What is Astrology?

You may be surprised to learn that astrology was the first science. It existed before physics, chemistry, biology, or other "hard core" sciences. Astrology began as the study of the planets and can more accurately be considered the study of cycles. These cycles are indicated by planetary movements and associated with energies and events occurring on earth. Astrology uses the harmony of the universe to understand and explore human behavior and experience.

The roots of astrology go back to at least 2900 B.C., when the Sumerians built temples in the form of terraced pyramids to observe the stars and planets. Astrological interpretations also can be seen in religious texts. The Bible is filled with astrological information. Examples of such astrological connections are the 12 disciples of Christ and the 12 tribes of Israel, which are associated with the 12 signs of the Zodiac.

Throughout history, famous people have been using astrology for a number of purposes. From studying the stars, the Three Wise Men learned that Christ would be born at a conjunction of planets. This is when planets appear in the same time and place in the sky and signals the start of new cycle. Pythagoras was considered an astrologer. His belief in the harmony of the universe enabled him to make the leaps of logic responsible for the Pythagorean theorem and the musical scale. The famous predictions of Nostradamus are based on astrology. And, long before the apple fell on the head of Isaac Newton, he was a practicing astrologer.

Astrology and more modern science can easily coexist. There is even a theory in physics that astrology can show the order underneath what is seen on the surface. This theory is that inner and outer reality are interwoven, which is one of the premises of astrology, and that we are all part of something as well as contain the pattern of that something inside us. Astrology is based on the relationships between the planets, the sun and the moon, the 12 zodiac or sun signs, and houses, which are the 12 areas of an individual's life.

The planets are like the hands of the clock in astrology, representing the different elements of an individual's makeup. The zodiac is the name for the patterns of stars, or constellations, that exist on the ecliptic. The ecliptic is roughly a line that can be drawn in the sky, along which travels all of the planets, the moon, and the sun. This phenomenon is caused by the orbital planes of the planets being aligned together in space.

The signs of the zodiac are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The houses are the "where" of astrology, and each of the 12 houses is connected to a specific area of life.

There are three signs for each of the four elements of fire, earth, air, and water. These elements represent the basic qualities of the signs and of life in general. The fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius; the earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn; the air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius; and the water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Underlying astrology are three premises: (1) our external lives reflect what is happening in our internal lives; (2) each individual is continually evolving spiritually; and (3) an individual's birth chart, as described below, reveals the purpose of his or her soul.

Astrology is a system from which we can learn the connections between external reality and internal reality. We can use astrology as a map to guide our route through life. One such map is a birth chart, which is a unique map of who you are. An astrologer can create a birth chart for each individual. Using the date, time, and place of your birth, the chart shows the positions of the planets in the signs and in the houses. The planets, however, do not directly cause things to happen in our lives.

Rather, they are coincident indicators of the same energies occurring on earth--in people, places, and events. As such, astrology is a symbolic system that works through synchronicity. Synchronicity is the belief that everything in the universe is interrelated and that what occurs can be understood as a pattern of meaningful coincidences. Carl Jung, a famous psychologist, has said that anyone who is born, or everything that occurs, at a particular moment has the energies of that moment.

Astrology is an excellent means to tap into the synchronicities of your life. Through your birth chart, astrology can reveal your potentials.