How Does Astrology Work?

Astrology Chart

Astrology Chart for London, 6th August 2012

This is a newspaper horoscope today for Scorpio:

“Venus enters your zone of adventure and breaking new ground. If you are single, the first time you visit a new club or bar love will appear.”

So , according to Mystic Meg, one in twelve of the available population who find themselves in a bar today will meet a new partner. We all know this is complete garbage. And therefore astrology must be a load of old superstitious nonsense, with those who believe in it seriously deluded and out of touch with the real world, right?

This, however, is not astrology. In truth, newspaper horoscopes are nothing more than a bit of light entertainment containing generalized astrological information which has little or no practical use. Newspaper horoscopes are based solely on the sign that the Sun was in when you were born and so apply to 1/12 of the populace.

A true astrology reading is based on the date, time and place of birth, and so is unique to every single person. In addition to the Sun, the sign and house placements of all eight planets and the Moon must be taken into account along with how they connect and interact with each other. An astrologer’s job is to synthesize this vast amount of information and translate it into language that has a practical application in a person’s life.

One of the major misunderstandings is that people believe astrologers are saying the planets out there in space are somehow doing something to us and affecting our lives here on Earth. But it does not work in this cause and effect manner. In astrology, the planets are symbolic of energies that are within us, with each planet relating to a different aspect of our nature. For example, the Moon represents our emotional, feminine, receptive and nurturing side, while Mercury relates to our mind, how we process information and our communication skills, amongst other things. A person’s natal astrology chart can be seen as an energetic map of their psyche.

In order to understand how the planets in space can describe what is going on with us it is vital to recognize that in life everything is connected and everything is One. From this Universal perspective, what happens on the macrocosm scale (the position of the planets) is reflected in the microcosm (a person). “As above, so below” as the ancients said. There is an acausal connecting principle between the two, something the psychologist and astrologer Carl Jung called synchronicity, which he explained thus: “whatever is born or done at this particular moment of time, has the quality of this moment of time”.

To use the analogy of a clock—the hands on the clock tell the time, but they do not cause it. In the same way the position of the planets describe a person and the kinds of experiences they have in life but do not cause them.

This is not a scientific method and makes no sense from a traditional, logic-based approach. Astrology is not a science. No scientific study has ever been able to, and never will, prove astrology through large-scale statistical study. And yet it works consistently for individual people and individual readings. How can this be?

Well, ultimately astrology is the study of all the energies behind life. The wiring under the boards, if you like. And life, while it contains science within it, does not function by purely scientific means. There is a mysterious element involved that cannot be understood by the logical mind because the mind is a part of the whole. And a part of the whole cannot understand the whole. The deep truths about life will never be understood by the mind and explained by language. Yet they can be experienced. Anyone who has had a mystical or spiritual experience can attest to this. The truth of astrology can also be experienced although nobody will ever be able to “prove” it. The proof is in the individual, personalized reading and the relevance it has in that person’s life.

Another reason why astrology is not a science is because it needs an astrologer to synthesize the mass of information. Computerized (scientific) programs can give a snapshot of the different elements in a person’s make-up individually, but cannot view the chart as an integrated whole (which, of course a person is). Now, the astrologer has his own energetic configuration, as shown by his chart, and this will influence to some degree how he decodes the chart in front of him. Each astrologer will have a slightly different take on a chart, but this does not make them nor astrology inaccurate or invalid. Life is lived subjectively and astrology reflects this.

You could almost say that a person’s astrology chart is like a filter through which they see the world. This is a good way of looking at it, though ultimately the truth is that there is no single objective reality out there. Everybody sees and experiences the world slightly differently – even if you are standing next to somebody viewing the same landscape you would not experience it in exactly the same way. You could both agree you are looking at a tree, but how that tree looks to you will not be the same as for the other person. Our internal perceptions mirror our external reality . What we see and experience is real for us, but different for everybody else. This is how we live our lives, not in an objective, detached manner.

