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Beginners Astrology Tutorial


The following 'rules' are a composite from Alan Leo, Jeff Mayo and others.

1. Note major planet and Ascendant positions. Sum chart by angles, quality, element, positive/negative, upper/lower, left/right and any planet grouping.

2. Ascendant sign.

3. Ascendant sign ruler by its sign placement, aspects and House.

4. Planets lst house or 12th house conjunct the Ascendant, or any other strong planets.

5. Moon sign, aspects and house placement,

6. Sun sign, aspects and house placement.

7. Angular planets.

8. Main aspect pattern.

Note: in regard to personality, signs have precedence over houses. Planet and sign influences can be relied upon, whereas the influences ascribed to houses are uncertain due to the uncertainity of the accuracy of the given birth times.

Rule one is simply suggestions for obtaining an overview in preparation to reading a chart. It is natural that a broad view of a chart is obtained during chart construction by noting the Sun, Moon and Ascending signs. Next, one usually notes which of the three modes (Cardinal,Fixed,Common) and which of the four elements are strongest. Further, one might note any unbalances or patterns in the positive versus negative sign placements, the upper lower, left/right and any other planet grouping.

It is desirable to see some planets in all three modes. I.E., Cardinal sign Placements give the urge to do; Fixed signs give the persistence to continue and Mutable (common) gives the flexible mentality to adjust or adapt.

CARDINAL: The energies of Mars and the cardinal signs love to begin new projects. Emphasized cardinal needs the fixed stability to complete its projects, otherwise many things get started, but few finished. Too little cardinal and one is slow to start and a project may be planed to such an extent that it does not get started.

FIXED energies and Saturn are necessary to give stability to one's drive to do. Too little fixed and one may be energetic and flexible but lack peristance or thoroughness. Emphasized fixed signs suggest one who is slow to start, but very persistent and thorough but sometimes inflexible or stubborn.

MUTABLE: (common) signs and Venus give flexibility in attitude, When emphasized require some Saturn or fixed energy for stability and thoroughness, otherwise there is a danger of a mind with so many thoughts that decisions are difficult. From an emphasis upon mutable signs comes expressions as 'dual-minded', being of two minds and 'wishy-washy'. Too little mutable energy may denote lack of flexibility.

ELEMENTS: Again a balance of some planets in each element is desirable. Fire denotes enthusiasm and warmth. Earth gives a practical sense and thoroughness. Air gives the power of abstraction and ability to relate ideas. Water denotes sympathy and intuition.

An emphasis upon Fire signs may denote more enthusiasm than practical sense. Little Fire in the nature may denote one with little emotional warmth.

An emphasis upon Earth signs may denote one who is skeptical. A lack of tenated Earth signs may denote a lack of interest in the practical affairs of life.

An emphasis on Air signs may give the overly 'airy' but impractical person. No Air signs tenated may denote difficulty in or dislike of relating abstractions.

Emphasized Water signs denotes one whose emotions and sympathy are strong and in whom emotion vies strongly with self control. No water signs tenated may denote difficulty in responding with sympathy.

For recommended reading: ASTROLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY and THE FOUR ELEMENTS by Stephen Arroyo, M.A.

POSITIVE/NEGATIVE: The number of planets in positive(odd numbered signs: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius) versus negative (even numbered signs: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces) signs when greatly different give a strong clue to basically a masculine outgoing attitude versus an introverted tendancy. The odd numbered signs being relatively outgoing compared to the even numbered signs.

Planets in the upper half of the chart are relatively more outgoing- than those in the lower half of the chart, or as one person expressed it, planets in the lower half of the chart are qualities wherein 'one lives within themself.' Planets on the left half (Eastern side) denote relatively more freedom of independent self expression versus planets on the right half (western side) of the chart which indicate actions whose object or stimulus are tied more directly to needs of others.

Rule 2,3,4,5 and 6 point up the fact that the Ascendant, Sun, and Moon are the three most important items in personality delineation. Briefly, the Sun sign is the inner personality and long term interests. The Ascendant is the outer personality; and the Moon is the habits of the person including his outlook (opinions & interpretations of events) and tendancy to react.

The Sun as the 'Self' of the chart tells by Sun sign, aspect and house position the long term goals, 'what one really is', those conscious images which most people readily indentify as themself, thus the success of Sun sign astrology. Planetary aspects to the Sun are avenues of self expression. Sun sign characteristics are not always the most prominent in observed personality traits. Often, a sign with several planets, the Ascending sign or the Moon sign color the personality more strongly than the Sun sign.

