What Astrology Can’t Tell You

AstrologySince I’ve been an Astrologer for almost 40 years now, I thought I had heard everything. But when you cast a horoscope and interpret it for a client, it’s amazing what they think this can accomplish.

Now a horoscope can tell a person many things about their lives, among them their strengths and weaknesses, when they may make the most of them, or fall prey to their worst flaws. It can predict good times in your life, career options, divorces, family relationships, and artistic potentials. But even I do not expect miracles. Lately I’ve had people ask me to predict every tiny course change their lives would take.

A very important piece of information is this: you always have free will in your life. No matter what the situation is, you choose how you react to it. If your life seems to be falling apart, if you are destitute, if you are in danger, if you are depressed, you can seek help from a professional. And if things are that bad, the professional you seek should not be an Astrologer. It should be a Doctor, a Therapist, or even the Police. An Astrologer is not licensed to give medical advice, cannot protect you from harmful people, and is not your Psychotherapist.

I love Astrology, and began casting horoscopes for friends and family as soon as I began the basics in a course my then boyfriend and I took together at night school when we were about 21. I am fortunate that he shared my love of metaphysical subjects. But even many years ago, we had friends who thought that because we cast horoscopes for them, this gave them the right to call us every week for an update. Now, many years later, I am still practicing Astrology the old fashioned way, not with computerized charts. It takes at least one hour to do the math to get the horoscope. I do it with a five step formula, but my husband loved math, so he did all the algorithms. We usually got the same results, but if a planetary position was very close, I bowed to his judgment. It can take anywhere from five to ten hours to do a basic interpretation of this horoscope. So when it’s completed, and then a friend wants a weekly update, that entails placing all the planets on the birth chart that has been done, but in the positions they are in that day. It’s a lot of work. We are not computers, and this is very time consuming. We have lives, and thus other commitments.

I have been getting many requests for horoscopes, and have been deeply moved by the reactions I get from people who read my work since I’ve been a writer on Hubpages.com. You have all been great, and if you did ask questions, I was happy to answer. I wrote most of the articles to teach people how to learn Astrology on their own, because I know how many rip off artists there are in the field. Many of you are quickly learning on your own with a few pointers from me, and I’m proud of that.

A few days ago, a young woman wrote to me to see if I could do a compatibility horoscope for her and another person, apparently a young man. I said yes. She continued to email me at least ten times, asking all kinds of questions. I answered as well as I could, outlining what I could tell her based on a horoscope. It seemed we were ready to proceed with the transaction. As soon as I told her the price and to place the money in my Pay pal account, all of a sudden she balked quite a bit. I then learned that:

  1. She was asking me to do two horoscopes based on a guy she was crushing on! They never
    had a date or any interactions at all, except they “flirted” a little at work. But she asked if
    they would possibly be compatible in marriage and what their sex life would be like!
  2. She was shocked that I expected to be paid for my work!

She tied up my time for about two hours worth of emails, for what was not even a relationship, but a young girl’s fantasy that some guy she was day dreaming about was going to change her life. Whatever happened to the Women’s Liberation Movement? Why are so many young women in the 21st century still thinking some Knight in Shining Armor is going to dash into their lives and make everything wonderful? I can’t even believe some of the stuff I’m reading in the emails I get.

Many of these women are in their mid-twenties. Why aren’t they working, or going to college, or both? Why don’t they understand that they may very possibly need to depend on themselves for support or to achieve their goals? I was married when I was 24, and bought my first house at 27. My boyfriend was a real person, we were together for five years, and we were married for 34 years. We worked, went to college, took care of each other when we were sick, and took care of and supported our parents when they got older. We faced the deaths of people we dearly loved. We have a son together. It’s called reality. I didn’t dream him up because I had no future goals for my life.

Did we cast horoscopes before we married? Of course we did. We did what are called Progressed charts, and suffice it to say the year and day we married, Venus, planet of love, was conjunct both our Suns. I won’t bother to explain that to a layperson, but it’s important in a love match. We even set up the wedding date with our class, because being the only couple in it, everyone wanted a happy ending for us, and they wanted to help. We married on a day the Moon was in Cancer, and family was always a big part of our life. Being a Taurus (him) and Cancer (me), and both the oldest siblings in our families, we were always the ones who took care of our parents, and spent much of our time helping family members in various ways I don’t need to discuss here.

