As Above, So Below:
The stars and planets have always inspired a sense of wonder. Many cultures look skyward and see the face of the divine there. There’s a cosmic dance on the grand scale, and one on the intimate scale, going on for each of us. Astrology is the study of patterns and relationships — of planets in motion, our birth chart, synastry with others, the make-up of elements — and using that knowledge as a tool to find meaning.
Is Astrology a science?:
It falls more in the category of metaphysics, the study of that which is beyond the physical. It’s similar to other fields that are founded on ancient theories of energy patterns, like feng shui, acupuncture and yoga. Astrology at high levels is a mastery of its particular science and the intuitive arts. As the earliest known ordering of existence, long before recorded history, it’s been called the “Mother of all Sciences.”
The Celestial Clock:
Astrology’s premise is that the planetary movements influence the Moments in Time. Since we’re part of the story of the Universe, our moment of birth recorded on the celestial clock is meaningful. The planets continue to move,engagingwith the fixed in time energies of our birth chart.
Students today can draw on the myths, symbolic associations and wisdom of past astrologers to come up with their own intuitive language. There are the long cycles of outer planets that show generational trends, and shorter ones, like the Sun’s annual journey through the Zodiac.
Astrology is an incredible tool of self-discovery, no matter how far you decide to take it. At first, the pieces of the puzzle may not seem to fit. But if you stick with it, at a certain point it “clicks” and the orchestrations of the cosmic dance make sense.
If life seems like a series of meaningless events, astrology can be a comforting sign that perhaps things happen for a reason. It can shine light on inner contradictions and natural strengths. As a map of the psyche, the birth chart is a guide to self-understanding that never stops revealing new layers of insight.
Understanding Your Birth Chart:
Astrology can be baffling at first, because it involves a different kind of wisdom. There are three parts to any birth chart (click here for your own 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.
Where the Heck Should I Start?:
It’s said that there’s truth in stereotypes, and that’s where they come from in the first place. The essence of each sign’s energy has built up a reputation. Gemini is chatty, gossipy, a bright wit. Scorpio is sultry, intense. Virgo is a purist, a neat-freak, and so on. Hold those stereotypes loosely as you make your own observations.
The Sun sign is the essence of the basic nature in the broadest possible strokes. The rest of the chart fills in the details. Hold the Sun sign in your mind, as you go on to learn about the Moon. What kind of Cancer am I? The rest of your chart tells the story.
The Chemistry of Astrology:
Astrology provides cosmic clues as to why you’re attractedto,repelled by or indifferent to those you meet. It helps you take personality clashes less to heart, but also show potential red flags to watch out for. Some connections are sparked by friction, and astrology helps you take the long view, and see them as challenges that cause you both to grow.
Astrology and the Dating Game:
Just a little bit of Sun Sign wisdom fills you in on the dynamics of your potential romantic alliance. In the delicate beginning, it can shine light on the behavior of the Sun signs when romantic interest is piqued.
What are other uses of astrology for understanding relationships?:
Astrology can give you a deeper understanding of all your relationships — with bosses, siblings, parents, children, friends and partners. Comparing a couple’s birth charts alerts them to areas where their natures could come into conflict. Known as “synastry,” this kind of analysis points out areas to challenge and support each other to fulfill your individual destinies. Astrology shows where karma is being played out, with hard but necessary lessons, and the potential for an alchemical miracle to take place over time.
Intro to Zodiac Signs
Fire Sign: Courageous, creative, spontaneous, a catalyst, forceful, an agitator, confrontational, a do-er, restless, lover of challenge, ardent, a fighter, dynamic, a leader.
Earth Sign:Goal-oriented, lover of possessions, sensuous, takes sweet time, patient, bull-headed (stubborn), skilled artisan, resonant voice, builder, beautifier, lover of creature comforts.
Air Sign: Curious, quick intellect, seeker of novelty, erratic, trendy, many sided, lackadaisical, scattered focus, adaptable, friendly, fun, a learner.
Water Sign: Emotional, absorbedinmoods, cautious around new people, clingy, senses undercurrents, nurturing, keeper of family story, sensitive, hidden strength, pioneer of feeling.
Fire Sign: Smiley, proud, dignified, expressive, big-hearted, glamorous, regal air, ambitious, passionate, demands respect, lover of adventure and risk.
Earth Sign: Fastidious, always seeking to purify, lover of routine, mechanical, sincere, conscientious, critical of self and others, kind, natural, skilled, precise, articulate.
