Astrology is an ancient practice that uses the positions of celestial bodies to gain insight into events on Earth and human personality traits. Understanding the terminology used in astrology can be helpful for interpreting astrological readings. This post will define some common astrology terms.
The planets are the main components used in astrological interpretations. Each planet represents certain archetypes and areas of life:
The Sun represents your core self, identity, and purpose. It governs creativity, confidence, and leadership abilities.
The Moon represents your emotions, instincts, and inner self. It rules over your past, your home life, and your relationship with your mother.
Mercury represents communication, intellect, and perception. It governs analytical thinking, writing, speaking, and information processing.
Venus represents love, beauty, and relationships. It rules over romance, art, luxury, and social connections.
Mars represents energy, aggression, and action. It governs ambition, impulsiveness, competitiveness, and sexuality.
Jupiter represents expansion, optimism, and wisdom. It rules over travel, philosophy, higher education, and spirituality.
Saturn represents discipline, responsibility, and maturity. It governs authority figures, long-term goals, limitations, and lessons.
Uranus represents change, originality, and rebellion. It rules over innovation, technology, and desire for freedom.
Neptune represents dreams, illusions, and spirituality. It governs creativity, psychic ability, fantasy, and escapism.
Pluto represents transformation, intensity, and obsession. It rules over death, rebirth, power struggles, and forces beyond conscious control.
The zodiac is made up of 12 signs that represent personality archetypes and areas of life. Each sign is associated with one of the four elements (fire, earth, air, water) and a planet or luminary.
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
Aries is a cardinal fire sign ruled by Mars. Aries energy is bold, direct, and enthusiastic. Aries natives are typically action-oriented and competitive.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Taurus is a fixed earth sign ruled by Venus. Taureans are practical, devoted, and responsible. They enjoy material comforts and are grounded in reality.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Gemini is a mutable air sign ruled by Mercury. Geminis are fast-thinking, clever, and social. They are naturally curious and enjoy learning.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Cancer is a cardinal water sign ruled by the Moon. Cancers are nurturing, sensitive, and protective. Family, home, and emotional security are very important to them.
Leo (July 23 – August 22)
Leo is a fixed fire sign ruled by the Sun. Leos are confident, ambitious, and energetic. They thrive in leadership roles and love being the center of attention.
Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
Virgo is a mutable earth sign ruled by Mercury. Virgos are analytical, practical, and hardworking. They pay attention to details and enjoy order.
Libra (September 23 – October 22)
Libra is a cardinal air sign ruled by Venus. Libras seek harmony, justice, and partnership. They make decisions after weighing both sides.
Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
Scorpio is a fixed water sign ruled by Pluto and Mars. Scorpios are intense, secretive, and passionate. They are unafraid of exploring the deeper aspects of life.
Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter. Sagittarians have an adventurous spirit, optimistic outlook, and love of freedom. They seek knowledge through experiences.
Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign ruled by Saturn. Capricorns are responsible, disciplined, and have strong morals. They are focused on achieving long-term success.
Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)
Aquarius is a fixed air sign ruled by Uranus. Aquarians are progressive, original, and independent. They engage in intellectual pursuits and have humanitarian goals.
Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
Pisces is a mutable water sign ruled by Neptune. Pisceans are spiritual, creative, and empathetic. They are in touch with their emotions and sensitive to others.
The astrological houses represent different areas of life experience. In a birth chart, the houses are fixed sections of the sky beginning from the exact time and location of birth:
The 1st house represents your personality, appearance, behaviors, and initiative. It governs your approach to life.
The 2nd house represents your income, possessions, and values. It governs your attitude toward security and finances.
The 3rd house represents your communication style, curiosity, and immediate environment. It governs your information gathering skills.
The 4th house represents your home, family history, and emotional foundations. It governs your ties to your roots.
The 5th house represents creativity, romance, entertainment, children, and risk-taking. It governs your creative self-expression.
The 6th house represents your work ethic, daily routine, health, and service. It governs your attitude toward service and wellness.
The 7th house represents partnerships, contracts, diplomacy, and rivals. It governs your one-on-one connections.
The 8th house represents transformations, intimacy, death, and rebirth. It governs your strength during times of change.
The 9th house represents travel, adventure, philosophies, and higher education. It governs your experiences that broaden your perspective.
The 10th house represents your public image, career, status, and legacy. It governs your worldly achievements.
The 11th house represents friends, groups, hopes, and wishes. It governs your connections and contributions to society.
The 12th house represents the subconscious, dreams, healing, and endings. It governs your inner spiritual life.
Aspects describe the angles between pairs of planets in an astrology chart. They indicate how planetary energies flow and combine.
A conjunction occurs when planets are 0° apart, meaning their energies unite and act together.
A sextile occurs when planets are 60° apart, indicating opportunities and harmonious combinations.
A square occurs when planets are 90° apart, creating tension and obstacles to overcome.
A trine occurs when planets are 120° apart, allowing their energies to blend smoothly and successfully.
An opposition occurs when planets are 180° apart, generating contrast and counterbalancing forces.
When a planet appears to move backwards from our vantage point on Earth, it is considered in retrograde motion. Retrogrades bring inward reflection, issues from the past, and reconsideration.
Common retrograde planets include:
- Mercury Retrograde – Communications glitches, travel delays
- Venus Retrograde – Relationship issues, financial reconsideration
- Mars Retrograde – Changes in drive, vitality, aggression
By understanding key astrological terms, you can gain deeper insight from your natal chart and astrological readings. Astrology provides a meaningful framework for interpreting life’s experiences.
Costello, K. (n.d.). Astrology for Beginners: An Easy Guide to Understanding & Interpreting Your Chart. Llewellyn Worldwide.
Erin Sullivan. (2021). Planets In Retrograde: What It Means & How It Impacts You. Erin Sullivan.
Riske, K. (2022). Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Astrology: The Easy Way to Learn Astrology. Llewellyn Worldwide.
Winkler, I. (2021). The Complete Astrology Dictionary: How to Understand AND Interpret Your Birth Chart & Horoscope. Rockridge Press.
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