Portal:Astrology

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The Astrology Portal


Introduction

Detail from the astronomical clock of the Piazza San Marco, Venice.

Astrology is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial objects as a means for divining information about human affairs and terrestrial events. Astrology has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BCE, and has its roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and some – such as the Indians, Chinese, and Maya – developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th-17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from which it spread to Ancient Greece, Rome, the Arab world and eventually Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems.

Throughout most of its history astrology was considered a scholarly tradition and was common in academic circles, often in close relation with astronomy, alchemy, meteorology, and medicine. It was present in political circles, and is mentioned in various works of literature, from Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer to William Shakespeare, Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca.

With the onset of the scientific revolution astrology was called into question; it has been challenged successfully both on theoretical and experimental grounds, and has been shown to have no scientific validity or explanatory power. Astrology thus lost its academic and theoretical standing, and common belief in it has largely declined. Astrology is now recognized to be pseudoscience.

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Astrological glyphs
Planets in astrology have a meaning different from the modern astronomical understanding of what a planet is. Astrology utilises the ancient geocentric model of the universe in its calculations and thus employs the term in its original geocentric sense. Before the age of telescopes, the night sky was observed to consist of two very similar components: fixed stars, which remained motionless in relation to each other, and wandering stars, which appeared to shift their positions relative to the fixed stars over the course of the year. To the Greeks and the other earliest astronomers, this group comprised the five planets visible to the naked eye and excluded the earth. Although strictly the term "planet" applied only to those five objects, the term was latterly broadened, particularly in the Middle Ages, to include the Sun and the Moon, making a total of seven planets. Astrologers retain this definition today.

To ancient astrologers the planets represented the will of the gods and their direct influence upon human affairs. To modern astrologers the planets represent basic drives or impulses in the human psyche. These drives express themselves with different qualities through the twelve signs of the zodiac, and in different spheres of life through the twelve houses. How the planets manifest themselves also depends on the aspects that they form with each other in the sky as seen from Earth.

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The Ptolemaic system
Credit: J. van Loon, National Library of Australia
The Ptolemaic system depicted by Andreas Cellarius (1660/61), showing signs of the zodiac and the Solar System with world at centre.

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Capricorn
Capricorn is the tenth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Capricornus. In western astrology, this sign is no longer aligned with the constellation as a result of the precession of the equinoxes. In astrology, Capricorn is considered an earth sign and is one of four cardinal signs. Like the rest of the earth signs, Capricorn is considered a "negative", feminine sign, which in astrology means it is rather introvert. Capricorn is ruled by the planet Saturn. Being the tenth sign of the zodiac, Capricorn has been associated with the astrological 10th house.

Individuals born when the Sun was in this sign are considered Capricorn individuals. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun is in Capricorn roughly from December 22 to January 19. Under the sidereal zodiac, it is currently there roughly from January 15 to February 12.

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