In fact, there’s a lot that the stars can help you assess about astrology, and we want to help you dive into this universe. Additionally, we would like to help dispel some of the misconceptions that are circulating out there. Here are some of the most common misunderstandings that many people have about astrology.
Who wants just one sign when you can explore a dozen (or more) factors in your chart?
When someone asks you what your sign is, perhaps you have always answered with a response like, “I’m a Taurus.” But what you’re actually saying is that you were born when the sun was in the sign of Taurus. (Or, more precisely, you’re saying that you were born when the sun was in Taurus, according to Western astrology.)
This is only a part of the picture, however; our solar system extends far beyond the star at its center, and there’s much more in your astrological chart beyond the sun. Your chart features the moon and all the other planets as well – in fact, it also includes some asteroids.
For example, you also have an “ascendant” or “rising sign.” This is the sign that was rising or on the horizon at the moment you were born. Your rising sign colors your worldview and how you are seen by others. It often forms the first impression you give people when you meet them.
The placement of the moon in your chart is also a significant part of your emotional makeup. It can symbolize your relationship with your mother, how you feel things or deal with your emotions, as well as what makes you feel comfortable and secure. This sign itself will tell you how you move through your emotions, and the house it’s in indicates a specific area of life that is emotionally significant to you.
Every few years, astronomers, scholars, and other skeptics present the same tired debunker – that astrology is wrong because, due to the precession of the equinoxes, an astronomical term that explains that, due to the changing tilt of the Earth over time, all zodiac signs are off by one month. Astronomers also like to say that there’s a 13th sign that astrologers don’t know about. A Minnesota astronomy professor said this in 2011. The BBC said it on a show called “Stargazing Live” in 2015. NASA said it in 2016.
Many astrologers have written rebuttals to these ideas, including a brilliant and detailed article on skyscript.co.uk by veteran British astrologer Deborah Houlding, author of “The Houses: Temples of the Sky” and founder of the School of Traditional Astrology, in which she dismantles all the debunkers’ arguments. In response to people saying that astrology is wrong because of the precession of the equinoxes, she cites the Tetrabiblos (among others), a 2nd-century text by Ptolemy that explains why astrologers don’t take this phenomenon into account.
Addressing astronomers’ introduction of the new astrological sign Ophiuchus, Houlding writes, “Different cultures, and even the same cultures in different periods of history, have recognized varied numbers of constellations in this region of the sky… However, the zodiac itself, being a mathematical division of an astronomical circle, has only been divided into 12 equally spaced ‘zodiac signs.'”
Astrology is based on precise mathematics. The 360-degree circular chart is based on our 365-day year. The circle is equally divided into four based on the two astronomical points called equinoxes (when the sun’s path crosses the celestial equator) and the two astronomical points called solstices (when the sun is at its highest and lowest points in its path relative to the celestial equator – this was the guide for ancient people to place the four cardinal signs in the zodiac).
When the sun is at the autumn equinox, it begins in Aries; the start of Cancer is the winter solstice day (June 21); the start of Libra is the spring equinox, and Capricorn begins at the summer solstice. These four 90-degree sections are divided by three, giving us a total of 12 signs. Astrology uses a circle divided equally into 12 sections, each with 30 degrees. (This chart from Houlding’s article explains this particularly well.) And that’s why there’s no Ophiuchus.
Astrology has specialists, just like woodworking, medicine, architecture, and journalism. Even the most successful and brilliant professional in any field has their strengths. The world’s best neurosurgeon is probably not a very good podiatrist. Like medicine, astrology has various branches and offshoots, and it’s a lifelong study. No one can know it all; there’s always more to learn. It is possible, however, to break it down by culture, time period, or a specific method of study and learn that way.
Many people think astrology is only used to create horoscopes. But, in reality, anything can have an astrological chart (also known as a natal chart) – a country, a company, your cat, your last party, your last relationship, even your last tweet. Here are just a few of the countless uses for astrology.
Horary Astrology – Horary is used to ask yes/no questions with specific time restrictions, usually three months or a season. You can ask, “Will I meet someone this autumn?” or “Will I be called for that interview?” It can also be used to find lost objects, like your phone charger.
Good news: many people think astrology is fixed and unchanging, but it’s actually quite fluid. A person has a natal chart (which acts as a blueprint for the life they will lead), but that chart continues to move and change just as we do throughout our lives. Additionally, there are several tactics that can be employed to advance the natal chart, but they get a bit too complicated to delve into unless you understand the specifics of chart reading.
Suffice it to say, each person will have several different charts active at any given time.
You’ll have a natal chart, a progressed chart, a solar return for that year, etc. You might be in fiery, impulsive Aries now. The sun progresses through up to four signs in a person’s lifetime. Someone born at the beginning of Aries will progress to Taurus at 30, Gemini at 60, and Cancer at 90. Someone born with a retrograde planet may have that planet go direct by progression and vice versa.
So there you have it. These are some of the most common misconceptions I’ve encountered. There are still a few more, and even the most experienced astrology practitioners can feel a bit lost. It’s a vast subject with a ton of information and much more nuance than most people realize.