Astrology: An Introductory Course
Learn to understand the stars.
Appeared in Conscious Living Magazine (2008).
Maleny Tarot and Astrologer for readings and lessons
With the recent advent of a greater interest in all things astrological I thought that it might be a great time to present an introductory course in astrology. This course will run over 24 months and be segmented into 12 issues. Each issue will cover one astrological sign, one house of the horoscope and one ruling planet - thus making up the complete zodiac.
Astrology is among many things a language, a language of the stars, and it is in my opinion a very useful language to speak and comprehend. It has in my experience, deepened my understanding of humankind, the world we inhabit and what we call soul. It is very useful to know the basics when meeting potential new suitors, housemates and workmates. To know what it means that his Sun is in Capricorn, Moon is in Scorpio and he has a Leo ascendant or rising (probably driving a BMW and hell bent on world domination, but will pick up the tab for dinner). Of course everyone is unique, but there are a few general ground rules that can be helpful in dealing with certain situations in life. So I hope that you will read on and perhaps join me in an astrological journey of discovery over the coming years.
Returning to the theme or allegory, of astrology as a language, it has like all languages an alphabet of symbols, which make up characters and these characters can tell stories. Stories that have been told down through the ages, which resonate in our lives, like well trodden paths. Patterns of behaviour repeating themselves, archetypal characters from Greek, Roman, Norse, Celtic and many more cultural myths, which we seem to inhabit from time to time - as we play betrayer and or victim in steamy tragedies transposed to the suburbs of our modern lives.
Basically there are 3 main interrelated systems that need to be learnt - the planets from Sun to Pluto, the twelve signs from Aries to Pisces and the corresponding twelve houses. Thus we have a collection of planetary bodies which rule, transit and inhabit our twelve signs and houses. It is therefore easy to learn and remember which planet rules, which sign and which house - another useful allegory that has been used in the past is to imagine the planet - say Mercury as the actor/character in a play, the sign of the zodiac the costume he or she wears and the house placement the stage setting upon which he or she walks. The Mercurial Kath, from TV's Kath and Kim, adorned in the self-consciously, somewhat sporty, Virgoan, crotch biting tights striding around the 4th house of Casa Fountain Lakes. Hold that image and see it as the beginning of new knowledge that may unlock the doors of your perception.
The KEY 3 Sets of Corresponding Symbols
Signs - Planets - HousesAries - Mars - 1st House = Cardinal Fire
Taurus - Venus - 2nd House = Fixed EarthGemini - Mercury - 3rd House = Mutable Air
Cancer - Moon - 4th House = Cardinal WaterLeo - Sun - 5th House = Fixed Fire
Virgo - Mercury - 6th House = Mutable EarthLibra - Venus - 7th House = Cardinal Air
Scorpio - Pluto - 8th House = Fixed WaterSagittarius - Jupiter - 9th House = Mutable Fire
Capricorn - Saturn - 10th House = Cardinal EarthAquarius - Uranus - 11th House = Fixed Air
Pisces - Neptune - 12th House = Mutable Water
We begin with the sign of Aries, our Cardinal Fire sign - where fools rush in - you may know an Arien or have that sign highlighted in your own horoscope. Perhaps you have felt that rush of blood to the head or observed the resultant behaviour in an intimate - exciting stuff! The planet Mars rules the sign of Aries and he is the God of War - like the hero Achilles bestride a chariot, armed to the teeth with sword and spear, in full flight or fool flight (sometimes), hell bent on some destruction.
A metaphor for the energy that is required to begin, to be born, breakout of the birth canal and scream that first cry of life. Aries is the first sign and illuminates all the planets and positions that inhabit it with the desperate need to be first - it rules the 1st house in the house system. The 1st house represents the body, the skin, the basics of the self - who am I? It is the spirit about to be manifest in a body, an idea about to be launched into the world and the passion of love that can enrapture and destroy anything in its way.
So you can now see the three sets of symbols that interact to form the first of twelve segments that make up the zodiac. Applying this information to your own chart you would look firstly to find the sign of Aries, which is represented by the symbol ------ signifying the horns of the ram. Is the sign of Aries, in your horoscope, empty of planetary bodies or does it contain one or more? Whatever planet or planets reside in Aries at the moment of your birth will be coloured by that restless, aggressive energy and will seek to be first, to be prime in their sphere of influence.
