What is Astrology?
Astrology is the study of cosmic objects like stars and planets and their relationship with the human world. It encompasses different branches which have one common belief that the astronomical occurrences have influence over the various events in the world. It stands on the premise that the position of different stars, planets and other astronomical bodies during the birth of a person determines his or her personality traits, affect their relationships and on being studied upon can be used to predict the future of the person. Astrological predictions state what will be better choices for an individual, for everything from their profession to the personal life.
Astrology is considered as a science by many. In fact, it follows meticulous calculations before reaching any conclusion. In astrology, ‘the heavens’ are geometrically divided into different sections using which the movements of the heavenly bodies are determined. By its very nature it may be called a part of metaphysics. It has similarities to other fields which study energy patterns such as feng shui. It is among the most practised of the intuitive arts.
A SHORT HISTORY
There has always been a duality to the nature and practice of astrology. As much as it is related to religion, many hold strong faith in it’s scientific basis which is why it is sometimes even called a science. Since astrology is basically the study of heavenly bodies, it’s rise can be considered to be dating back to when human beings made efforts to study these bodies, to note the consequences it had on agriculture, tides, etc. Evidences of these can be found from cave paintings and scribbling some of which were done as early as 25,000 years ago. Evidence to prove the study of the movement and position of constellations has also been found since they affect different seasonal activities.
Conscious attempts to align temples according to the rising of the stars and serious awareness regarding the issue can be stated to have been created by third millennium BCE. Two of the oldest found references of astrology in the format of texts are from Babylon which is the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa (around 1700 BCE) and during the rule of Gudea of Lagash (2144–2124 BCE). There is however, some dispute among people regarding the authenticity of these. Nevertheless, Mesopotamia is credited with having the roots of the first production of the concrete knowledge of astrology.
China also has it’s own history of the development of astrology. It started during the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) and spread widely during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD). Those aspects of the Chinese culture which have become very popular these days such as the Yin-Yang philosophy, theory of the 5 elements, Heaven and Earth, Confucian morality were all compiled to create Chinese principles of alchemy, medicine, divination and astrology.
The Islamic scholars began to study astrology during the 8th Century with the coming of the Abbasid Empire to power.
THE PRACTICE OF ASTROLOGY
There is no such uniform rule guiding the practice of astrology. The following divisions are made by some on the basis of the end result that is produced:
Mundane Astrology– Astrology used to study the events going on in the world and predict incidents like wars, economic conditions, etc.
Interrogatory Astrology– These are astrological practices which concern the study of specific subjects and the prediction of future events in their lives.
Natal Astrology– This kind of astrological practice depends on predictions on the basis of a person’s date of birth. The basis of this kind of practice lies in the belief that everything that happens to something is expressed at the very beginning of that thing, sometimes known as the Law of Beginnings.
BIRTH CHART AND OTHER CONCEPTS
Also known as a horoscope, a birth chart maps the position of the Sun and other celestial bodies during the date and time of the birth of a person, as seen from the place where he or she was born. The different celestial bodies stand for the different traits in a person and the position of these bodies determine the dominance or absence of these characteristics. In fact, the word ‘horoscope’ has it’s origin in the Greek language and can be translated as ‘looking into the hour’. The birth chart is prepared by an astrologer who does complex calculations and then embarks upon predicting some possible events in the future of the person’s life.
There has been much research regarding astrology in the last few decades. This has given rise to many new fields of study, one of which is that of astrological psychology. This is related to the self-development of an individual concentrating on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual growth. It studies how the individual can overcome inner conflicts and succeed in exploring their full potential.