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Copyright: (c) 1996 LMP McPherson, 2001 Sherilyn
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All opinions on astrology are those of the original author, and are NOT those of the maintainer. *** Questions about how astrology is practiced *** 3.1) Is the Sun-sign all that is important for assessing personality and for prediction, or is there more to astrology? Answer: The most common misconception about astrology is that it divides people into 12 categories, "Sun-signs" (and may subdivide them further by Moon-sign). This misconception comes from the popular practice of publishing "horoscopes" in newspapers and magazines for different Sun-signs, and the sale of popular books containing predictions for people of a particular Sun-sign. Unfortunately, all such horoscopes provide nothing more than entertainment. Valid predictions cannot be made on the basis of the Sun-sign alone. In actual practice, astrology involves determining the exact position in the zodiac (not just by sign, but by degree and minute, that is, the specific part of the sky) of the Sun, the Moon, and 8 planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) at the time of a person's birth. The zodiacal degree of other points and bodies, such as the Moon's North and South Nodes, asteroids, Uranian points, and Arabic parts, are included by some astrologers. One also calculates the positions of 12 "houses" which are specific to the exact place and time of birth. The location of planets in these houses and the sign on the cusp of each house are important sources of information in chart interpretation. One also looks at the angular distances in the zodiac between each pair of planets; certain specific angular distances, called "aspects," are considered meaningful. All of this information is necessary to determine the astrological influences present at a person's birth and to formulate predictions for the future. The sign in which the Sun and Moon fall is only one very small part of the picture. This does not mean that people who write horoscope columns necessarily just make things up out of thin air. They usually use certain astrological concepts, but the application of these concepts to sign positions of the Sun rarely produces valuable information. To see why, let us look at what typical "Sun-sign astrologers" might do. First, they assume that your Sun is roughly in the middle of the sign. They then look to see if any planets are making aspects to the Sun on the day/week/month in question, and they interpret these aspects. If your Sun is at the beginning or end of a sign, these aspects will be irrelevant in your case. In addition, there may be aspects to other planets in your chart that will affect you strongly, and some of them may even have an effect opposite to the effect of the aspects to your Sun. Sun-sign astrologers might also set up "houses" by assuming that the sign your Sun is in is the first house, the next sign is the second house, and so on. They then look to see if any planets are currently in each "house". A serious astrologer would calculate the positions of houses using data about the exact time and place of birth, and these houses rarely coincide with the Sun-sign astrologer's zodiac-sign "houses." So the Sun-sign technique will only work at all for people who happen to have the Sun and several other planets in the middle of one sign, and whose first house also happens to begin at 0 degrees of the same sign. Such people are extremely rare, so for most people "horoscopes" will be useless. 3.2) How can one predict the nature of a relationship using astrology? Answer: The most common technique for determining the nature of a relationship is called "synastry." This involves comparing the positions of all the planets in two people's charts. One looks to see where one person's planets fall in the other person's houses, and one compares the positions of planets in the two charts to see whether any pair of planets is separated by a number of degrees in the zodiac that is considered meaningful. (These meaningful distances between planets, e.g., 0 degrees, 180 degrees, 120 degrees, 90 degrees, and so on, are called "aspects".) A couple of newer (and still experimental) techniques exist for studying the nature of a relationship. One is called the "relationship chart" (created by Ronald Davison); the chart is cast for the place in space and time that is exactly half-way between the two people's birth places and times. The second technique is called the "composite chart" (made popular in the seventies by John Townley and Robert Hand). The Sun in this chart is at the mid-point of the two people's Suns, the Moon is at the mid-point of the two people's Moons, and so on for all the planets. The nature of the synastry technique to be applied depends on the nature of the relationship contemplated and also on whether the relationship is between male and female or people of the same gender. If two people are contemplating marriage, the technique used is different than it would be if they were contemplating a business relationship. The technique is also different when evaluating a parent-sibling relationship or a superior-subordinate relationship. As a simplistic example, for marriage, a Sun in Aquarius (female) is an excellent match for Sun in Leo (male) (Sun's position taken alone -- neglecting other planets for purposes of discussion), as long as the two people operate on a spiritual level. This has the potential for the highest type of marriage. However, if it is a father-son relationship where the father has Sun in Aquarius and the son (especially the first born) has his Sun in Leo, they will cause each other frustration to no end.