Just what is astrology? Is it some silly superstition? A sham science? Or something far more subtle and profound? According to Wikipedia the term ‘astrology’ derives from an ‘early Latin word astrologia, which [in turn] derives from the Greek astron (“star”) and logia, (“study of”—”account of the stars”). It ends this section by calling astrology a ‘pseudoscience’, but astrology never has been a science of any kind. And certainly not a ‘pseudo’ (i.e, falsely named) science. So what is it?

Actually, I prefer Robert Hand’s definition of astrology as a type of technology or craft. Here, you perform a set of standard operations to obtain a particular result – you don’t need to know the ‘science’ of how you got there, but you do know there’s a result at the end. An author with a word processor doesn’t need to know all about computers and machine language to produce a piece of meaningful text. Similarly, the astrologer can compute a natal chart, interpret it correctly and obtain the necessary information. It’s the nature of that information that is at issue. For just what does a birth chart do?

Well, the natal chart (based on your birth date, time and place co-ordinates) is really a map of human potential. Put simply it refers to the individual’s psychology and their passage through life, and I use ‘psychology’ here with its original meaning – the study of the soul. And the soul, or psyche is a dynamic, creative force in one’s life – not just some pretty word for something. In depth psychology (pioneered by Carl Jung) the psyche contains unimaginable, hidden depths. It entails what we might call ‘sub-personalities’ or archetypes which are the main driving forces in our lives. Instead of our ‘personality’ being formed through experience as we grow up, the point with archetypes is that they already exist! We enter life equipped with a set of human tendencies and capacities. We’re not born blank slates, to be written on by Life.

Our set of innate, very individual potential (which is the birth chart) can be thought of as a kind of ‘seed’ awaiting development. And to interpret it isn’t ‘just’ pop psychology, as some critics say – a properly synthesised birth chart is more than a bunch of superficial personality labels than can – conceivably – apply to anyone. A good astrologer can read the symbols on the chart and have some inkling of how the archetypal forces will play out in that person’s life. It’s an art and skill acquired over many years – the point is in its relevance to that one individual it is describing: you.

What the Birth Chart Can Do For You

Having this knowledge can be highly illuminating: it can give a real sense of meaning to one’s existence. Indeed, when we investigate at the birth chart, we’re finally looking at the ‘real you’, as it were. When I first learned how to interpret a chart and looked at my own, I knew that it truly described me, that I wasn’t just trying to make it fit. Better still, I was amazed when I found that charts performed for hitherto total strangers could very accurate – I hadn’t even met them and here I was writing about their inner selves, their ambitions, their love lives, the relationship with their parents. This is how I knew astrology worked – I’d tested it out on myself and my clients.

Since the birth chart shows the kind of person you are, it tells us why you attract certain situations into your life. It plots, as it were, your direction, where you are ‘headed’ in life, and reveals what might help you get there (Jupiter), and also what might hinder you (Saturn). It can give valuable information on your family background and childhood experience – often responsible for emotional ‘issues’ later on in adulthood. On a lighter note, it will indicate the kind of love life you’re likely to have, and your prospects for a successful career and potential financial security. All in all, it illustrates your capacity for change and improving your life.

Notice that earlier on I wrote ‘correlation’ when it comes to the relationship between the heavens and your birth chart. We know already that the planets don’t ‘cause’ anything to happen. The planets, whether Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, are simply code words for a whole set psychological energies, drives, desires and motivations (some conscious, some working unconsciously) that shape your individual nature and your life as a result. And because we know where those planets (in the sky) will be in the future, we can see pretty much how they might affect that person’s life right down to the very week or month. Or even day.

Of course, the only way to see if it works is to try it yourself. All I can say here is that in my work as a consultant astrologer, it has always proved a reliable tool. A technology, like I said earlier. Pseudo-science indeed!

James Lynn Page