Horoscopes: The Definitive Guide

What is a horoscope?

The horoscope is a map that appears as a two dimensional chart showing the position of the Sun, the Moon, and planets at the precise moment of your birth. This page teaches you all you need to know about horoscopes and astrology. To get a free, 3 minute horoscope reading by a professional, click the link below! Be sure to give us feedback on how it went.

In the natal horoscope, the planets are frozen in their position at that initial moment. This type of horoscope is known as the birth chart or the natal chart. A correct interpretation of the birth positions exposes the “hand” that has been “dealt” in life.

A horoscope can never show how you are going to “play” this hand. While you usually have freedom of choice or free will, the horoscope does reflect natural inclinations that you have to live with, lessons you have to learn, issues to be faced, and problems to be solved.

It may be thought of as merely an abstract formula showing the energies that you’ve been given, or perhaps tasked. The use that you make of these energies, or opportunities, if you will, depends upon you, the individual.

Astrology can provide incredible keys to understanding, but it doesn’t provide clear and simplistic answers to any problems with which you may be dealing.

Obtaining information about your horoscope may give you some insights and understanding of the reasons why you behave as you do.

To have the horoscope of another revealed allows the reader to understand that person better. You can see and understand him or her more accurately, objectively, and with a much greater tolerance. Understanding your horoscope may allow you to more clearly understand and accept yourself, and therefore do what you can with your natural attributes.

After you obtain a copy of your horoscope, you will be ready to dive into the many mini readings that will begin to draw a special word picture unique to you or the individual whose chart you are focusing on today. First, you should become familiar with the twelve signs and the planets.

What is the Zodiac?

Before looking at what the zodiac is, it is important first to understand what the ecliptic is. If you were to imagine what you see when you look up into the sky, and if you tracked the apparent movement of the Sun through it, this is what is meant when the word ecliptic is used. Put simply it means the apparent pathway of the Sun through the sky as viewed from earth.

The zodiac is actually a group of constellations that form the backdrop to the Sun’s apparent pathway through the sky that extends 9 degrees on either side of the ecliptic. The orbits of the planets (and our Moon) also fall within this zodiac belt. The word zodiac stems from the ancient Greeks – zodiakos kyklos, “circle of animals”, or ta zodia, “the little animals” because most of the constellations through which the ecliptic passes represent animals. Although the constellations are irregular in size and shape the 12 astrological signs are generally allocated 30 degrees each.

The word zodiac stems from the ancient Greeks – zodiakos kyklos, “circle of animals”, or ta zodia, “the little animals…”

The ecliptic was clearly identified and divided into 12 equal signs of the zodiac around 450 BC in Mesopotamia. Most reference sources indicate that the zodiac is a Babylonian invention – the oldest record of the zodiacal signs is a cuneiform horoscope from 419 BC. At the same time, Greek sources claim the discovery of the ecliptic during the second half of the 5th century BC. Like many historical developments it is quite possible that both the Greek and Babylonian cultures developed these systems at about the same time.

Symbolically, each of the zodiac signs (Aries – Ram; Taurus – Bull; Gemini – Twins; Cancer – Crab; Leo – Lion; Virgo – Virgin; Libra – Scales; Scorpio – Scorpion; Sagittarius – Archer; Capricorn – Goat; Aquarius – Water Bearer; and Pisces – Fish) represent various qualities. For example, Aries is represented by a Ram and the qualities of initiative, bravery and assertiveness.

Because the Sun’s (apparent) pathway through the heavens is basically constant and can be found at roughly the same spot for the same date in each year, this is how we came to use Sun Signs: the position of the Sun in relation to the backdrop of the zodiac constellations. This system is convenient because the average person doesn’t have to have complicated planetary positions worked out to know which constellation affects them personally, the date of birth is all that is needed in most cases.

About Natal Charts

What is a Natal Chart?

If you look at the words ‘natal chart’ you could read them another way ‘birth map’ – this may help you understand what is being talked about. Basically, the natal chart is a map of the sky including the positions of the planets for the time that you were born. Where you are born has an impact on what is seen in the sky, e.g., if two people were born on the same day and at the same time but in a different city and country, what is seen overhead would be different. This would mean that their natal charts showing planetary placements would be different from each other.

