Almost every human civilization since the beginning of time has turned to the sky for answers to life’s most persistent questions:
- Why am I here?
- What is my purpose?
- How can I live a life of meaning?
Astrology is the ancient science of interpreting the relationship between the physical world, the spiritual world, and the cosmos to answer all of these questions and more.
There are many different types of astrology, and the stars hold many different answers on how to live the best life possible. There’s Vedic astrology, Incan astrology, Mayan astrology, Chinese astrology, and the list goes on… Most people in the Western world refer to tropical astrology as “astrology”, so that’s what I’ll be talking about right now.
Tropical astrology is related to the seasons — this is different from other types of astrology which take into account the wobbling of Earth on its axis (and hence the changing position of the stars in the sky).
The biggest difference between all of these interpretation methods is not necessarily what they tell you, but how you relate to their wisdom in order to further your life, your dreams, and your spiritual journey. Tropical astrology believes in free will — you are only influenced by certain cosmic forces, but you are never bound by them.
- You should use astrology to develop a deep level of insight into your life, but it’s ultimately up to you to walk the path.
But I want to be very clear that you can only control you. You can’t control anything outside of you. Not the weather, not your friends, not the lottery, not anything. Only you.
When people start learning astrology, they’re often overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. But if you understand the patterns and qualities behind the symbols, astrology is actually very easy to understand.
And by the end of this article, you’ll be able to interpret your own birth chart.
Astrology Basics: Common Astrology Terms Defined in Simple English
Whenever you get an astrological reading, you will 100% encounter a lot of words that sound very technical and unlike any other words you’ve heard before (“Venus 120 degrees trine Saturn”…..what??). This language sounds confusing at first, but once you figure it out, it’ll become second nature.
Let’s start off by decoding a few of the most basic terms:
- Zodiac — The area of the sky in which movements of the planets and the 12 constellations of astrology are observed.
- Signs — The 12 star constellations that are found inside the zodiac field.
- Chart — A map of where the signs are in the sky from any physical location on Earth at any point in time.
- Horoscope — An interpretation based on the positions of the signs in a chart.
- Natal Chart/Birth Chart — The exact position of the signs and planets during the exact moment of your birth at the exact location of your birth.
- To produce your birth chart, you need three things:
- Date of birth (March 4, 1996)
- Exact location of birth (Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA)
- Exact time of birth (3:29am)
Astrology Basics: The Elements
The four elements of astrology follow the four basic elements of life:
Astrological influences can be conveniently categorized into four elements, serving as a simple framework. Each sign is associated with one of these elements, and it becomes crucial to assess the dominant elements in a chart to gain insights into a person’s overall personality.
The general qualities of the elements are as follows:
Fire — The Creators (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius)
- Positives: Strong, determined, capable, independent, leadership, confidence
- Negatives: Dictatorial, aggressive, brash, arrogant, impatient
Earth — The Stabilizers (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn)
- Positives: Grounded, dependable, warm, friendly, helpful, kind-hearted
- Negatives: Stubborn, fussy, perfectionist, overly critical, high-strung
Air — The Communicators (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)
- Positives: Intelligent, resourceful, clever, persuasive, optimistic, creative
- Negatives: Manipulative, deceptive, insensitive, aloof, secretive
Water — The Feelers (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces)
- Positives: Caring, romantic, sensitive, artistic, dreamy, intuitive
- Negatives: Moody, obsessive, controlling, depressive, disorganized
Astrology Basics: The Planets
The symbolism of the planets has always had a strong place in Western mythology, from the Greeks to the Romans to even modern-day religious and spiritual traditions.
In astrology, we take the 8 remaining planets of the solar system (not counting the Earth) and add the sun and the moon, giving us a total of 10 “planets”. There are also four asteroids which are sometimes called planets — Chrion, Ceres, Juno, and Pallas Athena — but for our purposes now, let’s stick to the basic 10.
Planets act as “rulers” of signs — they are the ones who dictate a certain sign’s personality — and their movements are extremely important in astrology (see section on aspects).
Important note: The planets, like humans, have both masculine and feminine qualities. In astrology, male planets are typically more “giving” and female planets are typically more “receiving”. We are only using gender here to represent these qualities, and they are not always the same gender as their Roman or Greek counterparts.
- Sun. The sun is the bringer of life, and he radiates with all the joy, the warmth, and the creative energy that brings vitality into existence. It feels good to be nourished by the sun, but just don’t get too close because you will get burned!
- Moon. The moon represents the subconscious. She highlights what we need, what we want, and what we feel on the most basic human levels, even if we don’t know these things consciously. The moon is receptive to all energy, both positive and negative.
- Mercury. Mercury is the messenger god. He is well-liked and skilled at communicating, thinking logically, and adapting to new situations. But sometimes his rational way of life leads him away from his emotional world.
- Venus. Venus is all things love, beauty, romance, passion, and relationships. In Roman mythology, she was known for seducing all the gods. She is charming, magical, and harmonious, but her deep desires frequently lead her into trouble.
- Mars. Mars is the Roman god of war. He is strong, dominating, assertive, and always carries powerful energy, both physically and mentally. But his abundance of confidence leads him into many situations that are rushed, impractical, and impulsive.
- Jupiter. Jupiter is known as the protector of the gods. He is kind, caring, and benevolent — the king of the planets. He is associated with healing wounds, growth, and spirituality. But he frequently finds many frustrating dead-ends on his quest for freedom.
