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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Astrology as a Language of Symbols

At first glance, the chart you see might seem like gobblygook. If you saw sheet music and knew nothing of how to read the notes, pauses, measures and bars, it might seem like a confusing array of meaningless symbols. Once you learn how to read those symbols, you can create beautiful music. You can even speak the language of music with others who you have never met, across great distances and time. It is the same with astrology. The houses, planets, aspects and signs all seem complex and puzzling. They aren't intended to be. Just as music allows a quick way to communicate between musicians, the symbols of astrology allow quick communication between those who know how to interpret them. As you learn the language of these symbols, you unravel your first understanding of astrology.

In astrology, the symbols used are referred to as glyphs. The circle with the dot in the middle is the Sun. When you read your horoscope in the newspaper, you are reading the horoscope for your Sun Sign. The Sun takes approximately one month to move through a sign. This movement is called "transit". The exact date and time depends on the specific year as it constantly changes. The Sun symbolizes all that you are. Your ego, your inner person and it colors it's relationship to all else in your astrology chart with the brightness of the physical Sun. Sometimes, it shines so bright that it "blinds" you to other aspects of your personality. For example, I worked with someone who swore up, down, left, right and center that she did not have a short temper. This shocked everyone around her. She was a lovely person, but definitely had a temper on her, as well as a short fuse. Mars, which looks like the symbol for "man", with a circle and an arrow, symbolizes raw energy and also signifies aggression. In her astrological chart, she had a "conjunction" of these two planets. This is when two planets appear very near each other in an astrological chart. In her case, her Sun blinded her to her Mars. She simply could not see it. One of the great things about astrology is how literal it is!
A quick explanation of the elements of a chart wheel. You may recognize one or more of the symbols in the outermost ring. These are the 12 signs of the Zodiac and consist of Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Aries is the red glyph with the "horns" in the top left on this chart.

The 12 divisions that slice the chart into a "pie" are called Houses. There are 12 of these as well. Their size will change depending upon the time, date and place of your birth. The Houses tell you how your energy is used. The prominent division line on the left hand side is known as the Ascendant, or Rising Sign. It is the face you put out to the world when people first meet you. The prominent one in the middle top portion is known as the MidHeaven and indicates what you strive to attain.

The middle ring shows the planets. The numbers and symbols that go with them are for clarity when viewing a chart and tell you the degree of the planet and which sign it falls in. Planets are interpreted as sheer energy. Other heavenly bodies can also be plotted onto an astrology chart, such as asteroids. The planets on this chart are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Also shown are two "imaginary" points called nodes. There is a North Node and a South Node.

In the absolute middle of the chart you see various colored lines that look something like an unorganized yarn ball. These are aspects and the color determines what sort of aspect it is. Aspects are based on the degrees of difference between planets. Some aspects are considered hard, or more challenging, and others are considered soft, or easy. Aspects are what colors the energy of the planets. In the example I gave above, I showed how two separate planets, with their own energy, can relate to each other and change how the energy is perceived. Some aspects include Conjunction, Semi-Sextile, Sextile, Square, Trine, Semi-Square, Sesiquiquadrature, Quincunx and Opposition. Don't worry about the big names. We will interpret these later on in another post.

I hope this begins to give you a deeper understanding in unraveling the "secret code" of astrology. It's really not so secret after all. It is a mathematical calculation of when the planets are angular at the time of your birth and then places that information on a "wheel" to be interpreted. Interestingly enough, did you know that music is considered to be closest to mathematics?


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