Astrology is an ancient practice that has fascinated people for thousands of years. With its use of the zodiac, astrological signs, planets, and houses, astrology aims to provide insight into our personality, relationships, and destiny. Although astrology has often been dismissed as pseudoscience, it continues to maintain its popularity and intrigue many who are curious about what the stars might say about their lives.
In this beginner’s guide to astrology, we will cover the basics of the practice, the tools you need to get started, and resources for going deeper into astrological teachings. Read on to start unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos as they relate to your unique birth chart.
The Basics of Astrology
Astrology is based on the positions of celestial bodies at the time of a person’s birth. Astrologers believe that the positions of the sun, moon, planets, and rising sign (Ascendant) impact an individual’s personality and life events.
The most well-known part of astrology is the twelve signs of the zodiac. The zodiac is divided into 12 equal segments corresponding to 12 constellations. Your zodiac sign is determined by which sign was rising on the Eastern horizon at the time you were born.
In addition to your sun sign (zodiac sign), astrologers look at the positions of all the planets in your birth chart. Your moon and rising signs are also considered very important. The moon represents our inner needs and emotions, while the Ascendant/rising sign is viewed as your outward personality and how you are perceived by others.
Essential Tools for Learning Astrology
Your Birth Chart
Your astrological birth chart (also called a natal chart) is a map of where all the planets were positioned at the exact time and place you were born. To generate your free birth chart online, you will need to know:
- Your exact date of birth
- Your exact time of birth
- The city you were born in
Studying your unique birth chart is the basis of astrological analysis. Astrologers look at the zodiac sign each planet was in, the planet’s placements in the 12 houses, and the angles or “aspects” formed between planets. This provides insight into your motivations, challenges, and areas of life that will be significant.
An ephemeris is an essential astrological tool that shows the changing daily positions of the planets over many years. Online ephemerides like Astrodienst allow you to see where the planets were on your birth date to understand their natal positions in your chart. Ephemerides are also useful for looking up future dates to analyze upcoming astrological transits.
An astrological calendar or almanac highlights important planetary movements like retrogrades, eclipses, ingresses into new signs, and more. These cosmic events coincide with shifts in our lives. Referring to an astrological calendar can help you understand the astrological significance of different periods. Sources like Astrology Life’s calendar cover the major astrological happenings throughout the year.
Astrology 101: Core Components to Learn
As a beginner, focus your studies on grasping these basic components of astrology:
The 12 Zodiac Signs
The zodiac begins with Aries and continues in order through Pisces. Learn the dates, symbolic representations, and characteristics of each sign. Discover if your personality aligns with the typical traits of your sun, moon, and rising signs.
The Planets and Their Meanings
The 10 major planets in astrology are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Study the astrological significance and key themes of each planet. Pay extra attention to any planets that were in major angles (conjunctions, squares, oppositions) in your natal chart.
The 12 Houses
The houses represent different life areas or environments. The houses are measured counterclockwise from the Ascendant, which is the start of the 1st house. If planets were positioned in a certain house in your birth chart, it indicates that life area will be very active or significant for you.
The aspects are the angles between planets, showing how their energies interact. Flowing aspects like trines and sextiles indicate planetary harmony, while discordant aspects like squares and oppositions suggest challenges between the energies. Going beyond just the sun sign to examine aspects is where astrology gets more detailed and nuanced.
Transits refer to the current or ongoing movements of planets. You can forecast what may occur in your life by seeing when transiting planets form major angles to the planets in your natal chart. For instance, transiting Saturn conjunct your Sun could mark a time of hard work and maturity.
Expanding Your Astrological Studies
Once you have a good grasp of the basics, here are some recommendations for deepening your astrological knowledge:
- Learn how to interpret the meaning of planetary house placements and rulerships in your natal chart
- Study the rising signs and how they influence personality
- Research astrological aspects like squares, trines, and oppositions to understand how planets interact in the natal chart
- Read about the transpersonal or outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) and their generational significance
- Study the cycles of the transiting planets through the signs and houses, which reveal shifts in our lives
- Learn about the Moon’s Nodes, representing our soul’s journey and areas of destiny
- Research ancient astrological techniques like decans, dignities, and debilities which add nuance
- Read books and articles on interpreting natal charts from different astrological traditions
- Follow astrologers online or in your area to learn astrological analysis from experienced practitioners
- Consider getting an astrological reading to gain personalized insights from your natal chart
The possibilities for expanding your astrological knowledge are endless. Allow your interests to guide you as you continue learning this ancient cosmic language. Over time, astrology’s wisdom will come alive through understanding your chart and observing life’s unfolding mysteries.
CafeAstrology.com. The Astrology Birth Chart Calculator. https://cafeastrology.com/birthchart.html
Astrodienst. Ephemeris. https://www.astro.com/swisseph/ae/2000/ae_1980.pdf
AstroLifeStyles. Astrology Calendar 2022: Retrogrades, Full Moons, and More. https://astrolifestyles.com/astrology-calendar-2022/
AstroLifeStyles. The 7 Best Astrology Books for Beginners. https://astrolifestyles.com/7-best-astrology-books-for-beginners/
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