Astrology: What’s it all about?

A friend of mine suggested I read my astrological chart which was surprisingly introspective and fascinating! You can do yours as well for free at https://astro.cafeastrology.com/natal.php. Of course, these sorts of readings aren’t meant to be taken to heart, they are merely a description of who you are based on astrological information. You may find, as I did, some aspects of your chart will hold a lot of truth while other parts don’t describe you at all. Also, I found that parts of my readings were true earlier in my life, but not so true now, and other parts were very relevant to me right now. Because of the unexpected accuracy, I decided to do some research on the topic to dig a little deeper on the subject. If this interests you, click below to read more!

Astrology has a long history, as do many modern subjects. Primitive astrology was created by Babylonians, perfected by Greeks and preserved by the Arab Empire. Much of what we know today about astrology is derived from the historical tracking of the Sun through the Zodiac signs and matching a description of people born at specified astrological times.

In your chart, you will notice a Sun, Moon and Rising component. Your Sun sign is the Zodiac of where the Sun was when you were born. Your Sun sign is the sign you tell people when they ask what your astrological sign is. The Sun sign is meant to be your dominant sign, it is what defines you the best in a broad manner and is the ‘boss’ over all other personality traits you have. Some describe the Sun sign traits as your over-arching motives and destiny. Your Moon sign is a description of your inner self which may not be apparent to others because your inner self is not so obvious in all facets of life. Some people find that their Sun sign doesn’t describe them at all, but their Moon sign describes them perfectly. This is because our Sun sign is geared towards our outward expression and personality while the Moon sign is our inner self that we typically understand better. As a result, our perception of who we are can be skewed by our inner and outer self understanding. Lastly, there is the Rising sign or ascendant, which describes how others see you and how people interpret your personality. Prior to modern astrology, people used the Rising sign as the main description of one’s personality instead of the Sun sign because it was thought that your outward actions and tendencies described you best.

Now that we generally understand astrology and the basic definitions, let’s explore deeper. As I’m sure you are asking yourself too, I am asking myself, how much of this can really be true? It seems absurd that the solar system and when we are born has an impact on who we are today. It seems more likely that our genes and life influences have a stronger impact on who we are yet astrology is telling us that large components of our personality are defined the day we are born by heavenly, spatial bodies. That being said, if you have done a chart reading for yourself, it may be odd how accurate the information is, how can that be? In this article, I am going to use the assumption that for something to be true it must be supported by empirical, scientific evidence. Collective empirical evidence composes a field of study, thereby explaining why things in that field are the way they are.

Astrology uses heavenly bodies to explain and predict human nature and behaviour which could be scientific. Science, by definition, aims to explain the natural, physical world through experimentation and observation. By this definition, astrology is technically a science because it is using the natural world (sun, moon, stars and spatial body positions/movements) to explain human nature. Astrology may be more of a social science, similarly to psychology or anthropology, because it relies on inferences much of the time instead of pure empirical evidence. As with other forms of social sciences, there is usually a lot of flack as a result of inferences or relatively vague correlations that researchers make because it is controversial. However, it’s important to remember that at one point in time, almost all ideas were denied when they emerged. For example, with psychology, Sigmund Freud’s ideologies, like Id, Ego, Superego, and psychoanalysis, were once heavily speculated and rejected. In fact, the entire field of psychology was rejected as a science because it wasn’t based on pure empirical evidence as biology, chemistry and physics are. Today, with modern empirical evidence to back Freud’s theories, ideologies designed by Freud are widely accepted in the psychology community. The same could happen with astrology or any other controversial field. Just because we don’t understand something fully now does not necessarily mean that the field of study is useless and will never provide value. It is rather presumptuous and conceded of humans to think that if it is not understood now it must be false. Not only that, space is complex, due to our physical limitations as humans and lack of technological advancements, we have very little knowledge of the space around Earth, let alone the impact it has on our planet and selves. Our simplistic understanding of astrology is to be expected given our limitations.

In order to determine whether astrological readings and information are empirically true, it would have to be scientifically testable. Astrological data can be so general at times that it can define any person which makes it a difficult subject to test. With time, astrological readings could become more standardized and clearly defined making the existing information better test subjects. To date, there have only been a few successes in the field of science which support astrology’s ideas despite a variety of tests being done. One study done by Psychology Today found that schizophrenics are more likely to be born in February, as well as January or March. It may not seem like a lot but the statistics were significant enough to correlate a serious condition that heavily impacts one’s personality with the time of year they were born which is a contribution to astrology’s empirical evidence. Statistical correlations were found for other conditions too, dyslexic people are more likely to be born in the summer months and bipolar disorder inflicted people were most likely born in late winter or early spring months.

Despite these successes, a flaw of astrology is that it does not often change with the discovery of evidence and new information. As evidence is collected, the body of knowledge should grow with new data and change when data disproving prior knowledge is discovered. It seems that most of the astrological information is dated as information has not changed with the research that has been completed. There may simply be a lag since astrology is not deemed to be a crucial body of knowledge to collective society which means that resources are lacking for improvement of the field. If more resources were available to the astrology field of study, it is possible that the information would be more accurate and supported by evidence.

In summary, as astrology stands today, it is not really an empirical science or a social science. Because of this, the information provided in your astrological chart is an inference based on historical information and experts data contributions. To answer my initial question, how could astrological readings hold so much truth despite being based on absurdities, it is because the field of astrology is not fully understood yet. For centuries, people have noticed trends and correlations between astrology and personalities which is a fantastic starting point. Until we advance our technology, we cannot fully understand astrology and the external forces that act on us. In the meantime, astrology is a fascinating subject to learn about particularly because it relates to ourselves so closely. An astrological chart is not a bible that you should live by, nor will it be fool proof and entirely descriptive of who you are. Ultimately, many things impact who we become, astrological forces may be one component of the complex human consciousness. It is entirely possible that astrological knowledge will advance in the future as humans understand more about our spatial surroundings and external influencers. Perhaps one day astrology will be a perfected science that many people turn to when learning about themselves.

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