Planets, signs, houses: Your guide to understanding astrology
If you find astrology interesting but are intimidated by confusing technical terms, this article is for you!
Astrology can be accessible, fun, and practical. I believe it can be a powerful life-coaching tool, when used to gain greater self awareness.
While it cannot be possible nor logical to split the entire mankind and expect them to be all the same types of people experiencing the same things, it does provide a rough guide to our personality and our potential. It can bring about an empowering transformation and a deeper connection with the more authentic parts of ourselves to help us navigate a much smoother path through our lives.
Now, where to start?
Get a copy of your birth chart. A birth (or natal) chart is a snapshot of the alignment of the stars and planets at the time of your birth – this is why you need an exact birth time for an accurate birth chart reading.
Learning how to decode your chart by reading about the role of your star sign, your Moon, and rising sign as well as the alignment of the planets and placements of the houses is enlightening and empowering.
(You can get a free birth chart from Astro.com. Clicl the "Free Horoscopes" tab, click on "Natal Chart, Ascendant")
Make sure to get the exact time you were born as well as your city of birth. Time to send mom or dad a text!
Got it? It might seem overwhelming at first but I’m here to simplify things for you.
Now, let’s focus on the three main areas of astrology: planets, signs, and houses.
Step 1: The Planets
Identify each of the 10 ruling signs and explore what they mean to you.
For example, the Sun. Your Sun sign is the sign of the zodiac ( Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, etc.) that the Sun was in at the time of your birth. There are nine other planets we will be working, with but the sun sign is where to begin. Then, you can move on to find out where the other planets fall in your chart.
Each planet in your chart is the “what” — What does the planet mean for you? In your own chart, have a look at the Sun’s symbol, using the planet keys above.
Below is the list of the planets and their corresponding associations:
- The Sun is associated with: Experience of father, fathering; ego and self-identity; soul path
- The Moon is associated with: Past-life characteristics (especially negative ones), emotions and emotional needs; experience of mother and mothering
- Mercury is associated with: The mind in general, including what interests you intellectually; your sense of timing; how you think and communicate; intelligence.
- Venus is associated with: Love, style and appearance, expectations, the female aspect of ourselves; how we view money and other worldly pleasures,
- Mars is associated with: Sexuality; attraction; physical energy; basic drive and motivation
- Jupiter is associated with: Skills, talents, and abilities; life lessons; extreme behavior and over-indulgence.
- Saturn is associated with: Past life karma and life lessons; attitudes to stability and commitment; maturing and ageing.
- Uranus is associated with: Awareness, especially self-awareness; change and rebellion; inventiveness.
- Neptune is associated with: Insight and intuition; our deepest fears and loss; faith, hope, and dreams; the areas where we need to let go
- Pluto is associated with: Power — our own and our relationship with other people’s; motivations; transformations, including birth, death, and rebirth.
- Chiron is associated with: Deep wounds; spirituality; healing
Step 2: The Signs
The second step is to identify and explore the meaning and impact of the signs. Now that you have already located the Sun in your chart, make a note of the Zodiac symbol in line with it at the outer circle of your chart.
What does this sign mean? The sign in the chart represents the "how."
How will this sign play out for this person? The qualities of each sign are listed in the table below.
Step 3: The Houses
The third step is to explore the areas of life affected by each house, by looking at the planets and signs within each one. With your chart in front of you and having identified your sun, be aware of the sign it falls in.
If you have the time you were born, then you can also figure out which house your sun falls in. The houses are identified by the numbers listed 1-2 on the inner rim of your chart.
What do the houses mean for you? Each house is associated with various areas of life such as finances, family relationships, career, and love. Taken together, the houses make up the “where”. Where will each planet and its sign play out for you?
- First house: The house of "self" – your persona, your personality, your self-identity. Your external presentation, how you appear to the world and the first impression you make on others (physical characteristics sometimes come into play). The associations of the first house are the same as those of the rising sign.
- Second house: The house of assets and values, your personal finances; how you build resources; money matters and possessions; your values, what you value, and your attitude to wealth.
- Third house: The house of mind and learning in general; communication with self and others; relationships with siblings; your immediate environment; short journeys.
- Fourth house: The house of security; home and family; your childhood and ancestral roots; your experience of mother and maternal influences in general, nurture and sensitivity
- Fifth house: The house of love, fun and humor; your creative inspiration and self-expression; self-investment; children; drama and your ego.
- Sixth house: The house of your daily life, routines and habits; health in general; attitude to work and service; personal sacrifice and healing.
- Seventh house: The house of relationships; romance; affairs; partnerships of all kinds, negotiations, peace, and harmony.
- Eighth house: The house of power, sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, other people’s resources; death and inheritance; transformation and our ability to change deeply; rituals of all types and the occult.
- Ninth house: The house of spirituality and religion; long-distance travel, higher education; philosophy, law; publishing; expansion and luck.
- Tenth house: The house of your relationship to commitments, status, authority and reputation; social status; career; government institutions; corporations; authority figures in general.
- Eleventh house: The house of socializing, networking, and connecting; friends and your connection to humanity in general; group associations; hopes as aspirations ideals; the media industry.
- Twelfth house: The house of your spiritual leanings and natural connection to the universe; dreams and the unconscious; things that are hidden; music; dance; meditation; yoga and all things metaphysical, like your intuition.
Put them all together and you are handed a map that will provide the clues to find your personal treasure but ultimately, it is you that will have to navigate your own journey and make your own decisions.
What I just introduced you to is the door to self-discovery.
Monica Lopez Gamboa, also known as Monch the Mystic, completed Debra Silverman’s Online Astrology Program in April 2016 and has been giving readings since.
Her dream is that one day the entire country (and the world!) will be able to speak the language of the stars as an avenue for self-awareness and self-actualization.