- Saturn. Saturn represents the great harvest — a time when everyone gathers together to reap the benefits of years of labor. He is noble, kind, and very hard working. But his lofty ambitions frequently take his focus away from other important areas of his life.
- Uranus. Uranus is a unique planet in that it rotates on its side. He brings ingenuity and innovation to the world by introducing out-of-the-box thinking. But he often feels shunned from society because no one understands his “crazy” ways.
- Neptune. Neptune is found in the depths of the ocean. She is always caught in a dream world, imagining how life should be and finding safety in such unbound creativity. But living in a dream world makes living in the real world very challenging.
- Pluto. Pluto is the god of the underworld and brings with him the force of destruction. In astrology, he takes the negative aspects of death and teaches us about the power of transformation. He is ruthless and frequently unpopular.
Astrology Introduction: The Three Most Important Signs in a Person’s Birth Chart
The “holy trinity” of astrology consists of:
- Sun sign
- Moon sign
- Rising/Ascendant sign
These are the three most dominant influences in a person’s natal chart. They each represent essential aspects of the human experience and can be used to reliably describe a significant portion of a person’s personality.
But it needs to be noted that sun signs, moon signs, and rising signs are only part of a person’s chart. Each astrological influence has a different impact on a person depending on several factors, and a one-size-fits-all approach to astrology is rarely the final say on the matter. There are times in your life when you will resonate with one aspect over another, and this is 100% normal and to be expected. Knowing where you are on your personal path will give you much more information about which influences will be highlighted.
For instance, if you’re going through an emotional time, you may resonate more with your moon sign than your sun sign or your rising sign. Or if you’re heavily focused on your career, you may resonate more with your rising sign than your sun sign or moon sign. And there are many more planetary signs that aren’t included in the “holy trinity”. For instance, if there’s a significant relationship or partnership happening at this point in your life, you may resonate more with your Venus sign than your sun, moon, or rising signs.
While these basic interpretations are helpful, they are only meant to be used as general guides. They are not meant to be used as predictive or well-rounded assessments of a person’s character. There are 1,728 possible combinations of specific sun-moon-rising signs. While it’s unlikely you’ll encounter someone else with your exact sun-moon-rising signs, it is still not possible to generalize over 7 billion people with only 1,728 personality assessments.
A natal chart interpretation by a professional astrologer is the only way to get complete, personalized information about your character and the influences you’ll face during your lifetime. That is the only way you can dive deep into the unique astrological details that were present during your birth.
The constellation that the sun was passing through during the time of your birth is known as your sun sign. The only thing you need to know to calculate your sun sign is your day of birth (e.g. March 4).
The Sun sign represents the core of your personality. This is the most easily recognizable form of yourself that you can use to quickly paint a picture of the person you are and the person you are likely to become. If someone asked you to describe yourself in a few sentences, you would probably talk about yourself using sun sign qualities.
It’s the most common answer to “what’s your sign?” because it’s the most basic way to understand who a person is. You likely resonate with your sun sign, at least on a personality level, as this is the general influence that makes you who you are. Because of this, when most people read their horoscope, they’re reading the horoscope for their sun sign.
It’s also important to note that sun signs are used as the primary symbolic representations of the constellations. So if someone says “Aries”, we can look to a sun sign interpretation of Aries to know what Aries represents as a symbol. This will be important later when we put everything together.
As I talk about each sign, keep in mind that not everything is positive, and some things may be painful to hear. But you need to remember that astrology is not destiny, and I will highlight specific ways you can overcome some of the most common pitfalls associated with each sign.
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
Traits: Confident, impulsive, bold, passionate
Description: The first sign of the zodiac loves to use its brute force to “ram” its way into the world. You are a true forward-thinker, someone who knows what needs to be done and will do whatever is required to get those things done. Where many other signs fear competition, your energy and willpower take full control of any challenging situation as you try to aggressively push past any obstructions, whether or not those blockages are actually capable of being moved. Sometimes this stubbornness gets in the way of true progress — ramming your head against a brick wall is not going to move it, but it will give you a concussion! It’s your job to learn how to use your admirable perseverance to genuinely impart change in a world that is hungry for your unique style of leadership. When you embrace equal cooperation, egalitarian ethics, and an attitude of peace, and then carefully analyze a situation before making the first move, you’ll end up being one of the preeminent leaders of our generation.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Traits: Practical, grounded, stubborn, calming
Description: When confronted with arrogance and dishonesty, Taurus springs into action like a bull on a mission. You are smart and hardworking, and you bring with you the confidence of knowing precisely how the world works in a way that no one else can even begin to understand. You are deeply grounded in reality, and this strong Earth quality allows you to help all the “spacey” souls stay true to their humanity. Success comes easy to you, although little successes don’t keep you happy for too long. There’s always something bigger, more necessary, and more demanding of your time that you stubbornly set your sights on. And when you see others who already have what you’re after, your first thoughts are usually filled with jealousy, even though you know that jealousy will only hurt you in the long-run. While you thrive on order and structure, you typically despise taking orders from anyone, especially someone you deem to be “out of touch”. When you learn to accept others for who they are, understanding that each soul brings with it a unique gift they need to share with the world, only then will you claim your dignified position as the great stabilizing foundation for the powerful structure that is human expression.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Traits: Kind-hearted, indecisive, curious, intellectual
Description: The quirky and childlike Gemini is represented by a set of twins — two completely different personalities hidden inside one physical appearance. It seems like there are two of you: One a gregarious social commentator, and the other a thoughtful and passionate fool desperately looking for meaning. It’s your uncanny ability to change and adapt to almost any situation which leads you down a path of true versatility, and this extraordinary skill will provide you with many lifelong friends and partners along the way. As an air sign, your mutability is done on the level of the mind, so you need to be careful not to intellectualize your empathy too much, otherwise it will come across as sarcastic and you may hurt those close to you. Your biggest challenge is learning how to overcome the constant need for new and exciting things. Once you learn that simple, repetitive pleasures can still stimulate your inner child, you’ll learn that the world has an infinite number of possible areas for exploration, and that stillness is one of the greatest forms of cosmic movement.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Traits: Protective, intuitive, emotional, trusting
Description: Like a crab scurrying away on a sandy beach, every Cancer knows that beyond its hard shell is a soft, fragile soul which needs to be protected at all costs. You are one of the sweetest individuals in the world, in love with the romantic ideal of how life should be. You feel drawn to the role of the Great Protector because your divine intuition allows you to see what each soul needs to receive in order to be happy. But this caregiver attitude causes you to quickly become emotionally attached, and others sometimes feel smothered by your boundless love and strong presence. They fail to see the watery depths of your good-natured heart, and as such, they often end up hurting you. Ironically, you are one of the most trusting signs of the zodiac, and your benevolent desire to showcase your emotional world sometimes leads you into situations with people who want to rob you of your inner worth. You will only find your true power when you learn proper discernment of when you should and shouldn’t speak up — when you get it right, the gifts you’ll give to the world will usher in a brilliant new age of pure love and kindness.
