The Very Basic Elements of Astrology

by Hank Friedman

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.

To learn about the meanings of each house, click here and here.

4. The Aspects. There are five major aspects used in birth chart work.

You can learn about the aspects by clicking here.


Putting it all together

The task of the astrologer is to put all of the chart factors together to weave an understanding of the person.

One simple metaphor is that the planets are the actors, the signs are their roles, and the houses the stage upon which they appear. And the aspects are the relationships between the actors.

As such, each planet expresses the energy of the sign it resides in, in the planet's own unique way, in the areas of life represented by the house it occupies.

I hope this very basic introduction will help you on your astrological way.

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