Many people, myself included, are first introduced to astrology through their daily horoscopes in newspapers. While the accuracy of these daily predictions can sometimes be questionable, there is something to be said for using the alignment of the planets and stars for personal reflection and prediction. But astrology, while an incredibly accurate and long-standing art form, is not science. Does astrology really work, or is it simply a question of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If astrology works, then how does it work?
As Kris Riske notes in her introduction to Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Astrology, the question of how astrology works
“…has perplexed astrologers for four thousand years. Astrology works, but no one really knows how. People sometimes ask me if I really believe in ‘that stuff.’ And they always seem to be shocked when I reply in the affirmative, adding that I’ve used it to my own advantage on many occasions and have done the same for hundreds of clients. Now, really, what would they expect an astrologer to say? I sometimes follow up by asking for the person’s month and date of birth and then offer a few insights into what has recently occurred or is currently going on in his or her life. The person is always amazed, and I figure I’ve done a little something to enlighten another individual about the power of astrology.”
Astrology is an ancient practice. According to Wikipedia.org, “[m]any believe that the origins of much of the astrological doctrine and method that would later develop in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East are found among the ancient Babylonians and their system of celestial omens that began to be compiled around the middle of the 2nd millennium BC.” These systems of divination and interpretation spread throughout countries and cultures, and continued up until the present day.
Many astrologers believe that each planet is the embodiment of a god, goddess, or other spiritual being; it is the job of these beings to affect the lives of those on this planet (giving each of us karmic lessons to learn in this life, so that we can achieve self-actuality and reincarnate into higher planes of being). Some believe, in the same vein as many Jungian beliefs, that the planets are representations of archetypes, and are related to those events on Earth that affect us (though the two might not be linked by causation).Â Still other astrologers believe that astrology can be explained by different theories in quantum mechanics (the idea being that all things are made up of particles that vibrate at particular frequencies and different things can affect these vibratory rates).
Within the systems of astrology (Western, Vedic, etc.), people believe that the time, date, and location of their birth dictates their characteristics, talents, challenges, and even appearance (indicated by their Ascendant). The idea is that this information can be then used to help them plan and make other choices, or for self-examination and self-awareness. This is not to say that astrology negates the idea of free will; rather, it simply provides more details for our information tool kits. It is then up to us to decide how and if to use the additional information.
For some, the idea of astrology is implausible, but the cosmos has proven time and time again, with accuracy, that no matter how they affect us, they certainly do.