From ancient times, observing the heavens has been a favorite preoccupation of humanity. Astrology is probably the most ancient system of cosmic wisdom that connects all life, creation, man, and the universe. Astronomy and astrology are closely linked; one could call them twin sisters. Astronomy is the structure from which astrology evolved. Astrology studies how celestial objects like stars and planets influence human lives. The position of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets at the time of a person’s birth is believed to determine their personality, influence their love relationships and financial fortunes, etc.

For most people, their notion of astrology is their “sun sign,” which is one of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac. This is called sun-sign astrology, the astrology which is featured in newspapers. It is an elementary form because only the date of someone’s birthday is required to create a sun-sign horoscope. Even astrologers say that this form of astrology is very simplistic and produces only limited results. For a more accurate reading, astrologers will examine which sign each planet was in when a person was born. The planets and signs, along with other elements, like houses and angles, form a complex and specific profile of a person’s personality and life.

There is no single practice of astrology. Many ancient cultures had their forms, and some of these evolved into today’s common western astrology. Eastern cultures have their forms of astrology. They include Vedic, Chinese, and Tibetan astrology. Within western astrology itself, diverse methods and philosophies are used. Sometimes, astrology is divided into various types depending on the result.

• Mundane Astrology — This type of astrology examines global events and makes predictions about wars, natural calamities, national affairs, and economies.

• Interrogatory Astrology — This refers to astrology that makes specific predictions about the subject’s aims or incidents related to the subject’s life.

• Natal Astrology — This is what comes to most people’s minds when they think of astrology. Natal Astrology makes predictions based on the date of a person’s birth. The idea behind it is that everything that happens to something is expressed at the very beginning of that thing. This is also called the Law of Beginnings.

Most people struggle to define astrology. For many, it is an art of divination. For others, it is pure science. However, there is still no end to the controversy. The truth lies somewhere in between. Astrology is both science and art. Astrology has also been called the Golden Science. ‘Astro’ means Star, and ‘Logy’ refers to Logos or intelligence. They saw their gods and goddesses in the planets. In those days, astrology was used to predict weather patterns, births, and deaths of the royals, outcomes of wars, and other events that people’s survival depended upon. The scientific part of astrology comes from the astronomical, mathematical, and geometrical methods that it uses. Astrology is based on observation and correlation done in a scientific as well as divinatory manner. The ancients gazed at the sky, observed the movements of planets and other celestial objects and recorded them. Then they made accurate predictions about their future appearances. This is science at work.

They also started observing when certain heavenly bodies in specific positions would correspond to changes in weather or incidents in their lives. This type of divination using ‘omens’ was the earliest use of astrology. So, in brief, astrology is the earliest system of universal wisdom that has been used for self-knowledge as well as to make predictions using natural phenomena.

There are some key planets in astrology. These are the Sun, Moon, and the Ascendant. The other planets are also important, but these three are the most significant and reflect the most sensitive part of you. The Sun represents your life’s purpose. It’s why you were born on earth. If you are not able to express what your Sun needs, it will make you unhappy and unfulfilled. The Moon represents your emotions. It is the repository of one’s past memories. The Moon also indicates how you emote. Again, the aspects the Moon makes in your chart will be very telltale about how you address emotional situations. The Ascendant represents how others see you and what you project of yourself. The ruling planet or ascendant will reveal more of your character and attitudes.

The word ‘horoscope’ comes from two Latin words — ‘Horo’ means hour, and ‘Scope’ means view. Thus, it means a ‘view of the hour.’ A ‘Horoscope’ is a representation of celestial energies based on heavenly patterns. For astrologers, the horoscope is the birth/astrological chart of a person or a moment in time. This is calculated using the planetary positions in either the tropical/sidereal Zodiac. The date, time, and place of birth are used for the calculations. So, a horoscope is very personal, the way a fingerprint is.

The energies carried within each horoscope are unique for that person. These planetary energies indicate the potential for personal expression within that person. The planets, aspects, signs, houses, and other points within the horoscope reflect possible patterns and characteristics. Our free will makes us work with these patterns or change them to be expressed in different ways.

Most people believe that whatever is written in the horoscope will come to pass. However, this may not be so. A horoscope reveals events that are likely to happen in our lives. However, we can always exercise our free will to alter our destiny if we so wish. It is more accurate to say that the horoscope offers insight and awareness about us and certain potentials that exist in our life.

Thus, we can see that while Astrology is a system of divination, a Horoscope is an astrological chart of a person or moment in time. The former is the tool which helps to create the latter.