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The World of Astrology

If you don't know much about astrology, it can be a bit overwhelming. Most people know their zodiac sign and how to look up their horoscope, but there's a lot more to astrology. This article gives a beginner's introduction to astrology.

"What does Aries (or any sign) have to do with me??"

People often think they have only one Sign. For example, you might say, "I'm a Gemini." This is called your Sun sign, which means that the Sun was going through the sign of Gemini when you were born. Since the Sun sign corresponds to a particular span of time within the year, it's pretty easy to figure out what your Sun Sign is by knowing what your birthday is.

However, all twelve signs were in the sky when you were born! Astrology reflects the multi-faceted complexity of the human psyche, and we have all 12 signs in our human make-up. No matter what your Sun sign, there are many different ways you will experience the energy of all the Zodiac signs, explained below. (By the way, if you don't understand what a word or term means, it's probably in the Glossary.)

There are (at least) five different ways that you will experience every sign in the zodiac:

  • Planets and Points in your natal chart
  • All 12 signs in your basic human nature
  • Planets transiting through each sign in "real time"
  • Each sign being transited through by each planet in "real time"
  • The New Moon cycles and Full Moons that rotate through all twelve signs throughout the year

Planets & Points

Astrologers don't just look at your Sun sign — they also look at the Moon and all the planets (and sometimes asteroids, comets and other sundry "space junk"). For example, the Sun might have been in Gemini when you were born, but the Moon might have been in Leo. The other planets would also be in different signs, each giving a different dimension to who you are.

There are Earth-related "points" in the natal chart (also called the birth chart) that are calculated using your time of birth, which astrologers also take into account. Some examples of these are the Ascendant (also called the Rising Sign) and the Midheaven (also called the MC).

The signs where these planets and points are found contribute more layers of characteristics, qualities and traits to your personality and your life.

All the Signs

By now you can see that you are so much more than just your Sun sign! And yet, even if you have no planets or points in a particular sign, that sign was still in the sky when you were born, and therefore is part of your multi-faceted personal psychology. It pays to learn about all the different parts of who you are!

When you have the Sun, Moon or planet in a particular sign, the qualities of that sign are emphasised in your personality and life experience, according to the areas of life symbolised by the planet and sign in question. So, although you might have the Sun in Gemini, your Moon might be in Leo, Mars might have been in Taurus, and so on.

The zodiac is like a prototype or archetypal map of the human spirit and experience. Even though different parts of that map are more active than others, your life experience includes the whole territory.

(To find out where the Moon and other planets are in your natal chart, you will need to have your chart calculated. A professional astrology can do this the most accurately, but the Astrodienst website provides an online chart calculation service.)

Planets through the Signs

There is another way you will experience the energies of all 12 signs — through the planets as they travel through each sign (called transits). Actually this happens in two ways:

First, each planet carries with it the energy of the sign(s) it rules, and it is therefore like a mobile ambassador of its sign's themes. So, for example, no matter where Mars happens to be in the Zodiac, it will always carry Aries energy with it (since it is the planetary ruler of Aries). There is a part of every person's psychology that is about anger, assertiveness, drive, libido, physical and emotional energy, and this part of our human nature is symbolized and affected by the planet Mars and the sign of Aries.

Second, as each planet travels through each of the 12 signs, it brings each sign's energy into focus through its own particular lens. It expresses its own energy and activities through the qualities and traits of whatever sign it is in. So, for example, when Mercury is moving through Aries, we experience that assertive, forceful Aries energy through our communication, thoughts, ideas and exchange of information (Mercury).

So even if you're not "an Aries," you will still experience the Aries side of your human nature when planets transit through Aries, as well as through whatever Mars is doing. This is also true of all the signs and their ruling planets.

Sun-Moon Cycles

Yet another way that we experience a particular sign is during the New Moon cycle that begins in that sign. Every year a New Moon takes place in every sign (with rare exceptions). A New Moon occurs about every 29.5 days, occurring in each sign of the zodiac throughout the year.

A New Moon is actually an alignment (conjunction aspect) of the Sun and Moon at the same degree of the same sign in the zodiac. The New Moon begins a new cycle of energy in that sign, which initiates an unfolding process that continues until the next New Moon (29.5 days later). These cycles bring us into contact with the themes, dynamics and qualities of the sign where they begin, and that sign's energies become woven into our lives in various ways.

To see how the current Sun-Moon cycle is affecting you, see The Low-Down on the Far-Out, as well as the Horoscopes that show how the current New Moon and Full Moon affect your Sun sign.

Read Them All!

So even if you're not an Aries, read the article about Aries anyway! Same for Taurus, and all the zodiac signs. You might find a part of yourself that you always knew you had but didn't have words for, or you might discover a side of yourself you never even knew you had!

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