A Few Frequently Asked Questions

What is Astrology?

The History of Astrology

Astrology: An Ancient Wisdom

About the Zodiac

What is Astrology?

Astrology is one of those subjects, which has never been properly understood by the general public. In fact, I would go so far as to say that today it is probably one of the most misunderstood subjects, at least in the Western world. Thousands of years ago, astrology was the business of great scholars and learned men. Ordinary people did not aspire to so great a knowledge. Astrologers were consulted upon matters of great importance, and people either took their advice or did not; they didn’t attempt to understand from whence it came. Down through the years, people have revered, reviled, laughed at, or scorned astrology without ever having really understood it. Today, most people, (if they think about it at all), see it as a method of fortune telling and a guide to peoples’ character traits. Amongst the masses, knowledge of astrology rarely extends beyond reading a daily horoscope or determining what their compatibility with other signs of the zodiac. That’s a shame because astrology has so much more to offer.

In this article I will try to briefly define astrology, and give a rough overview of what it’s all about. But before I get into that, I just want to say that astrology will not predict what you are going to do. We have free will, which means that we are free to choose our words and our actions at any time. However, astrology is able to show us opportunities, challenges, and obstacles that we’re likely to encounter, and to give us some idea of the best (and worst) times to act. Exactly what actions we take are up to us. To quote Shakespeare "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

So what is astrology? Is it a science or is it an art? The short answer is that it’s both.

Astrology, is a SCIENCE. In fact, it was once considered the only science worthy of serious study. Nowadays it takes a backseat position to other sciences like astrophysics and chemistry, and there are some that would dispute its right to be called a science at all. But others say it qualifies because it uses observation and mathematics to calculate the positions, movements and co-relationships of the sun, moon and planets as seen from our perspective on Earth against a belt of constellations known as the zodiac. Each heavenly body and each sign of the zodiac has certain traits associated with it that can influence people and events on Earth. A person who practices astrology is called an astrologer, or an astrologist. The science of astronomy developed from astrology, which is a Greek word from astro meaning "star" and logos meaning "word." So the word - or science - of the stars.

Once the positions of the heavenly bodies have been calculated, they can be plotted onto a chart which makes a sort of snapshot of the heavens as seen from any particular spot on Earth, at any given moment in time. When this chart is constructed for the precise moment and location of a person’s birth, it is called a "birth chart. " Astrologers believe that the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets and their relationships to one another in a person’s birth chart all have a direct influence on that person's character, and certain events in their lives. A birth chart (sometimes called a natal chart or horoscope) can be drawn for the beginning or "birth" of anything: projects, businesses, partnerships, pets, marriages, etc. But this is only half the picture. Now the astrologer must interpret the chart.

By Sylvia Richards 17th August 2009

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