Leo (July 23 – August 22)
Traits: Playful, creative, free-spirited, loving
Description: The lion is the king of the jungle, and Leo is the king of the zodiac. You love the spotlight, even if you may be a bit timid at first. You intuitively understand that only by courageously putting yourself out there will you be able to receive the validation that you desperately crave. At the same time, you often hesitate to take center stage, even when animated and high-spirited, because receiving criticism is deeply painful for you. You treat most things like they’re some form of entertainment — it’s all a fun game — even if you don’t particularly like competition. You’re just a big cat who wants to play! This often leads you to put on several facades, and sometimes others may not feel like they know the authentic self that hides behind the mask. Your biggest challenge is learning when the masks need to come off to let the real you radiate through like the giant ball of sunshine you know you are. When you figure this out, the versatility and presence your gifts bring to the world will teach all of humanity what it means to be vibrant, creative, expressive, and utterly in tune with the magnificence of the Divine Spirit.
Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
Traits: Dependable, impulsive, hardworking, compassionate
Description: Wherever there’s chaos, the purity of Virgo comes in to create order. You are gifted at taking the messy clutter of life and organizing it into a clean, neat package, and everyone loves you for it. You are a bit of a perfectionist, but it’s only because your love flows so strongly into everything that you do. You are likely into various wellness movements because you understand that your body is the human representation of your soul — and it’s important to keep your soul’s container healthy. Holistic practices like mindfulness meditation need to be a part of your daily routine to help you stay centered and teach you to live in the present moment. Life doesn’t happen in the future, so you can stop planning so much! You are one of the most giving and generous signs of the zodiac, but you need to learn to step outside of the analytical mind just a little bit to experience what’s already here in front of you. When you do this, you become one of the most treasured signs around, because the Divine Spirit will naturally use the pristine vessel of the “virgin” to advance the spiritual unity of all Earthly beings.
Libra (September 23 – October 22)
Traits: Impartial, cooperative, sociable, peaceful
Description: Like a cosmic judge, the harmonious soul of Libra works tirelessly to eradicate the world from injustice. You are a kind, beautiful romantic, and you often find yourself immersed in mentally stimulating forms of entertainment — intellectual conversation, thoughtful music, and cerebral movies which appeal to your idealized view of the world. You know deep down that you are a whole, perfected being, but on the level of humanity, you also know that there are an overwhelming amount of problems which need to be addressed. All too often, you feel the irresistible pull to retreat into the boundless, inner self that you know can comfort your peace-loving mind. But it’s this escapist mentality that will lead to your downfall if it’s not kept in check. Your biggest challenge is to learn to balance the need for self-fulfilment with the needs of the suffering citizenry of society. Your lifelong mission is to harness your mental prowess to guarantee that there’s harmony and peace in the world. And how will you do that when you’re burying your face in the sand? Step into your true power, and lead the way toward eradicating evil with that characteristic diplomatic tact that only you possess.
Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
Rulers: Mars, Pluto
Traits: Intense, mysterious, wild, passionate
Description: The eyes are the windows of the soul, and behind the eyes of a Scoprio is a soul that no one was prepared for. You are a deep thinker, wild and fierce, and many people don’t understand where all that emotional intensity comes from. Well, no one understands the hidden sides of life quite like you. Your mind is unpredictable — always fluttering between periods of extreme suffering and periods of extreme love. You live on a never-ending swing of instability, and while for most people this would be exhausting, it actually ignites the passion inside your immense soul. But the problem is that others don’t live inside your soul, and they might not interpret your intensity as something desirable. You may be a bit much for some people, and you have a tendency to “double down” and identify with your hurt ego rather than the Universal Love that fuels your existence. Learning how and when to express yourself, and learning to only associate with those who support and encourage your uniqueness is where you’ll find your greatest gifts. And when you learn to harness these gifts, you’ll unleash something spectacular onto the world that no one was prepared for… but everyone desperately needs.
Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
Traits: Bold, energetic, supportive, impatient
Description: Like an arrow throwing itself across the world, the intrepid Sagittarius is always on the move. You are a natural-born explorer, and you love to travel, regardless of whether or not that travel manifests physically or spiritually. Your fiery passion for discovery is invigorating, and your sense of presence is so strong that others can’t help but be drawn to your fun, playful spirit. You are a true seeker of freedom, and you enthusiastically embrace this philosophy in everything that you do. You feel a burning passion deep inside your core that is hard to describe, but you know that you can always make your soul happy by experiencing as many things as possible. But it’s this impatience which actively works against your ultimate mission of service. You tend to pick something, get bored after a little while, and then move onto the next thing. Your biggest challenge is to learn to stick with something long enough to become a true master and expert. When you do, you’ll sharpen the arrow of your intention and pierce the consciousness of humanity in order to get them to finally experience the joy and abundance that you already know exists in the world.
Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
Traits: Clever, critical, self-disciplined, balanced
Description: Behind every great idea is a brave Capricorn who’s working tirelessly to turn that dream into a reality. You are one of the most dependable humans on the planet, and people look forward to the time they spend with you due to your ability to make them feel happy and at ease. Your strong sense of humor and capacity for peace make you one of the great mediators of the zodiac — a necessary skill set that will be increasingly called upon as you start to get more in touch with your Divine Spirit. You have an uncanny ability to see many pathways toward future success, though a lot of the time, you may lack the motivation necessary to fully activate your powerful ideas. Your biggest challenge is learning to overcome this kind of mental stagnation. You need to figure out how to ignite the creative forces in your soul to remain steadfast on your mission of greatness. And the greatness that you’ll bring into existence will be one of the most potent forces for positive change this world has ever seen. Just don’t forget to persist when things get tough!
Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)
Rulers: Saturn, Uranus
Symbol: Water bearer
Traits: Independent, aloof, friendly, intelligent
Description: The mind of Aquarius is forever stuck in a quest for Ultimate Truth. You are radically unique and unconventional — a leader the likes of which no one has ever seen. You are one of the kindest, most loving individuals on Earth, but it’s your overly rational mind which sometimes makes you come across as cold and aloof. That said, your great desire for getting to the truth makes you one of the great moderating forces between the dangers of two emotionally polarizing extremes. Few people ever get to see the real you, and while you may be slow to trust others, once they are allowed a window into your beautiful, authentic spirit, they become loyal friends for life. In fact, you derive much of your joy from these deep friendships, and it’s these lucky few who get to see who you really are — a gifted, magnetic, and often whimsical soul. Your biggest challenge is learning to overcome the fear that paralyzes your ability to trust. While some may take advantage of that trust, the ones who don’t will help you grow in ways that even your unmatched intellect can’t comprehend. Doing this, the leadership you’ll provide to the rest of the world will become legendary.
Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
Rulers: Jupiter, Neptune
Symbol: Two fish
Traits: Sensitive, spiritual, magical, wise
Description: The old soul of every Pisces hates being confined to a tiny body on the physical plane. You are an unconventional explorer, a wandering mystic who feels utterly compelled to nurture their intensely unique inner gifts in search of true liberation. While you may be able to “fit in with the crowd” for a little bit, eventually you’ll need to break away and become hopelessly independent to find your guiding truth. You thrive on unbounded creativity, and your mission is to use this profound imagination to bring peace to all the suffering beings struggling to find meaning in an otherwise meaningless world. You are deeply spiritual, and you know better than anyone how to flourish inside the infinite vastness of the Universe. Anyone who tries to define you or box you in is met with the elusivity of a dancing fish slipping through their fingers. The moment you feel any sense of limitation, your anxiety kicks in and you find yourself becoming increasingly jaded and cynical — the bitter demons which plague your delicate soul. You are the most sensitive of the zodiac signs, and this sensitivity, while at times can feel like your biggest weakness, is actually your greatest strength. Learn to use it to your advantage, and watch the magic happen!
The constellation that the moon was passing through during the time of your birth at the location of your birth is known as your moon sign. Unlike calculating your sun sign, you’ll need to know your exact time and location of birth to find your moon sign. Once you have this information, there are plenty of online tools which will do the calculations and tell you what your moon sign is.
The moon in astrology is the ruler of the emotions. It controls your emotional landscape the same way it pushes and pulls the tides of the ocean. It’s the nearest celestial body to Earth, and it has one of the most direct impacts on a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual realities. Its presence is felt most deeply in the “inner world” — how you feel emotionally is directly controlled by the moon.
Understanding the moon sign shines a bright light on all that is dark in a person’s character. The mysterious processes of the subconscious become awakened when we know where the moon sits in an astrological chart.
Again, each sign carries positive and negative characteristics, and the negatives should not be ignored. Pay attention to the suggestions I’ve given here to help you overcome some of the uniquely challenging aspects associated with your moon sign.
Moon in Aries
Traits: Enthusiastic, brave, optimistic, reckless
Description: The courage of Aries ignites your passion for life. You are a phenomenal leader, and you fill the world with a fiery attitude. You have a tendency to be brutally honest, even though this may not be the best thing to do for the situation. You are a dependable person, and you are likely the first to act when something goes wrong. You are charismatic, charming, and possess a certain zest that makes you very attractive. But you are also frequently hot-headed and impatient. You need to learn to bring balance to your emotional life.
