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Anatomical Man, Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry.

Astrology In past centuries astrology often relied on close observation of astronomical objects and the charting of their movements, which might be considered a protoscience in this regard. In modern times astrologers have tended to rely on data drawn up by astronomers and set out in a set of tables called an ephemeris which shows the changing positions of the heavenly bodies through time.

Central to all astrology is the natal chart (other names for this diagram in English include horoscope, natus, nativity, astrological chart, map, birth chart, cosmogram, or simply chart). This is a diagrammatic representation in 2 dimensions of the celestial bodies' apparent positions in the heavens from the vantage of a location on Earth at a given time and place. Interpretation of a natal chart is governed by:

  • Astrological aspects: the positions of the heavenly bodies relative to each other.
  • Their positions relative to the astrological signs of the zodiac.
  • Their positions relative to the horizon (the ascendant), zenith and nadir, and in one of the systems of astrological houses.

Common traditions of astrology include Western astrology, Chinese astrology, Jyotish (Vedic astrology) and Kabbalistic astrology. All of these can be subdivided by type, such as natal astrology (the study of a person's birth, or natal chart), horary astrology (a chart drawn up to answer a specific question), and electional astrology (a chart drawn up ahead of time to determine the best moment to begin an enterprise or undertaking). Mundane astrologers believe correlations exist between geological phenomena (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc.) and astronomical phenomena (the movement of celestial bodies in relation to Earth). Political astrology has existed for thousands of years as well, while some astrologers use ancient methods that are supposed to be able to predict the weather and weather-related phenomena (storms, floods, etc.), which is collectively known as meteorological astrology.

A few Western but all Jyotish (Hindu) astrologers use the sidereal zodiac that uses the true astronomical positions of the stars. The majority of Western astrologers base their work on the tropical zodiac that uses a view of the heavens as seen 2000 years ago. (more...)