This is the first post in Tabby’s Astro DIY column on Little Red Tarot. It’s all about getting started with astrology, beginning with the basics.
NOTE: To get started, you’ll need to register an account with Astro.com – a popular website that provides many free astrological tools you’ll use in this ‘course’. If you haven’t already done so, get yourself set up before delving into the first post. Tabby will explain everything else!
Most people only know astrology to mean ‘star’ signs and horoscopes in the newspaper.
The truth is that astrology is waaaaay more than that and we are all made up of influences from various planets, signs and elements.
A lot of people don’t relate to what they know about their star sign and dismiss astrology without knowing there’s a whole lot more to them than that one sign and nobody is trying to put them in a box.
Another truth is that most horoscopes in newspapers, and magazines aren’t written by astrologers – they are usually written by another writer for the publication, are really generalised and aren’t based on any kind of astrology. Usually you’ll be able to tell whether it was written by an astrologer as there might be their name or a profile on them and their background in astrology alongside the piece.
So in saying that, the internet is probably the best place for checking your horoscope if you mean serious business (but hey, I’m as guilty as anyone as reading a horoscope wherever I find it, regardless of who wrote it). It’s worth looking around and finding an astrologer who’s writing you can relate to and feels accurate for you. Feel free to recommend your favourite astrologers in the comments!
Astro.com also provide a free personal daily horoscope if you have an account – this is pretty great because it’s not generalised on your sun sign like most horoscopes, it’s a horoscope based on how what’s happening in the stars right now affects your personal chart, so it’s way more accurate.
So let’s learn astrology!
There’s so so much to understand about astrology it can be overwhelming, but when you break it down it’s totally do-able and lots of fun. To start with we’re going to be looking at the main concepts in astrology, what they mean and how to pull them together to interpret a birth/natal chart.
Okay! Time to learn the lingo – we’ll just start off with the main features of a birth chart that you need to know to start with.
Birth Chart – The birth chart can be seen as a map of one’s life – it’s sort of like taking a photo of where the planets were the exact moment when you were born. The birth chart can be used to understand why you are the way you are, desires, motivations, strengths, weaknesses and so much more.
Planets – the planets represent the type of energy expressed, characters and archetypes, the what (and if you’re a scientific person, or maybe just a Virgo, then yes we know they aren’t all technically planets, but that’s how we refer to them in the astrology world).
Signs – the zodiac signs represent the tone of the energy, the way it’s expressed the qualities, the costume of the characters, the how.
Houses – the specific area of life the energy is played out in, the stage, the backdrop, the where.
Aspects – an aspect is the angles planets make to each other, the relationships between planets, the dialogue between characters.
Understanding your birth chart
Step 1: Create your birth chart
Of course before computers and the internet, astrologers would carefully calculate and hand draw these charts. Alas, I was never good with angles, drawing or rulers so we’ll stick to the 2014 way.
Log in to your account at astro.com and ‘add new astro data’ underneath ‘My Astro’ in the top right hand corner. Put in your birth details (apologies for the binary gender options) and it will save them under your name – you can do this for other people’s charts that you might want to look at too.
Then under ‘Free Horoscopes’ click onto ‘Chart Drawing/Ascendant’. There you go – that round thing with lots of symbols and funny lines is your birth chart!
Step 2: Breaking it down
The first time most people look at a birth chart, it doesn’t make much sense. It’s going to take time to understand the meaning behind each part of it, but we can start by learning what’s what.
The picture below is of my birth chart:
As labelled you can see that the symbols on the outer circle are the different zodiac signs. In some of the signs are the planets, the symbols in the inner circle.
The chart is also divided into sections with numbers in the middle – these are the houses, areas of life that the combined energy of a planet and sign can play out in.
The blue, red and dotted lines are the aspects – the angles the planets make to each other. Where it says AC – the planet the sign there on your chart is your ascendant or rising sign.
You probably won’t know what all of this means yet and that’s okay – one thing at a time.
Step 3: Find out what signs make up you!
I find one of the most exciting parts of astrology is looking at someone’s chart for the first time and figuring out what their moon sign and their rising sign is. That’s because those, along with your sun sign, are the most important influences in your chart that make you up. That’s not to say the rest isn’t important, but knowing just these three signs can tell you a lot about someone.
Now don’t worry if you don’t know which symbol is associated with which sign or planet yet – over in the left hand corner it’s all written out – you’ll see I have my Sun in Taurus, Moon in Aries and so the list goes on.
So can you relate to your Moon and Rising sign?
For me understanding and relating to having my Moon in Aries has been a constant battle – but every so often I get a glimpse into understanding it more. My Cancer Rising on the other hand totally fits me and I see that as where the nurturing, helper, intuitive part of my personality fits in.
A good exercise is to write out your discoveries, so you’ve got them somewhere clear if you don’t yet know how to read your birth chart, or if you don’t want to have to keep referring back to it as we talk more about this stuff. Writing can also help you familiarise yourself with what’s in your birth chart, so you can memorise the important details.
As we go on you’ll be able to understand the meaning behind each planet, sign, house and aspect and you’ll be able to piece them all together to really understand what your birth chart says about you.
Next time we’ll be looking at the four elements, how they relate to astrology and finding out which elements are strongest and weakest in our charts.
Over to you…
Try it out for yourself! What’s your sun, moon and rising sign? And if you have any questions for Tabby, she’d love to answer them in the comments!