The pseudo-scientific study of the influence of the celestial bodies on the Earth and its inhabitants and also the art and practice of divining the fate or future of people from the juxtaposition of the Sun, Moon, and planets.
Judicial astrology foretells the destinies of individuals and nations, while Natural astrology predicts changes of weather and the influence of the stars upon natural things.
Astrologer is a person who practices astrology, predicting or determining the influence of the planets and stars on human affairs.
The characters used in astrology to indicate the 12 signs represent natural objects, but they have also a hieroglyphic or esoteric meaning that has been lost. The figure of Aries represents the head and horns of a ram; that of Taurus, the head and horns of a bull; that of Leo, the head and mane of a lion; that of Gemini, two persons standing together; and so on.
The physical or astronomical reasons for the implementation of these figures have been explained in great detail by Abbé Pluche in his Histoire du Ciel (1739–41), and Charles F. Dupuis, in his Abrégé de l’Origine de tous les Cultes (1798), has endeavored to establish the principles of an astro-mythology, by tracing the progress of the moon through the 12 signs in a series of adventures he compares with the wanderings of Isis.
Astrology appears to be one of the most ancient of the surviving occult sciences, and evidence of a highly sophisticated system in Babylonian and Egyptian cultures has survived.
Popular astrology is concerned with the reading of a horoscope chart cast for the moment of birth in some cases complex methods of progressing the planets of the birth chart enable the astrologer to predict the future for the person for whom the chart was cast.
The chart is interpreted in terms of the influence of the zodiacal signs and the various different powers which the planets possess in these signs. A variety of different house systems is linked with interpreting the directions in the person's life in which planetary and other influences will manifest themselves.
The planetary effects are not considered only in terms of zodiacal placing (on the basis that Mars in Leo is different from Mars in Cancer, for example), but also in terms of the angles which they may or may not hold to each other; this realm of astrology is the study of aspects.
Astrology today has permeated every activity of modern life, from daily household activities to politics and stock market speculation.
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Sources: (1) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (2) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group.