Everything in the universe is connected!

Between 2011 and 2013 we saw concerns being broadcast about the solar flares affecting all forms on communications on our planet, although there have as yet not been any upsets.

Astrology is a study of our solar system and how it relates to the Earth and particularly the peoples on this beautiful blue planet. Astrology and astronomy are linked in many ways. Without a star such as our Sun, life cannot exist at all, not just human life but the living planet itself. The shape of and the fluids of our world are affected moment by moment by the Moon that orbits it, and Earth keeps the Moon in orbit around itself, which keeps the cycle going because there is a gravitational pull between the two.

All of the planets orbiting the Sun are kept there by gravitation and although the distances between the Sun and each of the planets, and the distances between each of the planets to each other vary greatly in size, it’s logical that as they come towards, pass and move away from each other that the gravitational pull, however small, will have an effect. To put it into graphic terms, when you half or three-quarters fill a bucket it with water and swing it around your body the water stays in the bucket even though the bucket is on its side, but is something physical like a twig on a near by bush just touches the bucket the water will spill. Try it and see!

It is these concepts that an astrologer uses when looking at any form of astrological chart, which is basically a frozen moment in time, with a view of the Sun, Moon and planets against the background of the constellations that form the zodiac as seen from a particular spot on the Earth.

Why only the ‘zodiac’ constellations?

While all astrologer’s know that the Moon orbits the Earth and all the planets orbit the Sun, when we look out at the sky we see it from here on Earth and, despite the knowledge of the true motion of everything, we relate to everything from where we are. So, when we track the path of the Sun across the sky it is seen against particular groups of stars and these stars are the same stars every year. This path of the Sun is known as the “ecliptic” and as can be seen from the picture below, the ecliptic, shown as a turquoise line below, runs through twelve astronomically recognised constellations.

Figure 1

The Suns Path (the Ecliptic) & the Zodiac Constellations

All of these constellations are within a band of 8° either side of the ecliptic. And as you can see from the picture from the Earth the Sun can be seen with the backdrop of one of the ‘signs of the zodiac’. Closer to the Sun than the Earth are the planets Mercury and Venus, respectively. Then nearer to Earth is the Moon. Looking beyond the Earth towards the outer edges of the solar system are the planets Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and furthest away, Pluto, the now re-designated ‘dwarf’ planet. No matter which way you look they will be seen against the background of the zodiac constellations, known as Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces in the order that the Sun passes in front of them from mid-March and back again.

It was the Babylonians who defined the circle of the zodiac into 30° segments and this has been the format astrologer’s use to this day. The positions of the planets in each part of the zodiac is recorded in lists that can go as far back or forward in time as required, showing the degree, minute and second of the constellation that form their backdrop, you can find these on the Internet by searching on the word ‘ephemeris’, which means ‘diary’ or ‘journal’, and see some of the listings available. It is from these records that the true day of the Sun changing from one sign to the next is derived; the dates are not always the same every year.

Before I go on to how the chart is drawn up, one quick word about the 13th constellation, known as Ophiuchus that caused such consternation a few years ago. Astrologers have known about this constellation for a long time, but it takes many centuries of study to define the effects that the combined nature of a planet and sign have when together, this is ongoing and may well be included at some time in the future. Ophiuchus is the serpent bearer and has only his feet on the Ecliptic between Scorpio and Sagittarius, it would not take much imagination to work out what this ‘sign’ might mean, but it is a much more lengthy process to study the lives people born when the Sun crosses this part of the sky.

Figure 2

The position of the constellation Ophiucus along the Ecliptic

How an astrologer draws up the chart.

So, back to the view from earth!

All records of the Sun, Moon and planetary positions against the zodiac are recorded as Noon or Midnight GMT. Why? Because, and I quote, GMT ‘was adopted as the world’s time standard at the Washington Meridian Conference in 1884. This conference also established Universal Time, from which the international 24-hour time-zone system grew. This is why all time zones refer back to GMT on the prime meridian. The prime meridian at Greenwich, in the United Kingdom, has served as the reference line for GMT since the late 19th century.’[1]

When an astrologer is drawing up a of the ‘planetary’ positions (by planetary I include the Sun and Moon from here on in this and all following articles), the positions must be adjusted to match the view from anchart exact position on the Earth and the exact moment of time being viewed, this requires a certain amount of mathematical calculation which I shall not go into in this article. Once the exact positions of the ‘planets’ have been calculated, further calculations are made to find the degree of the sign that could be seen on the horizon from the place and at the time in question as well as the zenith of the Sun’s path for that day, known as the Rising Sign or Ascendant and Midheaven respectively. I will explain why these are of significance in astrology in a later article.

Having completed all of the calculations the astrologer draws a circle, or set of circles within circles and then plots all the information onto the chart, as shown below using symbols to represent the signs and ‘planets’.

Figure 3

An example of an astrology chart

The + in the centre of the chart represents the place and moment in time and around it is the view of the solar system against the zodiac in a graphical sense. This is just the first set of information that the astrologer uses to discover the potential of the moment of time and place. There is much more to it but I will explain it in a later article. For now you can study the chart above and, using the grids provided see what is where for this date, time and place.

Any Questions

You may be asking yourself at this stage why I haven’t shown you how to perform the calculations themselves. Well, this is quite technical and in this day and age you can have the calculations done free on the Internet.

Most astrologers use software now, but I do know how to do it by hand, that’s how I started and still do the calculations by hand just to keep them fresh.

Up until now I have not mentioned Birth or Natal Charts at all, why? Well, whether a chart is being drawn for your birth or your child’s birth, known as Natal Astrology, or for a country, known as Mundane (world) Astrology, the process is the same. So as you can see there is no magic, mystery or need for being a psychic to draw a chart, anyone can learn. Reading the chart can also be learned, if you have the time, patience and inclination to study.

[1] From http://www.timeanddate.com/time/gmt-utc-time.html

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Astrologer: - Sally Lloyd Dist.DMS Astrol, MAPAI