There are many aspects of astrology that are not often considered by those who do not actually study the subject. Most people think that astrology consists of sun signs. However, there are many other aspects of astrology that must be considered for the art to be truly accurate and useful.
A horoscope, or natal chart, is, literally, a map of the position of the planets at the exact time and place of a person’s birth. It is a circle of 360 degrees, representing the path of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. In the horoscope, this path, or ecliptic, is divided into twelve sections of 30 degrees, each containing one of the Sun signs, the twelve signs of the Zodiac that indicate the Earth’s relationship to the Sun’s position at the time of your birth. For instance, if you were born in late March or early April, the Sun would have been in the first sign, Aries, making Aries your “Sun sign.”
There are ten planets studied in astrology. The number ten is arrived by adding the sun and the moon. The earth is not counted, because our perspective is from the earth. Each planet influences both the sun sign and the house in which it resides in the astrological chart.
Each planet represents the influence that it holds over the sun sign and the house in which it rules. Saturn, for example, represents the limitations of man. Jupiter represents leadership and prosperity. The other planets have their own representations and influences.
Planetary movements and alignments are also very important in astrology. Various planetary alignments and movements can indicate extreme influences over all aspects of our lives. For example, when Mars is in retrograde, conflicts will be more dominant in our lives.
There are twelve houses in the Zodiac, or astrological chart. Each house represents an aspect of our lives such as romance, career, or family. The houses are very important in the interpretation of astrology. The house in which a planet resides shows what influences will be held over that aspect of our life.
Because there are twelve houses but only ten planets, each astrological chart will have two vacant houses. These vacant houses represent areas of the life that are unimportant in this life. It is believed that either you have been successful in that aspect of your life in another life, or other aspects of life are in more immediate need of attention than those represented by the vacant houses.
The Zodiac sun signs are the most common aspect of astrology. There are twelve sun signs, based, roughly, on the months of the year. Each sun sign rules for approximately twenty eight days.
The twelve signs of the Zodiac are well known to most people. They include Capricorn, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Scorpio, Gemini, Libra, Leo, and Ares, among others. The sun signs are most often used to create typical horoscopes.
The Moon Signs
The moon also has twelve signs that are used in the interpretation of astrology, as well as the phases of the moon that are commonly known. The twelve signs of the moon are named after the twelve signs of the sun. However, these signs do not meet often.
The twelve signs of the moon circulate monthly rather than yearly. Therefore, each sign of the Zodiac occurs within its own sign of the moon one time each month. This may occur for one to three days. It is when the sun sign and moon sign are the same that the individual’s mental clarity is at its peak.
When the sign of the moon is the opposite of the sun sign of the individual in question, conflict will ensue. Some phases of the moon are detrimental to decision making regardless of the sun sign held by the individual. In any case, the moon’s energies and emotions influence the overall readings of the rest of the aspects of astrology.
The Zodiac is delineated by the vernal equinox, which is marked by the Sun’s position around March 20 of each year, when the days and nights are equal in length. This occurs when the Sun moves from a position south of the equator to a position north of the equator that is referred to in astrology as 0 degrees Aries. It marks the beginning of the “tropical Zodiac,” the Zodiac most commonly used in Western astrology and the only one we shall study here.
Sun Signs with Corresponding Dates
The signs of the Zodiac follow an unchanging pattern or progression: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The Zodiac (from the Greek zoë, meaning “life,” and diakos, meaning “wheel”) is the Wheel of Life symbolically conceived by the human mind. As the signs are created by where the planets are positioned only approximate dates of the Sun’s annual transit through the signs can be displayed, this then develops the termonology “Born on the Cusp”.
Born on the Cusp
The Sun can never be in two signs at once. The “dividing line” between the signs is called the cusp. If you were born at the beginning of a sign and the end of another, you are said to be born on the cusp. The term “cusp” refers both to the boundary line between two signs and the beginning of a horoscopic house.
For most astrologers, an individual is considered to be born on the cusp only if the Sun is within three to five degrees, on either side, of a sign. For example, if the Sun was between 25 degrees of Scorpio and 5 degrees of Sagittarius when you were born, it would be considered as being on the Scorpio/Sagittarius cusp.
You would be influenced, to some degree, by a blending or overlap of the two signs, like the blending and emergence of colors on the spectrum, with the actual Sun sign in which you are born being the major influence or dominant “color.”
The Sun sign is apt to find its strongest expression of the sign’s characteristics at around 15 degrees of the zodiacal house. For individuals born on or near a cusp, it is necessary to compute the horoscope mathematically to determine the Sun sign. To do so requires not only the month and day but also the year, the time (to the minute, if possible), and place of birth.
Houses of the Horoscope
We all have the twelve signs of the Zodiac included in our horoscopes. Their influence on the various aspects of our lives is determined by the position of the planets in the signs and the interaction between the signs and the houses of the horoscope.
In addition to containing the twelve signs, the horoscope is divided into twelve houses, with each house related to a sign of the Zodiac, indicated below. While the signs are defined by the Earth’s revolution around the Sun, the houses are defined by the Earth’s 24-hour rotation on its axis.
The houses are also delineated by cusps. The 1st House cusp is found by calculating the point where the eastern horizon is positioned in the horoscope at the time and place of birth and is called the Ascendant, or rising sign. For instance, if you were born on December 7, 1961, at 6:47 AM in Tasmania, Australia your Sun sign would be Sagittarius and your Ascendant, the sign rising on your eastern horizon, would be Capricorn, this indepth reading is designed to charter the characteristics of A personality.
At the time of your birth, your rising sign was located in Capricorn (the Goat), while the sun was passing through the sign of Sagittarius (the Archer). A summary of the various clues mentioned above provide your personality profile. The following key words capture the essence of your character and indicate certain contradictions which may be sources of tension:
Impetuosity – Need for security – Enthusiasm – Inhibition – Group spirit – Application – Impressionability – Methodical mind – Analytical mind – Forethought – Worldliness – Loyalty – Projection.
Whereas the Sun sign describes your deepest self, your heart or emotional and spiritual essence, the Ascendant describes your early environment and your persona—your personality, appearance (especially the head), and manner of selfexpression, your outer mask. Certain astrologers who believe in reincarnation (as did Pythagoras, the father of numerology) see the Ascendant as representative of the individual’s efforts and purpose in a past life. The rising sign is the primary manifestation of self-awareness and expression, identity, personality, and self-interest.
The horoscope, showing the “natural” placement of the Zodiac in the twelve houses.
The 1st House is naturally followed by the rest of the twelve houses in their fixed order (if Libra is your 1st House, then Scorpio is your 2nd, Sagittarius, your 3rd, and so on). Each of the houses represents various aspects of your life: self, money, communication, home, marriage, work, friendships, obstacles, allies, hopes, desires, and so forth. Each house cusp has a sign of the Zodiac, and these signs describe the influences upon the area of life represented by the particular house. Find out more about yourself here