Astrology is able to describe how somebody experiences the world, which is directly linked to what is going on inside of them (their energetic make-up). Again, one does not cause the other, but there is a link between the two. Having a personalized reading with a skilful astrologer can enlighten you as to why certain things keep happening and guide you to the best way to overcome the challenges that life throws your way. It can also reveal hidden talents, indicate what career you are best suited to, what lessons you are supposed to learn and how to align your life in a way that brings genuine peace, happiness and fulfillment. A happy life full of love is every single person’s birthright. Astrology is a powerful tool for guiding you to this way of being.

It is not necessary to believe in astrology to be helped by it. Simply be open to the possibility that there is more to the discipline than Mystic Meg telling you that you are going to find love in a nightclub tonight. Maybe then you will discover that astrology really can assist you in understanding and resolving longstanding issues and questions about yourself, enabling you to live a happier, more fulfilling life.


Mark FlahertyAuthor Bio

Mark Flaherty works as an astrologer with an international client base. Find out more and schedule a reading at

Mark is also the author of Shedding the Layers: How Ayahuasca Saved More Than My Skin which chronicles the years he spent with shamans in the Amazon jungle healing an agonizing illness diagnosed by doctors as incurable. Read more about this story at


Mark Flaherty

I am the author of Shedding the Layers: How Ayahuasca Saved More Than My Skin, which chronicles the years I spent in the Amazon jungle with shamans fighting to heal and agonising and supposedly incurable illness:

I work as an astrologer with an international client base. Find out more and schedule a reading here:

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34 Comments on "How Does Astrology Work?"

  1. DrinkyMcGee | Aug 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm |

    Once you’ve admitted that there is no scientific evidence for something you nonetheless ardently believe . . . well, at least you admit there’s no evidence. Good luck with your bunkum.

  2. Nunzio X | Aug 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm |

    Uranus is in retrograde.

    My anus isn’t.

  3. how does astrology work?

    it doesn’t.

    hope this helps, have a nice day.

  4. rus Archer | Aug 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm |

    every single person is unique because of course no 2 people are ever born in the same half hour in the same zip code

    • Research | Aug 8, 2012 at 2:29 am |

      Really?.. even been to a hospital maternity ward? Take china or india. child birth within 1 minute is very common.

      Or take twins? They are born within minutes. Still their behavior is different.

      Like the author told in this article, its not the actual planets that cause the effects. Its the energies within us which is unique for each one of us and which is what is being represented as planets and are read by an astrologer.

      Ignorance is not an excuse.

      • Researchisamoron | Aug 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

        Seriously? You didn’t catch that the comment you are responding to was ultra sarcastic? Go outside and hit yourself in the head with a shovel please. I’ll wait…

  5. Erick Vecchiato | Aug 7, 2012 at 6:11 pm |

    “We all know this is complete garbage”

    Glad you know too, astrology is bullshit.

  6. you sad people, did RAW teach you NOTHING at all?

    • Ultimatewarriorlives | Aug 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm |

      It depends…Are you referring to MONDAY NIGHT RAW? Because I I didn’t pick up any life lessons from John Cena…

  7. This is a whole lot of words about nothing.

  8. Mark Flaherty | Aug 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm |

    Clearly many people do not believe in astrology, and that is fine by me. I am not looking to convince anybody of anything. I would simply say that if you are interested find out for yourself. I do not “believe” in astrology, but I study it and I know that it works. Belief and knowledge are two very different things. I can guarantee that every single person who says astrology is nonsense has not studied it and does not understand what it actually is and how it works.

    • Disinfo is a hard place to get support for astrology
      the crowd here tends to be skeptical rather than mystical or gullible

      I had a girl friend who was a Vedic astrologer
      so I saw firsthand how astrology doesn’t really work
      her life was not significantly better because she could read the stars
      nor did her clients benefit in a significant way
      other than someone to commiserate with

      “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
      But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

      • DeepCough | Aug 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm |

        “Disinfo is a hard place to get support for astrology”

        I find that hard to believe given all the useless articles and interviews about “magick” [sic].

