Planets in a horoscope
Most non-astrologers think of a horoscope as a Sun sign horoscope. Most horoscopes we read in newspaper and magazine columns are Sun sign horoscopes, and they consider only the astrological events affecting our Sun, which are different depending on the natal Sun sign (e.g., someone been with Sun in Taurus will be affected by the astrological events of today differently then another person born with the Aquarius Sun). Sun sign astrology columns first appeared in the first half of the last century, and they were widely popularized by the works of Linda Goodman, who took the Sun sign astrology to the new level of popularity.
While Sun sign astrology has popularized the astrology and brought it back to the public, it also created many non-believers, who correctly asked “How can all the people with Aquarius Sun be similar?”. Great question! And the answer is they are not! The truth is that the Sun sign astrology is a simplified form of astrological interpretation suitable to make predictions for large groups of people.
The astrological natal chart of each person contains 2 luminaries (Sun and Moon) and 7 planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto). Their distribution in the Zodiac signs and in different parts of the chart, as well as the angles that planets form with each other in the chart (and in the sky), are interpreted when an individual reading is done by an astrologer. While many of the angles between the planets are the same for people born on the same day of the same year, the distribution of the planets in the chart depends on the place of birth and is different for people born at the same moment in different locations. Even for twins, slight variation in time changes the position of planets in the chart, and the sign of the Moon or at least the angles that Moon forms with other planets is often different. To illustrate the changes that may be caused in the chart by slight changes in time or change in location, I will analyze the differences between two charts in Figure 1 (same location, difference in time birth is only 1 min) and two charts in Figure 2 (same time, different location). You don’t need to know the astrological glyphs or the structure of a chart to understand these examples.
In Figure 1, two individuals were born in the same location 1 minute apart. There are many similarities in these charts, including the Sun sign (Sun in both charts is in Aquarius, where it spends about a month each year). As a result, there will be similarities between the two individuals: both will be inventive, will lean towards intellectual pursuits (especially in the career, judging by the position of the Aquarius Sun in the chart), both may choose a profession associated with the networking and Internet. However, if you look at the signs of two Moons, you will notice that the Moons are in different signs: individual on the left has his or her Moon in Cancer (blue glyph next to the Moon’s degree stands for Cancer), while the person on the right has their Moon in Leo (red glyph next to the Moon’s degree). Moon in the chart represents everything that makes us feel good and emotionally secure: our mother, our home, our memories, food, etc. It also shows how we relate to other people. So, based on the difference in the Moon signs, very different things in life will make these two persons feel good and secure: Moon in Cancer will make the person on the left caring, loving food and family time, attached to his or her mother and valuing memories (all trait of the Cancer sign), while Moon in Leo will make the person on the right to feel secure when he or she is the center of everyone’s attention, to love fun and entertainment or even performing in public. At the material world level, the two Moons will also affect the two individuals’ lives: the left person may have a caring mother who may be even a house makers and chose her family over her career, while the right person will most likely have a mother who is fun, creative, probably even performing on a stage and having a great mane of hair. Thus, while everything pertaining to the Sun sign will be the same, the individuals and their lives will be somewhat different, thanks to the difference in their Moon signs.
The second example demonstrates differences between the charts of two persons born on the same day at the same exact time, but in different locations: the one on the left in Ohio, USA, and the one on the right in Berlin, Germany. There are quite a few changes with the location change. Both Moons are in Cancer, but, in the chart of the person on the left, the Moon is in the fourth house (sector of the chart marked “4”), while in the chart on the right the Moon is in the third house. Both individuals will express all the qualities of the Aquarius Sun and Cancer Moon, but the one on the left will probably feel content and secure staying in with his family (because it is in the third “house”, or sector, of family), while the person on the right will find satisfaction in driving around and taking care of his neighbors (the third sector, or house, shows what happens with communications and neighbors). Notice also that the sign of the Ascendant (marked by the arrow and “Asc”, representing the sign rising over the horizon at the given time, and suggesting how the person will be seen by others) is different in two charts. The person on the left has Taurus as his Ascendant sign, suggesting that people will see him as slowly moving and reacting, stubborn, liking luxury and material stability, stable in his opinions and materialistic. The person on the left will be perceived as someone very fast thinking, fickle, talkative, and having multiple interests (all features of Gemini that is on the Ascendant of the right chart). Note that the sign of the Midheaven (marked “MC”) also changed with the change in location: it is Capricorn (yellow glyph on the border of the sectors 9 and 10) in the left chart, but Aquarius (blue wavy glyph on the border of the sectors 9 and 10) in the right chart. Midheaven represent the highest point in the sky at the time of birth and gives astrologers an idea about the career path and the public persona of an individual. Although both have Aquarius Sun close to Midheaven and both will express their Aquarius Sun qualities in their career or public life (intelligence, innovative approaches, networking, humanitarian approach, etc.), the person on the left may choose architecture or construction as their career path (because the sign of Capricorn had natural affinity for these professions), while the person on the right may become a scientist or a computer programmer (professions with the affinity for Aquarius). There are other important differences in two charts, but the example of the Moon, Ascendant, and Midheaven demonstrate well why two persons with Aquarius Sun sign and born at the same time become different.
When astrologers consider a birth chart, they analyze the whole chart, not just the Sun sign. Each planet in the chart represents the qualities of a personality and sides of the individual’s life, and the sectors of a chart show in what part of the life these qualities will be expressed. Furthermore, interactions between the planets (their proximity to each other and angles formed by their position in the sky and accordingly in the chart) are important modifiers of the qualities produced by each planet.
However, astrology is a multi-layered discipline, i.e., it works on many different levels. Considering just one planet and analyzing its position and sign provides a great deal of information. And this is exactly what the Sun sign astrology does – providing information based on the Sun sign. Sun is the largest and the most visible and most important celestial body in our skies. Similarly, it is extremely important and central in each birth horoscope. Thus, analyzing the Sun sign provides a lot of information about a person, and learning the relationships between the natal Sun and the current astrological events gives a lot of information about the current state of affairs for each individual. Knowing this basic information, the reading can be personalized by looking at the position of the Sun in the chart and its relationships with other planets in the chart. Further personalization can be achieved by analyzing each planet’s sign, position, and relationships with other bodies. This will result in very personal information that is unique to each individual. Furthermore, the analysis can be deepened by considering the planets’ cycles, adding the analysis of important asteroids, looking at the recent and coming eclipses, and so on. The number of astrological techniques is endless, and the depth of the analysis is also infinite.