But I am surprised and puzzled by many emails like I described here. I read Tarot too, but I don’t bring out the cards and do a reading to decide what to cook for dinner. I save these means for important decisions. I consult them. But I don’t always do what they say. Normally a Tarot reading or planetary positions will tell me if what I am planning will be good for me or not. But I use my intelligence and common sense as well. This is why one says “for entertainment purposes only,” in case someone takes the advice too far and turns around and blames the reader.

So I worry that while offering readings on my blog, are people going to throw logic out the window over an Astrology chart? I have seen many readings and interpretations of horoscopes I’ve done come true. And I hope I see many more good things. I just feel surprised that many seem to think getting a reading or horoscope is an easy out, so they don’t have to make an informed decision about something really important, like their life.

So I don’t mean to rant here, but I want to be clear to those who expect too much out of a horoscope. You are in the driver’s seat, it’s your life, you have to make the choices, and you have to take the responsibility for your actions. All a reader can do is work as a guide, to help you see latent talents or good planetary times to act on certain things. That’s the bottom line. It’s not magic. And it’s not free. It takes hours of time and hard work. So if you are offered Tarot or Astrology services, demands on time need to be respected and there will be boundaries. This is true even for computer generated charts, because time is still involved, not to mention, paper, expensive ink, and even then the Astrologer will read a printout and make personal comments. A computer horoscope is about ¾ of Astrology jargon that won’t mean much to the lay person. The other ¼ of the information is what the purchaser wants, the good stuff about their own life.

So since my goal for writing about Astrology has been to take a role as teacher, so you can do it yourself, I want to clarify a few points for you. Sadly, everybody wants something for nothing, but that isn’t how life works. I want you to be careful that you aren’t fooled by websites that promise a complete horoscope for $25.00. They will give you just that ¼ of the information you wanted, and keep you coming back and paying more. Be careful. I use http://www.cafeastrology.com so I can look up planetary positions, and for just that, the site is acceptable. I sat with a stack of horoscopes one day, and checked to see if the right data came out. It did, for the position of one planet on a certain day of the year. But then I put in all my birth data, as if I were ordering a complete horoscope. Most of it was wrong! So if I went through with it, I would have received about 10 pages of incorrect information that had all the wrong planets. My Rising sign and Moon sign were even wrong. So please don’t be fooled.

No site can work on a horoscope without your day, month, and year of birth. You must know the time of birth for at least a two hour window, or it’s impossible to know an Ascendant or Rising Sign. It’s necessary to know the city and state of your birth, or the city and country, and if the cities are small, the largest one closest your birthplace. Time corrections must be changed. Astrology uses Greenwich Mean Time in London, England, and depending on your location, your area may be using Daylight Savings Time or some other time system. All of these factors matter, and if you aren’t asked them, walk away from the transaction.

Well, I’m through with my ramblings, but I want to see you all avoid the pitfalls. I don’t mind answering a question that comes from any article I’ve written here, or on any other site, many of you know that. I feel that even though I’ve written so much here, people still are in danger of being misled. Hey, I’m a Sun sign Cancer, I want to take care of everyone, and don’t want to see anyone getting taken advantage of. I want you to be armed with the truth.


How To Be Your Own Astrologer


“The study of life’s reactions to planetary vibrations” is how Astrology is defined by Llewellyn George in his book, A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator. This means we all move to the beat of our own personalized, planetary vibrations. Astrology is a subject which interests many people, though they have misconceptions and misunderstandings about what it really is.

The first is that the sign the Sun is in at the time of birth is all that matters. All of the other planets and the Earth’s Moon were also in a specific Astrological sign at your time of birth, and that data is necessary in order to cast a horoscope for anyone. Then each of the planets were in one of twelve houses, all which mean something–appearance, money, neighbors, home life, love, work, marriage and war, sex and death, education, career, friends and wishes, and secret sorrows. I always thought it was strange that House 7 rules both Marriage and War, and that House 8 rules Sex and Death, but it definitely opens the door for some interesting dialogue!

