What is Astrology: A Beginners Guide

astrology 101

It’s abundantly clear that astrology’s popularity has skyrocketed into the mainstream. Walking down a city street you’ll see brands using the zodiac signs to advertise their latest products, and if you’re paying attention you may catch the back end of a conversation between friends that sounds something like, “…and I bet she’s a Gemini!” But, what, EXACTLY, is Astrology?

Astrology Defined

Human beings have been measuring the stars and planets since the dawn of civilization. The Cosmos were our first navigational system, a guiding resource to know when it was time to plant or time to harvest, and whether it would be a good day for sailing across the ocean. But astrology has evolved over time. So, what is astrology and how does it affect us? In the book, Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart, astrologer Kevin Burk states: “Astrology is the study of cycles. By observing the cyclical movements of the planets, we are able to gain a greater understanding of the cycles and patterns in our own lives. Astrology can be a powerful tool for healing and transformation, and it can be a key that can unlock a greater spiritual connection to the universe.”

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what is a birth chart

Your Birth Chart Vs. Your Horoscope

Most people have read their horoscope at least once. When you read a horoscope in a newspaper or magazine, it is solely based on your Sun sign in relation to the current placement of the planets in space. Horoscopes can be quite accurate.

The astrological chart — also called a natal chart or birth chart — is a map based on your time, date, and place of birth. It shows the positions of all the planets when you were born. You can use it to get a strong sense of what path you’ll take in life, how your relationships will develop, as well as your strengths and challenges. Think of it as your soul’s roadmap or your personal “instruction manual.” This information is detailed, layered, and can be a bit complex to interpret on your own, so if you’d like an in-depth reading, you may want to consider consulting with a professional astrologer.

astrological chart

The 12 Zodiac Signs

There are 12 zodiac signs; each sign has its own unique traits, motives, and desires. The astrological year begins in the spring with Aries, followed by Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and finally Pisces, the last sign. Here are the unique characteristics of each zodiac sign:

Aries (March 21-April 19)

As the first sign in the astrological year, Aries loves to be number one. Reprensented by a ram, they are a fire sign typically described as bold, fearless and ambitious. Aries usually has no filter and dives headfirst into even the most challenging situations. They are passionate and motivated, becoming confident leaders with a cheerful disposition and focused determination. They enjoy doing impromptu things on a dare and get bored easily. Famous Aries include Leonardo DaVinci, Harry Houdini, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)

Taurus is an earth sign represented by a bull. They are know to be compassionate, loyal, and trustworthy. Tauruses like to have consistency and reliability in all areas of their lives. They are often introverts or homebodies and do not like big changes — but they do have a love of luxury and a flair for the artistic! They are extremely dedicated, a trait that may often be regarded as stubbornness. They’re ambitious, focused, and resilient, not afraid to work hard, but also want to see the fruits of their labor. Famous Taurus include William Shakespeare, Audrey Hepburn, Sigmund Freud, Tina Fey, Adele and Cher.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Spontaneous and playful Gemini have an insatiable curiosity for everything. They are an air sign symbolized by celestial twins and known to be charismatic social butterflies. It is normal for Gemini to be constantly juggling a variety of passions, hobbies, and careers. As a fearless thinker and ideator, Gemini tend to know a little about everything! But, they tend to have get bored easily with a short attention span — they’re happier when they can switch from one thing to another. Famous Gemini include Prince, Stevie Nicks, Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Depp, John F. Kennedy, Laverne Cox and Paul McCartney.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Cancers are very intuitive, sensitive and empathetic. As a water sign represented by a crab, they tend to seek comfortable, cozy personal spaces (both physically and emotionally). Cancers can sometimes come across as cold, distant or passive aggressive, but don’t let that fool you! Once you’ve gained their trust, they are extremely loyal, committed, and genuine caregivers. It might be hard to get a Cancer to open up, but once they feel comfortable, you’ve gained a long-lasting relationship based on trust. Famous Cancers include Frida Kahlo, Ariana Grande, Chris Pratt, Cyndi Lauper, Khloe Kardashian and Princess Diana.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

Vivacious, theatrical, and passionate, Leos are known for their big personalities and love to be in the spotlight. A spirited fire sign, Leos are represented by the lion. They are known to be natural leaders and they are known to put their heart and souls into each of their relationships. They are very artistic and creative, renowned for their stability, loyalty, and consistency. Leos have a fearless optimism, and are full of ambition and determination in all that they do. Famous Leos include Usain Bolt, Coco Chanel, Whitney Houston, Daniel Radcliffe, Jennifer Lopez and Meghan Markle.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

