What is Astrology?
In our modern age of science and rationality, the mere mention of astrology is enough to evoke a broad range of reactions across the spectrum of society. For many people, the term astrologer summons to mind images of hippies, new-age witches, so-called psychics or a variety of other charlatans and frauds. On the other hand, kings and emperors throughout history have used their secret knowledge of astrology to their own great benefit.
To this day, politicians and judges, world-famous celebrities, powerful businessmen, and financiers from New York and the City of London to Moscow and Hong Kong, still use astrology to guide them when they make important decisions. So what is astrology all about, and how can this ancient science be put to use to help you? Read on to discover the answers to these and other questions.
First let’s tackle some common myths and misconceptions about astrology.
– Astrology is not magic.
This bears repeating: astrology is not magic. The science underlying the practice of astrology is based on thousands of years of empirical research, and as with all good science, our understanding of astrology continues to evolve and improve as we do. Just as alchemy paved the way for the development of modern science and the widely-respected scientific method, so too will astrology lead the way to a greater understanding of the energies that permeate the Universe and how their ebb and flow can affect terrestrial life.
– Astrology is not a new-age fad.
We’ve all seen the signs for those shady tarot and palm-reading shops, and if you’ve traveled through Europe (especially Eastern Europe) then you’ve probably encountered various gypsies and other ne’er-do-wells hocking their fortune telling and astrology services, often at exorbitant prices. Unfortunately, most of these people are charlatans and frauds; some of them are well-intentioned but delusional about their own capabilities, and occasionally you may find a genuine astrologer out there, but the vast majority of such individuals are nothing more than snake-oil salesmen (or women, as the case often is) and they know it.
Real astrology is an ancient science practiced by respected individuals throughout history, including right up to the modern day. You won’t find real astrologers hocking their services with exaggerated claims, false promises, or gimmicky promotions, because they simply don’t need to. And although some legitimate astrologers do sell crystals, essential oils and other natural products, you wouldn’t find most of us within a mile of a New Age shop. Many of us are doctors, lawyers, teachers or professionals in other fields, and astrology is just another aspect of our lives.
– Astrology is not based on superstitious mumbo-jumbo.
Much of the confusion surrounding whether astrology is or is not a legitimate science stems from the fact that astrologers have historically made great use of symbolism and allegory to communicate their understanding of how the position of the stars impacts terrestrial life.
Modern astrologers still use much of the same terminology and symbolism simply because modern science has yet to catch up with astrology. We are only now starting to study and understand the impact of things like mass coronal ejections from the sun and how they impact life here on Earth; it’s no surprise that we haven’t even begun to understand how the electromagnetic waves and radioactive energies of other stars may impact life here.
– Astrology is not easy.
This is a bit of a double-edged statement. On the one hand, the principles that underlie the practice of astrology are quite simple and easy to grasp; but on the other hand, just take a look at the nighttime sky next time you’re away from the city! To get the most accurate readings from any astrological chart, there are usually two or three dozen different aspects and relationships to look at and take into consideration, and this is what makes astrology complex and difficult, especially if you want the most accurate and detailed results.
Remember those kings and emperors I mentioned, as well as the politicians, celebrities and market-shaping financiers around the world? Well, part of why they are able to use astrology to their own benefit is because they can afford to pay for the services of skilled astrologers. When a powerful businessman in India wants to find a good date for his company merger, the astrologer he hires may take anywhere from several days to several weeks to select the most opportune time. Good astrology takes time and effort, because there are many planets, stars and celestial bodies, as well as their positions and relationships to one another, which must be considered.
– Astrology will not solve your problems for you.
Many people have a tendency to turn to astrology when they want help solving their own problems, or when they are looking for an easy avenue of escape from their hardships. Unfortunately, that’s not the way astrology really works. What astrology can do is help you gather more information about a situation, especially with regard to any hidden or unseen forces that may be at work. This is why I call astrology a tool, and like any tool it can be used or misused; the best use of astrology is to help you make more informed decisions and choices.
And finally, a very important factor that you should never forget:
– All astrology is not the same.
Although there are some core tenets and practices that all astrologers tend to follow (after all, we’re all working with the same stars in the end), there are many different branches of astrology. Horary astrology and natal astrology are two of the most popular and well-known practices, but there is also electional astrology, sun sign astrology, and geomancy, among others.
If you want to learn more about your own personality and underlying psychology, as well as the various natural energies and forces that may be at work in your life, then you’ll want to find out more about your natal, or birth, astrology. On the other hand, if you’re looking for more information about a situation (whether it’s ‘does he love me?’ or ‘where did I leave my keys?’ or something really important like ‘when should I get married?’) then you need horary astrology.
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