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Beyond the Horoscopes: A Deeper Look at AstrologyWhat the planets and signs reveal about who you are
Yang Ji-weon  |
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승인 2018.12.02  13:48:41
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BEFORE THE emergence of scientific theories and principles to explain astronomical patterns and anomalies, ancient peoples used to construct stories to explain the phenomena they observed in the sky. It is said that the Babylonians associated celestial bodies with certain attributes by metaphorically interpreting their characteristics and movements*. Mercury, for example, symbolized deceit because of its quick movement and difficulty to locate. Such interpretations marked the beginning of what we now call “astrology,” which derives from the Greek word astron (“star”) and logia (“study of”). Astrology has also come to encompass the study of the influence that the movements of celestial bodies have on people’s lives*. Though losing its popular standing in academic and intellectual circles with the advent of scientific methods, the field of astrology has built an extensive system of analysis that enthralls millions. Its huge public following, however, may be largely unaware of how astrology operates outside of the daily horoscope column in the local newspaper. Thus, let’s dive deeper into some of the fascinating principles and methodologies of astrology.
Fundamental principles of astrology 
   It is easy to assume that astrology is predicated on baseless connections between cosmic events and human experience. Yet, in fact, astrology operates under a principle known as “synchronicity**.” A term first coined by Carl Jung, a psychoanalyst and a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, synchronicity refers to a meaningful coincidence between two events, finding connection not necessarily in cause but in meaning. Based on the assumption that everything in the universe is interconnected, astrology believes that the movements of the stars and the planets coincide with our personal lives. Thus, astrologers strive to find synchronistic commonalities among the different fragments of the cosmos and apply them to human life in the form of analytic interpretations. This mechanism of relating the internal (humans) and external (the cosmos) phenomena is the basic premise of astrology, giving humans relevant insights into their internal states of being and personality.
The meaning of planets and signs in astrology 
   With astrology retaining its roots in the art of divination*** that dates back as far as the 2nd millennium B.C.*, it is inevitable that many of its elements seem archaic. “Planets,” which symbolize various aspects or dimensions of human life and experience, include the sun and the moon, which are no longer considered to be actual planets. These astrological planets are directly connected to the 12 sectors of the zodiac—the area of the sky visible from Earth—which changes as the Earth rotates around the sun*. Each of the 12 sectors of the zodiac is associated with a zodiac sign, representing distinct human personality traits. The traits find their expression through the different planets, which, as previously mentioned, reflect aspects of human experience. For every individual person, the position of the planets, particularly the sun, orbiting in the zodiac at the precise moment of birth determines his or her distinct, life-long personality. Throughout the person’s life, however, the planets will cycle throughout the signs, and astrologers use this cycle to determine various situations and changes in life long after birth*. As these concepts may all be confusing, especially to those new to astrology, we can examine more specific examples of planets and zodiac signs to clarify and appreciate the complexity of astrology.
1.    Planets
   There are ten planets in astrology, with each planet representing different aspects of a person. Depending on their distance from Earth and the speed they “orbit” around it****, the planets take on different meanings. The inner planets—the sun, the moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus—are relatively close to the Earth and orbit around it at a faster speed. Thus, they drive the more fundamental and day-to-day aspects of people’s lives: their intrinsic energy, personality, and social relationships. As the closest and brightest luminary bodies from Earth, the sun and the moon play the most significant role in astrology’s analysis of a person—the sun reveals their basic personality, while the moon reveals their inward moods and emotions*****.
   On the other hand, the outer planets—Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto—are situated far from Earth and orbit around it at a slower speed. Thus, these planets reveal the larger trends within a person’s life; in some cases, these distant planets are thought to represent an entire generation*****.
Here is a general chart outlining what aspect of life each planet represents******:
Aspects of life
Sense of self and basic personality
Emotions and mood
Love and attraction
Will and drive
Growth and opportunity
Disciplines and commitment
Change and individuality
Dreams and healing
Transformation and power
2.    Zodiac signs
   Astrological planets depict various dimensions of human life and experience; they also find themselves to be incomplete without zodiac signs. There are 12 zodiac signs in total, and each has its particular characteristics, desires, and attitudes towards life and people. Simply put, by analyzing the position of planets in the zodiac signs, astrology reveals a person’s traits, preferences, fears, and flaws, as well as what aspects of life those characteristics will affect*****.
   The sun, as mentioned earlier, influences the fundamental aspect of a person’s personality; thus, the sign through which it passes represents a person’s dominant trait. However, the other 11 signs also hold significant meaning in relation to the planets.
   For a general understanding of the signs, astrologers categorize the 12 signs into four elements—fire, water, earth, and air—which represent the fundamental qualities of one’s personality*. The signs associated with fire are characterized with enthusiasm and passion; water with sensitivity and empathy; earth with practicality; and air with communication and cooperation. Although the elements may give hints as to the basic nature of the zodiac signs, each sign is distinct and gives detailed insights into a person’s personality.
   The following chart identifies major personality traits associated with the zodiac signs******:
Zodiac Signs
Personality Traits
Assertive and initiating
Creative and expressive
Inspiring and risk-taking
Nurturing and caring
Transformative and manipulative
Compassionate and sacrificing
Patient and persistent
Cautious and serving
Organized and structured
Communicative and versatile
Facilitating and harmonizing
Social and humanitarian
*                 *                 *
   It is easily assumed that astrology does not follow a set of rules and definitions, rather relying on supernatural forces and coincidence. However, just as the process of analyzing a person’s personality from the signs and planets suggests, astrologers follow specific procedures and refer to accepted, time-tested standards of guidance and meaning. Though perhaps not entirely accurate, astrology can still serve as an intriguing way to find meaning in universal interconnection as you reflect upon and discover yourself with the new year on the horizon.
*American Federation of Astrologers
**Astrodienst AG
***Divination: The attempt to gain insight into a situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual
****In the astrological view of the Earth at the center of the solar system, “planets” are assumed to orbit around the Earth.
*****Astrology Booth
******The chart is created based on the information provided by Astro Style.
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