Air Sign: Stylish, lover of beauty and art, cultural, sophisticated, intellectual, social grace, talkative, diplomatic, a natural in relationship.
Water Sign: Soulful, probing, driven, mesmerizing, secretive, profound, deep healer, drawn to what’s occulted (hidden), lover of mysteries, at home in underworld, intensely bonded in relationships, no stranger to dark emotions.
Fire Sign: Cheerful, athletic, a seeker, adventurer, world traveler, philosopher (lover of wisdom), refreshingly honest, dot connector, friend to all, enlivening.
Earth Sign: Resourceful, hard-working, master of material realm, persistent, pillarofsociety, seeks place in establishment, fixed on tangible results, strategizer, private (though with polished public image), a leader, authority, desires to leave enduring legacy.
Air Sign: Trendsetter, flaunts convention, quirky, accepting of all, detached friendliness, otherworldly glamour, humanitarian, tuned in, visionary.
Water Sign: Enchanting, mystical, devoted, unreachable (lost child), undefined, lacking direction, slips away from anything ‘real,’ artistic, ethereal, victim, overwhelmed, sublime, expressing divine in art, music or dance.
Divisions of the Zodiac
- Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. These signs represent the spiritual world, and persons born under these signs have many spiritual qualities.
- Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, representing man’s emotional nature.
- Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, representing the mental part of a man’s nature.
- Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, representing people who are more physical in their nature.
- Cardinal signs are pioneers, activists, reformers and seekers of new conquests – Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn
- Fixed signs represent conservatives, they are slow to change and suspicious of new ideas – Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius
- Mutable signs are the counsellors and compromisers, striving to being harmony – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces
- The Masculine aspect is considered to be active, powerful, outgoing and electric – Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius
- The Feminine aspect is considered to be passive, inward looking, and magnetic – Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces
The Four Elements in Astrology
What are the four elements in (Western) astrology?: Fire, Air, Water and Earth
What are the Elements?: The four elements — earth, air, water and fire — are the very elements (or energies) of life. Since long before written history, there’s been an understanding of the elemental balance needed to sustain life. Many indigenous traditions honor the sacred circle, formed by the four elements, and seen in the Zodiacal wheel.
Elements and Astrology: In yourownbirth chart, the mix of elements shows you what you’re working with in this life. Your cosmic blueprint may be heavy on the fire, but lack earth to ground you. Each element behaves differently, and is one of three qualities — how these mix in your chart, taking into account the planet and house placement, shines more light on your nature and life lessons.
Who began to group the signs by Elements?: In recorded history, Ptolemy is credited with making the association between the four elements and the signs of astrology in the 2nd Century AD. Using longstanding theories of the four elements, he assigned three signs to each element. The Greek philosophers found the four elements in all of life, and their Zodiacal wheel of cosmic energies reflected that balance.
What do the signs of a certain Element have in common?:
The signs in a grouping share certain associations:
- Fire signs: the spirit,inspired,energy, instinctual, outgoing, active
- Air signs: the mind, intellectual, ideas, detached, social, conceptual
- Water signs: the emotions, imaginative, nurturing, introverted
- Earth Signs: the body, practical, sensual, grounded
What are the Fire Signs?: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
What are the Air Signs?: Libra, Gemini and Aquarius
What are the Earth Signs?: Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo
What are the Water Signs?: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces
What are the Qualities?: Like the Elements, this is a grouping of signs, but this time it is quadruplicities, or groups of four. Each of the four groupings has a distinct “quality” and they are known as Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. The quality groupings each have a unique way of engaging with the world.
When were the signs first put into these groups?: The qualities are found in the writings of Ptolemy, and seem to have come out of early Greece.
What is the relationship to the Elements?: Each grouping by quality has one of the four elements. So that means that for each element, there is a Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable sign within that group, too. Cardinal Fire behaves in a different way than Fixed or Mutable fire, and this adds nuance to understanding a particularsign.
Whatdo the qualities have to do with the seasons?: Each quality is linked to a particular point in the season. The cardinal signs initiate the season, fixed signs hold it in continuation, and the mutable signs wrap things up, and prepare for the seasonal change ahead.
What are the Cardinal signs?: Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn
What are the Fixed signs?: Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius and Taurus
What are the Mutable signs?: Sagittarius, Pisces, Gemini and Virgo
How are the qualities used to understand a sign?: Once you get a grasp of the elements, and can observe them first hand in people you know, the quality offers more shades of difference. You can refer to a natal planet being in the quality and element, such as Fixed Air or Mutable Water. Once you get a sense of how these qualities behave, merge that with what you know about the element, along with the essence of the sign. It’s part of the synthesis that is vital to understanding astrology.
Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable:
The Cardinal signs are like the oldest in the family, and full of the self-initatory spirit. They assert their particular style of leadership through their element. By element, they are Aries (fire), Cancer (water), Libra (air) and Capricorn (earth.)
The Fixed signs dig in, and are able to hold steady in their goals to achieve something solid. It’s hard for them to change, which gives them a reputation for being stubborn. But they are respected for their self-containment and sense of purpose. By element, they are Leo (fire), Scorpio (water), Aquarius(air)and Taurus (earth).
The Mutable signs are flexible, adaptable and restless for movement, change. They are able to see life from many perspectives, making them great communicators. They represent the break-down before the next season begins, so there’s a touch of chaos to their natures. By element, they are Sagittarius (fire), Pisces (water), Gemini (air) and Virgo (earth).
When learning about astrology, try noting the difference between the qualities by observing two people with planets in the same element. For example, you might have two earth sign friends, giving you a great chance to note the different “quality” between a Capricorn and a Virgo. It takes time to note these subtleties, especially since we are usually a complex mix of many signs.
Aspects of the Zodiac
Conjunction – 0°
The conjunction is a zero degree aspect, emphasises the energy from two planets or from a planet and point. Blend the two planets together and you have a powerful force that can be either positive or negative depending on how its energy is used.
Semi-Sextile – 30°
The Semi-sextile reveals unseen opportunity. The type of opportunity will depend on the Planets involved and the Signs and houses they are positioned in.
Semi-Square – 45°
A Semi-square has an irritating quality about it. It reveals an area that requires a change in attitude in order to move forward.
Sextile – 60°
This is a beneficial aspect and usually represents opportunities and skills that can be capitalized on.
Square – 90°
The Square is another powerful planetary aspect. Its energy is challenging; however, if the challenge is overcome, the end result can be very advantageous.
Trine – 120°
The Trine is considered an easy and harmonious aspect. It reveals natural abilities and prospects that can be utilized by an individual with sufficient motivation.
Inconjunct (Quincunx) – 150°
The Inconjunct was once considered a minor aspect but has since been revaluated. Like the Square, the Inconjunct is challenging in nature and is often related to adjustments required by an individual. Although difficult, this aspect can prove most favorable if the adjustments are made successfully.
Opposition – 180°
The Opposition aspect brings a sense of awareness to the individual. Depending on the planets involved it may show an aptitude for seeing both sides of any given situation. On the negative side, it’s also thought to bring stress from two opposing forces.
Planets of the Zodiac
The Sun rules Leo and the 5th house.
The Sun represents your basic personality, who and what you are, what your purpose is here in this lifetime, your basic health and strength, your conscious mind, your ego and your adult self. It represents what you are trying to become. It’s the core of who you are…your spirit…your soul…your consciousness…your basic drive. It defines your personal identity, your ego and your unique self expression.
It takes the Sun one year to complete its cycle through the Zodiac Signs.
The Moon rules Cancer and the 4th House.
The Moon represents your subconscious mind, your childhood, your Mother, your relationships with women, your nurturing side, your intuitive self, and your emotions and how they are expressed. It also represents instinctive needs. The Moon helps define our emotional development, or express the unconscious side of our personality. It explains why you do what you do. The Moon also influences our senses depending on its placement in the birth chart and is said to represent your instinctual self, which many people keep hidden.
The Moon spends 2-1/2 days in each sign and takes approximately 30 days to complete its cycle.
Mercury rules both Gemini and Virgo. It also rules the 3rd and 6th House.
Mercury represents your mind, your intellect, how you think, how you communicate, how well you do in school, your learning styles and your speech patterns. Mercury defines our mind and the way we use it.
Mercury completes its rotation in a mere 88 days.
Venus rules both Taurus and Libra. It also rules the 2nd and 7 House.
Venus represents how you love, what you seek in love, your appreciation for the arts, your financial possibilities, your feminine side and how you relax.
The Venus cycle takes 227.4 days.
Mars rules Aries and is sub-ruler of Scorpio. Mars also rules the 1st house and sub-rules the 8th.
Mars represents your masculine side, your energy level, how you express your energy, your temperament, your ability to take direct action, and your sexuality. Mars indicates a sense of impulsiveness, aggressiveness, courage, action, will-power, enthusiasm, and even negative traits such as impatience, temperament, violence and conflict. Mars’ energy also motivates and drives a person to accomplish their dreams and goals in life.
