An astrologer is someone who studies the movement of celestial bodies, and interprets that information into life events on earth. Astrology has been around since ancient times, and a number of cultures have embraced it as an integral part of their beliefs. Unlike astronomy, which is concerned with the physical properties of celestial objects and how those things affect our universe, astrology uses mythological symbols and legends to describe the movement of planets and constellations in a person’s birth chart.
Some astrologers believe that the motions of stars and planets can determine and influence the fate of mankind. Other astrologers, such as the Syrian Christian scholar Bardesanes (c. 154–c. 222), are believed to have been Gnostic (believers in esoteric salvatory knowledge and the view that matter is evil and spirit is good) who believed that a person could achieve emancipation from an astrologically dominated material world by learning the mystical secrets of the stars and planets.
Many astrologers also claim that the alignment of planets at the time of a person’s birth can determine their personality and intelligence, and predict the future. However, a number of scientific studies have proven this to be false. For example, Shawn Carlson had 28 astrologers make predictions about a large group of individuals, and then compared those results with what actually happened in those people’s lives. He found that the astrologers were no more accurate than random chance.
If you’re just getting started in astrology, the concepts of houses, signs, modalities, and the north and south nodes can be overwhelming. So we spoke with Tali Edut, one half of ELLE’s resident astrologers The AstroTwins, to break down the basic building blocks. She explains why your sun sign matters, how you can read your own birth chart, and what you need to know about the zodiac’s 12 astrological houses, which are sliced into 12 slices representing different areas of your life.