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The easiest way to learn astrology is to start with yourself. Your astrological birth chart is a powerful tool for gaining a deeper understanding of your unique gifts, talents, challenges, and life's purpose. As you begin to decipher the wealth of information in your own birth chart, you'll experience astrology in a personally meaningful way-which makes it easier to understand and remember. Once you learn the basics of astrology, you'll be able to read the birth charts of yourself and others.

This friendly guidebook is the most complete introduction to astrology available. Popular astrologer Kris Brandt Riske presents the essentials of astrology in a clear, step-by-step way, paying special attention to three areas of popular interest: relationships, career, and money. She explains the meaning of the planets, zodiac signs, houses, and aspects, and how to interpret their significance in your chart. Over 30 illustrations, including the birth charts of several famous people—Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, and Tiger Woods, to name just a few—add a helpful visual dimension to your learning experience.

Practical and positive, Llewellyn's Complete Book of Astrology offers techniques for using astrology to identify the qualities you seek in an ideal mate, realize your career and financial potential, calculate your luck, and discover your inner strength.

Year:
2007
Publisher:
Llewellyn Publications
Language:
english
Pages:
336
ISBN 10:
0738710717
ISBN 13:
9780738710716
File:
EPUB, 3.67 MB
Download (epub, 3.67 MB)

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7 comments
 
Kirti
This book is the perfect guide for a beginner Wiccan
11 November 2020 (09:16) 
Michael Trung Tran
I love this site from the very first glance. It an immense sea of knowledge upon which we could rely to explore and re-explore. Thankyou for your good course.
10 April 2021 (21:12) 
Lissa
Definitely one of the best astrology book for beginners!
29 April 2021 (14:38) 
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ever since i discovered this site I've been downloading non-stop. my bookworm soul wants to devour all this amazing books!
17 June 2021 (08:39) 
a Wizard
the book is a little dated and they used celebrity birth charts as filler. It's not a complete book its a beginner more modern astrology book (that means its not very traditional, go check out a astrology history book if you don't know the implications of this)
05 July 2021 (03:24) 
LorCia
Loved this book. Great guide to learn basic astrology. I would recommend.
05 October 2021 (01:29) 

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LLEWELLYN’S

COMPLETE BOOK OF ASTROLOGY




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kris Brandt Riske, M.A., is executive director and a professional member of the American Federa­tion of Astrologers, the oldest U.S. astrological organization, founded in 1938. She is also a member of the NCGR (National Council for Geocosmic Research) and served on its board of directors.

Kris has been a speaker at various astrological conferences and has written for several astro­logical publications. She currently writes for Llewellyn’s Sun Sign Book, Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book, and American Media. Kris is also the author of Mapping Your Future and Mapping Your Money and co-author of Mapping Your Travels & Relocation. She is particularly interested in astrometeorology (astrological weather forecasting) and is the author of Astrometeorology: Planetary Power in Weather Forecasting and the annual weather forecast published in Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book.

Kris is an avid stock car (NASCAR) fan, although she’d rather be driving than watching. She also enjoys gardening, needlework, and computer gaming. An Illinois native, Kris has a master’s degree in journalism and is a Chinese language student.





Llewellyn Publications

Woodbury, Minnesota





Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Astrology: The Easy Way to Learn Astrology © 2007 by Kris Brandt Riske, M.A. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Llewellyn Publications except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

As the purchaser of this e-book, you are granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook on screen. The text may not be otherwise reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, or recorded on any other storage device in any form or by any means.

Any unauthorized usage of the text without express written permission of the publisher is a violation of the author’s copyright and is illegal and punishable by law.
; 
First Edition

First Printing, 2007

First e-book edition © 2010

E-book ISBN: 9780738717241

Book design and format by Donna Burch

Cover celestial map images ©Visual Language/PunchStock

Cover design by Kevin R. Brown

Editing by Andrea Neff

Interior illustrations by the Llewellyn Art Department except on pages 34, 39, 44, 49, 54, 59, 64, 69, 74, 79, 84, 89 © 2007

by Rik Olson

Llewellyn Publications is an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.

Chart wheels were produced by the Kepler program by permission of Cosmic Patterns Software, Inc.

(www.AstroSoftware.com)

Page 103 of Astro America’s Daily Ephemeris, 2000–2020 at Midnight is reprinted with the kind permission of David R. Roell

at Astrology Classics (www.astroamerica.com).

Llewellyn Worldwide does not participate in, endorse, or have any authority or responsibility concerning private business transactions between our authors and the public.

Any Internet references contained in this work are current at publication time, but the publisher cannot guarantee that a specific reference will continue or be maintained. Please refer to the publisher’s website for links to current author websites.

Llewellyn Publications

Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

2143 Wooddale Drive, Dept. 978-0-7387-1071-6

Woodbury, Minnesota 55125-2989, U.S.A.

www.llewellyn.com

Printed in the United States of America





OTHER BOOKS AND ARTICLES BY KRIS BRANDT RISKE, M.A.

Mapping Your Travels & Relocation (co-author)

(Llewellyn Publications, 2005)

Mapping Your Money

(Llewellyn Publications, 2005)

Mapping Your Future

(Llewellyn Publications, 2004)

Astrometeorology: Planetary Power in Weather Forecasting

(American Federation of Astrologers, 1997)

Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book (contributor)

(Llewellyn Publications, 2002–2009)

Llewellyn’s Sun Sign Book (contributor)

(Llewellyn Publications, 2007–2009)

Llewellyn’s Starview Almanac (contributor)

(Llewellyn Publications, 2005–2006)

Civilization Under Attack (contributor)

(Llewellyn Publications, 2001)





DEDICATION

To some special friends, each of whom in some way contributed to this book:

Jack Cipolla

Vianne Higgins

Jim Holden

Sharon Leah

Linda Miller

Carol Caruso

Ed Carr

Joey Stiver

Frances Griffin

Joan Kopf

Aurora Isaac





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Once again I am deeply indebted to Andrea Neff for her superb and insightful editorial skills, wis­dom, friendship, and humor, all of which guided this book to completion. Thanks, Andrea, for all your efforts and your objective view.

Donna Burch deserves tremendous credit for her design skills in creating a visually appeal­ing and easy-to-read format. She also did an exceptional job with the many illustrations. Thanks, Donna.

And thanks to Kevin Brown, who once again created a beautifully eye-catching cover.

Thanks, also, to Dave Roell of Astrology Center of America for granting permission to use a page from the ephemeris published by him.





CONTENTS

Charts and Figures

Birth Charts

Introduction

Chapter One: The Basics of Astrology

Why Study Astrology?

What Your Birth Chart Reveals

The Language of Astrology

Signs

Planets

Retrograde and Direct Motion

Houses

Angular House Cusps

Aspects

Ephemeris

Chapter Two: The Signs

Sun Signs

Elements and Qualities

Masculine and Feminine Signs

Polarities

Decanates

How to Spot an Aries

Aries

Aries Sun Sign

How to Spot a Taurus

Taurus

Taurus Sun Sign

How to Spot a Gemini

Gemini

Gemini Sun Sign

How to Spot a Cancer

Cancer

Cancer Sun Sign

How to Spot a Leo

Leo

Leo Sun Sign

How to Spot a Virgo

Virgo

Virgo Sun Sign

How to Spot a Libra

Libra

Libra Sun Sign

How to Spot a Scorpio

Scorpio

Scorpio Sun Sign

How to Spot a Sagittarius

Sagittarius

Sagittarius Sun Sign

How to Spot a Capricorn

Capricorn

Capricorn Sun Sign

How to Spot an Aquarius

Aquarius

Aquarius Sun Sign

How to Spot a Pisces

Pisces

Pisces Sun Sign

Chapter Three: The Planets

Easy Interpretation

Sun

Moon

Moon in the Signs

Mercury

Mercury in the Signs

Venus

Venus in the Signs

Mars

Mars in the Signs

Jupiter

Jupiter in the Signs

Saturn

Saturn in the Signs

Uranus

Uranus in the Signs

Neptune

Neptune in the Signs

Pluto

Pluto in the Signs

Planetary Rulership

Planetary Power

What Is a Planet?

Mercury Retrograde

Void-of-Course Moon

Brad Pitt

Condoleezza Rice

Anderson Cooper

Dr. Phil McGraw

Willie Nelson

Ted Kennedy

Tom Hanks

Al Gore

Tiger Woods

Oprah Winfrey

Chapter Four: The Houses

The Houses

Hemispheres and Quadrants

House Classifications

Elemental Houses of Function

Individual Houses

First House

Second House

Third House

Fourth House

Fifth House

Sixth House

Seventh House

Eighth House

Ninth House

Tenth House

Eleventh House

Twelfth House

Sun Sign Tip

Derivative Houses

Easy Interpretation

Signs on the House Cusps

Aries House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Mars

Taurus House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Venus

Gemini House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Mercury

Cancer House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Moon

Leo House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Sun

Virgo House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Mercury

Libra House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Venus

Scorpio House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Pluto

Sagittarius House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Jupiter

Capricorn House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Saturn

Aquarius House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Uranus

Pisces House Cusps—Ruling Planet, Neptune

Planets in the Houses

Sun in the Houses

Moon in the Houses

Mercury in the Houses

Venus in the Houses

Mars in the Houses

Jupiter in the Houses

Saturn in the Houses

Uranus in the Houses

Neptune in the Houses

Pluto in the Houses

Al Gore

Tiger Woods

Oprah Winfrey

Ted Kennedy

Willie Nelson

Tom Hanks

Robert Redford

Dr. Phil McGraw

Condoleezza Rice

Anderson Cooper

Brad Pitt

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Chapter Five: The Aspects

Aspect Configurations

Mutual Reception

Planetary Aspects

Sun Aspects

Moon Aspects

Mercury Aspects

Venus Aspects

Mars Aspects

Jupiter Aspects

Saturn Aspects

Uranus Aspects

Neptune Aspects

Pluto Aspects

Al Gore

Tiger Woods

Oprah Winfrey

Ted Kennedy

Willie Nelson

Tom Hanks

Robert Redford

Dr. Phil McGraw

Condoleezza Rice

Anderson Cooper

Brad Pitt

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Chapter Six: Astrology in Action

Reading the Chart

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Love, Money, and Success

Love

Venus, the Love Planet

Mars, the Sex Planet

Opposites Attract, Like Attracts Like

Paul Newman

Joanne Woodward

Synastry

Money

Career Success

Aries/Mars

Taurus/Venus

Gemini/Mercury

Cancer/Moon

Leo/Sun

Virgo/Mercury

Libra/Venus

Scorpio/Pluto

Sagittarius/Jupiter

Capricorn/Saturn

Aquarius/Uranus

Pisces/Neptune

Appendix I: Chiron, Asteroids, Fixed Stars, Moon’s Nodes, Vertex, Part of Fortune

