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Astrology Basics Bootcamp

Let's learn astrology basics!

What Is Astrology?

is the art of interpreting the placement of the planets and constellations (which you may recognize as the names of the
) in relation to the earth to understand personality, karmic cycles, and collective experience.
Astrologers look up at the skies (or at a map of the skies on computers because technology™) and interpret how the energy of the planets and constellations might be reflected in our society and in our individual lives.
Your natal chart, aka your
@Birth Chart
, is a map of the planets at the exact moment you were born. There are a ton of free sites where you can get your natal chart for free, but here are two options I like:

Just enter your birth information and voila! A pie chart(???) with a bunch of symbols and lines!

Don’t worry, you’ll have a better understanding of it by the end of this doc.

Note: It's crucial to get as close to your exact
@Birth time
as possible. Even a few minutes difference can significantly impact the placements in your birth chart. The best place to find this information is your birth certificate. Don't rely on memory!

Sun, Moon, and Rising, AKA: Your Big Three

Your Sun sign, Moon sign, and Rising sign (aka your
) make up the most essential parts of your chart.

Your Sun Sign

This is the sign you probably know off the top of your head. It's the sign that people expect as an answer when they ask, "What's your sign?"
It's an integral part of who you are, but it's really just one part of your personality. Your sun sign represents your joy, what lights you up, and your ultimate self-expression. When you're doing things that are aligned with your Sun sign, you feel totally joyful and at ease.

Your Moon Sign

Your Moon sign is the zodiac sign the moon was in when you were born. The moon represents your inner self and your physical self. It's your emotions - how you express them and what you tend to get emotional about - as well as your intuition, self-care needs, and what you need to feel safe and nurtured.
When you learn about your moon sign, it often feels like a deeply personal revelation, even if others don't think it sounds like you at all. This is because your Moon sign represents the most intimate, private aspects of you that you don't share with just anyone.

Your Rising Sign / Ascendant

Your Rising sign is not a planet or celestial body at all. It's the zodiac sign (or constellation) that was rising over the Eastern horizon at the moment you were born.
*That's why knowing your exact birth time is so crucial in generating your natal chart because this sign changes very quickly throughout the day.
Your Rising sign is your external self, the part of you that you readily share with the world. For many of us, our Rising sign is what people usually guess as our sun sign!

Fun Fact: Ever read your horoscope and think to yourself, "Wow, that doesn't really apply to my life at all. What a joke."

Well, that's because astrologers actually write horoscopes based on the rising sign, so it's more accurate to read the horoscope for your rising as opposed to your sun sign! Next time you check out your horoscope, read for your rising sign and see if it feels more accurate!

The combination of these three signs represents the multifaceted core essence of who you are as a person!

The Planets

Every planet in our solar system has a place in your birth chart, and each one reflects an aspect of your life and personality. Each takes on the characteristics of a particular zodiac sign, which colors the way its energy is expressed through you.
have a more profound impact on us than others, which is directly based on how quickly they move through the twelve zodiac signs. Some planets that move slowly may be in the same sign for months, years, or even a decade or more which means everyone born during that time has that planet in the same sign. Therefore, that planet's energy is not as impactful on your personality since everyone in your generation has the same placement.
On the other hand, planets that move quickly through the twelve signs have a much more significant impact on our personality and unique way of expressing their energy.

The personal planets move quickest, just spending 1-2 months in each sign, and have the most significant impact on us:
Mercury: represents how you communicate and what you like to talk about
Venus: represents how you give and receive love, what you find beautiful or valuable about life
Mars: represents how you take action and express passion and fierce emotions

The transpersonal planets move a bit slower, spending 1-3 years in each sign, and have to do with how we interact with society:
Jupiter: Represents how you express and experience faith, trust, luck, and how you expand
Saturn: represents how you take responsibility and handle commitment

Finally, the generational planets move very slowly, spending 7-15 years in each sign, and have the least personal impact on us, but do reflect the values of a generation:
Uranus: represents the revolutionary impact your generation has on the world
Neptune: represents the boundaries and ideas your generation dissolves and releases
Pluto: represents which elements of society your generation burns down and how they rise from the ashes

