Some people today think that astrology is only superstition, and that the ancient astrologers lived in a primitive and ignorant age. These people forget that their ancestors of long ago were clever enough to build the pyramids of Egypt which have stood for over four thousand years, and Stonehenge, which archaeologists now believe was a wonderfully accurate kind of clock based on the movements of the Sun, Moon and stars.
Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists of all time, did not scorn astrology. He practised it himself, and when one of his friends asked him why be believed in such "rubbish", he replied, "Sir, I have studied the matter. You have not!" More recently the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung became very interested in astrology and wrote about it in his books. And some modern scientists certainly do not laugh at astrology. They are using research methods to try and understand why the beliefs of astrology seem to be true. They are discovering exciting things about the different kinds of energy that each planet emits, and are beginning to realise that the Moon really does have a powerful effect upon living things. Their researches may one day help to explain why astrology works.
Meanwhile, more and more people are beginning to realise that a knowledge of astrology can be a very useful thing. We have already said that a knowledge of it can help us to understand ourselves and others better. In countries like India astrology has been used for thousands of years to help people choose the right marriage partner, and to select the best time of year to get married. Today psychologists may study a patient's horoscope to seek a better insight into that person's character, and some companies are beginning to use astrology to help them select the right people for the right jobs, because a horoscope can help to show what things a person is good at doing.
One important thing to remember in the study of astrology is that no sign of the Zodiac is better or worse than any other sign. It is as good to be a Leo as it is to be a Scorpio, and Virgos have just as many special qualities as Capricorns or Geminis. Every sign indicates special gifts and abilities, though no two people can ever have exactly the same qualities and personalities because all sorts of other facts about the position of the Moon and the planets also have to be taken into account in every case.
Where can you learn more about astrology? Some American universities now teach astrology as a serious subject, and all over the world people can take a postal course even if they cannot attend lectures or classes. There are also many more books you can read about astrology. Some of these have been written by a Frenchman named Michel Gauquelin, who produced some fascinating statistics to prove how accurate astrology can be in assessing people's personalities and abilities. His books, as well as many others, have made many people take a new and serious look at astrology, and they are available in libraries and bookshops. Just have a look at them! And do not worry if some people tell you that astrology is silly. They probably know nothing about it. In the world today we know a great deal about how to make things like motor cars, refrigerators and television sets, but tend to ignore the great mysteries of life and death. People are becoming aware of this, and taking a fresh interest in many ancient teachings, including astrology.
There is another way of looking at astrology. The ancient astrologers believed that the entire universe was really one great living being, which they called God. They believed that every part of this universe was connected with every other part, so that although sometimes people feel they are alone, they really are not. They are part of this one great living being, regardless of whether it is called God, Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Mithras, or any other name. Ancient astrologers believed also that this great being was growing and becoming more and more perfect, and that every living thing within the universe was also growing and becoming more perfect. They believed there is an eternal spark of life within each person that does not die when the body dies. It continues to live, and returns in many different bodies, life after life, each time becoming wiser and more beautiful and more perfect.
It may be that astrology has something to offer us today because it concerns itself with human values more than most other sciences. It can help us to understand that our lives have purpose. It may be that there is some truth in the ancient beliefs, and that we and the planets are all part of one unified cosmos. Knowing a little about astrology can help to open your eyes to many things, and the most important of them all is who you really are, deep down inside. And maybe that is what life is really about.
This introduction into the basic ideas of astrology is taken from the children's book "Looking at Astrology" by Liz Greene. It was published by Coventure in 1977. Although once written for children, the text is very interesting for everyone who wants to take first steps in astrology.