Influence of the sun, moon, planets and stars
For centuries, astrologists have studied the influence of the sun, moon, planets and stars on natural events, individual personality and the behavior of people. The horoscope is a tool used in astrology to mark the positions of major celestial bodies at the exact moment an event occurs. This chart is then used by the astrologer to make predictions about that event.
In addition to marking the location of planets, the moon and the sun, this diagram will document the astrological aspects of these heavenly bodies and their sensitive angles. The aspects are calculated angles that represent how the planets are aligned with respect to each other. Depending on the specific tradition, the chart may also include zodiac signs, house cusps, lunar notes and lots.
The ascendant angle is one of four primary angles noted on the chart. The others are the descendant, the imum coeli and the midheaven. These four points are considered to be very significant when interpreting a chart created for any event or individual.
The zodiac is a term used to represent a set of constellations arranged in a ring along the sun’s path through the sky. This path is called the ecliptic. The sun sign is noted by the sun’s location at the time of the event charted. In the case of a birth chart, this is the sign most people associate with the zodiac and the basis for the horoscopes seen printed in newspapers, magazines and other periodicals.
On a horoscope, the ecliptic is divided into twelve regions called houses. The ascendant is the reference point for the first house. The rest are numbered in a counterclockwise direction from there. Planets and signs will be located in each house at some point during the course of a 24-hour period.
An astrologer needs some basic information to create a chart. The precise time of an event must be converted to Greenwich Mean Time. With this information, the midheaven and ascendant are calculated. An ephemeris is a table that will reveal where the planets, moon and sun were located at any given time.
The zodiac signs are superimposed in their proper positions on the 12 houses. The system used will dictate which specific angles are used. Some systems are more complicated and require input regarding the latitude of the event in question. Several computer programs will perform the calculations for many different systems.
After the signs are placed in the houses, the planets, moon and sun are added at the proper longitudes. The final step in constructing the chart is to consider the aspects between different pairs of planets. The interpretation phase begins upon completion of the chart.
Natal astrology involves interpreting a birth chart to create a profile of the subject’s personality. The astrologist will factor in the distribution of houses and zodiac signs. This is called chart weighting. Chart shaping is the process of analyzing the patterns with respect to planet placement.
In medieval times, astrology held an important position in scientific circles. By the 18th century, astronomy diverged from astrology and was regarded as the empirical study of heavenly bodies. The New Age movement during the late 20th century has been partially responsible for a renewed interest in astrology and the horoscope.