Since the dawn of time, mankind has been gazing in wonder at the stars. For nearly as long, we have used the stars in many ways; from navigation to the examination of the effect that the stars and planets may have on our lives. Astrology is the study of the map of the heavens at the time that a person is born with the “map” being made from the view of the place that the person or event is “given birth.”

There are many natural and understandable questions that come to mind when you begin to think about astrology. “How could everyone born under my sign be just like me?” is just one example. The answer, of course is that everyone that shares the same sun sign as you do is NOT going to be just like you, nor will they have the same life experiences that you have had. There is a great deal more to a person’s true astrology than that found in the average newspaper horoscope or computerized online services. All of us are unique, regardless of where or when we are born, and a difference of even a few seconds can make a huge difference in your horoscope.

True astrology is a complex art that requires examination and interpretation on a number of levels, not the least of which is looking at the placement in a horoscope of all the planets, not just the sun. Examination of the placements of the planets in the “houses” of a horoscope, the aspects between the planets, the degree in which the planets are placed, and other features must be taken into consideration.

Perhaps before attempting to tackle the complicated issues that can arise in learning astrology on your own, you may want to consider taking a course. Barring that, try looking at patterns in your own life. Do you find that many of your friends are born under the sign of Pisces, for example? Do you find that many of the people who charm you instantly are born under the sign of Libra?

As in nearly everything else, there are erroneous assumptions, stereotypes, and just plain misinformation abounding in regard to astrology. There is a tendency to lump people born under each sign into pigeonholes. Of course not every Scorpio is “promiscuous, manipulative, or intimidating,” for example. Different stereotypes exist for each of the signs; you may wish to think beyond them when studying your own birth chart or that of others.

Just as the future as predicted by a psychic or a tarot reader is not carved in stone, the future(s) predicted by astrology are not necessarily absolute and final. The stars do not compel, they are merely pointers toward what is likely to be present in an individual or situation. Many, many other factors come to bear on any person or situation.

We would urge you to keep an open mind as you think about astrology. It may simply be another tool that you can use to find the revelation that you are looking for. There is no substitute for an in-depth examination of your chart.

You may want to be aware that there are several different types of astrology: read on for some definitions of some of the most basic types of the kind of work that is done in examining a horoscope.

Natal Astrology: This is the examination of a person’s “birth chart” which includes the placements of all 12 planets as well as the house cusps, aspects between the planets, asteroids, etc.

Synastry Astrology: This is the examination of the combination and interplay between the natal charts of two people. This Astrology can show the nuances of two people in a relationship, the strengths, weaknesses, and challenges.

Horary Astrology: This is a less commonly practiced type of astrology that has to do with a chart that is drawn based on the time and place that a person asks a question of a reader; the answer to the question is given/predicted based on the chart.

Sun-Sign Astrology: This is the astrology most commonly found and what most people are thinking of when they refer to “their sign.” These are the “horoscopes” that you will find in most newspapers and magazines, for example. Predictions are made based on generic charts that are NOT personal (and therefore are innaccurate) and only take into account the sign that the sun was in at the time of a person’s birth.