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Introduction to Astrology

Astrology can be considered the world's oldest celestial science.  Since the earliest times, watching the sky has been a part of man's life.  The seasonal changes were marked by the longest and shortest days (the solstices), and by the times when night and day were the same length (equinoxes), this became a simple calendar for hunting and planting.  Besides these practical routine cycles, the position or state of the sun or moon was noted at the time of significant events.   It was soon realized that certain phenomena in the skies coincided with certain events on earth.  Eventually, these parallels were considered omens, and each tribe embellished them with their own myths to suit their view of the world.  Gradually, the heavens became replete with fables which told about gods, demons, and heroes that formed a complex hierarchy of celestial beings who watched, judged, and manipulated the lives of men.

As civilizations evolved and the body of knowledge grew, the earliest astrologers kept meticulous calendars and more complete records of celestial movements.    The most convenient way to study the stars was by connecting their groupings into recognizable patterns we now call the constellations.  The sky was thus divided into twelve segments each one represented by its own constellation.   It was also noted that the visible planets often appeared to wander through they sky against this backdrop of constellations.  These planets eventually acquired personalities and mythologies of their own, and astrologers soon began to affix significance to the position of these planets against certain constellations in the sky.  The night sky was a grand soap-opera, where gods and goddesses played out their dramas, and the consequences were manifested on earth through droughts, floods, and a host of natural occurrences.

Through the centuries, Astrology has dealt with the charting and interpretation of the cycles and movements of celestial objects.   Through the use of computers, calculations that once took months for mathematicians to perform by hand can now be done in seconds, and the positions of planets can be computed to a hundredth of a degree.  The interpretation part is another matter, relying vastly on centuries of richly embroidered legend and mythology.

Astrology deals with ten planets. Eight of these are the sister planets of the earth: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The other two are the Sun and the Moon, neither of which is a planet. (A planet circles the Sun.) However, as seen from the earth, the Sun and Moon follow the same path as the planets. Astrologers, interested in the relationships between the positions of all ten objects, simply call them the Ten Planets, and that's what we will call them.

The path followed by the ten planets is called the ecliptic. You can visualize the ecliptic by imagining yourself looking out from a glass-enclosed observation tower located at the center of a giant circular racetrack. The tower represents the earth. The racetrack represents the ecliptic.

As you look out from your tower, you see all ten planets moving around the track in the same direction, from the right to your left. Since the planets move at different speeds, they are all spread out around the track. Faster planets circle the track several times a year, overtaking and passing slower moving planets that take centuries to make one lap.

Astrologers are interested in where each planet can be found on the track, and where they are with respect to each other. They use the signs of the zodiac to describe planet positions, and Aspects to describe the relations between them.

The Planets

Planets represent different cosmic forces that affect your basic character traits and your changing urges and needs. They provide the energies that drive your physical, emotional, mental, and intuitional systems. These planetary energies are modified by the planet's position in the zodiac, and by its relationships (aspects) to the other planets.

Planets fall into three groups according to how long it takes them to make one trip around the track. The first group of planets takes less than two years to make a full cycle. These include the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The Moon revolves in one month. The Sun makes the trip in one year. Mercury and Venus take about one year when we factor in the retrograde motion. Mars will take 18 months to two years. Since we experience the influence of these planetary cycles so often, we soon learn to recognize and control our reactions to them. These are the Personal Planets. The key characterizations from them are as follows:

        Sun Sun Glyph   Identity, Purpose (Individuality)
        Moon Moon Glyph   Feeling, responsiveness (Personality)
        Mercury Mercury Glyph   Intellect, Communication (Mentality)
        Venus Venus Glyph   Attraction, Harmony (Affection)
        Mars Mars Glyph   Energy, Assertion (Initiative)

The second group of planets includes planets Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter's transit through all the signs takes 12 years. Saturn's transit takes about 28 years. Their effects are felt more as long-term inner urges rather than immediate conscious needs. These urges determine how you view the world.