Appendix II: The Branches of Astrology

Appendix III: Astrological Organizations and Websites

Suggested Reading

Glossary





CHARTS AND FIGURES



Charts

1. Planetary Rulers and Keywords

2. The Houses: Signs and Rulerships

3. The Major Aspects: Degrees, Glyphs, and Keywords

4. Time Zone Conversions

5. The Decanates

6. Orbital Cycles of the Planets

7. Modern and Traditional Planetary Rulers

8. Planetary Strength: Dignified, Detriment, Exaltation, and Fall

9. Aspect Glyphs, Degrees, Orbs, and Keywords

10. Planetary Speeds

11. Synastry for Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward


Figures

1. The Natural Chart

2. The Elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water

3. The Qualities: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable

4. Retrograde Planets and House Cusps in Tiger Woods’s Chart

5. House Rulerships and Keywords

6. The Angles

7. The Five Major Aspects

8. Astro America’s Daily Ephemeris, Page for September 2015

9. Masculine and Feminine Signs

10. Sign Polarities

11. Decanates

12. Mercury Retrograde

13. Llewellyn’s 2008 Daily Planetary Guide,

14. House Cusps and Interceptions

15. Equal House System

16. Placidus House System

17. Koch House System

18. Equal and Unequal Houses

19. House Cusps

20. Chart Ruler

21. Hemispheres

22. Quadrants

23. Sign and House Rulers and Co-Rulers

24. Major Aspects

25. Minor Aspects

26. Orb of Influence

27. The Five Major Aspects

28. Two Semisextiles

29. Parallel and Contraparallel

30. Chart with Aspectarian

31. Out-of-Sign Aspect

32. T-square

33. Grand Square

34. Grand Trine

35. Yod

36. Chart with Chiron, Asteroids, Moon’s Nodes, Vertex, and Part of Fortune





BIRTH CHARTS


Al Gore

Anderson Cooper

Brad Pitt

Condoleezza Rice

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Joanne Woodward

Oprah Winfrey

Paul Newman

Dr. Phil McGraw

Robert Redford

Ted Kennedy

Tiger Woods

Tom Hanks

Willie Nelson





INTRODUCTION


Your birth chart is all about you—your potential, talents, and life possibilities. It reflects what comes easily to you, what you can master with effort, and what probably would not be worth your time.

As you unravel your chart, you’ll discover many traits you’re already aware of and many you’re not. Astrology can help you resolve life issues through self-understanding, identify the qualities you seek in an ideal mate, realize your career and financial potential, develop your communication skills, and discover your inner strength. Some of what you learn will amuse you, some will prompt further in-depth learning, and some will motivate and inspire you to become the very best you can be.

You can do the same for your friends, family, colleagues, children, parents, siblings, love inter­ests, partner, and all the other people in your life.

Don’t be surprised if this book triggers your thirst for more astrology. Many astrologers got their start by doing just what you’re about to do. By reading this book, you can master the basics of astrology and be well on your way to learning how to read a birth chart just like professional astrologers do.

As is typical for those who share my Aquarius Sun sign, the universe has carried me in many diverse directions and always for reasons that were not initially evident. Aquarians seem to attract unusual and unexpected opportunities, almost as if the universe is carving out a new path for them to follow. And so it was with me and astrology.

Of course, my journey began when the astrological timing was right, although I didn’t learn that until some years later. That undoubt­edly will be the case with you, too, as you begin your astrological journey.

Many years ago I was visiting a friend, Joan Kopf, in Nebraska. By chance—or really not, if you recognize the power of the universe—she made a few comments about astrology that for some reason caught my interest. Joan then offered that her mother was the family astrolo­ger and had been interested in the subject for years, reading the family’s charts. What was this all about? I wondered. The next thing I knew, we were off to visit her mother.

Joan’s mother gave me a brief introduction to astrology and showed me some books. I was hooked within an hour of our arrival.

Back home, I immediately purchased the beginner’s book she had recommended to get started. I opened it at 8:00 one Saturday morn­ing and by 10:00 that night I was still at it. Now I was really hooked! That day I managed to cal­culate my birth chart—by hand, using addition, subtraction, and the information in the book.(Although the do-it-yourself method wasn’t terribly difficult, I soon graduated to my first astrological computer calculation program.) I read all about my Sun, Moon, and rising signs and all the other planets in my chart, as well as houses and aspects. I was intrigued. How could planets zillions of miles away in outer space say so much about me?

That’s a question that has perplexed astrolo­gers for four thousand years. Astrology works, but no one knows how. People sometimes ask me if I really believe in “that stuff.” And they always seem to be shocked when I reply in the affirmative, adding that I’ve used it to my advan­tage on many occasions and have done the same for hundreds of clients. Now, really, what would they expect an astrologer to say? I sometimes follow up by asking for the person’s month and date of birth and then offer a few insights into what has recently occurred or is currently going on in his or her life. The person is always amazed, and I figure I’ve done a little something to enlighten another individual about the power of astrology.

Back to my personal adventure. I read every astrology book and magazine I could find for the next six months or so, and then one day dis­covered that the headquarters of the American Federation of Astrologers is in Arizona, where I live. This organization has a library filled with books and more books—a gold mine! I spent an entire afternoon there, totally in awe of all that knowledge in one place. I went home with a hefty stack of books.

By chance (there’s that Aquarius word again), Linda Miller, an employee there, asked if I would be interested in having a list of certified astrologers who were also teachers. Certified? Teachers? That, too, was an eye opener and just what I needed.

Again, by chance, I hit the jackpot with the first one I called, Aurora Isaac. She said she had a class beginning within a few weeks and asked if I would be interested. You bet! Three months later, at the end of the class, I was reading charts! Her practical experience and outstand­ing teaching skills helped me pull together all that I’d read and learned on my own.

Then I begged Aurora to teach me predic­tive astrology. She agreed, much to my delight. Secret revealed: once I discovered that astrology could be used to forecast trends and to identify the best timing for events, such as when to apply for a job, that knowledge further fueled my interest and my studies. This is more Aquarius, a sign known to live in the future and to have an insatiable curiosity about what’s going to hap­pen and when.

Aurora made an important point that I’ll never forget. She emphasized the importance of learning natal astrology (birth chart astrol­ogy) before learning forecasting. And she was so right. Without that foundation, it’s next to impossible to have any success with predic­tive astrology or any one of the many other branches, or specialties, of astrology. After all, if your birth chart doesn’t indicate musical talent, for example, then the very best current astro­logicalconditions won’t land you a spot on a Broadway stage.

So you’ve begun your astrological journey in the right place and with the right person—you!Start with your birth chart. You know yourself best, so you’ll quickly be able to see how astrol­ogy works in real life. Even with a little knowl­edge, you’ll begin to learn why you react the way you do in certain situations and enjoy the ego boost that comes from knowing that your strengths and talents are even greater than you ever imagined.

It isn’t by chance that you picked up this book. Enjoy your journey just for the fun of it, to learn more about yourself and the people around you, or even to someday become an astrologer!





CHAPTER ONE



THE BASICS

OF ASTROLOGY

You’ve probably read your horoscope online, in newspapers or magazines, or in publications that focus on the year ahead. These forecasts are based on your Sun sign, which is easily determined by your birth month and day. You might even know some of the characteristics associated with your Sun sign and those of family and friends. Sun sign descriptions are amazingly accurate, even though there’s no rational explanation why astrology should work. After all, the Sun, Moon, and planets are millions of miles away from Earth. How can a body in outer space realistically affect a person on Earth?

A Sun sign is just a Sun sign. It’s important, yes, because it’s the essence of you. It’s your ego at work. But from an astrological viewpoint, there’s so much more that defines you—your character, talents, strengths, and challenges.

The ancient Babylonians were as perplexed by this astrological phenomenon as we are today. In the four thousand or so years since they invented astrology, no one has discovered an explanation for why it works. But work it does.

Around the sixteenth century BC, the Babylonians began to observe that events on Earth could be correlated to celestial phenomena. Their brand of astrology is what is today called mundane astrol­ogy, or the astrology of countries, wars, coups, economic conditions, and weather, to name a few. It eventually evolved into what is now known as electional astrology, the branch in which the planetary positions are used to select a favorable time to launch an event, such as a wedding, business opening, meeting, or job application. Babylonian astrologers used the 360° circle (a zodiac of twelve signs simi­lar to what is used today) and also developed ephemeredes (tables of astrological data) that listed the planetary positions and eclipses. At that point in time, no connection had been made between astrology and the individual.

It wasn’t until more than a thousand years later, sometime between the seventh and fourth centuries BC, that the Babylonians developed the concept of natal astrology. The natal horoscopes of the time, which probably were limited to royalty and wealthy people, were inscribed on cuneiform tablets and listed the planetary positions along with comments referring to wealth potential, longevity, family, and status. The natal horoscope was seen as a predictor of the person’s life, much as it is today, the difference being that twenty-first-century astrologers—and people— recognize that everyone has free will; the Babylonians considered the chart fateful.

The Babylonian knowledge was passed to the Persians, Egyptians, and Indians. It was readily adopted in India, where today it is considered not only valid but necessary to a successful life.

Great advances in astrology were made in Alexandria, Egypt, in the second and third centuries AD, partly as a result of King Ptolemy I Soter, who ordered the construction of a great library that attracted scholars. During this period, the following concepts were developed: the Ascendant (rising sign) and Midheaven, astrological houses, planetary rulers, aspects, and predictive techniques. Astrology was considered a science and spread to western Europe, where educated people knew Greek and Latin.

Although astrology died out in western Europe with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, it survived somewhat in the Eastern Roman Empire. A general revival of astrology began around 1000 AD and continued for the next five hundred years. Like all else, astrology benefited from the invention of the printing press, which made information more readily available to the populace. Astrology was taught in colleges and universities and was a required subject for medical students.

Astrology then experienced another decline, which began in the late seventeenth century and lasted about two hundred years. It was still popular in England, however, because the annual astrological almanacs that had been printed since the sixteenth century continued to be in demand by the public. Renewed interest in astrology developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that first weekly and then daily horoscopes began to appear in newspapers. The first such column appeared in the London Sunday Express.

The twentieth century saw refinements in astrological technique and an emphasis on psychological astrology versus event-oriented astrology. But the basics remain the same today as those developed by the earliest astrologers, and there is a growing interest in older astrological literature as more of these works are translated and made available.





