They say that Witches should know astrology. After all, if we believe in ‘as above, so below’, it is clear that astrology influences our lives and personalities. It is another tool to better understand ourselves, each other, and how we fit into this universe.
When I first started learning astrology, I was totally overwhelmed. All those houses and Angles and what the heck is a Retrograde anyway? I was then (and still am to this day) not very good at math. The calculations involved would surely take me years to learn! But my teacher gave me the proverbial pat on the head, and told me there are really only a few things to know: learn what the twelve signs mean, learn your sun, moon and rising signs. “If you know these things” she said, “You’ll have power over anyone.”
Getting Started in Astrology
There are many good Astrology 101 books and courses out there. They pretty much have all the same information in them. Pick one that appeals to you and focuses on the Natal or Birth chart.
Next you’ll need to call your mother. By that, I mean that you need your birth date, location and time… the kind of things that your mother remembers. This information should also be listed on your birth certificate. If you do not know the details, choose “noon” for your time of birth, and guesstimate where you were born. The closer you are to the facts, the more accurate your chart will be.
Now you need a copy of your chart. In the very recent past, one would have to get an Ephemeris and look up each aspect of your chart. Personally, I find this extremely tedious. Now there are many wonderful programs out there for those of us lacking in math skills and thick old books. You can pay lots of money for a program, or you can borrow the one here. (On the side bar, look for “Free Horoscopes”, then “Interactive Horoscope”, then “AstroClick Portrait”. On the main part of the page, near the top, it will have a place to “Add a New Person”. Enter your info there and bam! Your birthchart! This program lets you click on parts of the chart that interest you. If you like what you see, support the website by purchasing something from them!).
Your sun sign is the place the sun sat in the sky on the day you were born. When someone asks you “what’s your sign?” this is what they want to know. In astrology, the sun governs our efforts To Be and To Create. It is the source of our will power. How it is situated in your chart determines how you best express it. You must make conscious choices to express your sun quality. Doing something every day that expresses sun qualities makes us feel like we are being “ourselves”. For example, my sun sign is in Cancer, so I am motivated by relationships, the home, and family.
The moon sign in your chart is where the moon sat in the sky on the day of your birth. Astrology doesn’t seem to pay attention to the phase of the moon, although I suppose that could also give you insight. The moon governs our emotional lives and shadow self. It is responsible for actions that do not require conscious thought, for memory, the past, habits and conditioning. My moon is in Sagittarius, which says that even in gloomy situations, I tend to have a sunny disposition, be an idealist, and forgetful of details. I have to think about citing things, or the details of the story because this does not come naturally to me. I process emotions by thinking the best about people, and am forgetful of past events.
The final piece of astrology you need to know is your rising or ascending sign. On your chart, it will say AC. It is more complicated to explain: it is “the degree of the zodiac that was on the Eastern Horizon (in other words, the degree that was rising) at the moment of birth as “seen” from the location of birth” (Burk). It’s like the energy that was coming over the horizon when you were born. It represents how we first experience the world, and how other people experience us before they get to know us. Think of the rising sign as the mask you wear–it colors how you experience the world and how people see you. Really, when you read your horoscope in the paper, you might be better off reading your rising, because it tells you more with how people understand and deal with you in the day. I have a Scorpio Rising, so I am hard to get to know because I am quiet and reserved, but have deep emotional processes. Other people have a hard time understanding me and reading my body language because I either keep it to myself, or do not display it in a shallow way that all can see.
In the mask metaphor, your rising sign is the mask you wear and see out of, while your sun is what you do and your moon is how you feel about it.
Let’s make a computer metaphor: The sun is the kind of computer, your rising sign is your operating system, and your moon sign is the color theme and music you play when you use it.
Freud would say that the Id is our moon sign, the Ego the sun, and the rising sign would equate to the Superego. His buddy Jung would call the moon the Anima, the sun the Animus, and the rising sign would be the persona. I figure that since the psychologists have an equivilent for almost all aspects of astrology, there must be something to it. But don’t listen to me, that’s my field of study.
That’s all the metaphors I can think of….but you get the idea.
Using the Chart
So, you now have your chart and can look up what things mean. Here is a rough summary of what you need to know (which I totally borrowed from here). Remember, the earth does not move at exact rates, so if your birthdate is towards the beginning or end of the sign, you may be a cusp or even in a different sign, depending on what year you were born. Consult your chart and use your exact birth time and place.
Look on your chart and find your sun sign, then, check out this little graphic below. Interpret the meaning of the sun (to be and to create) with the meaning of the zodiac. An Aries sun, for example, is best expressed in active ways, achieving goals. An Aries moon would prefer passionate relationships where the couple does a lot of things together. Someone meeting an Aries rising might experience them as being angry. Get the idea? Now you try!
|Zodiac Sign||Symbol||Date||Quick Characteristics|
|Aries||March 21 – April 19||Active, Demanding, Determined, Effective, Ambitious|
|Taurus||April 20 – May 20||Security, Subtle strength, Appreciation, Instruction, Patience|
|Gemini||May 21 – June 20||Communication, Indecision, Inquisitive, Intelligent, Changeable|
|Cancer||June 21 – July 22||Emotion, Diplomatic, Intensity, Impulsive, Selective|
|Leo||July 23 – August 22||Ruling, Warmth, Generosity, Faithful, Initiative|
|Virgo||August 23 – September 22||Analyzing, Practical, Reflective, Observation, Thoughtful|
|Libra||September 23 – October 22||Balance, Justice, Truth, Beauty, Perfection|
|Scorpio||October 23 – November 21||Transient, Self-Willed, Purposeful, Unyielding|
|Sagittarius||November 22 – December 21||Philosophical, Motion, Experimentation, Optimism|
|Capricorn||December 22 – January 19||Determination, Dominance, Perservering, Practical, Willful|
|Aquarius||January 20 – February 18||Knowledge, Humanitarian, Serious, Insightful, Duplicitous|
|Pisces||February 19 – March 20||Fluctuation, Depth, Imagination, Reactive, Indecisive|