Astrology refers to any of several systems, traditions, or beliefs in which knowledge of the apparent positions of celestial bodies is held to be
useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing knowledge about human affairs and events on Earth. A practitioner of astrology is called an
astrologer, or an astrologist, or astrolog.
The etymological origin of the word "astrology" comes from a Greek word that is derived from "astron," or "star." Additionally, another word
that is responsible for the word "astrology," is "logos," which has a variety of meanings generally related to "systematic thought or speech."
Logos is written in English as the suffix, -ology, denoting a "study or discipline."
Astrology and Astronomy
Although Astrology and Astronomy share a common origin, modern Astronomy as practiced is not to be confused with astrology. While astronomy is the
study and observation of celestial objects and their movements through space, astrology is the study of the supposed correlation of those objects with
various earthly affairs. It should be noted that astrology is not considered a science.
The central beliefs of astrology were prevalent in most of the ancient world. The famous astronomer/astrologer, Tycho Brahe, used a single phrase to
justify his studies in astrology: "Suspiciendo despicio," which is translated into "By looking up I see downward." The principle that events in
the heavens are mirrored by those on Earth was one generally held in most traditions of astrology across the world. In the West, there has been a
debate among astrologers over the nature of the mechanism behind astrology. They also debate whether or not celestial bodies are only signs or
portents of events, or if they are actual causes of events through some sort of force. Many of those who practice astrology, believe that the
positions of certain celestial bodies either influence or correlate with people's: personality traits, important events, physical characteristics,
and to some extent destiny. However, there is some agreement amongst modern astrologers that the universe acts as a single unit. This means that any
happening in any part of the universe is inevitably reflected in every other part of the universe.
All of the astrological traditions are based on the relative positions and movements of various real and construed celestial bodies as seen at the
time and place of the event being studied. These celestial bodies are chiefly: the Sun, Moon, planets, and the lunar nodes. The calculations performed
in casting a horoscope involve arithmetic and simple geometry. The goal of this math is to locate the apparent position of heavenly bodies on desired
dates and times based on astronomical tables. In past centuries, astrologers often relied on close observations of celestial objects and the charting
of their movements. In modern times, astrologers have tended to rely on data drawn up by astronomers and then they study a set of tables called an
"ephemeris," which shows the changing positions of the heavenly bodies through time. Many astrologers throughout history made major contributions to
astronomy so as to add proficiency to their astrological efforts. These astrologers include: Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Nicholas Copernicus and
Horoscopic astrology is a very specific and complex system of astrology that was developed in the Mediterranean region. This particular system of
astrology was developed specifically in Hellenistic Egypt, sometime around the late 2nd or early 1st century BCE. This system deals largely with
astrological charts cast for specific moments in time, in order to interpret the inherent meaning underlying the alignment of the planets at that
moment based on specific sets of rules and guidelines. One of the defining characteristics of this form of astrology, that makes it distinct from
other traditions, is the computation of the degree of the Eastern horizon rising against the backdrop of the ecliptic at the specific moment under
examination. This specific moment is known as the "ascendant." Horoscopic astrology has been the most influential and widespread form of astrology
across the world. This is especially true in: Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East. There are several major traditions of horoscopic astrology
including: Indian, Hellenistic, Medieval, and most other modern Western traditions of astrology.
The central part to horoscopic astrology is the calculation of a horoscope, or astrological chart. This is a diagrammatic representation, in two
dimensions, of the celestial bodies' apparent positions in the heavens from the vantage of a location on Earth at a given time and place. The
horoscope of an individual's birth is called a natal chart. In ancient Hellenistic astrology, the rising sign or ascendant demarcated the first
celestial house of a horoscope, and the word for the ascendant in Greek was "horoskopos." This is the word that the term "horoscope" derives from.
In modern times, it has come to be used as a general term for an astrological chart as a whole. Other commonly used names for the horoscope/natal
chart in English include: natus, birth-chart, astrological chart, Astro-chart, celestial map, sky-map, star-chart, nativity, cosmogram, vitasphere,
soulprint, radical chart, radix, or chart.
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