The process through which astrologers cast charts seems to be a mysterious one -- at least to the lay public. The arcane knowledge and the mathematical calculations required to construct a horoscope have made astrology the field of the professional rather than the amateur.
However, the time has come to divulge a trade secret of astrology: While there is certainly a body of knowledge required to create a horoscope -- and both intuition and intelligence are certainly called for -- the mathematical abilities required to construct a horoscope are in fact relatively minimal. The relative simplicity of the technical skills involved in creating a horoscope, and the benefits of personal, hand mathematical calculations over computer-derived ones have become increasingly important as an issue as more and more computer programs are developed to create horoscopes -- either for the professional astrologer or the lay person (Tanaka, 1995, p. 8).
To create a horoscope, an astrologer needs most importantly to be able to add, subtract, divide and multiply for two and four -- basic arithmetic skills that most of us acquired early in elementary schools.
Astrology also makes use of the constant logarithm, which represents the proportion of time and space a planet travels along its particular orbit. It is perhaps the fact that the word ôlogarithmö is used in conjunction with astrology that causes panic among astrologers, who are in general inclined toward verbal and away from mathematical skills, but the use of logarithms (combined with readily available charts) in astrology is in fact nothing more arduous than the ability to add and subtract (Filbey and Filbey, 1986, p. 94).
Astrologers have traditionally been required to perform these mathematical calculations by hand and so devise horoscopes to pass the exams given by the American Federation of Astrologers to become either an Advanced or Teacher member of the federation. But given the acce...