What is Astrology?

abstract spaceMost people are familiar with the twelve sun or star signs that are associated with a person’s birthday. And most people have at some time glanced (perhaps with a degree of scepticism) at a horoscope in the paper or in a magazine. But unless someone has had their chart done or studied the subject they are usually quite mystified as to what astrology can offer.

Astrology is a model, an ancient system of knowledge. It combines the science of observation with the mythic principle of the planets and stars. The birth chart or horoscope encapsulates the influences of the entire solar system and provides a unique snapshot of the cosmos relating to the newborn baby at the moment of birth. At that moment the planets and stars, ‘fixed’ at a certain position, trigger energetically the inherent nature and characteristics that will shape the fresh new life form. Through assembling the birth chart in accordance with the symbolic language of the astrological model, the aspirations, drives and direction of the individual can be accurately mapped. For a detailed horoscope, the date and place of birth are needed and, for greater accuracy, the time of birth.

There are twelve signs and twelve houses in the astrological wheel, each representing different spheres and challenges of life. The planets and signs in a chart indicate the way an individual responds to the life’s circumstances, while “houses” relate to a particular area of life. An example is Saturn in Capricorn placed in the Fourth House. An individual with this placement will respond in a cautious and responsible way to all matters affecting Fourth House issues of home and family.

To get the idea of how astrology works it is useful to look at the influence of the Sun, Moon and what is known as the Rising Sign. The Sun sign in astrology is the focal point of an individual’s chart. It symbolises energetically the unique character and potential which the person will endeavour to realise in the challenges of the living life. The house placement of the Sun sign indicates the sphere of life that the solar potential of the individual can be realised. As an example, a Sun sign Taurean in the Seventh House of partnerships magnifies the purpose of union and co-operation with others. The stability and resolve of the Taurean nature will be directed towards establishing a firm foundation in a loving relationship. The life’s purpose will be strongly determined through the encounters with others and the influence of a powerful alliance in love.

The Moon symbolises the essence of nature and the cyclic flow of life. It represents in astrology the essential feeling nature of the individual and the instinctual response to people and events. Associated with the womb, the Moon can reveal how the influence of the past, especially the early family life, attaches an individual to certain behavioural patterns in the present. While it provides great nourishment from the reflection of nature, the Moon can also exert a great pull on the individual to remain comfortable and secure in what is familiar. This can cast a shadow on the creative potential of an individual to be what they are. However, the presence of the Sun is always there to direct the way forward, beyond the lunar orbit, to realise the life’s purpose.

The Rising Sign (or Ascendant as it is also known) is the astrological sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth. It’s an important factor in the chart because it symbolises the initial point of entry into the world which influences the conditioning of the person through their interaction with their environment. The Rising Sign is often evident in the physical characteristics and the way somebody initiates some new task or comes over when introduced for the first time. As an example somebody with Sun in Aquarius with Pisces Rising, on first appearances could be perceived as rather unassuming, gentle and ethereal but may exhibit Aquarian originality and fixity of purpose once their true character is revealed. The Rising Sign mirrors the tangible qualities that combine to create the personality. It can also be called the vehicle of expression.

This is the basis of astrology. Just by looking at these three factors alone of Sun, Moon and Rising Sign the structure and pattern of somebody’s life’s potential can begin to be seen. Of course there are many more cosmic influences which modify the chart from which the picture is further refined. The task of every astrologer is to reveal the potential shown in every chart to enable the individual to reach a greater sense of fulfilment and harmony in the living life.

Lance Kelly and Marilyn Eve