Your Moon sign defines the emotional facets that make you tick. It gives insight into what you care about most deeply, or what you need in order to feel secure and valued. The Ascendant is a vital key to understanding a person, and to find it you must know the person’s birth time within a two hour window. This is the way a person acts when we first meet them, or the façade that they hide behind. We all have one, but we do not all know what it is. It is harder to find times of birth for people of older generations, but can be accomplished with persistence. Our ascendant tells us what physical traits, gestures, or the kind of personality someone seems to have when we first meet them, or how they will be perceived by others who do not know them well. Everyone “hides” behind their ascendant, as it’s a great coping mechanism. So your Sun Sign, Moon Sign and Ascendant make up what is called “the Trinity” in Astrology.

Another common error is when we hear people say, “I was born on the cusp of two signs.” This is impossible. An Ephemeris is a book which must be consulted in this case, as it lists the positions and signs where all the planets are/were on any day for a period of usually about 50 years. Generally, Sun signs do begin around the 21st day of one month and continue to the 21st day of the next month. But this is not always a hard and fast rule. A person’s Sun sign is always in one sign, never a mix of two. Cusps do exist, but they are the 30 degrees of division between the 12 houses of the zodiac. They have nothing to do with your Astrological birth Sun sign.

An Ephemeris is a necessary tool for any serious Astrologer. I am currently using The American Ephemeris for the 21st Century, by Rique Pottenger & Neil F. Michelsen. This one lists all the planetary information spanning the years from 2000-2050, at Midnight. Some of these books list the planet’s whereabouts from Midnight, some from Noon. As you learn more, you will begin to account for the various time differences from this, and ones related to different time zones in the world where the subject of the horoscope was born. Since we’ve only begun the 21st century, it’s most practical to buy an older ephemeris which covers the years 1950-2000, so you can cast horoscopes for yourself, family and friends. The New American Ephemeris for the 20th Century, is also written by Rique Pottenger & Neil F. Michelsen. My copy is an older one from the 1970’s, called The Complete Planetary Ephemeris for the 20th Century, but is the same book, by the same authors. You can find an Ephemeris for other time periods when you want information about your older ancestors, or famous people in history who interest you. The one I own is The Ephemeriden, a Swiss publication, from Z.S. Mason 789 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10021, and it spans the years 1890-1950. I have also found one which covers the years 1800-2000, called Webster’s Timeline History, by Icon Group Int’l. You definitely need an Ephemeris or more than one to begin any astrological study, so you may as well get the one that covers the largest time frame.

Another “must have” reference is Dalton’s Table of Houses, also known as Spherical Basis of Astrology by Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Richmond, VA. This provides the degrees of Astrology signs that begin on the Midheaven of your horoscope, and are placed on each subsequent cusp on your blank circle split into 12 houses, known as a sidereal. You should make these up in advance, so you have them handy when you are ready to cast a horoscope for anyone. Then you must have the birth date, time, city, state, or country of the person’s birth. Also necessary is Longitudes and Latitudes in the U.S. by Eugene Derney, or the same information from the country of birth. And for good measure, The Astrologer’s Handbook by Francis Sakoian and Louis S. Acker is a wealth of information for the beginner who needs to learn how to interpret the horoscope itself.

I realize this all sounds quite complicated, and to people who believe that Astrology is only where the sun is at birthtime, it is. I studied in formal classes from professionals for at least several years before I was ready to begin working with a following of my own. So you can see this is a serious science, and not some kind of simple nonsense that some try to lead others to believe. There are many complicated ways to cast a horoscope, but I offer the easiest here. It is made up from all the books listed. I have checked to be sure that all these books are available new or used from Amazon.com, or E-bay. Why spend a fortune to get started, when textbooks can be very expensive? Maybe you can find them at your community library, though normally their “New Age” sections are not well stocked, and the same is true for certain bookstores. I loathe the term anyway, as we are working with ancient wisdoms which are being rediscovered by enlightened ones.

The information which follows is the simplest way to cast your own horoscope, also called a Natal Chart. We will use birth information for a person born on July 4, 1955 in Paterson, NJ at 3:30 PM in the afternoon.

