Charting the Basics of Astrology

by A.D Paterson on 07/10/2010

Do you know the basics of astrology? Astrology is one of those ancient ‘sciences’ that a lot of people are still fascinated with, and yet they don’t really know much more about it than what page of the local newspaper their horoscope will show up on. So what are the basics of astrology?

In this article we’re going to have a look at some of the things you should know about astrology. First, we’re going to look at what it is, and where it is believed to have come from. Next we’ll take a look at what forms the astrological chart. Finally, we will look at astrology and the zodiac.

Basics of astrology: in the beginning…

Astrology is said to go back as far as the Babylonians in the second millennium BC, making it one of the oldest ‘sciences’ by far. The word “astrology” has the same Latin root (astrologia) as “astronomy”, although both are now seen as being completely different in terms of their scientific validity. However, in the early days it would have been seen as being very much the other way around, with astrology having a strong link with religion.

What makes up an astrological chart?

An astrological chart is a way of following the planets, and includes the Sun and the Moon, but doesn’t include the Earth as this is the point from which we view the other planets.

The chart is split into twelve ‘houses’ with each house representing an aspect of life. The houses are (in Latin and with their translation): Vita (Life), Lucrum (Wealth), Fratres (Brothers), Genitor (Parent), Nati (Children), Valetudo (Health), Uxor (Spouse), Mors (Death), Iter (Journeys), Regnum (Kingdom), Benefacta (Friendship), and Carcer (Prison).

The eagle-eyed of you out there may have noticed that ten planets, and twelve houses, leave two houses empty, but fear not, the two empty houses are considered to be areas of your life that have been mastered – in a different life.

The first thing studied on an astrology chart is the Sun sign, which is determined by the position that the Sun is in. The positions of the planets are studied based on the influence they have on the Sun sign. The Moon sign is last to be studied based on how it relates to the other planets on the astrological chart.

The most common astrological chart (in the early days) was the birth chart. The birth chart was used to show what the personality of the person was going to be like. A birth chart can be drawn up for someone later on in their life, but may appear not to resemble the person – this is said to be down to the fact that other events will alter a person’s personality over time.

Where does the astrology and horoscope link come into all of this?

To start with the twelve signs of the zodiac have been linked with the twelve astrological houses: Aries (Vita), Taurus (Lucrum), Gemini (Fratres), Cancer (Genitor), Leo (Nati), Virgo (Valetudo), Libra (Uxor), Scorpio (Mors), Sagittarius (Iter), Capricorn (Regnum), Aquarius (Benefacta), and Pisces (Carcer).

This mixture of astrology and the horoscope (horoscopic astrology) is thought to have started in the Mediterranean in the late second or early first century BC. The horoscope is a visual illustration of the heavens and is used to interpret the meaning of the planets alignment at that moment in time.

What makes this different from other forms of astrology is the fact that it is more complex and includes other factors like the ‘ascendant’ which is the degree of the Eastern Horizon as it rises against the backdrop of the elliptic. However, that’s taking this beyond the definition of ‘basics of astrology’.

Simply put a horoscope is more of an up to the minute version of an astrological birth chart and allows for the current positions of the celestial bodies, whereas the astrological birth chart is routed in the positions at the time of birth.

There we have it, the basics of astrology. Obviously we could have got far more in depth about the whole subject and started covering interpretations etc, but you should know where you’ve come from to have a good understanding of where you’re going.

We saw that astrology predates the horoscope; we discovered that astrology is primarily based on the birth of someone (or even something) and is used to show how they will develop in the future; however, a birth chart done on an older person may not match up with the person due to other influences on their personality. Then finally, we saw that a horoscope is essentially a way of adapting the birth chart, by incorporating other factors, to give an up to date version of their astrological chart.

That’s an over view of the slightly complicated basics of astrology.

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