Skip to Main Content

Astrology: About


What is the Practice of Astrology?

Astrology is a method of predicting mundane events based upon the assumption that the celestial bodies—particularly the planets and the stars considered in their arbitrary combinations or configurations (called constellations)—in some way either determine or indicate changes in the sublunar world. The theoretical basis for this assumption lies historically in Hellenistic philosophy and radically distinguishes astrology from the celestial omina (“omens”) that were first categorized and cataloged in ancient Mesopotamia. Originally, astrologers presupposed a geocentric universe in which the “planets” (including the Sun and Moon) revolve in orbits whose centres are at or near the centre of the Earth and in which the stars are fixed upon a sphere with a finite radius whose centre is also the centre of the Earth. Later the principles of Aristotelian physics were adopted, according to which there is an absolute division between the eternal, circular motions of the heavenly element and the limited, linear motions of the four sublunar elements: fire, air, water, earth.

Special relations were believed to exist between particular celestial bodies and their varied motions, configurations with each other, and the processes of generation and decay apparent in the world of fire, air, water, and earth. These relations were sometimes regarded as so complex that no human mind could completely grasp them; thus, the astrologer might be readily excused for any errors. A similar set of special relations was also assumed by those whose physics was more akin to that of the Greek philosopher Plato. For the Platonic astrologers, the element of fire was believed to extend throughout the celestial spheres, and they were more likely than the Aristotelians to believe in the possibility of divine intervention in the natural processes through celestial influences upon the Earth, since they believed in the deity’s creation of the celestial bodies themselves.

The role of the divine in astrological theory varies considerably. In its most rigorous aspect, astrology postulates a totally mechanistic universe, denying to the deity the possibility of intervention and to man that of free will; as such, it was vigorously attacked by orthodox Christianity and Islam. For some, however, astrology is not an exact science like astronomy but merely indicates trends and directions that can be altered either by divine or by human will. In the interpretation of Bardesanes, a Syrian Christian scholar (154–c. 222)—who has often been identified as a Gnostic (a believer in esoteric salvatory knowledge and the view that matter is evil and spirit good)—the motions of the stars govern only the elemental world, leaving the soul free to choose between the good and the evil. Man’s ultimate goal is to attain emancipation from an astrologically dominated material world. Some astrologers, such as the Harranians (from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Harran) and the Hindus, regard the planets themselves as potent deities whose decrees can be changed through supplication and liturgy or through theurgy, the science of persuading the gods or other supernatural powers. In still other interpretations—e.g., that of the Christian Priscillianists (followers of Priscillian, a Spanish ascetic of the 4th century who apparently held dualistic views)—the stars merely make manifest the will of God to those trained in astrological symbolism. Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica

How To Read Your Birth Chart

If you’re new to astrology, you might think your Sun sign tells the whole story. But even though that’s typically viewed as your “main” zodiac sign (and the one you likely use and refer to most often), it doesn’t reveal everything about your personality. Simply put, the horoscope you read each month represents only a tiny part of your astrological self—it’s basically just one slice of the cosmic pie. That’s because horoscopes are based solely on the position of the Sun at your birth, while your actual birth chart takes into consideration the rest of the celestial bodies present in the solar system (a total of 10!). Sometimes, a horoscope will truly resonate with you and be incredibly accurate, but if you want to get the full experience of how astrology applies to you, your life path, and future opportunities, you need to read your full birth chart.

An astrology chart—also called a birth chart or natal chart—is technically a snapshot of the position of the planets on the exact day, time, and location you were born. It contains powerful information about the types of energies you were exposed to at your precise moment of birth. On a personal level, it also speaks of your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and the absolute best (and worst) times to make big life changes. Some astrology branches—Evolutionary Astrology, for example—even claim that your astrology birth chart is a window into your past lives and your soul’s entire journey. Continue reading from Women's Health Mag

Watch Videos

From the Collection

Link to You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance by Chani Nicholas in the catalog
Link to Parkers' Astrology by Julia and Derek Parker in the catalog
Link to Dictionary of Astrology by Harry E.Wedeck in Freading
Link to Astrology for Life by Nina Kahn in the catalog
Link to What's Your Sign?: A Guide to Astrology for the Cosmically Curious
Link to Reading the Stars by Book Riot in Freading
Link to Twist your fate : manifest success with astrology & tarot by Theresa Reed in the catalog
Link to Astrology: Your Personal Guide by Sasha Fenton in Freading
Link to The Beginner's Guide to Divination: learn the secrets of astrology, numerology, tarot, and palm reading and predict your Adams in the catalog
Link to The Chinese Zodiac by Aaron Hwang in the catalog
Link to A Little Bit of Astrology by Colin Bedell in Freading

Return to Divination 101