WHY STUDY ASTROLOGY?


Metaphysics encompasses a wide range of subjects and areas, most of which are focused solely on divination, or predicting the future.What makes astrology different from the tarot, I Ching, runes, and other forecasting methods is that it is all-encompassing. You can use astrology not only to forecast events but also to gain great insights into your personality. You may think you know yourself better than anyone else walking the planet; that’s probably true. But has someone ever commented on a personality trait that you were unaware of, at least on a conscious level? Something that you only then realized was a strength—or a detriment—because it is such a natural part of your personality? Something that made you realize you’d just discovered another whole side of yourself? This is part of the natural growth process.

Have you ever asked yourself why you react the way you do in certain situations? Why you repeat negative behaviors even though you know better? Have you ever knocked yourself out trying to do something, when your energy would have been better directed elsewhere? This, too, is part of the natural growth process.It is how we evolve as humans.

Now suppose you had all this information sooner rather than later. You’d be able to use it to your advantage for many more years, to make the most of your potential and in essence speed up that growth process. After all, we don’t have all that many years in a lifetime to do everything we want to do.

This is one fabulous reason to study astrology: self-knowledge is the ultimate form of personal empowerment.

You may have heard people say that astrology is difficult, that it requires “all that math.”Yes and no.

The math of astrology is nothing more than simple addition and subtraction using preset formulas. But in today’s world you don’t ever have to pick up a pencil. There are numerous online sites where you can get a computer-calculated birth chart in seconds (see appendix III), or you can take advantage of the free birth chart offer at the back of this book. Later, when you’re more advanced in your studies and want to become a certified astrologer, you can learn the math in preparation for taking an exam. Or, if you’re not at all intimidated by math or just want to challenge yourself, you might want to learn this nuts-and-bolts side of astrology now. The point is that it’s no longer necessary to first learn the calculations. You can get started right now!

Now, the question about difficulty. Is astrology difficult or isn’t it? Yes, it is, or can be, but no, it’s not.

Have you ever done anything in your life that was difficult at first but then came easily, such as playing a musical instrument or sport, speaking in public, or learning a language? Chances are, you have. And each came with a learning curve that began with initial excitement and quickly acquired skills, followed by the middle ground that required more study or practice to jump the hurdle to a comfort zone of confidence.Learning astrology is no different than learning anything else. It requires some patience and a lot of practice.

But how difficult is it, really, to read a birth chart? To glean all the insightful information about you and your personality? Not as hard as you might think. It’s a matter of learning what each factor in the birth chart symbolizes and then blending the information until you have a full picture. Although that might seem like an oversimplified answer, consider this example using astrological keywords, which is the way every future astrologer learns to interpret a chart: Sun (ego) in Capricorn (ambitious) in the personal financial sector (second house) conjunct (next to) Jupiter (expansion) adds up to an individual whose self-esteem is linked to achievement and high earnings but who also spends freely on status symbols. It’s that simple!

There are a few important tips I can give you to speed up the learning process (you’ll learn the terminology mentioned below as you read this book):

1. Learn, and practice writing, the glyphs (symbols) for the planets, signs, and aspects. The inside back cover of this book has a handy list of astrological glyphs for your reference.

2. Learn the essential keywords for each sign, angle, planet, house, and aspect.

3. Learn the rulership relationships of the signs, planets, and houses, and the essential keywords for each.

4. Use the charts of people you know well— friends and family. This will help you see how the various factors manifest in real life.

5. When you study the chart, focus on a single planet or angle at a time and then move on to the next and the next until you’ve studied them all. Make notes and sentences using the keywords (as in the previous example) as you do this.

6. Talk with the person whose chart you’ve studied and explain what you’ve learned.Ask for feedback and listen closely to what you hear in order to determine what was correct or incorrect in your assessment.

Before long, you’ll be reading a chart just like an astrologer!





WHAT YOUR BIRTH CHART

REVEALS


As the ancient Babylonians observed, astrology is the correlation of celestial events to life on Earth. The planets do not cause events to happen on Earth or in individual lives; rather, they reflect the events that occur on Earth and in individual lives. As above, so below.

Life may appear to be random or even fateful, but it’s not. Have you ever made a decision you later regretted? Of course you have. Everyone has. But what if you could almost always make the right decision about major life events, such as finances, relationships, and career? Astrology has the potential to help you do just that.

You can glean a phenomenal amount of information from a birth chart. In fact, you will be astounded once you discover just how much you can learn. To give you an example, a friend of mine asked me to look at the chart of her daughter’s fiancé. My friend had some nagging doubts about the relationship and wondered if I could discover the reason why. (She did this with her daughter’s knowledge.) I looked at the fiancé’s chart, mentioned several things, and then asked about the man’s financial attitudes. The chart indicated that he was a high roller, a big spender who had the potential for serious financial problems. My friend said that, to her knowledge, this had never been an issue, and her daughter confirmed that, adding that her fiancé was somewhat secretive about money matters. I suggested that she ask to see the man’s credit report before they proceeded with the wedding plans. It was no surprise to me that he refused, and that she broke off the relationship rather than risk her excellent credit rating.My friend’s daughter later learned that her former fiancé did indeed have a history of serious financial problems. Needless to say, they were and are extremely grateful.

Life is about making choices. In this case, my friend’s daughter used the power of astrology to make an informed major life decision that undoubtedly saved her from years of regret.This is what you will be able to do in almost any situation, for yourself, your friends, your family members, and possibly even clients.

I’ve seen a look of amazement on the faces of countless clients. Most people who know little or nothing about astrology don’t realize just how much an astrologer can learn about them from their birth chart. This is one reason that many people in the know are reluctant to give their birth information to just anyone. Inevitably, some of these clients, first through body language and then through words (or the lack thereof), clam up when they realize that their personality, attitudes, and issues are as visible to an astrologer as are their talents and skills.Those who are open to the information use this powerful tool of self-awareness to learn about (or perhaps become fully aware of) their detrimental patterns of behavior and how they can reverse them. Astrology can be used not only to identify what holds you back but also to learn how to change these things to improve every facet of your life.

Astrology is a symbolic language. Each planet and every other factor in a birth chart represents certain traits, characteristics, people, talents, and areas of life. Everything that involves your life on Earth is represented in your horoscope.

A birth chart is also a map. Your birth chart is a map of your life and your potential as represented by the planetary positions at the exact time, date, and place of your birth. In it are eight planets and the Sun and Moon, along with other factors that provide much more insight into your personality. (Astrologers refer to the Sun and Moon as planets for ease in terminology and thus use a group of ten planets, not eight.)

Your birth chart is unique to you and thus reflects you, the individual. You share certain personality traits with others born with the same Sun sign, but the Sun is only one of ten planets and the many other factors that go into a birth chart. You’re a person of many facets, likes and dislikes, and strengths and weaknesses.By studying your birth chart, you can identify the areas in which you naturally excel, those that are challenging, and everything in between.Astrology has the potential to teach you more about yourself than any other field of study.And when you know yourself well, you can make the most of the map of life that is your birth chart.

It’s well recognized that environment helps shape personality and that people are a complex mix of innate talents and skills, experience, and family influences. Your birth chart is a reflection of all these things. If you study the birth charts of your family members, you will see many similarities to yours. These common factors symbolize not only your similar childhood experiences but also the genetic traits you’ve inherited from your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on. These similarities will add to your depth of understanding about your own personality because you’ll immediately identify behavior patterns as well as skills and talents that you have in common with the rest of your family and be better able to make the most of them in your own life. You thus will have an advantage, a head start, in not repeating the mistakes of your elders, whether negative traits or failure to fulfill potential in a certain area. This is another good reason to study astrology.

Although your birth chart reveals everything in your life, there are certain main areas of interest for most people: relationships, career, money, family, and health. As you become more proficient at astrology, you can explore the depths of your chart for specifics such as your relationships with in-laws, bosses, and coworkers; your partner’s spending habits and career potential; your life lessons; your people skills and communication style; and where you’re lucky, because everyone is lucky in some way just as everyone has challenges.

With more than six billion people on Earth, relationships are a major focus. We all have relationships with romantic partners, business partners, children, parents, relatives, friends, neighbors, store clerks, colleagues, and supervisors, yet the first relationship that comes to mind is usually a romantic partnership. Some fortunate people experience complete happiness, a union in which a harsh word is never spoken. Most partnerships go through ups and downs as each person’s needs and interests change. Some people are totally unsuited for each other, as they discover too late.

Relationships are a good example of how astrology works and what you can learn from your birth chart. There are, for example, some planetary configurations that indicate divorce, disappointment, or deception. Does this mean that everyone who has one of these configurations will experience a negative outcome? Absolutely not! Awareness and learning more about how you react in various situations can go a long way toward reversing what appears (to others who don’t have your knowledge of astrology) to be fated. Possibly more important is knowing how to direct the specific energy represented into constructive activities that will strengthen the relationship. That’s what astrology can do for you and your relationships.

A woman I know who had a series of failed relationships, each ending with the potential partner moving on, learned through astrology that she was the common denominator, and not men in general, as she had come to believe. She discovered that she had a fear of commitment and found it difficult to express her emotions. After examining her specific reactions, which were reflected in her birth chart, she was able to trace them back to her childhood and her parental relationships. Her next serious relationship led to a successful marriage because she gained the self-knowledge she needed and learned to express herself more fully and easily.

Another woman I know, however, continues to blame every failed romantic and business relationship on men, several of whom have left her in a tight financial spot. She refuses to accept that it’s her overly trusting attitude toward people in general and especially men that attracts those she should steer clear of, and this will continue to happen until she accepts that fact. We tend to attract the people and situations we need to deal with during our lifetimes in order to grow and to learn life lessons. But why invite negative influences into our lives one more time or even at all? Astrology makes it possible to escape our self-defeating behavior, as well as the potential for it in situations yet to be encountered.

If you’re dissatisfied with your career choice or unable to find your niche, astrology can help you identify your major strengths and talents, a specific career field, and your ideal working conditions. People who are perpetual job hoppers or have difficulty hanging on to a job can learn the reasons for this through their birth chart and take action to change the behavior that prompts it.

I know a man who held a dozen jobs in half as many years before finally realizing, through the help of his birth chart, that he had issues with women largely as a result of his negative relationship with his mother. In every one of those jobs he had a female boss whom he considered to be incompetent, just as he viewed his mother. Once he realized this, he was able to view his next female boss more objectively and has had a successful, long-term relationship with her and the company.

