|Astrology is a science that examines the action of celestial bodies upon all living beings, non-living objects, and earthly conditions, as well as their reactions to such influences. The study of the stars is one of the oldest sciences known to humankind, tracing its origins back to ancient Sumer and even earlier. The astrological arts were well known to the Egyptians, Hindus, Chinese, Persians, and the great civilizations of the ancient Americas.
Astrology is the progenitor of astronomy, and for many years the two existed as one
science. Nowadays, astronomy is considered an "objective" science of
distances, masses, speeds, etc., while astrology is a "subjective"
and intuitive science that not only deals which the astronomical delineation of
horoscopes, but can also be called a philosophy which helps to explain the spiritual essence of life.
There are in reality two branches of astrology. The first is exoteric astrology that includes the mathematics of the art involved with charting a horoscope and the predictive arts. The second is esoteric astrology that deals with mysteries of the universe itself, the spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical dynamics of the cosmos. Esoteric astrology reveals the universal pattern of living and the means by which human beings can align themselves with the spiritual fabric and pattern of the universe. It is a system for understanding celestial energies and a method for viewing the universe as a symmetrical whole.
In the First Order of the Golden Dawn, the student learns basic astrological information concerning the zodiacal wheel, twelve signs, the twelve houses, the decanates, the triplicities, the quadruplicities, and the aspects. All of this knowledge is used for elemental, planetary, and zodiacal magic later in the higher grades. In addition, the student also learns how to construct and
interpret a natal chart.
Much of the esoteric astrology taught in the original Golden Dawn was based on a fixed sidereal rather than a tropical astrology. Using this method, the first degree of Leo, rather than the first degree of Aries was selected as the beginning point on the zodiacal chart. Nowadays, most astrologers use tropical astrology. The Golden Dawn still uses the first degree of Leo in its tarot correspondences and other areas of its curriculum, but in basic astrology the more common tropical system is often taught today.