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if you are wondering about the exotic terms in your birth chart and how they are used to interpret your character (and to thereby predict your behaviour, which is the predictive element in astrololgy) this page explains all (well, almost!)
cosmological reference points
THE SUN rune
mercury rune
venus rune
mars rune
jupiter rune
saturn rune
uranus rune
neptune rune
pluto rune
chiron rune
the north node rune
the south node rune
the ascendant rune
the midheaven rune

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Astrological Charts:
An astrological chart is created by converting a date, time and location into a plottable format known as sidereal time. Sidereal time is defined as the hour angle of the vernal equinox. When the meridian of the vernal equinox is directly overhead, local sidereal time is 00:00. Greenwich Sidereal time is the hour angle of the vernal equinox at the at Greenwich, England (the prime meridian); local values differ according to longitude. Eastward 15° in longitude, sidereal time is larger by one hour. Unlike computing local solar time, differences are counted to the accuracy of measurement, not just in whole hours.  Sidereal time is used at astronomical observatories because it makes it very easy to work out which astronomical objects will be observable at a given time. Objects are located in the sky using right ascension and declination relative to the celestial equator (equivalent to longitude and latitude on Earth.
Your Birth Chart: What it shows
The time of your birth and the location, are converted to sidereal time and the date used to look up the positions of the planets (ascension/declination) on your birth date at the sidereal time for your birth & location. An Ephemeris with this information can be obtained at good book stores and with patience, and a good head for maths, it is quite straightforward to plot your own chart. What is plotted are the positions, relative to you, of the bodies in our solar system, including Chiron, the 'planetoid' and also the notional locations of the North & South 'nodes' of the Moon. The Ascendant is the 'rising' sign on the ecliptic horizon (see below) and the mid-heaven (median coeli) is determined as is it's opposite point, the imum coeli). These are the main points of reference used when drawing a birth chart. The planets, associated with various gods, represent motivation.
The Zodiac: How the Sky is Charted
The Zodiac originated as a practical device for measuring time. Your chart is a mapping of space and time, and you need to think in three dimensions instead of a normal map's two. What is being charted is an imaginary sphere, surrounding the Earth on which the stars appear to lie. The earth eas, of course, conceived as being central to things and the Sun appeared to move around it. The path the Sun appeared to take is known as the ecliptic. Projecting the Earth's equator onto the celestial sphere beyond gives a celestial equator - this intersects the ecliptic twice: at the Vernal Equinox and again at the Autumnal Equinox. The points at which the ecliptic is furthest from the equator are the solstice points. These points mark out the year, the Vernal Equinox starts the year (Aries), the first day of spring; then through the summer solstice (Cancer) to the Autumn Equinox (Libra), on through the winter solstice (Capricorn) and then the year begins anew. The notional journey that the sun makes is divided into 12 parts, each of 30 degrees. The equator is divided into 24 parts (of 15 degrees) known as 'hours' - beginning with The Ascendant sign at dawn, each sign passes through this point in every 24 hours. The signs applied to the 12 divisions of the ecliptic are for convenience - an easy way to name a section of sky, against which the planets of our system move, by using the main constellation within it.This is the zodiac.  The signs indicate how the motivation (planets, above) will be applied.
The 'fixed' stars of the constellations that give the zodiac it's sign names are used in the oldest known form of astrology - and fixed star atsology is still available today from a few astrologers, including Heart Shaped World.
The Zodiac Houses
The area surrounding the earth is also divided into sections, known as Houses. There are several different methods for determining these, including an equal house system and several proportional systems based on different timings and calculations - all of them use 12 divisions, each 'ruled' by one of the zodiac signs according to the notional starting point.  These houses are each ascribed a sphere of human life. The Houses (described individually below) show in which sphere of life the motivation (planets) and direction (signs) will be applied. Whilst each House has a ruling sign and planet, these are not necessarily located in that House at your time of birth but are more likely to be influencing factors elsewhere.


