This is the first of a series of videos I plan to do explaining some of the basics of traditional astrology (rooted in the Hellenistic tradition), aimed at newcomers to astrology. This video might also be helpful if you have booked an astrology reading but don’t know or understand what your birth chart means. You can find a transcript of the video below.
Hi, this is Helen from Jupiter’s Realm, and in this video series I’ll be covering some basics about astrology.
In this video we’ll start with an introduction to what astrology is and what the birth chart represents. When first seeing a birth chart it looks quite confusing. There are lots of symbols and lines, so I’ll be breaking down what all these symbols mean during the course of this video.
What is astrology
Astrology is the observation and interpretation of the movement of the Sun, Moon and planets (and some other celestial bodies too), in order to understand and predict patterns and events here on earth. The basic philosophy of astrology is that there is a correlation between the cyclical movement of the planets in the sky and our lived experiences. For thousands of years humans have noted these correlations.
The earliest surviving birth charts date back to the 1st century BC, although evidence of the interest in recording observations of celestial movements and their correlations with events here on earth go back further than that.
There are different branches and systems of astrology. In this series of videos I’ll mainly be focusing on tradtional tropical natal astrology, but the basic framework and techniques can be used across the other branches and systems.
Birth Chart – The Circle
So the birth chart is a 2D representation of the movement of Sun, Moon and the planets in the sky as viewed from our perspective on earth, looking south in the northern hemisphere. So we have east on the left, south at the top of the chart, west on the right, and north at the bottom
The chart is a circle divided into twelve segments called places or houses. The first house is always situated on the left where the east is, and the rest following in numerical order counter-clockwise.
Around these houses fall the zodiac signs, and the planets will fall in the signs. There are different ways to make these twelve divisions, which is beyond this video, but just for reference I’m using the whole sign house system in the diagrams for this video.
Which house a zodiac sign falls on, and which planets fall in which signs, depends on the time you are born. This is used to determine the Ascendent point (Asc for short).
The Ascendent marks the horizon point where planets rise, and the opposite point the Descendent (Dsc), where they set on the horizon.
Depending on what house system is used this axis can mark the beginning of the first house or be within the first house.
Two other important points that are calculated are the Midheaven, (MC) which is the highest point the Sun reaches in the sky around noon, and the Immum Coeli (IC), directly opposite the MC, which is the lowest point of the Sun’s path after it has set (which is around midnight).
These four points, called angles or pivots, are importance points in the chart and relate to our identity, public activities/career, home and private life, and relationships.
The zodiac sign that was rising above the eastern horizon, at your time of birth is called your rising sign and is assigned to the first house.
The other signs will then fall in zodiacal order anti-clockwise around the chart, one sign per house, along with the planetary positions for the time of birth.
The planets, signs, houses and their angular relationships to each other (called aspects) tell us something about the potential for life themes, patterns and events, past, present and future, and form the basis of astrology. There are other astronomical bodies and points that can be included and used for interpretive purposes such as asteroids, lots and nodes, but I won’t be including those in this video.
In traditional astrology the chart as a whole therefore represents a potential map of life events and experiences from birth to death.
Each planet has its own significations and can represent you, other people, and a range of circumstances, qualities, events or actions in your life, on a spectrum from positive to challenging, realistically reflecting the nature of life.
Each zodiac sign has certain qualities and a planetary ruler. The signs were called the domiciles or abodes of the planets, and the sign through its qualities of mode, element and masculine or feminine polarity, can say something about the way in which matters unfold regarding house topics and planetary expressions and significations.
Each house is associated with a different area of life, for example the second house is associated with your own finances and assets, whilst the eighth house opposite to that is associated with other people’s finances and assets.
And finally, aspects tell us how the planets are interacting with and influencing each other in the chart, for example in a way that indicates ease or support to matters, or in a way that indicates challenges or friction. Aspects can be by whole-sign or degree.
A Synthesis of zodiac sign, house, planet and aspects
So the various combinations of sign, place, planet and aspect can reveal a lot of information about how matters in that area of life have the potential to unfold, and what an astrologer does is analyse, synthesise and interpret this data. There are a lot of layers and depth to this analysis and this has been just a very simple, basic introduction to what is being presented in a birth chart. but I hope it’s been helpful if you are just getting started in astrology, or are going to have a reading but don’t know what the birth chart actually represents.
Thanks for watching! Speak to you again soon.