Opinions about astrology have been notoriously strong for many years. People seem to either believe in it religiously or be emphatically against it. But for all of the believers and non-believers, there are some who waver or simply want to learn more. This introduction to astrology is for anyone who is curious about the inner workings of astrology and the theoretical science behind it.
Astrology is often considered one of the great mysteries of the world and will remain so in many facets. Similarly, it is our hope that this article will help demystify the main function of it. Because regardless of whether you have a formed opinion about astrology, there are reasons why many cultures have embraced it and used it in their daily lives for thousands of years! There is a wealth of archived history, natal charts of public figures, and connections to the science of astronomy that lend credence to its authenticity.
A Brief History of Astrology
The zodiac is believed to have derived from ancient Egyptian culture and was later adopted by the Babylonians. Early astrologers purported that it took 12 months for the sun to return to its original position. This lead to the identification of 12 individual constellations. These were presumed to be connected to the progression of the seasons.
The 12 signs of the zodiac are each represented by a correspondent constellation, and are divided into four elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Water signs include Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. The air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius (despite the historical Aquarian association with water). Earth signs include Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. And there you have it- the twelve zodiac or star signs, which form the base of Greek astrology.
The first part of understanding your Greek astrology chart is to know your Sun or star sign. Remember, star signs represent the position of the sun at the moment of birth.
The Role of Aspects and Transits in Astrology
In astrology, it is believed that humankind is affected not just by hereditary factors but universal energies as well. The planets are not just planets, but life forces that represent the ways in which we identify ourselves and relate to the world. You may have heard the term “aspect” used in the context of astrology, but its meaning can be difficult to ascertain. Planetary forces are always shifting, and when they take on new zodiacal positions, they relate to one another in different ways. Astrology by date of birth uses information about the location of these planetary forces at birth to determine personality and life path.
The sky is constantly moving. The position of the sky relative to the Earth at any given time is referred to as a “transit”. As the sun moves across the sky, it rises a little more to the east or west than it did the day before. That is known as the transit of the sun. When visibility of the moon goes from full to a tiny sliver over the course of a month, that is called the transit of the moon. In the same vein, the planets rise and set in a different place every day, correlating to different zodiacal locations. In astrology, these forces are believed to have profound effects on many aspects of life. This is a common perspective associated with vedic astrology.
The Sun tells us the core personality of a person. It represents the inner self and the life themes of central concern. The Moon represents another, perhaps even deeper level of one’s identity. The Moon is associated with the feelings, receptivity, imagination, and overall emotionality of a person. It is particularly important when determining how we feel, react, and behave in romantic relationships. The Moon figures prominently in a love horoscope. While the Sun rules the star sign of Leo and the Moon rules Cancer, the rest of the signs are ruled by planets.
Aries is ruled by fiery Mars, the planet that represents courage, determination, freedom, impulsivity, and the readiness for action. As a result, Aries people are often intensely strong-willed, independent, and energetic. They are the fire-starters of the zodiac, and their outspoken nature goes hand in hand with strong opinions that they’re not afraid to express. Aries, which symbolizes the infant stage of life, is direct and emotionally straightforward.
This hardly means that Aries is not emotional; it simply means that the Ram does not like to wear his or vulnerabilities on her sleeve. But although the first sign of zodiac leads with strength, Aries vulnerability is often profound. As with an infant, for Aries, love is a necessity of life that is taken inherently for granted. In other words, being loved is synonymous with survival. Aries is also intensely self-motivated and usually either plays a leadership role in one or more important aspects of life, or secretly wants to. Although not known to be shy, the occasional retiring or introverted Aries is still as strong-willed by nature as the typical “life of the party” frequently recognized in the everyday Aries horoscope. As a cardinal sign, Aries is action-oriented. (All cardinal signs are essentially the same way, but the Aries expression of this position tends to be spontaneous and impulsive).