Money. For many people this is the single most stressful area of life. Money represents security and freedom. Almost everyone wants more money, and many people want more just to spend more. Your chart reflects your earning power, spending and saving habits, risk tolerance, inheritance potential, and attitude about debt. By combining this information with common sense and professional advice, you can maximize your financial potential.

Consider the example of a couple who earn a six-figure income. Their debt far exceeds their income, and every time money is tight they refinance their mortgage to pay down their credit cards and other consumer debt. They’ve even tried credit counseling, yet each time they run up new debt, buying new vehicles and maxing out their credit cards. As their birth charts reveal, they’re motivated by two factors: a desire for status and for material proof of their success. An astrologer explained this to them, but they chose not to change, instead putting their faith in the false belief that their habits will never catch up with them. Their birth charts say that sooner or later they will. Then, if my experience with some clients holds true, they’ll consult an astrologer, not to learn where they went wrong but instead to find a magic fix for their dilemma. They will be sorely disappointed to learn—if they truly are ready to hear the information—that the only magic fix is to change their financial attitudes.

Astrology gives you information, but it’s up to you to use this knowledge and put it to work to improve your life.





THE LANGUAGE

OF ASTROLOGY


Like any other field of study, astrology has its own language. With a little practice, you can learn the language fairly quickly and begin to interpret your chart and those of friends and relatives. A natal chart has four essential components—the same ones astrologers have used for centuries. They are:

• twelve signs of the zodiac

• ten planets

• twelve houses

• aspects

I will explain these four elements in detail in subsequent chapters of this book. My goal here is to give you a basic overview so you can begin to understand the components of a birth chart.





Signs


There are twelve signs in the zodiac (Aries through Pisces), which are also the names of the constellations. Each sign is 30 degrees of a perfect 360° circle. Each single degree of the 30° in a sign is further divided into 60 minutes (60'), which are each again divided into 60 seconds (60"). Most astrologers use only degrees and minutes. Each sign is represented by a glyph.Once you learn these glyphs, you can use them instead of writing out the full name of the sign.Refer to the inside back cover of this book for a list of astrological glyphs.



One sign = 30 degrees

One degree = 60 minutes

One minute = 60 seconds



Figure 1 is an illustration of what is called the natural chart. It shows the zodiac signs, along with their glyphs, in order, beginning with Aries at the left center point and continuing around counterclockwise to Pisces. This is the natural order of the zodiac.

Notice that the directions are reversed. Unlike the usual map orientation, south is above, north below, east to the left, and west to the right. There is a simple explanation for this:the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. So the birth chart is a depiction of the path of the Sun as it appears from Earth, which is the center point of the chart.

Notice also that the clock times correspond to the Sun’s position relative to Earth. The Sun rises in the east at sunrise (approximately 6:00 a.m.), reaches its highest point at noon, sets in the west (approximately 6:00 p.m.), and reaches its lowest point at midnight. So if, for example, you were born at noon, then the Sun would be at the top of your chart, when the Sun is at its highest point. If you were born at 9:00 p.m., then the Sun would be halfway between west (6:00 p.m.) and north (midnight), which is northwest by direction.

The signs and their glyphs are:



The annual equinox or solstice that signals the start of each season coincides with the Sun’s entrance into one of four signs: Aries (spring equinox), Cancer (summer solstice), Libra (autumnal equinox), and Capricorn (winter solstice).

The zodiac used by most Western astrologers is called the tropical zodiac. It is an accurate depiction of the constellations and the signs associated with them as they were viewed by the Babylonians rather than by present-day astronomers. Since ancient times, the constellations have precessed, or moved backward, in the heavens. Astrologers who equate the signs with the current positions of the constellations practice sidereal astrology, which is used extensively in India.



Figure 1. The Natural Chart



Figure 2. The Elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water



Figure 3. The Qualities: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable

Each sign is associated with certain characteristics that describe personality traits. People born under the same Sun sign share these traits to a greater or lesser degree depending on other influences in the birth chart, but the basic nature of each sign is easily described through its element and quality.

The four elements are fire, earth, air, and water (figure 2). The three qualities are cardinal, fixed, and mutable (figure 3). Each sign falls into one element and one quality. You can learn a lot about your basic nature just by observing the dominant elements and qualities in your chart. Briefly, here are the signs and their elements/ qualities and characteristics (you’ll learn more about the signs in chapter 2):

Fire signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius—are outgoing and action-oriented.

Earth signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn—are practical and realistic.

Air signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius—are intellectual and people-oriented.

Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces—are emotional and intuitive.

Cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn— are self-starters.

Fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius—are determined.

Mutable signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces— are easygoing.

Each of these signs is represented somewhere in your chart, and you express each of them in one way or another, to a greater or lesser degree.For example, a certain sign placement in your chart might indicate that you excel when you have a high level of job autonomy or that you’re happiest in a team environment; this is valuable information in a job search. The point is that you experience every sign, not just your Sun sign, and some signs more than others.





Planets


Each of the ten planets in your birth chart is in a sign, as is your Sun. So you have a Moon sign, a Venus sign, a Mercury sign, and so on. Although the Sun and Moon are commonly called planets, you’ll also see them referred to as “luminaries”or the “Lights,” because the Sun provides light during daylight hours and the Moon illuminates the night. These terms were first used by ancient astrologers.

A planet’s characteristics and energy are modified and expressed according to its sign. For example, Mercury is associated with all forms of communication, so your communication style thus is influenced by the sign that your Mercury is in. This is one reason that one person may be a dynamic speaker (Mercury in Leo) while another has the ability to instantly put other people at ease (Mercury in Libra).

Each of the planets is associated with one or two signs. This is called rulership. Astrologers say, for example, that Jupiter “rules” Sagittarius, and Mars “rules” Aries. A planet and the sign it rules are very compatible, and the meanings of both are similar. Because there are twelve signs but only ten planets, Mercury and Venus each rule two signs.

Before the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) were discovered, astrologers used what are now called traditional rulers for three of the signs: Mars for Scorpio (modern ruler, Pluto), Saturn for Uranus (modern ruler, Uranus), and Jupiter for Pisces (modern ruler, Jupiter). Some astrologers use both the traditional and modern rulers when reading charts today.I’ve found the traditional rulers to be useful, just as ancient astrologers did, so give them a try. To simplify things, this book uses the modern rulers for Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.



Chart 1. Planetary Rulers and Keywords

The planets (in astrological order), their glyphs, the sign(s) they rule, and their basic meanings are shown in chart 1.





Retrograde and Direct Motion


All of the planets except the Sun and Moon periodically travel in retrograde, or backward, motion. They don’t actually back up, but appear to do so when viewed from Earth; this is an astronomical phenomenon. A planet travels forward in direct motion, appears to stop—which is called its stationary point or station—and then resumes motion, moving backward to retrace its steps.When the retrograde period is completed, the planet again stops, or stations, and then resumes forward motion.

Retrograde motion is relative motion. If you’re on a slow-moving train and a faster, parallel train moves forward and passes you, you feel like you’re moving backward. The same sensation can occur if you’re in a stopped car and a car in the next lane suddenly moves forward; your reaction is to step on the brake.

Almost everyone is born when at least one planet is retrograde, and most people have several retrograde planets in their birth chart. Sometimes as many as half the planets in a chart are retrograde. You can identify the retrograde planets in your chart by looking for a retrograde glyph () next to each planet.

Birth chart planets that are stationary are more powerful and usually have strong significance in the individual’s life because the energy is highly concentrated. The energy of a retrograde planet is more internalized, lacking some of its natural outward expression. This can be helpful and productive or not, depending on how the individual handles and focuses the planetary energy.



Figure 4. Retrograde Planets and House Cusps in Tiger Woods’s Chart

December 30, 1975 / 10:50 p.m. PST / Long Beach, CA

Placidus Houses

Notice in Tiger Woods’s chart (figure 4) that only two planets—Mars and Saturn—are retrograde, as indicated by the symbol near the glyphs for (Mars) and (Saturn). It is highly unusual to see only two retrograde planets in a birth chart because Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are retrograde as much as half of each year, and Saturn for four to five months. With only two planets retrograde, Woods has well-above-average drive, determination, and initiative. But this is also a good example of the potential power of retrograde planets and why they’re not necessarily weak or weaker than direct planets.

Mars is the premier action planet. So if we assume that direct planets are stronger than weaker ones, then Woods should be someone who has reduced initiative and drive. Nothing could be further from the truth. He instead uses the retrograde (internalized) Mars (action) in Gemini (thought process) for focused concentration. Any golfer will tell you that the game is far more mental than physical and that success is limited without the mental focus. Saturn, also retrograde, is associated with career and ambition. With the energy of this planet focused inward and in Leo, the sign of the ego, Woods has a strong ego investment in achieving his ambitions and career success.

So how do you know if a retrograde planet is an advantage or disadvantage? To be honest, you don’t, or at least not for sure. Much depends on other factors in the birth chart (you’ll learn more about these later in this book), which can increase the probability that the retrograde planet(s) will work in the individual’s favor, as well as on the choices made by the person. So if you were counseling Tiger Woods and you did not already know that he is one of the all-time most successful professional golfers, you would tell him how he could use the energy of his retrograde Mars and Saturn to pursue his ambitions and succeed in the sports field.



Chart 2. The Houses: Signs and Rulerships



Figure 5. House Rulerships and Keywords





Houses


There are twelve houses in a chart, each associated with a specific area or areas of life, such as career, money, relationships, and friendship (figure 5). They are numbered counterclockwise beginning with the left center, where Aries is located in the natural chart. Look again at Tiger Woods’s chart (page 17) and notice that Virgo () is at the left center point—the Ascendant— of the chart instead of Aries, as it would be in the natural chart. This is because the chart was calculated for the exact date, time, and place of Woods’s birth.

The importance of birth time accuracy cannot be overemphasized. Even a few minutes can make a big difference because the Ascendant sign changes about every two hours, or one degree every four minutes. So always use an actual birth time, preferably from a birth certificate.Mothers’ memories are often faulty, and a birth chart based on an approximate time, such as “about 6:00,” isn’t worth your time and effort.From my experience, these “about” times are usually hours away from the actual birth time.(For help obtaining an official U.S. birth certificate, go to http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/ w2w/w2welcom.htm.)

The dividing line between two houses is called a cusp. In Tiger Woods’s chart, the second-house cusp is Libra (), the third-house cusp is Scorpio (), the fourth-house cusp is Sagittarius (), and so on, counterclockwise around the chart following the natural order of the zodiac.

