Robert Hand was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, and grew up in Orleans, Massachusetts. He began studying astrology at the age of 17. His father, Wilfred Hand, was a specialist in cosmobiology and heliocentric astrology, and used astrological charts to forecast changes in the stock market, and taught his son the basics of casting astrological charts. Hand went to Brandeis University, where he earned a B.A. in Intellectual History in 1965. He then went on to Princeton University and left before receiving a degree to pursue astrology as a full-time profession in 1972.
Hand founded Arhat Media in 1997. Arhat, which is an acronym for "Archive for the Retrieval of Historical Astrological Texts", procures, protects and publishes translations of historical astrological works and secondary source material for serious astrologers and scholars.