Let us start with the definition of astrology right from Wikipedia and go from there.
“Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer“.
Some people mix up or get confused between the word astrologer and astronomer. While both the astrologer and the astronomer study the celestial bodies to gain understanding about them or from them, an astrologer uses the information they glean in a very specific manner that helps them understand the subtle and sometimes not so subtle effects their energies can have on human beings both individually and as a whole.
Astrology is a scientific art which teaches that the relative positioning in the sky of the sun, moon and planets influences individuals and the course of human affairs on earth. Today, just as in ancient times many people use the services of astrologers to help them gain a better understanding of their life and events around them. Often, astrology is not considered a true science because it has not been proven empirically through the scientific method. Many would argue that it is indeed a science and just because mankind has yet to invent a device or devices to measure the energies that are studied and used in astrology does not mean there is no merit to it.
So for many, particularly in the western world, astrology is considered more of just a belief system. The belief is that the positions of the Sun, Moon and planets against the starry background influences peoples’ personalities and shapes their lives. Astrology is important to many in both the western and eastern part of the world such as India, but their respective use and sometimes even the determinations made using astrology and astrological charts can differ as well.
Robert Koch from www.robertkoch.com gives a very good definition of the differences between Western Astrology and Vedic Astrology . He says:
“The first thing you will notice when you compare a Western and Vedic chart is that the Vedic chart looks very different. You are probably familiar with the round shape of a Western chart; the Vedic chart is square. If you are familiar with Western astrology, upon careful examination, the Vedic chart will appear to have planets aligned with the wrong constellations (signs).
For example, suppose, according to Western astrology, your Sun sign is in Capricorn. In the Vedic system, it could be in Sagittarius. Your rising sign and the other planets might also be in unfamiliar signs.
However, this does not mean that Vedic astrology is inaccurate. It simply calculates a horoscope differently. The interpretations are most often more precise than in Western astrology.
Western astrology emphasizes the psychological nature of the individual, but lacks reliability for predicting future cycles and events. Although Vedic astrology also defines a person’s psychological nature, it gives more focus to understanding when certain events are likely to take place.
Vedic astrology gives a better view of:
1. A person’s karmic tendencies
2. When such tendencies are likely to manifest for that person.
The times of life events are shown through a detailed system of planetary time cycles, called “dashas.” There is no corresponding method in Western astrology.
Western astrologers who make a study of it, often find themselves converting to Vedic astrology because of its greater scope, depth and accuracy for predicting the future“. (end quote)
Astrology can be better understood by investigating how and why it began. Mankind has been ever looking for answers and solutions to the problems at hand. Astrology may be the oldest and at the same time currently one of the most popular of all sciences or pseudo sciences. It is not based on superstition, but has developed into a real science when practiced properly.
Some feel that astrology can be much too deterministic, reducing the free will of any one individual to fate or destiny. This type of thinking has caused many churches and religious orders to reject it completely as determinism, particularly the astrological type, is contrary to religious concepts such as free will for the salvation of each individual. A true practitioner of the astrological arts understands though that free will is not taken out of the equation. No matter what the chart or horoscope says it truly is up to each individual to either choose to use the information to help them in their life and change it if need be, or to make the decision to do nothing and accept their fate. Astrology can be used as a road map in order to enlighten our lives or darken them. It is up to the individual to decide.