Astrology (from Greek: αστρολογία = άστρον, astron, "star" + λόγος, logos, "word") is any of several traditions or systems in which knowledge of the apparent positions of celestial bodies is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing knowledge about reality and human existence on earth. All traditions are based on the relative positions and movements of various real and construed celestial bodies as seen at the time and place of the birth or other event being studied. These are chiefly the Sun, Moon, planets, Ascendant & Midheaven axes, and the lunar nodes. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer, or sometimes an astrologist. Astromancy, divination by the stars, is a slightly archaic synonym for astrology (likewise for astromancer and the rather rarely used astromancist).
Many of those who practice astrology believe the positions of certain celestial bodies either influence or correlate with people's personality traits, important events in their lives, and even physical characteristics.
Astrology is not considered to be a science, but is more appropriately an art, and is separate from astronomy, the scientific study of outer space. The calculations performed in astrology involve arithmetic and simple geometry and serve to locate the apparent location of heavenly bodies on desired dates and times based on tables constructed by astronomers. There have been astrologers who claim to try to put astrology on a sound scientific basis, but for most it is an art that merges calculations with their own intuitive perceptions. For most astrologers the purported relationship between the celestial bodies and events on earth need not be causal, nor even scientific.
The generally established opinion of the scientific community is that astrology is superstition, with no actual predictive ability.
The core principles of astrology reflect a general principle, which was accepted in some parts of the ancient world, that events in the heavens should have analogies on Earth. In some places, such as ancient China and Babylon, the apparently untoward movement of a comet across the otherwise orderly movement of the heavens was taken as a portent of disaster. Such ancient beliefs are epitomized in the Hermetic maxim: As Above, So Below. The famous astronomer/astrologer Tycho Brahe also used a similar phrase to justify his studies in astrology: Suspiciendo despicio — "By looking up I see downward."
- 1 Description
- 2 History of astrology
- 3 The validity of astrology
- 4 Effects on world culture
- 5 Astrology and the classical elements
- 6 Astrology and alchemy
- 7 The seven liberal arts and astrology
- 8 Astrology and the Days of the Week
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 10.1 Astrology and its history
- 10.2 Schools
- 10.3 Validity and usefulness
- 10.4 Astrology in relation to other thought systems
- 10.5 The astrologer's tools
- 10.6 Free natal reports
In past centuries astrology often relied on close observation of astronomical objects, and the charting of their movements, and might be considered a protoscience in this regard. In modern times astrologers have tended to rely on data drawn up by astronomers and set out in a set of tables called an ephemeris, which shows the changing positions of the heavenly bodies through time. It is the interpretation of these science based tables that makes astrology a target for the label pseudoscience.
Central to all astrology is the horoscope. This is a diagrammatic representation in two dimensions of the celestial bodies' apparent positions in the heavens from the vantage of a location on Earth at a given time and place. The horoscope of an individual's birth is called a natal chart (other names for this diagram in English include natus, nativity, astrological chart, astro-chart, celestial map, birth chart, sky-map, cosmogram, vitasphere, soulprint, radical chart, radix, or simply chart).
The path of the sun across the heavens as seen from Earth during a full year is called the ecliptic by astronomers. This, and the nearby band of sky followed by the visible planets is called the zodiac by astrologers. A few Western and all Jyotish (Hindu) astrologers use the sidereal zodiac, which uses the true astronomical positions of the stars and constellations which lie on the ecliptic. The majority of Western astrologers base their work on the tropical zodiac, which aligns with the seasons but not with the actual positions of the stars.
To determine the astrological signs in which the Sun, Moon, and the other celestial bodies fall on any given day, hour, minute, or second, it is necessary to consult an ephemeris or use an astrological computer program which will have a built-in ephemeris.
Computer programs make it easy to calculate the horoscope so that the modern astrologer can spend more time interpreting the chart rather than calculating it, however they mean it is now possible for some to practice astrology with little understanding of celestial mechanics.
Interpretation of a horoscope/natal chart is governed by:
- astrological aspects: the positions of the major planetary bodies relative to each other,
- their positions relative to the astrological signs of one of the zodiac sytems,
- their position in one of the systems of astrological houses,
- their positions relative to the horizon line (namely the ascendant/descendant axes, zenith/midheaven and nadir/immum coeli axes).
Significant traditions of astrology include but are not limited to:
Some of these can also be subdivided into specific branches, such as
- natal astrology (the study of a person's birth, or natal chart),
- horary astrology (a chart drawn up to answer a specific question), and
- electional astrology (a chart drawn up ahead of time to determine the best moment to begin an enterprise or undertaking).
- medical astrology (using the client's natal chart and/or a horary chart to diagnose and treat various illnesses)
Other areas of specialized astrological study are
- Mundane astrology that sees correlations between geological phenomena (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc.) and astronomical phenomena.
- Political astrology , is the ancient branch of astrology dealing with politics, and government.
- Meteorological astrology uses methods which are supposed to be able to predict the weather.