The first earth sign of the zodiac, Taureans are usually grounded and unwavering in their belief systems. As a fixed sign, there’s no getting around it- Taurus is stubborn. But Taureans are also deeply loyal and hold steadfast to their commitments to people or things that they love. It is important to guard against getting oneself into a rut or resisting change out of fear of loss of security. Taureans value security perhaps even more than Cancers and Capricorns, the two other signs in the zodiac that are intensely focused on cultivating and maintaining security (financial and personal). While Aries kicks off the zodiac with fiery dynamism, Taurus lays the groundwork- and ground rules- for building stable foundations in life. Taurus is determined and diligent.
As an earth sign, Taurus is very sensual, and that sensuality finds a physical expression. Not only are they known to have healthy libidos and an earthy sensuality that is very physical in nature, but they also famously love food, drink, and the arts. They’re endowed with a keen sense and deep appreciation for the finer things in life. However, nearness to nature is essential to Taurean well-being, so being cooped up in a city with too little exposure to the natural world will find them irritable and depressed.
Ruled by the planet Mercury, Gemini’s mercurial nature is no accident. The infamous duality of this sign is not only referring to their aptitude for multi-tasking (Geminis can often be found juggling more projects, responsibilities, or social interactions than most of us would know what to do with). The inherent Geminian duality also means that Gemini is quite often capable of holding more than one viewpoint at the same time. A more single-minded sign like Taurus or Capricorn will often find themselves aghast at Gemini’s seemingly contradictory statements- how can you think something is true, but also believe its opposite is also true?! For Gemini, it often speaks to their ability to see more than one side of a situation, and observe the way multiple factors interact with each other. In other words, they see the complexity in life and are not nearly as fettered with it as the rest of us. Duality does not trouble the Gemini because it mirrors what is going on inside himself.
Gemini’s are some of the most intellectual, interesting people you can ever meet. They are also the only sign known to be even more spontaneous and fun-loving than Aries! The Gemini horoscope often refers to their mutability, which is an important Gemini quality to remember. Gemini’s “go with the flow” perhaps more easily than any other sign in the zodiac. They generally adapt well to change and crave it often. No one likes to be bored- in fact, most of us hate it. But for Gemini, boredom is more than an inconvenience. It’s an absolute terror! If you have a Gemini in your life, satiating his or her appetite for life and mental stimulation is of the utmost importance.
Cancer is a highly complex individual. Cancers’ deep emotional core renders them highly sensitive and intuitive, but because their moods wax and wane with the moon, their real feelings can sometimes remain a mystery even to them. As a result, they can be hard to get to know or appear emotionally confusing or manipulative at times. Like their symbolic crab, they have a habit of moving indirectly toward a goal, or moving sidelong through life rather than approaching things directly. In a relationship, a Crab may move forward and then backward, sometimes saying one thing and meaning another. But it’s vital to be patient when a Cancer behaves this way because his or her actions are often a reflection of his own confusion. When moods wax and wane with the phases of the Moon, reality is often clouded by emotion. The typical Cancerian, although highly concerned with security in relationships and finances, sees the world through an emotional lens rather than the Geminian cerebral vantage point.
Cancers are extremely vulnerable and need very much to love and be loved. If Cancer’s parents did not bond well with her during childhood or left her feeling neglected or even abused, this can later manifest as self-pity, manipulation, or self-centeredness. But by nature Cancers are usually some of the most caring, gentle individuals you can meet. When they fall in love, they are deeply devoted to their partners and have one of the highest capacities for commitment of the zodiac.