Moon in Taurus
Traits: Persistent, patient, nurturing, arrogant
Description: The bull is seeking stability, and you are seeking emotional stability. You are well-grounded in this Earthly reality, and you have heightened senses that may border on the paranormal. Many people probably come to you for your opinion about how something looks or tastes or feels because of these heightened senses. You need harmony in your life before you can be fully contented. Unfortunately, the ways you go about getting these things are often so stubborn and dogmatic that many people regard your attitude as arrogant. You need to learn to be more flexible and empathetic toward the many different expressions of human existence.
Moon in Gemini
Traits: Adaptable, communicative, thoughtful, prone to gossip
Description: The curiosity you bring to your emotional world is the fuel that keeps you going. You have a peaceful, upbeat attitude, and that helps people be at ease when around you. And they love being around you! Your mind is always thinking up new and inventive ways to create peace and harmony in the world. In fact, your mind is usually thinking too much. You need to learn to turn down this thought process to focus on the present moment — this will help you completely tune into the emotional needs of others so you can better help them.
Moon in Cancer
Traits: Empathetic, spiritual, instinctual, moody
Description: You are borderline psychic, and the world doesn’t understand how you know the things you know. You have an innate reaction to certain situations that is based on sensitivity and intuition rather than logic. You know that there is a greater force deep inside your Divine Spirit that is more trustworthy than anything outside in the Earthly realm. Still, your heightened capacity for empathy makes you particularly vulnerable to the potentially unstable feelings of those around you. You need to disidentify with other people’s emotions and learn to take responsibility for the often unpredictable emotions that are hiding deep within your own subconscious.
Moon in Leo
Traits: Artistic, fun, loyal, egotistical
Description: Your playful expression comes from your spiritual wealth — you intuitively know that there’s a kind of infinite bliss found at the center of the Universe, and you feel it’s your job to bring all sentient beings to this place of non-suffering. At the same time, you crave human attention, hence why you feel like it’s your job to be the star of the show. This can lead to a lot of unchecked emotions when your unrealistic expectations aren’t met, like a child who can’t get their way. You need to learn how to be generous with your self-expression without desiring anything in return, especially validation.
Moon in Virgo
Traits: Practical, ordered, alert, controlling
Description: The outer world seeks chaos, but you seek harmony. You’re driven by finding a sense of order in life that can often be incredibly elusive. It almost seems like nothing you do is ever “correct” enough. Your drive toward purity in all things is beautiful, but it has the power to turn you into a hopeless romantic. You’re well-aligned with the physical needs of those around you, and you tend to use that sensitivity to take on the role of the healer. You need to learn to release the perfectionist tendencies buried deep in your subconscious in order to find the order that’s already hidden inside of the chaos.
Moon in Libra
Traits: Peaceful, intellectual, unique, indecisive
Description: There is nothing more powerful to you than balance. You are constantly fighting a war of imbalance in your emotional world, and that war often plays out on the physical realm, too. You frequently get lost in thought, trying to work out how you can create a sense of justice between two extremes. When you find that sense of ease that comes with maintaining peace, you become one of the most caring and empathetic human beings on the planet. But first, you need to learn to step out of your emotional turmoil, put everything in context, and only act from a place of wisdom and tact.
Moon in Scorpio
Traits: Intense, passionate, magical, lost
Description: No one feels things quite as strongly as you do, and while you do your best to handle it all, sometimes that’s just impossible — especially with the “heavy” stuff. Your emotional power is unparalleled, and people are either inexplicably attracted to your intense passion or confused by your mysterious forms of expression. It’s such a beautiful thing to be so deeply in touch with the sensitivity of existence, but without proper grounding, you’ll likely be unable to live the life of service you’re committed to. You need to learn to step out of the dark, unknown spirit realm once in a while and rejoin your fellow humans back here on Earth.
Moon in Sagittarius
Traits: Positive, energetic, free, aloof
Description: You seem to be on a never-ending quest to find freedom, love, and wisdom, and your style of courageous living is infectious. People want to be around you because you always “follow your heart” and let it take you wherever you need to go. But the problem is that sometimes this “divine intuition” is actually just fear, and it’s keeping you from growing into the person you want to become. You need to learn the difference between what is really the best thing to do in a situation and what is just your anxiety telling you to run away.
Moon in Capricorn
Traits: Strong, capable, determined, sarcastic
Description: Creating a journey with self-determination while building an integrated personality is the only way you’ll find happiness. Everything you do is in pursuit of a lifestyle that is stable, consistent, and free of stress. You are drawn toward things that ignite your senses, and you seek out experiences that play on your sensual desires. But when you’re not able to find these things — stability, sensual pleasures, etc. — you turn into a melancholic nightmare and you try to drown out your emotional world. You need to learn how to be OK with not getting the things you want while still moving toward your goals with persistence, grace, and charm.
Moon in Aquarius
Traits: Mysterious, receptive, friendly, detached
Description: It’s not that you try to come across as mysterious, it’s just that you don’t know how to put all of your feelings into language. You are insanely receptive to the inner workings of the spirit realm, and you exist in the Universe with a kind of “energetic unity”. This often causes you to retreat from society so you can regroup and find peace within the chaos. While this vibrational harmony is exactly the thing that makes you driven to create heaven on Earth, it’s also the thing that scares you into running away from all of its problems. You need to learn to stay committed to the Truth while being 100% authentic in everything that you do.
