|Astrology is a science, based upon the mathematical calculation of the planets’ positions in the sky and their relationships to each other and to the Ascendant and Midheaven. By using the longitude of your birth place, the date and the time, an astrologer computes the exact part of the zodiac that was highest in the sky when you were born. This is the Midheaven. Then, using the latitude of the place you were born, the Ascendant, or rising sign, is calculated. This results in a chart that is unique to you. Even twins have small differences between their charts as a result of the time difference.
Once an astrologer has created your horoscope, or birth chart, then they use time-tested and proven data about the planets and their relationships (called aspects) to interpret the chart. You could compare this process to using a map when you are travelling. The map is not the territory, but it is a representation of where the roads, towns and geographic features are in relation to each other. Your birth chart is not you, but it is a very accurate representation of your potential in every area of your life. It is a reflection of what the larger universe looked like at the time you were born. Astrology uses this reflection, or map, to tell you about yourself and your best, most creative potential.
Astrologers also move the planets forward in time to the present or other significant date and compare those placements to the birth chart. Several methods are used to move the planets ahead. One is symbolic (progressions) and the other is the actual placement of the planets on the date being considered (transits). The symbolic movement is based on tried and true methods of determining the individual psychological or emotional tone of a moment, while the transits are used to indicate astrological influences that everyone has in common on that date. The three factors ??" birth chart, progressions and transits ??" are then compared and interpreted, producing a forecast.
Astrologers do not produce the forecast from psychic impressions. Rather they use what they have learned from studies of past events. This is a bit like reading x-rays in a doctor’s office. The x-ray is a picture of something that we cannot see with our eyes. Through experience the doctor learns what the shadows on the film mean. Astrologers rely on similar historical experience accumulated and recorded over a period of centuries.
Once the astrologer has examined the charts, interpretations are made based on what they know about the client. It is important for the astrologer to know your physical capabilities, your social situation, where you were raised, even your educational level. The chart for your birth time could be a chart for anyone or anything born at that time and place, so the context of your life is a very important factor in producing an accurate interpretation of how you will respond to the energies pictured in the charts.
Psychics depend on their inner sense of what is happening around them. They have a sixth sense. Actually everyone has some of this ability. You may have had experiences that are psychic in nature, such as times when you hear the phone ring and know who it is before you answer. You may have felt that something was about to happen, and then it did. These incidents are examples of what psychics use to tell you about yourself.
Most psychics use tools to aid their psychic ability. They may have crystals, cards, geomancy tools, or other tools. These are used to focus the psychic ability when they want to learn about you and your situation. Psychics also depend on what they know of your actual situation. Some people feel that psychics use contextual information to "make up" their readings ??" that they simply take what they know about you and fantasize about what is a likely outcome. I am of the opinion that many psychics are using abilities that we all have, and that they have developed these abilities beyond the normal level. I also feel that a psychic can miss the mark because of personal issues. The astrologer has the advantage of being able to rely on proven data.
The fact that astrologers have a body of data available is the reason that computerized astrology reports are useful. The data can be recorded in a computer program and then applied to your personal chart. Such a report does not include the context of your life at the present moment, but it does analyze the astrological information. It can be as complete as the programmer can make it. You then must supply the context. Generally you will read such an astrological interpretation and find that a lot of it applies to your situation, and that some of it either does not seem to apply at all or is not important at that time. The interpretation gives you information to ponder ??" surprises in the report may make you think about yourself in a different light or provide the chance to consider a course of action that you had not been aware of before.
A computerized report is like the results of blood work in a doctor’s office. The numbers come back ??" you have a certain level of cholesterol, or some mineral seems to be lacking. The doctor uses the report and what is known about you personally to recommend a course of treatment. Astrologers use the computer both to produce the birth chart and related charts, and to produce written interpretations. Or they use the charts and do the interpretation themselves. Then they apply what they see in the chart to what they know about your situation.
Perhaps you have asked a question concerning a possible career change. You can obtain a career report from a computer. It will contain information about your natural aptitudes, as seen in your birth chart, and also information about the current situation. This report will focus on the part of the chart that relates to career issues. When you read your career report, you can supply the contextual information yourself in many cases. You know, for instance, about your physical capabilities. If the report mentions a sport that you have no particular skill, for example, you can give that less emphasis, and instead concentrate on another option where you have interest and skills.
The live astrologer may see information in your chart that has little to do with career, but will focus on the parts of the chart that relate to your career question. They will also give advice concerning unrelated areas, if they feel those areas will affect the process of your proposed career change. I sometimes ask questions about things in a chart that catch my interest, even if they seem to have little bearing on the question I have been asked to explore, much the way a psychic would converse during a psychic reading, gathering information about how the reading relates to your situation.
Both psychic and astrologer are likely to connect with you in some areas, and both are likely to receive information that does not relate in any obvious way. To the extent that an astrologer can explore your chart without comparing it to other people, the reading will be clearly about you. To the extent a psychic can sort out psychic input and filter out information that does not relate to you personally, the reading will be clearly about you. Astrologers have the advantage of a solid factual basis for their interpretations, and depend far less on personal psychic clarity for their interpretations. Thus an astrological reading is more dependable.