Like the other fire signs, Leos are warm, passionate, and typically live for the spotlight. Their star sign association with the sun often manifests itself physically, as Leos tend to enjoy wearing bright colors; they’re also blessed with radiant smiles. Leos are luxuriant, larger-than-life creatures for whom leadership comes naturally. Leo usually has a giving, generous spirit and is admired by the members of their community or within their career. Because they are natural born leaders and indomitable forces of life, Leo will react like a caged lion if they feel stifled or dominated. Leo has a flair for the dramatic and their theatrical nature often propels them toward glamorous lifestyles or at least a love of or wish for finer things. Challenges for this sign tend to occur when their arrogance or inflexibility gets in their way of communication socially, in love, or at work. One thing they absolutely cannot abide is being ignored. Whether he or she readily admits it, a Leo likes to be treated like the so-called “king or queen of the jungle”. Leo is a fixed sign, so refusal to change or see from outside points of view can be a real obstacle. Underneath their sometimes intimidating roar, Leos tend to be warm-hearted, generally cheerful people with a great sense of humor.
Like Gemini, Virgos are mutable and ruled by the cerebral, communicative planet Mercury. Historically, Virgo has been associated with charitable causes and is known to dedicate himself or herself to humanitarian causes in some capacity. Virgos are extremely analytical by nature, to the point that they sometimes risk focusing so much on details that they lose sight of the bigger picture. However, their fastidious attention to detail makes Virgos ideal for careers in medical, IT, or engineering fields; it also makes them thorough and dependable at just about any job they do. When they dedicate themselves, they dedicate themselves fully. They do need to guard against becoming overly critical of people around them who take different approaches to life.
To the Virgo, “thinking with the heart instead of the brain” is at best cautioned against; at worst they view it as outright lack of intelligence. Virgos have a real tendency to place mind over matter to the point that they risk losing out on love or other experiences they truly desire due to their fear of risk-taking. Not every life experience can be filtered through the mind before the heart, and trusting their well-honed instincts can be a challenge for Virgo. However,, if Virgo applies his laser focus to understanding and overcoming this particular roadblock, he makes an immensely dedicated partner who is extremely considerate of his partner’s feelings and needs.
Virgo is an earth sign, which makes for a strong character. But like the other earth signs, Virgo’s strength is not as readily apparent at first glance as that of a fire sign. Rather, Virgos have a strong conservative streak for whom pragmatism plays a strong role in life.
Libras are individuals for whom the theme of balance is a defining theme throughout life. They have a real need for harmony and eye for beauty, which often draws them into work that involves art, music, or design. They are diplomatic by nature, and blessed with impeccable social graces that make them popular in many circles. Libras are inherently fair-minded and concerned with justice. It can almost be guaranteed that whatever Libra’s perception of justice is, he or she will be very invested in it. This can sometimes lead to see the world in black and white rather than understanding the complexity of multi-faceted situations that arise in life. Libras can be more concerned with what they view as fair or “right” than in the feelings and experiences of others. This is not an intentional slight; Libras are air signs, giving them a more cerebral than emotional worldview. However, they are ruled by Venus, so they are one of the most romantic astrology signs. Libra strongly dislikes violence, injustice, or anything viewed as disruptive to their vital sense of balance and harmony.
Libras are partnership-oriented by nature. Most of them don’t like being along long-term. Maybe more so than for the rest of us, partners serve as mirrors into themselves, and symmetry is important to them in relationships. Libras do have to guard against conceding too easily to others or becoming passive in an effort to retain peace and harmony in their environments.
A water sign ruled by the mysterious planet Pluto, Scorpio is easily the most intense sign of the zodiac. In their case, the emotional force of water is magnified by Pluto’s influence, which is associated with the mysteries of life and death. Known as the planet of transformation and regeneration, Pluto’s influence over Scorpios sensitizes them to unseen matters and makes them sharply intuitive. Their emotions can easily run the deepest in the zodiac, but they do not wear them on their sleeve.
Because their rage is as strong as their passion, they sometimes have to make an effort against being temperamental to the point of violence. Unlike horoscope signs like Aries or Gemini, Scorpios are extremely distrustful and generally subscribes to the opposite of the cliché, “Innocent until proven guilty”. In fact, Scorpios may feel just the opposite- that people are guilty until proven innocent.
