrology is said to have originated with the Brahmin more than 7,000 years ago. Thus, what is said to have begun with the Brahman has developed to such a large degree that it has expanded to Arizona, which is the home of the American College of Vedic Astrology. Vedic astrology readings are one of the main occupations for astrologers in the majority of countries. Chinese astrology is based on the lunar cycle, which is different from constellation-based dresses. In this form of astrology, the zodiac sign corresponds to the animal named ram, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Going by the traditional Chinese calendar, each of these creatures belongs to the sign of the Chinese calendar.
The Babylonians are generally acknowledged to have originated the practice and science of astrology. Their astrological charts enabled them to predict the recurrence of seasons and certain celestial events. So, in the beginning and for more than 2,000 years, astrology and astronomy were the same science.
Babylonian astrology was introduced to the Greeks early in the 4th century BCE and, through the studies of Plato, Aristotle, and others, astrology came to be highly regarded as a science. It was soon embraced by the Romans (the Roman names for the zodiacal signs are still used today) and the Arabs and later spread throughout the entire world.
While earliest astrology was used to bring a sense of order out of apparent chaos, it was soon employed to predict weather patterns, primarily for agricultural purposes. It was eventually widened to include forecasts of natural disasters, war and other events affecting the human condition. Once success in these fields was established, it was a natural evolution for astrology to be used as a means for advising for kings and emperors and, in time, the population at large.
The zodiac (which is derived from the Greek word meaning circle of animals) is believed to have developed in ancient Egypt and later adopted by the Babylonians. Early astrologers knew it took twelve lunar cycles (i.e., months) for the sun to return to its original position. They then identified twelve constellations that they observed were linked to the progression of the seasons and assigned them names of certain animals and persons (in Babylonia, for example, the rainy season was found to occur when the sun was in a particular constellation which was then named Aquarius, or water bearer).
Around the year 2000 BCE, Babylonian astrologers believed that the sun, moon, and the five planets known at that time (Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, and Venus) possessed distinct powers. Mars, for example, appeared to be red and was associated with aggression and war.
Astrology and the New-Age Movement
Learning about astrology is absolutely essential for anyone who is interested in the New Age movement! As the New Age movement is based on the belief that everything and everyone in the universe is spiritually interconnected, that concept lends itself to a wide range of beliefs which promote it, such as the connection of everything in the cosmos, mystical power known as "energy" or "energy fields," and, of course, astrology. One particular form of astrology, quite different from the usual types which are more well-known, is very much aligned to the New Age movement and its beliefs; it is called Karmic astrology.
Founded by Martin Shulman, belief in karmic astrology is based on the concept of karma what one specific individual sees and perceives is different from what another specific individual sees or experiences in the same situation, due to each having his or her own life lessons to process, lessons which were not satisfactorily processed in one's past lives. Instead of assessing the differences of individual persons as being due to each having his or her own unique personality, mind and emotions, karmic astrology stresses that it is a matter of one having not properly fulfilled his karmic role in his previous lives. Karmic astrology is the only form of astrology which bases its conclusions on reincarnation; and that one's true influence, which covers everything from one's opinions to one's means of experience, is not coming from one's present-day life, it's coming from one's past.
The forms of astrology which most people are familiar with Western astrology, Chinese astrology, Indian or Vedic astrology emphasizes the events in a person's life and how to affect positive direction. Karmic astrology, however, views the individual's life as that which has been reincarnated for the purpose of completing that which had not been completed in his previous life aspects of himself and his life which he should improve, change, and grow.
In tune with this concept are New Age practices such as "alternative" medicine, which take numerous non-medical angles such as herbs and massage in the treatment of medical conditions, and, even more strongly stressed, and even in the absence of any such diseases or conditions, focusing on the individual person's need to "heal."
Although it has not been categorically explained, it seems that placing such a strong emphasis on a person's need to heal is based on the New Age movement's view of reincarnation that simply being in this life coincides with the Karmic belief that a person has not gained closure from whatever came before. Consequently, karmic astrology differs from the more widely-accepted forms of astrology in that while the focus of the latter is on charting the course of a person's life and guiding direction for a person's best possible potential, the focus of karmic astrology is essentially on "fixing what is wrong with" a person. As such, those who claim to be professionals in the scope of karmic astrology are far different from the more standard astrologers, preferring terminology such as "healing" and the misuse of other esoteric language, frequently referred to as "psychobabble." In other words, karmic astrology bears very little resemblance to the concepts and practices which most people know as Astrology.
Astrology may or may not be "science," depending on who you ask. But, one similarity it does bear to science is a large collection of terms. Natal charts and horoscopes can be as simple as "your sun sign is Gemini." Or, they can be extremely complex, taking into account exactly where and when the individual was born, where each of the planets, sun, and moon were positioned at that moment, and then measuring how each of those bodies related to each other.
The starting point of any astrology work is the Sun Sign. This is one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and is the constellation the Sun was passing through when the person was born.
A Horoscope, as far as the public is concerned, is that little nugget of advice printed with their sign in the newspaper. But the full Horoscope as designed by the astrologer is more than that. It's a complete map of the planets with regards to the constellations and each other.
Once the planets have been mapped, then their Aspects can be measured. The Aspect is the measure of the angle formed by drawing lines between the planets. The two most important Aspects are the Conjunction (which is a very small measure, less than ten degrees), and the Opposition (a very large measure, nearly 180 degrees).
The Houses are equivalent to the signs of the Zodiac, but they're also dedicated to certain aspects of the person's life. One House is devoted to finances, another to health, for example.
Each planet orbits the sun at a different speed. Mercury, right next to the sun, races around it in a matter of weeks, while Pluto plods along in an orbit that takes centuries. Occasionally, the Earth will pass a planet, and it will seem to be "moving backwards." Think of riding a fast train while passing a slow moving one--the slower train will appear to be backing up, even though it's moving forward. This optical illusion is called Retrograde, and these periods of backwards motion show up in horoscopes and action.