Written by Maddie Richards
Design by Ellen Stanton
Astrology is extremely common in the modern day – so common in fact that it immerses itself into meme culture and into our everyday understanding of the world. Fun fact: Ronald Reagan used an astrologer to make many big choices during his presidency. Even if you don’t believe in astrology and ‘reading the stars’, you’ve likely heard about it. The modern understanding of astrology, though, amongst pop culture especially, barely scratches the surface.
At its core, astrology recognises patterns within the movement of celestial bodies and events that correspond to this.
Western astrology finds its origins in the 19th-17th Century BCE in Mesopotamia. From there, it spread to Ancient Greece and eventually Central and Western Europe. In early times of astrology, it would be used to define weather patterns.
Over time, however, it has grown to be used to define aspects of an individual’s personality and predict events in our lives, by using positions of planets and stars and other celestial objects to create a system of horoscopes around this.
The horoscopes are based on the movements of celestial bodies such as the Sun, Moon and planets. The signs of the zodiac are dictated by twelve divisions of the night sky as we see it and by their aspects relative to one another.
The twelve zodiac signs are:
- Aries (21st March-20th April)
- Taurus (20th April-21st May)
- Gemini (21st May-21st June)
- Cancer (21st June-23rd July)
- Leo (23rd July-23rd August)
- Virgo (23rd August-23rd September)
- Libra (23rd September-23rd October)
- Scorpio (23rd October-22nd November)
- Sagittarius (23rd November-22nd December)
- Capricorn (22nd December-20th January)
- Aquarius (20th January-19th February)
- Pisces (19th February-21st March)
Oftentimes, when one refers to their ‘star-sign’, they tend to be referring to their sun sign, which are the most commonly known star-signs. However, there are many other astrological signs which are said to determine different aspects of one’s personality, linking to each planet and the moon, such as your ascendant sign.
These signs can be cardinal, fixed or mutable, which is related to movement, resistance to change and flexibility. There is also a masculine and feminine aspect to the signs, which alternates around the zodiac. Finally, they can also be grouped by element: fire, water, earth, and air.
All of these things imply certain parts of your personality and indicate something about your life.
Houses within the zodiac signs
You can also examine the houses in which your signs lie; there are twelve, indicating anything from self-identity, to home and family, to emotional security.
Astrologers will make statements referring to the celestial bodies in certain houses; in order to understand what this means, you need to understand what house corresponds to what. With this extra information, it is incredibly easy to find a fine-tuned horoscope that tells you pretty much anything you could want to know about yourself, the way you view the world, and your potential future.
How to understand all of this
The main way people seek to understand their various star signs is through a birth chart, which maps where all the celestial bodies were at the date and time of your birth. Your birth chart can tell you everything from your sun sign and Pluto sign all the way to telling you about the houses in which your personality lies.
All you have to do is insert your date and time of birth, and the city in which you were born, and you will be told where all of your signs lie. You will then receive a long report telling you what all of this information means for you. A birth chart will outline for you what every star sign means and you may gain a deeper understanding of yourself through that.
What do you do with this information?
It all depends on how seriously you take astrology. Polls suggest that one-quarter of American, British and Canadian people continue to believe that star- and planet-positions affect their lives, and if you want a comprehensive view of your life through this, then identifying where the stars aligned when you were born is a good way to do so.
Even if you don’t take horoscopes fully seriously, you are able to view these charts as guidelines, potential warnings, and so on. It is helpful to be able to take guidance in your everyday life, as horoscopes aren’t usually particularly specific to personal life situations.
It is also important to examine horoscopes alongside your life; essentially, don’t tailor your life to the horoscopes. Instead, let the horoscopes guide you in approaching relevant difficult situations in your life.
While birth charts can be incredibly specific, it is sometimes just nice to feel understood, in as much as how your personality corresponds to the time in which you are born and in relation to other people. Star signs help us to understand ourselves better and, as previously mentioned, help us to decide how to deal with difficult situations in life.