Astrology 101


Astrology-Basics

What's your star sign?

The question every stranger seems to ask, but many still do not realise that the "Sun sign" is really just '"froth on the surface of a subject that is as deep as human nature". The Sun sign only seems to have become really important in the 1930's when journalists used them as an easy way of involving all their readers. Before this it was the "Rising" or "Ascendant" sign that was actually considered to be the more important.

Astronomy & Astrology, What's the difference?

Astronomy-or-astrology

Though the practices of astrology and astronomy have common roots, there is an important distinction in astrology vs astronomy today. Astronomy is the study of the universe and its contents outside of Earth’s atmosphere. Astronomers examine the positions, motions, and properties of celestial objects. Astrology attempts to study how those positions, motions, and properties affect people and events on Earth.

So what is Astrology

As explained above Astrology is the study of the influence that distant cosmic objects, usually stars and planets, have on human lives. The position of the sun, stars, moon and planets at the time of people's birth (not their conception) is said to shape their personality, affect their romantic relationships and predict their economic fortunes, among other divinations.

Astrology can be baffling at first because it involves a different kind of wisdom. There are three parts to any birth chart — planet, sign, and house. There's a blending that happens in astrology that involves those three. As you learn more, your understanding deepens. You get a sense of what life lessons the Aries Sun in the 10th House holds for you.

After learning about the planets, signs, and houses, it's time to look at aspects. This is the relationship between the players in your birth chart. Do they square each other? Or, are they in harmony with trines and sextiles.

While we can use the natal chart (also called a birth chart or horoscope) as a “window” into any individual or event, we should never use it to pass judgment or to label people. Neither should we use it as an excuse for our behaviour! We can never purport to know absolutely everything about someone just because we have their natal chart before us. It is a good idea to approach Astrology as an imperfect language. Even if it were perfect, we are not, so our interpretations can never be considered anywhere close to perfect. It follows to be wary of anyone claiming to be an Astrologer who also alleges to “know all”, or makes dire predictions. This kind of practice is not only irresponsible and misleading, it can affect the lives of those who believe them in adverse ways.

The Solar System

Solar-sytem-of-modern-astrology

Ever since humans began looking at the heavens Five planets have always been visible - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. They drew the attention of the ancients by their brightness and the movements they take in the sky. With the invention of the telescope other planets or celestial beings have been discovered - Uranus, Neptune, Pluto (Dwarth-planet), and of course most recently Chiron. Astrologers were excited to find that their influences filled gaps in interpretation made by ancient astrologers who new nothing of them.

The Signs of the Zodiac

Zodiac-Sign

It's not known how the 12 signs of the western zodiac gained their characteristics and the archetypes given in astrology but it's widely thought the signs acquired tier names and indeed the myths associated with them from ancient civilisations.

The twelve signs of the zodiac are as follows:

  1. Aries - Around March 21st it marks the beginning of the astrological New Year. It is the first sign of the Fire element and the psychological signal of "me" and putting ones self first. The Fire emphasis ignites enthusiasm but this can die quickly so learning to sustain interest and development of patience is important.
  2. Taurus - Stability, security and patience are all characteristics of this sign. Careful consideration is given especially when taking risks. Typical Taurean s are said to like a steady life routine. It has the elemental association of Earth which is a very fixed quality.
  3. Gemini - The sign of duality, the typical Geminian never seems to do only one thing at a time. Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury (communication) and has the elemental association of Air so is a mutable sign.
  4. Cancer - Ruled by the Moon and a Water sign, typical Cancerians are often referred to as moody or changeable but can be very kind and sympathetic.
  5. Leo - Ruled by the Sun or Sol this Fire sign much like the Sun is the centre of the solar system and is the planet that shines the brightest. Being the brightest other signs can have a tendency to gravitate towards this sign but on a more negative note sometimes this sign can represent people who need to be the centre of attention.
  6. Virgo - Another sign ruled by Mercury this sign is associated with the element of Earth and is mutable. Said to have excellent brains from Mercury their ruling planet but also can be known to worry.
  7. Libra - This sign is associated with the element of Air. It often is represented by scales (of justice and balance) and relates to justice, fairness and diplomacy.
  8. Scorpio - With high energy levels second to none this sign is highly representative of both physical and emotional energy. This sign has the elemental association of Water.
  9. Sagittarius - Associated with Fire this sign can bring a combination of both intellectual energy and physical strength and so this sign should be aware of stagnation which can lead to restlessness.
  10. Capricorn - Ruled by Saturn and with the elemental association of Earth this sign is bestows ambition and often the need to "so the right thing".
  11. Aquarius - Associated with Air this sign often referred to as glamorous and friendly this sign is also considered to be very private which can leads them to being surrounded with an air of mystery.
  12. Pisces - Ruled by Neptune and associated with the Water element this sign can be considered a bit of a recluse but has stunning potential when self-confidence get in the way. Pisceans are often known to have a very powerful spiritual faith.