zodiac houses rune
air rune
earth rune
fire rune
water rune
cardinal signs
fixed signs
mutable signs

house ruling sign and sphere of life concerned ruling planet
1st house aries mars
aries psychological - well-being & motivation
This sign includes the Ascendant, or rising sign. The personality & temperament, physical characteristics - all things outwards. A planet within 10 degs of the Ascendant will have a powerful influence on these factors.
physical energy, initiative
Associated with Ares, a greek god lucky in war but not so in love. Originally an agricultural god (as so many were, hence the associations with a system deriving from an agricultural calendar). Mars is concerned with the masculine nature - strongly sexual, aggressive, decisive, hasty, positive, energetic. Rules Aries and has influence over Scorpio. Men are from Mars....
2nd house taurus venus
taurus possessions, feelings
Attitude to security, possessions & partners. Emotional & financial security are closely linked as are money & love. Consider the origins of private property.
harmony, unison, love
... and women are from Venus.The planet for lovers, concerned with personal relationships and with the feminine nature - gentleness, tact, social graces, art, fashion, negativity & indecision, dependence.  This is so sexist... but you have to forget gender when looking at Venus & Mars. Associated with mighty Aphrodite, rules Taurus & Libra.
3rd house gemini mercury
gemini brothers, sisters, transport, early education
Communication, day to day travel, near relatives (other than parents), the influence of school life
mind, communication
Hermes, not the accessories store. Messenger of Zeus. The intellect, versatility, communications, also argumentative, critical, tense and highly strung. Rules Gemini & Virgo.
4th house cancer the moon
cancer home, domestic life, parents
The maternal influence especially. Emphasis on the home also has a bearing on the subject as a parent & home-maker.
instinct, intuition, emotion, fluctuation
two sides to feminity, beauty & cruelty, meet in the Moon. Circe, Selene, Hecate... the Moon goddess has always been a strong cult and the tidal tug of the Moon associates it with natural cycles. Cool, changeable. Rules Cancer.
5th house leo the sun
Leo creativity, pleasure, love affairs, risk-taking, father
The House of Creativity: not simply through the arts but in all aspects of life - interests, recreation and work. The parents relationship with children is included here also. Whilst the 7th House shows emotional involvements, affairs begin here in the 5th.
self-expression, vitality
The Sun god has ousted the Moon goddess. Masculine traits of controlling the chaos of nature to bring forth culture are celebrated. Generosity of heart, affection, magnanimity, creativity & joy, but also self-esteem and the inclination to pomposity. Hot, reliable. Rules Leo.
6th house virgo mercury
virgo health, diet, exercise, routine, duty
Duty is a keyword - 'servants' were once listed as a 6th house concern. Here it is our 'duty' to ourselves, in terms of how we manage our minds and bodies as well as our sense of duty to the community we live in.
mind, communication
Hermes, not the accessories store. Messenger of Zeus. The intellect, versatility, communications, also argumentative, critical, tense and highly strung. Rules Gemini & Virgo.
7th house libra venus
libra partnerships, relationships
One to one relationships, both emotional and business or creative, partners, colleagues - even 'surrogate' partners, such as pets, consuming interests, basket balls with names...
harmony, unison, love
... and women are from Venus.The planet for lovers, concerned with personal relationships and with the feminine nature - gentleness, tact, social graces, art, fashion, negativity & indecision, dependence.  This is so sexist... but you have to forget gender when looking at Venus & Mars. Associated with mighty Aphrodite, rules Taurus & Libra.
8th house scorpio pluto
scorpio sex, investment, inheritance, death
Yes, it's a strange list. 'Death' refers to interest in matters relating to the afterlife, but also refers to major changes - rebirths, new beginnings. Sex - it is the house of the life-force & sexual instincts are focused here. Traditionally, also, the House of Crime, Research & Investigation.
elimination, change, power
Pluto, the god, is very much like Ares, another farming deity, this time promoted to master of the Underworld. Concerned with human reproduction, buried emotions - the subconscious, to overcoming obstacles. Also to slyness, secretive behaviour, and with cruelty. Rules Scorpio (with help from his buddy Mars).
9th house sagittarius jupiter
sagittarius higher education, travel, ideals, dreams, quests
Challenges & self improvement. Idealistic & philosophical outlook. The law, publishing, language skills and long journeys.
expansion - intellectual & physical
Concerned with learning, philosophy, languages, linked with optimism, loyalty & justice, also with extravagance, elf-indulgence & conceit.  Rules Sagittarius and has an influence over Pisces.
10th house capricorn saturn
capricorn aspirations & ambitions
Authority, and how we exercise it, social status, tradition, life progress. How we cope with power and responsibility.
stability, restriction, limitation, control
Another farmer-deity, gives us Christmas (Saturnalia). Perseverance & tenacity, practicality & cautiousness, selfishness, narrow-mindedness.  Rules Capricorn, has significant influence over Aquarius.
11th house aquarius uranus
aquarius friends, social life, conscience & objectives
The importance of the social circles & friendships, social conscience & causes, objectives outside career interests
change, disruption, shock (& awful puns)
You don't want to know the mythology (it involves incest & genital mutilation so its probably the ruler of Channel 4 documentaries). Originality, versatility & independence, this planet embodies human spirit in many ways, so also, sadly, eccentricity, perversion, deviation, sexual excess and breakdowns. Rebellion is also attributed to Uranus. Rules Aquarius (with help from Saturn).
12th house pisces neptune
pisces Seclusion, escapism, secrets, institutions, faith
The unconscious / subconscious, psychological roots, sacrifice / altruism. The nature of issues which can lead to 8th House new beginnings when addresed. Traditionally the House of Hospitals & Prisons.
cloudiness, unreality
Neptune/Poseidon, the sea god, also ruler of lakes and rivers, associated with horse racing. Connected with the arts, especially poetry and dance. Idealism, imagination and sensitivity but also carelessness, indecision and deceit. Rules the most watery of water signs, Pisces (with help from Jupiter).

