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What Is Astrology

I am delighted to have been asked to join the team of trusted contributors here on The Other Side Press and am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and thoughts on astrology with you and hope that you will find something of interest and hopefully, of help. Some of you will be familiar with astrology, its concepts and how it can help us on our spiritual journey; while others’ experience of astrology is often limited to the horoscopes that we see in papers, magazines and on-line.

Like most spiritual subjects, astrology invites believers, sceptics and non-believers. These days, astrology is often criticised or dismissed as “fortune-telling,” but, as well as a spiritual subject, it is a science that goes back a very, very, long time. So where does astrology originate and what is it all about?

Astrology has been around for thousands of years, if not from very near the beginning of (human) time. The origin is so far back that today we cannot really know when man first noticed a correlation between the movement of objects in the sky, and the cycles of the seasons and tides. The Sun and Moon brought them warmth and light and there was a pattern in their movements, a cycle. Over time they came to know these movements and the understanding of the year came through understanding the Sun. Man came to know when and where in the sky the Sun would rise and how high it would travel. They learnt when to plant seeds, when to harvest the crops and when to hunt through the cycles of the Moon that also determined tides and river floods. From these understandings, the Sun came to represent life and vitality and the Moon, fertility.

A few years back, in my early days of astrology study, a holiday in France “synchronicitously” found me staying just a few miles from the prehistoric caves at Lascaux. Here, among the stunning cave paintings they have discovered one of the earliest examples of a lunar calendar, dating back some 15, 000 years.


You can read the article here;

You can read the article here;


Many ancient buildings and sacred sites around the world have been found to be aligned to the directions and celestial events such as the Solstices and the Equinoxes. I was privileged to have been in Egypt in December 2014 for the Winter Solstice. Before leaving, I discovered that Karnak temple was listed as one of the ten best places to view the Winter Solstice and we were lucky to be able to be there to see this amazing spectacle. It was easy to imagine the awe with which ancient peoples viewed the Sun and its powers. Karnak temple was built around 1391-1351 BC in the era of Pharaoh Ramses II and the Winter Solstice Sun rises spectacularly in the entryway between the high walls of the ancient monument.

Juan Belmonte of the Canaries Astrophysical Institute conducted a survey of 650 Egyptian temples and found that most of the sites were built in recognition of celestial events – especially sunrise on the equinoxes and solstices. This is echoed through the world in many civilisations as well as the Ancient Egyptians; these civilisations were all very aware of the skies and the movements of the planets which they often worshipped, particularly the Sun or Ra as the Egyptians knew him.

Over time, man grew to see a further correlation between the celestial bodies and terrestrial events. Other planets were noticed and mapped and characteristics attributed to them. No court was complete without its own astrologer to guide the monarch. John Dee worked personally for Queen Elizabeth I and many famous astronomers such as Johanne Kepler and Galileo Galilei worked as court astrologers. On a personal level, charts were most often used for medical knowledge with herbs grown, harvested and prescribed according to the person’s chart. There was no distinction between astronomy and astrology as there is now. The study of the movements and their effect on us were all studied together, whereas today astronomy and astrology have become separate. Astronomy is now a purely scientific study of the skies and the separation of the two occurred around the 1700s.

Astrology has evolved into understanding and interpreting meaning from the celestial bodies and their movements and when used on a personal level, the interpretation is applied to our character, our personalities and our behaviours. Our lives are cycles echoed by the movements of the planets and their study can help us to gain a greater understanding of ourselves. We can also create a chart for an event, like a Full or New Moon. Below is an example of a chart, showing the symbols for the planets and the signs they are in at that moment in time. The symbols of astrology have special psychological meaning and have remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.



Bill Anderton, in “Life Cycles” (The Astrology of Inner Space & Its Application to the Rhythm of Life) explains part of astrology’s evolution like this;

What has really changed is the attitude towards their significance ….During the first half of the 20th century, work initiated by Marc Edmund Jones and Dane Rudhyar precipitated a change in many astrologers’ attitudes towards the stars and planets. They began to say that the planets no longer ruled us, but could be seen to act as guides for the journey of inner exploration. Relevant to this is the work of C.G. Jung who pointed out that the symbols of the zodiac were representations of inner, unconscious processes and archetypes that have been projected into the environment. …. Astrology is a sophisticated tool which can be used to mirror the processes of the unconscious and which can also be used as a guide though the unexplored realms of expanding consciousness,

Today, the study of astrology has many branches or areas of specific interest. Some people study health and healing, others finances, world events, psychology, business or the best places in the world for us to live. Natal astrology, uses the person’s natal, or birth chart created from their birth date and place (plus time if known).

If your experience of astrology is limited to the horoscopes of the mass media, you can be forgiven for thinking that that is all there is to astrology. These, as with everything, have some value, but are not a good representation of the scope and breadth of astrology and its benefits. This approach is often quite superficial or frivolous and, as it is based purely on the zodiac or Sun sign, gives the same interpretation or prediction for each twelfth of the population with that sign. Although our Sun sign represents the major part of our character, and knowing our Sun sign gives us valuable information about our personality and self-expression, astrology is much more than that, as are we. Our Sun sign is only a part of our whole personality and we need to look at the position of all the planets to get a true picture of the whole person.

Judging or labelling our whole personality purely by our Sun sign reminds me of the story of a group of blind men who have never encountered an elephant before, so they examine and describe one by touching the part in front of them. The one who got the trunk described a snake-like creature; the one touching the leg envisioned an animal built like a tree, and so on…Knowing only your Sun sign is like only one blind man touching the elephant. What he feels and describes is correct and relevant but it gives you a tiny bit of the picture and no idea of the overall picture.

There is a wonderful image and the poem of The Blind Men and The Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe here;


We are all multi-faceted personalities, like the many sides of a diamond and the other facets represent the position and role of the other planets in our chart, each one of which has its own energy or personality. Our Sun sign is about our basic self-expression, with the other planets in the chart building the other facets such as our emotions, how we react to situations and to others, how we relate, how we love, communicate and think, the stresses and challenges we face, our health and energy, and the strengths and assets that we have to draw on. Applying karmic astrology gives us an understanding of past lives, our karmic inheritance, Soul purpose, strengths and challenges.

Astrology, I believe, is an invaluable tool for self-knowledge and spiritual growth. Our natal chart, being as unique to us as our fingerprints, is a valuable tool for psychological understanding, for spiritual knowledge and astrological counselling. A chart not only shows personality it also shows the potential we have in this lifetime.

The more you understand about astrology, the greater the insight you gain into your life and that of everyone around you. I look forward to sharing my insights with you and to being a guide on your inner journey of exploration.

©Terrie Birch www.astrologywise.co.uk



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