Author of the column, Zia Zografos. Writer and promotional team member.

Astrology is fun, as well as insanely useful, but I’m tired of the slander it gets.

I mean, we use man-made systems all the time. And it’s normal for us to conflate meaning to those systems. Have you ever had someone blab at you about, say, Bitcoin for ages and you just want to stick forks in your ears? I get it. But astrology is really cool. And you can use it to your advantage! 

I believe most people don’t necessarily see astrology as an ancient practice used by human civilizations for thousands of years. There are also countless different types of astrology that each have nuanced structures and methodology. 

Art by Yasemin Zografos. Graphic of Astrology 101.

To name a few, there are zodiacal, horary, and Hindu astrology. Hindu (or Vedic astrology) is what the Western world based modern astrology on. Both forms of astrology were and are used to predict or dissect historical events and people. In fact, many universities in India offer astrology courses. 

To give an example with some modern day context, the astrology of 2020 has been discussed by astrologers for years. Firstly, 2020 was the year of the rat. Rats typically represent plague. Saturn and Pluto were conjunct (in the same position) in the sky on January 12th, 2020, which signified a huge monumental upheaval and restructuring. Not long after that, the WHO announced a suspicious virus in Wuhan. The last time Saturn and Pluto were conjunct in the sky in the sign of Capricorn was 500 years ago, in 1518. 

There was also a Capricorn stellium in the year 2020. Capricorn is a detrimental sign. It’s the sign of karma. Many of us were faced with intense internal reckonings last year. 

And finally, so many planets were in retrograde last year. You’ve probably heard of Mercury retrograde (which by the way, is the most harmless retrograde that exists in astrology and it’s the only retrograde people tend to blame things on). Retrogrades are about reflecting on the past, and being forced to slow down for your own benefit. 2020 saw Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn all in retrograde. This made the globe come to a grinding halt. 

For some reason, our society only cares about your sun sign, or your Big 3 ( aka your sun, moon, and rising sign). These are probably the most boring parts about the study of astrology, and those elements don’t tell you much about yourself. I’ll be honest, the signs in your birth chart aren’t even that important. Think of the zodiac signs like unique flavors for your planets’ placements. 

The houses and how the planets interact with each other in your birth chart can tell you everything about yourself, though! 

Let me explain. 

Astrology is essentially a mirror for our reality. It doesn’t cause anything to happen. 

Imagine a giant mirror in the sky, reflecting what’s happening down on earth. It’s like that. 

And then you have birth charts. Every given day, person, animal, and significant event throughout history has a birth chart. 

You can even calculate how two birth charts interact with each other to see how you and another person are compatibility-wise. 

The cosmos essentially took a screenshot of itself exactly at your time of birth, down to the last second.

Nothing makes me want to walk into moving traffic more than when someone asks me something like, “I’m a Leo, what does that mean?” Typical Leo move. But it also doesn’t matter that much. 

The Houses and planet positions in your birth chart are what’s actually important. You want to be looking at how the planets in your chart interact with each other, because that’s you and the road map to your life! 

And please for the love of God, do not use websites with table charts. We want a WHEEL chart, people! is the easiest website to use. Look up: “birth chart calculator” on astrotheme. You’re welcome. 

I’ll go through the planets, houses, aspects, and what they mean. Like I said, the signs that your planets are in aren’t the most important (they are helpful for understanding yourself, though). There is already an abundance of resources that talk about what each zodiac sign represents. 

What you should keep in mind about the zodiac signs are; Taurus and Libra are ruled by Venus, Aries and Scorpio are ruled by Mars, Cancer is ruled by the Moon, Leo is ruled by the Sun, Capricorn and Aquarius are ruled by Saturn, Gemini and Virgo are ruled by Mercury, and Sagittarius and Pisces are ruled by Jupiter. 

So let’s break it down…

Let’s start with what the planets represent. 

Sun: This is your personality. It’s kind of the most insignificant part of your birth chart. And yet it’s all modern horoscopes  ever talk about. Go figure. 

Moon: Your moon sign represents your deepest moods and emotions. It’s how you react internally to external stimuli. It can also represent your relationship with your mother. 

Mercury: Represents how you communicate with the world, and how you think.

Venus: Represents your love life. Ooooh. 

Mars: Represents your aggression and stamina. 

Jupiter: The lucky planet! It also represents expansion. Jupiter typically deals with the fun stuff in life. 

Saturn: The Big Daddy. Hard life lessons. The stern father figure. Karmic shit that you have to deal with. This is a cold, dry, planet. Saturn deals with the not-so-fun stuff in life. 