For the beginning student, a study of the Ascendant is most valuable, for an understanding of the Ascendant is to see the horoscope as a functial whole. A circle of 12 signs with planets is a picture of cosmic power, The question is, where and how will the power manifest? At the Ascendant is where the power within the circle is focused and expressed in physical terms in action in the concrete world. It is as though there may be many colors within the wheel but at the Ascendant the final coloring and thus the most obvious coloring,(to an outer observer) of any 'horoscope action' takes place.

Conversely, it is the Ascendant sign including its ruler, planets in the lst house or in the 12th house if conjunct the Ascendant which tell the nature of the environment which impresses the subsconscious of the child during its early very impressionable years, Of course it is obvious that 'Mother' or any mother substitute forms the biggest part of a babies environment. This brings us to the Moon. The Moon denotes the nature of our moods, our habits and reaction patterns. I.E., a Taurus or Libra Sun sign person who normally acts in a quiet refined manner and who thinks of himself as a Venusian (peaceful) person, but with a Aries or Scorpio Moon sign and thus reacts in quite martial agressive manner when under stress which is just opposite his normal conscious self-image.

Sun, Moon and Ascendant all relate to our personality. In delineation, think of the Sun sign and aspects as qualities which have long been in the making and thus are conscious in this incarnation. Think of Moon sign and aspect qualities as those things which were developing in the last life and thus are just below the surface of consciousness waiting to be re-awakened into habit patterns of this life. The Ascendant is those qualities which are impressed upon us in childhood and are those qualities we need or wish to develope to greater strength and usefulness in this life.

Positive Moon qualities are habits of thinking, emotion and acting which serve us well in life. Negative Moon qualities are the often unaware qualities which spoil our jobs, relationships or analysis. Negative Moon is 'constant unhappiness' through melancholy, worry, or even constant need to see ourselves in a 'light of perfection'.

Positive Sun qualities are ability to express our 'self' positively. Negative Sun qualities are challenges to our self expression which if met positively give us rise in our sphere of life, but if colored with fear and disregard of others then tend to domination and spoil relationships and may give temporary rise in life followed by greater challenges leading to downfall.

The Ascendant is a most important key to horoscope delineation. Think of the ascendant as the neck of a funnel through which all inside the funnel must leave through. Think of a human being as a great light wrapped in multiple layers of colored glass, the outer most glass is the Ascendant and thus colors all coming from within. The Ascendant is 'what is happening' in an event chart and thus is the key to life long 'happening' in a brith chart. Imagine a chart of an event or birth where Gemini is rising.
What is happening here? Mercury rules Gemini, so the happening is Mecurial in nature. Some one is thinking, prehaps studying or traveling or engaged in the art of communication. One might ask, what is the person thinking about?
The sign,house and aspects of the ruler of the rising sign should tell us that. As an example, we put Mercury in the 8th house which suggests the person is thinking about death, sex, others money or an occult subject prehaps involving healing or other regeneration. If Mercury were in the eighth house, but near the ninth house cusp (9th=long distance travel) and opposed to a planet in the 3rd house then prehaps the person is thinking about death in travel or communicating new ideas to one's envirment gained from foreign culture or intuition. ( See the KEYWORD SYSTEM booklet for the nature of the houses). Mercury in the 8th sextile a planet in the 6th (healing) may be a healer thinking about health services.

Lets go back to our mini-horoscope with Gemini rising indicating someone whose life assignment is to be led by logic and to develope thinking and communication abilities. Signs ruled by Jupiter rising indicate developement of optimism, broadmindedness, generousity and abstract thinking abilities. Mars ruled signs indicate developement of initiative and courage. Saturn ruled signs indicate persistence and thoroughness. Venus indicates social ability and grace, Sun indicates authority. Moon indicates flexibility and nurture(service) attitudes. Ones life goals are not always as simple as the developing of one quality as indicated by the sign rising. All planets must be considered in some manner, but all planets in the lst quadrant must be considered as 'rising'.

In this mini-horoscope we have Gemini rising already delineated. Saturn rising in the first house indicates need to develope persistence but can also show a tendency to be subject to melancholy, Other planets in the first quadrant (ASC to I.C.) must be considered in similar manner to those in the first house, but as they are not in the lst house angle, their actions will come out later in life. Thus Jupiter in the 2nd house is further removed from the Ascendant than Saturn here and will show its strongest development later than Saturn's immediate childhood impressions.
Thus, persistence and melancholy are first developed. Then later Jupiter's good will, optimism, faith and generousity are developed thus offsetting the tendencies of Melancholy. Pluto's 3rd house position indicates need to regenerate (renew) the mind or become acquainted with some ability to release a hidden power. The timing of these developments rather than a simple 1,2,3 may be influenced by aspects to the Moon, Sun or ruler of the chart. Planets in the first house or conjunct the Ascendant from the 12th house should operate strongly and obviously in early childhood conditions. Planets aspected to the Moon should also show development of habit in childhood. Planets in the 2nd house being tied to values and money will be developed from childhood onward and may be most intense in the early money earning years.

