The Basics of Astrology

Note: These keywords and phrases are meant to be suggestive, not all-inclusive. Not all of them will apply to everyone. Pick and choose those to which you resonate, and ignore the rest.

Signs – qualities of experience

Fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) emphasize independence, spontaneity, radiance, extroversion, dynamism.

Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) focus on practicality, productivity, physical action, and materialization.

Air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) key in on mental expression, communication, intellect and intuition, the world of ideas.

Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) are introspective, strongly impressionable, sensitive, feeling-oriented, intuitve and imaginative.

Energy is generated in cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), concentrated into forms and structures in fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), and disseminated in preparation for the next cycle in mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces).

Aries (cardinal fire)

Aries is energetic, innovative, original, pioneering, assertive, outspoken, quick-tempered, a leader, sometimes aggressive, competitive, enthusiastic, self-reliant, and self-assured.

Taurus (fixed earth)

Taurus is determined, efficient, stubborn, cautious, placid, persistent, enduring, introverted, conservative, conventional, materialistic, security conscious, stable, industrious, dependable, and generally having significant financial ability.

Gemini (mutable air)

Gemini is flexible, versatile, restless, a jack-of-all-trades, lively, alert, quick-witted, literary, communicative, a good conversationalist, changeable, sociable, logical, agile, dexterous, intellectual, and mentally ambitious.

Cancer (cardinal water)

Cancer is introverted, reserved, emotional, sensitive, moody, sympathetic, security-conscious, prudent, domestic, maternal, protective, quiet, calm, imaginative, conscientious, and quite the traditionalist.

Leo (fixed fire)

Leo is ambitious, a lover of limelight, speculative, extroverted, optimistic, confident, proud, exuberant, sunny, flamboyant, charismatic, dramatic, competitive, a leader and organizer.

Virgo (mutable earth)

Virgo is practical, responsible, sensible, logical, analytical, highly discriminating, a careful planner, precise and punctual, dedicated, perfectionist, critical, health conscious, and somewhat introverted.

Libra (cardinal air)

Libra is idealistic, a peacemaker, diplomatic, refined, poised, gracious, kind, courteous, fair-minded, sociable, charming, artistically creative, affable, cooperative, extroverted, and usually somewhat indecisive.

Scorpio (fixed water)

Scorpio is intense, determined, powerful, strong-willed, forceful, bold, courageous, enduring, competitive, resourceful, researcher, an investigator, secretive, mysterious, penetrating, psychic, self-reliant, and somewhat introverted or closed.

Sagittarius (mutable fire)

Sagittarius is idealistic, optimistic, freedom-loving, casual, friendly, buoyant, gregarious, enthusiastic, philosophical, studious, farseeing, direct, outspoken, honest, loyal, restless and loves travel and the outdoors.

Capricorn (cardinal earth)

Capricorn is ambitious (power, position, money), organizational, self-disciplined, rigid, thrifty, prudent, security-conscious, conservative, responsible, practical, persistent, political, business oriented, methodical.

Aquarius (fixed air)

Aquarius is individualistic, unconventional, progressive, unique, independent, humanitarian, altruistic, visionary, perceptive, intellectual, logical, ingenious, inventive, unpredictable, detached, friendly, and scientific.

Pisces (mutable water)

Pisces is receptive, supersensitive, impressionable, peace-loving, serious, sympathetic, charitable, compassionate, artistic, creative, dreamer, dedicated, imaginative, psychic, shy, introverted, spiritual, and reclusive.

Planets – dimensions of experience

Sun – the "I," the will, physical vitality, identity, individuality, beingness, father.

Moon – reflection, magnetic traits, instinctive responses, change, personality, moods, security, sensitivity, inner needs, the past, mother.

Mercury – the mind, communicating, thinking, talking, messages, restlessness, the messenger of the gods.

Venus – society, artistry, refinement, manners, relationships and issues of relating, likes and dislikes, values, desires, magnetism, self-indulgence, centripetal.

Mars – action, athletics, assertion, drive, strength, desire, motivations, personal will, centrifugal, going out and getting what you want.

Jupiter – expansion, abundance, joy, success, luck, things that are foreign, philosophy, religion, faith.

Saturn – responsibility, boundaries and barriers, time, lessons, wisdom, foundations, form and structure, order, discipline, authority figures, executors, administrators, isolation, restriction, shame, guilt, miserly, contraction, fear.

Uranus – Rebellious, independent, things that are unusual, sudden change, breakthroughs, genius, unique, inventive, sudden revelations, aha moments.

Neptune – mysticism, illusion, the spiritual, escape, merging, fantasy, deception, art such as poetry, music, dance and film.

Pluto – intensity, power, transformation, the volcano, profound change, depth experiences, the destroyer, manipulation.

Houses – fields of experience

1st House – The body, appearance, vitality, health, and energy, how you see the world, how your project yourself, and how others see you.

2nd House – Money and possessions, how you use them, how easily they come to you, what you are able to attract, resources, talents, values.

3rd House – Communication, thinking, talking, early or lower education, ability to get information, ability to get your ideas across, writing, how you feel about education, media, short trips, brothers and sisters, immediate environment.

4th House – Your home, family, parents, roots, unconscious childhood patterns, psychological foundations, emotional security, conditions at the end of life.

5th House – Creativity, self-expression, children, parenting, love, romance, dating and courtship, fun, taking risks, sports.

6th House – Health, service, daily life and habitual rituals, work, co-workers, craftsmanship, small animals and pets.

7th House – Partnership, marriage or business partners, one-on-one relationships, how you relate to others, agreements, open enemies.

8th House – Transformation, deep down issues, depth experiences, inheritance, death, sex, taxes, other people's money.

9th House – Long distance travel, higher education, religion, philosophy, law, foreign things, views and beliefs, publishing, rituals, search for meaning and truth, self improvement.

10th House – Profession, ambition and long-term goals, reputation and status in the community, need for status, contribution to the world, dominant parent, public duties, authority figures, public recognition.

11th House – Groups, friends, peers, organizations, thoughts about the world, humanity, and environment, hopes, dreams and wishes, sudden, unusual, unexpected circumstances.

12th House – Issues hidden in the subconscious, rest, retreat, confinement or solitude, behind the scenes, your blind spot, skeletons in the closet, initiations, hidden enemies, karma, sorrow, Spirit and the unseen world. Any planet in this house is repressed, slowed down or held back – this may be good or bad depending on aspects.

Aspects – dynamics of experience

Aspects refer to the interchanges and energy flows between planets and also to the axes of the birth-chart (Ascendant–Descendant, Midheaven–IC). They are derived from numerical division of the circle, and can be flowing or challenging depending upon the particular aspect and planets involved.

Conjunction – 0 degrees

Semi-Sextile – 30 degrees

Sextile – 60 degrees

Square – 90 degrees

Trine – 120 degrees

Quincunx (or Inconjunct) – 150 degrees

Opposition – 180 degrees

Semi-Square – 45 degrees

Sesquiquadrate – 135 degrees

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