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“Our destiny is written in the stars,” or so they say. 

Man has had a fascination with the night skies for millennia. From tracking the daily movements of the sun and the moon to documenting the progression of planets among fixed stars, astrologers and astronomers have studied the solar system for thousands of years.

In the following post, we break down a few key insights into the fascinating art and science of astrology. 

What is astrology

Astrology is the ancient practice of studying the position and movement of the sun, stars, moon and planets to predict potential future outcomes. Among a number of tools, astrology is one of the most popular methods that an individual can gain an understanding of themselves and context to their life’s journey. 

Astrology is a divination tool. It is used to gain an understanding of the past and predict possibilities in the future. Astrology uses patterns of the planets and stars in the solar system to understand human behaviour, advise courses of action and understand the relationship of humans to each other, their environments and themselves. 

Watching the stars

The ancient practice of astrology began many, many centuries ago and is still widely used today. In the early days, it was believed that one’s life was predestined, and fate was determined by the gods. With the invent of astrology, it was noted that patterns in the cosmos had an impact on an individual. 

Astrology focuses on the planets and their ever-changing positions in a series of zodiac signs. It aims to describe the relationship between these energies to an individual. 

The fundamental premise of astrology is that the universe is a gigantic ‘whole’ and that each part exists in a relationship with each other. Each part has an influence on, and can, affect another part.  

When you should use astrology

Astrology is a method of explaining human character and behaviour. A birth chart analysis can help you understand why you have certain character traits or why you relate to people in a particular way. 

The practice of astrology became a tool that helped an individual understand themselves and the influences that they could be affected by. This equipped individuals to navigate life’s challenges with a bit more insight and awareness.

Sometimes, we can’t see certain occurrences in our lives. We may be too wrapped up in a problem, or too distracted or overwhelmed to begin problem-solving. In such times, astrology can offer a helping hand in the form of a bigger, new perspective. 

If you are about to make a big decision or are in a state of doubt or fear, a reading with an astrologer can help you understand your situation and the best course of action. 

What is the difference between astrology and astronomy 

Astronomy is the scientific study of space, planets the universe and other celestial bodies. Astrology doesn’t dive as deep into the physicality of space but looks at several celestial bodies and their effect on the human world.  

Both are concerned with the nature, make-up and structure of the solar system; however, astrology introduces a more ancient science that notes patterns for predictions. 

Sun sign, moon sign and rising sign

One of the first places to start when approaching astrology is to consider the placement of planets in three key positions. While there are plenty of planets in one’s chart, the three signs that can give a good snapshot of someone’s ‘true self’. These key placements are the sun sign, moon sign and rising sign. 

  • The Sun sign, the most widely known part of one’s birth chart, refers to the position of the sun at the moment of birth. The sun sign is the main focus for the horoscope and is also called a star sign. The sun sign is most often linked to one’s personality, identity, sense of Self, ego and drives.
  • The Moon sign refers to the position of the moon at the moment of birth. The moon sign links to one’s emotions, emotional body, subconscious, inner worlds and the things that lie beneath the surface of the personality.
  • The rising sign refers to the sign that rules the first house of your chart, the house of the Self. The rising sign relates to one’s outer self, the way one presents themselves to the world, and how others interpret or receive them. The rising sign is also called the ascendant. 

You can find out your sun, moon and rising signs by creating a birth chart. To create a birth chart (also called a natal chart), head over to Cafe Astrology’s Natal Chart Report and enter your details (name, time of birth, place of birth). 

Astrology books teaching how to create a birth chart next to MacBook Pro
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Important astrology terms

Below are some essential terms and concepts related to astrology. These will help you understand the language of the zodiac in a simplified way.

  • Aspect: the angle at which planets connect with each other. 
  • Birth chart: also called a natal chart, maps out the basic planet positions of a person at the time of their birth. 
  • Configuration: occurs each time planets forms a particular shape in the sky. For example, one of the configurations is the T-square configuration, pointing out to one’s driving force and struggles during a certain period. 
  • Eclipse: occurs each time the moon and the sun intersect as they revolve around the earth. Two types of the eclipse are a solar and lunar eclipse. With a solar eclipse, the moon casts a shadow on the earth, and vice versa for a lunar eclipse. Eclipses always introduce interesting energy shifts and changes in one’s life.
  • Planetary return: as its name suggests, indicates a transitioning planet that returns to the position at which it was when a person was born. 
  • Retrograde planet: a planet that appears to move backward. Retrograde planets present a change in the normal energy flow. 
  • Transit: points out the upcoming positioning of planets in the sky and the energy such positions bring. Planets transit through houses and signs, and form different aspects.

Does astrology predict the future?

Like any divination tool, astrology can be used to determine possibilities and probabilities. Everything is energy, and as gigantic celestial bodies move throughout the cosmos, so too our energies are affected. 

“The thing with astrology is that it does not tell you what’s going to happen. Only you can decide that based on your free will. It shows you the collective energy and we see it playing out on a macro level (the world at large) as well as a micro level (your personal life).”

Danielle Paige

Astrology doesn’t suggest your life is predestined. Rather approach it as a way to decode potential influences or occurrences in your life. We still have our free will and the freedom of choice. 

From a spiritual perspective, there are certain life lessons and rites of passages you will have to go through and resolve in order to grow. It is up to you to decide which way you are going to use the abstract energy given to you the day you were born. 

As mentioned above, astrology is a great tool to use when making big decisions. An astrologer will be able to note particularly cosmic energies during a certain period. They can advise a course of action that fits depending on one’s placement of planets in houses. 

Astrology is an extremely layered science, and each potential outcome as mapped in a chart, can be countered by another aspect. A skilled astrologer will be able to assess a chart in detail and can offer suggestions based on the intricacies they find. 

Interested in astrology? Learn how working with the phases of the lunar cycle and moon energy can deepen your spiritual practice and increase your intuition. Read more here.

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