Rulerships & Groupings

Astrological-Rulerships

The 12 signs are traditionally divided into four groups. This helps to organise them into groupings of characteristics they share with each other. These characteristics are considered to be very basic and it is recommended that they are only used as background indicators.

Elements or Triplicates

Each sign has an association with the traditional 4 elements of the ancient world.

  • Earth - Practical & Grounded - Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
  • Air - Intellectual - Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
  • Fire - Energetic - Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
  • Water - Emotional - Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Quadruplicities

Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable signs:

  • Cardinal - Outgoing - Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
  • Fixed - Rigid - Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
  • Mutable - Flexible & Adaptable - Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces
Positive & Negative

Also known as Masculine and Feminine signs but this doesn't really refer to specific people and their signs being more masculine or feminine.

  • Masculine or Positive - Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius
  • Feminine or Negative - Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces
Polarity

Each sign has a special relationship with it's opposite / partner across the zodiac but this does not mean they have opposite characteristics in fact they actually complement each other.

  • Aries / Libra
  • Cancer / Capricorn
  • Taurus / Scorpio
  • Leo / Aquarius
  • Gemini / Sagittarius
  • Virgo / Pisces
Ruling Planets

each sign has a ruling planet. Traditional Rulers do not include Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto. The asterisks (*) are placed by the traditional rulers below.

Zodiac Sign Planetary Ruler / Co-ruler
Aries Mars
Taurus Venus
Gemini Mercury
Cancer Moon
Leo Sun
Virgo Mercury
Libra Venus
Scorpio Pluto / Mars*
Sagittarius Jupiter
Capricorn Saturn
Aquarius Uranus / Saturn*
Pisces Neptune / Jupiter*

The Planets

Astrological-solar-system

For over 2,000 years people have ascribed human characteristics to the planets. Ancient astrologers only dealt with the five planets they could see with the naked eye but around the fifth century BC the Greeks discovered and incorporated the three modern planets - Uranus, Neptune and Pluto into western astrology.

The Sun

All civilisations have had there own Sun god from the Greek god Apollo to the Egyptian god Ra. The Sun god is usually depicted as being the perfect man and is often associated with the higher self in most western occult traditions and teachings.

In astrology the Sun (although technically a star) represents generosity of heart, affection, creativity and joy and has the association with the sign of Leo.

The Moon

The Moon which rules the sign of Cancer is often thought of as a feminine planet and in most pantheons of deities is female (Hecate, Diana, Astarte, Artemis). It is interesting to note however there are one or two male Gods associated with the Moon such as Alignak or Sīn and some have even associated the Egyptian god Thoth with being a Lunar God.

In astrology the Moon has a close connection with emotion, instinct, intuition and even the digestive system.

Mercury

The messenger God of Communication, Mercury known as Hermes in the Greek pantheon. Mercury rules all things relating to all forms of communication including written and spoken languages, Sport (specifically athletics), speed. In modern times Mercury is also attributed to the age of information and the invention of the internet.

Virgo is the sign most associated with this planet and is said to stimulate the mind but can also be argumentative and critical.

Venus

Venus is most often associated with harmony, love, beauty and unison and in astrology is linked to both Taurus and Libra.

This planet is concerned with love, personal relationships and the feminine side of a persons nature.

Mars

Mars associated with the Greek god Ares was originally a god of farming but as cultures evolved he now is better known as a god of war.

This planets astrological association is concerned with the masculine side of a person nature and physical energy, initiative, strategy, aggression, catabolic processes and destruction.

Uranus

The Planet Uranus is associated with the sign of Aquarius and has the astrological association with exploration, originality, unrestrained imagination and in modern times science fiction.

Jupiter

Jupiterian deities such as Zeus or Odin are often pictured as wise old kings and so this planet has associations of wisdom, rulership, justice, anabolic processes, building and the sign of Sagittarius.

Neptune

This planet is associated with the sign of Pisces and the arts, idealism, structured imagination and creativity.

Saturn

In ancient times Saturn ruled both the sign of Capricorn and Aquarius but now modern astrologers associate it with just Capricorn (Aquarius being ruled by Uranus).

