What are the basic building blocks of astrology? (Part 1) in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (Mar. 5-11, 2014)

solar system(Image courtesy of wellsave.com/ Google Images)


Last week, I gave you a glimpse on how we will celebrate International Astrology Day (IAD) 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area this coming March 22-23. This week, let’s continue exploring the vast subject of astrology. If, like me, you are fascinated by this topic, I hope that you don’t get intimidated when for example you browse through a book on astrology in the library or a book store and nothing means anything to you. Don’t panic. We all have to start somewhere, and the logical place to start is with the building blocks of astrology.

What are they? The planets, the signs, the houses, and the aspects.

I believe that familiarizing ourselves with the key words for the planets, signs, houses, and aspects will help us understand the elements in our own birth chart (also called a natal chart). If we understand these elements, then our entire chart becomes an exciting roadmap to our self-understanding. With what gifts, potentials, and strengths are we born? How do we make the best use of these? What weaknesses must we try to overcome?

For instance, what are we to make of this statement: “My Sun is in Aries in the 8th house opposing my Uranus in Libra in the 2nd house”? By the way, that’s an actual observation from my natal chart.         That statement may sound bewildering to you now, but by the end of this 2-part column, I hope that you will begin your attempt to put together some statements of your own based on your own birth chart. For a free rendering of your natal chart, I highly recommend going to www.astro.com, which I have been using for quite a long time now. It’s also a great website for learning the basics of astrology and beyond. My suggestion is for you to study the glyphs (symbols) for the planets, signs, and aspects, since this will help you figure out all those squiggly lines and doodles populating your chart. The houses are numbered plainly from 1-12 in a counterclockwise direction. The two axes bisecting the chart are the MC-IC axis (Medium Coeli/midheaven-Imum Coeli/nadir) and the AC-DC axis (ascendant-descendant). All these will make sense to you when you print out your natal chart and really begin to study it.

Now, how can we make useful analogies between the English language and the language of astrology? I’ve read many sources that liken planet keywords to nouns and sign keywords to adjectives. House keywords describe areas of life while aspect keywords describe relationships among planetary energies, whether easy or challenging. May I now present to you some keywords for the planets, signs, houses, and aspects, respectively. Since this is by no means an exhaustive list, I encourage you to come up with your own associations.


SUN: Inner essence, nature, ego, individual, consciousness, purpose, center, light, creativity, spirit, life, vitality, nucleus, being, intention, will power, Apollo

MOON: Emotions, unconscious, soul, reflection, fertility, mother, memories, feelings, moods, sensitivity, Isis

MERCURY: Communication, intelligence, thoughts, reason, logic, ideas, speech, observation, conscious mind, the winged messenger, Hermes

VENUS: Love, femininity, beauty, art, harmony, romance, refinement, the senses, gentleness, sensuality, Aphrodite

MARS: Energy, force, action, stress, anger, masculinity, sexual drive, the warrior

JUPITER: Confidence, abundance, aspirations, generosity, autonomy, indulgence, excess, opportunity, humanity, success, philosophy, Santa Claus, Zeus, a sense of humor

SATURN: Responsibility, structure, restriction, ability, duty, authority, stamina, determination, accomplishment, limitations, patience, reality, karma, discipline, maturity, caution, boundaries, ambition, Father Time, Kronos

URANUS: Surprise, freedom, chaos, independence, change, eccentricity, originality, release, intuition, electricity, the humanitarian, the rebel

NEPTUNE: Spirituality, visionary, psyche, dreamer, wisdom, addictions, drugs and alcohol, co-dependence, meditation, fantasy, illusion, rose-colored glasses, devotion, guilt, escape, Poseidon, angels, God, Goddess

PLUTO: Power, transmutation, evolution, death and rebirth, control, purification, elimination, the Phoenix, Shiva, Hades


ARIES: Energetic, fiery, aggressive, courageous, assertive, angry, self-centered, impulsive, brave, dynamic

TAURUS: Stable, earthy, sensual, dependable, stubborn, persevering, conservative, material, needs security, determined, strong, sophisticated, loyal, luxurious, practical

GEMINI: Enthusiastic, airy, versatile, nervous, independent, intelligent, talkative, flirtatious, quick, positive, unstable, restless, curious, child-like, clever

CANCER: Nurturing, watery, protective, emotional, family-oriented, moody, sensitive, sentimental, affectionate

LEO: Proud, fiery, generous, flashy, entertaining, powerful, arrogant, grandiose, egocentric, dramatic, dictatorial, noble

VIRGO: Earth mother, meticulous, linear, critical, analytical, productive, efficient, shy, caring, dedicated, vulnerable, problem-solving, computer-like, intelligent

LIBRA: Artistic, airy, social, graceful, beautiful, charming, indecisive, submissive, slick, diplomatic, refined, sympathetic, romantic

SCORPIO: Private, watery, deep, decisive, questioning, curious, jealous, sexual, manipulative, intense, psychic, healing, passionate, powerful

SAGITTARIUS: Independent, fiery, philosophical, futuristic, demanding, undaunting, impatient,  cultural, expansive, straightforward

CAPRICORN: Cautious, earthbound, unyielding, ambitious, authoritative, tenacious, responsible, accomplished

AQUARIUS: Rebellious, airy, open-minded, revolutionary, scattered, unpredictable, cause-oriented, aloof, fanatic, impractical, humanitarian

PISCES: Empathetic, watery, extremely sensitive, abandoned, fearful, inspired, whimsical, fanciful, spiritual, spacey, creative, gentle, confused, kind

We will continue our discussion on the building blocks of astrology next week when we tackle the keywords for the houses and aspects. #



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