Five things astronomical observation can help astrology

Milky Way

If we keep looking at the sky, we will find things not written in the old astrology books. It may be that ancient astrologers took it for granted to look at the sky and didn’t dare write anything down.
I have chosen five things about color, light, and movement that are easy for everyone to imagine.

1. Colors and lights of stars

The planets and stars have their colors and lights. At first glance, this may not seem to do with astrology, but color and light are deeply related to the meanings determined in astrology. For example, it is well known that Mars is red. It is an orange-red color, and it is not hard to imagine that it is associated with fire and conflict. And about every two years, it glows like a red lotus flame. Saturn is yellowish, smaller than Jupiter, with intense, slow-moving light. Mercury is sometimes white, sometimes blue, sometimes yellow, and appears in a variety of ways. The light from Jupiter and Venus is intense and plays a leading role in the sky when it is at its brightest. With these specific images of color, light, and change, the connection to mythology and the background for interpretation becomes more realistic. For example, it tells why Jupiter was considered Zeus and Marduk the Babylonian god.

Aldebaran and Algol

2. Image of Planetary Movement

Each planet has its unique motion, which is taken into account when assigning planetary meanings. The fact that “Saturn is slow and Mercury is fast” can be seen in astrological software and astronomical calendars, but the impression given by the actual movement is quite different. Saturn moves in a cycle that seems to oversee the movements of the other planets, while Mercury is unpredictable. Mercury’s retrograde motion is a well-known phenomenon, and in the latter half of its retrograde phase, it sometimes appears in the eastern sky at dawn. However, the exact timing of its appearance is hard to predict, even with computer calculations. Mercury is genuinely a fickle star.
Also, if you watch the movement of the celestial bodies for three to four hours, you can experience how the planets move from one house to another. The actual movement of stars, which we only learn about in school as “diurnal motion,” is far more dynamic than the explanations in textbooks. The “primary direction method,” a method of predicting the future that has multiple calculation methods and is considered difficult to understand in principle, can be roughly understood by watching the movement of celestial bodies for a few hours.

3. Movement and shape of the Moon

The full and new moons are one of the hottest topics in astrology. However, the changing shape of the Moon and the timing of its appearance is not often discussed. The movement of the Moon and the change in its light have too much relevance to astrology, so I’ll introduce just one. The Moon changes its appearance in a cycle of about 27 days. During that time, she makes a series of aspects to the Sun. So if you look at the shape of the Moon, you can tell its aspect to the Sun. Looking at the Moon every day, you will picture the moon phase and aspects in three months. Then the image of the new Moon and the full Moon may change a little.

Moon Phases and Aspects

4. MC and Ascendant

The MC and Ascendant are displayed as lines in astrological software, but it does not show their three-dimensional positions, changing seasons, and time. Also, the position of the Ascendant is immovable in the software. And it is often imagined that the MC is the highest in the sky (on the ecliptic). In some cases, zenith and MC are confused.
First of all, the Ascendant and MC change their positions dynamically with the passage of time and seasonal changes. The ascendant moves above the horizon in a north-south direction while the MC changes its altitude. It is also incorrect to say that the MC is always in the highest position on the ecliptic. The planet often rises higher than the MC. This misconception has become common because most astrological software represents the sky in two dimensions, and book descriptions depict it as a fixed position.

Figure: The Sun is on the MC at an altitude of 36°. Mercury and Mars are three degrees higher than the Sun. (Image by Stellarium)

5. Background of Rules

Many of the rules in Western astrology are based on astronomical observations. Although it is not used in Modern Astrology, there are many examples such as Combust, Under the Beam, Visibility of the Planets, Oriental and Occidental, Velocity of Planetary Movement, Heliacal Rising, Primary Direction, etc., which are all derived from astronomical observations. There are so many questions that can be answered by looking at the sky. And you’ll notice why the rules are the way they are. Astrological software is handy. It is a privilege for modern people to use them regardless of the weather or location. But the visual information of the colors and light that celestial bodies show us has been replaced by numbers or cut down, and we can only know the actual sky in one aspect.
So, how did people solve the problem on nights when they could not see the stars in the past? They had a celestial globe in their hands for 2,500 years. From the astronomical calendar and the celestial globe, they understood the sky in two and three dimensions.

detail of ancient astronomical device made of brass, shallow depth of field

Awareness of the overwhelming force of nature

The problem with modern astrologers is less understanding of the difference between the sky in the software and the real sky. There is also a crucial truth that Star Observing Fans know, but astrologers do not. It is a simple fact that the stars are not at our disposal. Star Observing Fans are constantly chasing the stars. And they experience many nights without seeing the stars. There is little they can do about the rain, storms, and rushing clouds. All they can do is look at the weather forecast, pick the best spot, and pray. In other words, fate has overwhelmingly surpassed man, and all we can do is to do our best. And I would say that they are more modest than astrologers in terms of awareness of the overwhelming force of nature. Astrologers should never let them get ahead of them with such awareness.

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