So, the first step in using astrology is to draw a map of the sky for the moment a person is born. This map includes all the planets, plus a few other points of interest such as the horizon and the middle of the sky directly over the birthplace. The time of birth is important for detailed work because it affects the position of the various parts of the chart, in particular the zodiac sign on the eastern horizon (this gives the Rising Sign/Ascendant) and position of the point over the birthplace (this gives the position of the Midheaven).

If the time of birth is unknown it can be worked out through major life events by an experienced astrologer who specialises in this branch of astrology: this is known as rectification. To do this you would need to give the astrologer as many major life events as possible such as: marriage; birth of children; major moves; divorce; death; new business ventures or jobs; and/or any other significant changes to your life.

Another way of finding out what time you were born is to contact the hospital you were born in. In the majority of cases they have this information recorded on the mother’s file. I know this is the case in Australia but I’m not sure about other countries but it is still worth a try!

Natal Chart Interpretations

Once the natal chart has been prepared, the positions of the planets in different zodiac signs (ie, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc) can be ‘interpreted’. This is an area that people interested in astrology usually become a little skeptical about the validity of astrology because the interpretations can vary greatly from one astrologer to another. One way to understand these differences in interpretation is to understand that the planets and other points in the natal chart are used as symbols: as such, they have quite a broad ability to represent different qualities depending on the age, sex, marital status, belief system, etc of the person whose natal chart is being interpreted.

Interpretation is also affected by the particular areas of interest of the individual astrologer. For example, some of the areas of specialisation include psychological, past-life, medical, child-based, and the list goes on!

The type of information gained from the natal chart includes understanding the early home life, relationship with parents and how these affect adult relationships. There are many others areas that can be looked at in quite a comprehensive way such as how you are perceived by the people around you, emotional needs, how you express love and affection, etc.

The information found in the natal chart can also provide an insight into what talents a person may possess that have not yet been realised or used to full potential.

Natal charts offer the benefit of self-understanding which may give a person a whole new perception of themselves, direction in life and open up possibilities for new directions in life; both in the physical and psychological sense.


Now that I have explained what a natal chart is, it’s time to have a look at a basic system of forecasting.

One way to understand what type of information forecasting can provide is to think of weather forecasting: looking at the general conditions in a person’s life at various times – sunny, cloudy, windy, etc. Basically, if you knew it was going to be raining on a particular day, you probably would organise a picnic for another time. The same applies to using astrology for everyday life.

There are various ways to use prepare a forecast, the simplest being transits. Another word for transits would be movements – this refers to the movement or transit of planets. If you think of the natal chart, this is a map of the sky showing the planetary placements at the time, date and place of birth and does not change or move. In reality the planets do not stop moving, but continue their journey around the Sun – these continual movements of the planets are what are being referred to when an astrologer talks about transits. The transiting planets are then looked at in relation to the natal chart.

Forecasting can be a valuable aid in understanding and making the most of opportunities coming your way and also in dealing with some of the difficulties that life can bring.

Compatibility or Synergy & Astrology

When two people meet, their chances for a compatible relationship depend on how their basic needs and personality traits will mesh in the give and take of social or business interactions.

These can be determined by comparing a companion’s horoscope with your own natal chart. In doing a comparison, first notice whether your companion has a predominance of planets in one of the elements, more than four planets in one element. A predominance of planets in one element tells you something about what that person brings to the relationship, for example:

  • A person with a predominance of Fire signs brings an impulsive enthusiasm to the relationship.
  • A person with a predominance of Earth signs introduces a stabilizing influence on the relationship.
  • A person with a predominance of Air signs puts the relationship on an intellectual level.
  • A person with a predominance of Water signs will flood the relationship with deep emotional actions and reactions.

In general, people are more likely to be compatible with each other when their natal planets fall into compatible elements. The compatible elements are fire with air, earth with water. That means if you have a predominance of natal planets in the fire signs, you are more likely to have a compatible relationship with someone who has a predominance of natal planets in the air signs. If your companion’s planets are mostly in the earth signs, you can expect assorted difficulties depending on which elements are involved.

