What Is Astrology?

The basic philosophy behind Astrology is the idea that we live in a holistic universe, that there is a deep interrelationship between the whole and its parts, and that anything, be it an event, a group, or an individual that is born at a particular point in time and space in a sense embodies the whole universe focused at that point. Obviously it is impossible to determine the state of the whole universe from a particular point in time and space, so in Astrology we take the Solar system as the greater whole and regard the patterns formed by the Sun, Moon and planets as seen from a particular time and place on earth as a reflection of the forces acting at that time and place. In natal astrology, astrology applied to individual human beings, the Sun, Moon and planets symbolise basic human needs, desires or urges which we all possess. It is the ever changing interrelationship between these basic functions or archetypes, and their relationship to the horizon at the time of birth, that are used to symbolise the personality structure of a human being. The birth chart is a symbolic map of the solar system as seen from the earth at the time and place of birth. The chart is comprised of three basic factors.

(1) The aspects (angles) formed between the Sun, Moon and planets, as seen from the earth. These are indicated by the lines on a birth chart.

(2) Each planet is located in a particular sign of the zodiac. The symbols for each sign are placed around the edge of the chart, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

(3) Each planet is also located in a particular house in the chart. These are indicated by the twelve sections of a birth chart.

It will be seen that although many people may have, for instance the planet Mars in the sign Scorpio in the first house, or the planet Venus in the sign Capricorn in the tenth house, and hence have certain traits in common, the number of ways in which the three factors of planets, signs and houses can be combined is infinite.

Your birth chart is therefore a unique blueprint of your personality, everyone is different. When you are born, the birth chart represents a set of potentials, it describes the "form" of your personality and the contents must be added through the experiences of life.

The Planets

The Sun, Moon and the planets: - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, represent specific functions, drives, or urges within the total personality. Just as in the body the various organs; heart, kidneys, liver etc. perform their own specific functions yet operate as part of a total system; so the planets can be regarded as symbolising the 'organs' of your total personality. The aspects (angles) between the planets show how these functions interact with each other.

The Outer Planets

The planets beyond Saturn: - Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, move through the signs so slowly that the sign positions of these planets refer more to the generation of which we are a part, rather than individual characteristics. It is the house position that shows where we will meet with the principles expressed by these planets in our lives. The aspects of these planets to the personal planets show how we get on with the principles they represent.

These trans-Saturnian planets cannot be seen without the aid of a telescope. Therefore they represent powerful forces that are beyond conscious control. These planets connect us with forces and levels of reality beyond our experience as individual human beings. They do this by breaking down the boundaries of the ego (symbolised by Saturn), to allow the inflow of higher ideals and goals into our ego-centred minds. This can often mean the total disruption or destruction of the outer and inner structures of our lives in order to make this possible.


A conjunction is where two planets are at the same place, and their energies are merged together. Trines (120 degrees), and sextiles (60 degrees), between two planets indicate an easy flow of energy between the functions involved, they therefore show aspects of your personality that work harmoniously together indicating inherent abilities or talents. Squares (90 degrees) and oppositions (180 degrees), show that there is some stress or tension between the two functions involved. Squares and oppositions between planets therefore indicate inner conflicts and tensions (conscious or unconscious) that throughout your life you will be forced to recognise and express in a positive way. If you are not conscious of these inner conflicts, they will be confronted through seemingly 'fated' external events or in relationships with others, particularly when the planets involved are activated by transits. A tolerance or "orb" of about 8 degrees is allowed either side of the exact aspect, but the wider the orb, the weaker the influence. There are also a number of minor aspects, these are not shown on

this chart. They have a smaller orb of influence, and their effects are not always so noticeable.

This is not to say that trines and sextiles are "good" and squares and oppositions are "bad". A chart dominated by flowing aspects may indicate someone for whom everything comes too easily, they will therefore lack any real motivation and may not achieve much during their life. A chart with many stressful aspects, on the other hand, may indicate someone who driven by his or her own inner conflicts, can achieve something of real worth in their lives. The stressful aspects are just as necessary to us as the flowing aspects, and most of us are a fairly even balance of both. The activity of each planet is further modified by the sign in which it is placed, the effects of these modifications in your particular case will be described in the chart analysis.

