An Intro to Astrology .................

Astrology, the study of how events on earth correspond to the positions and movements of astronomical bodies, particularly the sun, moon, planets, and stars. Astrologers believe that the position of astronomical bodies at the exact moment of a person’s birth and the subsequent movements of the bodies reflect that person’s character and, therefore, destiny. For many years, scientists have rejected the principles of astrology. However, millions of people continue to believe in or practice it.

Astrologers create charts called horoscopes, which map the position of astronomical bodies at certain times, such as when a person is born. A horoscope is illustrated by a circle, called the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the plane on which the earth orbits around the sun in a year. It is divided into twelve sections, called the signs of the Zodiac, which include Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. Astrologers assign every planet (which in astrology includes the sun and moon) with a particular sign, depending on where that planet appears on the ecliptic at the time for which the horoscope is cast. Each planet represents basic human drives, and each sign represents a set of human characteristics. When astrologers designate a person as a certain sign—a Leo or a Pisces, for example—they are referring to the person’s sun sign— that is, the sign that the sun occupied at the time of the person’s birth.

The horoscope also is divided into twelve houses, which make up the 24-hour period during which the earth rotates once on its axis. Each house deals with certain areas of a person’s life, such as marriage, health, work, travel, and death. Astrologers make predictions by interpreting the position of astronomical bodies within the signs and houses of the horoscope.

Astrology is an ancient practice that different civilizations seemed to develop independently. The Chaldeans, who lived in Babylonia (now Iraq), developed one of the original forms of astrology as early as 3000 bc. The Chinese were practicing astrology by 2000 bc. Other varieties formed in ancient India and among the Maya of Central America. These people may have observed that certain astronomical bodies, particularly the sun, affected the change of seasons and the success of crops. Based on such observations, they may have developed a broader system by which the movements of other bodies such as the planets affected or represented additional aspects of life.

By the 500s bc, astrology had spread to Greece, where such philosophers as Pythagoras and Plato incorporated it into their study of religion and astronomy. Astrology was widely practiced in Europe through the Middle Ages, despite the condemnation of such Christian leaders as Augustine, who became archbishop of Canterbury about ad 600. Many scholars viewed astrology and astronomy as complementary sciences until about the 1500s. At that time, the discoveries made by such astronomers as Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei undermined some of the foundations of astrology. Since then, few scientists have accepted astrology as a science.


Horoscope, illustration of the position of the sun, moon, and planets from a given latitude and longitude on earth at a given moment, usually that of birth. The construction of the horoscope is based on the Ptolemaic system, in which the earth is stationary and the heavenly bodies move around it in fixed patterns. Astrologers have divided the heavens into 12 sections, each thought to be ruled by a different sign of the zodiac belt through which the sun, moon, and planets move in 12 fixed positions called houses. Once the particular sign and houses have been established, the mythological characteristics of the heavenly bodies, modified by the geometrical relationship between them, are used to foretell events in the life of the individual for whom the horoscope has been drawn.

The horoscope also is divided into twelve houses, which make up the 24-hour period during which the earth rotates once on its axis. Each house deals with certain areas of a person’s life, such as marriage, health, work, travel, and death. Astrologers make predictions by interpreting the position of astronomical bodies within the signs and houses of the horoscope.


Zodiac, imaginary belt in the celestial sphere, extending about 8° on either side of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun among the stars. The width of the zodiac was determined originally so as to include the orbits of the Sun and Moon and of the five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) that were known to the people of ancient times. The zodiac is divided into 12 sections of 30° each, which are called the signs of the zodiac. Starting with the vernal equinox and then proceeding eastward along the ecliptic, each of the divisions is named for the constellation situated within its limits in the 2nd century bc. The names of the zodiacal signs are Aries, the Ram; Taurus, the Bull; Gemini, the Twins; Cancer, the Crab; Leo, the Lion; Virgo, the Virgin; Libra, the Balance; Scorpio, the Scorpion; Sagittarius, the Archer; Capricorn, the Goat; Aquarius, the Water Bearer; and Pisces, the Fishes. Because of the precession of the equinoxes about the ecliptic, a 26,000-year cycle, the first point of Aries retrogrades about 1° in 70 years, so that the sign Aries today lies in the constellation Pisces. In about 24,000 years, when the retrogression will have completed the entire circuit of 360°, the zodiacal signs and constellations will again coincide.