The Signs

What do we mean when we talk about "the signs?" We're referring to the twelve signs of the zodiac, which happen to correspond to twelve constellations in the sky. And, even if you don't have a planet in a particular sign, you do have all twelve signs in your birth chart!
In fact, you likely don't have planets in all twelve signs, but you do have the energy of all twelve of them within you. Each sign is a puzzle piece that makes up the complete picture that is you. Without all twelve, we'd be incomplete.
Each sign has a particular way of expression itself, which is filtered through the planets and the houses in your chart (don't worry, more on that soon):
Aries: The Warrior – passionate, assertive, action-oriented
Taurus: The Goddess – sensual, pleasure-seeking, ease
Gemini: The Magician – curious, flexible, social
Cancer: The Mother – nurturing, emotional, protective
Leo: The Sovereign – bold, self-loving, creative
Virgo: The Priestess – ritualistic, of service, organized
Libra: The Lover – intellectual, artistic, partnership-oriented
Scorpio: The Witch – deep, mysterious, transformational
Sagittarius: The Healer – wisdom-seeking, adventurous, expansive
Capricorn: The Crone – grounded, practical, responsible
Aquarius: The Rebel – revolutionary, change, alternative
Pisces: The Oracle – sensitive, intuitive, empathic

While every one of these signs is floating around somewhere in your personality, you'll likely express some much more readily than others, particularly those in which you have your Sun, Moon, Rising, and personal planets.

Hot Take: What about the 13th sign?

Questions about the “13th sign,” Ophiucus, circulate around the internet periodically. There are hundreds of constellations from all different cultures, but only 12 of them are actually part of the zodiac. So, no, your sign has not changed 🙂

The Houses

are an additional element of astrology that adds nuance and depth to the way you interpret your natal chart. Just as there are twelve signs, there are also twelve houses in your chart (remember the pie-chart-looking thing? Each "slice" represents a "house").
There are many different systems for calculating houses, and they are all valid, but I personally recommend using Whole Sign Houses when starting out. Whole Sign is the oldest and simplest system of interpreting a natal chart. You can change the settings on either of the recommended sites, as Whole Sign is typically not the default option.
This is an excellent explanation of why we use Whole Sign Houses, plus an additional breakdown of each major part of a birth chart ↓

Two things to note about houses:
Each sign naturally rules one house, and they go in order of the zodiac. Aries rules the first house (because it's the first sign) and so on.
Unless your rising sign is Aries, you will likely have a different sign in each house than its natural ruler.

Additionally, every planet in your chart is both in a sign, and in a house, and that house is ruled by another sign. Confused yet?
Let's look at an example:

Screen Shot 2022-04-18 at 5.22.14 PM.png

This person's moon (emotions) is very intense, moody, and transformative (because it is in Scorpio). But, it is also very creative, artistic, and pleasure-focused (because it is in the 5th house, which is traditionally ruled by Leo).
YES, nuance. We love to see it!

Here’s a little cheat sheet in addition to the descriptions in :
First House - Aries qualities and values
Second House - Taurus qualities and values
Third House - Gemini qualities and values
Fourth House - Cancer qualities and values
Fifth House - Leo qualities and values
Sixth House - Virgo qualities and values
Seventh House - Libra qualities and values
Eighth House - Scorpio qualities and values
Ninth House - Sagittarius qualities and values
Tenth House - Capricorn qualities and values
Eleventh House - Aquarius qualities and values
Twelfth House - Pisces qualities and values

Hot Take: What about cusps?

A cusp is a real thing in astrology, but not in the way meme-astrology has “defined” it: that you’re two signs because you were born on a “cusp.”

Even if you have a planet very close to the end or beginning of a sign, or were born between the 19th-22nd of the month around when the sun changes signs, you're actually not on a "cusp," and you're definitely not both signs. It's actually impossible for the sun, moon, or planet to be in more than one sign at a time.

When people feel like they're both signs, it's almost always because you have your sun in one sign and one or more planets in the other sign. In particular, Mercury and Venus are always within 2 signs of the sun, so they're never far away! Check your personal planets to see how those placements influence you.

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