Learn more about The Elements of the Zodiac Signs >>

It is also important to note how many of your planets are in the Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable signs; and where your companion’s planets are. A predominance of planets in one quality (i.e., five or more planets in a cardinal, fixed, or mutable sign) tells you how someone is likely to act in a relationship. For example:

  • A person with a predominance of Cardinal signs is anxious to see things get started.
  • A person with a predominance of Fixed signs is more likely to be stubborn and unyielding in a relationship.
  • A person with a predominance of Mutable signs will be adaptable and willing to make most of the compromises.

Learn more about The Qualities of the Zodiac >>

Now it is important to note to see how your and your companion’s planets are distributed among the masculine and feminine signs. Most people have an even balance of five-to-five, or six-to-four, between masculine or feminine. If you and your companion each have the normal ratios of planets, you should have no trouble getting along with each other. You can work things out even when one of you has a gender ration of seven-to-three while the other has a four-to-six ratio.

If there is a difference of one or two planets in masculine (or feminine) signs between you and your companion you should have no trouble in establishing a compatible relationship. If there is a difference of three planets, you can still work things out. However, if there are more than three planets between you and your companion, in one gender, you will both have to work very hard to maintain a relationship. The reason is that the dominantly masculine person’s aggressive behavior will threaten and harass the reserved, security-motivated feminine person.

If both people are dominated by the same gender (either masculine or feminine), they share the same viewpoint and approach to life. Initially, this can give them a strong feeling of compatibility. However, they will soon feel a need for the kind of stimulation that comes from defending mildly different points of view. They will have to turn to someone else to meet that need.

Someone with eight or more planets in a single gender may find it difficult to find a comfortable relationship.

Learn more about The Rulers of the Zodiac >>

What is a “Cusp” and What Does it Mean?

When a planet is about to move from one zodiac sign to another along the backdrop it is moving on, this is know as being on the cusp, which causes confusion for most people about which Sun Sign they are. If you have your time of birth, you can find out exactly which Sun Sign you are using the services of an astrologer or one of the free chart drawing services via the Internet.

The word ‘cusp’ also means ‘verge’, ‘turning point’ or ‘edge’. So if you think about these terms they can bring to mind a sense of tension and expectation, also excitement but also a sense of energy and sometimes uncertainty.

Imagine that you are leaving a familiar room and are just about to enter a darkened, strange one that you have never visited before. The type of feelings you may experience include: apprehension, excitement, anxiety, uncertainty (whether to leave the familiar to enter the unknown or to stay where you are, teetering on the edge); and perhaps even a period of ‘darkness’ or ‘lack of direction’ until you find the light switch to illuminate the new room so you can get to know it!

For those of you born ‘on the cusp’ you may generally have a feeling of change, or uncertainty in your life in some way, perhaps relating to your father figure, men, authority figures or other masculine figures in general.

When people think about being on the cusp, they are generally referring to their Sun Sign. What a lot of people are not aware of is that any planet can be ‘on the cusp’ or at a turning point from one sign to the next. So this means that the aspects of life that are represented by that particular planet can also be experienced as being in transition.

For example, if your Venus was ‘on the cusp’, matters relating to this planet (finances, ability to give and receive love/affection, women, your values and how you value yourself, and generally how you relate to others and conduct your relationships) may be experienced as on the brink of change. Perhaps you find that fear of the unknown holds you back from letting go of the past and moving on with new ways of handling these areas of your life?

Because astrology is a symbolic art, there are many ways of interpreting the possibilities – but this is simply an example of my method of looking at how to interpret and understand planets on the cusp of signs.

12 Signs on the 12 House Cusps

The “houses of the horoscope” refers to a twelve part division that begins with the Ascendant or Rising Sign.

Although the size of each house can vary a great deal, the 360 degree circle is divided into these twelve parts. The Ascendant/Rising Sign/First House cusp is calculated to an exact degree based on the precise moment of birth.

To understand the full meaning of what your Ascendant/Rising Sign tells, you must understand that this moment of birth places an influence on each of twelve areas of the life or houses of the horoscope.

