Astrology for Dummies

Zodiac Chart. (Image credit: Encyclopedia Britannica.)

Zodiac Chart. (Image credit: Encyclopedia Britannica.)

Myrna Hamilton, Co-Editor-in-Chief

What is astrology? According to the Oxford Dictionary, the basic definition of astrology is “the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world.” Wikipedia’s Definition of Astrology reads: “Astrology is a range of dilatory practices, recognized as pseudo-scientific since the 18th century, that claim to discern information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the apparent positions of celestial objects.”

Many of us know astrology by being asked the phrase “What’s your sign?” What do people mean when they say this? Your ‘sign’ is one of the 12 specific constellations that the sun passes through. These signs consist of Aries, Pisces, Capricorn, Sagittarius, Taurus, Gemini, Scorpio, Cancer, Leo, Libra, Virgo, and Aquarius. How do you know what your sign is? If you go to the Birth Chart Calendar, you can fill out that calculator to know all of your astrological aspects. But you can easily find out the basics (like your astrology sign) by your birth date. One example: Pisces signs are born between February 20th – March 20th.

Astrology originated in Mesopotamia during the third millennium BC and spread to India, according to “[Astrology] developed its Western form in Greek civilization during the Hellenistic period. Astrology entered Islamic culture as part of the Greek tradition and was returned to European culture through Arabic learning during the Middle Ages.” Brittanica notes that Taoism also influenced the zodiac since Taoists (connected to the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu) “believe that the positions of the things in space can affect a person’s destiny.”

When it comes to astrology, many people do not agree with this “religion” or this way of life. While many people use their astrographs to give themselves a little bit of optimism and feel calm about their lives, still others treat it as a whole religion that they practice on a daily basis and base their life decisions on. There are also those who poke fun at the idea of astrology and do not support it at all. I believe that, just like any other religion, you should support people and not make fun of their decisions when it comes to astrology. Some people achieve peace by allowing astrology to guide their lives, and they could lose that peace if others degrade them for using it.

Writer Jessica Winters of Thought Catalog writes, “We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season of which we are born. Astrology does not lay claim to anything more.” has an interesting take on steps you can take to gain knowledge of astrology if you’re interested in it: 1) Study astrology to gain additional knowledge on the subject; 2) Read books on astrology; 3) Take an astrology class in person or online; 4) Attend a local meetup or other group to meet other people interested in astrology.