Intro to Astrology Pt 1: Signs, Planets & Houses
What is astrology?
First things first, astrology is not astronomy - but in its infancy, the lines between the two were blurred. Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects like the stars and planets. Astrology is the correlation of celestial events (i.e., Mercury Retrograde) to events on Earth – like war, natural disasters, births, deaths, discoveries, etc. According to astrology, the universe does not cause the events on Earth, instead happens simultaneously with those events.
Astrology (as far as we know) was invented by the Babylonians around 3000 B.C. Prior to that around 2900 B.C., the Sumerian Goddess Nisaba was said to live in a temple called the "House of Stars" and had a lapis lazuli tablet which she used as a map of the stars. The Egyptians refined the Babylonian system of astrology and the Greeks shaped it into its modern form. Astrology remained an integral part of various cultures and was highly regarded amongst scholars, scientists, and doctors. That all changed at the turn of the 20th century when the scientific method was introduced.
Today astrology is considered a pseudoscience. Most, if not all, modern scientists do not believe in astrology because it cannot be proven via the scientific method.
However, science did prove this.
How can astrology benefit me?It is almost instinctual to look to that which is beyond us for the truth. And most often than not, we look to the stars for the answers. Astrology provides another way for people to find the answers they seek. Astrology is used for divination purposes and to help one discover their true purpose, understand their personality, strengths, weakness and for some... the future.
What is a birth chart?
A birth chart is a divination tool (like runes or the tarot) that helps you understand your nature and future. However, a birth chart goes beyond other divination tools because it’s a tool that predicts your life as represented by the planetary positions at the exact time, date, and place of your birth. A birth chart consists of the 12 zodiac signs, ten planets (including the Sun & Moon – yes I know these are not technically planets but in Astrology, they are referred to as planets) 12 houses and aspects. Your birth chart can act as a key or roadmap of your life. Are you not sure if your partner is the one? Compare your birth charts to see where you might have serious problems. Is wealth and success in the stars for you? Check your 2nd, 8th, 10th and 11th houses for the answers.
Need a natal chart consultation? Contact Tha Dalai Mama.
Don't know your zodiac sign? Check here.
In western astrology, the tropical zodiac is used as it aligns with the constellations and signs as the Babylonians (inventors of Astrology) viewed them. The twelve signs of the zodiac are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, & Pisces. Each sign represents 30 degrees of the 360-degree natal chart. The beginning of each season aligns with the Sun rising into one of four signs: Aries (spring equinox), Cancer (Summer Solstice), Libra (autumnal equinox) and Capricorn (winter solstice).
Each sign is associated with one of the four elements – fire, earth, air, and water.
• Fire signs are Aries, Leo & Sagittarius
• Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo & Capricorn
• Air signs are Gemini, Libra & Aquarius
• Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio & Pisces
Each sign is either cardinal (self-starters), fixed (determined) or mutable (fluid/interchangeable)
• Cardinal – Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
• Fixed – Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
• Mutable – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces
Each planet is in a sign, and those signs influence the expression of the planet. The planets also rule different signs. A planet in a sign in your chart is not the same as a planet ruling a sign. Here’s what I mean. I’ll use my own ruling planet as an example: Mars “rules” Aries and represents energy, emotion & motivation. Mars influences but also compliments my fiery and self-starting way of being. Now, in my birth chart Mars shows up in the sign of Capricorn, in my 5th house; so the intense emotion, drive, and motivation that represents Mars is amplifying my Capricorn (self-control, ambition, responsibility) nature as it relates to my 5th house (creativity, children, hobbies, social and/or love life). Makes sense?
Rulers based on the discovery of Uranus, Neptune & Pluto:
• Sun rules Leo
• Moon rules Cancer
• Mercury rules Gemini & Virgo
• Venus rules Taurus & Libra
• Mars rules Aries
• Jupiter rules Sagittarius
• Saturn rules Capricorn
• Uranus rules Aquarius
• Neptune rules Pisces
• Pluto rules Scorpio
• Sun = ego
• Moon = emotions
• Mercury = communication
• Venus = love
• Mars = motivation
• Jupiter = growth
• Saturn = responsibility
• Uranus = eccentricity
• Pluto = transformation
The 12 houses that make up your birth chart are symbolic of many stages and themes in the human experience. The most important houses to study are the first, fourth, seventh and tenth. I personally would also advocate that the 9th house is very important to most people, regardless of religious or spiritual practices. As humans, we naturally seek the answer to it all, and through religion or spiritual practices we come to some form of understanding of the answer or at least an acceptance of what it is, or isn't. In order to understand how these themes apply to you and your life - refer to the planets and signs within those houses.
EXAMPLE: I have Mercury in the sign of Aquarius in my eighth house. This makes perfect sense to me. My mercurian intrigue with psychology and all things mystical is expressed through the altruistic aquarian sign in my business (8th house). I am an entrepreneur in the metaphysical space who has a deep desire to read and soak up all things involving the human spiritual experience AND share that with others in a very honest way. So it makes perfect sense that my birth chart would show the very same thing.
Basic description of houses:
1st – Appearance/Self (Aries)
2nd – Money/Possessions/Value of Self (Taurus)
3rd - Communication/Intellect (Gemini)
4th – Home/Family/Security (Cancer)
5th - Creativity/Children/Passions (Leo)
6th – Responsibility/Work/Health (Virgo)
7th – Relationships/People (Libra)
8th – Business/Death/Letting Go (Scorpio)
9th – Religion/Philosophy/ideas (Sagittarius)
10th – Practical vision/Vocation (Capricorn)
11th – Dreams/Visions/Community (Aquarius)
12th – Sacrifice/Psychology/Acceptance (Pisces)
Angular House CuspsThe angular house cusps are the Ascendant, Imum Coeli (IC), Descendant (or Occidens), and Midheaven. The Ascendant is located at the first house cusps, the IC at the fourth house cusps (opposite of the Midheaven), the Descendant at the seventh house cusps and the Midheaven at the tenth house cusps. Planets and signs are at their most amplified state when located at one of these arcs. Depending on who you ask, the Ascendant or the Midheaven is the most powerful of all. We'll dive more into that in part two of this series.
Succedent HousesThe succedent houses are house two, five, eight and eleven and are associated with the fixed signs. These houses are all about planning, intent, action, and efficiency. People with a lot of activity in these houses tend to be top performers in their fields; CEOs, professional athletes, celebrity entertainers, etc. These people are tenacious and very driven, which on the flip side can make them very stubborn and hard to deal with if you’re not with their program.
The cadent houses are house three, six, nine and twelve and are associated with the mutable signs. A person with many planets in these houses tend to be a jack-of-all-trades and able to adapt to change remarkably well – which makes them very valuable in all aspects of life. These people tend to crave knowledge; always reading, traveling and learning new things.
And don't forget to check your monthly TAROTSCOPE .
Book: Mesopotamian Astrology: An Introduction to Babylonian and Assyrian Celestial Divination by Ulla Koch-Westenholz
Book: Astrology: A History by Peter Whitfield (Abrams, 2001).
Book: Complete book of Astrology by Kris Brandt Riske, M.A.