        Jupiter Jupiter Glyph   Enthusiasm, Adventurousness (Expansive)
        Saturn Saturn Glyph   Caution, Restraint (Conservative)

The third group of planets moves so slowly that its energies influence entire generations in essentially the same, setting the culture tones for long periods of time. Uranus makes a full cycle in about 84 years, a full lifetime, while Neptune and Pluto take about two centuries (164 and 247 years respectively). The characteristics of theseTranspersonal planets are as follows:

        Uranus Uranus Glyph    Independent, Intuitional (Originality)
        Neptune Neptune Glyph    Inspirational, Mystical (Sensitivity)
        Pluto Pluto Glyph   Regeneration, Obsession (Control)

The influences of these transpersonal planets will vary between Individuals, depending on how they relate to the other planets of the horoscope, and how they fall into a person's natal houses.

The Sun (Luminary):
     The Sun's position in the zodiac is your familiar Sun sign. The Sun sign shows how you express your creative urges through conscious acts of will.  The Sun rules the sign Leo

The Moon (Luminary):
     The Moon's position in the zodiac shows your unconscious emotional reactions to situations based on your early childhood experiences and family training. The Moon rules the sign Cancer.

The Planet Mercury:
     The planet Mercury's position in the zodiac shows how you think things out and then communicate your ideas and decisions to others. It also reveals how you make decisions and what you consider before making a decision.  The planet Mercury rules the signs Gemini and Virgo.

The Planet Venus:
     The planet Venus's position in the zodiac shows how you give of yourself and how you express your feelings for others. It also reveals how you attract the good things of life, both the material and the spiritual. The planet Venus rules the signs Taurus and Libra.

The Planet Mars:
     The planet Mars's position in the zodiac shows how you use your physical energies in expressing your needs. It affects your sex drive, ambitions, endurance, and aggressiveness. The Planet Mars rules the sign Aries and co-rules Scorpio.

The Planet Jupiter:
     The planet Jupiter's position in the zodiac shows how you express your need to grow. It shows your interests in the higher values of life and how you share those interests with others. The planet Jupiter rules the sign Sagittarius and co-rules Pisces.

The Planet Saturn:
     The planet Saturn's position in the zodiac shows how you try to establish and protect your position in life. It also shows how you face responsibility and seek recognition for your efforts. The planet Saturn rules the sign Capricorn and co-rules Aquarius.

The Planet Uranus:
     The planet Uranus's position in the zodiac shows something about the motivation, goals, and originality of those born in each seven year period during which Uranus is in each of the signs. The planet Uranus rules the sign Aquarius.

The Planet Neptune:    
     The planet Neptune's position in the zodiac influences the collective outlook of all those born within the same thirteen year period during which Neptune remains in one sign, showing the mystical and inspirational influences felt by each generation. The planet Neptune rules the sign Pisces.

The Planet Pluto:
     The planet Pluto's position in the zodiac influences the entire generation of people born within the same
twelve to twenty-two year period during which Pluto remains in one sign, showing human need for regeneration and control in each generation. The planet Pluto rules the sign Scorpio.

Zodiac Signs

The Significance of The Signs:

The planets represent the energies that drive your physical, emotional mental and intuitional systems. These energies manifest themselves differently depending on the positions of the planets in the signs of the zodiac. Different signs channel the energies into different behavior patterns, which are then recognized as personality traits. The traits associated with each sign are as follows:

Aries GlyphAries: Outgoing Taurus Glyph Taurus: Conservative
Gemini Glyph Gemini: Versatile Cancer Glyph Cancer: Emotional
Leo Glyph  Leo: Authoritative Virgo Glyph Virgo: Exacting
Libra Glyph Libra: Helpful Scorpio Glyph Scorpio: Determined
Sagittarius Glyph Sagittarius: Optimistic Capricorn Glyph Capricorn: Cautious
Aquarius Glyph Aquarius: Independent
Pisces Glyph Pisces: Impressionable
When the ancients noticed the planets moving along the ecliptic path, they also noticed the background of fixed stars behind that path. It would be as though you noticed a background of billboards around a racetrack. You could tell the positions of the horses around the track just by identifying the billboards behind each horse. The ancients used the background of fixed stars the same way. They divided their racetrack (the ecliptic) into 12 equal sectors. Each sector was named after the fixed-star group seen in that sector (for example, Aries "the ram"). The ancients referred to these sectors as the "little zoo", which in Greek is "zodiac".