Mars’ journey through all the Zodiac Signs takes approximately two years.
Jupiter rules over Sagittarius and the 9th House. It also sub-rules Pisces and the 12th House.
Jupiter represents your expansive capabilities, your ability to draw luck to you and your religious beliefs and interests. It symbolizes expansion, development and good fortune. Jupiter can also show areas where you go to excess.
A Jupiter cycle takes twelve years to complete.
Saturn rules over Capricorn and the 10th House. It also sub-rules Aquarius and the 11th house.
Saturn represents your fears, your struggles, your difficulties, your ability to be practical, your ability to organise and your business sense. In Astrology Saturn is the learned Sage; the planet that teaches through experience, challenges, problems and situations. Saturn’s influence provides the endurance, patience and determination to overcome all odds.
Saturn moves slowly through the Zodiac Signs taking 29 years to complete one cycle.
Uranus rules Aquarius and the 11th House.
Uranus represents your eccentric side, your connection with humanity at large, your ability to be inventive, your relationship with electronics and computers and your capacity for brilliance and insight. Its expression is in the form of revolution, change, unpredictability and disruption. Uranus is associated with electricity, computers, astrology, inventions and Society as a whole.
Slow moving Uranus takes 84 years to complete its cycle; spending about 7 years in each sign.
Neptune rules over Pisces and the 12th House.
Neptune represents your longing to be connected to the whole, your deep inner spirituality (as opposed to organised religion), whether or not your over indulge in chemicals, your need to merge with something outside yourself, your compassion on a higher level, and your higher self. Neptune expresses itself through mystical, spiritual and psychic forces. It also rules over drugs, alcohol, medication, the sea, photography, dreams and the subconscious.
Neptune spends about 14 years in each Sign and 168 years to complete one cycle.
Pluto rules over Scorpio and the 8th House.
Pluto represents your capacity for rebirth and regeneration, your ability to transform things, your interest in all things hidden and occult, how you approach death and sexuality, your understanding of the human psyche, and your ability to radically disrupt or alter your life.
Pluto is the slowest of all the planets. It takes approximately 246 years to make its way through all the Signs of the Zodiac.
Twelve Houses of the Zodiac
The houses are grouped into 3 main categories.
These are the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses. These Astrological houses show how you initiate things. It’s where the action begins. The house cusps of all 4 angular houses are very important points on an Astrology Chart. The most important of the 4 points are the Ascendant and Midheaven.
These are the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th houses. These Astrological houses show the outcome of whatever was started in the angular houses.
These are the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th houses. These Astrological houses show how you maintain what was begun in the angular houses.
Starting at the Ascendant, the Astrological houses are counted counter-clockwise one through twelve.
House 1 – Self (Identity) – Angular – Rising Sign / Ascendant
First House represents: The personality, disposition, health, temperament, physical build and appearance, and one’s outlook on life. It has bearing on manners, and forms of outward behaviour.
(House of Aries and Mars) Includes the all-important Rising Sign (or Ascendant), and is the first impression given to the world. The house of identity, here are clues to our overall outer package, including behavior, physical traits, social mask, health and well-being. Planets here shape how others perceive you, and the “vibe” you put out there.
Natural Planetary ruler-Mars
House 2 – Material Possessions – Succedent
Second House represents: Possessions of all kinds, and the person’s attitude towards them, and worldly resources which support the physical body. Also moral values and ambition.
(House of Taurus and Venus) This is often referred to as the arena of money and values. It’s the province of stability, resourcefulness and slow, steady progress. Here you’re shown how a grounded life can be created, one that is self-sufficient and in line with your values.
Natural Planetary ruler-Venus
House 3 – Communications – Cadent
Third House represents: Family ties, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. School life, education, communication, letters, books, short journeys, cars, bicycles, public testimony and speech. This is the House of communication.
(House of Gemini and Mercury) The house of education, shorttravels,thefamilytribe (siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles), neighborly exchanges and more. The style of sharing life observations comes through here. It’s the arena of filtering info in, and sending it back out into your community.
Natural Planetary ruler-Mercury
House 4 – Domestic Affairs – Angular – Imum Coeli (I.C.)
Fourth House represents: The beginning and the end of life; the home as a base. This House has a certain bearing on parents, their abilities (and their ability to fulfil commitment) since personal status and home life depend on, to some extent, them. Houses, land, food, household items and private life are also related to the fourth House.
