Magazine Astrology is O.K. even though it gets flak from all sides. Astrologers are as harsh in their criticism of it as are many other people. Yet it would have to be Astrology's most public and most well read child.
Like many other Astrologers I was critical of it, until I looked into it and started doing long term general predictions for my calendars in 1980. Initially I just interpreted the general planetary 'weather' and flows of energy. Eventually I went the next step and did these general weather pictures for the signs of the zodiac. To my surprise I have found them to provide very useful information. From 1988 this work continued with weekly articles for the NZ Women's Weekly and continues today (3.2000) with a monthly article in Grace magazine. Out of this I have learnt something new which has allowed an old bias to be laid to rest, for me anyway.
So what are magazine horoscopes and how do they work?
The accepted method of compiling these 'predictions' is for the planetary movements of the time to be placed on a zodiac dial. Each sign of the zodiac is then placed on the Ascendant of the chart in turn. Once the Ascendant has been placed, the other sign cusps become the house divisions for that sign. The houses indicate where the energy is going to manifest in physical life. Hence the planetary patterns of the time are interpreted from this background. Providing an indication of where their influence will occur for that sign.
So what has been done here.
Firstly we are dealing with the Signs of the Zodiac. As pointed out earlier the Signs are a division of the Suns path - an archetypal step towards the internalised spirit. Next the Sun sign is placed on the Ascendant. - another step to the spirit, however with the Ascendant involved, it indicates how the spirits actions will be seen. These are readings for the essential purpose of the individual - the Sun, not for our emotional state (Moon) or even our social being ( Venus). Being so based on the Sun, it focuses more towards our real purpose and meets us at an essential and collective level of our being.
The drawbacks from these sorts of articles are that they are usually very short. More than one or two concepts need to be expressed in less than five or six lines. While the audience is outrageously broad. The brief for such articles usually include they must be essentially positive, covering finances, love, children, home, work etc. and be presented to a reading age of twelve. Naturally there is then the basic competence of the Astrologer which needs to be taken into account. Like painters, Astrologers all have the same tools of trade. However in these tools use by the human, very different pictures are created. Astrologers are artists, we are allowed to be creative. A horoscope reading is an artists painting of the impression they wish to portray.
Such are the limits to this activity. Notwithstanding these limitations many good reflections do arise out of these articles. The popular success of "Linda Goodmans Sun Signs" is a tribute to the value of Sun Signs as an archetypal indication of an individuals essential being. Naturally they can not replace a full natal chart for the details of the personality and nor should we expect them too. I suggest it is our expectations of these articles which need to be examined rather than the articles themselves.
Out of this work I have been confronted with the reality of focusing the birth chart on the Sun or sun sign, as a personality & predictive tool. The 'normal' birth chart is based on the Ascendant or the Eastern horizon of the Earth. By placing the birth chart with the Sun as the beginning for the division of the houses, we are moving the chart away from mundane physical manifestation of life events, which are relevant, towards the spiritual purpose of the individual for the time studied. This chart in my experience has shown itself to be just as important as the Ascendant chart. The information generated describes attitudes and inner states of mind and physical events just as apparent as the Ascendant chart. Both have as equal power of prediction as each other. Try it for yourself and see.
There are dozens of Astrological techniques you can use. They are all right and have their place. The basic tenets for their use are the same though. They are mostly so you can observe the wanderings of the Astral body.