What is Astrology?
For centuries, humans have looked to the heavens for guidance. Astrology is, put simply, the study of the correlation between the astronomical positions of the planets and events on earth. Astrologers believe that the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets at the time of a person’s birth have a direct influence on that person’s character. These positions are thought to affect a person’s destiny, although many Astrologers feel that free will plays a large role in any individual’s life.
We, at Cafe Astrology, feel that Astrology can be used as a powerful and fun tool for understanding ourselves, others, and the world around us. We use many different tools, or languages, to define and understand our world. For example, we can use psychological tools and terminology to explore human behavior. Similarly, Astrology gives us rich tools for understanding human character, and offers us a language for communicating our observations with others.
While we can use the natal chart (also called a birth chart or horoscope) as a “window” into any individual or event, we should never use it to pass judgment or to label people. Neither should we use it as an excuse for our behavior! We can never purport to know absolutely everything about someone just because we have their natal chart before us.
It is a good idea to approach Astrology as an imperfect language. Even if it were perfect, we are not, so our interpretations can never be considered anywhere close to perfect. It follows to be wary of anyone claiming to be an Astrologer who also alleges to “know all”, or makes dire predictions. This kind of practice is not only irresponsible and misleading, it can affect the lives of those who believe them in adverse ways.
Fortunately, obtaining your natal chart is now as simple as gathering your birth information and pointing your browser to a site with a good Astrological chart generating software program. If you have not already had your natal chart drawn, turn to our article, How to Obtain Your Natal Chart, for the simple steps to take. Once you have your chart in hand (or onscreen!), you can learn to interpret it by first learning what the symbols mean.
What’s Your Sign?
When a person asks your “sign,” even if they don’t know it, they are referring to your Sun Sign, which is the zodiacal sign position of the Sun at the time of your birth.
Sun Sign Astrology gets a lot of press. However, with a little thought, it is rather intuitive to feel that dividing the entire human population into only 12 categories (the 12 Sun Signs) is far too simplistic. The truth is, every individual on this planet is complex.
While the sign position of the Sun is meaningful, there is much more to Astrology than just the Sun. In fact, Astrology is just as delightfully (and sometimes maddeningly!) complex as people themselves. Besides the sign of the Sun, each person has a Moon sign, Mercury sign, Venus sign, Mars sign, and so forth. Furthermore, each of the planets and luminaries fall in particular houses (there are 12 in all) in their birth charts (also called natal charts).
Character is also believed to be influenced by the relationships the planets, luminaries, and points have with each other. Astrologers measure these relationships by the number of degrees between them to determine whether they form an aspect or not. Countless other refinements can be studied, and this is simply natal chart analysis. Astrologers can turn to a variety of other systems, such as predictive Astrology techniques, Synastry (the study of relationships), and more. The study of Astrology is complex, indeed. You can truly spend a lifetime studying the subject!
Fortunately, learning Astrology can be a fun and rewarding endeavor, especially for those with a strong interest in learning more about themselves, others, and their lives. Beginning students of Astrology can take the learning process one step at a time, perhaps starting with the Sun Signs, moving on to a study of the Moon, and so forth. The wonderful reward for this step-by-step approach is the gradual unfolding of your own chart and the charts of those you love!
Note: Near the bottom of this page is a symbol tool bar that shows the glyph (symbol) for each sign of the zodiac. Clicking on any of these symbols brings you to the corresponding page on our web site that interprets the zodiac sign.
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