The Signs

During the course of a year the Sun, as seen from the earth, appears to move in a circle against the background of the stars, this circle is known as the ecliptic. The axis of the earth's rotation is inclined at an angle to the plane of the ecliptic, so, if the earth's equator is imagined to be extended into space, it cuts the plane of the ecliptic at two points known as the equinoxes. One of these points, the vernal or spring equinox, is taken to be the beginning of the circle and is known, both in Astronomy and Astrology, as the first point of Aries. Astrologers then divide the ecliptic into twelve sections of 30 degrees each thus generating the twelve signs. The autumn equinox is directly opposite the first point of Aries and is the beginning of the sign of Libra. When the Sun is at these points, days and nights are of equal length. During the summer months the Sun appears to rise higher and higher in the sky, reaching its highest point at midsummer or the summer solstice, the beginning of the sign of Cancer. This is the time of the longest day and shortest night. Similarly, it reaches its lowest point in the sky in midwinter or the winter solstice, the beginning of the sign of Capricorn. This is the time of the shortest day and longest night.

The signs of zodiac therefore, has nothing to do with actual star constellations, but is based on the relationship between Sun and Earth.

The Houses

You will see that the chart is divided into twelve sections. These represent the division of the space surrounding you at birth. The sign on the first house "cusp" (the line that marks the beginning of the house) is the sign that was rising over the horizon at the time and place of your birth this is

your rising sign, (or Ascendant). The sign on the seventh house cusp is the sign that was setting at the time of your birth, the line between the first and 7th house cusps therefore represents the horizon. Planets in the upper hemisphere were therefore above the horizon at the time of birth, and planets in the lower hemisphere were below the horizon; planets in the left hemisphere (left of the line joining the 10th and 4th house cusps) were rising in the east and planets in the right hemisphere were setting in the west. Each house represents a specific area of life experience. The positions of the planets in these houses therefore show in what areas of experience the effects of these planets will be most noticeable. The Ascendant is an important point and has its own particular meaning.

1st House

The 1st house is naturally associated with Aries and its ruling planet Mars. The ascendant is the cusp of the 1st house. This house represents the area of life concerned with our sense of self identity. Signs and planets in this house reflect both who we are and how we meet life. It represents our personal identity, and the need to be a separate and distinct person. The physical body is the material expression of our self identity, and its strengths and weaknesses are indicated by this house. Another way of viewing the 1st house is as the lens through which we perceive life, and which colours our view of existence.

2nd House

The 2nd house is naturally associated with the sign of Taurus and its ruling planet Venus. After establishing our self-identity in the 1st house, we turn, in the 2nd, to our possessions and what we own. This house represents the area of life concerned with the accumulation of wealth and resources as a secure basis from which to act in the world. This can mean the accumulation of money and material possessions, but on a higher level, it represents innate or acquired skills and gifts which give us a sense of value, worth and personal security. The 2nd house stabilises the self-identity acquired in the 1st.

3rd House

The 3rd house is naturally associated with the sign Gemini and its ruling planet Mercury. After stabilising our self identity, and acquiring a sense of security in the 2nd, we need, in the 3rd house, to establish our relationship to our immediate environment. This house represents the area of experience concerned with communication and the exchange of information with our immediate social environment. It represents the activity of learning and the

type and direction of intellectual and educational skills. On a more mundane level, the 3rd house is related to short journeys immediate relatives ( brothers and sisters if any ), and their roles in our lives.

4th House

The 4th house is naturally associated with the sign of Cancer and its ruling planet, the Moon. In the 3rd house we are concerned with communicating with our immediate environment, this leads, in the 4th, to the need to establish a private domain to which we can retreat from the world. The 4th house represents our roots, both psychological and material. In the psychological sense it is our early family and cultural conditioning, which gives us a sense of belonging, and produces deep inner feelings and habit patterns. The 4th house together with the opposite house, the 10th, is connected with our experience of our parents. In the material sense it is our own home, from which we go out to meet the world and to which we can retreat to rest and recuperate. As well as representing our early home environment, this house is also connected with the conditions surrounding us during the second half of life.

5th House

The 5th house is naturally associated with the sign Leo and its ruler the Sun. In the 4th house we establish our material and psychological roots, in the 5th we seek to express our own creativity. Creativity can be expressed through children as extensions of our physical bodies, or through various art forms as extensions of our inner selves. This house is also associated with leisure activities, sports, gambling, love affairs etc. in fact all forms of recreation where we seek to express ourselves freely and without inhibition.

