The term astrology gets thrown around for a lot of different things, but what is it really? According to the dictionary, astrology is the study of planets, sun, moon, and stars with a belief that they affect the course of a person's life. They list astronomy as an obsolete definition of astrology. This is very different for those of us that believed astrology was the study of astronomy.
Now astrology includes the sun signs which are more commonly know as your horoscope. In actuality horoscopes are a reading per sun sign that is based on the location of the planets, sun, moon, or stars for that day, week, or month. Every person who provides horoscopes has their own unique twists on writing them. The sun signs therefore are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. Your sun sign is then based on the day that you were born. Sun signs are the most familiar component of astrology but not all astrologers rely on them.
Some astrologers look more to birth charts when they are helping someone answer questions about their future. Birth charts are in fact considered so important that they have their own branch of study under astrology called Aspects. In its simplicity, an Aspect is a relationship between two planets on the day and at the time you were born. Within the Aspect study, the sun and the moon are also used not just the planets. It should also be noticed that Pluto is still a planet for people that were born before Aug 24, 2006. In fact Pluto was an important part of birth charts so don't be surprised if some astrologers are still using Pluto as a planet for people born after Aug 24, 2006. No matter what scientists say, Pluto is still out there doing the same things it was always doing. Birth charts are commonly used to get a picture of your whole life, past and present as well as future. Numerology is another study that is often used with astrology. Astrologers have developed a prediction of some traits of a person based on the date that they were born and not just what sun sign the birth date lies within. It uses aspects of numerology to offer meanings of the specific day within a month. This prediction is more accurate when it is combined with birth charts and sun signs. By using month and date numerology combined with the primary star on that date, they can create a list of compatible and non-compatible dates throughout the year for each person. It isn't as accurate by itself but it can be used as a quick guide to different things. Astrology is then the use of sun signs, birth charts, and numerology to predict someone's life path. Some astrologers predict world wide events and not just events in the life of a single person. A full prediction is so much more than a simple horoscope. If you paid for a complete birth chart than you will get a picture of your life based on mathematics and the degrees that planets were to each other when you where born. This is so much more than someone simply telling you your future. The formulas used in a birth chart have been around and have been perfected since the Middle Ages. In fact some historians mention generals and great warriors that wouldn't go into battle without consulting their astrologer to see if they would win first. Many believe that Egyptians were the first astrologers that preformed predictions as early as 3,000 B.C. Astrology and their calculations have been around far longer than many people know.
The Chinese zodiac is a part of Chinese astrology is used by many astrologers. Instead of being based on the month and day like the twelve sun signs, the Chinese zodiac is based on twelve years. The animals that represent the twelve years are a dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, roster, dog, boar, rat, ox, tiger, and hare. Although by using only the Chinese zodiac, astrologers are missing some of the bigger parts of Chinese astrology which includes the Yin and Yang.
Astrology has been around for many years and it is still very important in some cultures. Within typical Western cultures, astrology is a fortune telling tool or used to predict people's journeys through life. Astrology is also often used to establish if two people are compatible or exactly what kind of person someone should look for. As all things in life go through cycles, maybe astrology is on an upswing and will once again become a more trusted science in the future as it was in the past.