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Introduction to Astrology: Its benefits, and its terms defined
What is it good for?
Astrology is great for understanding people's actions and thoughts. It's brilliant at showing what's motivating people, so it's really useful for people to figure themselves out, and to get insights into what's going on in their lives and their relationships.
It can be applied to businesses to help them plan ahead and anticipate both opportunities and obstacles, as well as to lead their staff and help them with cultural change. It can help to forecast trends in economies and market fluctuations.
It can look at countries to see what's going on in at the sociological and cultural levels, as well as forecasting the timing and nature of industrial changes. International relations, such as wars and developments like the EU, become much clearer when put into an astrological context.
So in all those areas astrology can help solve problems and identify new potentials that can be developed and used in your life at home, at work, and at play.
Birth chart / natal chart / or just 'chart'
A diagram showing what signs and houses the planets are in, the angles between the planets, and the midpoint relationships of the planets, at a specific moment in time and in reference to a specific place on Earth.
To accurately calculate a chart you need a date (e.g. 12th March 1977), an exact time (e.g. 8:23pm BST), and a village, town or city area name (e.g. Luton, UK).
Charts can also be calculated for nations, parliaments, political ceremonies, business launches, events such as wars and earthquakes, and more. Charts are the basis and backbone of astrology.
A chart is made up of planets, signs, houses, aspects, and midpoints, defined below. Here is a diagram showing the natural correspondences of planets, signs, and houses:
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Includes Sun (a star) and the Earth's Moon (a satellite).
Represent drives in people, organisations, and nations. They are like the organs of the self, or the organs of a nation. They represent those parts of us that motivate actions on an internal and external level.
Some astrologers also use asteroids (e.g. Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta) and planetoids (e.g. Chiron, Pholus).
'Planets' does not normally include the Earth, because a chart is drawn up of the solar system as viewed from the Earth itself. When you look at a birth chart, the Earth is in the very centre of the diagram.
Many astrologers also use points in space, such as the Moon's Nodal axis. These are the two points where the Sun's apparent path in our sky crosses the Moon's path in our sky.
Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.
Represent themes in life, translating into clusters of qualities, attributes, attitudes, perspectives, ideas, issues, dilemmas, stories and myths.
Signs are grouped into various categories, such as Elements, Quadruplicities, Polarities, and more.
Each sign is 'ruled by', or associated with, a planet, based on shared themes (see diagram above).
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th.
Represent areas of life experience and areas of the psyche. They are the main bridge spanning the inner self and the outer world.
The 1st house coincides with the Ascendant, or rising sign, and opposite it is the 7th house, also know as the Descendant.
The 10th house usually coincides with the MC (Midheaven), and opposite it is the 4th house, also known as the IC (Imum Coeli).
Each house is naturally associated with a planet and sign based upon shared themes (see diagram above). But in a specific chart the natural associations will be replaced by an arrangement unique to that particular chart.
Angles between two planets, or a part of the chart with a planet, e.g. the Ascendant and Mars.
Only certain angles are considered meaningful. These are based on dividing the 360 degree circle by the numbers 1 to 12. E.g. 360 / 12 = 30 degrees, 360 / 4 = 90 degrees, etc. An alternative name is 'harmonics,' which refers to resonance, just like in music.
The diagram below shows some of the angles used in astrology.
Each aspect/harmonic means something different. They describe types of relationship between two factors. E.g. a trine (120 degrees) is a relationship of ease and flow, a square (90 degrees) is a relationship of dynamism and will.
Aspects have orbs of effectiveness. E.g. a trine ranges from 116 degrees to 124 degrees, a square ranges from 87 degrees to 93 degrees. This means that the two factors don't have to be exactly 120 or 90 degrees apart in order to be joined together in relationship.
Deeper levels of aspects can be revealed by displaying them in what is known as a harmonic chart. This is not a separate or distinct entity from the birth chart; it can be thought of as a level or layer within it, just as an x-ray or MRI scan does not reveal your whole body, but shows a more detailed picture of a certain facet of it.
The point halfway between two planets or points blends the meaning of the two factors. A third planet or point on the 'midpoint' then blends with the other two, and the trio are considered to have meaning. In reality there are two midpoints for each pair of factors, one around the shorter arc of the circle, one around the longer arc.
A birth chart is a snapshot of a moment in time and space. But the planets and points don't stop moving just because we take a snapshot of them. As the planets and points move around the zodiac they move into and out of aspects with the birth chart. They also move across the midpoints. And they move from one house to another. These movements are known as transits.
Branches of astrology:
Astrology can be applied to just about anything. There are therefore numerous branches of astrology. Here are some that are relevant to this site:
Political & Mundane: Addresses current affairs and world events.
Business: Addresses companies and business organisations, as well as people's careers.
Financial: Addresses national economics and markets such as the stock market.
Psychological: Addresses human personality, motivation, behaviour, and interpersonal relationships with friends, family, and partners.
Medical: Addresses human health and illness.
Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, EU, USA, France, Australia, Uranus in Pisces & Neptune in Aquarius, & more
Euro Currency, NHS, BBC,
USA economy, Ofcom, Concorde, W Edwards Deming, Banco Santander, European Central Bank, stock markets, & more
Health, emotional intelligence, Zodiac elements, understanding change, Russell Brand, James Bond, Angelina Jolie, Desmond Tutu,, & more