Each of the subsequent signs consists of thirty degrees, one twelfth of the circle. The circle begins with a sign of the zodiac that will be called your Ascendant, and then each of the consecutive signs usually take their turn coloring the affairs of the sequential houses. The differing size of the houses often results in the same sign appearing on the cusp of consecutive houses. This is not unusual at all, and when it occurs on one side of the chart, it must again occur on the opposite side. The signs that are excluded are said to intercepted. Some astrologers believe that the sign on the cusp and the intercepted sign are co-rulers of the house.

12 houses of zodiac circle

The outside circle represents the pathway of the Sun (the ecliptic), the divisions represent a way of dividing the birth map into sections for interpretative purposes. You will see these marked on the inner circle from 1 – 12 running counter-clockwise.

There are many ways to actually divide the sky into these twelve sections depending on the birth data available, preference of the astrologer and type of information required from the birth chart. Regardless, the chart is usually divided into the twelve sections as shown in the example.

Meaning of Each House

The Twelve houses of the horoscope define twelve areas of our life. The beginning of each of the houses is called it cusp.

Each house has what is called a natural ruling sign and natural ruling planets. That is the sign and planet that is associated with that house in the natural chart that begins with Aries and ends with Pisces.

The various sections of the chart have a number of meanings, depending on the type of astrology being used, for example psychological, medical, mundane. I will have a look at the general meanings of these divisions this time and perhaps go into the other interpretations in more detail through more detailed articles at another time.

First House:
Natural Ruler: Aries
Ruled By: Mars
Associated with:
How others see you.
Character type.
Outlook on life.
Early childhood.

Second House:
Natural Ruler: Taurus
Ruled By: Venus
Associated with:
Earning capacity.
What you value.
Money and worldly goods.

Third House:
Natural Ruler: Gemini
Ruled By: Mercury
Associated with:
Siblings, peers, neighbours.
Intellectual interests.
Early education.

Fourth House:
Natural Ruler: Cancer
Ruled By: Moon
Associated with:
Home and parents.
Heritage and heredity.
Psychological roots.
The mother.
Early subconscious conditioning.

Fifth House:
Natural Ruler: Leo
Ruled By: Sun
Associated with:
Love affairs and romance.
Fun and enjoyment.
Personal self-expression.
Hobbies and talents.

Sixth House:
Natural Ruler: Virgo
Ruled By: Mercury
Associated with:
Service and duties.
Employment and employees.
Servants and dependents.
Pets and small animals.
Diet, health problems.

Seventh House:
Natural Ruler: Libra
Ruled By: Venus
Associated with:
Partnerships (marriage and business).
Open adversaries.
Legal contracts.
Co-operation (or it’s lack!).
Court trials.

Eighth House:
Natural Ruler: Scorpio
Ruled By: Pluto
Associated with:
Other people’s possessions.
Partner’s resources.
Inheritance, insurance, taxation.
Sexual matters.
Death and legacies.

Ninth House:
Natural Ruler: Sagittarius
Ruled By: Jupiter
Associated with:
Long journeys.
Goals and planning.
Higher education, philosophy and religion.
Advertising and publicity.
Liking for large animals, particularly horses.

Tenth House:
Natural Ruler: Capricorn
Ruled By: Saturn
Associated with:
Public standing and life ambitions.
What the world remembers a person for.
Positions of authority or fame.
The father.

Eleventh House:
Natural Ruler: Aquarius
Ruled By: Uranus
Associated with:
Friends, hopes and wishes.
Detached or impersonal relationships.
Business connections.
Rewards from the tenth house.

Twelfth House:
Natural Ruler: Pisces
Ruled By: Neptune
Associated with:
Behind the scenes activities.
Sacrificial service.
Deception or secrets.
Hidden enemies.
Places of confinement, e.g., prisons, hospitals, health retreats, etc.

The Distribution of Your Houses Into Different Groupings

Distribution of houses in astrology

The distribution of your houses into different groupings of hemispheres and groupings of elements and positions determine the over-all focus of your activities. If most of your planets
fall into one of the hemispheres the significance is as follows:

Northern A focus on private matters.
Southern A focus on private activities.
Eastern Activities are self-started.
Western Dependence on others’ energies.

