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Astro 101

The sky has been since time immemorial a source of wonder and beauty for human kind. Once upon a time, every luminous body within it was considered a ‘star’. It is from this understanding that astrology, literally the study (logos) of the stars (astro), was born.

Astrology explores the relationship between the movements in the sky and life here on Earth. It is an ancient discipline. Through the ages, astrologers have existed in most cultures right back to prehistoric times.

Astrologers translate the ‘stars’ in the sky i.e. what we moderns would differentiate as the Signs of the Zodiac, the Sun, Moon, planets, and the stars in their constellations, all relevant additional factors plus the relationships between them into astrology’s primary tool into a diagram generically understood as the chart of the matter at hand.

These charts capture the features of the sky from the perspective of a fixed place and time. They can be cast for many things: the moment a question is asked, a ship launched, or even when particular planets align. What most fascinates me are the charts for human beings.

Your personal chart is a picture of the sky for a critical event: the date, place and time of your birth. Your personal chart shows what was written in the heavens when you took your first breath. No two horoscopes are exactly alike; your chart is uniquely yours. In my experience, there’s much insight to be gained from understanding what your chart has to say about you.

Every sky feature revealed in your chart represents a range of possibilities. Learning about your chart gives you greater insight into who you are and who you may become. In this way, astrology is similar to a lot of other rich models of the psyche that can be used for personal growth and empowerment. Knowing and understanding your self is the foundation of wisdom for without such knowledge, self-development is impossible.

However, astrology does more. Because the sky is always moving, the interactions between your chart and the sky of tomorrow can be creatively interpreted for their quality, character, and possibilities. Knowing something about the nature of conditions ahead is a huge advantage as you can plan for them; make better choices during them and have strategies firmly in place to assist you in getting the most of them.

Astrology is a discipline of great power and subtlety with a rich tradition. It is a tool that can be used for great concrete human benefit. It works, but it is only a tool. It’s not a religion or an ideology. How astrology works is a mystery, but I believe that it’s a product of the fact that all things are rooted in the same field of being and there are reflections throughout the whole of everything.

What most people know about astrology is their “sign” – the position of the Sun on the day of their birth. These Sun Signs are fun and entertaining, but they are a very superficial understanding of astrology. There’s much more to it.

For instance, almost as well known as the Sun Signs is astrology’s Murphy’s Law: if anything can go wrong it will when Mercury is retrograde! For three weeks at least three times each year, we are all prey to Mercury’s more trickster-like ways. Or so it’s commonly thought in the astrological community. Surprise! There are other ways to think about it. To learn more, check out this article.

Another dimension of astrology is that more than one sign is important in your personal horoscope The Rising Sign (aka the Ascendant) is the east point in a horoscope from which the celestial bodies appear over the horizon. It can be any one of the 12 signs at all times of the year. It, like the rest of the house structure, is the most sensitive to time. Approximately every 4 minutes, a new degree is rising. To learn more, check out this article.

The Moon is the nocturnal counterpart to the Sun and is at least equal importance. Your Moon Sign is often a more reliable symbol of your day-to-day behavior than your Sun Sign is. To the ancients, the Moon was an important consideration for determining a person’s temperament. To learn more, check out this article.

Temperament is a way of understanding a person’s basic physical and psychological make-up. It is an ancient typology. Essentially, temperament theory envisioned the four elemental powers: fire, earth, air, and water as corresponding to four psycho-physical bodily fluids, called humors: choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic. Each person is a mixture of these humors. To learn more, check out this article.