Depending on whom you ask, the origins of astrology can date back 4000 BC, to ancient Sumeria, to even further back in time to when Hindu gods and goddesses are believed to have roamed the earth. Whatever you believe, the fact remains that astrology is a knowledge system that is integral to almost every major ancient civilization.
The Egyptians, Chinese, Babylonians, Greeks, Harappans, Romans and Incas all had a deep understanding of astrology, astronomy, the celestial bodies and their movements. Seals produced by the Harappans, the people of the Indus Valley civilization that existed in northern India after 2500BC, depict personifications of the planets, such as a multi-limbed figure that is believed to represent Venus. Was a wild imagination a common feature amongst the ancients, or did they possess insights that we have since forgotten on our march to modernity?
Remnants of an ancient Indian text, known as the 'Bhrigu Samhita' still exist today. In its entirety, this text is believed to have contained the horoscopes of every soul to walk the earth. As explained on our page about ‘Fortune Telling’, this was divine knowledge, transferred to man directly from the gods. Many people have been lucky enough to find details of their pasts and futures, in the parts of this text that still remains. Findings such as these only go to show that we are yet to decipher all the knowledge uncovered by the ancient world. Prematurely rejecting any of this knowledge would be an injustice not only to our understanding of mankind’s past, but also to the possibilities that lie in our present.
How does Astrology Predict the Future?
The term ‘Celestial Bodies’, is a reference to objects that exist in the cosmos, such as the Sun, Moon, planets and constellations. The degree of understanding that ancient civilizations possessed about such celestial bodies and their movements, seems to exceed the resources at their disposal. Using this knowledge, they determined that these celestial bodies have energies and influences that can affect human affairs and events on earth, which in essence, is the meaning of astrology. Having said that, astrology does not in fact predict the future, in say the same way that psychic readers do. Astrology actually only tells us what manner of event is possible during a certain period in time. Context is then applied to predict how this is likely to manifest. The important elements that are used to identify such events are given below.
Astrologers track the movements of these celestial bodies and cast charts to analyse their positions, relative to the cosmos. These charts or horoscopes, are snapshots of positions of celestial bodies at a specific time and place. Horoscopes are therefore somewhat analogous to maps that place nine to twelve planets, as markers on the twelve zodiac signs. The number of planets taken into consideration can vary, depending on the astrological system that an astrologer follows and whether they regard Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as relevant to their analysis.
The main natal chart can be further sub-divided into divisional charts, the sum total of which, provides details of every aspect of an individual's life, including but not limited to, their personality, parents, household, relationships, career, health, wealth, lifespan and even the end of their life. Each house of a birth chart relates to more than one area of life, the areas that they are primarily associated with are shown below:
Zodiac Signs & Constellations
We all recognise the 12 zodiac signs and they are the most well-known astrological symbols. There are 27 constellations, corresponding to specific periods of the year, on which the zodiac signs are based.
Most people know their star sign or Sun sign, but this is not the only, or even the most important zodiac sign associated with an individual's character. Our Moon sign is the sign that the Moon occupies in the natal chart and this sign determines our emotional responses, basic nature and temperament. Hence, this is regarded as the most influential sign, but this can only be determined after a horoscope is cast, whereas you only need to know the date on which you were born in order to identify your Sun sign.
Each letter of the alphabet also corresponds to a sign and this assumes the role of your name derived zodiac sign. This may in fact, apply to up to the first four letters of a name, as this sign changes according to the phonetical sound that the letters make. You can find your name derived zodiac sign using our online identifier.
While a horoscope may be a snapshot of planetary movement, good for analysing the above mentioned characteristics, the movement of the planets themselves obviously continues after the event for which the horoscope was cast. In Vedic astrology, this movement is referred to as, ‘Planetary Periods’ and is the future position of the planets, relative to the horoscope cast.
These periods are of several different kinds and they are the key to making predictions about the future. ‘Vimshotri Dashas’ are essential for basic predictions. The duration for the period for each planet is calculated by dividing nine planets amongst the 27 known constellations. It therefore follows that each planet rules over three constellations.
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The ‘Vimshotri Dasha’ is important for predictions because it is associated with the planet that is in the IInd house from the planet that rules the 'Atmakarak' in a horoscope. The 'Atmakarak' is the planet which is closest in degree to the first or ascendant's house. This planet is considered to be the most important planet in a chart. There are four types of planetary periods:
The Great Period or ‘Mahamdasha’. These are significant movements of the planets. They last in the order of years, or even decades and are different for each planet. The longest major transit being that of Venus that lasts for 20 years. These transits have a pronounced impact on an individual's fortunes, resulting in major life changes, over the course of the transit.
