How Does Astrology Work ?
How It Works
WHAT IS THE SCIENCE BEHIND DETERMINING HOROSCOPES EVERY DAY? IS THERE ONE?
This is really a three-part question:
There is no scientific basis for astrology. There are many theories, but, as yet, none proven. Research has been and continues to be done in various universities across the world. Back in the day – the late 1800’s when the age of spiritualism came about – astrologers believed the planets emitted rays that penetrated earth’s magnetic field. In this way we absorbed the planetary essences, and responded to them in much the same way as we might to music. This idea is not so far removed from Pythagoras’ theory of the Harmony of the Spheres (circa 570-495 BC). Pythagoras discovered that the pitch of a musical note is related to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form simple numerical ratios. Based on this discovery Pythagoras proposed that the sun and moon and the planets emit their own unique ‘notes’ based on their orbits, and that life on earth resonates with these celestial sounds. In his book, “The Scientific Proof of Astrology”, Dr Percy Seymour, former lecturer in astronomy and astrophysics at Plymouth University, has taken another look at these theories and suggested that the Earth’s magnetic field is affected by the sun and moon and the planets: “It means the whole solar system is playing a symphony on the Earth’s magnetic field. We are all genetically tuned to receive a different set of melodies from this symphony.” Astrology has been with us for thousands of years. Its earliest origins are to be found in ancient Sumeria (now Iraq) and date from roughly 3500 BC. In those times only the wisest and most celebrated minds studied astrology: their calculations of the planetary movements were made without the benefit of modern scientific instruments, yet they are accurate to the minute. The three wise men from the East were almost certainly astrologer-priests. The Sumerians taught astrology to the Babylonians. Ptolemy and others learned astrology from the Babylonians; and we learned it from them. Thus, we modern astrologers are following a great tradition.
A general sun-sign forecast, whether daily, weekly, monthly or yearly pales in comparison to a horoscope set up for an individual using his or her date, time and place of birth. That being said, when a general daily forecast is made, it is still based on the planets’ positions on any given day. My approach to sun-sign work is to examine the configurations on a certain day, week or year, and interpret them from 12 different perspectives. I take my work very seriously, and even with the limitations of sun-sign astrology I believe a general forecast has a purpose. To those who accuse astrologers of making it up, ask: is it easier to make up streams of text every day or to have something to describe – i.e. the positions of the planets and the angular relationships between them?
Astrology is scientific in the way a horoscope is generated. The precise positions of the planets are necessary to set up a horoscope. A horoscope wheel is a ‘real’ thing. However, astrologers depart from scientists the moment they declare that the planets and a horoscope have any meaning in the sense of influencing character and destiny.
Astrology is really and truly an art.
WHY ARE DIFFERENT ZODIAC SIGNS COMPATIBLE? HOW DOES THE ZODIAC DETERMINE YOUR TRAITS?
Here we have two different questions:
The traits of the signs and planets and the meanings of the various angular relationships (aspects) have been handed down through the ages. As mentioned earlier, the astrologers of the ancient world believed there was a connection between the ‘stars’ and life on earth; as above, so below. They named the planets and the signs after their gods, based on a combination of observation and intuition. Even today, the myths that correlate with the planets and signs tell us almost everything we need to know about them. However, with the advent of psychology, and particularly the work of the psychologist, Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) who was a great believer in astrology producing several papers on the subject, astrology has developed a more psychological base.
Now, this is a loaded question. And not all astrologers agree with the traditional rules. There are four elements in astrology, and each sign belongs to one of them. The elements are: fire, earth, air and water. The elements of fire and air get on very well with each other, as do water and earth, but when you put fire with water, for instance, you get a lot of steam!
Let’s look at this another way. Aries, Sagittarius and Leo are fire signs. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are air signs. All these signs get along famously with one another. Fire warms the air, and the air enables fire to breathe and spread.
Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo are earth signs. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are water signs. All these signs are highly compatible. Water nourishes the earth while the earth contains water, provides a receptacle for it.
Aries, Sagittarius, Leo (fire) and Gemini, Libra and Aquarius (air) have a bumpy ride with Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo (earth) and Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces (water) and vice versa.
WHY IS ASTROLOGY DIFFERENT IN DIFFERENT CULTURES?
There are three main systems of astrology today: Chinese, Indian (Hindu) and Western.
We have evidence from cave paintings and the like that early man took a great interest in the stars above him. He noted that certain stars would be in a certain place when, say, the corn ripened, the great rains came or the frosts rendered the ground barren. And it was only natural that he perceived the stars as having an all-powerful influence on him and his survival. Across the centuries, as man himself grew in knowledge and skills, precise measurements were made of the heavens and the movements of the planets, and astrological systems were developed.
All great ancient cultures created their own astrological systems, just as they did their gods and myths. In the same way that Western astrology as we know it today has evolved from the Ancient Greek system, so has modern Chinese astrology and today’s Hindu astrology developed from their ancient systems.
The two zodiacs
The big difference between Indian (Hindu) astrology and that of the west, is that Hindu astrology is based upon the position of the sun as seen against the background of the constellations ( the sidereal zodiac) whereas Western astrology (the tropical zodiac) is based on the position of the sun relative to the earth’s horizon.
The big argument for and against astrology
Originally, the signs of the zodiac were delineated by the constellations but due to a phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes – think of this as a consequence of the earth’s rotational wobble – the signs of the zodiac are no longer in synch with the constellations. This is one of the great arguments for and against astrology. Sceptics will maintain that astrology has no meaning whatsoever because the signs no longer match the constellations. This is a spurious argument. Aside from the fact that Hindu astrology does indeed take this factor into account, the tropical zodiac, which in simplistic terms is based on the seasons, could be said to have even more validity.
WHY DO ASTROLOGERS DIFFER IN THEIR INTERPRETATIONS AND PREDICTIONS?
As mentioned in my answer 1C, astrology is an art, and therefore subject to very individual interpretations. Think of ten different artists painting a picture of the same landscape – among them, say, Picasso, Da Vinci, Monet and David Hockney – you’d get ten different paintings. And it is the same with different astrologers examining the same chart. Some will place more significance on a certain angle, planet or point and others will focus on entirely different ones.
Another helpful comparison would be that of astrologers and economists. An economist bases his predictions on figures, graphs and historic patterns, as does an astrologer, and out of those facts a prediction will be made.
An astrologer making predictions does not go into a trance so that the horoscope suddenly reveals its mysteries! Nor do astrologers look up at the night sky and see events played out as if on a giant movie screen. Astrologers examine the material and make deductions.