Moon in Pisces
Traits: Trusting, creative, tactful, naive
Description: Your imagination is wild, unpredictable, and vivid. No one can come up with creative ideas quite like you can. The problem is that you tend to get lost in this non-existent dream world where everything is fun, people are nice, and the fairy tales you create all have happy endings. This ends up being extremely painful when people don’t act the way you expect them to — because reality is much harsher than your fantasies. You need to learn to bring your unmatched creativity back to Earth so you can start to physically manifest the kinds of fairy tales you keep dreaming about.
At the exact moment you were born, the astrological sign found on the Eastern horizon of the Earth is known as your ascendent or rising sign. Again, like the moon sign, you need to know your exact time of birth to calculate your ascendant. And again, there are plenty of online tools which will tell you what your rising sign is.
A lot of astrologers like to say the rising sign is “how people see you”. But this is misleading. Remembering that you are still in control of your own destiny, the rising sign is more about how you are presenting yourself.
The rising sign doesn’t necessarily mean you exhibit any of these characteristics in daily life, and you may not particularly resonate with it right now. It simply means that this is the image of you that you’re allowing to be projected onto your physical reality. That is, you are creating a reality in your head and bringing it into the world — even though you may not be consciously aware of this creation, this is how you are presenting yourself in line with what you want people to see.
How this manifests is different for everyone — some people see their rising sign as the ideal version of themselves, and some people simply want their outward personality to highlight favorable qualities. Regardless of how your rising sign manifests in your awareness, it represents how you appear to the world around you. You need to read about your ascendant as if you were someone else describing you.
Like the sun and moon signs, the recommendations I’m giving for each rising sign suggest specific ways that you can grow and become a more well-rounded human.
Ascendant in Aries
Traits: Athletic, friendly, resourceful, aggressive
Description: You take pride in your image, and you always know when you need to “dress for success”. You are particularly straightforward with your words and actions, perhaps even a little brash if you feel like people aren’t giving you the attention you desire. You are really only interested in doing something as long as someone else wants you to do it — otherwise, you feel like you’re wasting your time. Don’t abandon your plans based on these selfish primal urges. Strengthen your intention, and learn how to follow through.
Ascendant in Taurus
Traits: Personable, caring, driven, stubborn
Description: You are clearly on a mission, and this human life is clearly your vehicle for expression. People see you as strong and dependable, and not much else makes you as happy as being surrounded by your faithful companions. You know what you want and you are stubbornly trying to make this reality come into existence. Don’t force things so much — understand that everything is going to happen the way it needs to. If something is meant to be, it’s meant to be, and nothing you do or don’t do will change that.
Ascendant in Gemini
Traits: Adaptable, attractive, fun, unstable
Description: You don’t have only one identity. You have so many ways of behaving and personalities hiding inside your mind that no one is entirely sure of who you are. But this mystique is what turns you into a force of instant connection — you are adaptable to all different kinds of people. While great socially, this constant shifting of emotions can become a burden on you mentally if you aren’t properly grounded. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself on Earth with practices like mindfulness meditation and physical exercise.
Ascendant in Cancer
Traits: Sensitive, creative, romantic, scared
Description: You are extremely warm, kind, and sensitive, but you are not very trusting… not at first at least. You’ve been hurt so many times that you instinctively don’t want to take any chances. You hide most of your pain behind the tough outer shell you’ve built up over the years. You need to figure out how to protect yourself while still being welcoming. Let your guard down and invite people into your heart — just make sure you learn how to protect yourself if they betray your trust.
Ascendant in Leo
Traits: Entertaining, energetic, confident, superficial
Description: Everyone loves being around you. You’re boisterous and exuberant and you light up every room you enter. It’s almost like sunshine is eminanting directly from your body, and people love basking in that light. You’re fun, personable, friendly, and confident. And while this is all great, you desire a fair amount of love and admiration from everyone else before you can be happy. Don’t seek this superficial validation. Instead, learn to have no expectations — live in the moment, be confident, and just have fun.
Ascendant in Virgo
Traits: Organized, perfectionist, warm, stubborn
Description: Your surroundings are beautiful… because you’ve designed them that way. Everything needs to be neat, clean, and well kept. And this extends to your mental surroundings, too. The situations you put yourself in need to be carefully scoped out and expertly planned for you to feel like you’re not going to be wasting your time. Clean up your house, yes, and make sure everything is in order, yes, but learn to relax in the process. Be in this moment. Nothing exists in the future — everything is happening right now.
Ascendant in Libra
Traits: Lawful, peaceful, thoughtful, judgemental
Description: There is no disagreement that you can’t reconcile. You are a peacemaker, a law-abiding citizen in a world that is crazy, chaotic, and disorganized. You know there’s peace to be had and you build your work around making sure that that peace can be built, strengthened, and maintained. But understand the universe is naturally disorganized, and that’s perfectly OK. There needs to be a balance in everything — and sometimes things need to be messy in order to be successful.
Ascendant in Scorpio
Traits: Magnetic, soulful, powerful, lonely
Description: It’s almost as if you’re one giant mystery that everyone is trying to figure out. You thrive on being coy, and it’s what makes you so attractive. You’re intense, and sometimes people don’t know what to make of this passionate expression you bring to all of your interactions. But don’t be afraid to let others into your life more easily. When you lower your defenses, you’ll find that everyone just wants to be your friend, and the outward persona you want them to see is just getting in the way.
Ascendant in Sagittarius
Traits: Philosophical, confident, energetic, distant
Description: No one can talk about the nature of human existence quite like you can. You are one of the great thinkers of this generation — full of creative ideas, beautiful visions, and powerful ways to get people to come together. But there is such a thing as being too clever. When you think you know everything, you trick your mind into believing things that aren’t real. Relax the muscle of thought and let the experience of the present moment give you all the wisdom you need.
