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This sky model of map of the heavens and planetary positions is recorded from a distinct geographical position and this planet-earth-sky pattern is called a chart. Based on this chart, astrologers market significant following features:

The exact astronomical position of planets in the sky - by listing their location in a constellation or Zodiac Sign

The location on the earth - by using latitude and longitude; these are called houses.

Which sign is on the horizon or that part of sky east of birth location at the time of birth - this point is called rising sign or ascendant.

An astrologer reviews this birth chart to find information about an individual's concern and events; they can make inferences regarding an individual's disposition and character and may foretell events in that person's life. Life patterns seen in the birth chart are matched by astrologer against the patterns seen in historical rules and records of parallel astronomical information. For predictive purposes, a planetary almanac is used to track location of planets, from sign to sign and house to house, to locate how these transits of planets will affect a person's life. We cover each one of these subjects in greater depth in later articles.

The Different Schools of Astrology

While information above is common and basic to astrology, there are also different schools of astrology that interpret this information in various ways. One is Western principle of Astrology; other is Indian or Vedic principles of Astrology. There are also the ancient Chinese, Arabian and Tibetan schools that we shall address in future articles.

Western Astrology emphasizes the relationship of Sun to earth. The position of Sun at the time of birth plays a very important role in this principle, and hence general advice columns or predictions published in newspapers and magazines.

Astrologically, Sun is believed to affect how an individual manifests his or her personal form of self-expression. Coinciding with philosophical and religious tenets of Western cultures, the concept of 'free will' plays a very important role in this school of astrology.

As a result, interpretations of Western astrologers focus on expressions of self and their consequences. It is presumed in this school of thinking that individuals are predisposed by planetary influences to certain patterns of behavior, thoughts and emotions. As a result, Western Astrology predicts and analyzes behavior based on birth dates.

Vedic or Indian Astrology, which is over 6,000 years old, is also an ancient behavioral analysis and forecasting system. However, it is a system that shows how behavior might change over time. Karma or the 'law of cause and effect' plays an important role in this school of prediction.