Astrology

Astrology: The Basics

The main components of an astrological chart are the planets, houses, signs, and aspects.  The following is the natal chart for Jack Kerouac.  A natal chart is for a specific person based on the time of their birth.  I’ll be writing about the difference types of charts in a later post.

In the photo above, see all the little sigils within the pie slices? Each sigil stands for a planet. There are 10 planets in astrology. It doesn’t matter what NASA says about Pluto, he is still a planet in astrology and a powerful one at that. Each planet is a piece of your personality, a psychological function. The Sun is your basic life-force, the Moon your emotions and subjective reality. Mercury is communication. Saturn is discipline and maturity. Each planet is equally important.

Popular astrology revolves around the Sun placement. A horoscope in the newspaper is a narrow view of a complex system. I believe the popularity of newspaper horoscopes is responsible for the common dismissive attitude most people hold about astrology. Whenever people want to argue about astrology based only on exposure to newspaper horoscopes, I ask them to please get their full chart from a professional before they make up their minds.

The glyphs in the outside circle are the signs. Each planet was “in” a sign at the moment of birth. The sign that a planet is in tells us how that piece of your psyche will express itself, and what that part of you needs to get its needs met. If your Sun is in Cancer you will express yourself, and need certain things, to feel a flowing of life force, and those things will differ greatly from a person with Sun in Leo. This goes the same for all the planets and explains why people can have radically different ways of loving, working, expressing anger, etc.

The pie slices are the houses. The house sizes are determined by the house system the astrologer is using and the location of your birth. The first house, there on the left, begins with the exact degree and minute of the sign rising at the moment you first drew breath. This is why having an exact birth time is important- there are ways to rectify a chart without a birth time, but for our purposes here an exact time is necessary. The beginning of your first house is your Ascendant, or rising sign, a core piece of a natal chart.

The houses stand for different aspects of life we each experience. The first house is the house of the self, of action. The second house is the house of resources, the third of communication, the fourth of home and family. They start with the aspects of life closest to our internal world and open into work, marriage, career, and so on, finally coming full circle to death and the beginning of the cycle all over again. Whichever house a planet is in will be the parts of life in which we most experience that part of ourselves. Someone with Moon in the 7th house of marriage will have a certain expression of their emotions that differs greatly from someone with Moon in the 10th house of career. We all have every house within our charts and therefore experience all parts of life, but there will be more emphasis on those houses with planets in them.

The final major component of astrology is the aspects between the planets. Every planet sits at a specific geometric angle to the other planets within a chart. The angles tell of the relationship those planets will have to each other. A 45-degree angle is known as a trine and speaks to a harmonious, flowing relationship between those two parts of our psyche. 45 degrees means that those two planets are in the same element and understand each other. A 90-degree angle is called a square and speaks to a difficult, tense relationship between these two parts of our psyches. This isn’t to say that trines are good and squares are bad; tension and conflict can bring about much growth while ease and harmony can lead to compliance and stagnation.

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, he is still a planet when it comes to astrology and a powerful one at that.  Each planet is a piece of your personality, a psychological function.  The Sun is your basic life-force, the Moon your emotions and subjective reality.  Mercury is communication.  Saturn is discipline and maturity.  Each planet is equally important.

Popular astrology revolves around the Sun placement.  A horoscope in the newspaper is a very narrow view of a complex system.  I believe the popularity of newspaper horoscopes is responsible for the common dismissive attitude most people hold about astrology.  Whenever people want to argue about astrology based only on exposure to newspaper horoscopes I ask them to please get their full chart done by a professional before they make up their minds.

The glyphs on the outside of the circle are the signs.  Each planet was “in” a sign at the moment of birth.  The sign that a planet is in tells us how that piece of your psyche is going to express itself, and what that part of you needs to get its needs met.  If your Sun is in Cancer you are going to express yourself, and need certain things, to feel a flowing of life force, and those things are going to be very different from a person with Sun in Leo.  This goes the same for all the planets and explains why people can have radically different ways of loving, working, expressing anger, etc.  

The pie slices are the houses.  The house sizes are determined by the house system the astrologer is using and the location of your birth.  The first house, there on the left, begins with the exact degree and minute of the sign that was rising at the moment you first drew breath.  This is why having an exact birth time is important- there are ways to rectify a chart without a birth time, but for our purposes here an exact time is necessary.  The beginning of your first house is your Ascendant, or rising sign, a core piece of a natal chart.

The houses stand for different aspects of life that we each experience.  The first house is the house of the self, of action.  The second house is the house of resources, the third of communication, the fourth of home and family.  They start with the aspects of life closest to our internal world and open slowly up into work, marriage, career, and so on, finally coming full circle to death and the beginning of the cycle all over again.  Whichever house a planet is in will be the parts of life in which we most experience that part of ourselves.  Someone with Moon in the 7th house of marriage will have a certain expression of their emotions that is very different from someone with Moon in the 10th house of career.  We all have every house within our charts and therefore experience all parts of life, but there will be more emphasis on those houses with planets in them.

The final major component of astrology is the aspects between the planets.  Every planet sits at a specific geometric angle to the other planets within a chart.  The angles tell of the kind of relationship those planets will have to each other.  A 45-degree angle is known as a trine and speaks to a harmonious, flowing relationship between those two parts of our psyche.  45 degrees means that those two planets are in the same element, and understand each other.  A 90-degree angle, on the other hand, is called a square and speaks to a difficult, tense relationship between these two parts of our psyches.  This isn’t to say that trines are good and squares are bad; tension and conflict can bring about much growth, while ease and harmony can lead to compliance and stagnation.

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