(This is Long so you may want to print it out or save it to disk to read offline)
Before you are able to do anything in Astrology you need the Basic Knowledge of the "ingredients" of Astrology. In a way it's like a cookbook...but only if you cook like me and the dish never comes out the same way twice. The Signs, Planets, Elements, Modalities, Houses and Aspects all work with each other in a chart to make up the basic personality of the persons chart. No two people will have the exact same chart...we are ALL unique individuals with our own lives that we will live in our own way. This brings up another point, for example lots of people (like me) have their Sun in Pisces, does that mean we will all act like a Pisces? The answer is no...we are not just made up of our sun sign or any other one sign. That particular part of our chart is just one piece of a very complex puzzle. Just as complex as our lives are...so is Astrology. We are going to learn the basics here. Later we will get into "deeper" levels of Chart Analysis but in no way will I be able to teach you everything there is to know about Astrology. Learning Astrology is a lifelong process. But this is definitely a good start, if you want to learn more...to become professional I suggest you look into one of the many schools of Astrology out there. Canopus Academy of Astrology is an excellent school! (My choice, and, no, I don't have any financial interest in Canopus.)
It's often easiest to study using your own chart. There are many ways of getting your own chart. There are some free sites on the net that you will find on my links page, but most of them do not give you a complete chart with all of the elements (such as aspects, degrees of a sign, etc) that you can get with a chart service. If you want to get a professionally done chart for yourelf or a friend or loved one I can do one for you for $5. See my Customized Charts Page. Once you have your chart in hand you can follow along. It is also a good idea to have a Basic book to study along with. Astrology for Yourself by Demetra george or The Only Way to Learn Astrology Volume I by Marion March and Joan McEvers are good for starters.
So That said let's go on to learn the basics...hope you enjoy it! If you have any suggestions for improvement here, questions, or Articles you'd like to post please feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading A Chart Wheel
The chart is a 360 degree circle that the Sun and all of the Planets revolve around. Many of us, including me, thought that the Sun revolved around the earth like the other planets. Well, as it turns out, the Sun is not a planet, it is a star, and the Earth revolves around it. Most astrologers though, look at the zodiac in a Geocentric way. In other words, the Earth is at the center and all of the planets revolve around it. The Sun is closest to us and, therefore, most "personal" to us. The planets then revolve around the Sun as follows; Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Chiron and the Asteroids are running around somewhere in there too, but more on them later. The further the planet is from the Sun the slower it moves. So, as most of us know, the Moon moves the fastest completing a full cycle approximately every 28 days. Pluto on the other hand takes about 250 years to make a complete cycle around the Sun, it is the slowest moving planet. The three Outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are so far from the sun that they are considered generational planets, in other words planets that have more of a collective then a personal influence over us.
Ok, now, look at your chart. You will notice that there are 12 "pie slices" with or without numbers on them. These Pie slices are the 12 houses. There are 12 signs in the Zodiac and these 12 signs rotate around the houses depending on exactly where and when you were born. Let's look at the outermost wheel first. This wheel shows where the 12 signs were at in relation to your houses at the exact moment and place of your birth. You will need to learn the glyphs (see Signs below) to make sense of this. On each side of the glyph you will see numbers. The number before the glyph say 06Pisces is the number of degrees of that particular sign. Since a circle is made up of 360 degrees and there are 12 signs, each sign consists of 30 degrees. So you will see anywhere from 0 degrees of a sign to 29 degrees 59 minutes of a sign. That brings us to the second number Pisces 23. This number is the amount of minutes before the next degree. So this is the complete picture: 06Pisces23 = six degrees Pisces 23 minutes. Each one of these signs will be at the cusp of a house.
Before we go looking into our houses (no snooping) we need to figure out which houses are which and what the angles are. Some charts will have the houses numbered in the third ring in, just inside the houses. Most charts you get from the web don't have these. So, looking at your chart there are four quadrants. An Upper Left, Lower Left, Lower Right, Upper Right. On your left, across the middle, there is (ususally) a darker line. This is called the Ascendent and the sign on the cusp there is called your Ascendent or Rising sign. The House directly below this line is the 1st house and then the houses go along from there, 2nd, 3rd, making up the first quadrant. The next dark line is your IC (more on that later) followed by the 4th, 5th and 6th houses. The next dark line going directly across (opposite your Ascendent) is your Descendent and this is followed by houses 7, 8 and 9. Now we have the last dark line directly opposite your IC and is called your MC. This is followed by houses 10,11, and 12. We will talk more about what the Angles (Asc, IC, Dsc, and MC) are all about later.
You guys are doing just great! Ready to go on? Ok good...now we know what the outermost wheel represents, which houses are which, and the names of those dark lines or angles. Now if you look inside those houses you will see some that have planets and most likely some that don't. Don't be alarmed if you don't see any planets in a house, it still has meaning as we will discuss later. The planets reside in these houses in the sign that it lines up with in the sky at your moment and place of birth. You will need to learn the glyphs for the planets as well as the signs (don't worry they are easy to learn). So let's use the sun as an example. My Sun is in the 10th house at 03 (degrees)Pisces 01 (minutes). This means that My Sun was in that particular part of the sky at the moment and time I was born. As I was born at 11 am EST the Sun was pretty high in the sky at my time of birth, so you can see that the top portion of the chart is above the Horizon and the bottom part of the chart is planets that were below the Horizon, again not to get you too confused, I'll explain more of that later.
So why don't we do an Assignment? Yeah...Homework <giggle>. Nothing to "hand in" of course but it, and any other assignments I post here, will help you learn this stuff...really it will :)
ASSIGNMENT: Look at your chart. Get a piece of paper and write down all of the Planets and Signs and the glyphs for them (See pics of the Glyphs in each of their categories or from a book). Now you will write down in list form all of your planets, what sign they are in, the degree and minutes, and finally what house they are in. After this you will write down the sign, degree, and minute that is at each of your house cusps. This way you will get an understanding of where all of your signs and planets are which you will need to know in order to analyze or delineate your chart later on. Here's an Example from my chart:
Sun - 03Pisces01 10th House
Moon 16Cancer26 2nd House
Mercury 06Aquarius29 9th House
etc...follow my drift???
For the House Cusps i go like this:
1st House (Asc) 09Gemini39
2nd House 02Cancer07
etc...Once you are done, don't lose the list as it will be valuable later! If you have any questions at all e-mail me at email@example.com
That's it for our Introduction to learning...we can't do much of anything else until you learn how to read a chart. Below you will find all of the elements that make up a chart and some meanings and key words for them, after you have mastered reading a chart, take a look there and read about all of these "ingredients" and i will discuss how to put them all together into a cohesive meaning soon. On the "More Knowledge" page I will put up new "lessons" every week or so for you to continue on with your studies as well as Tidbits of information that are interesting or just plain fun :)
Chiron (Sorry, couldn't find a glyph yet for this baby, Chiron looks like a K with an o on the bottom of it.)
The Major Aspects
Take Me Home