5 Uses for Astrology Besides Horoscope Columns

most of us are familiar with Sun sign columns. growing up, i remember seeing them in my parents' newspapers (in fact, that's what i always used to read instead of the cartoons they thought i wanted), and today almost every major lifestyle company seems to have horoscopes weaved into their content somehow. even the concept of Mercury retrograde has permeated much of mainstream culture at this point, but there is so much more to astrology than is widely known to the public. here are 5 more things astrology can be used for besides just general forecasting, like in a Sun sign horoscope. 

1: electional astrology

electional astrology is a specific branch of astrology which deals with choosing a date in the future, based on the planetary alignments, for a specific purpose. you may reach out to an astrologer who practices this if you want to elect an auspicious time to get married, make a move, or launch a business, for example. every astrology chart is a point of conception which promises certain outcomes in the future. by deciding which seed in time you want to come to fruition for a certain purpose, you can exercise some preference over the course of events. 

2. horary astrology 

similar to electional astrology, horary is a branch dealing with timing and events. however, horary astrology is concerned with answering a specific question by looking at a chart cast for that particular moment of query. it is a complex practice based upon the querent-astrologer and topics involved, but it is a fascinating form of inquiry. i myself have used horary in instances of indecision or trouble. lost items and even yes/no decisions can all be addressed simply by asking the planets what they have to say about the matter. 

3. synastry/composite charts 

sun sign compatibility in relationships is just the tip of the iceberg, and its simplicity is why many couples find that it isn't very accurate for them. however, synastry and composite charts are dynamic techniques involving comparing two (or even more) people's charts together. in synastry, the charts are overlaid and their aspects analyzed, and composite charts are a synthesis of both partners into one relationship chart using midpoints between the same planets for each individual (it is more complicated than this, but that is the gist). relationship analysis can be applied to any two charts, not just romantic partners: families, coworkers, and even a person vs. the chart of a place or company could be used. i myself do not work with this branch of astrology, but i find the study fascinating. 

4. self-discovery (natal astrology)

if you have ever gotten a reading from a professional astrologer, chances are it's been a natal chart reading. this is the study of a nativity, or individual's life. the point at which someone takes their first breath is the groundwork for a promise that is to be unveiled throughout the life, and the birth chart is a lens for which to understand this process. there are various branches within natal astrology, as different astrologers could specialize in areas of expertise such as psychological astrology, Evolutionary Astrology, Hellenistic Astrology, or Medieval Astrology, to name just a few of countless. however, the underlying theme is generally the same: natal astrology is one of the astrologer reading the chart in terms of a person's life. this can offer profound self-discovery for the native in question and help answer questions regarding identity, life purpose, and overall personal direction. i recommend that everyone, even if they do not think they are interested in astrology, receive a natal reading at some point in their life to experience the process. even myself, as a professional, practicing astrologer, enjoy natal readings from time to time from astrologers who practice differently than myself. 

5. mundane astrology

the fifth and final use of astrology which i'll touch on here is mundane astrology. i included it last because it's the branch i have the least experience or interest in but still find important. mundane astrology is the study of celestial phenomena in correlation with worldly events. these events could be natural disasters, historical shifts, or political upheavals, to name a few. basically, anything that occurs on Earth in any capacity could be traced back to what planetary alignments were at play (or will be, if we're planning for future cycles). it is alarming how themes in history repeat themselves through the same astrological configurations at vastly different points in time. for example, each Uranus-Neptune conjunction over the past few hundred (possibly thousand, though we can't be for certain) years has signaled a revival or surge of some form of astrology. Pluto-Uranus squares have brought on radical upheavals of traditional social structures (think the 60's!). i could go on and on, but mundane astrology is often what convinces skeptics of the power of this study. i recommend Richard Tarnas's Cosmos and Psyche for anyone to read, particularly those with an academic background, as it uses mundane astrology as an edge in.