Numerous traditions have prospered in the field of astrology. Out of these, some are quite similar to one another owing to the diffusion of astrological dogmas between different cultures. Then, there are some others that, even though share some common features, have completely different doctrines developed in isolation. However, all the traditions of astrology draw on the same pool of astronomical foundations.
The modern astrologers basically make use of three different
astrological traditions, namely Indian astrology, Western astrology and
Chinese astrology. Indian and Western astrology are quite similar in
nature as well as content. Both of them lay emphasis on drawing of an
astrological chart (horoscope), which helps in the prediction of events
on the basis of the position of the Sun, the Moon and the planets.
The basic difference between the Indian and Western traditions of
astrology is that the former uses the sidereal zodiac, while the latter
uses the tropical zodiac. The sidereal zodiac links the zodiac signs
with their original constellations. However, in the tropical zodiac, the
twelve zodiacal signs do not always belong to the same part of the sky
as their original constellations. Thus, the link between sign and
constellation appears to have been broken.
The tradition of Chinese astrology is entirely different from that of
the Western and Indian astrology. Rather than the sky, the twelve signs
of the Chinese astrology divide the celestial equator. Each symbol seems
to represents one of twelve 'double-hours' that govern the day and one
of the twelve months. Even though the name Chinese astrology seems to be
representative of China only, the tradition is also prevalent in Japan,
Vietnam, Thailand and other Asian countries.
Numerous astrological traditions that were believed to be significant
in the past have become out of use in the present times. However, most
of the astrologers still maintain an interest in these traditions and
consider them as an important source of knowledge. The main historical
traditions of astrology are: