When someone asks me if I "believe" in astrology, my response is inspired by the late Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, who, when asked if he "believed" in God responded, "No, I do not believe in God, I know God." Jung's distinction between belief and knowing intrigued me.
Yes, I pondered, there is a distinction between that which we believe to be true and that which we know to be true. I concluded for myself that belief requires trust, a feeling, imagination, hope, faith, and a deep conviction and commitment to the subject, person, or experience that one "believes in." Although it may be subjective, I further concluded that knowledge is learned information that is tangible, provable for the most part, and supported by hands on experience. Knowledge fosters the thinking realm of the individual.
One person may believe in fairies without ever having had a real encounter with them. Another individual may have had a life altering sighting of fairies, and, therefore, has a unique knowledge of fairies that the person without the experience may never have. It is a very different reality for the individual who dreams of seeing a fairy verses the individual who has actually seen one.
I do not believe in astrology. I do not dream of it or imagine it to be real. As a practicing professional astrologer for twenty years and a committed student for thirty, I have established a respectable knowledge of the subject, and I am sufficiently satisfied with my own knowledge and experience with astrology. I know astrology. I have studied it and I can attest that it benefits those who choose to use it as a tool in life.
As opposed to a map of a country (where East is on the right and West is on the left), East in a birth chart is on the left while West is on the right. Therefore, your Rising Sign is located at the left-side of the wheel – at the middle point of the arc on that side of the circle of the zodiac.
Approximately every 2 to 2 ½ days – as the Moon moves through any sign in the zodiac – it reaches a point in its journey where it has made major alignments (conjunctions, sextiles, squares and oppositions) to all of the main celestial bodies. There will then be a time-period – lasting a few minutes, several hours and, every so often, even more than 24 hours – when the Moon won't make any more of these "major alignments." It is then considered void-of-course – until it enters the next sign of the zodiac.
The meaning of the void-of-course Moon is also controversial. Some people believe that nothing significant happens – particularly on the material plane – and that key activities and plans begun during a void-of-course Moon will not work out as hoped for and expected.
Around the world, astrologers have differing methods of calculating void-of-course Moon cycles. There is confusion over whether to incorporate using, say, Chiron, and the 4 main asteroids when calculating void-of-course Moon starting times.
For some professionals in astrology, it is wise to finish old business during a void lunar cycle, but leave new and bold enterprises until such time as the Moon shifts into the next sign of the zodiac.
The philosophy and practice regarding the void-of-course Moon is still very much up in the air and the jury is still out about how significant and important it is. As you learn more about astrology, be eager to study a wide variety of viewpoints when it comes to this topic.
Ever since the first 4 asteroids – Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta – were made available to professional astrologers in 1972 via the publication of an Ephemeris (courtesy of Eleanor Bach of New York, one of the foremost pioneers in asteroid research), thousands of practitioners and researchers in our field have utilized their archetypal meanings, qualities and themes with great insight and wisdom.
To many professional astrologers of the last 4 decades, these asteroids are as essential to a birth chart as the Sun, Moon, 8 planets, and the Nodes of the Moon. Because almost all the anciently-known planets were named after Gods rather than Goddesses, astrology – as practiced for the past 2000 years – was strongly "male-dominated." Without having these 4 "Asteroid Goddesses" in today's birth maps, our current knowledge and understanding of chart dynamics would remain imbalanced and off-kilter.
Realize, too, that there are many thousands of other asteroids in the orbit between Mars and Jupiter – where a planet might have exploded eons ago or never congealed in the first place. The first four asteroids were discovered between 1801 and 1807, and, when they were discovered, the astronomers who sighted them believed them to be actual planets. It was only several decades later that they were named "asteroids" to distinguish them from full-sized planetary bodies.