A couple of examples: Sun in Aries - the Sun is our larger sense of self, another step on from Mars in the inspiring fire ruled journey of life and the two planets are integral to each other. Our Sun is where we are heading and Mars is how we enact that through our desires, Sun in Aries is in a hurry to get wherever it wants to go and unless there are major impediments, adversely aspecting this placement it will be headstrong, impulsive, quick witted, spontaneous and initially determined to get there. Its sense of self is warrior- like in its desire to achieve.
Venus in Aries - is what one values and finds beautiful and this placement has elements of a martial nature, the sleek warrior, the front-on assault to love - no wimps for this Goddess of Love. It is an interesting home for love and brings it quickly to the fore and makes it numero uno in this person's life. In both of these planetary placements you would look to see what house the sign of Aries falls in as another sphere of influence at to where these archetypal forces are being played out.
Is our Sun in Aries burning in the 1st house, meaning that the chart holder has a Pisces or Aries ascendant or rising, thus reinforcing the Mars/Aries influence upon them. The body type would usually be prominent with strong features, larger head, perhaps muscular and facially coloured florid or redder. The skin would speak of life's challenges and passions throughout their journey. It would be important in this person's life to be seen to be virile, active and a trailblazer in life.
Placing the Sun in Aries in another house, for instance the 2nd house, would move this energy out of the body somewhat, into that person's world of values and possessions. It may be their home or car that now bursts with thrusting Arian Sun energy, to be the best or most beautiful or biggest, or it may be what they regard as most prized. I can see a red sports car, a trophy spouse or a Tuscan Mcmansion on the hill.
The sign of Aries may appear empty in your chart but look and find what houses intersect the sign - as you learn and understand what those houses signify - you will find that those houses are influenced by their placement in Aries & thus those areas of your life.Next we look to find the placement of Mars in your horoscope, the sign and house it resides in, as this will reveal how the expression of your desires are influenced and where they take place in your life. How your call to action is played out, how anger flares or doesn't and where the blood flows. Where sexual desire and its resultant enactment plays out - the hot spot so to speak.
Mars is symbolised by the erect phallus, its head full of blood, pointing in the direction of what it so desires, reaching out to penetrate, conquer and begin union - and this energy resides in us all, man or woman. So much of sexual arousal happens in the head and this is where Aries/Mars lives. Mars in the fire signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius will be quick to arousal, quick to anger and quick to arms.
Mars in the earth signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn will be slower, more cautious in their responses but once aroused will be enflamed for longer. Mars in the air signs Gemini, Libra and Aquarius will be strategic and clever in their lightning fast appraisal of their desires and their costs. Mars in the water signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces will bubble and steam in the depths of their sensitive desires and churn and spit in the pit of their stomach when so aggrieved.
Where are these colourful actions taking place? On what stage or in what house are they unfolding at various times of our lives? Mars in the 1st house would be doing its bit in and on the body, the head and face - a few broken bones I bet. In the 2nd house reaching out for beauty, things and possessions and in the 3rd house communicating, desiring frequent, interpersonal exchanges - chatting up life. The 4th house surging around the home and family, desiring the essence of the hearth, and in the 5th house wonderful love affairs and remarkable children. In the 6th house it would be in service to others and dealing with issues of health; and in the 7th house the perfect relationship whether of love or hate. The 8th house desires other people's money and or their husbands and wives; and in the 9th house Mars seeks the knowledge and or experience of God. In the 10th it seeks the power and the glory on earth; and in the 11th house it seeks its pleasure and influence in friends and groups. Finally in the 12th house Mars desires dissipation in some end game of the spiritual realm.