Virgos are logical, practical, meticulous and hyper-aware of every detail. They are systematic in their approach to life. Virgo is an earth sign represented the goddess of wheat and agriculture. They are known for being perfectionists, but aren’t afraid to improve their skills through consistent practice. They are kind, gentle, and supportive. Sometimes they may come across as judgmental, but they always have good intentions. They tend to have a million ideas per second and are known for their incredible intellect and problem solving skills. Famous Virgos include Beyoncé, Bernie Sanders, Keanu Reeves, Padma Lakshmi, Jennifer Hudson and Pink.

Libra (September 23 – October 23)

Libra is an air sign represented by the scales, a symbol that depicts their love of harmony and balance. Libras have a tendency to be people-pleasers because they try to keep everyone happy. This can sometimes make it hard for them to make decisions. Relationships are extremely important to Libras, as they find balance in companionship and don’t enjoy being alone. They have really good aesthetics and artistic tendencies, making them great designers, interior decorators, and fashion stylists. Famous Libras include Matt Damon, Kim Kardashian, Serena Williams, Will Smith, Barbara Walters and Olivia Newton-John.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

Scorpios know what they want, and when a Scorpio wants something, they go for it and don’t hold back. Scorpio is a water sign represented by the scorpion. They are extremely ambitious and determined and don’t set limits on what they can achieve. However, Scorpios are sometimes misunderstood, as they can be very serious, slightly controlling and intense in all they do. But, their passion, work-ethic and focused mindset make them natural leaders. Famous Scorpios include Leonardo DiCaprio, Hilary Clinton, Bill Gates, Whoopi Goldberg, Pablo Picasso and Ryan Reynolds.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Sagittarians can be the life of the party. They are great conversationalist with a sense of humor, and are usually surrounded by a lot of friends. Sagittarius is a fire sign represented by the archer — a half-man, half-horse centaur. They are very intellectual and always on a quest for knowledge. They are are eternal optimists, independent and lovers of freedom, which make them born travellers, adventurers, and free spirits. Famous Sagittariuses include Jamie Lee Curtis, Miley Cyrus, Ben Stiller, Bette Midler, Britney Spears, JAY-Z, and Tyra Banks.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

Capricorns are extremely hard workers, visionaries and leaders. Their relentless persistence, resiliency and ambition make them overachievers who make success look effortless. They are an earth sign represented by a sea-goat — a creature with the body of a goat and tail of a fish. Capricorns tend to keep small circles, but are loyal to their friends and loved ones. They are very responsible, punctual, grounded and practical. Famous Capricorns include Michelle Obama, John Legend, Martin Luther King Jr., Lin-Manuel Miranda, Betty White and Dolly Parton.

Aquarius (January 21 – February 18)

Aquarians believe in teamwork, collaboration, and the concept of the “greater good.” They are the humanitarians of the zodiac, dedicated to making a difference in the world. Full of intellect and a sense of curiosity, not only do Aquarians want to save the world, but they’ve got the smarts to make plan on how to do it too! Aquarius is an air sign represented by the water bearer, a mystical healer which represents the gifts of truth and life. They are independent, analytical, intelligent, unique, and idealistic. Famous Aquarians include Harry Styles, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Frederick Douglass, Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Timberlake.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

Pisces is the most intuitive, sensitive, gracious and empathetic sign of the zodiac. They are very emotionally aware and romantics at heart with great compassion for others. Pisces is a water sign symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions, reflecting the duality of Pisces’ attention between fantasy and reality. They are often described as old souls with a knack to become visionary artists and creatives. Famous Pisces include George Washington, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Shaquille O’Neal, Elizabeth Taylor and Albert Einstein.

Part of this article, “What is Astrology”, originally appeared in our January/February 2022 issue — The Woo Issue. Read the full issue here.

what is my zodiac sign
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Kim is the owner and publisher of Sass Magazine, as well as the owner of Sass Studios, a boutique graphic design studio in Frederick, MD. When not in the office, Kim can be found doing some of her favorite hobbies—reading a book, dancing, traveling, or playing with her rescued pitbull.

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