A few more thoughts on the Ascendant:

Aries rising= someone who is always initiating a project.
Taurus "          "    "   "   "    contemplating a value.
Gemini "          "    "   "   "    thinking or communicating.
Cancer "          "    "   "   "    feeling there is someone to help.
Leo    "          "    "   "   "    loving, warm or authoritative.
Virgo  "          "    "   "   "    serving, analyzing or healing.
Libra  "          "    "   "   "    balancing or joining.
Scorpio "         "    "   "   "    eliminating the unneeded, deep thinking.
Sagittarius "     "    "   "   "    aspiring to new heights. (Mental)
Capricorn "       "    "   "   "    climbing to new heights. (worldly)
Aquarius "        "    "   "   "    making a new acquaintance.
Pisces "          "    "   "   "    feeling a sympathetic call to a 
                                     universal goal.
Lets return to a horoscope with gemini rising to describe a person whose life long goal is to develope logic as a guide and learn communication. He(or she) is prehaps always (almost) talking. Because Gemini rises, Mercury the Ascendant ruler is an important key to self esteem. It is mental abilities that the person feels keenly about in terms of self identity.
If Aries or Scorpio rise self esteem is seen more in terms of power, independence or sexual identity. With Venus' signs rising self worth is seen in terms of beauty, grace or prehaps wealth, With Jupiter's signs rising self worth is seen in terms of ability to expand one's horizons prehaps by being engaged in helpful projects for church or club, Saturn's signs rising make one's security and career position the most important things in self esteem. What is being said is that the Ascendant gives a key to the most important item in self esteem. Within any one person, intelligence, power, career position,wealth, beauty, sexual attraction, etc are all likely to be important but not in equal degrees within a person or to the same degree for different personalities.

Then Ascendant gives the concrete expression of the personality. The Moon has much to say about the form of the personality while the Sun holds the Key to Purpose.

I.E., Gemini rising is study and communication, with a Leo Moon the communication is with warmth and an entertaining or enthusing manner. With a Virgo Moon the communication has much analysis for content and practical emphasis. With Libra Moon the communication may have charm. Etc with all the other possible Moon positions.

Lets go back to Gemini rising, Leo Moon for affectionate and encouraging communication. With Leo Sun the purpose might be education or entertainment. Virgo Sun might give a purpose of healing to the encouraging talk of a nurse. Libra Sun may give a purpose of diplomancy or other bringing together as real estate dealer bringing together seller and buyer. Scorpio Sun may again give a purpose of healing to the ability to cheer, enthuse and command others (Leo) through observation and communication (Gemini).

A study of astrology is best begun with the charts of people whom one knows and has an accurate birth time for. Most students start with Sun signs, advance to combing influences of Sun, Moon and Ascendant and then advance to seeing patterns in the chart.

Some typical patterns are as follows: An emphasis on one planet by its own placement in an angle, elevation or aspects plus several planets in its sign(s). I.E., Venus in the 10th house, sextile one other planet, square two planets, trine two planets, plus Ascendant in Taurus and two other planets in Libra. Any planet so marked should be studied well for its typical characteristics, both positive and negative, for these will be manifested strongly in the life.

Students always pay attention, often too much, to the conjunctions, scuares and oppositions of Saturn as these indicate challenges frustrations, denials, as well as desires to work and ambition. However, even more interesting corelations are prehaps found in the close aspects, especially conjunctions squares and oppositions, of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, the 'outer' planets.

Usually it is best to read these planets as modifying by aspect or extending the nature of the planets within the orbit of Saturn. Aspects from Uranus give tendancies to be strongly indedendent, (under affliction erratic) free thinking, loving new trends, often inventive or attracted to new sciences. Uranus is intuitive, scientific and friendly while Neptune is visionary, sensitive to arts and music, and gives sympathy of such strength that sacrifice is often entailed in the area where Neptune is strong. Pluto seems to be a key to deep, often compulsive, forces within the being which demand change (reform) both inwardly and on a large scale in the outer world.

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