Saturn is associated with limitations, weights and measures but also the Law. It is very practical but can also be very harsh.

Pluto

The god Pluto is said to rule over the underworld which "no creature is was ever known to have escaped transportation to his land of death beyond the River Styx".

This very unusual planet is associated with the sign of Scorpio and human reproduction and buried emotion.

The Ascendant, Descendant & Midheaven

Ascendant-most-important-astrology

When making or drawing a birth chart for interpretation the first lines drawn are the Ascendant and Midheaven. Many astrologers say theses are the most crucial calculations that you will affect in the charts interpretation.

The Ascendant

The Ascendant is "the degree of the horizon at the moment of birth" and is the starting point of any astrological birth chart interpretation.

It shows the foundation of a persons personality and how they behave and adapt to their environment in other words "the mask one wears when meeting others".

The Descendant

Descendant signs are not talked about as much as Ascendant signs but they are still important. If you know your Ascendant you can easily figure out your Descendant Sign. It is the opposite, or 6 Zodiac Signs away, from your Rising Sign.

Seeing as the Ascendant sign reveals your outward personality or simply everything we appear to be, then the Descendant will show what you are not and what we are drawn to in others. Some refer to the Descendant as the "Shadow Side."

The Midheaven

The Midheaven also called the Medium Coeli or "MC" marks the degree of the zodiac at the top of the sky at the time and place of birth.

The Midheaven really represents a persons most visible achievements in the eyes of others, this can mean a persons life path, career, social standing and reputation.

The Houses

Astrological Houses

There are many ways of dividing up the space surrounding the Earth but the most popular was the house division system devised by Placidus in 1688.

This is based on time taken for each degree of the ecliptic to move from the Ascendant to the Midheaven. This system however is no good when dealing with births on high northern latitudes.

Below is a simple "Equal House" system where each house represents a field of every day life with both a Planet (to represent motivation) and Zodiac sign (to show how the motivation is directed or used).

The First House - The house of Aries & Mars

This house is considered possibly the most important house of a birth chart as it covers the Ascendant / Rising Sign. This is the house where personality will be shown. The planet is also said to influence the persons appearance and behaviour patterns.

The Second House - The house of Taurus & Venus

This shows the persons attitude towards security, possessions and partners (but not love affairs). Study of this house will show how a subject copes with partners.

The Third House - The house of Gemini & Mercury

The Third house deals with relatives but not parents and has a bearing on how the subject responds to school life.

It also gives detail on travelling and the persons ability to communicate. Mental attitude is also under the rulership of this house.

The Fourth House - The house of Cancer & The Moon

The house of home and family background. This house is the house that focuses on the subjects parents and how He or She regards them.

The Fifth House - The house of Leo & The Sun

Known as the house of creativity but not just artistic creativity. This house can also show a parents relationship with their children or even reaction to procreation.

Other things this house can reveal are pleasure, speculation and the way we express instinctive affection. This is also the house of new love so when a new romantic relationship begins the event should be observable in this house.

The Sixth House - The house of Virgo & Mercury

This house relates to health, diet an exercise but is not necessarily physical but simply how we treat our bodies.

It also shows our general day to day working routine, such as a busy career or management of a household.

Traditionally this house also showed our attitude towards servants but these days we generally see it as reflecting how we deal with the people we summon to help us.

The Seventh House - The house of Libra & Venus

The house of commitment, this house can show the needs a person has of a partner which can show what sort of partner the subject would look for.

This house is also the one a person should look to then considering setting up a business partnership or even when hiring a personal assistant but only as far as a rapport or persona understanding are concerned.

The Eighth House - The house of Scorpio & Pluto

The house of self-searching and attitudes to things such as "death" but this house is also linked to endowments and inheritance.

The eighth house is also the house of the life force so sexual instincts (deep-rooted and not the fun and gamed aspect) are also focused on here.

The Ninth House - The house of Sagittarius & Jupiter

This house deals with further education and even furthering the mind, it can also give clues to the persons philosophical outlook and spiritual questions.

The Law, publishing, literature, long-distance travel and communications.

The Tenth House - The house of Capricorn & Saturn

The house of aspiration, wordly progress and authority (or how we cope with it when it's bestowed). It is this house which you must look at when carer changes are likely or even any change that will alter the subjects status.

The Eleventh House - The house of Aquarius & Uranus

The house of Friends and Social activities (a persons basic social life). Life objectives that do not concern a persons career are all highlighted in this house as well as a persons attitude towards social concerns such as suffering in the world.