Every sign falls into a group of signs, either fire, earth, water, and air; depending on their orientation in the zodiac. These ancient astrologers had associated each Element with their temperaments, and each group of elements are at 120 degree angles to each other.

        Fire Signs:    Aries, Leo, Sagittarius.
                            Enthusiastic, courageous, passionate and impulsive.

        Earth Signs:    Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn.
                              Practical, materialistic, conservative, and inhibited.

        Air Signs:    Gemini, Libra, Aquarius.
                           Intellectual, adaptive, impractical, and superficial.

        Water Signs:    Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.
                                Emotional, sensitive, placid, and susceptible.

These four groups of signs: fire, earth, air, and water, combine to form two major groups that represent two fundamental approaches to life; active and passive. The fire and air signs make up the active or masculine signs, while the earth and water signs make up the passive or feminine signs. It is unfortunate that the ancient astrologers called the active signs masculine and the passive signs feminine. Receptivity is the term used when we identify a sign as masculine or feminine

Another group of traits occurs among signs that are 90 degrees apart from each other. There are four signs in each group of Qualities, which are cardinal, fixed, or mutable. They suggest the basic kinds of activity a person will be engaged in--getting things started, keeping them going, or steering them in different directions.

        Cardinal Signs:    Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn.
                                   Initiating, enterprising, ambitious, domineering.

        Fixed Signs:        Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius.
                                    Determined, conventional, organizing, dogmatic.

        Mutable Signs:    Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius.
                                     Adaptable, imaginative, tutorial, critical.


The twelve signs of the zodiac show the positions along the ecliptic where the planets can be found on any date. These planetary positions don't change very much during a single day. However, the earth's rotation brings a new rising sign into play about every two hours. Remember the zodiac is fixed in space, it just seems to move across the sky because of the earth's rotation each day.
The houses represent the different departments of life in which your planetary energies find their expressions. For example, your character and personality, which are set up by your planets in the different signs, will be directed either into personal or public matters, depending on whether they fall into the houses of the Northern Hemisphere, or Southern Hemisphere, respectively. Again you will be self-sufficient if they fall into the eastern houses or dependent on others if they fall into the western houses.
Each house represents a cluster of interests and activities just as each sign represents a cluster of traits and approaches for dealing with those activities. The spheres of interest of each house are as follows:
First Self, appearance.
Second Earnings, possessions.
Third Communications, relatives.
Fourth Home, parents.
Fifth Pleasures, children.
Sixth Health, service.
Seventh Spouse, partnerships.
Eighth Death, regeneration.
Ninth Philosophy, travel.
Tenth Career, status.
Eleventh Friends, aspirations.
Twelfth Secrets, limitations.

The distribution of your houses into different groupings of hemispheres and groupings of elements and positions determine the over-all focus of your activities. If most of your planets fall into one of the hemispheres the significance is as follows:
Northern A focus on private matters.
Southern A focus on private activities.
Eastern Activities are self-started.
Western Dependence on others' energies.
Another useful grouping of houses corresponds with the grouping of houses into the four elements. The houses can be grouped into fire, earth, water and air houses. The significance is as follows:
Individual **Fire Houses** Life Identity First, Fifth, Ninth
Activities focus on achieving life's aspirations.

Temporal **Earth Houses** Material Wealth Second, Sixth, Tenth
Activities focus on meeting material needs.

Relative **Air Houses** Relationships Third, Seventh, Eleventh
Activities focus on social contact and mind-sharing.

Terminal **Water Houses** Emotional Fourth, Eighth, Twelfth
Activities focus on achieving emotional tranquillity.

Still another important grouping corresponds with the qualities of the signs, corresponding to the **Cardinal**, **Fixed**, or **Mutable** signs of the zodiac. The significance of a cluster of planets in a group of these houses is as follows:
Angular **Cardinal Houses** Starting First, Fourth, Seventh, Tenth
Activities are self-starting for immediate effects.

