Guide to Horoscope Interpretation
Construct your birth chart. (1) Determine your birth time and place - with as much accuracy as possible.. A birth certificate with the time recorded is best (although rarely accurate to the minute and never to the second); your mother's memory is least desirable (but better than nothing!). If you don't know the birth time, a horoscope can be constructed for noon of your date of birth, but from a horoscope thus prepared less information can be gleaned. (2) Acquire a horoscope. With your birth time-place information you can acquire your horoscope inexpensively from an astrologer or an on-line service.
Sky Map. Your horoscope is a physical sky-map at the time and place of your birth: it shows the positions of Sun, Moon, and our solar system's major planets, with respect to you, here on Earth. If you attach the horoscope paper to a southern wall of your house, the stellar bodies (Sun, Moon, and planets) the paper correspond to their positions in the sky: - from your viewpoint (being on Earth, the center of the horoscope circle). For example, Sun at the top of the horoscope corresponds to Sun at about noon directly overhead in the sky; Moon just over the horizontal (horizon) line on your horoscope (to your left as you stand facing the paper attached to the wall) corresponds to Moon just appearing above the eastern horizon; planets below the horizontal line on the horoscope would have been invisible below Earth's horizon.
Zodiac. That 360-degree horoscope circle, an astronomically accurate map of the sky around you, is divided, into 12 zodiac signs, each with its own meaning.
Sun, Moon, and Planets. The stellar bodies represent facets of personality. Sun is your basic self, your core. Moon represents your emotional life. Mercury is your mind, the mental aspect. Venus is love, refinement, art, beauty. Mars shows how you act, what you physically do. Outside these "personal planets" are the "social planets" Jupiter - which represents the sometimes reckless urge to expand, travel, improve, profit, and to seek knowledge, adventure, and religion - and (farther out in space from Earth) Saturn - which, more conservatively, seeks to consolidate Jupiter's gains within the confines of tradition, social conformity, institutions. The most distant three planets in Earth's solar system, which appear relatively slow-moving in their orbits, operate on a generational basis: Uranus, unconventional, disrupts society with inventions, rebellions, the unexpected; Neptune is far more subtle, and operates on the level of vibrations, including spiritual, which many people are too busy to notice; Pluto transforms through revolution. (Other stellar bodies in our solar system, for example distant moons and more recently discovered small outer planets, are relatively insignificant.)
Sun, Moon, and Planets in Zodiac Signs. As the stellar bodies appear to circle us people here on Earth, they pass thru the succession of zodiac signs, each with its own influence. An astrologer looks at each planet's zodiac position. "I am an Aries" just means that at your time-place of birth Sun was in zodiac sign Aries - this tells us a little, but not much, because that same information applies to approximately 1/12 of all people everywhere. Beside the placement of Sun, astrologers consider placement of Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto - as well as the Dawn (eastern horizon) zodiac sign.
Angles between the Stellar Bodies. If when you were born Mars (action) and Venus (refinement) appeared in the sky very close to each other (astrologers say "conjunct"), their influences tend to blend; thus your actions may be more refined than otherwise - "may" because all other factors in the horoscope must be taken into consideration. Stellar bodies on opposite sides of Earth produce tension between these two forces; tension which, if resolved leads to awareness; Sun opposite Moon appears to us as a full moon, which many cultures recognize as effecting behavior, for example. Quarter-circle placements cause stress, which if dealt with constructively can produce accomplishment. Planets 1/3 circle apart tend to trade energy naturally and easily. Planets 1/6 circle apart (60 degrees of a 360 degree circle) are also conducive to harmonious energy swapping, but need a push from willpower.
Stellar Bodies in Houses. If you know your birth clock time, then your horoscope can be divided not just once (into 12 zodiac signs) but also into 12 "houses": physical divisions in space which surrounded you at the moment of your birth, as though the sky around you (including below the horizon) was divided into 12 pie slices. The 1st house begins at your eastern horizon, the 7th at your western horizon; the 10th house begins exactly at mid-heaven, opposite the 4th house; those four quadrants are further divided into thirds, for a total of twelve. Each house has a mundane interpretation. The 1st reflects ego, and self-will. The 2nd is resources (nowadays usually money). The 3rd concerns mental things close at hand, for example communication. The 4th is the house of the home. The 5th, fun, romance, showmanship, and products of creativity including children. The 6th, work and health. Following those six beneath-the-horizon personal houses are the above-horizon social houses. The 7th involves partners, including spouses. The 8th, regeneration, including sex. The 9th, higher mind, interested in religion and philosophy. The 10th, career and reputation. The 11th, friends and humanitarian impulses. The 12th, completing the circle, karma. For example, Mars (action) in the 4th House (home) may indicate a person suited for work at home - what type of home career would depend on Mars' zodiac sign; if in Aquarius, the work might involve Internet generated charity; noting Mars' angles to other stellar bodies adds more information.
Keywords. With so much information in a horoscope, some of it conflicting, how do we interpret it all? For a start, we look at keywords. Each planet, each zodiac sign, each house, and each angle - which are in fact symbols - is assigned a series of keywords - which you can view by clicking on the buttons on the top of this web page. Reflecting on these keywords will guide you to the true meaning of each planet in each zodiac sign in each house effected by energy of other planets from certain angles. An astrologer notes all these variations, and then, thru inductive reasoning, certain patterns emerge. For example, several different combinations referring to a person's sympathetic nature, with only one indication otherwise; point to a basically sympathetic person.
Transits. The above summarizes how to read a birth chart. But how does that birth chart - showing your personality and challenges - apply to your life here and now? One popular answer is to place on the horoscope, in a second ring outside the ring containing the birth planets, the planets in the sky here now. Thus, you are viewing an astronomically accurate sky map, from your physical prospective, of Sun, Moon, and planets (1) where they were when you were born compared to (2) where they are here and now. The interaction between these two sets of stellar bodies indicates where the individual is here now. For example, if today Jupiter (expansion) is in the same part of the sky where your Mars-Venus conjunction was when you were born, that aspect of your life, at this time in your life, can be enhanced; which represents an opportunity for you - which you have the free will to act on or not.
Subjectivity. The keywords (of planets, zodiac signs, houses, and angles) are the same around the world, varying only slightly from century to century, but they apply differently to different locations, eras, cultural groups, genders. "Independent" may mean for a man currently in USA leaving his hometown and starting a non-traditional business, while for a woman a century ago in Indochina "independent" may have meant unfulfilled yearning to marry the man of her choice. A strong Neptune 90 degrees from Mars in the horoscope of a young man dwelling in a gangland ghetto could manifest as a life of drugs and crime, while in the horoscope of a Himalayan Indian that same configuration could lead to spiritual enlightenment. Face to face, an astrologer may glean information from his client which can greatly enhance interpretation. Via telephone, voice quality and phraseology - or just vibrations - can give important clues which astrologers use (often subconsciously) to render understandable and practical meaning to the timeless symbols. Astrology can be a platform, from which clairvoyant energies can spring.