What is Astrology?

by Rich Moser

The basic idea of astrology can be simplified to this statement: “as above, so below.”  This means that for every motion of the heavenly bodies–the planets, Sun, Moon and asteroids–there is a corresponding motion on the Earth. The same applies in reverse; the larger universal idea is simply that everything is connected, and that everything therefore has an effect on everything else. The effect of a planet on a human may be external (physical), or it may be internal (psychological or spiritual).

What causes the connection between the planets and our lives? As yet, modern science has not discovered an exact means of interaction that might explain all of the things that astrology allows us to see and feel. Unfortunately, most scientists, and many other people in our culture, use this lack of measurable phenomena as proof that no such connection exists–a decidedly un-scientific conclusion.  I prefer to move beyond this state of denial to a state of acceptance of what I can sense, and one of openness to the nature of astrological cause-and-effect. Of course, no one in the 18th century had conceived of atomic fusion, the discovery of which brought unto humanity the potential to harness nuclear power, as well as to create the nuclear bomb. These are two sides of the same technology that affects our current lives every day, but which was as-yet-undiscovered just 100 years ago.

Many–indeed, most–of the cultures and civilizations in our planet’s history have had at least a partial belief that specific planetary movements have a meaning for us, and a connection to events on Earth. Personally, I have studied many different scientific paths in our current culture, but I had not found a science that was able to explain why people have different personalities. Until, that is, I discovered astrology, which literally means “the study of the stars.” As I studied, I realized that astrology includes not only the planets but all other things in the Universe, including our Earth and those who dwell upon her. Astrology explains many, many areas of life to me that modern science does not even try to explain. To me, it is undeniable that there is a cause and effect, and a definite relationship between “one’s stars” (or planets, really) and one’s day-to-day life events, as well as one’s character traits, talents and challenges in life. There is a great deal of information available that can be of great use to us in the day-to-day navigation of the waters surrounding our lives. Of course, you will decide for yourself.


For countless centuries, those who have studied the stars and planets have noticed relationships between the positions of these bodies at the moment of a child’s birth, and the fortunes and characteristics of the person that that child grows into. Much of the focus of astrological study in past cultures was to predict the nature and timing of future events–the external parts of one’s life. In modern times, however, there has been a decided turn toward using astrology to look inward, to uncover the psycho-emotional and spiritual motivations of the individual. It is this course that I have chosen to take with my interpretations, because I believe that it is far more important to understand ourselves and our motivations than it is to try and predict future events. I believe that the future is largely plastic, and we have the power to change our futures for the better–given that we have a certain level of understanding of what’s going on in our minds, and in our hearts. It does seem that there are unavoidable events that come to us based on our past choices, however dimly or clearly we were aware of those choices at the times we made them. However, we still decide how we will respond to such eventualities, and so the power remains in our  realm–not in the realm of unchangeable fate caused by unseen forces. I like astrologer Isabel Hickey’s words: “Let nothing dismay you. Whatever we have the power to create, we have the power to redeem.”

The exact moment we are born, we take on the energies that are represented by the positions of the planets, etc., in the sky. As above, so below. The moment that a child (or a baby raccoon, for that matter) takes its first breath, it somehow takes on the character of the solar system, as seen from the Earth at that moment. This determines the basic nature of the life of that individual, relative to the culture and situation she or he is born into. It is, as yet, a mystery what exactly the mechanism of this interaction is, but by the primary principle of astrology (also called the Law of Correspondences), everything is connected and related in a precise way. This connection can be seen in a myriad of reflections, mirrored between the relationships of the planets at the moment of birth and the circumstances that surround the child, as focused through the lens of that particular moment. What the individual will do with her life energies will depend initially on the choices that are made by those around her, and later in life by her own choices. The birth chart reflects the relationships of everything that surrounds the child at birth, including the character and mutual relationship of the parents. Because the sky turns one degree every four minutes, and because each place on Earth has a different view of the sky at any given moment, each child has an essentially unique birth chart. However, not even astrologers–ancient ones or modern, eastern or western–have all the answers about how exactly each snapshot of the sky will manifest here on Earth. This is why astrology is considered as much an art as it is a science.


This is an area of great debate, but I wish to touch on it in a way that makes the role of astrology clear for our personal lives. Astrologer Alan Oken has said, “The purpose of knowing one’s horoscope is the ability to transcend it.” This, I believe, has to do with awareness. The more aware we are of a behavioral pattern or personality trait–however deeply ingrained–the more power we free up to use for the changing of that trait. The other side of the same coin is this: as long as we remain in denial of something, it has complete power over us, and we cannot change it. Our fate is unalterable only to the extent that we have not taken, or will not take, a look at our selves and our attitudes, and what we have been through, that have shaped our present situation. It takes some experience, and the wisdom that comes from it, to free ourselves from the power of our past, and to quote Isabel Hickey twice more: “We do not have trouble if we learn how to avoid it,” and: “We cannot escape influences, but we can choose what influences us.” And I believe, as scientist Marie Curie did, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”

Hence, I believe that while “the stars” may impel us with a certain set of circumstances, they do not compel us to respond in a certain way. We are free to forge our futures to the extent that we will understand the forces that are at work and our relationship to them. To the extent that we will learn, and believe that we can change, so will our outlook, our behavior and our fortunes change accordingly.

“Nature….is what we are put in this world to rise above.”    –Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen



Leave a comment