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Astrology

What is “Astrology”?
Astrology
is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs and other "earthly" matters. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer. Astrologers believe that the movements and positions of celestial bodies either directly influence life on Earth or correspond to events experienced on a human scale. Modern astrologers define astrology as a symbolic language, an art form, or a form of divination. Despite differences in definitions, a common assumption of astrologers is that celestial placements can aid in the interpretation of past and present events, and in the prediction of the future.

Astrology is considered a pseudoscience or superstition by the scientific community, which sees a lack of statistically significant astrological predictions, while psychology explains much of the continued faith in astrology as a matter of cognitive biases. In 2006 the U.S. National Science Board published a statement which said it considers belief in ten survey items, astrology among them, to be "pseudoscientific".

Numerous traditions and applications employing astrological concepts have arisen since its earliest recorded beginnings in the 3rd millennium BC. Astrology has played an important role in the shaping of culture, early astronomy, the Vedas, and various disciplines throughout history. In fact, astrology and astronomy were often indistinguishable before the modern era, with the desire for predictive and divinatory knowledge one of the motivating factors for astronomical observation. Astronomy began to diverge from astrology after a period of gradual separation from the Renaissance up until the 18th century. Eventually, astronomy distinguished itself as the empirical study of astronomical objects and phenomena, without regard to the terrestrial implications of astrology.

The word "astrology" comes from the Latin term astrologia ("astronomy"), which in turn derives from the Greek noun αστρολογία: ἄστρον, astron ("constellation" or "star") and -λογία, -logia ("the study of "). The word "starcraft" has also traditionally been used to mean astrology

Traditions
There are many traditions of astrology, some of which share similar features due to the transmission of astrological doctrines between cultures. Other traditions developed in isolation and hold different doctrines, though they too share some features due to drawing on similar astronomical sources.

Current traditions
The main traditions used by modern astrologers are Hindu Astrology (Jyotia), Western astrology, and Chinese astrology.

Vedic and Western astrology share a common ancestry as horoscopic systems of astrology, in that both traditions focus on the casting of an astrological chart or horoscope, a representation of celestial entities, for an event based on the position of the Sun, Moon, and planets at the moment of the event. However, Vedic astrology uses the sidereal or fixed or constellational zodiac, linking the signs of the zodiac to their original constellations, while Western astrology uses the tropical or seasonal zodiac. Because of the precession of the equinoxes whose cycle is ~25,686 years long, during which the extensions of the polar axes describe circles, the twelve zodiacal signs in Western astrology no longer correspond to the same part of the sky as their original constellations, due to centuries of change. In effect, in Western astrology the link between sign and constellation was broken in approximately 222 AD, whereas in Vedic astrology the constellations remain of paramount importance. Other differences between the two traditions include the use of 27 (or 28) nakshatras or lunar mansions, each 13⅓ degrees wide, which have been used in India since Vedic times, and the systems of planetary periods known as dashas.

In Chinese astrology, a quite different tradition has evolved. By contrast to Western and Indian astrology, the twelve signs of the zodiac do not divide the sky, but rather the celestial equator. The Chinese evolved a system in which each sign corresponds to one of twelve "double-hours" that govern the day, and to one of the twelve months. Each sign of the zodiac governs a different year, and combines with a system based on the five elements of Chinese cosmology to give a 60 (12 × 5) year cycle. The term Chinese astrology is used here for convenience, but it must be noted that versions of the same tradition exist in Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and other Asian countries. It appears that this is a remnant of a more ancient system of Jupiterian astrology, an astrological system primarily based on the motion of Jupiter, which orbits the Sun every 11.89 years.