Succedent **Fixed Houses** Controlling Second, Fifth, Eighth, Eleventh
Activities are aimed at managing and controlling things.

Cadent **Mutable Houses** Changing Third, Sixth, Ninth, Twelfth
Skills are acquired to improve relationships.

The intensity of a planet's influence on a house depends on the sign of the zodiac that happens to fall on that house in your zodiac. If Cardinal Signs are found in Angular (Cardinal) Houses, they strengthen the planetary energies flowing into the activities of the houses.

Your Rising Sign (Ascendant) Ascendant Glyph

Your Rising sign is the sign of the zodiac that was just coming up over the eastern horizon at the moment that you were born. If you were born at sunrise, your Rising sign would be the same as your sun sign. That's because the Sun sign tells you what part of the zodiac the Sun was in at that time. Since that was the part of the zodiac rising over the horizon at sunrise, it is also your Rising sign. If you were born a few hours earlier, or a few hours later a different part of the zodiac would be rising or ascending, over the eastern horizon. Another name for your Rising sign is your "Ascendant".

Your Rising sign is important for two reasons. First like your Sun sign, it serves to establish a basic pattern in your life. Where the Sun establishes your character, or who you really are, your Rising sign determines your personality, or what you show the world as you deal with it.

Second, it establishes the position of your houses in the zodiac. That's because your Rising sign marks the beginning of your first house. Here are descriptions of the personalities that go with each rising sign:

Aries: Outspoken Taurus: Timid
Gemini: Talkative Cancer: Sympathetic
Leo: Dignified Virgo: Shy
Libra: Charming Scorpio: Intense
Sagittarius: Expansive Capricorn: Serious
Aquarius: Considerate Pisces: Idealistic


The cosmic energies of the planets in the positions of the zodiac in the houses are also affected by how the planets are positioned with respect to each other at any time. Some positions produce arrangements that reinforce these energies in helpful ways, while others bring about disruptive effects. These relations between planetary positions are called Aspects. You have heard about aspects if you have heard about oppositions and squares, or conjunctions and trines. When any two planets are in the same sign of the zodiac, they are in Conjunction. If any two planets are opposite each other in the zodiac, then they are in Opposition. If any two planets are at 90 degree angles (Right Angles) to each other then they are Squared. When any two planes are at 60 degree angles to each other, then they are Sextile, and when they are 120 degrees apart they are Trine.

The effect of an aspect between two planets is strongest when the fastest planet reaches the exact angle of the aspect. However effects can be felt over several degrees (called the Orb), depending on which planet is involved and on whether it is a major or a minor aspect.

The interpretation of aspects is based impart on how the planets fall into signs with similar or conflicting elements and qualities. For example, the square aspect has planets in the same quality, but conflicting elements (e.g., fire and water) while the trine aspect the planets are in the same element, but stimulated by different qualities.

The aspects are no longer described as good or bad, but rather as harmonious or inharmonious. Harmonious aspects can help matters along. Inharmonious aspects ("badly" aspected planets) introduce stresses, many of which can actually help you if you learn to deal with them. A brief description of the meaning of the major aspects is as follows:

Major (Ptolemy) Aspects:

Conjunction (0 degrees):
Neither harmonious or inharmonious, this aspect merges and intensifies the energies of two planets. Inner tension can arise if the planets have conflicting natures.

Sextile (60 degrees, two signs apart):
Harmonious aspect that helps energies flow toward attainment of your goals, provided you make some conscious effort to achieve them yourself.

Square (90 degrees, three signs apart):
Inharmonious aspect causing tensions and obstacles for you to overcome. It forces you to choose between your conflicting inner needs and urges.

Trine (120 degrees, four signs apart):
Harmonious aspect that brings the two energies into an easy interplay. This can create such beneficial consequences that things become to easy for you and you become lazy.

Opposition (180 degrees, six signs apart):
Inharmonious aspect creating inner tensions between your planetary urges. It also creates dynamic tensions with others, which you must reconcile if you want to maintain harmonious relationships.

