Astrology can be an intimidating thing to dive into, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. This guide details the history of astrology and the zodiac, the characteristics of the twelve signs and what each placement in your chart means. After you finish reading, it is easy to deepen your knowledge, and links are provided to very in depth websites, or you can just make fun of your friends for being geminis, whatever floats your boat.
Where Did Western Astrology Orginate?
In 1500 BC Babloians created the first twelve-sign zodiac wheel that resembles the one we use today. The Babylonians imagined the sky surrounding the earth as a disc and drew an imaginary line from earth to the sun, then divided the disc into twelve sectors. The start and end points of each sector were determined by constellations the signs took their names from. As the earth moved and the line from the sun hit the constellations, the sign changed.
Between 331BC- 500 AD Babylon was occupied by the Greeks, who through the sharing of knowledge with the Babylonians created the twelve signs we know today. The philosopher Pltonemy was essential to popularizing these across the Greek empire. His book, Tetrabiblos added planets, houses, and aspects to this fledgling science.
After the fall of Greece, the idea of star signs stayed popular in Rome. The emperor Augustus even had coins made with his sun sign on it. This time period is when the planets and the constellations received the Latin names we still use today.
However when Rome fell and the dark ages began, astrology fell out of style until the Arabs transported precious greek documents to Medieval Europe beginning one of many rebirths of astrology. The influential astrologer of this time period was Placidus, a math professor and monk who created the house system we use today.
However with the rise of papal supremacy, astrology became less popular because it was viewed as hearsay by the Catholic church. But as we entered the age of enlightenment, astrology was still rejected by the great thinkers breaking free from the church as frivolous and had a decline until one man in the 19th century wanted to make some money.
Alan Leo (born William Frederick Allan in 1890) began life as a methodist member of the Brethren. However he left the church as early as he could, because it was such a strict branch of catholicism. In 1890 he became a theosophist. It is important to acknowledge the imperialistic roots of theophany. It is a religion with bits and pieces from many other religions, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism without any affiliation to these long established religions.It is important to acknowledge the origins of these traditions to make sure we are not erasing the Asian ideas that have built our believes.
After joining this religion, Leo co-founded a magazine first named the Astrologers Magazine. It became successful because of the Daily Maily’s critiques of it as well as their offer of free birth charts for readers that would mail in the postcard attached to the back. However with this increase in popularity comes an increase in birth charts to do and Leo and his team were overwhelmed. They were looking for away to lighten their workload and increase profit margins, so in order to commercialize, this magazine renamed Modern Astrology decided to publish twelve general horoscopes in their magianize rather than send out horoscopes for each of their readers, and thus the commercialization of horoscopes was born
The start of the era of the newspaper horoscope, would truly begin on August 24th, 1930 when Princess Margret was born. Following the 1929 financial crash, the British media was desperate for a light-hearted headline story, so they asked Cheiro, the celebrity astrologist and fortune teller of the age to write a column predicting what the princess’s life would be like and his assistant Richard Harold Naylor ended up doing it. He continued writing astrological connect and a few correct predictions in the years following landed Naylor a weekly column in 1937 called “Your Stars”
This column became amnesty popular and by the end of the 30’s nearly two-thirds of the population read some kind of astrological content. During World War Two, Naylors Column was axed to conserve resources, but was reinstated in 1952 following the public uproar.
As newspapers began to die out and we entered a digital age, so did astrology. New apps and websites gaining popularity in recent years have made astrology trendy with the new generation and solidified its place in pop culture for years to come.
