7 Astrology Basics Every Beginner Should Understand

Do you believe life events are written in the stars?

People often throw phrases like “written in the stars” around, unaware that they’re referring to one of humanity’s oldest forms of planetary study: astrology. Many forms of astrological study have circulated the globe, demonstrating the wonder people from across cultures have exhibited for celestial bodies.

The form most popularly used in the west, in fact, dates back to ancient Babylon, when astrologers divided the sky into 12 different zodiac signs. Now, astrology is growing in popularity, especially among young people.

So what are the astrology basics?

Whether you’re a curious, budding astrologer yourself or someone who just wants to know what your friend means when she says she’s a Capricorn moon, we’ll explain everything you need to know below. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Astrology Basics: What Is Astrology?

So what is astrology, exactly?

To the newcomer, astrology might seem mystical, intriguing, or even a little bit crazy, but there’s actually a system behind it. Astrology first posits that the positions of the planets affect us, both at the time of our birth and throughout our lives.

When we’re born, the planets are in a certain position, and their unique placements impress certain qualities on us. As we move throughout life, the planets shift around us, causing us to enter different stages and even experience mood swings.

2. Defining Planets

Most people are familiar with the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Yet, astrology also includes the moon and the sun as planets, since it uses our perspective on earth to understand the positioning of celestial bodies in the sky.

Each of these bodies governs a different part of our being. The sun, for instance, governs our overall personalities, while the moon applies to our instincts, emotions, and subconscious. Mercury, Venus, and Mars are known as the personal planets and oversee areas of our personal lives, such as our romantic lives (Venus), our aggressions (Mars), and our intellects (Mercury).

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto represent other areas, such as luck or growth (Jupiter), structure and reality (Saturn), change (Uranus), intuition and imagination (Neptune), and transformation or evolution (Pluto).

3. A Zodiac Sign Breakdown

As mentioned above, astrologers break the skies into 12 celestial archetypes. They are as follows, along with just a few of their many associated traits:

  • Aries – energetic, optimistic
  • Leo – leadership, warm-heartedness, cheerfulness
  • Cancer – loyal, emotional, tenacious
  • Pisces – artistic, magical, gentle
  • Scorpio – passionate, brave
  • Aquarius – independent, humanitarian
  • Sagittarius – idealistic, funny
  • Gemini – curious, adaptable, quick learner
  • Virgo – practical, kind, hardworking
  • Taurus – stable, responsible
  • Libra – fair-minded, social, diplomatic, communicative
  • Capricorn – disciplined, self-controlled

These are the 12 astrology signs (also known as zodiac signs), and you’re probably most familiar with them when it comes to people asking you, “What’s your sign?” (by which they really mean “What’s your sun sign?”).

4. Planets Passing Through Signs

But really, they’re so much more than personal signs; astrologers believe that the planets pass through these 12 different archetypes, affecting us all differently as they do so.

Like the planets, each zodiac sign represents different characteristics. Whereas the planets influence aspects of life, however, the zodiac signs determine in which ways those aspects manifest. For instance, someone with a sun in Libra but a Venus in Virgo likely is very sociable but prefers practicality in a relationship.

It’s important to note that the celestial bodies all go through these cycles at a different pace, too. The moon, for instance, goes through all of the phases in one month, while the sun takes an entire year. Because of this, it’s possible for Venus to be in Aries while Jupiter is in Libra.

5. Birth Charts

At the heart of every astrologer’s work is the birth chart, and you can’t get very far into astrology without encountering birth chart conversations.

Birth charts take into consideration the date, time, and location of your birth and give you a snapshot of your personality. For instance, people who are born while the sun is in Pisces are usually compassionate, creative, and sensitive. They also may have greater abilities to manifest what they want in real life.

Your friend whose moon is in Capricorn, though, may feel shy and conservative and not readily show exuberant displays of emotion. Someone with prominent Aries placements might show a lot of forwardness in many situations.

Birth charts don’t just take into account your major placements, though. They also show you where Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto show up. So, when you take a look at your birth chart, you often get a lot of detail about someone’s life!

As a result, you can consider your birth chart your own personal planetary fingerprint, as it gives you insights into key aspects of yourself.

Experienced astrologers can use this information and pair it with their knowledge of the current positions of the planets to give people horoscope readings.

6. What Is a Rising Sign?

If you knew anything about astrology basics before reading this article, you’ve probably noticed we have yet to talk about one crucial aspect: the rising sign. But that’s because the rising sign doesn’t depend on the position of the planets.

Rather, it’s whichever sign is on the earth’s eastern horizon at the time of your birth. This is considered to be how you present yourself to other people. Just like the dawn introduces each new day to the earth, your rising sign is your outward presentation of everything inside of you!

To calculate your rising sign, you’ll need your exact time of birth, down to the minute if possible, since the earth rotates. This will determine which sign was to the horizon on the east at the time of your birth.

Want to get some astrology jewelry for your Capricorn moon friend? Consider this Capricorn necklace!

7. What Is a Retrograde?

Have you ever had something bad happen only for a friend to go, “Must be the Mercury retrograde?”

If so, you’ve probably wondered what a retrograde is. Simply put, a retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be going backward in motion. Of course, it really isn’t since that’s not how orbits work, but they do appear to be doing so from our vantage point on earth.

During this time, things usually happen. We have technological problems, we might have an emotionally hard day, etc. That’s why so many people like to blame their daily inconveniences on the planets!

Are You Ready to Start Looking at the Skies?

Now that you know the astrology basics, you’re ready to start learning more.

Astrology is very complex, but it does follow a system. Each planet is associated with a different part of life, and each zodiac sign carries with it certain traits. As the planets move about in the sky, they impact us, both at the time of our births and beyond.

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