Ascendant in Capricorn
Traits: Capable, ambitious, persistent, workaholic
Description: All it takes to motivate you is one good idea that you can build upon. No one else embodies the motto “Anything Can Happen” quite like you. You have a natural flair about you that is warm, dedicated, and grounded. You are a force of physics — turning mental energy into physical reality. There are a million ideas floating in your head, and you are trying to make every single one of them happen. Just pick one and stay dedicated to seeing it happen in real life — don’t keep starting and stopping.
Ascendant in Aquarius
Traits: Unique, fun, friendly, withdrawn
Description: If there’s a new experience to be had, you’re the first to line up. You love trying new things and figuring out what makes your soul happy, but rarely are you able to maintain the status quo. Indeed, you are aggressively not “normal”. But understand that this uniqueness is the powerful reason you were put on this Earth. It’s not a bad thing! You don’t need to try to fit in — just be yourself and don’t let the fear of loneliness make you hide your true self from others.
Ascendant in Pisces
Traits: Dreamy, creative, empathetic, naive
Description: Life is like a big symphony and you are the conductor. Moving through the world for you is fluid, and you find it hard to stay in one spot for too long. Planning is not a concept you’re familiar with because you intuitively know that everything is always changing. Your head is firmly stuck in the clouds, and this dreaminess can lead you into a lot of awful places — addiction, bad relationships, and financial instability. Understand that your creative expression has its place, but that place is not everywhere!
Astrology Positions: The 12 Houses
It helps to think of the 12 houses like a big piece of pie cut into 12 different slices (or in this case, 2 separate pies of 6 slices for the “personal” and “interpersonal” houses). Each slice is a physical section of the zodiac. They are like “houses” built into the sky.
Celestial bodies — like planets — move in and out of these physical locations over the course of time. As they enter and leave each house (or physical location in the sky), they bring with them powerful influences that direct each one of life’s many experiences. Over the course of your life, as a celestial body moves in and out of these physical locations, you will experience the effects that these celestial bodies bring. Again, there are plenty of online tools which will tell you which celestial bodies are in which houses at any given point in time.
Each house represents an aspect of life that is easily identifiable and definable. When you find certain celestial bodies in these houses, you’ll have easily definable interpretations for the things you have faced in the past, the things you are facing now, and the things you will be facing at any point in the future. By fully understanding the influence of the 12 houses, you will be able to see everything — the fun, the hurdles, the gifts, the heartbreak, and the bliss — that you’ll encounter in your lifetime.
The 12 houses are divided into two sections:
- Personal — things relating to your self.
- Interpersonal — things relating to the outside world.
The 6 Personal Houses
1st House — The image of the self. This is how you are portrayed in the physical world. It brings messages of physical manifestation and new ideas. This is the house in which your ascendant is found in your birth chart.
2nd House — The material world. This is where things about finances, money, and material possessions are located. The overall sense of security in the material world is found here.
3rd House — The communication world. This is where all things society-related come into focus. How you talk, how you interact with your community, and how you move around from one place to another are found here.
4th House — The home world. This is where your relationships with your family are located. It represents the place where you find your strongest sense of belonging and peace (i.e. home).
5th House — The entertainment world. This is where you have fun! Creativity, romance, relaxation, artistic expression, and children are all represented here. This is where your natural, playful confidence is found.
6th House — The body world. This is where you can understand how you’re using your body in the physical realm. How you eat, how you sleep, how you manage routines, what physical habits you have, and how you take on stress are all examined here.
The 6 Interpersonal Houses
7th House — The conceptual world. This is where the mind finds its unique style of rationalization. How you interpret thoughts and process relationships — especially one-to-one partnerships — are defined here.
8th House — The underworld. This is where all those hidden forces that drive your primal senses — sex, death, fear, hope, desire, etc. — are found. Planets moving through this house typically bring difficulties in the short term but transformation in the long term.
9th House — The world of exploration. This is where things like travel and philosophical concepts are found. Education is found here, as are all things which ignite the curious passion of exploration.
10th House — The professional world. This is the house of careers, success, and fulfilment. It serves your sense of professional achievements as you conduct whatever business you were brought on Earth to do.
11th House — The world of friends. This is where all friendships are defined, both physically and conceptually. It’s the outside-the-box thinking which dominates the unique and personal way we reach out to our community.
12th House — The hidden world. This is where dreams and secrets are held — not visible in plain sight but buried underneath mountains of darkness. Intuition is strong in this house, and understanding rarely comes logically.
Astrology Positions: Movements & Aspects
To start off, the movement of planets and stars are seen as relational to Earth. For example, the sun doesn’t move — we are just spinning and twisting while moving in a circle, making the sun appear to move. But what is true is that something is moving, and that something is causing profound changes to occur.
The same is true for the motion of all celestial bodies. Because of this, many scientists like to call this phenomenon “apparent movement”, and astrologers have been studying for centuries which kinds of apparent planetary movement bring which kinds of changes to our human world.
The impact these movements have and the degree to which these movements are felt depend on many things — most notably, type of motion, speed, and geometric relationships.
When a planet moves through the sky, us Earthlings perceive its motion in one of two ways:
- Direct — the planet appears to be moving forward.
- Retrograde — the planet appears to be moving backward.
Both kinds of perceived motion — and the perception of the transition between moving forward and moving backward — have substantial impacts on the astrological field.
