Astrology – science or fiction? Throughout history humans have looked to the sky for answers on the past, present and future. Astrology is one of the limbs of this and though many do not believe in astrology and put it down to mumbo jumbo, others base their whole lives around the stars. Indeed the ancient rulers of our world would make decisions based on what was written in the stars, destinies were written at the time of birth of new royal children and matters of state would be dictated by favorable moments in the sky.
Whether you believe in astrology or not, you have more than likely picked up a horoscope article to read the predictions for your week or month ahead, maybe even felt that it resonated for you a little bit before going about your day. When we talk of astrology the first thing that comes to mind is horoscopes – more to the point your star sign or, where the sun was situated in the sky at your time of birth, but astrology is far more complicated and in depth than just a star sign and horoscope. Some people dedicate years of their life to understanding the ins and outs of astrology and what makes up this art of reading the sky. Astrology on a personal level is a snap shot of time at the moment you are born. This is called a birth chart and it does not just detail where the sun was at your time of birth, but layers where each planet was, where the moon was and many other details. It can show you the inner workings of your personality, your potential, your weaknesses and how you will live your life. On a day to day basis, where each planet is at that current time, where the sun and moon are situated in the sky all play a part in the subtle energy around us and influences on our home planet.
For the sake of keeping this blog post simple and to cover the basics of astrology I will only go into the common areas we come up against – this is the major constellations, planets, the sun and moon signs and retrogrades. When we look at the major constellations these are what we also know as our star sign or sun sign. They are Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Cancer, Gemini, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius. Now they each deserve their own detailed history that I won’t go into here as they have stories behind their names and their meanings. From a personal and astrological point of view, these are what people mean when they commonly ask you “what sign are you?” or “what is your star sign?” and this is dictated by the constellation that the sun was in from our perspective here on earth on the day you were born. All these signs have particular traits and personality types. The sun sign is your personality and how your ego relates to and deals with the world. Now some people may be born on what is called a cusp and this means that they are on the cross over dates from one sign to another and this can mean they can take on the traits of the neighbouring sign.
Your moon sign is calculated using your time and location of birth as well as the date and then corresponding to that it is what constellation the moon is in at this time. The moon sign governs your emotions and your inner world, how you reflect internally and emotionally handle things. A great tip when reading horoscopes is to read both your star sign and your moon sign to get a better understanding of the horoscope energy surrounding you.
When we look at planets – the planets within astrology are Mars, Venus, Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter, Pluto, Saturn and Mercury. Now we also know that Ceres and Charon have been added into this too and due to astronomy downgrading Pluto, there is a lot of different opinions around what a planet is and what is not though I am going to keep things simple here and refer to the most widely accepted terms. Within each constellation they will have a “ruling planet” that governs the star sign and imparts its energy. In history our planets were seen as the gods or goddesses more often than not so they took on the personality traits of these beings. For example – Venus is the goddess of love and beauty and one of the constellations she rules over is Taurus – who are very likely to be fond of love, sensual energy and luxury or Mars – known as the god of war and he rules over Aries who can be known to have a hot temper.
Because we have the planets as additional celestial objects with influence in the sky and everything is constantly moving with the gravitational pull and going through cycles, astrology looks at the movement of these planets as well as the sun and moon in the sky from our vantage point on Earth.
So as the moon and sun make their trips through different constellations, so too do the planets. The moon goes through monthly phases which also have an influence and I will go into the moon cycles on a separate post and the sun goes through a yearly rotation as we know this with the modern calendar. Planets are all moving around the sun as we know through science and astronomy and the sun is technically stationary and it is in fact earth that circles the sun, from our point it looks as though the planets and the sun are moving around us. The reason for this very brief and very loose science and astronomy lesson is to help you to understand what a retrograde is in the astrology world and what they mean.
A retrograde is when the planets seemingly move backward in the sky. This is actually due to the planet being in closer proximity to Earth and Earth passing or being passed by the other planets. It is similar to that sensation you may get in the car at traffic lights when someone takes off and for a split second you feel as though you are going backwards. There are actually more complicated paths that the planets take through the sky but we don’t need to go into that detail.
Because most of the time a planet is moving forward or as the term is in astrology – direct, a retrograde is looked at as important because of the more “rare” occurrence, though in reality around 80 percent of the time we have a planet in retrograde. The most widely accepted belief is the more common a planet goes retrograde – the more likely we are to feel its effects and this is why you have probably heard of mercury retrograde season as mercury goes retrograde often. Retrogrades are mostly seen as disruptive, they bring out the stagnant energy and the sometimes more negative aspects of the planets traits.
So you can see here that looking at just a star sign or just where the sun or moon is on any given day is truly only giving you an overview and that there is so much more to take into consideration. This is really just the tip of the astrological iceberg when you look at how much information is out there and how much there is to learn as the sky itself is really, limitless and this practice has been around for thousands of years and will continue to be around for just as long as humans seek to understand our relationship with the cosmos.
Love and Light