History of astrology
- Main article: History of astrology
The study of Western astrology and the belief in it, as part of astronomy, is found in a developed form among the ancient Babylonians; and directly or indirectly through the Babylonians, it spread to other nations. It came to Greece about the middle of the 4th century BC, and reached Rome before the opening of the Christian era. For a detailed description, including astrology in other cultures, see the main article.
The validity of astrology
- Main article: Validity of astrology
Some astrologers argue that astrology works by a mechanism that is (yet) unknown to science and that it is validated by their personal experience when applied in real life cases. They argue that it does not make the hard predictions that science would require but informs the user of subtleties to decisions that would otherwise be missed.
Effects on world culture
Astrology has had a profound influence over the past few thousand years on Western and Eastern cultures, along with the English language. Influenza was so named because doctors once believed it to be caused by unfavorable planetary and stellar influences. The word "disaster" comes from the Latin "dis-aster" meaning "bad star". Also, the adjectives "lunatic" (Moon), "mercurial" (Mercury), "martial" (Mars), "jovial" (Jupiter/Jove), and "saturnine" (Saturn) are all old words used to describe personal qualities said to resemble or be highly influenced by the astrological characteristics of the planet, some of which are derived from the attributes of the ancient Roman gods they are named after.
Astrology as a descriptive language for the mind
Many writers, notably William Shakespeare , used astrological symbolism to add subtlety to the description of their characters' motivation. An understanding of astrological principles is needed to fully appreciate such literature, along with the work of many other writers and poets of this and many other eras. Some modern thinkers, notably Carl Jung, have acknowledged its descriptive powers of the mind without necessarily subscribing to its predictive claims.
Astrology and the classical elements
- Main article: Astrology and the classical elements
Astrology has used the concept of classical elements from antiquity up until the present. Most modern astrologers use the four classical elements extensively, and indeed it is still viewed as a critical part of interpreting the astrological chart.
Astrology and alchemy
- Main article: Astrology and alchemy
Alchemy in the Western World and other locations where it was widely practiced was (and in many cases still is) closely allied and intertwined with traditional Babylonian-Greek style astrology; in numerous ways they were built to complement each other in the search for hidden knowledge. Traditionally, each of the seven planets in the solar system as known to the ancients was associated with, held dominion over, and ruled a certain metal.
A separate article also exists on astrology and numerology.
The seven liberal arts and astrology
In medieval Europe, a university education was divided into seven distinct areas, each represented by a particular planet and known as the Seven Liberal Arts. They were seen as operating in ascending order, beginning with Grammar which was assigned to the quickest moving celestial body (the Moon) and culminating in Astronomia which was thought to be astrologically ruled by Saturn, the slowest moving and furthest out planet known at the time. After this sequence wisdom was supposed to have been achieved by the medieval university student. In the Divine Comedy and Convivio, Dante drew this connection between the liberal arts and the seven traditional astrological planets.
- Astronomia -- Saturn
- Geometry -- Jupiter
- Arithmetic -- Mars
- Music -- Sun
- Rhetoric -- Venus
- Dialectic -- Mercury
- Grammar -- Moon
Astrology and the Days of the Week
Each day of the week was created in honor of one of the seven celestial bodies (the Sun, Moon, and five known planets); and in ancient astrology, each day of the week was said to be influenced by the traits of the celestial body it was named after. The system was symmetrical and free of complication until the discovery of Uranus in 1781.
The English names, other than the obvious Sunday and Monday ("Moonday"), are taken from the Teutonic deities that were correlated with the Roman deities that were asociated with the planets that the days were named after.
The days of the week and celestial bodies they are named after are:
- Sunday -- Sun
- Monday -- Moon
- Tuesday -- Mars
- Wednesday -- Mercury
- Thursday -- Jupiter
- Friday -- Venus
- Saturday -- Saturn
- Accidental dignity
- Age of Aquarius
- Ascendant (AC, ASC)
- Ascending planet
- Astrological age
- Astrological symbol
- Astrology and computers
- Celestial mechanics
- Cycle studies
- Descendant (DC)
- Forer effect
- Hamburg School of Astrology
- Harmonic Charts
- House (astrology)
- Immum Coeli (IC)
- Jewish views of astrology
- List of cycles
- Lunar node
- Lunar phase
- The Mars effect
- Medical astrology
- Medium Coeli/Midheaven (MC)
- Music of the spheres
- New age
- Nadi astrology
- Orbital period
- Planets in astrology
- Predictions for the forthcoming year
- Ray of Creation
- Rose Cross and Astrology
- Ruling planet
- Saturn Return
- Sidereal astrology
- Solar deity
- Solar symbol
- Solar system
- The Combination of Stellar Influences
- Three Wise Men
- Tropical year
- Uranian astrology
- Western mystery tradition
Astrology and its history
- Skyscript — Classical Astrology - A modern yet faithful look at Classical astrology.
- Modern Astrology - This site focuses on modern, or contemporary astrology as opposed to the Classical Astrology site listed above.
- Astrology at Enchanted Spirit - Articles on the origins and uses of Astrology.
- Astrology: Between Religion and the Empirical - A serious academic treatise on astrology by Dr. Gustav-Adolf Schoener and translated by Shane Denson.
