The skeptic’s answer is simple:
they can’t. Skeptics believe that the stars are irrelevant to how nature and nurture guide us to be our ever-changing selves. However, for thousands of years, many people have put a great deal of faith into what the stars tell them about who they are.
Astronomy, as distinct from astrology, is the science that studies and predicts the developments and motions of the stars and planets in the universe. Astrology interprets this motion into explanations for human behaviors. It is interesting to note that astronomy grew out of a need for more accurate astrology, not the other way around.
Astrologists believe that as astronomy has become more correct (with false beliefs such as the Earth being at the center of the universe being corrected), astrology has become more accurate as well.
Science has shown us time after time that all aspects of our natural existence are closely related. Science is categorized into not because there are exact delineations between them, but as a matter of convenience for those who study the universe. Physics and chemistry, for example, are deeply inter-related, as psychology with every other natural science. Why then, would psychological states, which are a category of biological states, not be related to the science of astronomy?
The Earth’s movement and the location of the sun affect our seasons, temperatures, tides, and other forces of nature. Just as the Earth and sun move, so do the stars and planets. There are no two identical positionings of the Earth, sun, stars, and planets at any point in the past, nor will there be in the future. At the time of your emergence into the world, how the celestial bodies are lined up in the universe is as unique as you are.
Because this alignment is reflected in the natural occurrences on the Earth’s surface, your psychological states are foreshadowed by the circumstance of the alignment of the stars at the time of your birth. The way the stars move from that point forward will reflect your behaviors and circumstances, and inform the suggestions of astrologers about times to act in certain ways and situations to avoid. Based on your birthday alone, general information can be predicted.
With more precise facts about the location of the heavenly spheres at the time of your birth (which can be determined with the star charts for the hour and the year) more specific information about your personality can be determined.
Astrology is an art. Just as the art of medicine requires the accumulation of data and the process of trial and error, so does the art of astrology require the science of astronomy to produce practical applications. Also, like medicine requires the science of biology to guide its principles and produce practical applications, the art of astrology relies on many aspects of related sciences, specifically physics and astronomy.
With the help of thousands of years of study across hundreds of cultures and communities, astrology can guide us in the prediction of behavioral patterns and help us better understand why we act as we do, and how to act in the best interests of ourselves and those we love.
The daily or monthly horoscopes you find in newspapers and magazines are based on what is known as your “sun sign”, and are based on the most general information known about your birth (the month and day). These horoscopes tend to be very general, as they do not take into all the astrological factors, as noted earlier, such as the hour, the year, and the place you were born.
With this information more information can be determined about the whereabouts of the stars at the time you were born, and therefore more information can be determined about the star’s effects on your personality. Many astrologers do this in the manual tradition, charting and graphing the astronomical positions overhead at your moment of delivery, though many astrologers and laypeople alike use computer programs for technological precision.
What good is astrology, then, if in the end, the stars have their say about who we are? Remember that astrology does not dictate your personality; it reveals the star’s influence on it and the dispositions towards which you will lean. In other words, the stars do not tell you who you are, simply who you will tend to become.
With the knowledge of astrological influence on your personality, you can set your mind to increasing the expression of innately good traits such as willpower, communicative, and helpfulness. You can also resist debilitating negative effects like being painfully shy, being prone to anger, being quick to judge, or just being downright mean.
As you study your chart and understand its unique influence on you, you can avoid the frustration of falling into the same personality pitfalls over and over. Astrology can help you learn how to deal with others by understanding that their own unique charts contribute to their acting how they do.
The symbols associated with the astrological sun signs are metaphors for the traits that people who fall under the sign’s influence will have. Let’s take a look at the sun signs in the order in which they appear in the Zodiac. What follows are some examples of how one can guide his or her actions without betraying his or her true personality.