We can figure out motion the same way we can with transits — with calculations based around a planet’s orbit and where they are/will be in relation to the Earth at any given time. Again, these kinds of calculations are most easily performed with computer software designed for these purposes.
Direct motion is regarded as “outward” motion. Things associated with the planet are perceived normally, and they appear as they would to the outside world. For instance, Mercury moving in a direct motion signifies that communication is normal, and it could be a good time to effectively use your person-to-person communication skills.
Retrograde motion is regarded as “inner” motion. When a planet goes into retrograde motion, that planet’s characteristics highlight aspects of the “inner self” that are not normally brought to the forefront. For instance, Mercury moving in a retrograde motion signifies that outward communication is more difficult, making it a particularly good time to communicate with your “inner world”. (To find out when Mercury is in retrograde, go here.)
A transit is the movement of a celestial body — like a planet — through the sky. The length of each transit, as well as its apparent motion and position, can be analyzed from your birth chart through a series of calculations. For example, if you know that Venus takes approximately 1 month to move through each sign, you can see where it is now and calculate which sign it will be in 10 years from now. Obviously, this is most easily done with computers and software designed exclusively for performing these kinds of calculations. Again, there are plenty of online tools to help out with this.
Transits happen all the time, and the “fast-moving planets” can move in and out of a sign rather quickly. But the most impactful transits are the ones that move slowly (due to long planetary orbits). Particularly important transits are ones where planets make a long-awaited “return” back to where it was when you were born. Two important returns are:
- Jupiter Return — once in about 12 years, signifying the start of a new growth phase.
- Saturn Return — once in about 30 years, signifying the end of a major life cycle and the start of a new overall perspective.
- Jupiter makes a return in your chart around age 12, age 24, age 36, age 48, and so on.
- Saturn makes a return in your chart around age 30, age 60, and age 90.
As celestial bodies (like planets) move in the sky, they occupy certain positions, and those positions relate geometrically to other celestial bodies. As we’ve explored previously, each celestial body brings with it certain astrological influences in your life, and how each one geometrically positions itself in the sky further defines the specific astrological influence you are experiencing.
Sometimes these geometric relationships are favorable, and other times, they are not. Imagine how people on a sports team position themselves favorably to their other teammates and unfavorably to their opponents. This is what planets do all the time!
There are seven major aspects that we are particularly interested in astrologically, and they are divided into “favorable” and “unfavorable” positions. It’s a bit simplistic to say that the favorable aspects are “good” and the unfavorable ones are “bad”, and I would caution you to not view them that way.
One way to view favorable and unfavorable aspects is as “easy” and “challenging”, respectively. The favorable aspects bring great positivity while the unfavorable aspects bring great difficulties. The latter sounds “bad”, but it’s important to remember that we learn the most when confronted with difficulties. Unfavorable aspects represent powerful opportunities for personal growth.
To calculate aspects, you need to find the precise angle that these celestial bodies are forming in relation to one another across the entire zodiac field. And again, there are plenty of online tools to help you calculate astrological aspects.
Favorable Aspects (Easy)
- Conjunct — 0-10 degrees. Traveling extremely close together, blending their qualities into one.
- Sextile — 60 degrees. Moving harmoniously with one another, friendly and laid-back.
- Trine — 120 degrees. Two bodies moving in perfect harmony, great vibrations and heightened energy.
Unfavorable Aspects (Challenging)
- Semisextile — 30 degrees. Not close enough to be friendly, not far enough away to be out of sight. Awkward and irritable.
- Square — 90 degrees. There’s a lot of tension here. There might be some similarities, but not enough to be friendly with each other.
- Quincunx — 150 degrees. So far away from each other. Completely different characteristics, no common ground anywhere to be found.
- Opposite — 180 degrees. Couldn’t be further away from each other. Polar opposites staring at one another like they’re looking at an alien.
Putting it All Together: The Interpretation of Signs, Planets, Houses, Elements, and Everything Else
So once you understand what all of these influences are and what they represent, you can start to put everything together.
For instance, you know that Venus is the planet of love and relationships. So after drawing up your birth chart, you find your Venus is located in the sign of Aquarius. So you will be able to understand that, because Venus is the ruler of relationships, your relationship style is intellectual, maybe even a little bit aloof. You like building connections that are unique and unconventional, possibly even referring to your intimate partners as close friends rather than romantic lovers. When that Venus in Aquarius is found in the third house (i.e. the house of communication), you will find it very difficult to communicate your desire for both freedom and close intimacy to anyone, especially your romantic partners. Not many people will understand this unconventional approach to interpersonal relationships, so your challenge is learning to communicate these needs with clarity, intention, and authenticity.
In this way, you can take any aspect of your chart and analyze it, seeing exactly where you face challenges, identifying the specific gifts you bring to the physical world, and figuring out what your mission is in life.
Of course, it’s a lot of work, and it requires a serious amount of dedication, time, and persistence. I always recommend getting a professional reading before you try and interpret your own chart. A trained astrologer will give you “outside” insights that they’ve gained from years of reading astrological charts — highlighting specific personality traits that make your journey unique. Getting this outside perspective on your life will first shine a bright light on specific areas that you have been keeping in the dark.
After your first reading, take your chart and read it again, using this guide to inform your interpretations. As you look through your birth chart yourself, follow your own intuition and let your higher self take you on a profound journey of self-discovery.
Breathe, meditate, and listen to the wisdom of the stars as they tell you everything you’ve ever needed to know!