Western Astrology

Western astrology is an ancient divination method based on the positions of the sun, stars, moon, and planets at a given time. It’s believed that one’s sun sign, moon sign, and rising sign (determined by one’s birth date, time, and place) explain aspects of one’s personality, relationship patterns, and career path. Throughout the course of our life, the movements (transits) of the planets—and their relationships with one another—are thought to affect day-to-day happenings, and horoscopes popularly chart these aspects. Bigger trends, such as a Mercury retrograde period or a Saturn return, can take weeks, months, or even years to play out.

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An Introduction to Astrology

By Diana Vilas 

Astrology is the study of human consciousness—individual and collective—as reflected in the shifting patterns of planets and luminaries against the backdrop of constellations and fixed stars. It is a symbolic language of soul based upon the Hermetic principle “As Above, so Below”—that everything we perceive outside of ourselves is a reflection of our own psyche. 

Astrology is an art of perception and interpretation, the ability to find meaning in synchronicity, the acausal relationship between concurrent events. It is also a science of mystery, and one can only know its value by penetrating its depths.

What is the history of astrology?

The origin of astrology remains a mystery. We have hints from cave paintings that early humans followed the cycles of the moon, but the Egyptians and Babylonians were the first to evolve their observations into a science. Awed by the mystery of the night sky, they sought advance warning of cosmic events that could affect their daily lives. Through observation they became aware of the cyclical nature of seasons, of the moon’s monthly waxing and waning, of the “moving stars” as they wandered through the constellations that comprised the zodiac. These stargazers watched the skies and taught farmers when to plant, architects how to position their sacred sites, and kings the best time to wage war.

Astrology and astronomy were inseparable as the first science. Slowly this knowledge was disseminated throughout the world. By the Middle Ages, physicians diagnosed and healed based on the horoscopes of their patients. Every court had its official astrologer, but astrology came under attack by the Catholic Church. All references were expunged from the Bible and the faithful were warned against this dark art. Thus began the battle between science and religion for dominion over the minds of the masses.

With the age of enlightenment and the popularization of science, astrology fell out of grace. Science dealt only with “facts” that were encoded through repeatable experiments. Mystery and meaning fell by the wayside, and astrology went into decline. Over the past 50 years or so, we have seen a resurgence of this art, as people are awakening to their spiritual identity, wanting to know who they really are and why they are here on Earth.

How does astrology work?

First of all astrology doesn’t work, we do. It’s like asking how does a book work? It works by stimulating our minds to think, to question, to wonder. Astrology takes us on a quest for meaning. It penetrates into the heart of the unknown and rewards us with a glimpse of divine perfection.

The answers lie within the natal horoscope, which is a map of the heavens at the moment of one’s birth. Each of the signs, houses, and planets carries archetypal significance. Their meaning is diverse and depends equally upon the talent of the practitioner and the self-awareness of the client. 

How is it different from other modes of self-discovery? 

Astrology is a complex subject incorporating astronomy, psychology, mythology, and symbolic language into a spiritual practice. While it has universal applications, it is the only tool that offers a map of individual consciousness, as well as the timing of future events as planets move through the zodiac, activating the natal chart. 

What are the benefits?

Self-knowledge is self-empowerment. The natal chart reveals the complexities of one’s personality, including challenges and strengths, conditioned patterns of thought and behavior, karmic issues, and keys to healing. Furthermore, it provides insight into one’s purpose and path of individuation.

The astrologer casts your natal chart based on the date, time, and place of your birth. Readings can be done in person or online. 

Astrologers are not fortune tellers; they are counselors. Readings are most productive when there is a conversation. Bring your questions, issues, relationship dilemmas. Think of a reading as a consultation with a detective. The two of you together are solving a great mystery.

How do I get the most out of astrology?

The more time you spend with your chart, the more will be revealed to you. If you are serious, take an introductory class. Learn the language and then follow the transits of the planets as they activate your natal placements and see the correlations with your experience. It’s fun! You will become an expert on your own evolution. 

Once you have had an initial reading, you can consult your astrologer about major transits, current or imminent. Knowing what’s going on will give you confidence to navigate challenging times. Astrology connects you to unseen realms, welcomes you as a citizen of the cosmos, and reassures you that every experience has purpose.

A small caveat: Your natal chart does not imprison you in fate, it reveals your highest potential. It empowers you to make wise choices and steer your life toward fulfillment. In the end, you are the driver of your destiny.

About the Author

Diana Vilas is an evolutionary activist, author, astro-psychologist and spiritual advisor. In 2019 she founded The Cosmic Cheerleader and began writing a newsletter to help steer Americans through the crisis of awakening. She holds two master’s degrees in psychology and transpersonal counseling and over the past forty years has evolved into an astrologer. You can find her at 

You Might Also Like Our Content on These Topics: Chinese Astrology, Saturn Return, Numerology, Tarot, Archetypes, Divination Systems 

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