What is Astrology? What is the correct definition of Astrology? How does Astrology work?

After my kick-off article on how to cast your first chart, I thought that it would make sense to first answer these questions (or at least reflect on it!) before you dive into the interpretation of your cosmic blueprint.

P olarities are everywhere. For example, in psychology Williams James introduced the Idealist-Materialist temperament, which Jung later developed into Introvert-Extrovert type. If we look back into the history, this distinction already existed since Plato (Idealist) and Aristotle (Materialist). Astrology is no exception and currently we find two polarising viewpoints (also referred to as “hard” and “soft” Astrology, according to Jim Tester):


Astrology is the study of the influence of the heavens on human affairs. This is the causal viewpoint, and the one that is given in most dictionaries, which clearly states that the alignment of planets / luminaries / stars directly influence and act as a cause of the earthly events. In this case, it must be operating through an unknown physical force. It is also a more “grounded”, fated and deterministic approach.


Another viewpoint regards Astrology as a system designed to interpret the celestial signs and gain insight into future events, both for individuals and nations, but the link is acausal. That is matter (celestial bodies and derived mathematical points) and meaning (of the astrological symbolism) co-occur, co-exist. Consciousness and matter come from a unified realm and their coherence goes all the way from subatomic level to every level of existence. There is a mirroring effect of sort.

The main modern definition of Astrology, given by astrologers themselves, is that it's a study of correlation between celestial bodies and earthly events.
The adage "Stars incline but do not compel" has found its firm place in the 21st century!

A glimpse into the chronology of Astrological thought.

Claudius Ptolemy, a Greco-Roman scholar in the 2nd century AD, put Astrology into the above-mentioned causal scheme, and explained the influence of the planets and stars as a result of the interaction of difference levels of heat and moisture. This concept also prevailed during the Middle Ages. Then the scientism came and everyone forgot about Astrology and the dilemma we are talking about here.

Astrology was revived in the 20th century and Carl Jung’s theory of “synchronicity” was adapted to explain the workings of Astrology. The gist of it is that there is an “acausal connecting principle”, and the positions and interactions of the celestial objects in a natal chart don’t cause the individual to be as he /she is but simply reflect the cosmic state at a given moment.

While there is definitely a causal relationship between the celestial and physical events (Sun-Moon cycle and the ocean tides; Solar wind and its direct influence on Earth’s magnetosphere), Astrology in its initial stages has been considered as a tool to interpret the “messages of the gods” and the earthly events were said to simply correlate with the celestial ones.

Having passed through a fatalistic stage during the Middle Ages, Astrology of today seems to be more holistic and flexible, with an important individual-centred twist – the so-called Humanistic Astrology. Basically, it says: “You have the power!”

But still, this doesn’t explain how Astrology works!

Both viewpoints are valid and we can’t discard one in favour of the other. However, in an effort to bring Astrology to Academia, how do we inscribe this ancient art into theoretical physics? If Astrology is causal, then there must be a physical force operating in the Universe that we haven’t measured yet. If Astrology is acausal, then we may be talking about a different dimension, which connects all the Universe. In either case, we can’t be satisfied with the statement that Astrology just works through “forces” or “Gods”.

Assuming that Astrology works because we have substantial circumstantial evidence (even if it’s not enough for the scientific community), and it’s part of the Cosmos, then there must be a rational explanation to this phenomenon.

Why not mathematics?

David Cochrane, who practices Vibrational Astrology, has some interesting ideas about how the Zodiac is created. A couple of years ago, hidden geometric structures were discovered in space – it is a jewel-like mathematical object that explains the behaviour of subatomic particles. This discovery facilitates the integration of gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale.

What does it mean for Astrology?  Well, it means that space and time are not so fundamental and that (sacred) geometry may beat the core of our physical world. Surely that sounds like Astrology!

In a nutshell, David’s hypothesis regarding the link between the subatomic particles, its’ properties and the Zodiac is the following: spin is the basic property of subatomic particles (along with mass and charge). However, it’s not a normal spin that a human mind can visualise, which is a circular motion. The spin has angular momentum without actual motion and either generates or is attuned to Pisano periods (periodic functions of Fibonacci numbers). The spin creates geometric structures – 12 divisions of the sky of 30˚ each – through number sequences.

Numbers -> Spin -> Structures.
This means that Numbers are at the core of our Universe and of course, Astrology.
Isn’t it fascinating?

This idea is not as wild as it seems, if we take into consideration that numerology has always been a major factor in Astrology (12 signs of the zodiac, 9thharmonic chart, are just a few examples). Modern research suggests that the distribution of Fibonacci and Prime numbers around the circle creates the zodiac, and we have just scratched the surface of what will be the most exciting 21stcentury discoveries in our beloved art of Astrology.

References and further reading:

  1. Tester, J. (1996). A History of Western Astrology. Boydell Press.
  2. Diaz, A. Approaching Astrology with a 21st century mind (Apr 2017). ANS.
  3. Brennan, C. The Definition of Astrology article (Aug 2011).
  4. Quantamagazine.org. A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics (Sept 2013).
  5. Cochrane, D. How Astrology Works: A New Theoretical Framework (Dec 2016).

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Catherine Sinclair is a professional astrologer and tarot reader, based in the sunny city of Lyon, France. Catherine worked previously as a Business Analyst in pharmaceutical and insurance companies, but Saturn return completely changed her career. Catherine offers consultations in natal, predictive, horary and electional astrology. She is a member of the Astrological Association of Great Britain, International Society for Astrological Research (USA) and Astrological Club of Lyon.

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