What Is Astrology? (And What It’s Not)

So what is astrology exactly? Human beings have been measuring the stars and planets since the dawn of civilization. But astrology has evolved over eons. 

Astrology defined

Essentially, astrology is the study of cycles. Since 30,000 BC, humans have been watching the skies, beginning with cave drawings that have evolved into the complex mathematical systems we use today. 

But just like any other scientific experiment, astrology involves observing data, noting patterns and drawing hypotheses. 

From there, personality archetypes were created based on the revolution of each planet through the sky. Based on the timing of planetary movements, astrologers make predictions, forecasting what might occur when a planet orbits through a particular zodiac sign. And that’s just the beginning. 

Whether you consider astrology a science, a mystical tool or something weirdly “innnteresting,” one thing’s for sure: you could study this subject for your whole lifetime and still have more to learn.

What is free will astrology?

After learning about your own birth chart and finding your own answers to “what is astrology?”, you’ll probably start doing your friends’ charts, or looking up zodiac signs of romantic partners and coworkers, family and friends—even “frenemies” and exes.

As you hone your new starry superpowers, you’ll want to use them responsibly. Before looking at anyone’s chart or zodiac sign, take a moment to remind them (and yourself) that human beings have free will, because we have consciousness.

That means we can always make our own choices, no matter what the stars are doing. Even if we don’t like the circumstances that the stars seem to have caused, we can always choose how we respond to them. Astrology is not meant to be a substitute for personal responsibility or self-awareness, but rather, a tool to enhance it.

What is an astrology chart?

Your astrology chart is a blueprint

Your astrology chart gives you a blueprint—your “factory settings,” we like to say. And the paradox is, the more you understand how you’re wired astrologically, the more free will you gain. 

It’s like doing any personal growth work: you become aware of your “blind spots,” or the places where you were unaware. The lights go on. You can see more—and that sets you free.

We are not victims of the stars, but rather, co-designers of this awesome cosmic canvas called life. So as you share this information as a healing tool, be sure to emphasize that the goal is enlightenment, never fear.

Is astrology a science?

Is astrology a science, a superstition, something in between? It depends who you ask, of course.

While astrology is not a science by today’s definition, many astrologers follow the true scientific method of observing first, then drawing conclusions based on the evidence they gather. Astrology is based on mathematical principles and measurable planetary movements. But it’s also an intuitive art, since forecasts and chart readings rely on human interpretation.

Are you an astrology skeptic or cynic? A clarification

Many times, we’ve heard people say they are “skeptical” about astrology, when they are really just dismissing it without any knowledge or experience.

While we’re no astro-pushers, we have developed an intelligent response to the naysayers. Our suggestion? Rather than blindly “believe” in astrology, follow the path of a true skeptic: someone who suspends judgment and observes before drawing conclusions. Otherwise, you actually are a cynic. We encourage everyone to take a true skeptical approach: try out the system of astrology (perhaps with a chart reading) before shooting it down. 

Johannes Kepler, the great 17th century (Capricorn) mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, put it best: “[My] belief in the effects of constellations derives…from experience, which is so convincing it can be denied only by people who have not examined it.” 

So what is astrology in simple terms?

Astrology is NOT:

  • A substitute for free will and choice
  • A tool to manipulate others
  • A fated destiny (we are always making choices)
  • A cosmic mistake
  • Learned without effort, study and observation 

Astrology IS:

  • A valuable tool for self-awareness
  • A personalized blueprint of basic human urges possessed by all people of all cultures and all time
  • A treasure map leading its owner to the goal of a lifetime: self-actualization
  • An imprint of the cosmic/universal forces operating at the time of your birth, and a picture of the part your soul chose to play in the story
  • A study of synchronicity
  • A lifelong study and pursuit
  • A practical guide to the constructive use, direction and development of your unique energies
  • A way of understanding the people you’re drawn to (or clash with), and why
  • Your own personal myth or “hero’s journey”
  • A scientifically-based philosophy… and a philosophically based science 

Happy stargazing as you learn astrology!

If you’re just getting started, go here to do your own birth chart for free and get a complimentary short report on all the planetary placements in your chart. This is your cosmic blueprint and the first key to unlocking your starry superpowers!

Check out all the resources in the Astrology section of Astrostyle to learn more about your chart.


The AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of Astrostyle.com and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.