What is Western Astrology?

Western Astrology Western Astrology

Astrology is the study of the energetic influences of celestial bodies. Western Astrology refers to a system of astrology based on twelve constellations: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. This is also the system used for Sun sign horoscopes found in European and American newspapers.

Historical Background

Astrology has been around for a long time, likely well over 5000 years, and it has even been called the first science. The first records we have of astrology in use date back to the Sumerians around 3600 B.C. and it was likely that Astrology pre-dated these records. From the Sumerians Astrology appears to have moved to Egypt, and eventually into Greece and Rome. From the Greek myths, we have the archetypes of the energies that the various planets represent. For example, Venus/Aphrodite was the goddess of love, and so the planet is associated with femininity and beauty.

Aspects, which are energies relating to the angles of planets within a chart, also appear to have originated during this time, with people such as Ptolemy. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Astrology and Astronomy advanced and spread primarily with the Arabs. The Moors, in particular, tended to spread it further, as they had control of a large chunk of Europe, including most of Spain, and had established centers of learning.

Eventually Astrology made its way across Europe and during Queen Elizabeth the First's reign, there was a law requiring that all surgeons and lawyers had to have been a practicing Astrologer for at least seven years. This law was in effect for about ten years after which the required time was reduced to one year.

Astrology has also been taught in universities, and there are records of astrology being discussed and taught to select students at Harvard in 1721; although Nicholas Culpepper, who died in 1658, was the last doctor of astrology. Other famous Astrologers include Pythagoras, Newton, and Jefferson. Even J.P. Morgan has been quoted as saying "Millionaires don't use astrology; billionaires do."

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why would you use Astrology?

Astrology can be used for a wide variety of purposes including housing, investing and relationship questions. Please check the sections regarding the specific types of astrological analysis for further information.

2. What are the benefits of different Astrological Systems?

The benefits of Western Astrology as opposed to Eastern methods really depends on what a person is more likely to understand. Since some elements of Astrology can be strongly culturally based, it may be more difficult for a Westerner to follow Chinese or Vedic astrology, and vice versa. However, if a person has a solid understanding of the cultural archetypes, then there may not be any problem whatsoever.

3. What should you consider regarding Astrology?

The person considering Astrological analysis should think about their expectations. Given the number of factors at play, it needs to be understood that astrology is not exact. Another aspect to consider is the type and house system used. Some people find that certain systems of Astrology do not seem to work for them at all. For example, using one particular House system may resonate with the client while another House system may appear to be off. This is a fairly common occurrence and the person in question should stick with what works for them.

Types of Astrological Analysis

There are various divisions of the assortment of ways of using astrology that include the following.


A type of Astrology where a person's natal chart is overlaid on a map of the world.

Electional Astrology

Used to determine the best time for an event such as a marriage, new business, travel, etc.

Horary Astrology

A chart cast to answer a particular question. The person asks a question, and the astrologer creates a chart for that exact moment to answer the question.

Natal Astrology

Calculated based on a chart set to the exact moment and location of a person's birth. This type of astrology tends to focus on what a person is like, their talents and areas of challenge, and what energies they came into life with.

Progressed Astrology

A type of astrology which determines the timing and flavour of how a person grows throughout their life. In short, it looks at when and how you will learn throughout your life. Since the movement of progressed planets is extremely slow, it is primarily the inner planets that tend to create large changes within the chart, although there are instances when the outer planets do so as well.


A type of astrological chart that looks at where celestial bodies are, or will be, either at a specific time, or across a period of time such as a year in relation to a person's natal chart.


1. Gerwick-Brodeur, Madeline and Lenard, Lisa. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Astrology. New York: Alpha Books. 1997.
2. Judd, Steve. "The Astrology of History." At the Retreat, Swansea, England. 26 Feb 2006. www.stevejudd.com.
3. Marks, Bob. "Astrology Lessons." Astrology by Bob Marks. 8 Sept 2006. www.bobmarksastrologer.com

Additional information