It is believed that the zodiacal signs originated in Mesopotamia as early as 2000 bc. The Greeks adopted the symbols from the Babylonians and passed them on to the other ancient civilizations. The Egyptians assigned other names and symbols to the zodiacal divisions. The Chinese also adopted the 12-fold division, but called the signs rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, sheep, monkey, hen, dog, and pig. Independently, the Aztec people devised a similar system.

Zodiac Signs

Aquarius (astrology), the 11th sign of the zodiac, symbolized by the water-bearer. According to astrologers, people born between January 20 and February 18 are born under the sun sign of Aquarius. Aquarius, an air sign, is said to be ruled by the planet Uranus.

Astrologers consider Aquarians to be brilliant, visionary, curious, open-minded, original, independent, and eccentric. Though emotionally detached, they also tend to be friendly and social. According to astrologers, Aquarians have a highly developed sense of social equality and often are attracted to activism or progressive political organizations.

Like other air signs, Aquarians are said to be less concerned with practical and physical matters than with intellectual pursuits. They feel most comfortable in the world of ideas; they find situations that require emotional responses, such as personal relationships, to be difficult. Astrologers believe that Aquarians have lightning-fast intuitive insight and can quickly grasp abstract concepts. Professions associated with Aquarius include inventing, research, social organizing or activism, astrology, communications, computer sciences, and electronics.

Aries (astrology), the first sign of the zodiac, symbolized by the ram. People whose birthdays fall between March 21 and April 19 are said to be born under the sun sign of Aries. According to astrologers, Aries, a fire sign, is ruled by the planet Mars.

Astrologers believe that Arians have assertive, pioneering, competitive, and courageous natures. Arians are said to have strong senses of self, and to frequently be selfish. Arians tend to behave in headstrong, impulsive, sometimes foolhardy ways. Although they anger quickly, they get over their anger quickly and do not hold grudges. Astrologers consider many Arians to be natural athletes and to be drawn to physical activity.

Because of the sign's association with the planet Mars (named for the ancient Roman god of war), people born under it are said to like danger and risk. According to astrologers, adventure appeals to Arians, and their natural gift for plunging into projects and activities with gusto can make them successful leaders and good at motivating others. Professions associated with Aries include medicine, especially surgery; the military; manufacturing, especially involving metal or heavy machinery; sports; carpentry; and engineering.

Cancer (astrology), the fourth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a crab. People whose birthdays occur between June 22 and July 22 are said to be born under the sun sign of Cancer. According to astrologers, the moon rules Cancer, which is a water sign.

Astrologers consider Cancerians to be nurturing, emotional, sensitive, conservative, and home-loving. Due to the sign's association with the moon, Cancerians often have widely fluctuating moods. Astrologers say Cancerians are artistic, have vivid imaginations, and have highly developed memories. Like people born under other water signs, Cancerians are thought to be much more aware of how they feel than what they think.

According to astrologers, Cancerians' ability to sense other people's needs and emotions makes them sympathetic and nurturing, and often personable and easy to get along with. They are said to place great importance on family and crave security. They often withdraw into themselves for protection. Astrologers believe typical Cancerians can have difficulty being objective, and are easily crushed by criticism. They also say that Cancerians worry too much.

Professions associated with the sign Cancer include ones related to domestic activities. These include hospitality, cooking, and catering; childcare; real estate; and writing or other jobs that require imagination.

Capricorn (astrology), tenth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a mountain goat. Astrologers believe that people whose birthdays fall between December 22 and January 19 are born under the sun sign of Capricorn. The planet Saturn rules Capricorn, which is an earth sign.

According to astrologers, Capricorns have responsible, disciplined, practical, methodical, cautious, serious, and sometimes pessimistic natures. Capricorns believe that anything worth having is worth working hard for, and they assign the highest value to things won through the hardest work. Typical Capricorns are aloof and shy, sometimes even awkward, because they stay so focused on responsibility. To them life is serious business, and they sometimes have difficulty relaxing and having fun. Because of this, Capricorns may be lonely.

Astrologers believe that Capricorns respect power, authority, structure, tradition, and old things whose value and durability are tested by time. Capricorns are ambitious, and they typically are not satisfied unless they have reached a level of power and authority. They have a deep need for security, especially financial, and often will work very hard to get rich. Professions traditionally associated with Capricorn include banking; government, big business, and other situations with power hierarchies; mining; farming; and construction.