Another useful grouping of houses corresponds with the grouping of houses into the four elements. The houses can be grouped into fire, earth, water and air houses. The significance is as follows:

Individual (Fire) Houses: Life Identity (First, Fifth, Ninth). Activities focus on achieving life’s aspirations.

Temporal (Earth) Houses: Material Wealth (Second, Sixth, Tenth). Activities focus on meeting material needs.

Relative (Air) Houses: Relationships (Third, Seventh, Eleventh). Activities focus on social contact and mind-sharing.

Terminal (Water) Houses: Emotional (Fourth, Eighth, Twelfth). Activities focus on achieving emotional tranquility.

Learn more about the elements >>

Still another important grouping corresponds with the qualities of the signs, corresponding to the Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable signs of the zodiac. The significance of a cluster of planets in a group of these houses is as follows:

Angular (Cardinal) Houses–Starting: First, Fourth, Seventh, Tenth.
Activities are self-starting for immediate effects.

Succedent (Fixed) Houses–Controlling: Second, Fifth, Eighth, Eleventh.
Activities are aimed at managing and controlling things.

Cadent (Mutable) Houses–Changing: Third, Sixth, Ninth, Twelfth.
Skills are acquired to improve relationships.

Learn more about qualities of the zodiac >>

The intensity of a planet’s influence on a house depends on the sign of the zodiac that happens to fall on that house in your zodiac. If Cardinal Signs are found in Angular (Cardinal) Houses, they strengthen the planetary energies flowing into the activities of the houses, etc.

Learn more about the planetary rulers >>

Click on the infographic to see it in full size.

12 Houses Of Astrology Infographic


The Rising Sign (Ascendant)

The Ascendant is basically the zodiac sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the moment you were born – hence the other term for this point “Rising Sign”. As this point is calculated for the moment you were born it is very important that you have the correct time of birth recorded for use when calculating the Ascendant and the rest of the birth chart.

As just mentioned, the Ascendant is calculated using the moment you were born and because of this, symbolically this point represents your environment, physical health, family life and general atmosphere that you were born into. This can also be extended into the physical body that you are born into at the time of your birth.

Further extending this theme, as the individual grows and develops into an adult the symbolism presented by the Ascendant shows how new situations and the “birth” of new phases of life are approached. To explain this further I’ll use an example.

Let’s say that “Charlie’s” birth process of long, difficult and dangerous and that naturally his life was in danger at the time of his birth. This first situation of life may have sensitized him to the danger that is involved with starting something new, in his first experience of becoming a physical individual.

As he grows older and faces new situations and people Charlie may find that he has difficulty in letting go of people and situations, perhaps because unconsciously he fears the “danger” of taking the first steps to a new beginning.

Psychologically speaking, the Ascendant indicates the type of persona (a term used by Jung) an individual has created for dealing with the world and others in general. In other words our Ascendant is the ‘mask’ we wear when having to deal with new situations, people and the world in general.

Physically it can describe what a person looks like as well as the type of health issues an individual may face at some point in their lives. Extending this further, the Ascendant can also describe the physical environment surrounding the individual.

I look at the Ascendant as representing who we have to be to get what we want (Sun) and need (Moon).

Traits of Each Zodiac Sign

The zodiac circle has twelve signs. The circle begins with Aries and concludes with Pisces. Each sign has traits that set it apart from the others. Here’s a quick list of traits associated with each sign. You can read more about each zodiac sign from here.

Aries is energetic, innovative, original, pioneering, assertive, quick-tempered, strong drive, leader, ambitious, extroverted, sometimes aggressive, competitive, enthusiastic, self-reliant, and self-assured.

Taurus is determined, efficient, stubborn, cautious, placid, persistent, enduring, introverted, conservative, conventional, materialistic, security conscious, stable, industrious, dependable, and one generally having significant financial ability.

Gemini is flexible, versatile, restless, a jack-of-all-trades, lively, alert, quick-witted, literary, communicative, a good conversationalist, changeable, sociable, logical, ingenious, agile, dexterous, intellectual, and mentally ambitious.

