THE FOUNDATION OF ASTROLOGY
SUN: will ~ vitality ~ purpose ~ ego
MOON: intuition ~ instinct ~ feelings ~ reactions
MERCURY: intellect ~ reasoning ~ communication ~ discernment
VENUS: desire ~ magnetism ~ creative/procreative expression
MARS: drive ~ assertion ~ stamina ~ physical/sexual expression
JUPITER: aspiration ~ principles ~ optimism ~ faith
SATURN: ambition ~ purpose ~ caution ~ discipline
URANUS: deeper/higher intellect ~ ingenuity ~ genius ~ gestalt
NEPTUNE: deeper/higher intuition ~ inspiration ~ imagination ~ enlightenment
PLUTO: deeper/higher will ~ insight ~ transformation ~ regeneration
Dr. Carl Jung based his theory of the conscious, unconscious & collective unconscious on planetary dynamics. To simplify, I refer to them as conscious, subconscious & unconscious.
CONJUNCTION: 0°: integrating; strengthening
SEXTILE: 60°: facilitating; balancing
SQUARE: 90°: frictional; challenging
TRINE:120°: harmonizing; mellowing
QUINCUNX: 150°: driving; frustrating
OPPOSITION: 180°: polarizing; see-saw effect
[each aspect has an orb of effect, from 2 to 9 degrees]
The best known aspect is the opposition between the Sun and Moon, though most know it only as the full moon.
12 signs are divided into 4 elements . . .
FIRE/passionate EARTH/grounded AIR/mental WATER/emotional
& 3 triplicities . . .
CARDINAL/assertive FIXED/willful MUTABLE/adaptable
ARIES: impulsive ~ headstrong ~ playful ~ independent [cardinal fire]
TAURUS: stubborn ~ sensual ~ loyal ~ hard-working [fixed earth]
GEMINI: communicative ~ mercurial ~ adaptable ~ highstrung [mutable air]
CANCER: sensitive ~ moody ~ dramatic ~ nurturing [cardinal water]
LEO: strong-willed ~ dramatic ~ creative ~ affectionate [fixed fire]
VIRGO: analytical ~ practical ~ hard-working ~ high-strung [mutable earth]
LIBRA: artistic ~ fair-minded ~ idealistic ~ attractive [cardinal air]
SCORPIO: intense ~ private ~ willful ~ passionate [fixed water]
SAGITTARIUS: philosophical ~ optimistic ~ adventuresome ~ athletic [mutable fire]
CAPRICORN: ambitious ~ hard-working ~ determined ~ competitive [cardinal earth]
AQUARIUS: inventive ~ rebellious ~ independent ~ philosophical [fixed air]
PISCES: imaginative ~ intuitive ~ sensitive ~ dramatic [mutable water]
The all-time best book on the zodiac is Linda Goodman's Sun Signs
PLANETS, ASPECTS & SIGNS
WITHIN THE PSYCHE
PLANETS: Essential psychological dynamics
ASPECTS: Connect planet dynamics
SIGNS: Elemental personality [fire, earth, air, water]
PLANETS: Essential psychological dynamics of each individual
ASPECTS: Connect planet dynamics between individuals
SIGNS: Elemental compatibility/incompatibility [fire, earth, air, water]
WHEN MAPPING TIME
PLANETS: Essential dynamics of action/events/change
ASPECTS: Connect planet dynamics above to planet dynamics within
SIGNS: Elemental qualities of passing time [fire, earth, air, water]
The ascendant, also called the 'rising sign', is the sign on the eastern horizon at the time of birth. The ascendant is defined as your persona - it modifies, mutes or intensifies your planetary dynamics.
If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned the ascendant until now, it's because an EXACT birth time is required to calculate its position - just a couple of minutes off can give a false analysis.
The good news is, the essentials - planets, aspects & signs - do not require an exact birth time.* And though the ascendant is informative, it's not essential.
There are two kinds of birth charts - a natal chart requires an exact birth time, puts the ascendant on the 1st house cusp and involves the 12 house wheel of life. The houses your planets inhabit indicate the areas of life you're most focused on, with each house correponding to a zodiac sign. For instance, 2nd house is finances/taurus; 4th house is family/cancer; 6th house is service/virgo; 10th house is career/capricorn.
A solar chart does not require an exact birth time, the Sun is always in the 1st house and the houses are a silent backdrop to the planets, aspects & signs. All BirthPrints™ are solar charts, except by request. A detailed overview and analysis of your ascendant and 12 houses are included with a requested natal BirthPrint™.
* The Moon is the only planet that moves more than a degree a day, moving about 12 degrees daily. When an exact or approximate birth time is unknown, using a noon birth time means the Moon won't be more than 6 degrees off, usually less. Not ideal, but workable