The ‘Lesser Period’ or ‘Antardasha’. These are sub periods of the ‘Mahadasha’ and are considered to have a relatively smaller impact on life in comparison to major transits. The duration of a minor transits is also unique to each planet and is also in the order of years, but is much less than a major transit.
The ‘Sub Period’ or ‘Pratyantardasha’. These are further sub periods, derived from the ‘Antardasha’ and are considered to affect the short to mid-term future.
The ‘Short Period’ or ‘Sookshamdasha’. These are very short sub periods, derived from the ‘Pratyantardasha’ and affect events that occur over a period of days.
Other Planetary Periods
There are also several other significant planetary periods such as the ‘Yogini Dasha’ and the ‘Sade Sati’, that have a pronounced impact on a person’s present and future.
The ‘Yogini Dasha’ is divided into two periods, the major and minor, the major period lasting in the order of years. Each transit is associated with a planet and this mainly affects one’s career and livelihood.
‘Sade Sati’ is a seven-and-a-half year long, period of Saturn, during which it moves through the zodiac sign that is up to two houses away from an individual's natal Moon. In simple terms this occurs when Saturn enters a Moon sign and lasts until Saturn transits through the next two signs. At its peak, this will be a period of challenges and struggles that is said to cause upheavals in all aspects of one’s life. The extent of these upheavals depends on Saturn’s alignment in a natal chart. Most people pass through this transit about three times in their lives, the final period is thought to mark the beginning of the end of a lifespan.
Current Planetary Positions
The position of the planets, at any given time, is an important factor in predictive astrology. Depending on the nature of the horoscope in question, this can even be the most influential factor for a given question about the future. Astrologers track prevailing planetary alignments and compare them to those of the natal chart being analysed. In doing so, they are able to gauge how much influence a planet may or may not have, at a given point in time, on the houses that it is associated with in the chart. So, for example, if in a chart, a strong Venus is the lord of wealth, the subject is likely to have more than one income stream or will earn money from more than one source. All other factors being neutral to favourable, such a person may be considered to be financially secure. However, if according to the chart prevalent at the time of making a prediction, Venus is unfavourably aligned, there will be a dip in the financial fortunes of this person. That is if in the prevailing chart, Venus is say, combusted, in-retrograde, in an enemy zodiac or all of the above, then this otherwise financially secure person will face money related troubles, till this alignment persists. Hence, an astrologer will weigh this factor into their prediction for the short to mid-term future of the person in question, along with other factors, such as the on-going planetary periods and overall nature of the horoscope being analysed.
How Accurate are Astrological Predictions?
The answer to this age old question is a ubiquitous, 'It depends'. In terms of scientific evidence supporting the validity of astrology, there is none. That is not to say however that astrology does not work or cannot accurately predict the future. In order to test this in scientifically quantifiable terms, any person conducting such a test should not only be qualified in making statistically correct measurements, but should also have a sufficiently deep understanding of astrology.
Astrology is not an exact science and we have explained why this is so, in our article, ‘The Relationship between Astrology and Psychology’. Astrology is more an art than science, as astrological beliefs and concepts can differ with interpretation. However, certain aspects of astrology, particularly those relating to chart casting, planetary characteristics or the assigning of houses, are reasonably well defined. Therefore possessing a sufficiently clear understanding of what can and can’t be justifiably quantified, is essential if astrology is to be evaluated in scientific terms.
Anyone who understands how astrology predictions are made, knows that events need not always unfold as predicted. There are a variety of reasons for why this can sometimes be the case. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger spiritual picture, allows for this point to be appreciated. Factors such as free will or the will of the Almighty, are capable of changing the course of any event and should not be disregarded.
Astrology is more than just a series of calculations, charts and interpretations. If we refer back to the spiritual belief behind astrology, this was knowledge imparted from the divine. But, what would necessitate such divine intervention? The answer is to expand our minds and horizons and to show man that there is more to this world than meets the eye. Not everything in this universe is a neat one plus one equals two and no one can deny that there is as much unexplainable scientific phenomena, as there is explainable. Hence from an astrologist’s perspective, astrology at present falls into the scientifically inexplicable category and is waiting for science to catch up.
There is definitely a lot more to making accurate astrology predictions than what has been described in this article. One of the most important factors and one which has not been mentioned above, is experience. Astrological predictions are certainly something that benefit from this key ingredient.
There can be little doubt that the debate surrounding whether astrological predictions are real or not, will rage on. There may not be irrefutable scientific proof explaining exactly how astrology works, but it does. So our advice to all the sceptics and doubters would be, allow astrology to improve your life first and figure out a rational explanation later.