Astrology Basics

October 17, 2016 3:33 am Published by

Have you ever wondered which of your personality traits might be holding you back? Maybe you are curious to know more about the qualities in yourself that make you a good friend…or maybe you want to understand more about the type of person who would make a good life partner for you. These are all questions that astrology can help answer!

Looking up into the infinite night’s sky may leave you with the realization that you’re part of something much, much bigger. That’s how the night sky makes me feel. The night sky, constellations, and astrology will forever be a part of me and I’m sure you have your own reasons for being attracted to astrology.

Modern astrology is more than your daily horoscope and zodiac sign. It’s a deep and rich spiritual practice that I want to share with you in a long, serious post. Today, I’m going to go over some basic terms, next week I’ll walk you through creating your own birth chart (there may be a free printable involved too)!


Astrology & Its Beginnings

First a little history! Astrology is the practice of using the study of the sky to associate meaning with life and events on Earth. Evidence of stargazing can be found as early as 25,000 years ago with lunar markings on cave walls and bones! Our attraction to the heavens really is ingrained in the fiber of our beings.

Civilizations during the 3rd millennium BC used astrology to determine how to align their temples and sacred spaces. Studies can be found in the 2nd millennium BC from Babylon when astrology was used to format our calendar and understand the seasonal shifts. Now a pseudoscience, the study of the heavens was long respected as a science that we can trace through cultures and their use of it in literature, medicine, and art.

Modern Astrology

Did you know that your zodiac sign is simply your sun sign? Your sun sign is one of many aspects that make up your personality, life experiences, and challenges.

Many things can be taken into account when you take a close look at your sign. One of the most basic things is understanding your birth chart. A birth chart takes into account several different astrological factors to give a complete look at you, your personality, and who you’re most compatible with.

Let’s jump into some basic terms so creating your birth chart will make more sense.

Astrology Terms

This chart to help make sense of where these terms will show up on a birth chart. Keep in mind on a real birth chart the locations of the planets and zodiac signs will vary, but the houses and Ascendant will always be in the same place.


Birth Chart

This is an astrological chart that is specific to your birth date, time and location. It is very specific! A birth chart will give you a detailed look at your personality and astrological traits. The following terms are in relation to how they’re used on a birth chart.


This term refers to not only the planets but also the sun and the moon. The planets represent different experiences we may encounter in this lifetime. The experiences your personality may come across are indicated by the position of the planets at your time of birth.


The zodiac is divided into 12 sections and are the signs that everyone is most familiar with, like Sagittarius and Cancer, for example. Your zodiac signs help determine your characteristics. Your sun sign is the most common of the zodiac signs and is determined by the placement of the sun at the time of your birth.



There are 12 houses situated on the wheel of a birth chart. Houses show the areas of the sky at the time you were born and represent areas of life that you will embark on in this lifetime.


Aspects are the degrees of separation between planets. These can either be major aspects (planets separated by a degree of 0, 60, 90, 120, or 180), or minor aspects (all other degrees of separation) the aspect of a planet will determine whether it’s energy is being presented in your life in a positive or negative way.

Rising Sign

Your rising sign, or ascendant sign, marks the zodiac sign that was rising on the Eastern horizon at the time of your birth. You’ll need an accurate time and place of birth in order to determine your rising sign. It’s often the traits of your ascendant sign that will show up first in your personality!

The Four Elements

The four elements are earth, water, fire, and air. Each zodiac sign falls into a category of one of these four elements. You can see which signs are which element by the chart above. You’ll be able to identify which elements are stronger for you by where your planets fall on your birth chart.


Understanding all of these terms can be a little tricky at first glance, if you want to reinforce these terms I found this thorough and helpful video on YouTube.

Did you know that in ancient times, birth charts were reserved for royalty? Lucky for you, you ARE royalty here in the ZO family! Check back next week and I’ll help you to construct your very own birth chart!

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About Cassie

Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.