Cancer is introverted, reserved, emotional, sensitive, moody, sympathetic, security-conscious, prudent, retentive, domestic, maternal, protective, quiet, calm, imaginative, conscientious, and quite the traditionalist.

Leo is ambitious, a lover of limelight, speculative, extroverted, optimistic, honorable, dignified, confident, proud, exuberant, sunny, flamboyant, charismatic, dramatic, competitive, a leader and an organizer.

Virgo is practical, responsible, sensible, logical, analytical, highly discriminating, a careful planner, precise and punctual, dedicated, perfectionist, critical, health conscious, and somewhat introverted.

Libra is idealistic, a peacemaker, diplomatic, refined, poised, gracious, kind, courteous, fair-minded, sociable, charming, artistically creative, affable, cooperative, extroverted, and usually somewhat indecisive.

Scorpio is intense, determined, powerful, strong-willed, forceful, bold, courageous, enduring, competitive, resourceful, researcher, an investigator, secretive, mysterious, penetrating, psychic, self-reliant, and somewhat introverted or closed.

Sagittarius is idealistic, optimistic, freedom-loving, casual, friendly, buoyant, gregarious, enthusiastic, philosophical, studious, farseeing, direct, outspoken, honest, loyal, restless and loves travel.

Capricorn is ambitious (power, position, money), organizational, self-disciplined, rigid, thrifty, prudent, security-conscious, conservative, responsible, practical, persistent, political, business oriented, methodical.

Aquarius is individualistic, unconventional, progressive, unique, independent, humanitarian, altruistic, visionary, perceptive, intellectual, logical, ingenious, inventive, unpredictable, detached, friendly, and scientific.

Pisces is receptive, supersensitive, impressionable, peace-loving, serious, sympathetic, charitable, compassionate, artistic, creative, dreamer, dedicated, imaginative, psychic, shy, introverted, spiritual, and reclusive.

What does it mean when a planet is in a sign, i.e., Moon in Aries?

As the planets continue their orbit around the Sun, here on earth their pathway seems to follow the Sun. As they do so, like the Sun they have the zodiac signs as a backdrop behind them. So when an astrologer says that the Moon is in Aries or Mercury is in Virgo this simply means that at a particular time that planet had that particular zodiac sign as it’s backdrop.

How Real Horoscopes and Astrology Are?

Many people love horoscopes. Though some come to horoscope readers for just the thrill of having an idea of what may happen next, there are still others who are very much into this that they seek daily horoscope. However, the question still remains whether this and astrology are ever really true? Are we being fooled into believing that there is a possibility for us to actually know the future? Are we being lured into doing things?

If astrology and horoscope have lived through time, why is it that until today there are many skeptics and unbelievers? Do they have any reason why it is impossible for them to actually practice it? We shall try to determine if such predictions have come true or if we had been led to do such things in a psychological way.

Are horoscopes true?

The answer to this may very well be yes. The word horoscope originated from “horoskopos” which meant “look at the hours”. The movement of the planets was being predicted by the ancient astrologers and these also became the representation of their gods’ activities. These gods include Marduk who represented Jupiter, Ishtar who represented Venus, Ninurta for Saturn, Nerger for Mars, and Nabu for Mercury. When the activities of Sin and Shamash, the gods of the moon and the sun, were added, the activities of earth were predicted.

What should be needed in order to have a complete and accurate horoscope?

The date, time, and location of the person’s birth are very important. This allows the astrologer to place one’s sun sign on the first house of the astrological chart. Then each house follows. All these data are necessary as these allow the astrologer to tell what types of issues may be of importance to the one seeking his horoscope.

Why does my horoscope not work all the time?

People tend to forget that horoscopes only predict and not tell anything exactly. This means that nothing is absolute. Since making a horoscope requires the person’s exact time, date, and location of birth which are oftentimes not possible to have, a more generalized reading for people born on a certain day is made. That is why horoscopes may be accurate and perfect for one person but may not work for another.

How can horoscope be useful to a person’s life?

Horoscopes are not meant to dictate a person’s life. They should only be used as a guide on a person’s decisions.