By Jackie McIntosh
Thank you all for stopping by to do a little reading on one of my favorite subjects! We held the astrology bash a little less than a month ago, so you'll have to forgive the time elapsed between this recap because a girl is graduating in about a week. I have let it consume my life. Woo! Anyway, what we wanted to offer you with the event was to give a comprehensive, albeit Brief, a summary of the basics of Astro knowledge. This is one of those things that I can talk for uninterrupted hours about and usually do at every opportunity, but keeping things short and sweet was the goal here. I invite you to explore as much or as little as you want to post-read, but please do explore.
A few key things to remember when studying astrology are highlighted in the "things to note section" at the beginning of the presentation. I see talk about these things A LOT from people who avoid astrology to valid criticism from people who love studying it (myself included).
Your birth chart is not a fixed entity in practice. It's just a picture of what the sky looked like when you were born. We all know that the circumstances of our birth play a significant role in who we develop into later, and you have to look at your birth chart in the same way. "Not as a prison, but as a toolkit." Understanding the "set of tools" you were born with allows for a deeper understanding of your inherent strengths and weaknesses. It enables you to build upon those natural peaks and valleys. Look At it from the perspective of pluses and deltas, positive things to the strength and weaker things to work on. It's all from the perspective of growth. So yeah, it's a mindset.
"The terms are harsh; it's Not Personal." This one knocks a lot of people off their rhythm. I made ample notes on every slide to call out the descriptors I used for signs behavior because sometimes it's things like "dependent on the opinion of others, indecisive, flirty." These are also all descriptors of Libra placements (sorry!). I'm trying to point out here that these are scientific observations, or at least as close as you can get to that when you assign behavioral traits to planetary bodies and sections of a calendar. Yeah, I'm aware of the criticism. Just in the same way a real scientist would describe the movements of an iguana or eukaryote in a cold, calculated tone, it applies the same for astrology readings. I promise you it is not personal. Remember the pluses and deltas!
"Nuance is key." Really. As you move through the presentation, you'll see that the terms are eerily repetitive as you move through the planets in each sign. That is intentional. At the end of the presentation, you'll see there are instructions for "How to read a birth chart; the What, the How, and the Where" (I'm purposely ignoring addressing the houses because they Need their own section). The planets and the signs are the what and where. To attempt to explain this in a few sentences as possible, Zodiac signs have specific traits that help execute the function of the planet in your birth chart. It's basically paying attention to How that sign applies its nature to the planet. What does a Capricorn influence over a venus sign look like? How does that affect what that person desires?
And for your own sign, do you recognize yourself in the description? Where do you deviate? What other sign/planet could be causing this influence? The underlying point is to get you to look at your birth chart as a whole and recognize those traits.
TLDR, THIS IS FOR FUN!!! Basically, take what you want, leave what you don't :) I promise I will not be offended.
Now go forth! The presentation will be attached and was designed as a reference guide! I'll take you through the sections with some headers to guide you. Still, I intend to make this as self-guided as possible because I personally find fun about astrology and not because I have a 20-page paper due in 48 hours. What one astrologer says in one article or book does not define anything. It's all up for your own interpretation. The experts are just really good at justifying their observations, which takes practice. But I leave you to come to your own conclusions about me; my birth chart is on full display multiple times. And it's somethin' :).
(Also, shoutout to Malia Knapps for being my lovely cohost and support team. That lovely resource guide at the end of the presentation was her work!!)
All quotes included in these descriptions are from “Astrology: using the wisdom of the stars in your everyday life” by Carole Taylor, which I highly recommend picking up if you’re into the whole book thing.
The birth chart
Yes, these are both mine. But these are also both birth charts! I know the circle one looks more professional but do not let anyone tell you differently. Oftentimes both contain the same information about degrees and aspects, so it's literally just a preference. You can obviously fit more information into the circle one when you know how to read it, so, *segue*.
Astrology Symbols: Glyphs
These bad boys are pretty self-explanatory but essential! Astrologers will often use these to present various aspects of a chart versus just writing it out like the list. Again, just a preference, but with learning, if you plan on studying any deeper.
Explain moving through the signs as related to the planets
From here, we move through each 12 zodiac signs and the first 6 "personal planets" as they are often referred to. The point here is to get familiar with each planet and the specific qualities of the signs so you'll recognize the behavior in yourself and others.
I invite you to explore your Jupiter and Saturn placements next because they are also a part of the traditional seven planets. I just included the rising sign for comprehensiveness. The planets after that are slow-moving, so you will find you share the same sign as the people born within 5 to 10 years of you, and they often mark the attitudes of generations. Interesting stuff!