- Hellenistic Astrology - An Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry outlining the development of Hellenistic astrology and its interaction with philosophical schools.
- The real romance in the stars - A critical view of astrology by Richard Dawkins.
- Astrologia - Article in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities
- The Free Indian Astrology Site Best Online Tool and Resource Library about Traditional Indian Astrology System.
- Vedic astrology of India
- The Scientific Basis of Astrology, Dr Percy Seymour - Book Review.
- Paul Wade - Astrologer at Astrologywizard.com - Site of a contemporary working astrologer.
- The Astrological Star Of Bethlehem - How the Magi (astrologers) knew of the birth of Christ
- Anyara-Aphorisms - from Finland, essays and celebrity quotes in the light of astrology.
- The Devolution and Evolution of Astrology - Article by American mystic Manly Palmer Hall
- The Chinese 12-Year Animal Cycle - The Hong Kong Observatory
- Kepler College of Astrological Arts and Sciences - Based in Seattle, USA, Kepler College is the only college in the western hemisphere authorized to issue A.A., B.A., and M.A degrees in Astrological Studies.
- The Sophia Centre Based near Bath, England, the Centre is a department of School of Historical and Cultural Studies at Bath Spa University College. Funded by the Sophia Trust, the Centre teaches an innovative MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology and supervises postgraduate research.
- Faculty of Astrological Studies - Founded on 7th June 1948 in London, England at 19.50 BST; its Diploma, the D.F.Astrol.S., is among the most highly valued and recognised international qualifications.
Validity and usefulness
- Astrology Discussion Forum An interactive discussion forum for beginners which deals with some aspects of astrology.
- Astrofaces Research Project The Astrofaces project seeks to verify astrology with photographs grouped by the sun, moon and ascendant signs. Do people who share the three most prominent factors in the chart resemble each other?
- Astrology and Science - A series of articles in which believers and skeptics debate the merits of astrology.
- The Astrotest - An account of a test of the predictive power of astrology, with references to some other experiments.
- The True Disbelievers by Richard Kamann and Marcello Truzzi is a report of alleged internal events at CSICOP regarding their own claimed confirmation of M. Gauquelin's 'Mars Effect'
- The Skeptic's Dictionary on astrology
- The Skeptic's Dictionary on the Mars effect
- An Astrophysicist's Sympathetic and Critical View of Astrology - by Victor Mansfield.
- Proof of Astrology? - A critical look at Percy Seymour's books.
- The Magus of Magnetism: How Planetary Motion Orchestrates Solar Activity and Geomagnetism - An interview with Percy Seymour by Bronwyn Elko.
- Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions: Astrology - an "attempt to show that astrology has no basis in reality whatsoever", by Philip Plait
- Research and Resources for/from Academic Astrology (Valentino Salvato)
Astrology in relation to other thought systems
- Astrology, the Zodiac, Horoscopes and Planetary Alignment.
- Is Astrology A Pseudoscience?
- Academic Journal of Consciousness Studies: Is Astrology Relevant to Consciousness and Psi?
- The Historical Foundations of Astrology
- Dane Rudhyar Archival Project -- Wholeness, Music, Astrology, Theosophy, Art, etc.
- Robert Zoller -- Medieval Astrology
- Noel Tyl -- Contemporary Astrology
- Astrology and History
- Current Trends in Astrology
- A Comprehensive Uranian Astrology Website
- Sabian Symbols (originated by Marc Edmund Jones and Elsie Wheeler) 
- Astrology in Ancient History
The astrologer's tools
- Astrolabe Software - Calculate your personal natal chart or any astrological chart for free using this simple online calculation form.
- A Comprehensive Astrological Dictionary -- Use this to look up many common astrological terms, both in ancient and modern astrology.
- Astrolog 5.40 - Home of the freeware astrology program Astrolog 5.40.
- Astrolog32 - Home of the freeware astrology program Astrolog32.
- Astrology for Windows Public domain astrology software.
- The Original 3,000 Year High-Precision Daily Astrological Online Ephemeris from Khaldea.com -- 600BC to 2400AD -- Calculated for Midnight GMT; also with an Aspectarian included for years 1900 to 2005
- Classical Use of the Astrological Aspects - Learn all about the astrological aspects at this site.
- Astrowin - Free Astrology Calculation Programs - Astro123, AstroWin, MatchMkr, and more.
- ChronosXP - Free Planetary Hours software for Windows
- Classical Astrology Archives
- Astrology software - Programs for making horoscopes.
- ephemeral.info Tools - Many free web-based tools for looking up information about various celestial objects.
- Horoscopes Of Our Time - a website that provides natal chart data on numerous historical figures
- RFIntrep, RFAstro, RF ACSS & RF PHour free software & online free Rosicrucian Astrology book library
Free natal reports
- http://www.astro.com/ -- Astrodienst (available in 8 languages)
- http://www.astrologie-info.com/ -- Astrology Info: Natal chart in graphic/text mode and Interactive Moon calendar
- Western Astrology at DoubleSign.com
- Chinese Astrology at DoubleSign.com
DoubleSign Astrology (Chinese and Western combination)
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