Uranus: This is a generational planet, meaning most people within a generation will have the same Uranus placement. It represents your relationship with technology, innovation, and rebellion. It’s like the cool black sheep of the zodiac. 

Neptune: Also a generational planet. Neptune represents our fantasies, our escapism tendencies, and our creativity. 

Pluto: Pluto will rock your ass into next week. It deals with painful junk you need to work through throughout your life. Once you work through that painful stuff, you’ll reap positive benefits. It’s the planet of transformation and sudden change. 

As a general rule of thumb:

Mars, Saturn, and Pluto equal negative (also known as malefic planets). 

Venus and Jupiter both equal positive (also known as benefic planets). 

The other planets are neutral. 

Now let’s move onto Houses. The houses are easily the most overlooked parts of modern astrology, and they are majorly important. You will not be able to dictate much from just looking at your sun sign… but the HOUSE that your sun sign falls into can! Use your Astrotheme birth chart for reference. I’m using Kanye West’s birth chart as a reference.

Kanye West Birth Chart. Photo from

There are 12 houses that make up your birth chart, and each house represents  a unique part of your life. The planets you have in any given house will tell you a lot about yourself. So, let’s go through them! 

First House: The first house represents you. It’s your ego and your personality. It’s called the House of Self. Having a ton of planets in the first house might make you kind of self-centered. 

Second House: The second house represents the material things in life. It can tell you a lot about your relationship with money and shiny objects. For example, if you have Venus (the planet of love) in the Second House, I bet your love language is gift giving or receiving. 

Third House: The House of siblings and short-term communication. 

Fourth House: The house of family and the home. Example: if you have Pluto or Mars in your fourth house, you may have some systemic family problems. 

Fifth House: The house of fun, play, and sex! All good things come with the fifth house. Example: If you have your Sun in the Fifth house, your personality probably revolves around having as much fun as possible. You may be a bit lazy. 

Sixth House: This is the house of coworkers, routine, and illness. Yeah, I know that’s pretty broad. Sixth house is chronic stuff. If you have a badly aspected planet in the sixth house, you might have health problems. 

Seventh House: The house of partnerships and marriage. Example: if you have your moon placement in the seventh house, you may have issues living for other people rather than living for yourself. A big people pleaser. 

Eighth House: The eighth house deals with everything that comes after the seventh house. Taxes, shared money resources, and death. But we’re talking about death here in a symbolic way. It is also the house of starting over, something old finally dying out. P.S: Whoever told you that the eighth house was the house of sex is wrong. I promise. 

Ninth House: The house of travel, higher education and philosophy! 

Tenth House: This is your most public house. Any impact you make upon the world will be reflected in your tenth house, whether that’s through your career, beauty, knowledge, etc. Many celebrities have prominent tenth house placements. As you can see, Kanye has his Part of Fortune (that cross symbol) in his tenth house, giving him natural fortune in the area of high-profile publicity. 

Eleventh House: The house of friendships, colleagues, and social spheres. Kim Kardashian has her Mercury (planet of communication) placement in the eleventh house, making her an excellent socialite. 

Twelfth House: The house of your subconscious. It could also indicate mental health. Having many planets in this house is tough, as it’s hard for you to grapple with things you cannot make sense of. 

Now we have zodiac signs. These are probably what you’re most familiar with. I like to tell people that the zodiac signs are the flavor of each planet. And sometimes certain flavors don’t mix well. 

Zodiac signs can be useful when looking at compatibility with other people, but by no means should any weight be placed on zodiac signs alone. 

Just like the houses, there’s twelve zodiac signs. There’s an infinite amount of resources about what each sign means so I won’t waste your time regurgitating the characteristics of each zodiac sign. 

But there is a whirlwind of misinformation, and valuable information about the signs that gets skipped over in astrology. 

Each zodiac sign is associated with a house. Historically, Aries is associated with the first house, Taurus with the second house, and so on and so forth. This can tell you a lot about the archetype of each sign, just by looking at what each house represents. 

We also each have every zodiac sign in our birth chart. If you really hate a particular sign, I would recommend checking where that sign is in your own birth chart. It will probably shed light on why you don’t like that sign, because maybe you don’t like that area of your life! 

I hated Virgos for the longest time, and then I realized I have Virgo in the first house. Which would make me Virgo rising. 

I’ve noticed that people tend to hate signs that rule over their sixth, eighth, or twelfth house. That is because these houses are not integral to your personality. There is a lot of unfamiliar or karmic energy there. 