        • I don’t see a lot of buy-in for magick as magic here either
          astrology is a nice tool for self-reflection
          magick can help focus the mind

          every major culture has developed both practices
          as a means of divination
          some have found the self-reflective parts of these practices
          more helpful than the divination

          however, for astrology to really work
          the future has to be already determined
          and life, merely an puppet dance through the preordained steps

          • Mark Flaherty | Aug 8, 2012 at 3:23 am |

            Hi BuzzCoastin,

            That’s another myth about astrology that it says life is pre-destined and already determined. It does not. We write the story of our lives as we live it. As I stated in the article, astrology is concerned with the energies within us. How that manifests externally is down to our own responses to the psychological drives and issues we feel within – these things can be charted by astrology. Event prediction, in my experience, not so much. 

          • right on,
            astrology as predictor requires a puppet dance
            astrology as a tool of self-reflection does not

            and I always enjoyed the character analysis
            afforded by the constellated archetypes 
            in all the various forms of astrology
            western, vedic, burmise, chinese and the lot
            aries, picese, garuda, dragon and some others

          • Mark Flaherty | Aug 8, 2012 at 5:15 am |

            Absolutely. Self-knowledge and self-understanding is the highest use of astrology.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Aug 8, 2012 at 5:20 am |

            Everything requires a puppet dance.

      • Monkey See Monkey Do | Aug 8, 2012 at 5:27 am |

        Actually the crowd here tends to be mystical aswell as skeptical, anyone who can’t reconcile the two is gullible.

      • Jesus Gomez | Aug 8, 2012 at 10:51 am |

        It depends on the person doing Astrology, and how they were using it.  I haven’t practiced Vedic astrology, but Western astrology is easy to learn and seems accurate to me, at least in the sense of learning about oneself.  Predicting events with astrology is tricky, because it’s not as straightforward of reading the transits and making a “cookbook” interpretation.  The interpretation is more easily done by the one living such transits.  To me, astrology is the study of cycles.  Each person has cycles and tendencies in their lives, and these cycles and tendencies can be predicted.  For example, most of us go to work from 8-5 Monday through Friday. That is a cycle that can be easily predicted.  Then we have the yearly rituals of buying gifts around christmas or the day after thanksgiving, getting a gym membership in the first week of January, or trying to get in shape in the sprint time.  Obviously these are mundane cycles, but it says something about our human nature.  We are predictable, and our tendencies can follow cycles too.  Being addicted to drugs for a certain period of time due to our desire to escape from reality is cycle.  Being a hard working person could be due to a childhood full poverty, or being a skeptic may be due to being brought up in a religious household only to see hypocrisy, false claims, and broken promises in the religion thus becoming skeptic.

    • Anomaly_of_Anomie | Aug 8, 2012 at 3:08 am |

      The best kept secrets are shrouded in skepticism.  

    • Jesus Gomez | Aug 8, 2012 at 10:41 am |

      I agree too.  I was skeptical at first and I didn’t understand Astrology much.  Now that I have been practicing it for about 4 years I know that it works.  People just don’t understand it enough.

  9. Miracles | Aug 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm |

    fuckin astrology how does it work

  10. Twins.  Bam.  I just disproved all of astrology.

    • Jesus Gomez | Aug 8, 2012 at 10:53 am |

      Twins aren’t born at the same time, that would kill a woman.  Twins are born minutes apart, which makes a big difference in each of their lives.  However, look at some of the stories of twins living apart since birth, and you can see that somehow they live very similar lives.

  11. Hmmm, I think the author of the article did an OK job, I don’t think this information is really meant for the hardened skeptic crowd. I can maybe see it more geared towards people who place their life and faith on the horoscopes in the newspaper, always seemed weird to me to allow some randomer to define the day’s reality for you to such an extent. At least this guy tries to point you in the direction of the theory of synchronicity, rather than leaving everything in this mysterious haze the newspaper jobbies seem to.

    Also from what I can gather alot of the inaccuracy in astrology comes from the fact that there are planetary e.t.c bodies and such that you can’t take into account for in the calculations because we have no idea they exist. I found it particularly hilarious that they just named that new planet ‘Eris’, who’s been fucking with astrology calculations throughout human history. Haw Haw.