6th House

The 6th house is naturally associated with the sign of Virgo and its ruler Mercury. Having expressed our creativity in the 5th, the 6th house is where we are confronted with the need to adjust to, and learn from, the demands of the material world. This is the house associated with work and service. The 6th house indicates the nature of, and our attitude toward, our working environment and our relations with co-workers, employees or bosses. It is also connected with health and the interaction of mind and body to maintain the efficient (or inefficient) working of our physical bodies.

The houses up to the 7th are all below the horizon and, are concerned with areas of life in which we seek to establish our own sense of individuality. The houses from the 7th to the 12th are above the horizon, and represent the

experiences involved in seeking to function as part of a wider social environment.

7th House

The 7th house is naturally associated with the sign of Libra and its ruler Venus. This house represents the field of relationships. If the 1st house is the house of self, then the 7th is the house of others. This house indicates how we express ourselves in our relationships and what qualities we seek in others. In particular it represents the marriage partner, at least the first major relationship with that kind of commitment. In general it represents the area of social contact and the need for relationships of various kinds, and can be extended to our dealings with the general public.

8th House

The 8th house is naturally associated with the sign of Scorpio and its ruler Pluto. If the 7th house represents relationships in general, the 8th represents relationships or partnerships in which something is exchanged or held in common. In sexual relationships there is an emotional exchange, in business partnerships there is an exchange and sharing of finances and resources. This house represents the area of life in which we relate to others on a deeper, more emotional level. It is in this house, therefore, that we often experience emotional pain, crises and death (symbolically that is). Hence this house has various but related meanings. It is the house of sex, beginnings and endings, joint resources and money held in common, and inheritances.

9th House

The 9th house is naturally associated with the sign of Sagittarius and its ruler Jupiter. After the often painful experiences in the 8th, in the 9th house we seek to understand the meaning of our experiences and our connections to the greater whole. This house represents our search for meaning through philosophy and religion. In this area of life we also seek to expand our knowledge and awareness through travel and higher education. Hence this house is also connected with all forms of higher education, travel to foreign lands, the law, religion and the use of the higher or more intuitive mental faculties.

10th House

The 10th house is naturally connected with the sign of Capricorn and its ruler Saturn. The beginning, or cusp, of the 10th house is called the

Midheaven. This is the degree of the ecliptic that was at the highest point in the sky at the time and place of birth. The Midheaven and the 10th house therefore represents our ambitions, what we aim for and hope to achieve in the world. In this house we attempt to bring the ideals and aspirations of the 9th to practical realisation. This results in a career or a particular position in the social order. The 10th is also connected with our relations with authority figures in general, and with the way we experienced our parents in particular.

11th House

The 11th house is naturally associated with the sign of Aquarius and its ruler Uranus. Having established a career, public position or our social standing in the 10th, in the 11th house we look to the future and the part we can play as members of various groups or societies. The 11th house therefore represents our hopes and wishes, friends and groups. It is in this area of experience that we seek to act as part of a group that is expressing some greater social need or goal. This house in the chart can indicate how we act in group situations and the kinds of groups to which we are attracted.

12th House

The 12th house is naturally associated with the sign of Pisces and its ruler Neptune. After becoming part of a larger group structure in the 11th, in the 12th house we experience the dissolution of our separate individual ego. This house represents the area of experience where we feel that we are influenced by forces and powers that are beyond our control. In this house we surrender our individual wills to the service of a higher power or ideal, or direct our energies toward greater self realisation and spiritual goals.

On a more mundane level, this house is associated with large institutions such as hospitals and prisons, where many people end up if the self-surrender described above is overdone, or made to the wrong ideals. Hence this house is also known as the house of self-undoing.

Future Forecast

The planetary patterns symbolised in your chart remain fixed throughout your life, but the planets still continue to move around the zodiac after birth. Each planet has its own characteristic cycle. For example, Jupiter takes twelve years to complete one full cycle, Saturn takes 28 to 30 years. In doing so they pass through the Houses of your chart, and make aspects to your natal planets, bringing about experiences that are related to the nature of the transiting planet, the House it is passing through and the planet being

aspected. The technique of transits therefore allows the timing of specific experiences, from times of opportunity to major life crises. This brings an understanding of why you have experienced certain things in the past, the reasons for your present experiences, and what you may experience in the future. Transits cannot predict precise events but only the type of experience you will have at a certain time. At all times you have free will as to how you react to these experiences, and whether the planetary energies involved are used positively or negatively.