The planet that rules the sign on the house cusp is said to be the house’s ruler. In Tiger Woods’s chart, for example, Saturn rules the fifth house because Capricorn () is on the fifth-house cusp. Rulership is an important concept in astrology. In order to gain additional insights into the meaning of a house in a specific chart, you also look at the planetary ruler of the house (see chart 2). In Woods’s chart, Saturn () is in Leo () in the eleventh house. You’ll learn more about this concept later in this book.

The sign on the house cusp reveals a great deal of information about that area of life. But whatever the sign on a house cusp, the house also has some of the characteristics of the natural chart sign that is located there. For example, any planet in the first house somewhat exemplifies the initiative and energy, but also the impatience, of Aries. A planet in the sixth house takes on some Virgo characteristics, such as meticulousness and dependability.

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of signs, planets, and houses, you can learn about another rulership concept: universal rulership.This concept goes back to the natural chart (figure 1 on page 13). Each planet rules a sign, and both are associated with a house in the natural chart. For example, the Moon is the universal ruler of home and family because the Moon rules Cancer, the fourth-house sign of the natural chart; the fourth house is the house of home and family. So when reading a chart, you would study the Moon and the sign and house it’s in, wherever it is in the chart, in addition to looking at the fourth house in the specific chart. You can see how doing this will give you much more information than will just looking at the fourth house of your chart.

Here’s an example of what you can learn from house-cusp signs and rulerships and how astrologers read a chart. In Tiger Woods’s chart (page 17), Mercury () in Capricorn () (the universal sign of career) in the fifth house of sports rules Woods’s tenth house of career through Gemini (), the sign on the tenth-house cusp of Woods’s chart (Mercury is the planet that rules Gemini). You thus immediately know that Woods’s chart shows excellent potential for a career in sports because the energies of the fifth and tenth houses are linked through Mercury in Capricorn. To take this a step further, the fifth is the natural house of Leo (), and Saturn (the planet that rules Capricorn), the ruler of the fifth house in Woods’s chart, is in Leo. Saturn in Leo thus reinforces the initial indication (Mercury, ruler of Woods’s tenth house, in the fifth house) that the sports field is an excellent career choice for Tiger Woods.

To simplify this a bit, here is the formula: Mercury (Woods’s tenth-house ruler—Gemini on the cusp) + in the fifth house (sports) + in Capricorn (tenth house of career in natural chart) + Saturn (ruler of Capricorn) + in Leo (ruler of the fifth house of sports in natural chart). Don’t be concerned if this sounds confusing at first. With practice, you’ll get the hang of it.





Angular House Cusps


There are four angular house cusps (figure 6), collectively referred to as the angles: the Ascendant (first-house cusp), the Descendant (seventh-house cusp), the Midheaven (tenth-house cusp), and the Imum Coeli (or the IC; the fourth-house cusp). The angles signify important areas of life that are a major focus for most people.

The Ascendant (first-house cusp) represents you as an individual, and it’s usually the first impression you make on others. In fact, anyone who knows a little astrology may instantly identify someone’s rising sign as his or her Sun sign.Sometimes the traits of the Ascendant and Sun signs are so different that the latter emerges only when you really get to know the person.

The Ascendant (also called the rising sign) indicates much of the outward manifestation of your personality. It’s the point through which planetary energy is expressed, the face you show the world, and your subjective reaction to events and situations. While the Sun represents your internal motivations, the Ascendant represents your external responses. For example, someone with a Capricorn Sun may be reserved, cautious, and career-oriented. If the rising sign is Leo, the person is probably more outgoing and fun-loving, using Leo’s warmth and leadership ability to further career ambitions.

The Descendant (seventh-house cusp), the point opposite the Ascendant, represents close relationships—with a mate or business partner and sometimes long-term friends. This point in the chart indicates how you react to and interact with other people, the qualities you look for in a partner, and the general character of your close relationships.



Figure 6. The Angles



Chart 3. The Major Aspects: Degrees, Glyphs, and Keywords



Figure 7. The Five Major Aspects

The Midheaven (tenth-house cusp) sign shows where you want to shine in the world and in your career. It indicates what you want to be noted for, how you perceive status, what makes you feel important, and how you can expect your career life to develop. It also can offer insight into career interests.

The IC (fourth-house cusp) is associated with home and family, parents, your roots and childhood, as well as the physical environment of your home. This is the place you call your own and share with loved ones, literally and figuratively.

The sign on each angle gives a general indication of the affairs of that house. Planets in these houses also contribute to the overall chart interpretation, as you will see later in this book.





Aspects


Aspects are geometric angles, such as 90° or 120°. They connect the energy of two or more planets, reflecting ease, obstacles, challenges, or opportunities. The major “easy” aspects are the sextile and trine, and the aspects representing challenges are the square and opposition. The conjunction aspect can be either easy or challenging, depending on the planets involved (see figure 7). Chart 3 shows the major aspects and their degrees, glyphs, and keywords.

Ancient astrologers described the aspects as “bad” and “good,” or “malefic” and “benefic.”Although these definitions are still somewhat pertinent today, the meanings have been expanded and modified through centuries of experience and knowledge. Life today is also far different from what it was even as recently as a hundred years ago. So while in the past a square was interpreted as a sign of war, battle, or conflict, it’s now defined as an aspect of personal challenge, a life lesson, or what motivates an individual to take action. A Mercury-Mars square, for example, might have indicated physical battle in the past, while today it is associated more with temper, arguments, and verbal battles.

In Tiger Woods’s chart (page 17), Mars is trine (120° from) Pluto. An exact trine would occur if Mars were at 11°39' Gemini or Pluto were at 17°34' Libra, but the allowable orb of influence for a trine is 8°, meaning the two planets would be in trine aspect if they were anywhere from 112° to 128° degrees apart. Mars and Pluto are 125°59' apart, so they are “within orb.”You will learn more about orbs in chapter 5.

The Mars-Pluto trine reflects determination, ambition, willpower, and success easily achieved, and thus also reinforces the strength of the retro-grade Mars energy in Woods’s chart.





EPHEMERIS


Figure 8 shows a page from an ephemeris, the astrologer’s most valuable tool. You can purchase an ephemeris in book form that covers a time frame ranging from a single year to one hundred years, or use a computer program to generate your own ephemeris for any time period. An ephemeris is an essential astrological quick reference guide that lists the position of each planet—its sign and degree—on a given day. It also indicates when planets change direction to direct (D) or retrograde () motion. it’s also essential if you want to hand-calculate a chart. An ephemeris is also very important for another reason: A computer-calculated chart shows you the positions of the planets on the day you were born. What it doesn’t show you is whether a planet in your chart was stationing to turn direct or retrograde on the day you were born. The best way to find this information is to look at an ephemeris and find your birth date. Then you can scan from a week to ten days before and after your birthday to see if any of the planets were stationing.

An ephemeris is a gold mine of information.It’s greatest use is in predictive astrology, but



Figure 8. Astro America’s Daily Ephemeris, Page for September 2015

Notice at the very top of the left-hand side of the ephemeris page that both a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse are listed for that month. (A solar eclipse is also a New Moon, and a lunar eclipse is a Full Moon.) The data for the solar eclipse is “13 06:55 20 10,” followed by the Sun symbol and “Solar Eclipse (mag 0.788).” This means that the solar eclipse occurs on September 13, 2015, at 6:55 a.m. GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) at 20°10' Virgo, with a magnitude of 0.788.

Moving down, you can see the column headings for Day, S.T. (Sidereal Time, which is used to calculate a chart by hand), and the planets and North Node. The Sun and Moon are listed in degrees, minutes, and seconds, and the other planets are listed in degrees and minutes. Notice that the sign for each planet is listed after the degrees (the Sun is at 08°615'31").

Look at September 1 in the Venus column. It shows that Venus is retrograde. This is indicated by the “” in “1458.” Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are also retrograde as the month begins. Now look down the Venus column to September 7, and notice the “D” for “direct.” This indicates that Venus is in direct motion as of that date. Look at September 1, when Venus is at 1458, and how it barely moves during the first ten days of the month as it slows, stations direct, and then begins to move forward. You can see a similar pattern in Mercury, which is retrograde as of September 18.

In the upper left of the bottom half of the ephemeris page below the data for the day are the lunar phases for the month—third quarter (September 5), New Moon (September 13), first quarter (September 21), and Full Moon (September 28). Below that is an aspectarian showing the planetary aspects for every day of the month. (Aspects are explained in chapter 5.)

To the right of the aspectarian is a small table that lists the date and time of the Moon’s last planetary aspect in each sign and the date and time when the Moon enters the next sign.The time in between is when the Moon is void of course. Looking at the Moon column on the upper half of the page, you can see that the Moon begins the month in Aries. Then looking at the small table that shows the Moon’s last aspect, you see that the Moon’s last planetary aspect in Aries is formed on September 1 at 16:38 (4:38 p.m.) GMT. The Moon enters Taurus on September 2 at 9:03 a.m. GMT. So the Moon is void of course between September 1 at 4:38 p.m. and September 2 at 9:03 a.m.

This ephemeris includes the declination of each planet (not every ephemeris has declinations). This measures the planet’s place in degrees north or south of the celestial equator (Earth’s equator projected into space). Although declinations are not widely used, interest is increasing and some astrologers find them to be invaluable, especially in predictive astrology.

It’s also fun to track the Moon’s daily transit through your chart. The Moon will visit every house in your chart every month. You’ll begin to learn a little about predictive astrology just by doing this, and within a few months you’ll see a pattern begin to emerge. On some days you’ll be almost consistently upbeat, and on others you’ll want companionship or be in the mood to see friends or shop. Keep a diary so you can refer to it when you later begin to study predictive astrology.



Chart 4. Time Zone Conversions

Using your chart and an ephemeris for the current month, write outside the chart wheel the dates when the Moon will be (by sign) in each house. If you’re using an ephemeris from a book, then the times when the Moon enters and departs each sign will be listed as either noon or midnight GMT (look for this information on the cover of the ephemeris), so you will need to subtract the appropriate number of hours for a North American location (see chart 4). Because of this, the date when the Moon changes signs might actually be the day prior to what is listed in the ephemeris.If you’re using a computer program to create an ephemeris, you can set it for your time zone.

I find a noon GMT ephemeris to be the most useful when looking at the Moon’s transits because it results in a morning (a.m.) time when the time zone adjustment is made.

