The study of astrology is enormously complex. I am often asked 3 questions, What is astrology?, How does it work? and Why does it work?
To answer the first part of that question you need to understand what a horoscope or chart is. The chart is calculated for the exact position of the Sun, Moon and Planets on the date, time and place you are born. It is a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional sky and astrologers interpret this information in terms of human behaviour, activities and events.
Be aware that planets and stars do not control events on earth even though common thought amongst non astrologers, is, that this is the case. Actually, it all started a long time ago. The ancients observed that events on earth correlated with planetary movements and cycles and over time they began to use this knowledge to accurately forecast and project future events. For example, they observed that when the red planet, Mars, was prominent in the sky it seemed to coincide with war or violence. They might go and attack another tribe or they might be attacked. Alternatively, when Venus was prominent, they would get friendly, be social and form congenial relationships. Gradually these associations become the basis of astrological interpretation and in the passage of time this understanding has been lost. Although we have lost this precision in our language, it is still very important information.
Some civilisations as far back as the Babylonians were incredibly advanced in their mathematics. with many calendars were based on the cycles of the Sun and Moon.
To answer the second part of the question if you believe in Karma, Paramahana Yogananda, in an Autobiography of a Yogi (1945) states 'The child is born on that day and at that hour, when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma… His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results'. Alternatively Jung wrote "Astrology represents the sum of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity" and said that "whatever is born or done at this particular moment of time, has the quality of this moment of time"
Astrology is can be used for almost anything however we generally categorise astrological practice into several core areas they are:
Natal Astrology (modern psychological astrology)
Astrologers interpret the horoscope symbols and the relationships they have to each other in terms of human behaviour. In essence, the natal horoscope suggests at how you are hard wired, your strengths, your weaknesses (yes, I did say weaknesses!). We also use the horoscope as a basis of understating about how you are evolving and using your potential.
Synastry (relationship astrology)
Relationships deserve a special mention as they seem to be either a great source of joy, pain or frustration. Synastry describes the unique ties that exist between people and identifies both the strengths and weaknesses. Most people are interested in understanding more about their significant other however you can do relationship charts for parent/child, siblings, boss/subordinate. With relationship charts in particular we look at attraction and endurably and there are some 26 points of comparison.
Electional (event astrology)
Choosing the most appropriate time to begin something new is when we elect to have 'something' born. It may be a business, a book launch, the best time to travel, get married As there is no such thing as a 'perfect' horoscope yet its purpose is to make the most of planetary patterns, relationships and alignments. Election of astrology takes many of the meanings from horary astrology yet uses them in a different way.
Mundane (countries, politics and business)
According to Michael Baigent in Mundane Astrology (1984) the first astrology was, on an official level at least, exclusively mundane astrology – concerned only with the welfare of the King and State. Individual natal horoscope's are not to be found until the fifth century BC the earliest known example dates from 410 BC. Countries have their own horoscopes and it is fascinating how the politics of the time and leadership can be reflected in the horoscope. World events and social change will often correlate with particular planetary cycles. And with respect to business one often wonders what influences made spectacular companies like Microsoft, Apple and Virgin so successful while others abject failures.
Horary (traditional astrological divination)
Horary astrology is probably the oldest, and most complex forms of astrology and it deals with finding an answer or outcome to a specific question. Technically, horary astrology follows strict rules around interpretation using traditional rulerships. One of the most important considerations in horary is that the person asking the question must have a valid and sincere need to know the answer.