Astrology is so vast; where do I start?

March 8th, 2011

A regular reader of this blog left a wonderful comment the other day on my other blog, Astro4Business Intersections.  She had read my Monthly Forecast and asked this question:

How does one begin to focus with astrology and look for main ideas? … When I teach and work with a really difficult piece of literature, I often tell students which is the central character or idea for focus and then encourage them to read all of it and allow the other information to sift or ebb/flow as it may.

I thought this was a great tip:  to pick a main focus and let other information flow as it may.  I’ve thought about this a lot in the last few days and realized that, given different temperaments, different people may want to dip into to the pool of astrological knowledge at different places.  Here are five suggestions for ways you can get your feet wet in astrology without drowning in TMI.

First snowdrop in spring. (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

1. The Zodiac Signs – The zodiac signs are an excellent place to start, especially now as we’re on the cusp of the Equinox.  Each month, study the Sun sign for that month.  For example, while the Sun is in Aries from March 20 to April 20, focus only on Aries.  For thirty days, read everything you can on Aries.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere and you see signs of spring, think, there’s Aries.  Skim astrological articles    for mentions of Aries.  Read about Aries and its ruler, Mars, in Wikipedia and mythology.  Collect some descriptions and ask your Aries friends if these characteristics fit them.

Don’t read about any other sign – really immerse yourself in Aries.   Then on April 20, move on to Taurus.  You won’t believe how deep your knowledge will go if you focus on just the signs each month for one year.

2. The Outer Planets – This is a special interest of mine.  The outer planets correspond to broad movements in society.  They are called generational planets because everyone born within a certain generation has them in the same sign – you could say that the characteristics of the outer planets in their signs define a generation.

When I first began reading people’s charts I began my study by reviewing the position of the outer planets rather than the more commonly read personal planets.  To me, the outer planets revealed the backdrop, the societal stage that the person entered when they were born.  I think you can only understand a person within the context of their historical environment and its challenges.  I still keep this factor in mind whenever I look at a chart.

If this is your interest, study Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.  Read everything you can on the astrological interpretation of these planets as well as their mythology.  Find out the sign they currently inhabit and see if you can see the impact of the planet in the world.  When you listen to the news or read the paper or watch television or movies, look for the activity of the planet in trends and headlines.

Uranus enters Aries this week, so it’s a great time to begin this kind of study.  Focus only on the outer planets to get a broad understanding of astrology and society.

3. Sun, Moon, and Ascendant – For a more personal immersion in Astrology, focus on the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant.  And since the person we know best is ourselves, focus only on your own chart.  Get to know the sign and house of your Sun and Moon.  Read about your Ascendant and the planet that rules your Ascendant.  See if you can relate to what you discover.  List ways you are like your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant and ways you are different.

This choice will get you into the houses of the chart.  Note the house of your Sun, Moon, and ruler of your Ascendant.  Learn everything you can about those houses.  See if you recognize the importance of these areas of life to you.  If you learn these chart factors thoroughly, you will lay a sound foundation for understanding your own life dynamics.

Ares (Mars), Athenian black-figure amphora C6th B.C., Worcester Art Museum. (Source:Wikipedia)

4. Mars – Another good place to start is with the planet Mars.  Mars represents the active, outgoing principle in our lives so his movements and influence are very apparent.  I find Mars the easiest planet to track because he’s hard to miss!

Mars is in Pisces right now and is moving through the signs at the rate of about one each month.  Find out exactly where Mars is traveling through your chart right now and track him as he aspects your planets, changes signs, and changes houses.  Read everything you can about Mars and feel for his energy in your body and your vitality For example, with his ingress into his own sign Aries on April 1, watch for changes in your energy level and in how much you get done in a day.

Tracking Mars is one sure way to see the impact of astrology in your personal world and the world around you.

5. The best astrology blog – The best astrology blog for beginning and intermediate students of astrology, besides this one, of course, is Donna Cunningham’s blog, Sky Writer.  Donna covers basic topics with wisdom and decades of experience, and her writing style is engaging and easy to follow.  She speaks in lay-person terms and covers a wide range of topics.  You can also search her archives for any of the suggestions I have listed above.

Her comments section exhibits one of the most active readerships in the astrological blogosphere but if you’re a beginner, stick to Donna’s blog articles only.  The comments can tend to get a bit technical for the newcomer.

As you engage in your study, be sure to bring your questions here to the comments section.  As you see from this reader’s comment, her question inspired a blog post that many people will appreciate.  And I love questions:  my Gemini/Sagittarius nature finds the question/answer format the easiest to respond to and I always learn something new myself!

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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  114. Nicole says:

    I am loving this! :) So I’ve started with Aries and have read several sites and am compiling some information. One question: One site mentioned that Aries “rules” (I think) the first house and the eighth, but another mentioned the “traditional” thought was that it ruled the 3rd and 8th. My first question is how much does the ruling house impact knowledge of the zodiac sign?

    And second, is the first site or the second correct in the 3rd/1st discrepancy?

    I also am very intrigued by the Outer Planets idea and so have begun looking at Uranus, Neptune and Pluto: how long are these the planets of focus?

    Great suggestions, all of them. I look forward to this each month and getting to the other suggestions a bit at a time too.


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      Hi, Nicole.

      In my opinion, signs don’t “rule” houses at all. There is the natural zodiac of 12 signs, from Aries to Pisces, and there are 12 houses. Sometime, way back when, the meaning of the houses may have been derived from the natural zodiac. But houses and signs are very different things. Signs are derived from the stars on the ecliptic, the path of the sun. Houses are derived from the hours of the day. Signs indicate archetypal and cyclic phases of all life; houses are more mundane, they are where the action takes place.

      There are some similarities between signs and houses. Aries is the first sign; the first house is the first house. Both are firsts, and carry some of that “first” energy just like a first child or a first love affair would. So in that sense they are related, but not as you seem to have read.

      AND different astrologers see things in different ways. You will find as you pursue your study that there is a wide range of opinion and practice, and some astrologers would vehemently disagree with the above, and some astrologers don’t use signs or houses at all!

      To your second question, Aries is ruled by Mars. Mars rules Aries, the first sign, and traditionally was the ruler of Scorpio, the eighth sign. I’ve never heard Mars or Aries connected with the 3rd house or sign.

      When you ask how long Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto will be planets of focus, I think you mean how long will they be in their respective signs. Pluto will be in Capricorn until 2024, a very long time. Uranus will be in Aries for seven years. Neptune will change signs next year, into Pisces, and will be in Pisces until 2026. So we’ve got a good long time to understand their passage through these signs.

      Great questions…

  115. Nicole says:

    Perfect. Tomorrow I go to my favorite local bookstore to purchase my first Astrology Notebook. This is exactly the kind of suggestions/direction I need. I am grateful. I feel like I’m taking my new favorite online class.

    Thank you. More to come.

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