1). Look for July 4th, 1955 in the Ephemeris and use the Sidereal time listed next to the date.
2). Convert birth time to “military time” or 15:30. Subtract 1 hr. for Daylight Savings Time in
this case, thus using 14:30. There is no DST in the winter months.
3). The Longitude and Latitude for Paterson, NJ is Long 74W10 Lat 40N55. Our Longitude
Of 74 falls in the 5th meridian, if we consider Greenwich Mean Time, so we will multiply 5X
10 seconds, or add 50 seconds.
4). Another adjustment of 10 seconds X the birth time, or 150 seconds (rounded from
the adjusted 14:30), is necessary.
5). One more adjustment is needed for Local Mean Time, and it is 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

Now all 5 of these figures must be added together, and it will look like this:
Hours Minutes Seconds
18 44 56 Sidereal from Ephemeris on B-day
14 30 Adjusted Birth Time
50 10 X Meridians, from Longitudes
150 10X birth time rounded from 14:30
+ 3 20 Adj for Local Mean Time
32 Hours 77 Minutes 276 Seconds
-24 (one day) + 4 -240
8 81 36
9 Hours 21 Minutes 36 Seconds
So the figure with all the calculations is 9 Hours, 21 Minutes and 36 Seconds

Take out your Dalton’s Table of Houses. Look at the tops of the pages, and find the number
that is closest to the one from your calculations. In this case, it is 9 21 46, and next to it is the
Astrological sign and degree number which will be on the Midheaven of your chart. This one is 18 Degrees of Leo. I leave the seconds off, unless it is very close to being another sign, and necessitates this degree of exactness.

You may have seen blank sidereals, the forms Astrologers use to write their information on when they cast the Natal chart. It is a plain circle, split into 12 houses, one for each Astrology sign. So 18 Degrees of Leo will be on the cusp of the 10th house, known as the Midheaven. Go down to the 41st Latitude on the same page of your Dalton’s table, as it was the nearest Latitude to the birth place. Use the next Astrology signs and degrees from your Dalton’s Table, to be placed on the house cusps 11, 12, 1 (your Ascendant), 2, and 3. For the 4th house, or Nadir, and houses 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, simply place the opposite Astrology sign, until each house has its own sign. Now go back to your Ephemeris and the birthday, see what sign each planet was in that day, and place them in the correct houses. You did it! You just cast your own horoscope!

You have only one more calculation, that of the Moon. Take your standard birth time, again 14:30, as we have used as our example. Add 5 hours to this, making it 19:30. Take the 19:30 and divide it by 2, getting 9.5 degrees which will be rounded to 10 degrees. Again consulting the Ephemeris, for our example day, the Moon was in 27 degrees of Sagittarius earlier in my midnight ephemeris. There are only 30 degrees of each Astrological sign, so the Moon cannot be in 37 degrees of Sagittarius. Therefore, the Moon sign is in 7 degrees of Capricorn, the next sign.

So now you can feel confident that yes, you can be your own Astrologer! I have uncovered the usual myths and confusion that often surrounds this subject. Once you try the five step formula a few times, it will become second nature to you. You will learn the most by casting charts for those closest to you, and studying their traits. I hope you find Astrology as fun and fascinating as I do!

The Truth About Astrology

Astrology ThepsychiclinecomIt is disconcerting as an Astrologer to find that many people still think Astrology is only a matter of what sign your Sun was in on your Birthday. No wonder so many people think the study of the subject is nonsense. Astrology is so much more!

A true study of Astrology takes years of classes and workshops, hard work, and all of that costs money. Not to mention many books necessary for information. A good Astrologer has studied interpretation for years, through books, observation and study of the charts, and of the people described in those charts. Then people balk at the fact that an Astrologer has the “nerve” to charge $50.00-$100.00 to cast a horoscope!

Before Astrology charts were computerized, it took at least one hour to cast the horoscope itself, before any interpretation took place. It requires a book called a Dalton’s Table of Houses, a book of Time changes for the area of the world the person was born, the latitudes and longitudes of the birthplace, and an Ephemeris, the book which lists tables of planetary positions. There is a math formula which gives you what is called the Midheaven of the chart, and this is how you find the Ascendant, or Rising sign of the person. A person’s Sun sign, Moon sign, and Ascendant or Rising Sign are the Trinity in Astrology.