This house can show how much effort and energy a person is willing to give to good causes and the reasons for doing so (are they doing this for self-centred reasons).

The Twelfth House - The house of Pisces & Neptune

Traditionally linked to places such as hospitals and prisons this is the house of seclusion and escapism. This house can be a powerful indicator of the nature of someone's unconscious mind and perhaps the root of psychological problems.

Eclipses & Comets

Eclipse-in-astrology

To ancient peoples eclipses and comments were unexpected and rare phenomena that were considered to be bad omens and foretold death, disaster, war and pestilence, however Moderns astrologers have numerous interpretations.

Eclipses

A lunar eclipse will always occur at full moon and in considered to accentuate the usual tension which occur at such times such as stress or a worse sense of perspective.

Comets

The appearance of a comet was historically seen as a sign of world-shattering events occurring. Some examples include "Halley's Comet" coninsiding with the battle of Hastings in 1066 or even perhaps it's reappearance again in 1910 with the disaster of World War 1.

Fixed Stars

Fixed-star-astrology

Often considered to be the oldest part of Astrology is the naming, interpretation and influences of fixed stars.

Nowadays, nearly 150 fixed stars and their meanings are listed. In real practice, the few astrologers who use them consider some sixty fixed stars only, and most of the time, only 22 fixed stars of first magnitude (the biggest ones) are taken into account.

Below is a list of fixed stars and their basic attributions:

  • Hamel - Independence and ability to take strong action.
  • Algol - Desire to take revenge.
  • Aldebaran - Success and achievement of ambitions.
  • Rigel - Quick success but difficulty retaining it.
  • Sirius - Exceeding all expectations.
  • Castor & Pollux - Twin stars - Positive creative influence or the pain of creativity.
  • Acubens - Helpful in birth and coming to terms with death.
  • Regulus - Ambition and success.
  • Zosma - Resistance to victimisation.
  • Denebola - None conventional.
  • Spica - Natural ability to absorb knowledge.
  • Zuben, Elgenubi & Zuben Eschamali - Social life
  • Antares - Great action and determination.
  • Vega - Creativity and skills of a mysterious nature.
  • Rukbat - Consistency of effort.
  • Altair - Bravery and boldness or encouragement to take action.
  • Deneb Algedi - Helping those in need and justice.
  • Sadalsud & Sadalmelek - Fortune.
  • Formalhaut - Great desire to pursue ideals.
  • Okda, or Al Rescha - Subtly uniting concepts.

The Birth Chart

Astrological-birth-chart

An astrology birth chart—also called an astrology natal chart—is a map of where all the planets were in their journey around the Sun (from our vantage point on earth) at the exact moment you were born. An astrology chart reading can reveal your strengths and weaknesses, your opportunities for soul growth, the best timing for your most important moves.

To calculate your astrology birth chart, you’ll need your time, date and place of birth. Some people don’t know their birth time. If you can’t find it on your birth certificate, you can try contacting the Vital Records office in your state or area of birth. And if that still doesn’t work, make as close of an estimate as you can or enter 12:00 noon.

Without a birth time, you won’t be able to accurately learn your rising sign, or ascendant. Nor will you correctly know which houses the planets in your chart fall in. But there is still a LOT of data you can glean by entering your date and location of birth—so don’t let that stop you from checking out your astrology natal chart.

Making a Birth Chart

You can use an online calculator to make your own Birth Chart by clicking here.

Interpretation of the Birth Chart

Once you have your natal chart (or astrology birth chart), you can learn about the positions of the planets and points by sign, house, and aspect. Digging deeper into the natal chart, we can interpret such things as the lunar phases, hemisphere emphasis, and so forth. The following are resources for exploring your natal chart in-depth – from the basics to advanced topics – through planetary aspects. planets and points in signs and houses, planetary patterns, emphasized signs or hemispheres, lunar phases, midpoints (cosmobiology), house rulers, and planetary retrogrades. The list is extensive!

Astrology is absolute rubbish

Astrology-skeptic

Many people have an innate fear or mistrust of astrology, others say they instinctively "Know" that astrology and know amount of argument or statistical evidence will ever change their minds. When you meet one of the people above you may at first like many well meaning people, attempt to explain and educate them about the subject but unfortunately, no matter how well reasoned your argument may be it is likely to fall on death ears so my advice to you would simply be to make an excuse and leave.

Prejudice is sad and in the case of many of the so called magical or occult arts rampant. sometimes all you have to do is mention the words "Star Sign" to make certain people turn bright red in the face and start shouting. This is even true for the so called open minded scientists. In fact the Royal Astronomical Society of London I believe still refuses to allow it's library to be used by astrologers simply because a number of it's members regard astrology as "pseudo-science". This indeed raises interesting questions regarding freedom of information.