Gemini (astrology), the third sign of the zodiac, symbolized by twins. Astrologers consider people whose birthdays fall between May 21 and June 21 to be born under the sun sign of Gemini. The planet Mercury, named after the ancient Roman messenger god, rules Gemini, which is an air sign.

According to astrologers, Geminis tend to be quick-witted, changeable, talkative, versatile, and sometimes crafty or mischievous. Geminis are known for their ability to express themselves, and are witty, clever, and often well-read. They usually have something to say about everything. Astrologers believe that typical Geminis have highly developed intellects, and that they place greater importance on learning than on emotional or practical issues. However, they consider Geminis to be so clever that they can give the impression of deep emotion or of the practicality of their desires.

Astrologers believe Geminis have the ability, and often the need, to do more than one thing at a time. Geminis are so interested in everything that they get bored easily and often cannot resist moving on to the next subject, tendencies which can make them seem shallow and fickle. Professions associated with the sign Gemini include teaching, journalism, publishing, sales, and other professions that require verbal skills and flexibility.

Leo (astrology), the fifth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a lion. Astrologers believe that people whose birthdays fall from July 23 to August 22 are born under the sun sign of Leo. The sun rules Leo, which is a fire sign.

Astrologers believe that Leos have regal, self-centered, generous, and warm-hearted natures. Leos are said to be protective of people close to them, especially children and those who are weak. They also have a strong need to be the center of attention, and may be surprisingly sensitive. Astrologers think that Leos tend to be inordinately fond of praise and can be swayed by flattery. They consider Leos to be creative and dramatic. Leos also have strong organizational skills and make natural leaders.

According to astrologers, Leos love to enjoy themselves and believe that life is not worth living unless it is filled with some degree of elegance and class. Night life, games and parties, and gambling appeal to the Leo sense of the showy. Leos are said to believe they deserve the best, and often this belief attracts good things to them. The typical Leo makes bigger and bolder plans than other signs do. Even if these plans fail, Leos can usually look on the bright side, sometimes to the point of being unrealistic. Professions associated with the sign Leo include entertainment, including performing and promoting; the arts; beauty and cosmetics; speculative investing; and gambling.

Libra (astrology), the seventh sign of the zodiac, symbolized by scales (used for weight measurement). Astrologers consider people whose birthdays occur between September 23 and October 22 to be born under the sun sign of Libra. The planet Venus rules Libra. Libra is an air sign.

According to astrologers, Libras have diplomatic, refined, intelligent, thoughtful, warm, and social natures. Because of the sign's relationship with the planet Venus (named after the ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love), Libras tend to be romantic and crave relationships. Typical Libras, however, want an idealized meeting of the minds in an atmosphere of civility, refinement, and reasonableness. They do not place as much importance on deep emotional intimacy or physical passion. Libras also enjoy comfort and luxury.

Astrologers believe that Libras have strong senses of justice. They carefully weigh opposing sides of any issue and are keenly aware of other people's preferences. Although Libras like to take leadership roles, their need to be fair and to please everyone equally can sometimes make it difficult for them to make decisions. Typical Libras are skilled peacemakers and diplomats who desire balance and harmony in all situations and will do almost anything to avoid confrontations. Professions traditionally associated with Libra include the law, politics, the arts or design, mediation, diplomacy, and counseling.

Pisces (astrology), the 12th sign of the zodiac, symbolized by two fish. According to astrologers, people whose birthdays occur between February 19 and March 20 are born under the sun sign of Pisces. The planet Neptune rules Pisces, which is a water sign.

Astrologers consider Pisceans to be sensitive, emotional, sunny, impressionable, dreamy, creative, psychic, and mystical. Pisceans tend to be idealistic; sometimes the real world gets too harsh and ugly for them. To escape unpleasant realities, some Pisceans retreat into their own dreams and fantasies and become evasive, even deceitful. Others escape productively through charity work, the arts, religion, meditation, and solitude. Pisceans make good listeners, can see different sides of issues, and often have great sympathy for the suffering of others.

According to astrologers, typical Pisceans do not have great physical stamina. Pisceans can be delicate and vulnerable, especially when under emotional stress. However, they are capable of great strength, in part because they are adaptable and can maneuver around difficult situations. They also have the ability to take life as it comes. Professions associated with Pisces are music, film, dance, and other arts; charitable work; counseling; jobs involving water, chemicals, oil, or drugs; clergy; and nursing.