Aries (March 21 April 20):
Aries is symbolized by the ram, and as the ram, Arians are known for being quick to act. While “charging” right into situations one would rather put off can be a good character trait, this bombs-away attitude can also be destructively impulsive. Arians have to use their gift of judgment to determine when their charts are influencing them to be pioneers and when their charts are influencing them to be dangerous to themselves and others.
Taurus (April 21 May 21):
Taurus is symbolized by the bull, which is an easy reminder of the bullheadedness of Taureans. While they will steadfastly stand by their convictions–which is a good thing–they will also refuse to heed the warnings and advice of others. Taureans must learn that considering the views of others does not always mean compromising their principles.
Gemini (May 22 June 21):
Gemini is symbolized by the twins. The dual nature of Geminis can be a positive attribute as they are sure to see both sides–the yen and the yang, so to speak–of every situation. However, they often find themselves taking contradictory positions. The strength of Geminis–seeing the duality in nature and personal relationships–has to be harnessed to overcome their weakness–difficulty in choosing right over wrong.
Cancer (June 22 July 22):
Cancer, symbolized by the crab, is a sign of people that have a protective nature. Cancerians will defend and protect all that is important to them but must learn to recognize when they are being overprotective. Sometimes Cancerians have to loosen their pinchers and trust that those they love know the risks involved in projects and activities they want to pursue.
Leo (July 23 August 21):
Leo is symbolized by the lion. As fierce leaders of their packs, Leos must carefully avoid being bossy and demanding. Instead, Leos must cultivate their natural, influential presence and remain the open-minded and enthusiastic leaders they are destined to be.
Virgo (August 22 September 23):
Virgo is symbolized by the virgin. Pure in thought and deed, Virgos are often taken as the modest, respectful types they are. However, Virgos must overcome their tendency to demand perfection from themselves and others, when perfection is unattainable. Also, they must replace their futile worrying with more productive analysis.
Libra (September 24 October 23):
Libra is symbolized by the scales, and Libras are prone to weigh the pros and cons to come to their unbiased conclusions. Like the Gemini twins, the Libra can see both sides of a situation but must learn to be more decisive and work to avoid tainting their critiques with unnecessary and irrelevant matters.
Scorpio (October 24 November 22):
Scorpio, the scorpion, is the life of the Zodiac party. Scorpios are passionate people who achieve greatness when they focus their energies on what they love. Scorpios have to overcome their compulsions. Instead of being forceful and conquering, they must use their determination and emotion to build rather than destroy. The sting of the Scorpio is a dreaded reaction to pressing their buttons, so Scorpios must be careful not to lash out too quickly.
Sagittarius (November 23 December 22):
Sagittarius is symbolized by the archer. Sagittarians are able to precisely hit the mark of their goals. Their honesty can be mistaken for tactlessness, so they must take care to use their good judgment in stating the truth, especially when the truth might be unpleasant. Also, they must not let their sense of humor and carefree nature lead them into irresponsible actions.
Capricorn (December 23 January 20):
Capricorn is symbolized by the goat. While Capricornians are especially ambitious, their will to succeed can be stifled by their innate pessimism and feel that what will be, will be. Capricornians must struggle to overcome these stifling feelings by utilizing their ambition to make the changes they desire to see in their world.
Aquarius (January 21 February 19):
Aquarius is symbolized by the water carrier. Water is fluid and ever-changing like the Aquarians it represents. Aquarians appreciate change, and their brilliance lies in their inventiveness and spontaneity. Aquarians, though, must take care to not let their spontaneous and creative natures get the best of them in terms of acting out in unpredictable, destructive ways.
Pisces (February 20 March 20):
Finally, Pisces is symbolized by the fish. Pisceans can go with the flow, but also maintain their identities against the trends and stereotypes the world will place upon them. This should be the goal of Pisceans, as they are easily influenced, not only by the stars but also by others who see how easy it can be to break their wills. Pisceans must cultivate the positive trait of self-reliance and avoid succumbing to the irrational pressures of others.