What Is The Definition Of Astrology

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  • Nature and significance
  • Historical development
    • Astrology after the Hellenistic period
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Define astrology. Astrology synonyms, astrology pronunciation, astrology translation, English dictionary definition of astrology. The study of the positions and motions of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences. Astrology meaning: 1. The study of the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars in the belief that. Discover what your REAL Sign Sign is with this free Star Sign Calulator from Horoscope Dates!

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Robert Andrew GilbertSee All Contributors
Antiquarian bookseller. Author of The Golden Dawn: Twilight of the Magicians and others.

Astrology, type of divination that involves the forecasting of earthly and human events through the observation and interpretation of the fixed stars, the Sun, the Moon, and the planets. Devotees believe that an understanding of the influence of the planets and stars on earthly affairs allows them to both predict and affect the destinies of individuals, groups, and nations. Though often regarded as a science throughout its history, astrology is widely considered today to be diametrically opposed to the findings and theories of modern Western science.

Nature and significance

Astrology is a method of predicting mundane events based upon the assumption that the celestial bodies—particularly the planets and the stars considered in their arbitrary combinations or configurations (called constellations)—in some way either determine or indicate changes in the sublunar world. The theoretical basis for this assumption lies historically in Hellenistic philosophy and radically distinguishes astrology from the celestial omina (“omens”) that were first categorized and cataloged in ancient Mesopotamia. Originally, astrologers presupposed a geocentric universe in which the “planets” (including the Sun and Moon) revolve in orbits whose centres are at or near the centre of the Earth and in which the stars are fixed upon a sphere with a finite radius whose centre is also the centre of the Earth. Later the principles of Aristotelianphysics were adopted, according to which there is an absolute division between the eternal, circular motions of the heavenly element and the limited, linear motions of the four sublunar elements: fire, air, water, earth.

Special relations were believed to exist between particular celestial bodies and their varied motions, configurations with each other, and the processes of generation and decay apparent in the world of fire, air, water, and earth. These relations were sometimes regarded as so complex that no human mind could completely grasp them; thus, the astrologer might be readily excused for any errors. A similar set of special relations was also assumed by those whose physics was more akin to that of the Greek philosopher Plato. For the Platonic astrologers, the element of fire was believed to extend throughout the celestial spheres, and they were more likely than the Aristotelians to believe in the possibility of divine intervention in the natural processes through celestial influences upon the Earth, since they believed in the deity’s creation of the celestial bodies themselves.


The role of the divine in astrological theory varies considerably. In its most rigorous aspect, astrology postulates a totally mechanistic universe, denying to the deity the possibility of intervention and to man that of free will; as such, it was vigorously attacked by orthodox Christianity and Islam. For some, however, astrology is not an exact science like astronomy but merely indicates trends and directions that can be altered either by divine or by human will. In the interpretation of Bardesanes, a Syrian Christian scholar (154–c. 222)—who has often been identified as a Gnostic (a believer in esoteric salvatory knowledge and the view that matter is evil and spirit good)—the motions of the stars govern only the elemental world, leaving the soul free to choose between the good and the evil. Man’s ultimate goal is to attain emancipation from an astrologically dominated material world. Some astrologers, such as the Harranians (from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Harran) and the Hindus, regard the planets themselves as potent deities whose decrees can be changed through supplication and liturgy or through theurgy, the science of persuading the gods or other supernatural powers. In still other interpretations—e.g., that of the Christian Priscillianists (followers of Priscillian, a Spanish ascetic of the 4th century who apparently held dualistic views)—the stars merely make manifest the will of God to those trained in astrological symbolism.

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Significance of astral omens

The view that the stars make manifest the divine will is closest to the concept that lies behind the ancient Mesopotamian collections of celestial omens. Their primary purpose was to inform the royal court of impending disaster or success. These might take the forms of meteorological or epidemic phenomena affecting entire human, animal, or plant populations. Frequently, however, they involved the military affairs of the state or the personal lives of the ruler and his family. Since the celestial omina were regarded not as deterministic but rather as indicative—as a kind of symbolic language in which the gods communicated with men about the future and as only a part of a vast array of ominous events—it was believed that their unpleasant forebodings might be mitigated or nullified by ritual means or by contrary omens. The bāru (the official prognosticator), who observed and interpreted the celestial omina, was thus in a position to advise his royal employer on the means of avoiding misfortunes; the omens provided a basis for intelligent action rather than an indication of an inexorable fate.

