Astrology: the ancient practice that just won’t go away—because it works

Whether people are checking their horoscopes in magazines or seeing if their star sign matches with their crush, astrology is here to stay. So what is it based on?

Astrology is more popular than ever. Whether people are checking their horoscopes in Cosmo or seeing if their star sign matches with their crush, astrology is thousands of years old and definitely here to stay. That’s a lot more than you can say for so-called “bro science,” a history-less fantasy that slings around terms like alpha and beta.

So exactly what is astrology any way? The ancient practice is more than reading whether you are predicted to have a good week and blaming your character flaws on your star sign. Here’s a brief introduction.

The different signs

Most of us are familiar with the 12 astrology signs based on when we were born. These can be split into water signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces), fire signs (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius), earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn) and air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius). Each sign has different traits that describe someone’s personality. When you read horoscopes, you look at the reading under your star sign. These are also known as sun signs.


Your sun sign (or star sign) is calculated by when you were born. It’s called a sun sign because astrologists calculate it from when the sun entered the sign of the zodiac. The position of the sun determines what sign you are. This can make it more complicated to work out if you are born on the borderline between two signs. The place and year you were born could make the difference between which sun sign you truly are.


It is less well-known that everyone also has a moon sign. They have the same 12 names as sun signs. This is calculated by your date of birth too. It depends on the position of the moon when you were born. However, this is more complicated to work out than the position of the sun. You need the time of your birth as well to calculate it accurately. Moon qualities are especially important for females as astrologers see the moon as the patroness of women.


The third sign that can inform you about yourself is your rising (or ascendant) sign. This refers to the position of the constellations when you were born. Once again you will need the date and time of your birth to work it out. The arrangement of the planets when you were born affects your rising sign and this changes your personality. Planets have an important role in astrology and our understanding of each other.

Birth chart

All these elements can be brought together to produce a birth (or natal) chart. For this to be calculated, an astrologer will need to know the date, time and place of your birth. The chart will summarize the positions of the stars when you were born. You can use this information to learn more about yourself in an astrological sense. Readings of your passions, desires, personality traits and future prospects can be made through your birth chart. It will be much more in-depth than a simple sun sign horoscope. If you don’t find your sun sign horoscope to be accurate, a birth chart reading could suit you better.

Tarot cards

Originally used in card games in the 15th century, tarot cards have been used for generations for divine spiritual reading. These readings are seen as a psychological guide. The cards reflect the choices of your higher-self. They are like a mirror to your soul.

The card pack itself contains 78 cards with symbols on them. None of them are inherently good or bad. The modern production of tarot cards has incorporated contemporary characters or trends in the images. For example, you can buy Hello Kitty tarot cards.

Within the 78 cards, 22 are major arcana tarot cards and 56 are minor arcana. The pack is split into the four elements: fire, water, earth and air. Examples of tarot cards include the fool, the emperor and the lover. Each symbol has a meaning that can be applied to a reading of the past or the future or the current state of being. Tarot cards are another way, like birth charts, to understand yourself at a deeper level which will help you to make better decisions in your life. In times of uncertainty, tarot cards can be turned to for guidance and connecting with your higher self.

Star sign readings in the back of fashion magazines are unlikely to tell you much accurate information about yourself. If you are interested in exploring astrology you need to look deeper into your different signs and astrological readings such as tarot cards.

With its long history of development through the centuries, astrology is still impacting people today. Many find it healing and comforting. It informs the way they live their lives, understand themselves and interact with other people. In a society as chaotic as the one we are currently living in, it’s not hard to understand why people turn to astrology for guidance.