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HOW TO READ YOUR BIRTH CHART

UNDERSTANDING ASTROLOGY

The traditional meanings and symbols of Astrology are not the result of scientific procedures or statistical conclusions. Astrological symbolism emerged out of over 4,000 years of astrological practice. The usefulness of these symbols have been verify by thousands upon thousands of astrologers who have used and refined them over and over again. In their daily practice the ancient astrologers like their modern counterpart had very little use for statistical analysis. When you are facing a client who is asking you specific questions and demanding specific answer the generalizations brought about by statistical analyses are of little use. You must give the client specific answers that satisfy him. Thus the astrologer willingly or not is forced to rely on intuition, and intuition goes far beyond what a mere statistical analysis can do.

This highly refined body of astrological symbols had to be related to the cosmos, for after all, it was the cosmic influence that was being studied. Of all the astronomical variables the ones most clearly visible were the ecliptic (the apparent path the sun traces against the background of the fixed stars as it completes its yearly cycle), and the four angles (sunrise, zenith, sunset and nadir).

Thus as mankind sough to explain the cosmic influence in terms of their understanding of the cosmos, they naturally used and develop a set of symbols based on the four angles and the ecliptic path. The former became the System of Houses and the later the Zodiacal signs.

In order to present these symbols in a coherent manner they developed the Natal Chart or Horoscope. This is a graphical representation of the position of the Sun, Moon and Planets at the precise moment of birth, as perceive at the precise location of birth. In order to identify the relative positions of the planets and their symbolic states this map was divided simultaneously in twelve signs and twelve houses. The Signs divisions is based upon the yearly Earth-Sun cycle while the Houses divisions are based upon the daily cycle brought about by the rotation of the Earth upon its own axis. Thus they represent different things, but for sake of convenience they were combined into a single graphical representation. Furthermore, since they served to classify the same set of cosmic data, it was felt that a given relation or correspondence existed between signs and houses.

This correspondence was expanded to include signs, houses and planets. The planets, as the actual visible and "real" objects in the sky were considered the active forces influencing mankind. The signs were then seen as the cosmic regions that would modify or mold the influence of the planets. Finally, the houses were seen as representing everyday affairs, the worldly concerns.

To these correspondences they added the concept of aspects, or angular distances between planets. The ecliptic was perceive as a sphere and those distances between planets that divided the sphere a whole number of times were considered as connecting the planets among themselves. Theoretically, the number of such angles would be infinite, but in practice (remember that back then there were no computers to do the math; neither did they have printed Ephemeris or table of houses) they only used the conjunction, (when two planets occupy the same ecliptic position), the opposition (when they are at opposite ends of the ecliptic or 180 degrees apart), the trine (when the distance between them is 1/3 of the ecliptic or 120 degrees apart ) and the square (when the distance is 1/4 of the ecliptic or 90 degrees apart).

The ecliptic was considered a circle divided in 360 degrees. Those aspects that divided the ecliptic an even number of times, the square aspect, were considered negative or malefic, while those that divided it an odd number of times, the trine aspect, were considered positive or beneficial. Since the ecliptic was a representation of the Yearly Earth-Sun relationship, they needed to establish a given point as the starting point or 0 degrees mark. Perhaps borrowing from the Old Testament Command recorded in Exodus 12:1-2, or perhaps because of its correspondence with the Spring Season in the northern hemisphere, the fact is that the astrologers of yonder choose the Spring Equinox as the beginning of the Ecliptic. Starting at this point they divided the year in twelve sectors, known as Aries, Taurus, Geminis, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The day was likewise divided in twelve sectors starting at sunrise.

In the graphical representation the first house was started at the left side of the graph. The others were drawn in a counterclockwise manner. At the beginning of each house the sign and degree of the zodiac corresponding to that point would be written. The flow of the signs in the graph, however would be in a clockwise manner: from Aries to Pisces.

In order of hierarchy the planets were first, then the signs and finally the houses. The houses were considered ruled by the sign at the beginning of the house, and the signs were considered as ruled by certain planets. How were those sign rulership's established is not yet clear. It seems that the relationships were first established intuitively and then Ptolemy and others tried to develop a rational explanation for them. But without much success. Even today there is still no clear astronomical basis for these rulership's.

They have, however, been easily understood in terms of the intrinsic astrological symbolisms of planets and signs. This way they have been used for the last 2,000 years. The basic rulership are: Aries is ruled by Mars; Taurus is ruled by Venus; Geminis is ruled by Mercury; Cancer is ruled by the Moon; Leo is ruled by the Sun; Virgo is ruled by Mercury; Libra is ruled by Venus; Scorpio is ruled by Pluto; Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter; Capricorn is ruled by Saturn; Aquarius is ruled by Uranus; and Pisces is ruled by Neptune.

In the signs opposite the signs they ruled, the planets are considered to be in detriment. Thus, Mars would be in detriment in the sign opposite to Aries which are Libra. Likewise, the Sun would be in detriment in Aquarius and the Moon would be in detriment in Capricorn. In the signs it rules a planet express its energy with the greatest easy; in the opposite sign with the greatest difficulty.

Another astrological clarification list the signs of "exaltations." These are the signs where the planets act with the greatest effectiveness. Sun in Aries, Moon in Taurus, North Node in Gemini, Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Leo, Mercury in Virgo, Saturn in Libra, Uranus in Scorpio, South Node in Sagittarius, Mars in Capricorn, Uranus in Aquarius, Venus in Pisces. It is as if here their energy would be focus or harness in a more productive manner. Once again, opposite to the signs of "Exaltations" are the signs of their "falls" where they would act with the least effectiveness. , The influence of the Moon, Venus, Sun and Jupiter is considered good. The influence of Mars, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto is known as malefic. The influence Mercury and Neptune are neutral, i. e., their influence is good when in good aspect and adverse when badly aspected. Jupiter is called the "greater fortune" and Venus the "lesser fortune."

Finally, in their efforts to explain and classify the signs of the zodiac in a rational and geometric manner, the Greek applied their theory of the four elements to the Horoscope. Thus Aries was classified as fire, Taurus as Earth, Gemini as Air, and Cancer as Water. Eventually these elements have come to represent the intrinsic nature of the sign. Thus fire represents animation, Earth practicality, Air intellectuality and Water Emotion. Also, as each group of three signs (starting with Aries) covered one of the seasons of the year, each sign within each group was classify as Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable, representing the beginning, middle and end of each season. Eventually this classification came to represent the style or general mood of the sign. Cardinal Signs, represents an inclination toward new beginnings, fixed signs represent a desire to continue in a predetermined path, and mutable signs represent an spirit of accommodation and compromise.

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