There are so many different types of astrology it can be hard to know where to start. Here’s a basic run down of the main branches of the astrology tree. Some of these are specialist areas while others will be practised by most astrologers.
Uses the birth chart to explore the nature of an individual’s life from birth to death. The horoscope describes your personality, emotional conflicts and thought processes, and reveals potentials and talents. Natal astrology can be practised by anyone using interpretations and information found in books and online, and if used alongside Relationship and Predictive Astrology (see below) it can be a powerful method for gaining insight into your strengths and weaknesses. You can improve your relationships, become more conscious of your motivations, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
You can also consult an astrologer for counselling based on your horoscope. This is especially useful if you’re going through a difficult time and you need some extra perspective. This type of astrology is combined with psychological systems such as depth psychology or Jungian analysis, and can help you to achieve your potential and grow towards individuation. This branch of astrology began with Dane Rudhyar who developed Humanistic Astrology in the 1960s. Leading proponents include Liz Greene, Howard Sasportas, Donna Cunningham, and Stephen Arroyo.
Uses two techniques known as Synastry and Composite Charts to explore the compatibility between people. It can be used in any kind of relationship, such as between family members or business partners, but it’s most often used for intimate partnerships in romance and marriage. Synastry can reveal where there may be difficulties and how to overcome them.
Uses the movement of the planets in relation to your horoscope to look at future trends, cycles of change, and forecast possible events. Planets don’t make things happen, but there are correlations between transits and particular events which match the planetary archetypes. By following the transits and progressions as they relate to your horoscope you can foresee problems, recognise opportunities, and learn from the natural cycles of change that flow through your life.
This type of astrology is about asking questions. A chart is drawn up for the time the question is asked and interpreted for insight into a possible answer. Questions could include things like: Should I take this job? Will I marry this person? Should I move house? Sometimes astrologers erect a chart for when a client arrives or calls to make an appointment.
This type of astrology is about finding the perfect time for an event or to begin a course of action. An electional astrologer can erect several charts for possible dates to determine the best moment to act. Reasons to use electional astrology include when to have a wedding, or start a business, for example.
This is a specialised area and requires knowledge of world trends. Mundane Astrology involves the study of nations, world events, the economy and politics, so a working knowledge of these areas is needed. Mundane astrologers use birth charts erected for specific countries to determine possible events.
Other Specialist areas of astrology include:
- Agricultural Astrology – planting and harvesting according to the position and phases of the moon.
- Medical Astrology – looks for possible illnesses in the chart or to understand the underlying causes of disease.
- Financial Astrology – predicting financial and marketing trends in business and economics.
This relates to astrology as it was practised before the 1700s and uses many of the old textbooks written during the Middle Ages. It includes natal, horary, electional, and mundane astrology, and often involves an emphasis on the philosophy of Hermeticism. Traditional Astrology focuses on outer events and is considered to be a better system for prediction than Modern Astrology, which is more psychological.
This type of astrology developed out of the Theosophical tradition and New Age movement in spirituality which began in the early 20th century with the writings of Madame Blavatsky and Alice Bailey. Spiritual Astrology is sometimes called Esoteric Astrology or soul-centred astrology, and it puts human life and the soul into a larger context within the solar system. It’s a synthesis of Eastern and Western approaches, and incorporates the Seven Rays. Alan Oken is a leading proponent.
Part of Spiritual Astrology, this type focuses on reincarnation and uses the birth chart to gain insight into karmic patterns that developed in the past which you need to overcome in this lifetime. Leading proponents include Judy Hall and Jan Spiller.
Another variant on Spiritual Astrology, this type offers insight into the development of the soul through reincarnation, but in contrast to modern astrology, it focuses on the role of Pluto and the Moon’s Nodes. By studying the birth chart you can discover the soul’s intention for this lifetime. Leading proponents include Jeffrey Wolf Green and Steven Forrest.
This type of astrology was started by Jim Lewis, which he called AstroCartoGraphy. Location Astrology can be used to show which parts of your birth chart will be emphasised or triggered in particular locations. Called ACG Charts for short, the system plots your chart onto a map of the earth and shows where each planet will be moved to one of the angles, such as the Ascendant or the Midheaven. Useful if you would like to find the best place to live or work – anywhere in the world.
Uses the principles of yin and yang, plus the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water), combined with the twelve zodiac animal signs, called Earthly Branches, to create a unique system of astrology based on a 60 year cycle.
This is traditional Hindu astrology and is sometimes called Indian, or Vedic Astrology. It uses the Sidereal zodiac instead of the Tropical zodiac (used by Western astrology), and has three branches: Siddhanta (astronomy), Samhita (mundane astrology), and Hora (predictive astrology). Jyotish astrology also uses a system of lunar mansions and planetary periods not found in Western astrology.
If you’re wondering which type of astrology to use, here’s a fun post from the Horoscopic Astrology Blog to help you decide: Top 10 Types of Astrologers to Avoid