  12. Haystack | Aug 8, 2012 at 8:41 am |

    This is not a scientific method and makes no sense from a traditional, logic-based approach. Astrology is not a science. No scientific study has ever been able to, and never will, prove astrology through large-scale statistical study. And yet it works consistently for individual people and individual readings. How can this be?”

    If it has a consistent effect upon people, then that effect can be measured scientifically. The fact that a something is individually-tailored to a given person doesn’t make it a black box to logic and analysis. You only need to compare the results given by people receiving individualized astrological readings to people receiving phony, randomized readings, and see if there is a difference. 

    If, on the other hand, the claims of astrology are really so vague that they can’t be tested, then neither can you say that it “works”. You can only make the anecdotal claim that you feel like it does. If it can’t be put to the test, then it also can’t be confirmed. 

  13. Agentof4tune | Aug 8, 2012 at 9:12 am |

    the truth is ANY time you walk in a bar or club love can appear, because these places are mostly frequented by lonely people, so if this horoscope wakes 1 in 12 people up to the fact that love is all around them at every moment, the so be it, whats the prob?!

  14. NotSoMuch | Aug 8, 2012 at 11:44 am |

    “In astrology, the planets are symbolic of energies that are within us, with each planet relating to a different aspect of our nature” But who originally determined the supposed aspects which are associated with each planet and how were those aspects determined? Fact is, it is completely arbitrary. Not to mention all of the other “heavenly bodies” which are out there…  

    “And yet it works consistently for individual people and individual readings. How can this be?” Because it is a placebo effect for gullible people who have more “faith” then they know what to do with. Faith in and of itself is not a bad thing and perhaps those who follow astrology do find meaning/contentment whenever they encounter a random coincidence because it reinforces a feedback loop in their brain confirming what they already believe. 

  15. I loved nearly everything in this article, but I cringed a little when it was said that astrology is not a science, nor that science would ever be able to explain it. I agree that Science has been pitted against mysticism, religion, and so on, for quite a while now. But science, not Science, is a process of investigation, not an institution. The popular media uses science as an authority to claim and disclaim whatever serves the highest interests. Science is for exploring, not for selling stuff.

    I think astrology was probably one of the first sciences. When humans first began to recognize and associate the different features of their surrounding world, they looked up at the sky. They took note of what they say up there along with what was happening inside themselves and in their immediate surroundings. Early agriculture was built upon cycles of the Sun and Moon.

    Astrology is absolutely a science, but it cannot be “proven” by going in with the intention of refuting the worst charlatanism representing it today, as has been done in the past by Dawkins and others. Astrology must be reexamined from the bottom up. There have already been studies on fertility in humans born at one time of year as compared with another which prove that concrete biological differences exist between those born at different times throughout the year. More could be explored in this direction. Just like only certain varieties of plant and animal life are born into certain times, it seems logical that this should apply to humans. 

    As for the planets affecting or not affecting conditions on Earth: The Moon clearly affects everything on Earth in a very scientifically proven way. Do we need mention the Sun? All planets in the solar system have been circling around in a very cooperative way for a very long time. They have been reflecting the Sun’s light on to Earth and each other and they have been producing momentum and energy through their perpetual motion. This energy interacts absolutely. It’s like the gears inside a clock, only these gears are made of energy instead of metal. All of this energetic motion moves in a domino affect from these gigantic masses out in space to the smallest atoms existing on their surfaces and within them, including those of Earth. So, yes, in a very scientific sense, Pluto slowly moving into the tenth sector of our star map, whether it’s a star map made by modern scientists or ancient astrologers, has shifted energy signatures based on that position. It’s actually quite logical. The debate is not “is it real?” the debate is “by how much is it real?”

    It is neither mystical nor gullible to say that everything is connected. It is. If it wasn’t none of this would work and Earth would have collided with Venus or some other such nonsense before any of us was born.

    Astrology is scientifically provable, but when we do prove it, will we come up with the same answers that have been made popular by modern astrologers? Until then, I agree absolutely that it is a valuable tool in a person’s self-examination.

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