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Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs in which knowledge of the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial events. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer, or (less often) an astrologist. Astrology is variously considered by its proponents to be a symbolic language, a form of art, science, or divination.
The core beliefs of astrology were prevalent in most of the ancient world and are epitomized in the Hermetic maxim "as above, so below". The principle that an event occurring in the heavens are mirrored by those on Earth was once generally held in most traditions of astrology around the world. A common belief held by astrologers is that the positions of certain celestial bodies either influence or correlate with human affairs. A modern explanation is that the cosmos and especially the solar system acts as a single unit, so that any happening in any part of it inevitably is reflected in every other part, somewhat representing chaos theory. Most astrological traditions are based on the relative positions and movements of various real or construed celestial bodies and on the construction of celestial patterns as seen at the time and place of the event being studied. These are chiefly the Sun, Moon, the planets, the stars and the lunar nodes.
There are many traditions of astrology, some of which share similar features due to the transmission of astrological doctrines between cultures. Other traditions developed in isolation and hold completely different doctrines, although they too share some similar features due to the fact that they are drawing on similar astronomical sources. The main traditions used by most modern astrologers are: Chinese Astrology, Indian or Jyotish Astrology, and Western Astrology. In modern times, the three traditions have come into greater contact with each other. Chinese and Indian astrology have spread to the West, and awareness of Western astrology has increased in India and East Asia.
Author: Christopher Holder, ND Candidate '07
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