Minor Aspects:

Semi-Sextile (30 degrees, 1 sign apart):
A minor harmonious aspect. It is considered important to some astrologers in natal astrology. It is similar to sextile but minor, It also can mitigate other inharmonious aspects.

Semi-Square (45 degrees, 1-1/2 signs apart):
A minor inharmonious aspect. This causes friction and irritation between planets in aspects. This causes mild stress and tension.

Sesquiquadrate (135 degrees, 4-1/2 signs apart):
A little more minor than Semi-Square. This causes irritation and causes aggravation and discord.

Quincunx (150 degrees, 5 signs apart or Inconjunct):
This aspect is another minor inharmonious one. It suggests a need for adjustment.

Daily Transits

A Transit Chart is a Day-To-Day Chart. This type of chart compares where the planets were when you were born to where they are on a given day and how that affects your life.

As the planets slowly move along the zodiac each day, they pass through the different houses of your natal horoscope and make different aspects with the positions of your natal planets. These transiting planets energize the latent potentials promised by your natal horoscope, and trigger the behavior and events which then become a part of your daily experience.

The effect of a transiting planet depends on where it is, with respect to the planets and houses of your natal horoscope. The day-to-day changes in your life depend on the transits of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars.  Their transits throughout the aspects are measured in days and weeks. The outer planets--Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto--are important for the long term effects on your life, measured in years and decades. The duration of a transit effect also depends on whether the transiting planet is in retrograde motion on your date of interest. Retrograde planets may remain in retrograde from twenty-one days to five months (for Mercury and Pluto respectively).

The effect of a planet's transit throughout a natal house are felt over the duration of its stay in that house. However, the duration of the effect of a transiting aspect may be somewhat shorter that the duration of the planet's stay in each sky position (1/3 sign). For example the effect of a transiting sun is most strongly felt over a three-day period within its ten day stay in one sky position. The effect will be felt to a lesser extent on the other days of that sky position. It all depends on how closely the aspect falls within its orb during the time it is in each sky position.

Transits of the Sun:
The Sun is the source of all energies. These energies stimulate the activities of the houses occupied by the transiting Sun and reinforce or weaken the planetary effects, depending on the Sun's aspect to the natal planet. When the Sun transits an inner planet, it may trigger a dormant aspect between that inner planet and a slower moving outer planet. If a planet is being transited by another planet when it is being transited by the Sun, the effect of the transit is strengthened.

Transits of the Moon:
The Moon spends only about two and a half days in a natal house. This means that its effects occur so quickly that you feel them more as unconscious urges and impulses than conscious reactions to situations.  The effects of the transiting Moon, as it makes aspects with your natal planet positions, are often felt for only a matter of hours. Regardless of whether you are consciously aware of them, you will feel the effects of the Moon.

Transits of the Planet Mercury:
Mercury spends about two - three weeks in each natal house. During that time it affects your mental outlook, communications with others, and urges to take trips.
When Mercury is in retrograde motion during its transit it may introduce delays in the affairs under its influence.

Transits of the Planet Venus:
Venus spends about three weeks in each natal house. Venus is the planet of love and material pleasures, so that its transits bring different degrees of enjoyment. The effects are felt as subjective experiences rather than as urges to action.
Transiting Venus is retrograde for about one and a half months each year. During that time the affairs affected by Venus may be slowed down or delayed.

Transits of the Planet Mars:
Mars spends about two months in each natal house. Mars provides you with the energies needed to assert yourself in the pursuit of your needs and desires.
Transiting Mars is retrograde for about three months each year. During that time you may experience reversals or delays in the affairs affected by Mars at that time.

Transits of the Slower Planets:
Earlier you saw that the day-to-day changes in your life are affected by the fast-moving personal planets: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Mars. You just saw how these personal planets affect your life as they transit through the houses and make aspects with your natal planet positions each day.

The slower outer planets--Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto--also produce important effects as they transit through your houses. These effects are felt over years and decades, hardly something to be considered in a daily horoscope. Still, these effects are important and should be understood.

