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"The starry heaven, though it occurs so very frequently to our view, never fails to excite an idea of grandeur."
Edmund Burke

What Is Astrology?

Astrology is an ancient discipline, which over the centuries has been practiced in various forms, in all the major cultures and regions of the world. It can be described as the art of interpreting the potentials and possibilities inherent in a significant life-cycle, beginning at a particular time and at a certain point in space. A map of the sky, as seen from earth at the moment of the birth, is used. This is called a birth chart or horoscope, and one can be drawn up for such diverse happenings as the birth of a child, the start of a relationship, the beginning of a new venture such as commencing a business, or for the birth of a nation.

Uranus the Awakener.
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

There are many factors to consider when delineating a horoscope. Each chart contains the Sun, Moon and planets, along with other Astrological indicators, distributed among the twelve signs of the zodiac and the twelve houses. It is in the diverse and varying combinations of these factors that individualises a chart, and makes it unique. Through aeons of time a vast body of knowledge has built up relating to the symbolism of each sign, planet, house and aspect. It is through the interpretation of the unique blend in each chart that delineation can be derived.

It is said that the unfoldment of the individual begins with the first breath, and it is the chart for this particular moment in time that is the basis of all Astrological delineation for that person. The study of progressions, directions and transits, that is of how the chart evolves and matures and of how the current planetary movements affect the horoscope, highlight areas of prospective development and opportunity. They do not tell us what will happen, but how the highest potential of the birthchart can be brought into play. An example here is - a chart could show a aptitude for music, but the choice as to whether or not to make use of this ability always lies with the individual. The talent for music may or may not be cultivated and nurtured.

Spitzer's infrared view of the Pleiades
The Seven Sisters, also known as the Pleiades.
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

One of the most valuable things about studying future planetary trends is that it can help us to become aware of areas and facets of our nature which are being focused upon over a given time period. Knowing and understanding the possible opportunities and challenges of the transits and progressions can help us to deal with them in a positive light, and encourage us to prepare for their highest expression. It can help us to take fuller advantage of beneficial periods too.

Astrology is wide in its scope. It incorporates the appeal of Sun-sign columns and Sun-sign books, which are based on true Astrological facts, but here the approach is light-hearted and fun. The more serious side of Astrology can be a beneficial tool in helping the person to become more self-aware, and to address certain problems they are experiencing in their lives. At best, it can help in pinpointing strengths to be drawn on, propitious times for changes, and ways of making the most of inherent gifts and talents.

Image of The Sun and Stars