Gazing up at a clear, starry night sky is one of those moments in life which inspires the dreamer in you. “What mysteries do the infinite heavens hold? What secrets can it reveal? It’s been a silent witness to our past; can it also foretell our future?”
The practice and belief of astrological predictions has been part of life amongst many cultures and its history goes far back; beyond thousands of years. In Sri Lanka it is one cultural heritage that has been very steadfastly passed down through the generations. Horoscopic readings of the times to come are very much part and parcel of life amongst the Hindu and Sinhalese nationalities.
The horoscope is a chart illustrating the exact positioning of the Sun, Moon, other planets and constellations at the time of an individual’s birth. It’s somewhat like a photograph taken of the celestial bodies at a certain point in time. Using this chart Astrologers aim to interpret what effects the movements in heavenly objects have on a person’s life.
The horoscope may reveal the past, present and future of an individual, inform of fortunes to come as well as warn of dangers, give readings on one’s personality, negative and positive traits and much more. In short it’s like possessing a storybook about one’s life journey, with chapters dedicated to different aspects of life; from birth to education, marriage, wealth and family, health and career, even death.
Therefore, it is no wonder that the horoscope is referred to at almost every instant of life by the locals. It is often a decider of times for auspicious activities such as opening a business or building a home, and an advisor in education, career and in times of illness. Most importantly, it plays the role of matchmaker in marriages. Ensuring compatibility of a couple’s horoscopes is the first step to confirming a marriage proposal; and it can often become a dark cloud of objection for young love.
The art of reading and interpreting a horoscope however is limited to a few learned astrologers in Sri Lanka. The knowledge of the astrologer may come passed down through generations and through formal or self-education. It is not merely the reading but they also possess the insight to prescribe remedial actions to soften the effects of undesirable events predicted for the future. It is often that the possessor of a malefic horoscope is advised to use specific gem stones embedded in jewellery, give charity, and partake in activities such as feeding crows, freeing animals meant for death or certain religious ceremonies.
The time, date and place of birth are all that is required to unlock the future. It sounds almost magical that an astrologer can interpret a horoscope and state how the movements of celestial bodies may affect our lives. But it is a study as old as history itself with its knowledge and practices hailing from many advanced ancient cultures such as the Greek, Roman, Arabic and Indian civilisations.
Beyond the visible skies above us is a colossal universe that stretches on forever; millions of solar systems, thousands of light-years apart from each other; the mysteries it holds are unfathomable. It gives a stark realisation of the limits of human knowledge; and it is not so far reaching to believe that cosmic activity may possess energy that affects our destinies.
What is important to understand is – ‘nothing is written in the stars’ – the horoscope merely interprets these cosmic activities and lays the cards out on the table; it is up to the individual to decide the next move, which inevitably leads to the result.
Astrology, though considered a pseudo-science by the world, proves very relevant to many in Sri Lanka. The tradition of horoscopic readings within the Hindu and Sinhalese cultures is a legacy that has weathered the test of time. Staunch belief grows rarer, but it is still very much related to as a life-long confidante and advisor whom they’ve been able to turn to in times of need. In fact the island nation itself has its own horoscope mapped according to the time of the declaration of independence.
Just as the stars remain a guiding light to the traveller at night, so remains the Horoscope for the local Sinhalese and Hindu cultures; a companion, illuminating the unseen in life’s journey.