other astrological points of reference
chiron Half comet, half asteroid, Chiron has been a recognised part of the astronomical furniture of our system since 1977. Named for the last of the Centaurs, the mythological associations of Chiron as healer, teacher, seer and hunter - he could well be the 'patron god' for the SAS, motto 'who dares wins'. The influence is one of bravery, daring, assertiveness and healing through taking action. Astrologers are still arguing but I'd add Chiron as a strong influence on Aquarius, and also on Virgo and Libra. the Ascendant

The sign that was ascending on the eastern horizon at the time of birth (or of any astrological event being charted). The ascendant signifies awakening consciousness, in the same way that the Sun's appearance on the eastern horizon signifies the dawn of a new day. The ascendant has a strong bearing on a person's physical appearance and marks the manner in which someone presents themself to the world, and how they adapt to their environment - which can mask a concealed inner nature. It can be equal to the Sun Sign in influence.
The North Node The Draconis caput, 'Dragon's Head' is where the northwards Moon crosses the plane of the ecliptic. The nodes represent how we relate to others, this north node is akin to Jupiter's expansive, more optimistic outlook. The South Node The Draconis cauda, 'Dragon's Tail' is where the southwards Moon crosses the plane of the ecliptic. The nodes represent how we relate to others, this south node is akin to Saturn's restrictive, more pessimistic outlook.
The MidHeaven The meridian is an imaginary line drawn from pole to pole, thus the meridian for your place of birth is such a north-south line running through it. Where this meridian line meets the ecliptic is the mid-heaven (medium coeli or MC). The MC tells us what the subject identifies with - the characteristics of the sign on the MC will be important to the subject. Imum Coeli The point precisely opposite the MidHeaven (medium coeli). It symbolizes our roots.
chart interpretation
The various reference points listed above produce interpretations of planets in houses, signs in houses, planets in signs, plus the other reference points (nodes, MC, IC). The The relationship of the planets and other points to each other adds a vast amount more - these 'aspects' are formed where a particular geometric relationship exists: that relationship has to be 'in orb', which is to say aligned within a certain number of degrees to each other. Aspects calculated are: Conjunctions, which can be positive or negative;  Trines, Sextiles, both positive; and Oppositions, Squares, Semi-Squares, Quincunx, Sesquare & Semi Sextile, all negative, the last two being classed as 'weak'. Although 'negative', many of these latter aspects can be strongly motivational.

Other considerations exist when looking at interpretations of character and behaviour through astrology, and amongst these are the triplicities (the elements) and quadruplicities (the qualities). The elements (air/earth/fire/water) are covered in detail individually - see the links at the top of the page. The qualities are listed below.
quality signs characteristics
cardinal Libra, Capricorn, Aries, Cancer Outgoing. Initiators, go-getters. Driver-types. Vexed by indecison.
fixed Aquarius,Taurus, Leo, Scorpio Rigid.Self-assured.Assertive.Expressive-types.Vexed by emotional instability.
mutable Gemini,Virgo,Sagittarius,Pisces Adaptable. Flexible, malleable. Changeable-types. Vexed when tied down.
a quick character analysis can be determined by the predominant element & quality (determined by the number of planets charted in those signs). A quick 'compatability' check can be made in the same way - a 'fixed' Leo may struggle with an inherently unstable mutable sign - who, in turn, will find the rigid, stuck fixed signs tricky. Cardinals often get on best with  other cardinals.  It is, though, a very broad picture, and firm decisions should not be made at such a level.

a further point to consider in terms of compatability is the attraction of opposites factor. This table shows the polar opposite signs.
aries libra
taurus scorpio
gemini sagittarius
cancer capricorn
leo aquarius
virgo pisces
© Jeremy Rogers 2007 Document made with Nvu to top of page