Understanding Astrology

Astrology is just one of those subjects: It's easy to learn but can take a lifetime to master. Most people are familiar with the most basic aspect of Astrology, their Star Sign (or Sun Sign), and usually they can name at least one common trait of their Sign. Star Signs are popularized through all the horoscopes that appear in daily newspaper columns, magazines and on web sites. Unfortunately, many people think that their Star Sign is all that there is to Astrology. While it is a good place to start, there is a lot more to Astrology than just the Sun's position!

Astrology is not a modern invention dating back only a few years, decades or even centuries. Astrology has been studied for millennia, and it dates back as far as recorded history. The original Astrologers were priests and scholars, and they were looked up to as doctors and learned men. According to modern speculation, the Three Wise Men of Christian belief were Astrologers! At that time, Astrology was the same science as Astronomy and Psychology, whose modern descendants arose from Astrology.

In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans based their system of gods on what they believed was up in the sky. Zeus, who equates to Jupiter in Roman myth, and the other gods and goddesses were based on the Planets visible to the ancients. Astrology was similarly popular in Babylon and Egypt, and it also rose in the Middle East, India and China.

Modern Astrology has changed with the discovery of new Planets: first Uranus in 1781, then Neptune and Pluto, as well as the four feminine-energy Asteroids. These three Planets have a stronger effect on generations as a whole rather than individuals, but they still have an important place in modern Astrology.

Astrology is about the interaction between the Planets (including the Sun and Moon) and the Signs. The relationships between them and their interactions are mathematically based, and Astrology studies these mathematical cycles. Each Sign represents a different aspect of the whole human; Aries starts the cycle, representing the Self, and Pisces completes it, representing the mass unconscious of all mankind. In between, each other Sign carries the energy of a different phase of man's evolution within the universe.

In addition, Astrology does not need to affect or change people's religious beliefs. In fact, most religions incorporate some idea linking the way you live your life to where you end up in the afterlife. Astrology deals with the same sort of idea through the concept of karma: What you do in this lifetime determines what will happen to you in your next lifetime. The philosophies are the same; they are just expressed in different ways.

There are many different categories of Astrology. Medical, business and stock market Astrology are often practiced for health or financial reasons. Weather Astrology is popular in some areas. Mundane Astrology is the study of politics and world events, while Electional Astrology helps people find favorable times or days to get married, start a business, begin a new job and so on. Horary Astrology is predictive, studying questions based upon the specific moment they arise. The most popular type of Astrology, however, is Natal, which analyzes people based on their time and place of birth.

There are two major types of Astrology practiced today in the Western World: Tropical and Siderial. Tropical Astrology assigns the Signs based on their position in relation to the Spring Equinox, which marks the Astrological New Year and usually falls on March 21. The Equinox represents 0 degrees Aries. Siderial Astrology assigns positions based on constellations, rather than in relation to the Equinox. At present, Siderial Astrology is 24 degrees behind Tropical Astrology, so a person born under 23 degrees Libra in Tropical Astrology is born at 29 degrees Virgo in Siderial Astrology.