What is astrology?
Who isn't curious about the future? Since time immemorial, from Kings to ordinary citizens, from the powerful to the meek, everyone has been interested about knowing what future holds for them. Hence, man devised ways to decipher the future in the form of astrology. Astrology, thus, has ancient roots and is considered to be the mother of all sciences. The word astrology comes from the early Latin word astrologia, which means 'account of the stars'. As early as 25,000 years ago, man began to make conscious attempts to observe, measure, record and predict seasonal changes via the astronomical cycles. As time progressed and man became more sophisticated, the dawn of civilization heralded the advent of astrology as an integral part of man's culture. Different civilizations developed different systems of astrology according to their beliefs, traditions, folklore and culture. It is fascinating to note that some astrological traditions that developed thousands of years ago are being practised still today, and the prominent examples of these are Western Astrology, Hindu or Vedic Astrology and Chinese Astrology. These systems of astrology, through various cultural exchanges and influences, share some common roots and elements with each other.
Astrology has been described as a symbolic language, an art form, a science and a method of divination as well. Although there are divergent views regarding the exact definition of astrology, here is one that beautifully sums up the essence of astrology. Fred Gettings, from The Arkana Dictionary of Astrology defines it as 'the study of the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm, which (in materialistic terms) is often defined as the study of the influence of the celestial bodies on the Earth and its inhabitants.' Even though scientifically, there is no reliable evidence to prove that celestial bodies do effect the individuals on Earth, astrology has become entrenched in modern culture and consciousness. Astrology is useful in many ways and has become a tool with which we can know ourselves better. It has opened new vistas of enquiry regarding the applications of psychological astrology, a term developed by famous psychologist Carl Jung. There is no doubt that astrology has touched many areas of our lives and will continue to do so in the future.
The different areas in which astrology can be used is to know about our inclination in various spheres such as career and education. It can also be used to find compatibility between two persons by analysing their characteristics. In India, astrology is an important part of its culture where its used in matters concerning career and marriage and is used prominently even by political figures. Thus, astrology has evolved constantly both as an art and also science, and has influenced the way we lead our lives. Due to the advent of modern technologies such as internet, the use and reach of astrology has spread further in the world and is now being used by people from different backgrounds for various purposes. This has firmly established astrology in the hearts of people all around the world and this subject holds a special place in our culture. As such, astrology will continue to influence the future generations.