(House of Cancer and the Moon) The arena of family, ancestral roots, the unconscious, Mother, and your sense of home. Planets here influence how you nest, and the experience to be had in the home base. Linked to our earliest moments in the womb, and even before that, in the undercurrents inherited from sources beyond this lifetime.
Natural Planetary ruler-Moon
House 5 – Pleasure – Succedent
Fifth House represents: Creativity, children, pleasures, holidays, enterprises, and new undertakings. Pleasures, love affairs, and the object of instinctive affection. This is the House of romance and creative expression.
(House of Leo and the Sun) The house of creativity, and the Self radiating confidently outward. It’s the arena of loving life through play, love affairs, self-expression and relating to children. Planets here also shape the way your Father is perceived, as well as risk-taking and the exuberant thrust into new creative fields.
Natural Planetary ruler-Sun
House 6 – Health & Service – Cadent
Sixth House represents: This House rules work; also subordinates, providing a strong pointer aimed at people’s attitudes towards servants. This is also the House of health and service, although physical well-being cannot be entirely assessed from it.
(House of Virgo and Mercury or Chiron) The realm of routine in the service of a healthy, fulfilled life. Exercise,diet, our daily work, all fall in this arena. Planets here reveal your approach to daily life, discipline, colleagues and your own physical well being.
Natural Planetary ruler-Mercury
House 7 – Partnerships– Angular – Descendant
Seventh House represents: Indicates those who are in close relationships of an emotional and business nature. Also close friendships, legal affairs and contracts.
(House of Libra and Venus) This house holds clues to the tenor, style and lessons of your major relationships. That includes marriage, business partnerships and the big friendships in your life. Relationships are a mirror of the Self and planets here show what kinds of self-growth happens for us in that arena of life.
Natural Planetary ruler-Venus
House 8 – Others’ Resources – Succedent
Eighth House represents: Represents money from legacies, shared feelings, life force elements of sex, life and death, and attitudes towards death and the afterlife. In addition, high business,the stock exchange and insurance companies. This is the House of crime and other people’s money.
(House of Scorpio and Pluto) The house of regeneration through sex, and personal periods of death & rebirth. This realm deals with all things dark, hidden and potentially destructive, including our own unacknowledged psychic undercurrents. Planets here influence how we deal with the unknown — whether with fear, attempting to control or surrendering to be transformed.
Natural Planetary ruler-Pluto
House 9 – Higher Mind – Cadent
Ninth House represents: Further education, study in depth of profound subjects and mental exploration; also long distance travel, foreigners, languages. This House also has a bearing on moral ideas, conscience and dreams.
(House of Sagittarius and Jupiter) The arena of higher education, seeking knowledge, traveling and exploring the world. Planets here show how we expand our field of experience, and integrate all we know into a philosophy of life. This sphere reflects personal vision quests, dreams, aspirations and how we search for higher wisdom.
Natural Planetary ruler-Jupiter
House 10 – Career & Public Image – Angular – Midheaven
Tenth House represents: Aspirations, ambitions, public standing. All matters outside the home; the career or profession, and attainment in that field, social status and responsibilities, a sense of discipline and matters affecting outward appearances and personal image.
(House of Capricorn and Saturn) The house of personal authority and long-range career ambitions. Planets here influence how you create real change, and become an authority in your area of expertise. It determines things like persistence and endurance toward your big goals.
Natural Planetary ruler-Saturn
House 11 – Social Activities– Succedent
Eleventh House represents: This House influences friends and acquaintances, clubs and societies. Objectives in life and the more detached contacts made in day to day affairs. Intellectual pleasures, as opposed to more sporting or physical forms of relaxation. It is known as the House of friendships.
(House of Aquarius and Uranus) The house of friendships, networks and the collective currents. Planets here show what kinds of alliances you create based on shared hopes, dreams and visions for the future.
Natural Planetary ruler-Uranus
Twelfth House represents: A need for seclusion, service to others, such as hospital visiting, self-sacrificing (often as a result of a partner’s illness). Bad habits, things done secretly and self-undoing. It deals with dreams, hidden resources or talents, psychic phenomena, clandestine affairs, hidden enemies, and addictions.
(House of Pisces and Neptune) This house deals with hidden realities, and planets here are vulnerable to illusion. Called the “house of undoing,” because planets placed here are immersed in the All, and hard to see clearly. Growth in this house happens at the soul level, and often far below the radar.
Natural Planetary ruler-Neptune