Hobbies Astrology Understanding the Basics of Astrology Share PINTEREST Email Print Stephen Galle/EyeEm/Getty Images Astrology Basics 12 Signs of the Zodiac Trends & Horoscopes The Sun & Sun Signs The Moon & Moon Signs The Houses Love & Compatibility By Molly Hall Molly Hall is an astrologer, tarot reader, and author of "Astrology: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Zodiac." our editorial process Molly Hall Updated April 30, 2018 What exactly is astrology? The stars and planets have always inspired a sense of wonder. Many cultures look skyward and see the face of the divine there. There's a cosmic dance on the grand scale, and one on the intimate scale, going on for each of us. Astrology is the study of patterns and relationships — of planets in motion, our birth chart, synastry with others, the make-up of elements — and using that knowledge as a tool to find meaning. Is Astrology a Science? It falls more in the category of metaphysics, the study of that which is beyond the physical. It's similar to other fields that are founded on ancient theories of energy patterns, like feng shui, acupuncture, and yoga. Astrology at high levels is a mastery of its particular science and the intuitive arts. As the earliest known ordering of existence, long before recorded history, it's been called the "Mother of all Sciences." The Celestial Clock Astrology's premise is that the planetary movements influence the Moments in Time. Since we're part of the story of the Universe, our moment of birth recorded on the celestial clock is meaningful. The planets continue to move, engaging with the fixed in time energies of our birth chart. Students today can draw on the myths, symbolic associations and wisdom of past astrologers to come up with their own intuitive language. There are the long cycles of outer planets that show generational trends, and shorter ones, like the Sun's annual journey through the Zodiac. Know Thyself Astrology is an incredible tool of self-discovery, no matter how far you decide to take it. At first, the pieces of the puzzle may not seem to fit. But if you stick with it, at a certain point it "clicks" and the orchestrations of the cosmic dance make sense. If life seems like a series of meaningless events, astrology can be a comforting sign that perhaps things happen for a reason. It can shine a light on inner contradictions and natural strengths. As a map of the psyche, the birth chart is a guide to self-understanding that never stops revealing new layers of insight. Understanding Your Birth Chart Astrology can be baffling at first because it involves a different kind of wisdom. There are three parts to any birth chart — planet, sign, and house. There's a blending that happens in astrology that involves those three. As you learn more, your understanding deepens. You get a sense of what life lessons the Aries Sun in the 10th House holds for you. After learning about the planets, signs, and houses, it's time to look at aspects. This is the relationship between the players in your birth chart. Do they square each other? Or, are they in harmony with trines and sextiles. Where Should I Start With Astrology? It's said that there's truth in stereotypes, and that's where they come from in the first place. The essence of each sign's energy has built up a reputation. Gemini is chatty, gossipy, a bright wit. Scorpio is sultry, intense. Virgo is a purist, a neat-freak, and so on. Hold those stereotypes loosely as you make your own observations. The Sun sign is the essence of the basic nature in the broadest possible strokes. The rest of the chart fills in the details. Hold the Sun sign in your mind, as you go on to learn about the Moon. What kind of Cancer am I? The rest of your chart tells the story. The Chemistry of Astrology Astrology provides cosmic clues as to why you're attracted to, repelled by or indifferent to those you meet. It helps you take personality clashes less to heart, but also show potential red flags to watch out for. Some connections are sparked by friction, and astrology helps you take the long view, and see them as challenges that cause you both to grow. Astrology and the Dating Game Just a little bit of Sun Sign wisdom fills you in on the dynamics of your potential romantic alliance. In the delicate beginning, it can shine a light on the behavior of the Sun signs when romantic interest is piqued. What Are Other Uses of Astrology for Understanding Relationships? Astrology can give you a deeper understanding of all your relationships — with bosses, siblings, parents, children, friends, and partners. Comparing a couple's birth charts alerts them to areas where their natures could come into conflict. Known as "synastry," this kind of analysis points out areas to challenge and support each other to fulfill your individual destinies. Astrology shows where karma is being played out, with hard but necessary lessons, and the potential for an alchemical miracle to take place over time.