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If you've even dipped your toe into the vast universe of astrology, then you probably know that you have a whole astrological birth chart full of zodiac signs, houses, and planets that comprise your cosmic profile. And while you may have the scoop on your sun, moon, and rising signs, do you know what your descendent sign means in astrology? This significant angle in your chart can shed a lot of light on your relationships — both with other people and with yourself.

Unlike your sun and moon signs, the descendent sign is represented by an angular point in the birth chart rather than an actual planet or celestial body. It's one of four important angles in every astrology chart, all of which are located on an X/Y axis (see the chart below for a visual — each point is labeled with letters on the perimeter of the zodiac wheel). The midheaven sign (often labeled MC for short) and the imum coeli sign (labeled IC for short) represent your public and private life, respectively, and they're located at the top and bottom of a chart. But the descendent sign (DC) is located on the left side of a chart, opposite to the ascendent sign (AC). While your ascendent (aka the rising sign) represents your surface-level personality and self-image, the descendent sign in astrology is all about what you seek in relationships with others.

How To Calculate Your Descendent Sign

Astrology Vs Astronomy

In order to find out your descendent sign, you need to know your exact birth time. Dig up your birth certificate and consult a professional astrologer to get the dish, or use an online birth chart calculator to figure it out at home. If you already have a copy of your birth chart, you can look to the cusp of the seventh house and locate which zodiac sign it starts in. That's your descendent sign — and the qualities of that zodiac sign can tell you a lot about what sorts of qualities you may be attracted to in a potential partner.

What Does The Descendent Sign Represent?

Definition Of Horoscope

Just as our ascendant sign marks the cusp of our first house of self, the descendent represents the cusp of our seventh house of partnerships. This house rules over all of our closest one-on-one relationships and the commitments we make to other people — which includes our bosses, business partners, and best friends. But it especially applies to our love lives and romantic partners. That said, our descendent sign can tell us a lot about what we're attracted to in other people, how we want to govern over the important commitments and partnerships in our lives, and even the parts of ourselves that we may struggle to embrace.

Because our descendent sign is in direct opposition to our rising sign, it embodies the exact opposite qualities to those that we actively project into the world. So, our rising sign dictates how we appear to others and what sort of image we create for ourselves — it's about our first impressions, our reactions to things, and our surface personalities. But the descendent, on the other hand, is everything our rising sign isn't.


All the tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses that we (consciously or subconsciously) push into the shadows can be found in our descendent sign. That's part of why we'll continually find ourselves drawn to these very qualities. They're like the missing pieces of our personality puzzle — the holes that we're always looking to fill through our relationships with other people. The 'opposites attract' theory is in full force here: There's a palpable (and sometimes irresistible) tension that forms between the qualities we embrace in ourselves and the ones we push away or feel that we lack. So it makes sense that the ones we don't have are also the ones that we find ourselves subconsciously pulled in by.

But there's an important synergy to note here, too. Opposing zodiac signs may clash, but because they share the same 'axis' in astrology, they actually have similar values and goals. That said, it makes sense that we're attracted to the qualities of our descendent — it represents a different way of achieving what we want to achieve, and that's naturally going to be intriguing.

What Is The Definition Of Astrology In Biology

What Can We Learn From Our Descendent Sign?

What Is The Definition Of Astrology

Our descendent sign represents things that we admire in others, in part because they're things we have trouble accessing within ourselves. There's a natural attraction to these qualities, even if they feel unnatural to us. That's why we often seek to bring our descendent sign's qualities into our lives through outside relationships. Horoscope for libra tomorrow. For example, you might find yourself entering into a lot of close partnerships with people who are born under the sign of your descendent.

And if you don't, then maybe you should start — the sign that rules your descendent could prove to be an ideal zodiac match for you, as they'll likely embody many of the qualities that spark your interest in relationships. Someone with your descendent sign's energy can offer balance and synergy to your personality, which could bode well for a successful romantic partnership or business endeavor.

But ultimately, one of the reasons we may seek out people and relationships that embody our descendent sign's qualities is because we're trying to find ways to express those qualities within ourselves. And if we're not honest with ourselves about this struggle, then our descendant sign could also point to qualities that we project onto others, dislike, or feel jealousy over. That said, we may subconsciously seek out relationships that align with our descendent's energy as a way to mirror to our own negative qualities. If you find yourself repeatedly drawn to or critical of a certain personality type, try to find some clarity by examining your descendent sign and being honest about how those qualities manifest in you.