The accuracy and usefulness of astrology is a highly charged and debatable topic. Most people have strong opinions either way while others look upon astrology as frivolous entertainment.
Usefulness Of Astrology
The most controversial yet popular application of astrology is as a predictive tool. In days of yore, astrologers had very important positions in a King’s court. Astrologers helped predict outcomes and thereby help the King to make better decisions. Personal astrologers predict the entire pattern of a person’s life based on their time and longitude and latitude of birth. This invites a discussion on free will.
Astrology is also a diagnostic tool to believers. When faced with inexplicable roadblocks in life, some people go to an astrologer. The astrologer tries to diagnose the problem and suggest remedies to help. This can range from medical problems to financial troubles. There are astrologers who can help suggest remedies for delays in marriage, childbirth or any other desired outcome. Medical astrology is a specialised field in astrology. The birth chart is studied to help shed further light on the reasons for and possible remedies for health issues.
In certain cultures, arranged marriages are finalised based on the compatibility of the intended couple’s birth charts. It is a whole separate field of astrology and there are astrologers who devote their entire careers to horoscope matching.
Timing And Decision Making
People use astrology and astrology based calendars to determine the best time to start or perform a certain action or event. This is based on the belief that well placed and auspicious planets and time will have a beneficial influence on the outcome of the event or action.
Astrology has also been useful in people looking to astrologers to help them understand themselves better. Since the birth chart tells the astrologer so much about the person, it is thought to be of great help for a person to understand himself. An astrologer can describe his strengths and limitations and how to overcome them.
Accuracy And Truthfulness
The accuracy of astrologers is a much-debated topic. With people relying on astrology for important life-changing decisions, it is important to discuss how truthful and accurate this practice is.
The entire birth chart is based on the time of birth. So, this very piece of data becomes a cause of mistrust. There is no definition of which precise stage of birth is the time of birth. Sceptics question the accuracy of the time of birth recorded. This then leads to the speculation of how the charts of twins could differ.
There is absolutely no standardisation or a given set of rules for an astrologer studying a chart. There are different schools of astrology and different texts that each astrologer swears by. Family-based schools of astrology only pass their knowledge down within the family. These closely guarded rules are not open to scrutiny. There as many individual ways of interpreting a chart or even interpreting a specific astrological rule as there are astrologers. So, the sceptic would be hard put to accept that astrology is a well defined and structured science.
As any astrology student will tell you, there are so many ways to interpret a specific point in a chart. Supporters of astrology agree that the accuracy of the reading is based on the individual merits of the astrologer. Some people believe that experience makes the best astrologer while others believe that it is the level of spiritual practice that makes an astrologer accurate. Sceptics believe that most times the readings and statements of the astrologer are so generalised and sweeping that they are not truly useful.
Most of the schools of astrology originated in ancient times. Therefore the planets used were the ones visible to the naked eye and not the outer planets. Sceptics argue that they should also have an influence. Some schools of astrology do use the outer planets but old school astrologers stick to their traditions of only using the heavenly bodies specified in the ancient texts.
Precession or the shifting of the constellations is also a factor that the traditional schools of astrology do not take into account. The twelve signs of the zodiac originally corresponded exactly with the constellations. But, this has seen a shift in the last 2000 years. Since traditional astrologers apply the original constellation definitions their accuracy is questionable.
Free Will Vs Destiny
The possibility of an entire lifetime being predictable makes one question free will as well as the very purpose of being born. Some believers in astrology would argue that the planets are just markers that show us a roadmap and that the rest is entirely dependant on free will.
So, astrology is yet to be absolutely scientifically proven as true. But, there are many people and cultures that rely on this ancient practice with absolute faith.