Astrology relies on both its technical and interpretive aspects, with the interpretive portion resting firmly on the technical. Whereas interpretive astrology seeks to unveil the meaning behind planetary placement, the technical aspects of astrology deal with the precise positions, movement, and relation of planetary bodies within the zodiac.
The Technological Aspects of Astrology
Astrology can involve everything from natal charts to regular tracking of the planets in relation to current events. Regardless of the distinction between astrological birth charts and futuristic predictions, both of these fields are built upon fundamentals such as:
- Planetary movement throughout the zodiac
- Planetary governance
- An understanding of geography and time
- The twelve zodiac archetypes
Astrological technique differs between the two key fields of person-to-person astrology (the branch that deals primarily with natal charts and character definition) and predictive astrology (the branch concerned with forecasts and prophecy). However, in order for any degree of success to be achieved in either territory, one must rely on the fundamentals.
The planets unceasingly revolve around the sun, and they also make their way through the twelve ecliptic zones of the zodiac. Most modern astrologers use software to chart the locations of the planets and their ecliptic movement, but originally a chart of the planets' positions and movement throughout time called an ephemeris was the main tool of determining planetary placement.
In astrology, the sun and moon are considered planets as well as the other major planetary bodies of the solar system. Pluto, though now resigned as a planet, is still a key player in astrology.
Each of the planets governs an energy. Essentially, a planet focuses the flow of an archetypal energy into one specific area of growth.
- Sun: Core values and ambition
- Moon: Emotional needs and responses
- Mercury: Communication
- Venus: Expression of love, tastes, and values
- Mars: Assertion and desire
- Jupiter: Consciousness of the greater realms, expansion
- Saturn: Discipline and integrity
- Uranus: Freedom of expression
- Neptune: Artistic expression
- Pluto: Transformation, change (often societal)
The first five planets are often called the personal planets, as they deal with the individual. The latter five are considered generational planets, as their slower orbits affect generations and society as a whole.
Geography and Time
Geography and time are critical to person-to-person astrology. The longitude and latitude of one's birthplace are used alongside the birth time to deduce the Ascendant. In fact, locating the Ascendant involves one of astrology's most technical processes, the conversion of birth times into Sidereal time. Sidereal time is "star time" as opposed to the solar time we use on a daily basis. Solar time measures the orbit of the earth around the sun and the rotation of the earth on its axis. Sidereal time is employed by astronomers and astrologers to measure the placement of the planets regardless of the earth's rotation. The conversion to Sidereal time from solar time is tricky and, In order to accurately perform this task, everything from time zones to seasons must be considered. For this reason alone, most astrologers prefer to use software.
The Twelve Zodiac Archetypes
The twelve zodiac signs are more than just markers for a planet's ecliptic orbit. They represent many different archetypal energies. The zodiac signs are grouped into triplicities for the four elements:
The zodiac is also grouped into quadruplicities that represent the energies:
The nuances of these two groupings form the individual characteristics of the twelve zodiac archetypes or signs:
- Aries (cardinal, fire)
- Taurus (fixed, earth)
- Gemini (mutable, air)
- Cancer (cardinal, water)
- Leo (fixed, fire)
- Virgo (mutable, earth)
- Libra (cardinal, air)
- Scorpio (fixed, water)
- Sagittarius (mutable, fire)
- Capricorn (cardinal earth)
- Aquarius (fixed, water)
- Pisces (mutable, water)
Beyond the Basics of Astrology
Astrology extends far beyond these basics. Planetary aspects and angles serve to measure the planets in relation to one another. These aspects require their own interpretation and are thought to vastly affect a chart. Moreover, house systems and the introduction of non-planetary orbiting bodies provide even more nuances of interpretation and energy. Though astrology is still considered to be metaphysical and it is often labeled as a pseudo-science, it's not hard to see that this craft relies upon a very intricate system. Any successes associated with astrology are highly dependent on a precise methodology.