Is All Astrology The Same?
No, there are at least three types of astrology:
- Sun Sign astrology,
- Predictive astrology, and
- Psychological astrology.
Sun Sign astrology
Sun Sign astrology is the astrology that makes its presence most available in mass market, commercial outlets, namely, the astrology of newspaper columns and horoscope scrolls-“for entertainment purposes only” astrology.
For good or ill, this is the astrology that immediately comes to mind for people that have had a minimum or fair degree of exposure to astrology. The difficulty of Sun Sign astrology is that it reduces a discipline that holds a high degree of psychological complexity into inaccurate soothsaying; it dilutes the complexity of real astrology.
Sun Sign astrology is of very little utility and rather than being a gateway into more serious and insightful forms of astrology, turns away educated and intelligent people from further investigation. The appeal of sun sign astrology may work in the same fashion that deeper, more complex forms of astrology function, namely to give one a sense of connectedness with something deeper or greater than one’s self and to create an entry point into self-knowledge. However, if one has a religious experience while reading a daily horoscope, you may want to curb your coffee intake at breakfast.
Predictive astrology, as the name implies, is the use of astrology for making accurate and concrete predictions concerning the future. This type of astrology enjoyed its greatest usage and popularity from the Roman Empire through the Renaissance and was in fact synonymous with astrology until the twentieth century.
Unlike Sun Sign astrology, predictive astrology can–and often does–utilize the full complexity of the astrological language. Questions such as “When will I find a new job,” “What is the likelihood of my current relationship working,” and “When is the jackpot of money that I’ve always suspected should be mine coming into my life?” all fall under the aegis of predictive astrology.
The danger of predictive astrology is that it often panders to the negative side of human behavior and thinking: fear or lack of responsibility for one’s life and life choices; false or over-inflated trust and optimism in something outside one’s self; regressive, magical thinking; lack of ego strength.
Moreover, predictive astrology that works on a concrete and highly specific level, i.e., assumes that it can pinpoint time, place, and outcomes in a very unambiguous way, is a highly hit-or-miss affair.
Often predictive astrology fuels the human desire to have complete mastery or control over one’s environment and destiny which often runs counter to astrology’s higher ambitions: to increase consciousness, self-knowledge and to see an intelligence at work in one’s life.
However, predictive astrology can be of great utility in terms of assisting knowledge of knowing when and how certain trends and patterns–as opposed to specific events with guaranteed outcomes–will manifest. This feeds more the human need to work with and cooperate with forces greater than one’s self than an obsessive and neurotic need to be in complete control and dominance of life.
Psychological Astrology emerged in the twentieth century, and this synthesis of psychology with astrology is arguably the greatest contribution to astrology of the previous hundred years. After a period of insignificance and relative unpopularity, astrology re-emerged in the twentieth century to synthesize with the insights of depth and humanistic-oriented psychologies, “moving,” as Victor Denis Purcel argues, “away from event-oriented astrology to one of growth and transformation.” (1)
Astrological counselor Maria Mateus further elaborates: It is understood in this approach, that an individual’s birth chart contains a symbolic representation of that person’s psyche. From the chart, one can get an understanding of aspects relating to the individual’s personality; his/her motivating needs, desires, and deep-seated fears; natural talents and limitations; dynamics involving the parents, which have become internalized as part of the individual’s psychological make-up. (2)
It is the purpose of psychological astrology to emphasize the possible interpretations of the birth chart and positive and negative potentials inherent in the personality from a nonjudgmental and facilitative perspective.
(1) Purcel, Victor. Humanistic-Existential Astrology: Principles and Evolution. 2000.