Astrology sees humankind as being influenced not only by hereditary factors and the environment, but also by the state of our solar system at the moment of birth. The Sun, Moon and planets are regarded as basic life-forces, the tools we live by as well as the basis of our very substance. These planetary forces take on different forms, depending on their zodiacal position and on the way they relate to one another.
Astrology is one of the most ancient of the surviving occult sciences, and evidence of highly sophisticated systems in Babylonian, Egyptian and Aztec cultures has survived. For centuries in the West, astrology was a revered method of divination (fortune telling) supported by royal courts. With the development of science in the seventeenth century, astrology was relegated to the realm of superstition, but it never fell completely out of favor and today it is hugely popular, followed by people from all walks of life.
Popular astrology is concerned with the reading of a horoscope, a chart of the positions of the planets, Sun, Moon, and stars at the moment of one’s birth and interpreting the influence of the planets on human affairs. The Sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac through the course of the year and so when someone is said to have been born under Pisces, they were born when the Sun was passing through the portion of the zodiac named after the constellation of Pisces.
Each of the 12 signs has its own personality traits (see pages x-xi), with the daily position of the planets, and the element associated with the planet—fire, water, earth, and air—also affecting each Sun sign. In addition, for serious astrologers, as the Sun passes through the zodiac sign over the course of a month, it passes through three decanates, making each decanate approximately ten days long. Each of the decanates adds its own associated planet and sign influences to the basic influences of the Sun sign. Therefore by considering the decanate as well as the Sun sign, the reading for an individual’s birthday is fine-tuned. For example, an Aries born sometime in the third decanate (April 10 to 21) will also be under the influence of the third decanate sign of Sagittarius and the planet associated with Sagittarius, which is Jupiter. The ancient Egyptians considered the decanates as important as the Sun signs themselves.
Progressions are another widely used technique in the system of prediction. With this method the Sun takes about thirty years to journey (or progress) through each sign of the zodiac and in a person’s lifetime it will typically progress through three to four zodiac signs, depending on the lifespan of the individual and their date of birth. Each time the Sun progresses from one sign to another, this indicates a significant birthday or time in your life when there is likely to be a dramatic change in either your circumstances or outlook. For example, the progressed Sun of a Scorpio born on November 9 will move into Sagittarius at the age of thirteen, into Capricorn at the age of forty-three and then Aquarius at the age of seventy-three.
Fixed stars associated with a particular day of the year also exert additional influences, but if decanates and progressions sound confusing, don’t worry; to use this book you don’t need to do any math or look anything up in complicated tables as the calculations and relevant interpretations have been taken into account when each birthday profile was compiled. All you need to do is read and enjoy.
Skeptics argue that astrology’s suggested link between planetary position and human destiny is unproven, but recent scientific research about the seasons and even the month in which a person is born appears to suggest otherwise.
In the early 1970s, Professor Alan Smithers of Manchester University compiled data from the British population census showing clearly that architects tended to be born in the spring, secretaries in the summer, miners in the fall and electricians in the winter. He also asked members of the British Astrological Association (BAA) to indicate which signs were associated with the professions of nurse and labor union official. Without knowing what the BAA predicted, Smithers conducted a large survey of nurses and labor officials and discovered that, just as the astrologers had indicated, there was a statistical bias toward nurses(see nclex questions) being born under the signs of Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio and Pisces, and labor union officials being born under one or other of the other signs.
Other research has focused on the influence of one star in particular, the Sun. This is because a type of radiation emitted by the Sun, ultraviolet (UVR), is believed to cause genetic changes in the developing baby that may have a shaping effect on their life and personality. This could explain why many of us believe that common characteristics and fates are shared by those born at the same time of the year. For example, researchers at the University of Rostock in Germany have analyzed data to see if the month in which you are born affects how long you will live. It does. Their research found that your chances of living beyond 100 were up to 16 percent higher than average if you were born in December, but if you were born in June, your chances were 23 per cent lower. Another study carried out by researchers at the University of Chicago and published in the Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine backed this up, finding that those born in December lived longer by about three years.
Experts believe that the reason people born in December might live longer could be that they were conceived in March, possibly avoiding the most harmful effects of radiation early on. They argue that solar radiation peaks at conception affect personality and health later in life and therefore where you are born is perhaps more important that the month you were born.