Take a few minutes every evening to jot notes in your astrological diary about how you felt that day and about any activities or outstanding events that occurred. Then compare your impressions to the transiting Moon’s position in your chart. You’ll probably see a pattern during the approximately two and a half days that the Moon is in each house, and you’ll certainly see one if you do this for several months. Take special note of the days when the Moon is at the same point as a planet in a house. They’re likely to be especially eventful.

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of astrology, you’re ready to take an in-depth look at the signs, planets, houses, and aspects. There is a chapter on each of these. In the last chapter you’ll learn how to read, or synthesize, a chart. Chart synthesis is the art of blending all the astrological symbolism to discover the many facets of your personality as well as your strengths, talents, interests, and challenges. Be sure to also look at the appendices. There you will find information about additional astrological factors, the branches of astrology, astrological organizations, and websites where you can get a free birth chart. There also is an extensive suggested reading list and glossary, plus a list of glyphs on the inside back cover.





CHAPTER TWO


THE SIGNS





SUN SIGNS


What exactly is a Sun sign? It’s where the Sun was when you were born. That’s it. This sign has taken on an almost larger-than-life significance in astrology because it’s easy to identify. All you need is your birth month and day. This is one reason for the popu­larity of Sun sign horoscope columns.

Your Sun sign is very important because it represents your basic ego and identity. Some people discover that their Sun sign is a completely accurate description of their personality. Others identify with some of the traits but not others, and a few feel they’re quite different from their Sun sign.Doubters, of course, cite this as proof that astrology is nothing more than amusement and call it a pseudoscience.

There’s a simple explanation for why you may not reflect all the traits of your Sun sign. There are ten planets in your chart, each of which contributes to your personality. That’s one reason. But there are two others that are far more important. The Ascendant, or rising sign, is the outward expression of your personality, and it is often a dominant personality component; it can be deter­mined only by calculating your chart for the exact date, time, and place you were born. (You’ll learn more about this in chapter 4.) Once you know your Ascendant, you should read the Sun sign section for that sign, as it will tell you more about your personality. The other factor, and one that’s tied directly to the Sun, is that another planet may have been very close to your Sun when you were born. Your Sun thus will take on some of the characteristics of this planet and the sign it rules.(You’ll learn more about this in chapter 5.) For example, if the Sun was close to Pluto when you were born, then you would have some of the traits of Scorpio, the sign that Pluto rules. But if you had two or three planets in the same sign as your Sun sign, then your personality would be much more true to your Sun sign.

There’s another factor that’s influential in some people’s personalities. If you were born near the beginning or end of your Sun sign period, then you were born “on the cusp” of the sign, as the Sun was transitioning from one sign to the next. For example, if the Sun enters Taurus on April 20 at 6:08 a.m. in Chicago (Central Daylight Time), then anyone born at that time and in that place at 6:08 a.m. or later is a Taurus.Anyone born in that location on the same date but before that time is an Aries. Cuspal birthdays generally are considered to be those that occur within about two or three days of when the Sun changes signs.

If yours is a cuspal birthday, then you probably will have some characteristics of both signs.In this case, the only way you can determine your true Sun sign is by calculating your chart.





Elements and Qualities


Every sign has an element and a quality. These represent the basic energy of the sign, and many of the characteristics associated with each sign are derived from these. No two signs have the same element and quality. The elements are also called triplicities, and the qualities are also called modes or quadruplicities.

There are four elements—fire, earth, air, and water—and three qualities—cardinal, fixed, and mutable. You should become very familiar with these, as they are key components of astrology and useful in finding the connections between planets, which are called aspects.



The fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. They’re energetic, adventuresome, outgoing, enthusiastic, and optimistic. People with a strong fire emphasis are often leaders and risk takers, with a can-do attitude. They also can be impatient, egotistical, and self-centered.



The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. These signs are steadfast, determined, realistic, and down-to-earth. A strong earth emphasis indicates common sense and is usually excellent for attaining material success. These people can be practical to a fault and so cautious that they may miss out on opportunities.



The air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. They’re the thinkers, mentally oriented and intellectual; they specialize in ideas and communication.

Air signs are intuitive, detached, and at times aloof and difficult to get to know.



The water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. These sensitive, emotional signs are associated with psychic ability, compassion, and creativity. People with a strong water emphasis often are moody, reflective, and protective of their emotions.



The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. These people have high energy and initiative and are self-starters. They like change and anything new, but they also can be impatient and impulsive and fail to complete what they start.



The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. People with fixed signs tend to dislike change unless it’s initiated by them. They have excellent follow-through and use their determination to achieve goals and overall life success. They can be as stubborn as they are determined.



The mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. These are go-with-the-flow people who adapt easily and quickly to any situation. They are comfortable with change, but can spread themselves too thin and be surrounded by half-completed projects.

These are some of the characteristics of the signs when the elements and qualities are combined:

Aries, cardinal fire: courage, initiative, impatient, impulsive, competitive, high energy

Taurus, fixed earth: stable, stubborn, determined, lazy, conservative, devoted

Gemini, mutable air: sociable, flirtatious, scattered, restless, alert, adaptable

Cancer, cardinal water: emotional, domestic, nurturing, protective, intuitive, receptive

Leo, fixed fire: confident, loyal, stubborn, snobbish, selfish, generous, affectionate

Virgo, mutable earth: practical, critical, reserved, discriminating, dependable, intuitive

Libra, cardinal air: people person, cooperative, impatient, fair, vain, dependent

Scorpio, fixed water: stubborn, relentless, emotional, distrustful, resilient

Sagittarius, mutable fire: freedom-loving, optimistic, honest, spendthrift, indulgent

Capricorn, cardinal earth: ambitious, conservative, responsible, pessimistic, patient

Aquarius, fixed air: independent, rebellious, aloof, inventive, intellectual

Pisces, mutable water: compassionate, sensitive, impressionable, impractical, self-absorbed





Masculine and Feminine Signs


The signs are classified as masculine or feminine (figure 9). This has no relationship to gender. A man can have a feminine Sun sign and be just as masculine as any other man, and a woman can have a masculine Sun sign and be very feminine. Some astrologers refer to these as positive (masculine) and negative (feminine), but these descriptors are also misleading.

Basically, the masculine signs are more extroverted and the feminine signs are more introverted. This is astrological tradition, even though some of them, such as Venus-ruled Libra, which is a masculine sign, hardly seem to fit the category. The masculine and feminine signs alternate, beginning with Aries.



Figure 9. Masculine and Feminine Signs

The masculine signs are Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius.

The feminine signs are Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces.





Polarities


The polarities are signs that are opposite each other (figure 10). For example, Aries is opposite Libra, and Taurus is opposite Scorpio. Although these signs in some respects are opposite in their characteristics, the real significance is that they complement each other. What one sign has, its polar opposite lacks, and vice versa. Yet they also share some of the same characteristics and thus are able to relate to one another. They also can learn a lot about life from each other. Most people attract people whose sign is the polar opposite of their Sun or rising (Ascendant) sign. There’s a lot of truth to the adage that opposites attract. The polarities are:

Aries/Libra

Taurus/Scorpio

Gemini/Sagittarius

Cancer/Capricorn

Leo/Aquarius

Virgo/Pisces



Figure 10. Sign Polarities





Decanates


Each 30° sign is divided into three 10° sections called decanates (figure 11 and chart 5). These are used extensively in Vedic, or Indian, astrology, and by some Western astrologers. Decanates add another interesting dimension to sign interpretation, primarily with the Sun and Ascendant, that seems to be valid from my experience.

The first ten degrees of a sign are ruled by that sign, the second ten degrees are ruled by the next sign of the same element, and the third ten degrees are ruled by the third sign of the same element. For example, the first decanate of Taurus is Taurus, the second decanate is Virgo, and the third decanate is Capricorn, representing the three earth signs. For Virgo, the first decanate is Virgo, the second is Capricorn, and the third is Taurus.

A first-decanate Virgo (a person born with his or her Sun between 0° and 10° Virgo) is thus a “true” Virgo, displaying all the Virgo characteristics in their purest form. A second-decanate Virgo (Sun between 11° and 20° Virgo) has a Capricorn influence and is thus more ambitious and concerned about status than a traditional Virgo. A third-decanate Virgo (Sun between 21° and 30° Virgo), with a Taurus influence, is more determined and stubborn than a traditional Virgo.



Figure 11. Decanates



Chart 5. The Decanates

You’ve already learned a lot about astrology and the basic traits of the signs as revealed through the elements, qualities, polarities, decanates, and masculine/feminine nature. This background is an excellent foundation for the next step—learning about the signs in more detail.

Take the time to study the first page for each Sun sign in this chapter. Each is a synopsis of the qualities of that sign that you can refer to over and over as you continue on your astrological journey. You’ll also find listed some famous people born under that sign. By observing them during media events, you’ll soon be able to spot characteristics associated with their Sun signs.

You can do something similar with the common things ruled by each sign. Think astrology as you go about your daily life, and begin to associate objects and events with the signs. For example, the next time you chop garlic, think of Aries, which rules knives and garlic. Libra rules jewelry, Capricorn rules watches, and Gemini rules mail. You can do the same with colors, flowers, and gemstones.

In addition to listing general personality traits, each Sun sign section includes information on relationships, career, and money.

Once you know your Ascendant sign (from a chart calculated for your exact birth date, time, and place), study that Sun sign section for additional insights into your personality. You might find the description of your Ascendant sign to be truer of you than that of your Sun sign on an outward, everyday level as you interact with people and your environment.





HOW TO SPOT AN ARIES


Scar on head or face

Head and/or body lean forward

Impatience

Glyph:

Symbol:the Ram

Ruling planet: Mars

Natural house: first house

Element: fire

Quality: cardinal

Body areas: head, eyes, face

Gemstone: diamond

Color: red

Flower: geranium

Key phrase: I am

Keyword: initiative

Personality traits: assertive, aggressive, leader, dynamic, pioneering, confident, risk taker, impatient, energetic, adventurous, daredevil, selfish, action-oriented

Countries/regions: Denmark, England, Israel, Palestine, Germany

Cities: Leicester and Birmingham, England; Berlin, Germany; Florence and Naples, Italy; Krakow, Poland; Marseilles, France

Common things ruled by Aries: furnace, fireplace, chimney, hat, stove/oven, garlic, knife, mustard, onion, surgery, pepper, acne, rhubarb, insomnia, thistle, tool, cactus, sheep

Famous people: Thomas Jefferson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, Harry Houdini, Bob Woodward, Nancy Pelosi, Warren Beatty, David Letterman, Quentin Tarantino, Al Gore, Kate Hudson, Norah Jones, Rosie O’Donnell, Keira Knightley, Jennifer Garner





Major strengths: leadership, confidence, courage

Major challenges: impulsive, impatient, limited follow-through

Think spring. Ice melts, rivers flow, plants emerge, everything is fresh and new. That’s Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Spring begins when the Sun enters Aries on the spring equinox.