But once a Scorpio has dedicated himself to a person or a cause, the bond or devotion runs immeasurably deep. Scorpios will do anything and everything for someone they love or something they believe in. They can be prone to jealous, fiery tempers, but they are also hands down the most sexual and sensual lovers of the zodiac- and when they fall in love, they fall hard and for keeps.
Born into expansion by way of planet Jupiter, Sagittarians are naturally broad thinkers with philosophical natures and larger-than-life personalities. Sagittarians are fire signs, and have fire-born passionate temperament. Sagittarius tends to be generous, full of life, and the center of attention at any party. They attract friends and admirers in droves. However, they have a real love of freedom that anyone who wants to be in an intimate relationship with them must be able to tolerate and respect.
Sagittarians are adventurous spirits for whom travel or at least freedom is as necessary as oxygen to breathe. Additionally, they do best with lovers who either support or share their expansive, sometimes far-reaching dreams and ideals. They are great adventurists and seers of the big picture who dislike spending too much time on details that they disregard as trivial or mundane. Sagittarians are also straightforward to the point of bluntness and can be perceived as insensitive when they believe they are simply “calling it like they see it”.
Saturn represents time, responsibility, and restrictions; it is not a planetary force to be taken lightly or trifled force. Likewise, Capricorns are serious-minded individuals who guard their vulnerable hearts fiercely and present a strong, stoic exterior to the world. This does not mean they lack emotionality. In fact, Capricorns have extremely vulnerable emotional cores, and once they’ve been wounded they find it difficult to recover internally. However, they are viewed as the strongest sign of the zodiac for a reason.
Capricorns have the ability to rise above hardship, exercising faith and endurance. Most Capricorns have mastered a measure of self-control from an early age, and their realistic personalities make them unlikely to be gullible or stray too far off their steadfast paths with flights of fancy. However, their highly sensual nature can sometimes deter them into matters unworthy of their time and energy.
Despite their pragmatic approach, Capricorns are not building and biding their time for an ordinary life experience. Rather they seek transcendence and spiritual satisfaction beyond the realms of what is considered ordinary. For this reason, they must watch out for lovers whose seemingly unique or outstanding qualities are actually masking cruelty or instability. Capricorn is a cardinal sign, making them action-oriented by nature. However, unlike Aries, Capricorn does not always act on their first impulse. When Capricorns do come to a decision, usually after deliberation, the moves they make are not always show-stopping. Capricorns may move behind the scenes and are creatures of great subtlety, but their wisdom often enacts much-needed change.
Aquarius is the final air sign of the zodiac, making them cerebral by nature. They can be independent with a unique worldview that has been historically seen as ahead of their time. Many Aquarians have progressive ideals or interests in science and innovations that better humanity. Humanitarian causes and interests often play a central role for Aquarius one way or another. Although Aquarians are generous and magnanimous, they can experience intense discomfort in more personal matters. They may place a strong emphasis on friendship, and though most of them are partner-oriented, they do require freedom and alone time to recharge. They can run from emotional expression and be temperamental or uncompromising in matters of the heart. Above all, they are great listeners and supporters, open-minded, and loyal to the death for those he loves. Aquarians have a broad, humane worldview and are often without prejudice, which makes them great problem-solvers.
Ruled by Neptune, the planet of dreams and intuition, Pisces is hands down the most ephemeral sign in the zodiac. Their zodiac symbol is that of two fish swimming in opposite directions, and that speaks volumes about the Pisces duality. Unlike Gemini duality, Pisces duality often leads to confusion on a deeper, emotional level. Pisces are natural empaths and tend to absorb the energies in their environment, and if they do not consciously learn how to create boundaries and filters, they can run into times in which it’s difficult to separate their own identities from others’. However, their intuition is a great Piscean strength from which to draw from; if they learn to rely on it, it can guide them well through life and lead to greater heights than many others dare to go.
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