Born to highly practical parents, I became interested in astrology when my teenage cousins, who were reading their horoscopes in a teeny magazine, asked for my birthday and worked out that I was a Pisces. Of course, the forecast made no sense to me because I was only about 7 at the time. Despite the irrelevance, the idea of using the stars to understand what is happening on Earth fascinated me. I used to consider astrology to be pure entertainment, but all that changed when I first laid eyes on a birthchart. I honestly cannot remember when that was, perhaps in my late teens. The birthchart, showing a map of the heavens at the time of my birth, looked magical to me. I couldn't wait to find out what each symbol and line meant!
This discovery answered one basic question as to why most people think astrology doesn't work. The horoscopes you see in newspapers and magazines merely take the Sun Sign into account. Astrology is more than that, just like the complexity of your personality. You may act differently in front of different people and in various situations. A birthchart doesn't just look at your Sun Sign but also your Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn etc., each representing a different aspect of yourself, thus building up a more comprehensive profile of your personality.
In his insightful book 'Astrology, Karma and Transformation: Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart', Stephen Arroyo, a psychological astrologer, taught me that challenges in life (represented by 'stressful' angles in your chart) can be blessings in disguise, because they urge you to utilise untapped potential in your personal make-up. The so-called good/smooth aspects, representing natural talents and opportunities, could mean laziness and complacency if they are not put to good use. I have also learnt that astrology can show you the lessons you may encounter in your lifetime. These lessons will happen time and time again, but once you have mastered what it is that you have to learn, the 'problem' will no longer be a bother to you.
Astrology is a valuable tool to unleashing your innate gifts and challenges. With the help of an astrologer, you are made aware of your strengths, which could then be put to good use (if not already!). Having an awareness of your weaknesses is the first step to self-improvement. Let's face it, no one is perfect! I have personally found that true happiness can only follow with self-acceptance - good or bad, you are who you are!