Aries (March 21st-April 19th)
Positive traits: courageous, determined, confident, enthusiastic, optimistic, honest, passionate
Negative traits: impatient, moody, short-tempered, impulsive, aggressive
Taurus (April 19th-May 20th)
Positive traits: reliable, patient, practical, devoted, responsible, stable
Negative traits: stubborn, possessive, uncompromising
Gemini (May 20th-June 21st)
Positive traits: gentle, affectionate, curious, adaptable, ability to learn quickly and exchange ideas
Negative traits: nervous, inconsistent, indecisive, two-faced
Cancer (June 22nd-July 22nd)
Positive traits: tenacious, highly imaginative, loyal, emotional, sympathetic
Negative traits: moody, pessimistic, suspicious, manipulative, insecure
Leo (July 22nd-August 22nd)
Positive traits creative, passionate, generous, warm-hearted, cheerful, humorous, outgoing
Negative traits: arrogant, stubborn, self-centered, inflexible
Virgo (August 22nd-September 22nd)
Positive traits: loyal, analytical, kind, hardworking, practical
Negative traits: shyness, worry, overly critical of self and others, all work and no play, passive
Libra (September 22nd-October 23rd)
Positive traits: cooperative, diplomatic, gracious, fair-minded, social
Negative traits: indecisive, avoids confrontations, will carry a grudge, self-pity
Scorpio (October 23rd-November 21st)
Positive traits: resourceful, brave, passionate, stubborn, a true friend, decisive
Negative traits: distrusting, jealous, secretive, violent
Sagittarius (November 21st- December 21st)
Positive traits: generous, idealistic, great sense of humor
Negative traits:promises more than can deliver, very impatient, will say anything no matter how undiplomatic
Capricorn (December 21st- January 19th)
Positive traits: responsible, disciplined, self-control, good managers
Negative traits: know-it-all, unforgiving, condescending, expecting the worst
Aquarius (January 19th- February 18th)
Symbol: Water bearer
Positive traits: Progressive, original, independent, humanitarian
Negative traits: Runs from emotional expression, temperamental, uncompromising, aloof
Pisces (February 18th-March 21st)
Positive traits: Compassionate, artistic, intuitive, gentle, wise, musical
Negative traits: Fearful, overly trusting, sad, desire to escape reality, can be a victim or a martyr
Now that you are familiar with the traits of each sign, click the link to find out where they may present themselves in your birth chart.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of the signs and your birth chart, continue reading to understand what the different placements of the planets tell you about yourself.
The sun sign is what you say when someone asks “what’s your sign”. It tells you about your ego and your identity, however its importance is often overstated. While sun signs are the most commonly known, astrology enthusiasts consider knowledge of your “big three” (sun, rising, moon) necessary to paint an accurate picture.
The moon sign represents your inner self, the person you reveal to people after you let them in. It affects how you process emotions and manage your moods. It is often the sign you think of yourself as, but the rising sign often fits this description as well.
The rising sign controls the first impressions you give off, the conscious or unconscious mask you wear when you meet someone. Also called the Ascendant or house one , it rules your inherent desires or reactions as well . Some consider the rising sign to be more accurate than the sun sign, however the rising sign changes every two hours, so confirm your birth time with your parents.
Mercury: I THINK
Mercury is the planet that rules communication. It influences how you learn and share information, how you talk to yourself and how you talk to others.
Venus: I LOVE
Venus is the planet that rules how you love.
From what you are attracted to to how you express affection, Venus controls both romantic and platonic relationships.
Mars: I ACT
Mars is the planet of aggression. It controls how you express anger, assert yourself, and your drive. Venus is the planet that determines who you like but it is mars who makes the relationship happen.
Jupiter: I ACHIEVE
Jupiter is the first of two social planets. The planet of power associated with the king of the Greek Gods tells you what parts of life come naturally to you. It rules idealism, optimism and luck.
Saturn: I GROW
Saturn is the second social planet and it stays in each sign for two and a half years, taking about twenty eight years to complete a rotation around the sun. When Saturn re-enters your birth placement for the first time around your 28th or 29th birthday, it is referred to as Saturn Return. This is a time period of growth, coming of age and learning valuable life lessons.
Uranus: I EVOLVE
Uranus stays in each sign for seven years, so it rules a generation more than a person. The uranus placement dictates each generation’s rebelliousness and attitudes toward innovation and progress.
Neptune: I DREAM
Neptune also rules a generation, staying in each sign for 14 years. It affects the unconscious corners of your mind, your dreams and your imagination.
Pluto: I EMPOWER
The farthest out semi-planet, Pluto truly rules a generation, staying in each sign for 30 years! Fittingly it shows our generation’s attitude towards the future, thoughts on how our generation should contribute to the evolution of society.
Astrology is an ancient practice that has allowed us to confront and reflect on the parts of ourselves we don’t like and either accept our flaws or work to change them. As long as placements do not become an exercise for poor behavior, the real or fakeness of zodiac signs is irrelevant. If astrology, like a placebo pill, can inspire people to be more considerate or thoughtful, that’s a win in my books.
Has detailed articles about all parts of astrology including houses, aspects and modes.
Allows you to create birth charts of you family and friends