Astrology and Horoscopes occupy peculiar positions in the modern world. Harshly criticized by many, astrology’s popularity is growing rather than diminishing. The casting of horoscopes is art, science and philosophy all rolled into one, which is probably why it has survived to this day and continues to fascinate us.
Astrology is a complex study with ancient roots that continues to evolve and develop. It supplies a framework within which we can understand life, and demonstrates that we are all connected to the Universe as a whole while remaining supremely and marvelously unique.
Many people today experience their lives as hopeless, empty of meaning, and of little significance. They feel themselves to be at the mercy of forces that they can rarely understand, much less predict. Astrology allows people to comprehend the events in their lives by means of a meaningful, predictive system over which they can have a degree of control.
The most ordinary life acquires a certain significance, confidence and nobility through a system that portrays humans as being “at home” in the universe. With a bridge of symbols between the spiritual-psychological and the earthly realms, modern astrology provides a perspective that helps us do that.
Astrology, today, is in a period of rapid transformtion. Many intuitive psychologists are now viewing astrology’s approach to personality, human behavior and sub-conscious motivations as an emerging psycho-spiritual tool.
Astrology (knowledge of stars) was man’s first encounter with abstract thought and the beginnings of art, literature, mathematics, and religion. Heavenly visuals fired his imagination with awe, fear, and hope. Down through the ages as mighty civilizations flourished, declined and disappeared, astrology has survived, as constant as the “stardust” of all creation.
Astrology represents a theory complete with motivational drives, psychological faculties, and systematically related assumptions; with a capacity for generating predictions that are empirically verifiable. All of the known bodies in our Solar System (primarily the planets), and their relationships (aspects) to each other, along with the Zodiac Signs and Astrological Houses are implicated in the personality, thereby showing how multidimensional and integrative a theory astrology is.
Division by Two, Three, and Four
Zodiac signs are categorized in three ways, the most basic of which is by “Polarity” or Opposites, (masculine/feminine, positive/negative, Yin/Yang). There are also 3 Modes or Qualities (Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable) that refer to fundamental paths of energy and activity, and 4 Elements (Fire, Air, Earth and Water) that describe personal temperaments.
Your horoscope will have varying degrees of Polarity, Qualities, and Elements. The percentages you have of each will determine their importance in your life. The higher percentages will be more powerful in your life, the lower percentages will have less influence. For astrologers, every person is an interesting mystery to be solved. And, to be honest, everyone enjoys the attention and the chance to discuss the most important person in the world,…”ME”.
Three Systems and Philosophies of Astrology
The Vedic horoscopes, more astronomically accurate, use the actual constellations in the sky (the “Sidereal Zodiac”) and the relationships between the Earth and the stars to divide the zodiac.
The Western system is based on the “Tropical Zodiac”, a more mathmatical formula, with the Sun determining the boundaries of the zodiac. Marking the position of the Sun on the first day of spring (the Vernal Equinox), also known as the “Aries Point”, the constellations are then each apportioned a 30° section of the sky.
The philosophies of the disciplines are also different. The Vedic system is concerned more with Karma and your acts in relationship to your job, family, health and the other situations in your life. The Western system perhaps more materialistic and “intellectual” emphasizes the mind and psychology: what you think about, your psychological disposition and how you relate to people. To simplify to an extreme, Vedic astrology describes what you do, Western describes what you think. Chinese astrology is based upon the year of one’s birth and, as such, is not properly astrological. The Chinese form is more closely associated with the Eastern philosophy of harmony, Yin Yang, I Ching, destiny and fate.
Certainly, humans have always marveled at the heavens, and it’s probable that the Sumerian of ancient Babylon (map) first developed the general principle, which was and is still accepted, that events in the heavens have analogies on Earth, eg., the unexpected appearance of a comet across the orderly Zodiac was a portent of “dis-aster” (bad star).
The stars and planets were messengers, conveying divine wishes to humanity via the astrologers, whose job it was to scan the skies for signs or omens of divine pleasure or anger.
Ancient peoples perceived the Sun, Moon and the Planets to be gods who ruled over nature. The relationship between celestial and terrestrial events was absolute. Superior power had dominion over an inferior one. An eclipse could trigger panic and massive sacrifices.
The ancient Greeks believed Zoroaster to be the Chaldean founder and inventor of astrology, magic and the “Magi”.
The Bible recounts in the book of Matthew that Magi (“Wise Men”) followed a certain star to Jerusalem. Astronomers think it may have been a supernova that rested on the Christ. It is the most wonderful story ever told.
A simpler astrology prevailed during the medieval period and persisted in one form or another right up to the second half of the twentieth century. Human beings were now perceived as fated recipients of cosmic forces that could not be denied.
Of all the pseudo-sciences, astrology is by far the most popular. Ninety per cent of the country’s population can tell you their Sun Signs. Astrology’s current success is entirely owing to the creation of the daily newspaper horoscope.
The first horoscope in newsprint is believed to have appeared on August 24, 1930 in Britain’s Sunday Express when the paper’s editor asked astrologer R.H. Naylor to make some predictions about the newborn Princess Margaret Rose.
The curious public responded with additional subscriptions and an increase in the paper’s sales, and Naylor was asked to return with a regular, weelky column. His column soon became one of the paper’s most popular features.
Other major news publishers followed suit. You would be hardpressed, now, to find a paper with a mass circulation that does not have a staff astrologer or sydicated column.
It was Naylor who invented the Sun Signs column. He had to find a way of writing so that each reader could feel involved, and chose to divide his essays into 12 paragraphs, one for each person born when the Sun was passing through a particular sign.
This is not an important part of astrological forecasting, but is recognisable by every reader, because it depends on the day, rather than the precise time, of birth. This made Sun-signs perfectly suited to popularization. A 1941 survey revealed that nearly two-thirds of the adult population glance at or read some astrological feature more or less regularly. This figure holds true today.
For many millions, a casual reading of their horoscopes is a daily practice. They may not fail to check a compatibility chart for a new acquaintance (especially a potential mate), or how the stars are lining up on that new job or adventure.
Inevitably, everyone’s horoscope will contain contradictions, and as a result certain interpretations may seem difficult to reconcile. However, this may still be an accurate reflection of the individual, as people (surprise, surprise) do experience conflicting desires and beliefs in their lives.
It’s possible to repress, block, develop and to change our lives. An understanding of your “signs” may help clarify issues in your life and encourage you to master rather than be a victim of circumstances.
The established opinion of the scientific community is that astrology is superstition, with no actual predictive ability, however, many scientists of the world today are themselves actively engaged in searching the stars for the secrets and meaning of life. “And, there will be signs in Heaven”.
Whichever side of the debate you find yourself, it may be important to remember that this is not “life or death”, augury or even fortunetelling. Astrology can be educational, and simply great fun. And, that we can all (without guilt) enjoy the incredibly delicious coincidences and seeming contradictions that is our wonderful life revealed in the stars.
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