Fire = Aries - Leo - Sagittarius
Earth = Taurus - Virgo - Capricorn
Air = Gemini - Libra - Aquarius
Water = Cancer - Scorpio - PiscesThe Planets
Fire = Mars - Sun - Jupiter
Earth = Venus - Mercury - Saturn
Air = Mercury - Venus - Uranus
Water = Moon - Pluto - NeptuneThe Houses
Fire = 1st - 5th - 9th = Personal Houses
Earth = 2nd - 6th - 10th = Practical Houses
Air = 3rd - 7th - 11th = Social Houses
Water = 4th - 8th - 12th = Terminal HousesTo sum up what we have covered, before I present you with the questions that will determine your score in this first instalment of Astrology for Beginners, lets go over the main points to remember. Like learning the alphabet, when you were a child, it pays to repeat the order of the names in the zodiac again and again - Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer - form the first triplicity - then the four elements are repeated in order again by Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio - forming the second triplicity - then once again the same order of elements this time represented by Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces - completing the triplicity. This helps you to remember because you know it goes Fire, Earth, Air then Water each time. There is of course a reason for this ordering of the elements and it forms the basis of many ancient philosophies - outlining how spirit enters matter to become reason before reason meets feeling and is deepened to return to a state of oneness in an ever-repeating spiral through the zodiac.
Each element also contains a cardinal sign, a fixed sign and a mutable sign and these groups of four are so defined by their crossed position on the zodiac. The cardinal signs and their planetary rulers are recognised by their initiating or beginning quality - they are most at home starting something new Aries/Mars is full of new ideas; Capricorn/Saturn new rules to live by; Cancer/Moon new emotional considerations and Libra/Venus new ways to relate.
The fixed signs are the manager/mothers of the zodiac - keeping things going Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius. Stubborn energy is sometimes required to keep a family or business together and the fixed signs are so disposed to do so. Mutable energy has qualities of both and is defined most by its flexible nature and in my opinion can be often found at the ending of things. Gemini is mutable Air; Virgo mutable Earth; Sagittarius mutable Fire and Pisces mutable Water.
Practise remembering by rote the descending order of signs, Aries right through to Pisces, and then practise remembering the corresponding three sets of symbols - Aries = Mars = 1st House; Taurus = Venus - 2nd House and so on. Ask yourself why Mars rules Aries and the 1st house, what are the qualities of Mars and Aries and the 1st House, what do they have in common? This is an alphabet that you need to initially master on a basic level and in time your appreciation and understanding of the meaning of the symbols will deepen.If you would like to receive a Certificate of Astrology Introductory Level, simply complete each lesson over the next 12 issues, by answering the questions below and submitting them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org at the conclusion of each issue. Prior to the publication of each issue, containing a lesson, prizes will be awarded to those with the highest scores and most compelling intelligent astrological answers and acknowledged excerpts of these will be published in Eco Living Magazine. Thus sharing the wisdom within our Eco Living Health Aware community and fostering greater learning among us all.
1a. How many sets of KEY corresponding astrological symbols are referred to here?
1b. How many houses are there in a horoscope?
1c. What planet rules Aries?
1d. What house corresponds to the sign of Aries?
1e. Describe some of the qualities inherent in the sign of Aries?
2a. Name the correct order that the elements Air, Fire, Water, Earth appear in the zodiac?
2b. Name the three planets that rule the fire signs?
2c. Name the fire signs in the order that they appear in the zodiac?
2d. Name the colour that you would think represents Aries?
2e. Describe the element of fire and your understanding of its qualities?
3a. If the sign of Aries is empty of planetary bodies in your birth chart does it still have any influences in your chart?
3b. How does the house placement of Mars effect its influence and actions?
3c. How does the sign placement of Mars effect its influence and actions?
3d. Describe your understanding of Mars and its possible effects?
4a. List what are known as the Personal Houses?
4b. Name the cardinal fire sign?
4c. Name the planetary ruler of the cardinal fire sign?
4d. Describe your understanding of cardinal energy?
5a.What parts of the body do I refer to as particularly Arien?
5b. Describe some of the qualities of the 1st House?
5c. List five historical figures who you would describe as Arien & your reasons why?
6a. List the twelve signs of the zodiac in their correct order?
6b. Name the planetary ruler of each house in the zodiac in the correct order?
7a. Write a short essay on Mars, with particular reference to understanding its expression in your own life. (max 500 words)