Wouldn’t it be great to know when you’re going to fall in love or how successful you will be in your career? The horoscopes offered online and in magazines claim to have insights into your life path, but for many people, it seems pretty far-fetched.

How does astrology work, anyway? While the wisdom of astrology can seem a little “out there”, much of astrology is based on real, observable science. Read on to learn more about how astrology works and how to understand what it all means.

What is Astrology?

Astrology is the study of how the movement of celestial bodies (planets, stars, the sun, and the moon) affect human affairs. It is an ancient science that is thousands of years old. It was first developed by the Babylonians and the ancient Greeks.

Astrology was originally used as a way of keeping time before clocks. The motion of the stars and planets helped early astrologers and astronomers keep track of the seasons and predict weather patterns. Since this was a pretty successful system, astrology became increasingly used to try to understand more aspects of daily life.

The basic belief behind astrology nowadays is that the movements of the stars and planets provide a map for the goings on down here on Earth. Their movements and energies, combined with the way the sky looked at the moment you were born, are thought to influence every aspect of life. This includes your personality, your opportunities, and even, to some extent, your appearance.

By interpreting these movements, astrologers hope to gain a better understanding of how the world works. Horoscopes are predictions of events to come based on the meanings behind these planetary movements.

How Does Astrology Work?

As the Earth revolves around the sun, the sky appears to change. Astrology is based on the way the sky appears from Earth, not on objective movement. The zodiac is the system used to keep track of these movements and to make sense of what they mean for us humans.

The zodiac is organized by a circle split into twelve parts. The parts are called houses, and they correspond with the twelve signs and their ruling planets. Astrologers can use the zodiac to keep track of how the sun and other bodies move through the sky.

Personal horoscopes are based on your natal chart. Your natal chart is a snapshot of what the sky looked like at the moment you were born. It determines your signs throughout the twelve houses.

How Do Horoscopes Work?

Daily, weekly, and monthly horoscopes are based on how the stars and planets are moving in relation to each other during a specific period of time. Most popular horoscopes use your birthday and sun sign to personalize horoscopes.

Astrologers compare the positions of the planets and stars at the time of your birth to where they are at the moment the horoscope is written for. This influences how much the planetary movements, or “transits”, will affect you.

All this motion interacts with the houses and angles relative to other bodies. It can get pretty complicated.

For example, Mercury is the planet of communication. It rules the third house of the zodiac (also called the house of communication). Mercury also rules the signs Gemini and Virgo.

Every so often, Mercury goes retrograde, which is known to cause difficulties in communication. So, based on where you have Mercury, Gemini, or Virgo in your chart, astrologers can predict what area of your life will be affected by this breakdown in communication. The sky is full of a ton of moving parts, though, so this can be a pretty involved process.

Your Signs Explained

Most people are familiar with their sun sign. Your sun sign is determined by the position of the sun in the zodiac when you were born. Because of how the sun moves throughout the year, it takes about a month for the sun to change zodiac signs.

However, everyone has more than just one zodiac sign. Each person has twelve houses worth of astrological information, but the three most commonly used signs to make predictions are your sun sign, moon sign, and rising sign.

Your sun sign, as mentioned above, is where the sun was in the sky on your birthday. This is the most commonly used sign, and it’s thought to represent your inner nature.

Your moon sign is where the moon was in the sky on your birthday. Since the moon has a much shorter cycle than the sun, this changes more often. Not everyone born in the same month as you is going to have the same moon sign. Your moon sign corresponds with your hidden, emotional nature.

Your rising sign is based on what constellation was rising over the horizon at the time of your birth. This also changes frequently, so it can only be calculated by knowing the exact place and time of your birth. Your rising sign represents how you present yourself to the world.

Does Astrology Really Work?

While astrology has not yet been fully proven or disproven, there are many people who see it as a helpful tool. Horoscopes often give reasonably good advice, and they can help people look at their lives in new ways. Whether you believe or not, horoscopes like those at Ask Astrology can be a fun and insightful read.

What We Can Learn From Astrology

How does astrology work, exactly? While the answer may seem a little complex, there are some simpler benefits to it. Whether you are a critical skeptic or a faithful believer, astrology can be a tool to help you gain a better understanding of yourself and your goals in life.

What do you want out of life, and what personal strengths will help you get it? For more articles on how to live happier and healthier, check out more from our Beauty & Wellness section.

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