Your rising sign is the sign that rules over your First House. Your rising sign is not a planet. It’s the constellation that was on the other side of the world when you were born. Your rising sign is what your body always strives towards, and it’s also probably the energy that most people pick up on when they first meet you. 

And no, your rising sign is not a mask or an alter ego. That’s another misconception. And, every sign has equally good and bad traits.

Let’s use Kanye West’s birth chart as a reference. 

Kanye has Aries ruling over his tenth house of public image. The archetype of Aries is impulsive, loud, infantile, and creative. I’d say this is fitting for Kayne. 

Kanye’s fourth house (the house of home life and family) is in Libra. Kim Kardashian is a Libra sun. Kanye also has Pluto in his fourth house, meaning this area of his life will always be challenged and transformed. 

Now let’s talk about aspects in your own birth chart. There are endless aspects that can exist in a birth chart, and you can easily research online what any aspect means, but let’s use Kurt Cobain’s chart to look over some aspects as examples. Kurt has A LOT of oppositions in his chart. Oppositions are hard aspects. 

Kurt Cobain Birth Chart. Photo from

Here is a quick list of some aspects:

Conjunctions: Two or more planets in the same place. This is an intense bundle of energy. Not good or bad, just intense. 

Oppositions: Two signs that are opposite from each other. There is a push and pull between drastically different energies in life.

Square: An aggravating aspect. There’s little understanding between the two signs, but there’s compromise and mental stimulation, too.

Trines: Easy, harmonious aspect. 

Sextile: Less powerful than a trine, but also an easy and harmonious aspect. 

Like I said, Kurt Cobain has a ton of Virgo-Pisces oppositions in his chart. His Virgo rising is in direct opposition with his Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn in Pisces. Pisces rules over the subconscious mind, and Pisces is also a water sign. As you can see, all those Pisces placements are in the 6th house of health and routine. This could be indicative of addiction or hardships stemming from tensions in his subconscious. 

Kurt’s Moon and Jupiter are in Cancer in the 10th house. His feelings and emotions are part of his public image. Songwriting is a manifestation of this. His Jupiter is also in retrograde, meaning he can find the most luck by looking inward and reflecting on his actions, and understanding that his public image will not bring happiness. 

There is also something called Degree Theory in astrology, which is a little more advanced, but not at all hard to understand, but I won’t delve too much into it. The theory was helped developed by Nikola Stojanovic, who recently passed away in January 2021. 

Those little degrees at the end of the planets can help give some more in-depth information of that placement. For example, Kurt had his Mars at 1 degree in Scorpio. This is a powerful placement, since Scorpio is at home in Mars and 1 degree is a Mars ruled degree. Kurt had a lot of personal power and authority that he could use to his advantage. 

With everything we’ve discussed, make sure to look at what house these things are occurring in, because your entire birth chart is never activated  all at once. 

Here are some other critical degrees: 

0: 0 degrees of any placement is like the purest and most intense form of that sign. For example, if you have your Sun at 0 degrees, you are likely unapologetically yourself. 

1: A Mars ruled degree, there’s more aggressive energy here. 

17: A degree of fame and notoriety, many celebrities have placements at the 17th degree. 

11 and 5: More fame degrees, 5 degrees is more short-lived fame, or Internet fame. 

27: The kill or be killed degree. Don’t be scared, this is often metaphorical. Look out for backstabbers in whatever house this placement is in. 

29: A karmic degree. This is like the universe playing a prank on you. This placement will affect the house that it’s in greatly, often with sudden reversals of fortune. 

You can also use astrology to figure out some of the best places to live. It’s called Astrocartography. It takes your birth chart and lines it up globally with the best places to live or visit. 

Example of an Astrocartography chart. Photo from

Along Jupiter and the Sun lines are beneficial places to live, with happy energy. Moon lines are where you’ll learn a lot about yourself. Venus lines are typical places where you can find love. I would avoid going to Mars and Saturn places, because those are malefic planets and there will probably be a gloomy energy for you in those places. Pluto lines are transformational places to live, but definitely at a cost. The best website I’ve used to look up your astrocartography chart is AstroDienst. 

Astrology is a life-long practice that you never stop learning about. There’s so much material that it can be hard to pick it up. 

At its core, astrology is a language tool that we can use to better understand ourselves and our toxic tendencies, as well as better understand other people. If you’re an astrology hater, I’m sorry to say that it is way too fun to give up on! 

+ posts