Just this week, an astrologer wrote in and said that he liked my tutorials, but he needed a very basic introduction to astrology to get started, and asked me if I would write one, so here it is.
Astrology is the study of the sky and its reflection of life and events on Earth. I deliberately use the word reflection because I don't believe in a causative model (i.e. that the physical planets actually directly influence us).
Imagine, as an analogy, a palm reader telling someone that a particular line on their hand causes them to be challenged in their career. Instead, people understand that their palm reflects their life themes, and so do birth charts.
Astrologers work with many types of charts, but foremost is the birth chart, which is a depiction of the sky at the moment and place of a person's birth.
A typical chart wheel looks like these:
The chart on the left is a round wheel of the type used in Western astrology, and the chart on the right is a square chart used in Vedic astrology.
Every chart has within it several components:
1. The Planets. Charts show the positions of the planets at the moment of birth. Their positions are show both by sign and by house.
You can click on any of the planet names or symbols above to open a page describing each planet in greater detail.
2. The Signs. There are twelve signs of the Zodiac:
As you can see above, each of the signs resides in an element. Fire signs are assertive, expressive, warm, and extroverted; Earth signs are practical, grounded, conservative, and disciplined; Air Signs are verbal, visual, social, and cerebral; and Water signs are tender, receptive, nurturing, and sensitive.
Again, you can click on any of the sign names or symbols above to open a page describing each sign in greater detail, including information on the planet ruling the sign and the house associated with it.
3. The Houses. There are twelve houses in each birth chart, numbered one through twelve.