Western astrology has been the result of the knowledge of the earlier Indian/Vedic and Egyptian schools (each developed in their own right, and neither shows traces of the later Babylonian influences) being diluted and simplified in passing first through Persia/Babylon, and then through Greece, and later Europe. In modern times, these traditions have come into closer contact with each other, notably with Indian and Chinese astrology having spread in more direct form to the West, while awareness of the modern notions of Western astrology is still fairly limited in Asia, and is not considered useful. Astrology in the Western world has diversified among some in modern times. New movements have appeared that have jettisoned much of more recent traditional astrology to concentrate on different approaches, such as a greater emphasis on midpoints, or a more psychological approach. Some recent Western developments include modern tropical and sidereal horoscopic astrology, including constellational and star or point-based astrology (including aspects to the fundamental planetary dynamics, such as perihelions and aphelions, and nodal points resulting from the inclinations of the planets' revolutionary planes to the Earth's ecliptic plane); heliocentric astrology, cosmobiology; psychological astrology; sun sign astrology; the Hamburg School of Astrology; and Uranian astrology, a subset of the Hamburg School.

Historical traditions
Throughout its long history, astrology has come to prominence in many regions and undergone developments and change. There are many astrological traditions that are historically important, but which have largely fallen out of use. Astrologers still retain an interest in them and regard them as an important resource. Historically significant traditions of astrology include Arab and Persian astrology (Medieval, Near East); Babylonian astrology (Ancient, Near East); Egyptian astrology; Hellenistic astrology (Classical antiquity); Hindu astrology and Mayan astrology

Horoscopic astrology
Main article: Horoscopic astrology
Horoscopic astrology is a system that some claim to have developed in the Mediterranean region and specifically Hellenistic Egypt around the late 2nd or early 1st century BC. However, horoscopic astrology has been practiced in India since ancient times, and Vedic astrology is the oldest surviving form of horoscopic astrology in the world. The tradition deals with two-dimensional diagrams of the heavens, or horoscopes, created for specific moments in time. The diagram is then used to interpret the inherent meaning underlying the alignment of celestial bodies at that moment based on a specific set of rules and guidelines. A horoscope was calculated normally for the moment of an individual's birth, or at the beginning of an enterprise or event, because the alignments of the heavens at that moment were thought to determine the nature of the subject in question. One of the defining characteristics of this form of astrology that makes it distinct from other traditions is the computation of the degree of the Eastern horizon rising against the backdrop of the ecliptic at the specific moment under examination, otherwise known as the ascendant. Horoscopic astrology is the most influential and widespread form of astrology in Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East. Medieval and most modern Western traditions of astrology have Hellenistic origins

Horoscope

18th century Icelandic manuscript showing astrological houses and glyphs for planets and signs. Central to horoscopic astrology and its branches is the calculation of the horoscope or astrological chart. This two-dimensional diagrammatic representation shows the celestial bodies' apparent positions in the heavens from the vantage of a location on Earth at a given time and place. The horoscope is also divided into twelve different celestial houses which govern different areas of life. Calculations performed in casting a horoscope involve arithmetic and simple geometry which serve to locate the apparent position of heavenly bodies on desired dates and times based on astronomical tables. In ancient Hellenistic astrology the ascendant demarcated the first celestial house of a horoscope. The word for the ascendant in Greek was ροσκόπος (hōroskopos)  from which horoscope derives. In modern times, the word has come to refer to the astrological chart as a whole.

Branches
Traditions of horoscopic astrology can be divided into four branches that are each directed towards specific subjects or purposes. Often these branches use a unique set of techniques, or a different application of the core principles of the system to a different area. Many other subsets and applications of astrology are derived from these four fundamental branches.

Natal astrology is the study of a person's natal chart to gain information about the individual and their life experience. Katarchic astrology includes both electional and event astrology. The former uses astrology to determine the most auspicious moment to begin an enterprise or undertaking, and the latter to understand everything about an event from the time at which it took place. Horary astrology is used to answer a specific question by studying the chart of the moment the question is posed to an astrologer. Mundane or world astrology is the application of astrology to world events, including weather, earthquakes, and the rise and fall of empires or religions. This includes the Astrological Ages, such as the Age of Aquarius, Age of Pisces, and so on. Each age is about 2,150 years in length, and many people use these massive ages to characterize and describe major historical ages, as well as current developments in the world.
 

 

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