Life&Style writer Minnie Life introduces us to the realm of the stars, describing astrology as a fun and positive pursuit

Third year student currently studying American and Canadian Studies. I enjoy writing about music, film and culture!
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Star signs seem to be all the rage at the moment, especially on the internet. Memes about Geminis, birth charts and Mercury Retrograde appear to be everywhere you look these days. Entire pages dedicated to relatable astrological jokes ripe for tagging your mates in are sprawled across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. On top of that, tabloid papers and magazines are rife with monthly horoscopes, usually made up of statements just vague enough for everyone to be able to relate. But what does it all mean? What is a ‘moon sign’? What is a retrograde? Are horoscopes just a load of rubbish, or do they have some element of truth to them?

Now first things first, I feel I should clarify the difference between astronomy and astrology, as lots of people tend to get the two confused. Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial bodies, whereas astrology (which is what this article is going to discuss) is how we interpret these celestial bodies and how they impact human life. Decoding the world of astrology can be a long and complicated fiasco but fear not! I am here to break it down for you so you too can dig into what exactly the stars are trying to tell you.

Each of the planets rule different aspects of your life, such as aggression, love or communication

The first step is to calculate your birth chart. This is a chart that tells you exactly where each of the planets in our solar system were in the sky at the time of your birth. Each of the planets rule different aspects of your life, such as aggression, love or communication. To calculate your birth chart, you’ll need three things: your birthday, your exact birth time and your birthplace. There are innumerable websites that will be able to produce a birth chart for you, but I personally recommend the app ‘Co-Star.’ It’s clear, simple and will also provide for you an in-depth explanation of what each part of your birth chart means, which will give you a much more detailed and personalised level of insight. On top of that, ‘Co-Star’ will also send you a daily horoscope and allows you to connect with your friends’ profiles. Personally, it just adds an added element of fun and sociability to the whole process.

So, once you’ve decided the platform on which you are going to receive your birth chart, it’s now time for the results. These can look very overwhelming and confusing at first glance, therefore I recommend if you are just starting out to simply focus on the main three; your sun sign, your moon sign and your rising sign. These will all be ruled by a different member of the zodiac. These are signs represented by different symbols that originate from constellations, and you’ve probably heard of at least most of them. These zodiac symbols include Scorpio, Gemini, Virgo, Libra and Leo among many others. There are 12 of these signs in total, one for each month of the year.

It’s completely fine if you don’t feel totally connected to all of the elements of your sign

Your sun sign is your primary sign, the sign you are probably already aware of that is closely linked with your birth month. It is determined by where the sun was stationed during your birth. For example, I was born on the 1st of October, therefore my sun sign is Libra. This sign determines your core personality traits, your deepest self. So, taking Libra for instance, these core traits include indecisiveness, a focus on justice and a desire for aesthetic satisfaction. Each sign has a differing set of traits. It’s completely fine if you don’t feel totally connected to all of the elements of your sign. It’s all up for interpretation, and as with most aspects of spirituality, you take from it what you wish.

Next, you should move and look to your moon sign. As the name suggests, the moon sign is determined by where the moon was stationed at your time of birth. Moon signs reflect what traits and aspects of our personality we hide from the world, or perhaps indicate a truer and deeper version of ourselves. It’s what is bubbling under the surface of your sun sign exterior. The final aspect of the ‘big three’ is your rising sign (also known as your ‘ascendent’ sign). Your rising sign is determined by what time of day you were born at. If you were born at sunrise or early in the morning, it is likely that your sun and rising sign will be the same (I myself was born at 7am, so my sun and rising are both in Libra). Whereas if you were born at sunset, your rising sign will likely be the polar opposite of your sun sign. But what does your rising sign determine? Your rising sign is how you present to the world, it’s your social personality. The traits of your rising sign are likely the traits people pick up on first when they meet you. It often defines the first impression you give to others.

Your birth chart will tend to gravitate in one of two different directions, masculine or feminine

By having a grasp and understanding of your core three signs, you will from there be able to springboard off into a deeper world of astrological discovery. If you do want to explore further, I would say your next steps are to look at some of the other planets on your birth chart. The next easiest to interpret I would say are your Venus sign and your Mercury sign. Venus is the ruling planet of love and romance; therefore, whatever zodiac sign falls within this planet rules how you conduct yourself when it comes to your romantic endeavours. Mercury meanwhile is the planet of the mind. Your Mercury sign rules communication, and how you process information.

The other way to look deeper into your birth chart is to look at the overall theme of your chart, and what elements feature most predominantly. Your birth chart will tend to gravitate in one of two different directions, masculine or feminine. The masculine signs are Fire and Air signs (Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius) whereas the feminine signs are Water and Earth (Capricorn, Taurus, Scorpio, Cancer, Pisces, Virgo). Masculine signs tend to be more extroverted and assertive, meanwhile feminine signs are more introverted, focusing on intuition and nurture. This is one of the many layers to the zodiac signs and your birth chart, of which there are too many to explain in this article. However, if you are curious, I would recommend taking the time to really explore the many facets of your astrological makeup.

Nothing in your chart is supposed to be particularly negative or steering you to alter or fix yourself

Whatever your zodiac tells you and whatever patterns your chart seems to follow; it is important to remember that it is all up for interpretation. These sweeping group statements are of course not going to apply wholly to everyone, and it’s up to you entirely what you take (or not take) from these descriptions. Nothing in your chart is supposed to be particularly negative or steering you to alter or fix yourself. Instead, these ideas should be read in order for you to gain a greater depth of connection with and understanding of yourself.

I find that having this deeper understanding can be very comforting. It helps to explain or map out parts of myself that I want to get to grips with. It often makes me feel more in control, that I’m on a path that is intended for me. During difficult or confusing times, this year for instance, this can be particularly helpful. Additionally, I feel that astrology can make us feel connected to the universe and a sense of something bigger than ourselves. This sense of a higher purpose or power can be a very comforting notion to many people, and its why a lot of people are drawn to spiritual practices. I know this might sound strange to some people, but we all find comfort in random things sometimes, so why can’t we find comfort in the stars?

There are thousands of YouTube videos, creators and social media pages dedicated to the furthering of astrological knowledge

I hope that this very brief beginners guide to astrology has helped some of you begin your astrological journey! If you do want to know more, there are thousands of YouTube videos, creators and social media pages dedicated to the furthering of astrological knowledge and the building of spiritual and astrological communities. These communities are extremely friendly, funny and welcoming to newcomers and the easiest way to engage with astrological ideas and concepts. I definitely recommend taking a dive into this world for a few moments, even if just to distract you from that essay you should definitely be writing right now. You’ll never know what new insights you may discover about yourself, and for me, that’s the most exciting part.


 

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