Saturday, November 9, 2013
A beginning....Understanding Your Astrology Chart
Let’s begin at the beginning:
Take a look at your birth chart, and you’ll see it looks like a circle divided into 12 sections. This circular mandala, with all the planets, signs, numbers and aspect lines, is based on your particular birth time, day, place, and year. The theory that underlies a chart is that it’s based on the model of reincarnation which implies that you chose the time and place to be born to in order to grow from your experiences. There are no good or bad charts—it’s all in how you play out the energy patterns there, and like a spiritual mandala, you can use it to ponder and learn many things.
I like to think of this circle as being a conference table with all the planets around the table. The planets are parts of who you are—your sub-personalities or archetypal energies, sitting in their respective sections (“houses”) around the table, with your Sun sign (your ego identity) being the chairperson of the board. Each planet has a glyph (sign) which describes it. The lines in the center of the chart (aspects) are like an invisible conversation that is going on between these planets that make up your inner Self; your family constellation of inner people. They do many things: they make alliances (conjunctions), they square off to each other and irritate, they trine in each in support and agreement, they oppose each other outwardly (oppositions) and stimulate each other (sextiles). We’ll get back to these and a few other aspects of communication later.
Think of it this way: you have planets, signs, houses, aspects, and Nodes. In each house is a planet or Node, and you are neither blessed nor cursed by the arrangements they make. It reflects a pattern that was in the sky at the moment of your birth, and this synchronicity is significant. It doesn’t matter if all your planets are bunched together in one or two houses, or if you have many empty sections or houses. A section of the circle that is empty simply means that in that area/house/section of your life. You have more freedom there and are less influenced by planetary energies. (A client of mine thought she would never be married because she had no planets in the 7th house of partnerships—not so!)
You’ll also see that outside the circle, at the edge or cusp of each section/house is a planet. That planet will inform and influence the goings on in that house. We have all the planets and all the signs somewhere in each of our charts—it’s only the arrangements that are different.
What’s a house again? Think of it this way—it’s where the action is. It’s the area of your life that is in consideration. There are 12 of them and they’re dividing lines on the chart, like pieces of a pie. The 1st house starts at the ascendant, which is where 9:00 o’clock would be on a clock, and they proceed counterclockwise till we get to the last house, which is the 12th, between 10:00 and 9:00 on your chart. We’ll get to the meanings of them in a minute.
What’s a planet? It’s what we are talking about. If it’s Venus, we’re talking about your relationship style, and relates to the feminine side of yourself, male or female. If it’s Mars it’s your assertive side and style.
What’s a sign? It’s an adjective to describe the planet we’re talking about. If we’re talking about your Sun sign and want to know more about it, we’d give it a sign—it describes more of its nature and tendencies. This is what Sun sign astrology horoscopes focus on—the sign that your Sun is in. It only tells a bit of the story. It’s the story of the hero/heroine/your solar journey—but it doesn’t tell you that much about what else is happening, and there’s lots more!
What’s an aspect? These are the lines in the middle of your chart. This is the conversation that’s happening at the conference table. All the numbers you see on your chart create the aspects or dynamics between the planets. If two planets are conjunct or connect to each other, they combine and merge their energies, making them strong in alliance, whereas if two planets are square, they are 90 degrees apart and there’s an unspoken tension between them. If two planets are opposite each other the tension tends to come from outsde situation or people. These oppositions are 180 degrees apart. These are the main aspects, although astrologers also use minor ones, such as the sextile of 60 degree separation which acts as stimulation, and inconjuncts which act almost like an opposition, but is easier as they only need adjustments to get along.
There are configurations that the aspects make too—and the most important one is the YOD when two inconjuncts are pointing to a planet and are linked by a sextile at its base. In essence, it’s saying look more carefully at this planet in your life. It is somewhat like the North Node in meaning.
What’s a transit or progression—that is how can one predict? Essentially, we cannot predict, but the conversation/aspects of the current transiting planets in the sky is important when looked at with your chart. When a moving transiting planets joins up and aspects one of your planets then this is a hot spot, and speaks to the astrologer---- it is what an astrologer looks at when looking to your present or upcoming “astrological weather forecast.”
So if you’re in a transit of Pluto squaring your Sun, and you know the meaning of Pluto and what a square is, and the Sun…then you can string them into a sentence, such as: I’m having the planet of death, rebirth, regeneration in tense aspect to my Self (Sun) and the transit lasts till next September. You can see how long a transit lasts by looking at an Ephemeris or on an astrology computer program.
A progression can be seen as being your “evolving Self.” This speaks to the inner feeling of your life’s journey at the moment. It’s not used as much as the transits to get a feel for what’s happening now but it’s worth a look. Computer programs all have progressions, and they often put the birth chart in the center with the transits and progressions in a bi-wheel or tri-wheel around them.
That’s the quick version. In the next sections we’ll go deeper into the meaning of the planets and I’ll show you a special technique you can use to understand how to really know the full range of possibilities of how the SIGNS and PLANETS can understood in their highest and lowest expressions.