Sagittarius (astrology), the ninth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by an archer. Astrologers consider people whose birthdays occur from November 22 to December 21 to be born under the sun sign of Sagittarius. Sagittarius, a fire sign, is ruled by the planet Jupiter, named after the wise ruler of the ancient Roman gods.

Astrologers believe that Sagittarians have fun-loving, friendly, philosophical, intellectual, straightforward, and expansive natures. Sagittarians are optimistic, and sometimes have a naive belief that everything will turn out fine despite any obstacles. Good luck often follows typical Sagittarians, and because whatever they need usually comes effortlessly to them, they tend to be generous and willing to share. Sagittarians also value frankness and honesty, and their comments can sometimes be blunt.

According to astrologers, typical Sagittarians dislike being confined or tied down; they seek change, especially through travel. Sagittarians require freedom of thought and ideas, but they otherwise tend to be fairly conventional and respect tradition. Professions traditionally associated with Sagittarius include higher education; law; medicine; importing and exporting, or other activities that involve foreign countries; and publishing.

Scorpio (astrology), the eighth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a scorpion. According to astrologers, people whose birthdays fall between October 23 and November 21 are born under the sun sign of Scorpio. The planet Pluto rules Scorpio, which is a water sign.

Astrologers consider Scorpios to be energetic, passionate, deep, intuitive, and secretive, with a great deal of self-control. They also believe that Scorpios can be willful, stubborn, and easily made jealous. Scorpios are thought to be keen observers of people, and potentially calculating and manipulative. Seeing more of people's deepest motivations than others do, they have a tendency to be cynical. They are sensitive and never forget a hurt or a slight—for the typical Scorpio, forgiveness can be difficult.

Astrologers consider Scorpio perhaps the most extreme of all signs. The intensity and focus of Scorpios gives them great ability to see a project through despite all obstacles. Their strong leadership qualities, incisive analytic abilities, energy, and desire for financial security can make them motivated career people. Many Scorpios also like to flirt with danger and push themselves and those close to them to their limits. Professions traditionally associated with Scorpio include forensics, law enforcement or detective work, the military, medicine, psychology, big business, and recycling.

Taurus (astrology), the second sign of the zodiac, symbolized by the bull. According to astrologers, people whose birthdays occur between April 20 and May 20 are said to be born under the sun sign of Taurus. Taurus, an earth sign, is ruled by the planet Venus, named after the ancient Roman goddess of beauty and love.

Astrologers consider Taureans to be loyal, stable, conservative, and practical. They are also thought to be patient, affectionate, and good-natured people. However, their tempers can erupt dramatically if they are pushed beyond their limits. Astrologers believe Taureans are home-loving and tend to have deep sentimental attachments to people, things, and places. They also can be jealous and possessive. Astrologers do not consider Taureans to be fond of change, making the typical Taurus both reliable and committed, as well as inflexible.

Astrologers consider Taureans to be very attuned to the physical world. They have acute senses and appreciate beauty and pleasure in all forms. Taureans tend to be very aware of the value of things, an ability which can make them skilled handlers of money and good judges of the quality of merchandise. Professions traditionally associated with the sign Taurus include banking and business, especially trade; accounting; clothing or interior design; real estate; singing; farming; and architecture.

Virgo (astrology), the sixth sign of the zodiac, symbolized by a virgin. People whose birthdays fall from August 23 to September 22 are said to be born under the sun sign of Virgo. Virgo, an earth sign, is ruled by the planet Mercury, named after the ancient Roman messenger god.

Astrologers believe that Virgoans are practical, no-nonsense people. They like to talk and are good communicators, but prefer to put their words to practical use. Thus they are not very interested in idle conversation, and they can be shy. The typical Virgoan also has a tendency to be critical. According to astrologers, Virgoans often have a great concern for health and hygiene. They also like to be well-groomed and keep their surroundings very tidy.

Astrologers consider Virgoans to be detail-oriented, analytical, intelligent, and hard-working. They handle complex tasks with seeming effortlessness because they are flexible and good organizers. They are said to be more concerned with doing their jobs well than with personal acclaim, and as a result tend to be humble. They also can be perfectionists and worry when projects or situations do not meet their high expectations. Professions traditionally associated with the sign Virgo include nursing; jobs in the service industries; health and nutrition; secretarial or office administration; teaching; and editing.

- Swapnil Shukla

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