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Astrology Basics Not Usually Covered in the Basics

Steve Thomas, past president of the AOA, has provided another offering for AOA followers. Enjoy.

Astrology Basics Not Usually Covered in the Basics.

When starting on one’s journey into learning astrology it seems fairly simple; There are 12 birth signs that describe the traits of everyone.  How hard could it be to learn all that and become a professional astrologer?  You think probably it’ll take you a couple of weekends to learn it all.  But, as with all things, seeing it from the outside looking in, it seems so simple, but of course it is not.  Astrology is a vast field of study that can easily take an entire lifetime to learn.  Anyone who claims to know it all is not telling the truth.

So, I’ve put together a few things that I see most people, even some very experienced people, getting wrong about astrology.  This is not a beginner’s course, I’m just covering a few things that most people either miss or are just not taught in a beginner’s course, that I think everyone needs to know.

First the signs; There are 12 and they are not based on the constellations.  Yes, I said they are “NOT” based on the constellations.  They are reset every year at the moment of the Spring Equinox.  Where the Sun is positioned at the moment of the Spring Equinox is the beginning of Aries and the rest of the sky is divided up into 12 equal parts, the 12 signs.  Each sign is 30 degrees.  This is what is called the Tropical system of astrology.  Sidereal Astrology is based off the physical location of where the constellations are in the sky and is used by Hindu Astrology (Jyotish)

Eclipses, Sun or Moon, tends to add an extra layer of chaos to the New Moon or Full Moon.

A Solar Eclipse can only happen during a New Moon (Sun Conjunct Moon).

A Lunar Eclipse can only happen during a Full Moon (Sun Oppose Moon).

Types of astrology

Natal = Birth chart – What a person is born with; It is the foundation of all other astrological work done for this person.  From it the person’s strengths and weaknesses can be seen (psychological, physical and family issues).  What info you need to cast a Birth Chart, Date, Time and Place of birth.

Progressions – A type of calculated, not actual movement, of the planets starting from the time of birth and moving forward.  The most common is the Secondary Progression in which the movement of the Sun and Planets for one day in relationship to the birth chart is equal to 1 year of progression’s influence on the person.  There are several other ways of calculating progression, things to learn after you have the basics well under way.  Progressions are used for the bigger trends or direction in a person’s life.

Transits – Are where the planets are right now in the sky in relationship to the birth chart.  Used for seeing what is going on with the person right now.

Relationship – From the two birth charts connections (and a combination of the two charts a “Composite chart”) it can be seen how compatible two people will be in a romance or business relationship.  It can also be used as a relationship counseling tool, to help people understand each other better and how to better participate in their relationship.

Solar Return – Every year when the Sun returns to the location where it was when you were born a new chart is cast to predict the coming year.  It is advanced work.

Horary – A question is asked and a birth chart for the question is cast.  It can also be used to find lost things.  It is very advanced astrology.

Electional – Finding a good time to start something.  Also advanced work.

90 Degree dial Astrology – Very advanced, does not use houses.

More Basic Stuff

Rulership – Each sign is ruled by a planet, such as the Sun rules Leo.  Some planets rule 2 signs.  The planets characteristics can be seen in how the sign functions in astrology.  Because Houses are an overlay to the Zodiac signs, (there are 12 houses, not to be confused with the 12 signs, completely different stuff).  Going counter clockwise, each house has a sign on its cusp (cusps are the lines dividing the chart up into houses starting with the rising sign) and what sign is on that cusp is said to be on that house.  Like Leo on the 3rd house.  Meaning Leo will influence all things 3rd house (thoughts, communication, siblings and short trips).  The planet ruling the sign that is on a house is the ruler of that house, like, Leo on the 3rd, then the Sun rules the 3rd house, because Leo is on the 3rd and the Sun rules Leo.  And where that planet is in the chart and how well it is placed (aspected) will influence that house (areas in one’s life).

Asteroids – Many, many, chunks of rock floating between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.  A few astrologers use the bigger ones in their work.  Each one has different characteristics based on mythology connected to the name of the asteroid.

Chiron – Is a big chunk of mostly ice (like a comet) with a wild orbit that goes between the orbit of Mars and all the way out to almost the orbit of Uranus.  It is the wounded healer.  It shows where we can help others but usually not ourselves.

Plane of the Ecliptic – The plane around the Sun where the planets all orbit (give or take a little).  When something is a little off the plane of the ecliptic it is call the Declination (North or South).

Nodes – Astrologers usually just use the Lunar Nodes, although all the planets have Nodes.  Lunar nodes are not where the Moon is, but where the Moon’s orbit crosses the Plane of the Ecliptic.  There is the North and South Lunar Nodes and they are always exactly opposite each other.  Most astrologers see the North Node as the Karmic direction, or the things being worked on in this life.  Where the South Node is what we were working on in the past life.

Major Aspects – These are the angles that connect things in an astrology chart, based on the number of degrees apart.   If two things are together, give or take a few degrees (Orb) then they are Conjunct (can be good or challenging depending on what is conjunct and where).  If 60 degrees apart (give or take a few) they are Sextile (good, easy).  If 90 degrees apart Square (difficult, challenging).  If 120 degrees apart then Trine (good).  If 180 degrees apart the Opposition (difficult).

Minor Aspects – These aspects are not used by most astrologers.  They are considered either not a strong enough influence to be used or they are considered to be very advanced, depending on who you talk to.  Semi-Sextile (30 degrees), Quincunx or Inconjunct (150 degrees), Quintile (72 degrees) Bi-Quintile (144 degrees), Semi-Square (45 degrees), Sesqui-Square (135 degrees), Semi-Quintile (36 degrees), Septile (51 degrees 26 minutes).

MC = Midheaven = 10th house cusp

IC = Nadir = 4th house cusp

Angles 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th house cusps

Hard Aspects – Conjunction, Square and Opposition

The sign Aquarius = h = the Water carrier – Is not a water sign, it is an air sign.

Good vs. Bad – Everything in astrology has a positive side (easy or good) and a negative side (challenging or stressful).  Even the “Great Benefic” Jupiter has its down side (active in a lot of death charts and also rules tumors).  A lot of people when they first try to do astrological readings for others make the mistake of only seeing the positive things in the chart.  This robs your client of a huge benefit that can come from astrology.  You have to be able to clearly see the negatives/problems/challenges in a person’s chart so that you can fully bring the depth of wisdom that is available through astrology to help them with what they are struggling with.  The light cannot be shined into the dark, until you know where the dark is.

There is no one and only correct way of doing astrology.  Astrology is a vast field of study and there are many takes on how to do it.  I have never met a really good astrologer that does it exactly like any other really good astrologer.  If they are any good at all they have developed their own style of delving deeply into the mysteries of astrology and finding useful meaning there.  Many of those ways are quite different and some very clever.

I am sure there are a lot more things I could have added to this list.  But that is the nature of astrology, there is always more.

So, just a word of advice for you astrologers, always try and keep an open mind and see what the charts are showing.  In many ways we have to learn to get ourselves out of the way and see what is really there in the chart and in other ways we have to open up and let our intuition dive deep into the depths and find what is needed.  Through this dance great astrologers emerge.


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