Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Astrology is commonly known as the study of the celestial bodies in relation to Earth that determine various aspects of human life, such as personalities, love interests, and future occurrences. The Hermetic Maxim sums up the basic idea: "As above, so below." In its infancy, astrology was known to directly reflect what would happen on Earth. Nowadays, however, it is accepted more as symbolic of people's lives. It is important to remember that astrology is distinctand separate from astronomy, thought they were originally formed in unison for the same purposes. It wasn't until the Renaissance that astronomy was distinguished as an empirical science, and remains so to this very day.
Astrology itself is not accepted as a science, and rightly so. There are many errors and contradictions in astrology. First off, there is the use of the constellations of the Zodiac. In Western astrology, two Zodiacs are used, the Tropical and Siderial Zodiacs. The Tropical Zodiac relates the position of the Earth to fixed points in the sky, whereas the Siderial Zodiac relates the position of the Earth to the constellations and what sign the sun rises through on the equinoxes. But these two Zodiacs do not coincide. There is a phenomena known as the procession of the equinoxes. The Earth wobbles on its axis at a rate of 30 degrees (one zodiac length) every 2,160 years. This means that the Tropical ans Siderial Zodiacs will give different readings for the same person, only coinciding every 26,000 years.
Another error in astrology lies in the signs themselves. There are actually 13 signs in the Zodiac. Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, lies between Scorpio and Sagittarius. Poor Ophiuchus was left out until recently, probably due to a superstition of the number 13. Just the addition of an extra sign would change the entire Zodiac. People who were originally born under one sign now have a different sign. How could any predictions be made for a person if their sign has changed?
Astrologers also make use of the angular relationships of planets. Some angles of importance are a conjunction of 0 degrees, an opposition of 180 degrees, a trine of 120 degrees, a square of 90 degrees, a sextile of 60 degrees, a quincunx of 150 degrees, a semisextile of 30 degrees, a semisquare of 45 degrees, and so on. What is important to note here is the large number of "important" angles. With more chances for an important angular relationship, astrologers are basically just fishing for a relevant association.
Another error can be found in the planets used. Originally, there were only six "classical planets" that were used, because they were the only ones discovered at the time. As new planets were discovered, they were added to the astrological charts and took ruling characteristics from the classical planets. Again, as in changin the Zodiac, changing the list of important celestial bodies in turn changes the readings for every person. Also, why aren't comets and asteroids included in astrological readings. If Pluto and Ceres are still being used even after their loss of planetary status, why can't other non-planetery bodies be important?
Another important pitfall in astrology is the fact that the constellations are not actual objects in the night sky. They are merely groups of stars that someone in the ancient past assigned a certain shape to. Often, different people see different shapes in the same group of stars. The Big Dipper, for instance, is recognized as the Great Plow in other cultures. These groups of stars don't even exist on the same plane of space. Any given star in a constellation may be thousands of lightyears away from each other, with no relevance or importance to one another, other than the importance attributed to them based on subjective reasoning.
It is important to study space and celestial bodies, but we must remember to look at it through a scientific scope. In this regard, astronomy is the way to go, based on its use of empirical evidence. Astrology can be fun, but we must also remember that the heavens do not impact our lives other than through cosmic radiation (which is taken care of by the magnetosphere), or the odd meteor. We can't let what happens in space determine our futures. We can take care of that on our own.

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