Becoming an Astrologer

Studying-astrology

Many people wonder if you need any sort of innate talent or supernatural power to become a proficient astrologer and the simple answer to this is No, not particularly. Nor do you need to have or belong to any specific religion or faith. There are unfortunately some objections to Astrology made by the clergy of some religions but generally you'll find astrology is present in most faiths for example many cathedrals in Europe are full of astrological imagery and symbolism.

Amateur Astrology

Lets be honest, the first astrological chart you'll probably look at or "read" is likely to be your own. No doubt after downloading an auto generated chart from some online website you'll skim through it and think, "ah, yes", "This chart says I'm generous, friendly, inquisitive, ambitious ... and that's all true!" But please remember to be sceptical and remember many of the characteristics that may have been automatically suggested may be over simple. Take time to consider all the characteristics shown by the signs and planets and use your own interpretation not the computer generated descriptions made if using software.

Advanced techniques in astrology

Advanced-astrology

Astrologers use a number of advanced techniques to give more accurate readings of clients charts. Some techniques have even been developed to divine answers to very specific questions.

Midpoint Theory

Also known as cosmobiology first emerged in the 1500s but really only gained popularity until the late 1960s when books by eminent astrologer Reinhold Ebertin were translated from German into English.

The theory states "the degree of the ecliptic falling halfway between any two planets, the Ascendant, Midheaven or the North node, is activated when another planet occupies this sensitive point, and the three influences should be incorporated into the interpretation of the full birth chart."

Harmonics

Harmonics is useful way of exploring the subtleties of a birth chart. By dividing the birth chart into equal segments, then looking at each one individually. These segments can be divided up into quarters, Fifths, even ninths as long as all segments are in fact equal.

Horary Astrology

Horary Astrology seeks to answer specific questions. Instead of working with a birth chart based on the individual client and their place and time of birth. A chart would be made for the location and time a question was asked. Horary Astrology is considered by many to be very simple but also extremely rewarding and practical.

Relocation Astrology

This type of astrology has gained in popularity since the invention of astrological software. Instead of using the location / birth place of the client to make a birth chart, a different location is used. Relocated charts reflect experiences and lessons you tend to attract in a given location. Rather than your natal chart being activated through passage of time, relocation astrology studies how it’s activated through movement in space

Other forms of Astrology

Asterian Astrology

Made famous by Astrologer Jade Sol Luna, Asterian Astrology attempts to reconstruct Jyotish (Hindu Astrology) into a Greco-Roman format.

Western Astrology which is the system(s) we have been discussing so far, doesn't follow the wobble of the earth's axis. This means Western Astrological birth charts calculated are technically off by approximately 23 degrees as they follow the seasons or the year.

Asterian astrology on the other hand follows the precession of the equinoxes like ancient cultures around the world did.

Another difference is that 27 Signs are used instead of just twelve. These signs are:

  1. Dioscuri
  2. Hades
  3. Vesta
  4. Pasiphae
  5. Prometheus
  6. Typhon
  7. Artemis
  8. Zeus
  9. Hydra
  10. Persephone
  11. Bacchus
  12. Hymenaeus
  13. Sol
  14. Vulcan
  15. Favonius
  16. Dinus
  17. Urania
  18. Parca
  19. Hecate
  20. Ceto
  21. Natura
  22. Apollo
  23. Muses
  24. Aegeon
  25. Chimera
  26. Phorcus
  27. Hermaia
The Chinese Zodiac

Chinese-zodiac

Chinese astrology was elaborated during the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) and flourished during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD). During the Han period, the familiar elements of traditional Chinese culture—the Yin-Yang philosophy, the theory of the 5 elements, the concepts of Heaven and Earth, and Confucian morality—were brought together to formalize the philosophical principles of Chinese medicine and divination, astrology and alchemy.

The 5 classical planets are associated with the Wu Xing:

  • Venus—Metal (White Tiger)
  • Jupiter—Wood (Azure Dragon)
  • Mercury—Water (Black Tortoise)
  • Mars—Fire (Vermilion Bird) (may be associated with the phoenix which was also an imperial symbol along with the Dragon)
  • Saturn—Earth (Yellow Dragon)

According to Chinese astrology, a person's destiny can be determined by the position of the major planets at the person's birth along with the positions of the Sun, Moon, comets, the person's time of birth, and zodiac Sign.


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