Aries is refreshing, with a naiveté that’s both charming and invigorating. The Aries motto, “I can,” sums up the essence of this sign, which embodies its adventuresome, risk-taking, impulsive qualities. “Why waste time thinking about it?” Aries asks. “Just do it!” As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries might lack wisdom, but it makes up for it with initiative. That’s evident in the Aries glyph, 1, which is the horns of the Ram, the Aries symbol. Aries rams ahead with zesty enthusiasm.

As the first of the fire signs, Aries is the leader of the leadership pack, and the same can be said of its quality, cardinal. Together, the fire element and the cardinal quality add up to the ultimate live wire, with high energy, drive, instant action, and motivation. And Mars, Aries’ ruling planet, adds more fuel to the fiery nature of this sign.

Want to conquer new territory? Start a new project or jump-start an old one? Call an Aries to get things moving. Just don’t expect an Aries to hang around to see how it all turns out. If you need a lift or a fresh perspective, do lunch with an Aries. Just being in the presence of one will change your attitude to “can-do.”

Aries is all about Aries. It’s about I rather than we, about self rather than a duo, trio, group, or the world. Aries views everything from a personal perspective. Although Aries can be self-centered, that’s really not what this sign is all about. It’s more that Aries sees everything in terms of self: will it help me, will I profit from it, can I have it and can I have it now?

The Aries people I know are true go-getters and leaders. They’re also fearless, or at least that’s what those who don’t know them believe. Like everyone else, they have real fears, but they’re outweighed by a stronger urge: risk taking that’s sort of an I-dare-myself-to-do-it energy. And every one of them expects to succeed and does, more often than not.

Look to the house in your chart that has Aries on the cusp. That’s where you experience this sign’s energy. Whether it’s money, romance, friendship, or something else, you’re direct about it, willing to take risks, confident, and impulsive. You also take action based on what’s best for you.





Aries Sun Sign


As an Aries, you’re first in line—literally, figuratively, and zodiacally. Chances are, you were among the first to walk and the first to boldly explore your ever-widening environment, from home to neighborhood to city and the world. Where other people hesitate, you charge, embracing every new experience with the freshness of your springtime sign, the first in the zodiac. You’re a pioneer and a natural leader.

The original self-starter, you’re highly motivated and competitive, and often accept a challenge—or a dare—just to rack up another success. That’s great within reason, but bravery and boldness aren’t all it takes to succeed. Any accomplished general, athlete, or entrepreneur (many of whom share your Sun sign) knows that true success has its roots in planning, training/ education, and experience, which anyone can do. What makes you unique and successful is a willingness to take the calculated risk that less courageous people shy away from.

A calculated risk, however, is far different from the impulsive (and sometimes reckless) actions associated with Aries. Seize every one of the many genuine opportunities that come your way—after you’ve thoroughly considered the potential downsides. Make the odds work in your favor, rather than take the 50–50 chance that could trigger a firestorm and consequences best avoided. Limit the number of lessons learned the hard way.

Quick thinking can get you out of a jam in a flash. Making snap decisions about life’s most important matters, however, can backfire just as quickly. There’s also a fine line between competition and combativeness, assertion and aggression, and you can be as tactless as you are charming, loyal, and generous. You’ll get further by wisely choosing your battles—not all are worth fighting.

You move through life with high energy and enthusiasm, and your self-confidence instantly puts others at ease. That’s the ideal, but because you hate to wait for anybody or anything, it can be tempting to push others to meet your timeline. Learn to be patient with people and to respect their individuality. Not everyone is as perfect a match for today’s fast-paced, instantaneous world as you are.

Your lack of follow-through is both your greatest strength and greatest weakness. You love whatever is fresh and new and exciting, and want to be on top of the latest news, trends, and happenings, at the center of the action. Start-ups are your specialty, and you’re content to leave the rest to those better suited to follow-through and completion. Leadership is a real asset in the right situation, but good leaders are also good followers.


Relationships

Loyal and warmhearted, you’re devoted to your family, friends, and partner. You delight in helping others with advice and good works, yet it’s equally vital to you to maintain your independence. Doing both can be quite a juggling act, but because you want it all, you’re more than up to the task.

You know instinctively how to romance a date or your partner of many years. Only the royal treatment is good enough for someone you care about, and doing that pleases you more than receiving the same in return. As much as you enjoy welcoming new love into your life, you focus on one relationship at a time and are faithful to your date du jour. At times, it can be tough to let go and move on, but your adventuresome spirit—and the thrill of someone new—eventually prevails.

Long-lasting love, however, is entirely different. What you seek is a true partner, someone who’s supportive yet also understands your need to follow your own path. A meeting of the minds is as important as one of the heart.

You’re also devoted to loved ones—parents, siblings, and extended family—and the desire for a family of your own could motivate you to trade in your free-spirited lifestyle for a more stable one. For most born under your sign, family life is ultimately a stronger draw than going it alone.


Career

You might leave the impression that you’re here today, gone tomorrow, concerned only with the immediate future. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aries is ambitious. Within you is a driving force to reach the top, where your sterling qualities shine brightly.

Getting there, however, could be a challenge. It all depends on you—your day-to-day decisions and keeping the end goal in sight. If promotion or perceived progress lags, your first thought might be to chase a new opportunity. That’s okay if it’s the right one and a step up, or will lead to one. Like a mountain climber, your surest route to the top is a series of well-planned moves, step by step.

Remember, too, that you can showcase your leadership ability at the lowest levels of your career. Lead by example—show others the way, motivate them, and be everyone’s favorite team player. That, combined with knowledge and experience, is a formula for success.

Aries can excel in a wide variety of careers. You could be an exceptional business executive, entrepreneur, firefighter, athlete, surgeon, dentist or dental hygienist, machinist, or sculptor. Or you might find success in the military or construction trades.


Money

Although you have the occasional urge to splurge, it’s not your norm except when in the company of close friends, loved ones, or a date you want to impress. It’s your generous nature at its best and an expression of genuine caring.

You have a talent for making, managing, saving, and investing money, and tend to be more conservative than not. Generally thrifty, you willingly pay the price for what you want, but only if it’s fair value.

Finances are one area in which you should definitely avoid the tendency to make snap decisions, especially with investments. Here, too, planning and long-term goals can net the highest yield.

You also have a knack for making money work for you. Research the market for the best terms and interest rates and then bargain for more. Real estate—or just owning your own home—could net you a handsome profit.

Bottom line: you have the potential to amass a fortune. Your net worth also could increase through a family legacy, and possibly a far larger one than you ever imagined.





HOW TO SPOT A TAURUS


Stocky

Moves slowly

Dimple

Glyph:

Symbol: the Bull

Ruling planet: Venus

Natural house: second house

Element: earth

Quality: fixed

Body areas: throat, neck, vocal cords

Gemstone: emerald

Color: green

Flower: violet

Key phrase: I have

Keyword: possessive

Personality traits: patient, jealous, comfort- and pleasure-loving, stable, reliable, thrifty, practical, materialistic, thorough, steady, endurance, lazy, greedy, hard worker, planner, determined, common sense, logical

Countries/regions: Australia, Iran, the Netherlands, Ireland, Tasmania

Cities: Dublin, Ireland; Parma and Palermo, Italy; Rhodes, Greece; St. Louis, Missouri

Common things ruled by Taurus: money, copper, culture, artwork, purse, bank, storeroom, cattle, lily, pig, spinach, stock, wallet, wheat

Famous people: George Clooney, Bono, Cate Blanchett, Cher, Shirley MacLaine, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leonardo da Vinci, Tony Blair, Jack Nicholson, Sue Grafton, Barbra Streisand, David Beckham, Uma Thurman, Jessica Alba, Tim McGraw, Carmen Electra, Stephen Colbert, Mike Wallace





Major strengths: determination, common sense, thoroughness

Major challenges: stubbornness, possessiveness, inflexibility

Where Aries gets things moving, Taurus says, “Okay, we need to get organized and develop an action plan.” And where Taurus is involved, nothing goes unfinished. This fixed sign is the be-all and end-all of determination and more than a little stubborn. “Giving in” and “going with the flow” are not part of the Taurus vocabulary, unless of course Taurus makes that choice.

If you want a project completed, ask a Taurus, whose glyph () is the head and horns of the Bull, the Taurus symbol. But be prepared to wait. Taurus represents the ultimate in patience and is steady and reliable. This sign plods along at an even pace, reaching the finish line in its own time, with everything in order. Taurus will not be rushed.

There’s something very calming about Taurus energy. It can relax the most uptight, high-strung people just by being in the same space. And it’s even better when a Taurus also talks because most have soothing voices. (Some of the most outstanding singers and broadcast media personalities have a strong Taurus influence.)

The Taurus motto is “I have”—life is about me and my resources. Taurus is thrifty, being a practical earth sign, but this sign’s influence encompasses much more than money. Money is a security factor for Taurus, but so are possessions. Visit a Taurus and you’ll see a home that’s beautifully decorated with lovely furnishings. What you’ll notice most, however, is all the “stuff”—collectibles, dishes, knickknacks, plants (Taurus is the sign of the green thumb), artwork, anything in silver, and more. The other thing you’ll notice about a Taurus home is that it’s designed for comfort. This is a comfort-loving sign, with a preference for comfort food and a set daily routine.

Every Taurus I know is a master shopper. They all find the most incredible deals on absolutely anything they want. And they never hesitate to bargain for an even better deal. They’re the ones who say “take it or leave it” and never hesitate to walk away if the price isn’t right. Shop with a Taurus next time and cash in on this energy.

Artwork and anything beautiful appeals to this Venus-ruled sign, which also is happiest when in a relationship. Venus is, after all, the love planet. The Taurus eye for quality and beauty extends to people as well as possessions.

The house in your chart with Taurus on the cusp is where you’re practical and thorough but also slow, moving at your own pace. This is where your determination is strong and where you aim for completion. The areas associated with this house are fortunate overall, although you also can get too comfortable and resist change.





Taurus Sun Sign


You’re something of an enigma in this fast-paced world, preferring the slow, steady approach. And why not? After all, you usually reach the finish line right on schedule and sometimes ahead of time. Whatever you do, you do thoroughly and completely, to the best of your ability.