Mercury: Planet of Logic and Communication
"Mercury is our personal 'messenger,' describing how we learn and perceive and then how we communicate to others our knowledge and perceptions of the world around us." Anything related to communication is under mercury's scope, books, telecommunication, logic, interpersonal skills, and how we take in information.
Venus: Planet of Love and Desire (Kinda NSFW?)
"In our chart, Venus is the principle of pleasure and desire, reflecting our aesthetic values and tastes. It is our impulse to relate to others, indicating how we show love and affection and how we create common bonds". Venus rules over everything we value, art, music, attraction, relationships, and approaches to finances (how we get the stuff we like). Yes, this means the sexy things too.
Mars: Planet of Will and Energy (Kinda NSFW?)
"Without Mars, we would lack the energy that spurs us to action and allows us to further our ambitions. Appreciating your Martial style can be key to feeling energized and fighting fit". Mars embodies passion and energy. It's how you take on your day, from the most mundane to the most exciting. And yes, that meant the sexy things too.
The Three Important Planets
I have these three last and separate intentionally. If you want a crucial takeaway from this, it's these three signs. Now that you recognize the traits of each sign apply them with priority to these three!
There's an excellent analogy for looking at these three placements as a house. Oftentimes houses come in repeated floor plans and layouts, and you can see this aspect as your sun sign. It would be a gross implication to say there are only 12 types of people, and astrology holds true. You can paint the outside of your house pretty much anyway. You own it. You customize it. See this as your rising sign. How you choose to present yourself to the outer world. Many astrologers will stick to just the house's windows for this analogy. Still, I would like to include them as an extra layer. Your sign serves as your personal "frame of reference" for life. You may be a Scorpio sun, making you naturally more withdrawn but incredibly passionate. Still, with an Aquarius rising, you see the world for all its possibilities. You channel that usually reserved Scorpio's passion towards your ideals for the world. I'm a Taurus sun with a Sagittarius rising that will literally not let me not share my incredibly accurate opinion at every opportunity. You're all welcome.
Your moon sign is how you decorate your home. The part that people see once you invite them in. Cancer moons are nurturing, Gemini moons are inquisitive, Aries moons are energetic. You might wholly identify with your moon sign more than any other, or you may find it as alien as any different planet; it depends on your personal relationship with your emotions. I'm going to recommend therapy before we have that discussion.
"Just as the Sun is at the center of the solar system, so the astrological Sun is at the heart of the birth chart, with the other planets in service to the process of self-development and creative fulfillment that it represents." Your sun sign is you, at your core. Your central purpose, intended path, pride, ego, all of it.
"The symbol for the Moon shows the waxing crescent, reminding us that the Moon reflects light from the Sun. In the chart, it takes a less prominent role in our conscious awareness than our solar goals." The Moon is known to command the tides and the seas, representing its role in your chart. It's the power of the passive, the reaction. It defines your instincts, intuition, self-care, and nurturing.
"The Ascendant or rising sign (more specifically, the rising degree) is symbolic of the birth moment, your entry into the world. It shows the conditions and circumstances around you at that time, or at least how you sense them to be". Your rising sign is how you orient yourself towards your life path. Think of it as your moral compass. How you decide what information means to you, your perspective on life, how you take on new beginnings.
Houses in the birth chart
I actually tricked you; you are actually far beyond basic Astro knowledge at this point. Exploring the houses is one of those things that stump some of the best astrologers. They are one of those levels of astrology that is the least spoken on but probably the most important (in my opinion!) I once again stress that it will probably take some additional reading and time to try and grasp this, and do not be ashamed if it does. It's hard! I'll do my best to give you the basics. I included a chart with some of the key themes of each house, and I personally refer to this same chart in all of my studies. The birth chart is divided into 12 sections, and these are the 12 houses. You'll notice in your booth chart that each of these sections has a corresponding sign, which is determined by your rising sign at birth (why I stress its importance). If none of that makes sense, it's totally fine. All you need to know to move forward is 12 signs+12 houses. Each of us has an area of life represented by each sign. I know it's a lot of information, but isn't that cool? As mentioned in the guide to reading your chart, houses are the "where" of this method. As mentioned earlier, the planets and the signs are the what and where. Signs have specific traits that help execute the function of the planet in your birth chart. The houses represent where this process occurs, or in what area of life this placement strengthens or weakens (of course, not personal!) So when I say I have a 6H Taurus sun, I'm saying my Sun sign is in a Taurus, which rules over my 6th house. The 6th house represents health, fitness systems, analytical nature, sense of usefulness, and service given. So often, how I express myself or where I feel I excel is through the things I do for other people. Fun stuff! And you can do that for each of your placements in whatever houses they happen to be in. it takes some practice, but it's your interpretation; it can be as comprehensive as you want it to be.