Transits of the Planet Jupiter:
Transiting Jupiter opens you up to expansive feelings and triggers new opportunities to enlarge the scope of your life. It is in each house for about one year, and becomes retrograde for about four months each year.

Transits of the Planet Saturn:
Transiting Saturn brings opportunities to  learn self-discipline and how to face responsibilities in the areas of life it touches in each house. The difficulties that arise during a Saturn transit offer you the best opportunities to grow wiser as you grow older.  Saturn is in each house for about two and a half years, and is retrograde for about four and a half months.

Transits of the Planet Uranus:
 Transiting Uranus brings major changes in your life. It breaks up the rigid past and challenges you to put the pieces together into a more viable pattern for living in the present. Uranus is in each natal house for about seven years and is retrograde for about five months of each year.

Transits of the Planet Neptune:
Transiting Neptune brings opportunities for discovery and use of your creative abilities in the areas affected by the house it occupies. Unfortunately it also blurs your ability to distinguish between reality and illusion in those same areas, perhaps because it energizes your sixth sense, or psychic abilities.  Neptune is in each house for about thirteen years and is retrograde for about five months of each year.

Transits of the Planet Pluto:
Transiting Pluto brings down the established order in the affairs of the house that it occupies. It then creates the conditions from which new beginnings can emerge. You will experience major transformations in the areas affected by the house occupied by transiting Pluto. Pluto spends about twenty years in each natal house, and is in retrograde motion for about five months each


When two people meet, their chances for a compatible relationship depend on how their basic needs and personality traits will combine in the give and take of social or business interactions. These can be determined by comparing a companion's horoscope with your own natal chart.

In doing a comparison, first notice whether your companion has a predominance of planets in one of the elements, more than four planets in one element. A predominance of planets in one element tells you something about what that person brings to the relationship, for example:

A person with a predominance of Fire signs brings an impulsive enthusiasm to the relationship.

A person with a predominance of Earth signs introduces a stabilizing influence on the relationship.

A person with a predominance of Air signs puts the relationship on an intellectual level.

A person with a predominance of Water signs will flood the relationship with deep emotional actions and reactions.

In general, people are more likely to be compatible with each other when their natal planets fall into compatible elements. The compatible elements are fire with air, earth with water. That means if you have a predominance of natal planets in the fire signs, you are more likely to have a compatible relationship with someone who has a predominance of natal planets in the air signs. If your companion's planets are mostly in the earth signs, you can expect assorted difficulties depending on which elements are involved.

It is also important to note how many of your planets are in the Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable signs; and where your companion's planets are. A predominance of planets in one quality (i.e., five or more planets in a cardinal, fixed, or mutable sign) tells you how someone is likely to act in a relationship. For example:

A person with a predominance of Cardinal signs is anxious to see things get started.

A person with a predominance of Fixed signs is more likely to be stubborn and unyielding in a relationship.

A person with a predominance of Mutable signs will be adaptable and willing to make most of the compromises.

Now it is important to note to see how you and your companion's planets are distributed among the masculine and feminine signs. Most people have an even balance of five-to-five, or six-to-four, between masculine or feminine. If you and your companion each have the normal ratios of planets, you should have no trouble getting along with each other. You can work things out even when one of you has a gender ratio of seven-to-three while the other has a four-to-six ratio.

If there is a difference of one or two planets in masculine (or feminine) signs between you and your companion you should have no trouble in establishing a compatible relationship. If there is a difference of three planets, you can still work things out. However, if there are more than three planets between you and your companion, in one gender, you will both have to work very hard to maintain a relationship. The reason is that the dominantly masculine person's aggressive behavior will threaten and harass the reserved, security-motivated feminine person.

If both people are dominated by the same gender (either masculine or feminine), they share the same viewpoint and approach to life. Initially, this can give them a strong feeling of compatibility. However, they will soon feel a need for the kind of stimulation that comes from defending mildly different points of view. They will have to turn to someone else to meet that need.

Someone with eight or more planets in a single gender may find it difficult to find a comfortable relationship.

Original Source - ExpertAstrologer 1995

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