Almost everyone knows whether they are a Pisces or Taurus. What that means is that when you were born the Sun was in the zodiac sign of Pisces or Taurus etc. covering a time period of about 30 days! Sun Sign Astrology, as we call it, found in the newspaper Horoscope columns, has only really been popular since 1930 in the western world.
Your personal astrological map, (your horoscope) includes so much more.
In addition to the Sun (which is in fact the only true star used commonly in modern astrology), we add our Moon, the five ‘traditional’ planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and the three modern planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Chiron, the North and South Nodes of the Moon and the Ascendant, Midheaven and house cusps. There are several asteroids, Arabic parts or lots and fixed stars to consider if we want to go deeper.
Each one of these “heavenly bodies” and significant points is found in one of the 12 zodiac signs, adding another layer to the story. With all this to consider you may well realise that your Sun sign is only the tip of the complex astrological iceberg!
For help understanding your chart visit the Quick Guide for beginners.
Traditional Astrology dates back to several centuries BCE.
Traditional Astrology has its roots in the ancient world when astrology and astronomy were the same science. Astronomical data have been found on clay tablets dating from around 3800BC and the first known personal horoscope was drawn up in 410BC. In these ancient times, it enjoyed general acceptance and was practised by the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs. It flourished in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. It was once termed Astromancy — divination by the stars. Traditional methods are frequently used for predictive work and provide accurate readings for specific events
The 12 zodiac constellations (sun signs) that we are familiar with in the West, are attributed symbolism from the myths and archetypes of ancient Babylon, Egypt and Assyria, each one represents significant associations & personality characteristics for the astrologer.
Astrology was extremely popular in Europe before the 1700’s. During the 17th Century Astrology was increasingly brought into disrepute because it conflicted with trends in the politics and science of the time. The Traditional methods were forced underground for the next 300 years. Although it’s use was continued in certain circles of society throughout this time it was not widely accepted as a serious subject.
Modern Astrology evolved out of a revived interest during the late 19th Century in the Western world. Astrology had gone “underground” during the previous 200 years and many techniques and methods were forgotten.
During the mid 20th Century Astrology gained popularity once more. This renewed interest included the transpersonal planets, Uranus, Neptune & Pluto, as they were discovered. In the late 1970s, Chiron was also added to the textbooks whilst the interest in psychological and spiritual development took Astrology into a new era of self-analysis.
The modern approach could be defined as Psycho-Spiritual which focuses on the application of Astrology to assist the personal & spiritual development of a person.
Many of the traditional methods were omitted or re-interpreted to suit modern interests and new techniques were devised as it’s usage increased.
During the last few decades, there has been a renewed interest in the ancient texts that were the basis of Astrological study for over a thousand years. Most texts were written in the language of the location and time and much work still goes on to make available accurate translations. The work of 17th Century English Astrologer William Lilly has formed the foundation for many traditional Horary Astrologers today. He was able to read Latin and studied and translated old texts. He was consulted regularly by people from all walks of life including the leading monarchs and politicians of the time.
In recent years a few dedicated astrologers have made some of the ancient texts available as new and more accurate translations. As a result of this work, many of the older techniques are being rediscovered or fully understood in ways that were not possible until now.
In addition to the traditional and modern approach to interpreting a chart, there are also many specialist branches of astrology.
Birth charts are also called Natal charts andsometimes referred to as Genelithacal. This is an area of Astrology that is probably the best well known in modern times. It has its focus on the Birth chart or “Horoscope” of an individual. The position of the planets at the time of birth are inserted into a wheel or chart drawing representing the zodiac and other significant features of ” The Heavens” This chart is then interpreted by the Astrologer to give a person indications of their talents, challenges, circumstances, life events and much more. The subsequent transits of the “heavenly bodies” and their Progressions is an important technique frequently used in addition to the Horoscope chart when assessing current and future trends. This type of chart forms a basis for the many applications of personal astrology.
The same technique is used to calculate the “birth” chart of an event, group, country or other significant beginning.
Horary is a branch of Traditional Astrology that addresses a specific question and in most cases, gives a definite answer. This is a very useful and practical form of Astrology that doesn’t require your birth details.
It differs from a Natal or Birth chart reading because the time used to calculate the chart is taken at the moment when the question is asked or clarified and understood by the Astrologer. This becomes the “birth” time for the chart.
A study of the Horary chart will usually provide a “yes” or “no” answer. In addition, it will often give background details to the issue asked about and an indication of the events most likely to unfold. Find out more about what Horary Astrology can or can’t do on the Horary page
Synastry is the art of comparing the natal charts of two people to determine their compatibility. Groups of people or families can also have their relationship dynamics explored through this type of chart comparison. There are also other techniques used for looking at partnerships. A combination chart uses both people’s natal chart and combines them to form a new chart to describe the relationship.
This is an application of Horary methods used specifically to choose the most propitious moment to initiate a new enterprise, event, or commencing a journey, etc. Frequently this is used to set a date for a wedding or to launch a business.
Also known as AstroCartography this a technique that recalculates the birth chart for a different geographical location to assess the impact on an individual. This has become popular as more people have the freedom to choose where in the world they can travel or make their home.
Astrological cycles & patterns have been studied in relation to the fluctuations in the stock market and the resulting statistical analysis provides a basis for stock market trading & other speculation.
This is concerned with world events. It considers the current positions of the planets in a chart that is calculated for the “birth” of a country, city or organisation. The chart is read to determine the influence upon entire populations, or groups, by countries, cities or localities, at Ingresses, eclipses, major transits or conjunctions and Full Moons etc.
A horoscope calculated for the time of the onset of an illness or accident is known as a decumbiture chart. It is used as a diagnostic aid when assessing symptoms of disease and ailments and to prescribe a treatment. The physicians of medieval Europe employed Astrology as part of their diagnosis after a long tradition dating back at least as far as Hippocrates. Nicholas Culpeper, the 17th Century English Herbalist published detailed information on using Astrology as an integral part of treating patients. The advent of medical science during the late 1600s in Western Europe and America forced this approach to go largely underground but there is currently renewed interest in this area.
Also known as Astro-Meteorology, this is the use of Astrological science in forecasting weather conditions, earthquakes and severe storms. The chart can be set for a local or general area to determine the weather patterns either weekly, monthly or seasonally.
This application of Astrology used to govern the planting and harvesting of crops is also an ancient science. Since the early 1900’s it is often referred to as Biodynamic planting where the focus is on the Lunar Phases in particular and combines with other planetary positions to determine when to carry out certain activities.
So much more to learn
If this brief introduction to astrology has given you an appetite for more knowledge you’ll find many additional articles on my blog pages in the “latest” section.