The Zodiac is a geocentric circle of space in the sky which contains the orbits of the planets and is the Sun’s ecliptic. This circle is divided into twelve areas, each encompassing 30° of space; each 30° of space represents a Sign of the Zodiac and a House of the chart.

Each Sign and corresponding House has its own unique qualities, influences and characteristics. The Sun appears to transit each Sign on a monthly basis – hence the popular term, “Sun Sign”. Furthermore, each of the Planets exerts its individual influences according to its location in a Sign and House, and also as it relates by Aspect with other Planets in Signs and Houses.

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When we create a basic Horoscope, or Birth Chart, we draw a circle and divide it into twelve areas, which are the twelve Houses. The Houses are numbered from I to XII moving counterclockwise in the chart: The First House is below the Eastern angle, which is on the left side; the Fourth House is the lowest angle, at the bottom of the chart. The Seventh House is opposite the First House, above the Western angle on the right, and the Tenth House is highest in the chart, at the top. The dividing lines in the chart are called cusps. Earth is the center of the chart.

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Due to the geocentric nature of the Zodiac, and because the Earth is rotating, a new degree of the Zodiac appears on the Eastern horizon approximately every four minutes, so an entire sign crosses the Eastern horizon every two hours or so. This is why knowing a native’s birth time and location – in addition to the birth date, of course – are so important to casting an accurate Horoscope: The degree of the Sign on the Eastern horizon at birth determine that person’s Rising Sign, or Ascendant, which is very important for interpretation and may differ from a person’s Sun Sign. Knowing the location helps us correct – mathematically – for the appearance of the Zodiac unique to that location, and adjust the Houses accordingly.

Traditionally, a person’s most basic identity is a function of the degree of the Sun in a Sign at birth, while their personality is described by the degree of the Ascending Sign. Specific details about a person’s mental, emotional, and physical attributes are determined by the locations and aspects of the other Planets at the time of birth. By studying these interstellar relationships, we can discover what makes a person “tick”: what motivates them, what they do or don’t like, what may be easy or difficult, their relationship potential, career and vocation – the possibilities are endless! The Natal Chart, aside from being a descriptor, is also a personal clock, and there are a variety of methods available to adjust the clock, so to speak, to look into the past, present and future. We can also compare two or more charts, using Synastry to describe relationships between people.

To summarize, then, Astrology consists of 3 factors – the houses, the signs, and the planets. Each house represents a department of life. The signs are divisions of the heavens which by their placement relative to the houses indicate our basic temperament and attitude towards life. The planets through their motion through the houses & signs bring to us the opportunities for soul growth which we need for our individual development.

There has been (and will always be) a debate about Free Will versus Fate, but that debate extends to many other philosophies, religions and sciences as well. If you know your “fate”, you have the knowledge to work with it, manipulate it, maybe overcome it. So, Astrology is about having a special set of skills and an understanding that perhaps we’re affected by more than the confines and specifics of our Earth. It’s about opening your mind to other possibilities: For example, is it not ironic that our planets move around the Sun in a way similar to protons and electrons circulating around an atomic nucleus? We’re made of atoms and we’re made of stars.

Via Astro123: “Astrology is the study of the effects of planetary forces upon man. It is not fortune telling. It is one of the best methods for man to learn about who he is, where he came from and where he is going. Astrology reveals character, and character is destiny. Astrology shows nothing but tendencies. A man can rule his stars by exerting his will. Remember that good or so-called evil configurations are not the result of chance or luck, but are the product of our own past acts. The stars impel but do not compel.”

“…The birth of an Ego is so timed that the horoscope registers the kind of debts which the Ego has incurred in its previous lives, and the time when these debts come to fruition. The law of destiny is not a blind law, for it may be modified to a certain degree through the use of will power.”

Astrology is an ancient study and while not considered a real science, good Astrology utilizes a scientific method and certainly, a lot of mathematics, physics and astronomy. I learned to construct charts the old fashioned way: pencils, paper, a calculator, and by spending a decent amount of time at bookstores and libraries. Today we have a wealth of computerized information available. This certainly speeds up the process of calculating charts, but a good Astrologer knows there’s always more to learn and especially, intuit.

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