Most people in Hong Kong may not have heard of the term "astrology", but they almost certainly have come across the "weekly" or "monthly forecast" columns for the 12 zodiac signs in the media. Those columns describe what is called "the Sun sign" which is just a small component of the whole birth chart - and the art and practice of interpreting the chart is "astrology", to put it simply. Contemporary Western astrologers typically draw up a round chart like the following for a full analysis, based on the client’s detailed birth data. Below shows the birth chart of Prince George (born on 22 July 2013, 4.24pm in London) of the British royal family:
The birth chart, divided into 12 houses, shows the locations of the heavenly bodies (including the Sun) against the backdrop of the 12 zodiac signs, with each sign spanning across 30 degrees, as seen from the client’s birthplace the moment he or she was born.
Though astrology had been commonly used for "fortune-telling" or divination purposes for centuries, interpretations of the birth chart in contemporary Western astrology have generally discarded the highly fatalistic tone in favour of a more psychological and/or spiritual approach. The aim is to help clients gain greater self-awareness to make more informed decisions for themselves.
Pre-destined vs Free Will
The birth chart shows what we were given at birth. The planets are like building blocks that we have to work on for the rest of our lives, and each of us was given a different, unique set of building blocks at birth. This represents both the pre-defined limits and the infinite possibilities in our lives. The better we understand what building blocks we have on hand, the more we can use them to create a spectrum of options.
Same time, same place, same chart=Same "fate"??
If two people were born at exactly the same time and place, hence their birth charts are the same, does it mean they will be the same? Like in terms of personality, what they will encounter, etc?
The answer is "no". As mentioned above, the birth chart just indicates what "building blocks" a person possesses. The number of combinations possible with those building blocks is endless. Even if the birth charts of two people are the same, it does not mean they will think, behave, choose or react in the same way, as each person may choose a different combination of the "building blocks" and the choice may change at different times too, as the person grows in self-awareness (i.e. understanding and mastery of those "building blocks") over time.
How does it work?
Interpretation of a birth chart involves considering the planets, the signs and houses in which they fall and the interactions among the planets, called aspects. The signs and aspects of the starting points of the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses are particularly important too. A good, solid chart analysis is always the integration of all these key components.
Belinda's practice is to use 11 planets (or more accurately, heavenly bodies): the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and the asteroid Chiron as well as the North and South Nodes, seeing each heavenly body as a psychological urge. For example, the Sun stands for the client’s identity, central purpose in life, etc. while Saturn shows what the client feels insecure about and thus often seeks control over.
The sign in which the heavenly body falls indicates the way the heavenly body manifests itself. If a heavenly body can be compared to a noun or verb, the zodiac sign in which it falls is like an "adjective" or "adverb".
The 12 houses indicate different settings in the client's life. The second house, for instance, shows the client’s money, possessions, talents, etc.
Aspects show the dynamics among planets, showing whether the psychological urges represented by the planets are in harmony or conflict with one another or not directly related.