You rarely, if ever, jump into anything. You first think things through, examining all the pros and cons, the potential benefits and pitfalls. Although you savor the planning process and the anticipation of a new challenge, this thoroughness has much to do with another of your strong traits: determination. Once committed to a goal, you persevere, surmounting obstacles and difficulties that would deter even the bravest souls. Setting goals is thus not something you take lightly. Each goal is carefully considered for its success potential because you are reluctant to pursue any avenue that lacks a high probability of success. Patient to the max, you think nothing of working for years to get where you want to be.

You also know you’re stubborn—the flip side of determination—and there are times when your mind is set and you absolutely refuse to budge. This is especially evident when anyone asks, pleads, or insists that you change your habits. Very set in your ways, you cherish routine and dislike circumstances that threaten your material or personal security and stability. Even when you know deep down that change is positive, you tend to cling to the familiar, to stay in a rut, rather than take a chance on something new. Adaptability is a trait to strive for.

Possessions and money in the bank (plus investment and retirement funds) boost your comfort level. Beautiful objects appeal to your artistic nature, and the homes of some Taureans are filled with collectibles, memorabilia, and knickknacks. “Packrat” is an apt description for many born under your sign. If you’re among them, and clutter best describes your home décor, ask yourself why you feel compelled to save it all—even things that are no longer useful or usable. A cluttered environment often signals a cluttered mind and lifestyle. Simplify!

There’s no sign quite so sensual as Taurus, which is the first of the earth signs (the others are Virgo and Capricorn). You’re particularly attuned to the sense of touch and enjoy working with your hands. When shopping, you often judge the merits of a purchase partly by touch, and you won’t sacrifice comfort for the latest fashion. You also have excellent visual senses, especially for color and art. Many Taureans have distinctive voices and musical talent.


Relationships

You’re a devoted friend, partner, and family member and place high value on these relationships. Your concern for those you love is evident, and they appreciate your gentle, warmhearted people skills.

Your idealistic, compassionate side emerges with friends, and at times you put your own needs on hold in favor of theirs, doing all you can to make their lives easier. That’s a wonderful quality, but also one that makes you vulnerable to less ethical people. Place your trust only in those who have earned it.

Venus, your ruler, is also the universal planet of love. You place a high premium on romance and commitment, both of which are vital to your well-being. But strong emotions can trigger possessiveness and even jealousy when you feel insecure in a close relationship. You attract and are attracted to potential partners who share these traits, so it’s important to establish ground rules that foster independent lives within the union and a strong foundation of trust. Your relationship will be stronger for it.

Taureans cherish their families, and family life takes priority over all else for many born under this sign. Loyalty and pride run deep, and you go out of your way to give your loved ones only the best. If you’re a parent, you aim to give your children every advantage. But in that role you’re a worrier and can be critical and encourage an unrealistic level of perfection. Find the middle ground and let them explore and develop their strengths and talents, and allow them to make a few mistakes along the way.


Career

You strive for the same stability in your career as you do in every other area of life. That’s reality for some Taureans but not for others. Career changes can be sudden and unexpected, which is unsettling at best, unless you’re the initiator. You also have a knack for attracting opportunities. By following through with the most promising opportunities, you actually increase the odds for career stability and success—because then you’re in control of your future. So you might want to skip the thought of a lifetime married to one specific career and job and instead pursue new avenues that pop up where you can maximize your skills and talents.

Harmony and a pleasant, congenial working environment are essential to job happiness. You also need mental stimulation, people contact, and the freedom to work at your own pace and be creative. A never-ending chain of pressure-filled deadlines is not for you. You’re by far the best with follow-through and will see every task through to completion if it’s humanly possible.

When conditions are optimal, you’re a hard worker and you feel valued and appreciated. Otherwise, you become discouraged. Even so, you resist necessary job changes because of strong ties with coworkers. Putting yourself and your best interests first, however, is seldom a bad idea; move on when the time is right for you.

Because you enjoy working with your hands, you could find success as a massage therapist, florist, or hair stylist. If you have artistic talent or are interested in the arts, you might excel as an artist, singer, interior decorator, or art dealer, or in any number of fields in the theater or art or history museums. Financial careers interest many Taureans, who use their skills as mortgage or loan officers, tellers, and investment bankers. Others find their niche in the retail field.


Money

You’re naturally in tune with money matters. Common sense and a powerful drive for material and emotional security govern everything from your financial decisions to investments to your work life and even purchases.

Thrifty to the max, you have a sixth sense for finding bargains. Value is the determining factor, and even with millions in the bank you won’t buy unless the price is right. You also buy only the best and would rather own one expensive item—purchased on sale—than several of lesser quality.

But if you’re among the packrat set, your budget can get lost in the desire to snap up every good deal you find. If that’s true of you, set a monthly limit for must-have bargains and stick to it. Otherwise, one day you’ll awaken to discover every closet, drawer, and storage space filled with what have become useless purchases, some with the price tags still attached. A bargain unused isn’t a bargain—it’s only clutter.

Luck is part of your financial equation. You’re often at the right place at the right time to cash in on potentially lucrative investments, and can successfully negotiate a higher salary, incentives, and benefits. You also usually latch on to favorable interest rates more often than not.

Many Taureans accumulate sizable assets in their lifetimes, and gain through an inheritance from a family member or friend.





HOW TO SPOT A GEMINI


Long fingers and/or legs and arms

Talkative

Hand gestures

Glyph:

Symbol: the Twins

Ruling planet: Mercury

Natural house: third house

Element: air

Quality: mutable

Body areas: lungs, arms, hands

Gemstone: tourmaline

Colors: bright colors

Flower: lily of the valley

Key phrase: I think

Keyword: versatility

Personality traits: witty, lively, curious, restless, intelligent, multitasker, fickle, flirtatious, inquisitive, nervous, superficial, short attention span, scattered, communicator, curious, high-strung, fun-loving, quick thinker

Countries/regions: Belgium, northeast coast of Africa, Egypt, Wales, Sardinia

Cities: London, England; Nuremberg, Germany; Metz, France; San Francisco, California

Common things ruled by Gemini: errand, vehicle, mercury, mail, butterfly, book, bicycle, commute, neighbor, contract, sibling, desk, escalator, mechanic, monkey, paper, road, train, twins, walking, writing, speaking, puzzle

Famous people: John F. Kennedy, Nicole Kidman, Clint Eastwood, Mark Wahlberg, Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Marilyn Monroe, Drew Carey, Donald Trump, George H. W.Bush, Paul McCartney, Barbara Bush, Steffi Graf, Johnny Depp, Heidi Klum, Prince





Major strengths: versatility, curiosity, communication

Major challenges: high-strung, inconsistent, restless

Need to know something? Ask a Gemini. Communication is the essence of this air sign, which specializes in information, writing, and speaking. Gemini is also about learning and the thought process, just like Mercury, its ruling planet. This sign’s motto is, appropriately, “I think,” and this is what Gemini does best. The Gemini brain is highly active, with synapses firing at a rapid pace, processing an astounding amount of information. And a Gemini brain usually can think about two (or more) things at once.

Every time you read a book, newspaper, magazine, or web page, run errands, talk with someone, send an e-mail, or play a game, you’re doing a Gemini activity. And a true Gemini can do several of these things at once, just like its symbol, the Twins. All this activity also represents the mutable quality of this sign, which takes most everything in stride and is highly adaptable to changing conditions.

Gemini is the sign that appears to be, and attempts to be, everywhere at once in order to satisfy an insatiable curiosity, be in the middle of everything, and know everything that’s going on. The more variety, the better, is how Gemini views life. So it’s easy for people with a strong Gemini influence to spread themselves too thin. Gemini also is known for scattered energy, nervous tension, and a short attention span.

People with a strong Gemini influence don’t like to take life too seriously. They prefer the lighter side, with plenty of socializing, where their wit, charm, and people skills make an impact. And Gemini is the consummate flirt.

It’s tough to keep up with a restless, inquisitive Gemini. They’re constantly on the go, in motion, walking, thinking, gesturing with their hands, tapping their feet, and talking—all with marvelous physical and hand-eye coordination.

One Gemini I know is a fabulous joke teller and an excellent public speaker, which are two talents associated with this sign. Two other Gemini friends, however, are nonstop talkers who rarely listen; they have no idea how to have a give-and-take conversation, which is one of the less-favorable traits of this sign.

The house in your chart with Gemini on the cusp is where your curiosity comes alive. This is also the area of life that you think and talk about a lot, and where you can quickly become overprogrammed and overcommitted. There are also many changes associated with this house and its affairs.





Gemini Sun Sign


Multitasking is one of Gemini’s greatest talents. In fact, boredom sets in when life requires anything else. You prefer to be here, there, and everywhere all at the same time, and Gemini is the only sign that comes close to literally being in two places at once. Actually, your mind is often in one location, and your physical presence in another, giving you the best of both. Yet you can focus intensely for short periods of time, and grasp as much or more than others do in twice as much time.

Curiosity is another of your strengths, which makes you a perfect fit for the information age. Information fuels your mind and body, and you’re forever in search of the latest news in your immediate environment and the world at large. Geminis are usually avid readers and conversationalists, and many are excellent public speakers or writers. But some slip into a negative pattern in which they talk far more than they listen, and prefer gossip to facts.

People often perceive you as an expert in many subjects and fields of study. What they don’t know is that your vast data bank includes bits and pieces of this and that, as well as a wider spectrum of information about any area that interests you. Although you might view this as a lack of depth and even envy those who possess true expertise, you’re actually way ahead of the crowd. It’s your true nature to be able to do many things well, rather than just one or a few.

You’re also clever and a quick study. You remember what you learn and can easily apply knowledge gained in one area to another, unrelated task.

As with everyone, however, there are times when your greatest strengths also can be your greatest challenges. For you, this involves blending your many talents and interests into a unified effort in order to reach your full potential. For example, you could combine computer knowledge with verbal skills for a career in tech support.

Geminis are noted for their youthful appearance, wit, and charm, as well as their adaptability. Sidestepping obstacles comes naturally to you, and you’re stimulated by change, action, and opportunity. Novelties catch your interest, and you’re often among the first to acquire the latest techno-gadget.

A true free spirit, you resist conformity unless it suits your purposes, and you excel at finding an alternate path around rules and regulations that might limit your individuality. Freedom of movement, both physical and mental, is extremely important to your well-being.


Relationships

Geminis are fun and flirtatious, carefree and lighthearted, popular and clever. That’s an ideal formula for an active social life that includes many friends. People tend to pop in and out of your life, creating a nonstop supply of fresh faces to satisfy your curiosity about human nature.

You seek mental stimulation in a partnership, as well as someone who