Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines Horoscope as a diagram of heavens, showing the relative position of planets and the signs of the zodiac, for use in calculating births, foretelling events in a person?s life etc. The dictionary further defines Horoscope as a prediction of future events or advice for future behavior based on such a diagram. American Heritage Dictionary defines Horoscope as an astrological forecast, as of a person?s future, based on a diagram of the aspect of the planets and stars at a given moment. The term Horoscope is derived from a Greek name meaning ?a look at the hours. Horoscope is also called as astrological chart, birth chart, astro-chart, celestial map, sky-map, star-chart, cosmogram, vitasphere, radical chart, radix, or simply chart. Horoscope forms the basis of horoscope traditions of astrology. In layman?s terminology, horoscope means an astrologer?s interpretations of the chart through a system known as sun sign astrology. Now-a-days, many news papers and magazines carry daily horoscopes depending on the zodiac signs. It is becoming increasingly popular among the masses as it provides them some insights into their lives and they can take a peek into their immediate future. But most astrologers regard these as worthless as horoscopes are highly personalized and their interpretations cannot be generalized to thousands of readers just through one planetary placement.
Astrological interpretations are derived from a horoscope diagram. In the diagram, the earth is placed in the centre and it is surrounded by the planets. To construct a horoscope, an astrologer has to the exact time and place of the subject?s birth, or the initiation of an event. The time is then translated into GMT. The astrologer uses the time difference between the GMT and local time at the place of birth to show where the planets will be visible above the horizon at the time and place in question. Then, a table of houses is used to divide the horoscope into 12 divisions around the circle of the ecliptic. Apart from these houses, the astrologers also have to take into account the aspects or relative angles between planets to construct a horoscope. Indian and Chinese zodiac signs are quite different from the accepted western astrological signs. Western astrological signs have been divided into 12 zodiac signs such as Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. This division is done depending on the date of births of the subjects. For example, persons born between the dates of July 24 and August 23 are given the Leo zodiac sign. The horoscopes available in the newspapers and magazines are not that reliable. Still, people from all walks of life and all ages seem to be obsessed with it. It has become a part of the daily morning rituals of many. In a country like India, astrological consultations to analyze the horoscope are a must for many important occasions. It is applicable to all the major events of day to day life, like the birth of a child, starting a new business, getting married, choosing a profession etc. Indians believe that one?s horoscope can affect one?s business or personal life. So, horoscope consultations are a must before any such important events. Any defects can be rectified with the help of certain rituals. Horoscopes are also important in choosing the correct match for a man or woman. If the horoscopes of the bride and the groom match, it is believed that the couple will have a happy married life. For matrimonial matching, a few documents are essential. Horoscopes of both the bride and the bridegroom, Date of birth, and time of birth, and place of birth of both. If horoscope is not available, then names of the bride and the bridegroom should be taken. Horoscopes can be used for predictions, longevity, health, marriage, business, education, job, children, divorce, court cases, and partnership in business etc.