Today many computer sites will sell someone a computerized horoscope with an interpretation in the above price ranges. I just used one myself to do an experiment. I entered all my correct birth data, and got a completely wrong horoscope. So the programs have not improved much at all. Since the basic chart was wrong, so were all the pages of interpretation.

A horoscope is a picture of the sky at the exact time of your birth. If you are serious about wanting a horoscope, you need the date, time, and location of your birth to begin. This may be difficult, especially when working with older people. In other generations, the Mother was often drugged during childbirth, and hospital records did not always include the birth time. Before that, childbirth occurred at home, so there was even less information. The memories of relatives are not always accurate. Time changes like daylight savings time need to be taken into consideration. You must know the time of birth within a two hour window in order to find a person’s Ascendant for a Natal chart. If you cannot get this information, a Solar chart can be drawn up, but will be much more general.

Your Sun sign is the way you really are, and you will have some traits of that sign. Your Ascendant or Rising Sign is the way you appear to people who do not know you well. We all wear a mask or façade in everyday life. The Moon sign is the inner you, the emotional and deepest part of you, known only by you and those closest to you. This is the Astrological Trinity, and it is a crucial component in Astrology. All three of these positions can be in different Astrology signs, and often are. Knowing only these three pieces of information can tell you the basics about a person.

But there is much more to it, my friends. Every other planet was in a sign at the time of your birth. That’s right. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were all in different Astrology signs, all with different meanings. Each planet stands for certain things, Venus for love and social life, Mercury for how you think and process information, and so on.

An Astrological wheel is made up of twelve houses, each with many meanings. Each of those planets that are in a sign, are also in one of those 12 houses. So the interpreter is telling you what the celestial bodies mean in 12 Astrology signs with different meanings, and then taking that, and deciding what that planet and sign mean in a house. The most basic interpretation of the houses is this:

1. What you look like, physical body, obvious birthmarks or conditions, obvious personality
2. Attitudes about money and security, possessions
3. The way you communicate, relationships with siblings or people you see often
4. Your home life, family, end of life, property, relationship to Mother
5. Love, leisure activities, children, gambling, luck
6. Work (as opposed to a serious career), health, pets
7. Marriage or partnerships, relationships with others
8. Sex and death, money of the partner, inheritances
9. Higher learning, travel to foreign countries, philosophy, religion
10. Professional career, public persona, relationship with Father
11. Friendships, hopes and wishes
12. Secret sorrows, institutional stays

This all needs to be drawn out on a circle called a sidereal, split into 12 houses. Once you consult your Dalton’s table to establish which sign in on the Midheaven, or 10th house cusp, you will know the Ascendant. From the Midheaven, you can place the signs around the circle, and this will tell you which sign rules each of the twelve houses. Now that you know where the Astrology signs are on the houses, you can consult your Ephemeris, that book of tables of planets. Find the day of birth you are working with, and here is where you find which sign every planet was in on that day. You need to do a slight math calculation for the Moon sign. Add in the Moon’s nodes. You have completed a chart!

Once you have something to look at, you need to find the aspects. This is the distance that the planets are apart from each other. Planets very close to each other are called conjunctions, only a few degrees apart, intensifying the energies of those planets. Sextiles are 60 degrees apart, or are a fire and air combination, or an earth and water combination. They create situations that are fairly easy to deal with. Trines are 90 degrees apart, fire to fire, air to air, water to water, earth to earth. Trines are lucky and are parts of life that go easily for you. Squares are 90 degrees apart, and create challenges. Although they are difficult, very creative and positive outcomes can come from them. Oppositions are 180 degrees apart, or in signs opposite each other. They are challenging, but not very difficult. There are other aspects, but these are the major ones.

This is how a horoscope is created, and I didn’t even begin to interpret anything yet. Is it any wonder an Astrologer wants to pull their hair out when they hear uninformed people discussing how “silly” it is to pay attention to Astrology, since it’s only where your Sun was on your birthday? So the next time you hear someone acting dismissive about an Astrologer, at least you know what Astrology actually is. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!